Policy & Funding

NCN as proposed by the NRA


Ireland has committed to reducing car-based commuting from 65% to 45% by 2020 through the promotion of sustainable transport, including walking and cycling. 10% of all trips are targeted to be by bicycle by 2020 (a four-fold increase on 2011). One important method of promoting walking and cycling is the construction of safe and attractive routes, such as greenways. Greenways in Ireland are predominantly guided by the National Cycle Network, adopted through the Smarter Travel policy and the National Cycle Policy Framework (both 2009). The network is broadly defined in the 2010 NRA scoping study as a 2,000 km network of 13 corridors, prioritising traffic-free sections.

The cost of a greenway is approximately €100,000 / km and so to complete the Network to greenway standard would cost €200 million. Between 2010 and 2016, approximately €20 million has been invested in the Network nationwide and a further €30 million is expected to be spent on sections of the Dublin to Galway route. Not only do greenways provide an important public resource, they have been shown to bring a large return on investment through tourism, health benefits and job creation.

National Cycle Network 2014-2016

The current funding scheme for greenways is the National Cycle Network Funding Programme 2014-2016 €6.3 million was awarded to three greenways: Kerry Greenway (Glenbeigh-Cahirciveen), Deise Greenway (Clonea-Durrow) and the Galway Greenway (Galway City-Moycullen). €403,000 was also awarded to the Connemara Greenway as part of the investment in the Wild Atlantic Way. The programme called for "routes that are predominantly off-road, large world class projects which will offer the best return in investment in terms of meeting demand and generating economic activity". There were 38 proposals submitted by 28 local authorities. A further €10 million was awarded to routes in Westmeath, Tipperary, Waterford, Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Roscommon, Kildare, and Mayo. This included €4 million for a 40 km greenway along the disused railway between Mullingar and Athlone.

EuroVelo network

National Cycle Network 2013

In 2013, the National Cycle Network Seed Funding scheme awarded €420,000 seed funding to 12 projects (€15-50,000 each) covering 403 km. It is envisaged that this funding would enable local authorities to develop detailed proposals for the 2014-2016 funding scheme. There were 35 applications from 23 local authorities and only off-road routes were considered. Successful projects included: West Cork Greenways, Glenbeigh to Caherciveen, Dodder Greenway, and the Mullingar Greenway. Applications for the successful projects are available here.

National Cycle Network 2012

In 2012, the National Cycle Network Funding Scheme awarded €7,032,000 to 16 projects covering 334 km. There were over 50 submissions. Funded projects included 195 km of on-road routes in Donegal, upgrade of Royal Canal towpath in Westmeath, Louth Greenway, and Castlebar to Museum of Country Life. 40 km of off-road routes were funded as well as 100 km of designated cycle lanes (mainly along former national roads). All projects are scheduled to be completed by 2014.

Other Funding

The 42 km Great Western Greenway was co-funded by DoTTaS, Fáilte Ireland and Mayo CoCo between 2009 and 2011 (total cost €5.6 million). Routes within the Greater Dublin Area are managed by the NTA. The design of the Dublin to Mullingar route (approx. 80 km) is at a developed stage and construction is expected to cost €20-25 million. The Oughterard to Clifden section Connemara Greenway is expected to cost €9.2 million (funding sought from Fáilte Ireland). The Sandycove to Sutton (S2S) cycleway and promenade along Dublin Bay is expect to cost €100 million.

Other national funding was awarded through the Active Travel Towns Funding Scheme 2014-2016 (€6.5 million). The Smarter Travel Areas competition awarded €23 million to Limerick, Westport and Dungarvan for 2012-2016. Some funding is also provided for Smarter Travel Workplaces, Green Campus, Bike Week etc. European funding for greenways and other projects is available through INTERREG and the European Regional Development Fund (2014-2020).