Despite an agreement on a code of practice for greenways between farming organisations and Transport Infrastructure Ireland, a group of farmers in Galway are objecting to the Dublin to Galway Greenway before an exact route has been defined.
IrishCycle.com reported last year how there were mixed feelings when the red route corridor was selected for the Galway to Athlone section of the coast-to-coast greenway route. But it was mainly people from areas such as Athenry that were loosing out who were vocal at the time.
The red route corridor includes the highest percentage of use of State-owned lands, including Bord na Móna bogs and forest parks. However, the Farmers Journal is reporting how a group of farmers are objecting to the route using any farm land and want it “confined to public lands and existing infrastructure.”
In December, the Code of Best Practice for National and Regional Greenways was published aimed at easing the issue of using farmland for greenways.
At the time, Tim Cullinan, president of the IFA, Ireland’s main farming organisation, said: “A key part of the Code is a new Sustainability Payment — once-off goodwill payment for early-sign on and co-operation — to each farmer, on top of the full value of any land acquired for a greenway as part of a voluntary land acquisition agreement process.”
Cullinan added: “The farmer’s statutory rights are fully protected if they participate in this voluntary process. They still have full access to mediation and arbitration if there is no agreement on the valuation of the land and compensation for other impacts on their farms.”
But central to the complaints reported this week by the Farmers Journal is the use of compulsory purchase orders (CPO) for a greenway, even as a last resort.
The Farmers Journal quotes Gabriel Larkin a representative of the East Galway Greenway Action Group: “It is not a question of money…. The East Galway Greenway Action Group are completely opposed to land severance and the use of CPOs, despite the code of best practice signed off by the three main farming organisations.”
The project team based in Galway County Council told the newspaper that a detailed route has yet to be selected and the latest public consultation on the project has been extended.
In the case of the South Kerry Greenway, the High Court last year rejected arguments from landowners that the CPO was disproportionate and Judge found that the impact on property rights was taken in a lawful manner in the public interest. Those objecting to the route are currently in the process of appealing the High Court decision to the Supreme Court.