An Bord Pleanála have refused permission for the controversial Barrow Blueway. Waterways Ireland have been unsuccessful in their attempt to overturn the decision of Carlow County Council.
The Barrow Track is a narrow green corridor that stretches from Athy to St Mullins., much of it is an area of special conservation. You could say it our National Park.
The proposal was very controversial and was debated passionately on both sides of the argument.
In an era where the checks and balances of democracies are under threat this was a great example of democracy at work. Those checks and balances functioned and I think the proposal received a fair hearing before a decision was arrived at.
There was never any need for the vitriol that polluted so much of social media commentary around the issue; the argument had to stand or fall on its merits and it did.
I don’t believe any of the opponents of the Blueway were anti-development rather they were pro the right development. We all want to promote our County, grow tourism, create jobs and livelihoods and the development of the river should not now be ignored. Let a new inclusive process begin and create an acceptable solution.
The Western Greenway and the Waterford Greenway are the two most successful in the country, there are others that have not achieved the same traction. Both these Greenways took many years to plan and become ‘an overnight success’.
Both are along the route of old disused railway lines. Guess what? We have a disused railway line running almost parallel to the River Barrow. If they can be brought into use elsewhere surely the same can happen here….
Here are some of my favourite photos taken on my many spins along the Barrow Way over the past few years.