Waterways Ireland 'can't look after the Barrow as it is' as row erupts over Blueway project

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Darren Hassett

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Darren Hassett

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St Mullins in Carlow

Waterways Ireland "can't look after the Barrow as it is", claimed Cllr John Cassin after a row erupted over the failed Blueway project in Carlow. 

His comments came after Cllr Tom O'Neill said that refusing the Barrow Blueway in Carlow was the "greatest mistake" the local authority ever made. 

Cllr O'Neil was speaking at the December meeting of Carlow Municipal District when he made the remarks. 

However, Cllr Cassin said: "Waterways Ireland can't look after the Barrow as it is, they won't look after it when they put down the tarmac and it washes into the river." 

The Barrow Blueway was a planned upgrade to provide a "multi-use shared leisure route" connecting Lowtown in Kildare to St Mullins in Carlow, a distance of 115 km of off-road, flat, accessible, public space across Kildare, Laois and Carlow.

Carlow County Council refused planning permission for the project in February 2018 but the decision was appealed to An Bórd Pleanala by the Save the Barrow Line group, by Waterways Ireland and by others.

In April an order was made by An Bórd Pleanala which refused permission for the route. 

Carlow County Council chief executive, Kathleen Holohan, has met Waterways Ireland to discuss plans for the River Barrow in Carlow.

At the November full meeting of the local authority, with regard to the Blueway, she said: "Waterways Ireland have no plans to do any work in relation to that in the future."

Waterways Ireland have decided to move forward with plans to develop the Barrow Canal towpath as a 46km Blueway from Lowtown to Horse Bridge in Athy.