Farmers welcome halt to 'crazy' Greenway cycle route plan
Published 04/11/2015 | 02:30
Farmers have described the now halted plans for a 'Greenway' cycle route that crossed farmland as "badly designed" from the start.
Adrian Kelly, a sheep farmer from Mullagh in Co Galway, welcomed the decision announced by Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe to "pause" the development of a 145km stretch of the cycle route from Dublin to Galway.
Hundreds of landowners had warned they would object over the section between Athlone and Galway, with sections of the cycleway planned to cross farmland and private property.
"More than half this route is through privately owned land," said Mr Kelly, as he stated that there was a lack of discussion with landowners on it and they had concerns the 3m wide paths could raise security issues.
"It was so obvious to us that to run a project through privately owned land - whether a farm or a backyard - seemed a crazy and ridiculous idea."
Mr Kelly, a spokesman for the Galway Greenway Action Group, said there would be recriminations over who was to blame for the halting of the greenway that had been touted as a potential tourism boon.
ICSA president Patrick Kent said the decision shows a project of this nature needs to "be devloped with the suport of local landowners and there must be respect for the legitimate worries of farmers".
Mr Donohoe said there was the possibility of developing a new route that would work for those in the area.
Both Mr Kelly and Mr Kent said any future plans need to be teased out through consultation with landowners first.