Public to be consulted on controversial Barrow Blueway through Laois

Waterways Ireland invites public to meeting in Vicarstown

By Conor Ganly

Reporter:

By Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

The River Barrow.

Public consultation takes week in Laois on the controversial ​​Barrow Towpath Development planned for the River Barrow.

Waterways Ireland is holding the final in a series of public consultation meetings on Friday, February 17 from 3pm - 7pm Vicarstown Inn, Vicarstown on what will be known as the Barrow Blueway.

The agency says engineering, environmental and marketing staff will be in attendance so that everyone has the opportunity to be fully aware of what is planned before submitting their comments to the planning authorities.

Waterways Ireland describes its project as "upgrades" that will provide a multi-use shared leisure route connecting Lowtown in Co Kildare through Laois to St Mullins in Co Carlow.

It says the proposal will further improve access to the Barrow Way-marked Way to everyone including walkers, cyclists, wheelchair users and families.

While there has been little reaction to the project in Laois, there has been extensive opposition in other counties. One of the big bones of the contention is the plan to resurface existing grass pathways with a permanent gravel surface. Some believe this will destroy the natural environmment and beauty of the river and its habitat.

However, others believe the path has huge potential to create a big tourist attraction by making the river more accessible. 

A small part of the trail will pass through the Laois in the area of Vicarstown. Of the 115km route 16kms is in Laois. 

Other towns on the route include:  Rathangan, Monasterevin,  Athy, Carlow, Leighlinbridge, Bagenalstown, Goresbridge, Graiguenamanagh and St. Mullins.

A formal submission for planning permission has been made to Kildare, Laois and Carlow County Councils. Waterways Ireland submitted the planning application to the councils on Friday, January 27. 

The public can submit their submissions on the planning application to the Laois County Council on or before Thursday, March 2. Extensive plans have been submitted to Laois County Council.

For details of the application as submitted to Laois County Council click here