Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has urged council officials to meet with Castleknock residents concerned about the proposed route of the Royal Canal greenway.

Ms McDonald wrote to Fingal’s interim chief executive AnnMarie Farrelly asking that officials reconsider a decision not to attend an on-site visit with residents living along the proposed north bank route.

Opposition is mounting to a lower-cost alternative to dealing with the section of the urban greenway at what is known as the ‘deep sinking’ section of the canal around Dublin 15.

Installing a greenway at this point, where the towpath is narrow, would require extensive engineering works and the council plans to develop a new path to the north of the canal instead.

This would see the greenway route remain on the north side of the canal for longer and only cross to the south side using a new walking and cycling bridge west of Castleknock train station.

Hundreds of submissions were lodged with residents claiming that the proposed cycle trail running along their back gardens will threaten their security and privacy.

Deputy McDonald said following the first phase of public consultation on the proposed north bank route, Cllr Natalie Treacy (SF) invited officials to take part in an on-site visit with residents, which they refused.

She added: “I’ve written to the council’s interim chief executive to ask that her officials reconsider their decision.

“An on-site visit would add real value to the 500-plus submissions to the consultation and would enable engineers redress the shortfalls of the council’s costly aerial survey of the area.

“It is important to emphasise that local residents strongly support the Royal Canal Greenway project but want it placed on the south bank for significant privacy and ecological reasons.

“During a recent visit I saw first-hand the obvious flaws with the north bank route. The council’s refusal to constructively engage with residents and local councillors is deeply disappointing.

“Whilst the north bank may be the council’s preferred option there are strong arguments and evidence for running the route along the south bank, as was originally envisaged.

“We understand ecological studies were completed earlier this year, yet council management have yet to publish them.

“I have sought a publication date for these studies from the council’s interim chief executive.

“It appears the decision to move the Greenway to the north bank is budgetary with little consideration of the cost to local people and the environment.”