Sunday 25 September 2016

Farmers fear cycle route will split their land in half

Published 26/08/2015 | 02:30

Pat Murphy said the IFA had secured a promise from Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe (pictured) that compulsory purchase orders would not be used
Pat Murphy said the IFA had secured a promise from Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe (pictured) that compulsory purchase orders would not be used

The planned Dublin to Galway greenway remains in limbo as farmers in Galway vow to keep up their opposition to it.

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Hundreds of farmers have signed petitions against the cycle route, saying they will not allow their lands to be used. They claim the current route will split farms in half.

The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) and local landowners are urging Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to reroute the greenway. They want to see the route moved alongside the old N6 road, which would not impact on any farmland and is already in State ownership.

Chairman of Galway IFA Pat Murphy said farmers were undergoing a consultation process with officials but were still worried their concerns would not be listened to. He said the IFA had secured a promise from Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe that compulsory purchase orders would not be used.

"We believe the N6 makes a viable alternative and we would like the NRA [National Roads Authority] to review its decision. If they moved this route to the N6, it would cause no hindrance to farmers and would cost a lot less to complete as the State already owns much of it.

"The current plans would go through the middle of farms, splitting them in half. We can't stand by and let that happen."

Petitions

The call for a review of the route was echoed by local councillor Michael Maher. Mr Maher said up to 90pc of affected farmers in the Loughrea area had signed petitions.

"This is good land which will be taken from farmers and officials have been told categorically by farmers that they won't stand for it. No farmers were consulted before this route was decided. They just can't expect to ruin farms when there is a perfectly good alternative," he added.

Gerry O'Sullivan a member of the project team with the TII, acknowledged the strong opposition to the project, but insisted it must proceed along a greenfield site.

"We want to establish a cross country greenfield route which will appeal to tourists all over Europe ... if a tourist from Holland is interested in coming here for a family cycling holiday and see that part of the route runs alongside a busy road, they will simply go to Portugal or somewhere else.

"This is about giving people an enjoyable experience, not simply about getting from A to B," he said.

Irish Independent

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