West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Omagh could become a cycling hub - Mc Aleer

Published: 17 July, 2014

West Tyrone MLA Declan Mc Aleer has said that Omagh has the potential to become a cycling hub and an example for other towns. Mr Mc Aleer was speaking after organising a meeting with senior DRD and Omagh District Council officials where the Omagh Cycling Initiatives (OCI) master plan for a joined up cycling network was discussed. According to Mr Mc Aleer 'As a member of the DRD committee, we are currently carrying out an inquiry into the benefits of cycling which will help inform the work of the recently established cycling unit within DRD. 'During the course of this inquiry I took part in a field trip to Mulranny, County Mayo where the construction of a 42km cycling greenway has transformed the local economy. We also heard evidence from witnesses, including the Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael Mc Bride about the many health benefits of cycling. Cllr Marty Mc Colgan added 'In an Omagh town context, I welcome the substantial work that has taken place to date in creating cycling lanes and the opening of the latest phase of the riverside walk and cycling path and the work on Drumragh Avenue are particularly welcome. 'The proposals put forward by OCI in the form of a master plan has really helped put a focus on the cycling infrastructure from the perspective of cyclists. Sean Harpur from OCI and Omagh Wheelers also attended 'I found this meeting very beneficial in giving OCI an opportunity to present our proposals to the key decision makers. Whilst we welcome the progress to date in developing a cycling network, the opportunity to lay out our master plan enabled me to highlight to DRD and ODC the missing links in the network that currently exist. 'In addition to progress on the missing links, I stressed the need for better signage for cyclists and suggested that a cycling map of Omagh should be developed for local people and distributed through the tourist information office for people visiting the town. In fact, the OCI master plan would be an excellent template for such a guide. 'A key outcome of the meeting was that we would review and prioritise the key points of the plan and bring it back to ODC and DRD. In conclusion, Mr Mc Aleer said 'Whilst major progress has been made in Omagh, we can also learn from international examples of best practise such as Copenhagen and Malmo, where cycling is a normal part of everyday life for most people. 'The new DRD cycling unit, the DRD committee inquiry and the recently established All Party Group on cycling has put a major focus on the benefits of cycling. Cycling is experiencing a revolution and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that Omagh and the wider district capitalises on this to the fullest extent'.