— Landowners not consulted before pre-election PR in Kerry and Galway
— Ballina to Killala route to go on-road in centre, with possible CPO use in long-term
Progress has slowed on parts of a €15m package of greenways announced before the local and European elections in May — and issues with routes in Kerry, Galway, and Mayo has led to mounting talk of use of compulsory purchase orders on such routes.
The Kerry greenway billed as the “Ring of Kerry Greenway” is to run along a disused and partly dismantled railway route from Glenbeigh to Cahirciveen, €3.4 funding was confirmed in April. In the same month, €2 million was approved for a Galway to Moycullen greenway which was incorrectly billed as the first greenway aimed at commuters.
A spokesman from Kerry County Council was quoted yesterday by the Irish Examiner as saying: “It would not have been possible to reach agreement prior to the announcement of funding, but that announcement demonstrated the commitment to the project. It is hoped that we will reach agreement with all landowners, and where we do not, we will look at alternatives,” the spokesman said.
Officials from that council told the newspaper that the alternatives would include bypassing sections, and compulsory purchase as a last resort.
The threat of using CPOs was also used in the Galway to Moycullen greenway, at the end of June.
The Galway Independent quoted Fine Gael TD Seán Kyne as saying: “I’d hope that landowners would come on board without having to go down the CPO route, and that they’d see benefits for the greater community.”
The Galway greeenway is reported to be following use of “permissive access” (landowner permission) as was used on the Great Western Greenway in Mayo, which has had problems such as diversions onto busy roads while there were disputes with landowners after the greenway opened. The Kerry greenway is to use a 99-year lease arrangement in which landowners would receive €10,000 an acre.
Meanwhile, there’s better news in Mayo. But while a planned route between Ballina and Killala has progressed past the planning stages, the centre of the route has been omitted from the approved part 8 planning. The route will now start in both Killala and Ballina before going onto a local road. Little of the old Ballina to Killala railway alignment will now be used.
A coastal route will be looked at in the future and officials have said that CPOs will be used if needed. The coastal route, along the River Moy and the start of Killala Bay, had already been planned in the longer term and is a closer fit with the ‘Monasteries of the Moy’ name linked with the greenway.