Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD, and Cllr. Seánie Power, Cathaoirleach of the Comeragh Municipal District Council joined Kilmacthomas River Walk Committee and the wider local community to officially open the recently upgraded River Walk and newly way marked River Mahon Loop Walk.
Waterford Oireachtas members Matt Shanahan TD, Marc O Cathasaigh TD, Senator John Cummins and local Councillors Ger Barron and John O'Leary were also in attendance.
Kilmacthomas River Walk was originally opened in two phases in 2012 and 2014 by a sub-committee of Kilmacthomas Tidy Towns, The River Walk Committee.
The development of these initial phases was with the assistance and support of the then Waterford County Council and Waterford Leader Partnership.
The River Walk has been an integral part of everyday life in Kilmacthomas ever since.
A footfall counter was installed along the route in April 2023 and data from this counter shows that the average monthly footfall over the 10-month period since has been 3147 per month.
The latest project saw the resurfacing of 800 metres of the walk, the installation of new railings, a new footbridge and a new information sign and way marker posts.
Funding of almost €70,000 was made available through the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) which is administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development at national level.
Officially opening the walk Minister Mary Butler said, “Funding to outdoor recreation projects like the River Mahon Loop Walk under the ORIS scheme has been a key objective of government in recent years. The scheme invests in the physical infrastructure that underpins sporting and recreational activities based on the use of the resources of the countryside; these contribute to healthy active lifestyles while building on the economic and tourism potential of the area, and so are to the benefit of both local communities and tourist visitors alike. The benefits of this type of investment in recent years can clearly be seen here in Kilmacthomas with the success of Waterford Greenway.”
Minister Butler also went onto to acknowledge the volunteer effort of many groups over the years both in Kilmacthomas and in other communities around the county that are vital to the sustainability and success of our local amenities.
Cllr. Seánie Power thanked all of those involved in this current project saying, “I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of Waterford City and County Council’s Roads and Rural Economic Development staff, the contractors involved and most importantly the River Walk Committee and wider local community here in Kilmacthomas. Amenities such as this are important pieces of public infrastructure for towns and villages right across County Waterford and it gives me great pleasure to join the community for this celebration today.”
Representing the River Walk Committee Cllr. Ger Barron spoke about “a huge community effort that has gone into developing the River Walk to what it has become today. Kilmacthomas River Walk Committee and Tidy Towns group in particular deserve great credit for the foresight shown in planning and developing this wonderful amenity. We’d also like to acknowledge the support of Waterford City and County Council to this project over the years.”
Cllr. Barron also paid tribute to local man, John Kiersey who worked tirelessly to help develop the River Walk and other community projects over many years.