Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 3 December 2016

Anger at Dublin-Galway Greenway being 'railroaded' through farmers' land

Published 07/11/2016 | 12:31

Celebrating the opening to the public of the Kilmacthomas to Dungarvan section of the Waterford Greenway is Jacqui de Paor with her daughter Grainne and son Seán.
Celebrating the opening to the public of the Kilmacthomas to Dungarvan section of the Waterford Greenway is Jacqui de Paor with her daughter Grainne and son Seán.

Local landowners will not tolerate any effort to ‘railroad’ through the Athlone to Galway section of the proposed Dublin-Galway Greenway, according to Seamus Sherlock of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA).

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Speaking following comments made by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross that affected landowners may be entitled to compensation Sherlock said “Compensation is not necessarily the issue.”

Continuing Sherlock said “Landowners do not want their family farms divided in two and ICSA will stand firm against any attempt to force farmers into accepting that they have no choice in the matter.

“Any suggestion that a CPO disguised as compensation could be used to force the project through against the wishes of the farmers will be strenuously resisted.

“ICSA fully stands behind farmers in the region and we share their legitimate concerns about the negative impact of a Greenway route that splits farms or which interferes in any way with the business or the privacy or security of individual farmers.

“It must be understood that this is not a piece of essential infrastructure but an experimental tourism project and no tourism project can be a success without the goodwill and active positive engagement of locals.”

Sherlock also said he would urge Minister Ross not to rely on expensive outside consultants operating on the basis of maps and theory to decide the issue and to accept that farmers have legitimate concerns and will not tolerate this invasion of their land.

‘Coast to coast Greenway paused, but not halted’

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In the Dail recently Minister Shane Ross said his Department is developing a new strategy to set out a “cohesive and forward-looking approach to the development, funding and promotion of Greenways”.

He said as part of this process his Department will consult all stakeholders in the coming months.

 “I remain committed to achieving the delivery of this coast-to-coast greenway that will help to position Ireland as a destination for cycling holidays.

“I understand that the number of tourists cycling while on holiday in Ireland has increased significantly in recent years, from 66,000 in 2009 to more than 200,000 in 2015.

The Minister said if he thinks there is any ‘useful purpose’ in meeting the landowners and any groups involved, he would consider doing so. However, he said he is not inclined to get involved in what he described as a ‘local dispute’.

“My officials and I are determined to promote greenways throughout Ireland. The possibility of a coast to coast greenway of the sort envisaged here is something which we must turn into a reality,” the Minister said.

Regarding rerouting, the Minister said it was probably a mistake made by the Transport Infrastructure Ireland, TII, “initially in the preferred route it put down here and it was probably jumping the gun a bit”.

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