15 June 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By Patsy McArdle

TOURIST development promoters in North Monaghan and the Co. Monaghan Tourism body have joined in welcoming an announcement earlier this week of an allocation of €471,000 in funding for the development of a town cycle lane and walkway facilities for pedestrians in Monaghan town.
First news of the allocation came on Monday last from local Fine Gael Cavan/Monaghan Dail deputy Heather Humphreys.
Her party counterpart, Deputy Sean Conlan also described as “most welcome” the announcement for the funding by the Minister of State at the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport, Mr. Alan Kelly T.D.,
Deputy Humphreys said she warmly welcomed the €471,000 allocation to upgrade cycling facilities in Monaghan under the Smart Travel Initiative. “This initiative focuses on increasing awareness on alternative travel choices to ensure an efficient economy and continued social development” she said..
The funding will be used for a 4 km. route along the tow- path of the Ulster canal and is part of the effort to create a more cycle friendly culture across the country and to try and get as many people out of their cars and onto the bikes.
Ultimately this is part of a greater plan with further potential for extensive road linking to Armagh and Cavan.
Deputy Humphreys said “ A competitive funding scheme was launched in March 2012 to fund Local Authorities to deliver cycling routes around the country which could act as both transport corridors and recreational and tourism amenities”
“Monaghan County Council submitted a very good application and I am delighted that following my intensive lobbying of Minister Kelly, Monaghan has now been successful in obtaining funding. It is one of 16 successful applications out of over 50 submitted so I am very pleased that Monaghan will benefit from this investment”.
”Improvements such as these will only have positive effects on not only the transport network in Monaghan but they also encourage a healthier life style through participation in walking and cycling.”
“This is part of the Government’s efforts to create a more cycle-friendly culture across the country and to try and get as many people out of their cars and onto bikes. Having high quality routes across the country is a key part of that. There will also be significant job opportunities during construction stage and also from a tourism perspective.”
”The recent Ross na Run cycling event that travelled through Monaghan certainly heightened an awareness and increased participation in cycling throughout the county and the provision of this facility will further support and encourage such participation in cycling” added Deputy Humphreys.
Sinn Fein County councillor, Sean Conlon, forwarded the proposal, for the provision of cycle lanes in Monaghan at the April monthly meeting of the County Council.
Speaking to the Northern Standard Cllr Conlon said:
“Last year phase 1 of the government’s “Smarter Travel Initiative” provided cycle shelters and racks to some communities but it fell short of making cycling a safer recreational activity.  My proposal to Monaghan County Council that we apply for funding for cycling lanes has received a positive response and will certainly result in an increase in numbers, of both young and old, who will take up cycling.  This will, no doubt, be especially the case in Monaghan Town where the new VEC campus will be accessible via a dedicated cycle lane from most parts of the town”.
Cllr. Conlon concluded:  “I am confident that this project, along with the installation of a cycle lane from Monaghan to Clones will be substantially complete by the end of next year.”

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