Furious farmers refuse council access to land after road dispute
Farmers halted a major road project in north Kildare last week when they barred workers and county council officials from entering their lands.
The difficulties centre on the proposed upgrading of the regional road between Enfield and Edenderry (the R402). More than 40 farmers and 27 other landowners are affected by the works.
Negotiations regarding the project had been taking place between the landowners and Kildare Co Council. However, talks stalled last week when Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) were issued for the property.
Property owners in the area were incensed that the council issued the CPOs without prior consultation. Following a meeting in Johnstownbridge, they decided to refuse council workers access to their lands.
The landowners have called on the council to set out agreed procedures and timelines for the purchase of their land and are adamant that they will not allow work to proceed until these measures are in place.
Richard Holt, who is the chairman of the local road group, expressed his concern at the practices followed by some county councils when building regional roads.
He pointed out that there had been some difficulties in other counties with regard to the valuation of lands which were the subject of CPOs for regional road schemes.
Mr Holt claimed that in some instances councils had taken full possession of farmers' lands and started to build the roads without settling with landowners or even agreeing the level of compensation to be paid.