Farmers demand threat of CPOs be taken off the table in Greenway disputes

The Kells Viaduct on the Ring of Kerry where the Dublin to Cahersiveen train passed by Dingle Bay. The last train to cross the bridge was in 1960. The route is one of the proposed 'greenway routes' for walkers and cyclists.
The Kells Viaduct on the Ring of Kerry where the Dublin to Cahersiveen train passed by Dingle Bay. The last train to cross the bridge was in 1960. The route is one of the proposed 'greenway routes' for walkers and cyclists.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Following a meeting with landowners affected by proposed Greenways in Kerry, Clare and the Galway region, ICSA Rural Development chairman Seamus Sherlock has reiterated that the threat of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) should be removed from the process.

“CPOs are viewed as heavy handed in the extreme and fill landowners with absolute fear and confusion.

“Many feel they are being forced into a David versus Goliath position and have to deal with all the stress and anxiety that goes with that,” said Mr Sherlock.

Mr Sherlock said ICSA, as well as the majority of landowners, fully support tourism initiatives like cycleways and walkways but they have to be done right and with the proper consultation.

“That proper consultation process was promised by Minister Ross and needs to be put in place. This would allow affected landowners raise their legitimate concerns as well as give the invaluable input of vast local knowledge.

“By working together I have no doubt that a consensus on workable routes could be reached and these projects could move forward with goodwill. It is widely accepted that the goodwill of local communities is a vital element for the success of tourism initiatives.”

“ICSA believes that Minister Ross should honour his promise of proper consultation and as a gesture of goodwill remove the threat of CPOs.

“CPOs were intended for essential infrastructure projects like motorways not for tourism experiments.

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“Farmers and landowners are not the problem here, it’s the heavy handed negative approach taken by Transport Infrastructure Ireland that seems to be the real issue.”

Read also: The Great Greenways Debate: 'If they had negotiated with farmers, they would have got agreement a lot sooner'

Meanwhile, the Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport Shane Ross has said he expects to be in a position to publish the National Greenways Strategy before the end of Q2 2018.

He says the Strategy will provide a framework for the development of Ireland's greenways ensuring the best possible return for State investment. 

Furthermore, he added that the Strategy will determine the type of project that will be funded over the coming decade by my Department and will set out guidance and options for project promoters in relation to the challenges faced in delivering greenway infrastructure.

“It will also emphasise the need for early and wide consultation with all landowners,” he said.

“Following completion of the Strategy I will announce a funding call later in 2018 with a view to awarding funding for drawdown between 2019 and 2021 to the successful projects. 

“Given the increased interest in greenways in recent years I expect that there will be a strong response to this funding call. I would again urge local authorities and state agencies interested in applying for funding to progress their planning and design of greenways as far as possible in advance of the funding call,” he said.

Additional funding for greenways was announced in the Budget last year bringing the total available for the period 2018 to 2021 to €55.9m.

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