February 29, 2024

Kilkenny councillor welcomes decision to refuse permission for Barrow Blueway

AN Bord Pleanála has refused permission for the controversial Barrow Blueway.

The proposed Barrow Blueway, an initiative by Waterways Ireland, would have seen the construction of a 112km walking and cycling track connecting St Mullins (pictured above) in Carlow through Graignamanagh to Lowtown in county Kildare.

The plans included the development of the old towpath, currently a grassy walkway, to accommodate “tailored surface finishes”, information and direction signs and other works which would run through counties Carlow, Laois and Kildare.

Some 52km of the scenic pathway is located in Carlow, which last year took the decision to refuse permission on the basis of ecological considerations and the conservational impact on the river.

However, Kildare and Laois County Councils both gave the green for the development.

The Kildare and Laois decisions were appealed by the Save the Barrow Line campaign group, whose chairperson is the former RTÉ presenter Olivia O’Leary.

Meanwhile, Waterways Ireland had sought to have Carlow County Council’s decision overturned.

An Bord Pleanála yesterday informed both sides in writing that they have refused permission for the development along the Barrow in all three counties.

Kilkenny councillor Malcolm Noonan (pictured below), who is also the Green Party’s spokesperson on local government and planning, welcomed the decision.

“Among the reasons for refusal was the potential impact of the pathway on the River Barrow and Nore SAC as well as potential impact on otter holts. Well done to all who campaigned to conserve the ecology of these beautiful natural riverbanks,” Cllr Noonan added.

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