October 19th, 2015
ICSA president Patrick Kent has called on the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Mr Pascal Donohoe TD to stand back and reflect on the huge opposition from farmers to the greenway cycle route, particularly in Galway. Mr Kent was speaking in light of the Landowner Consultation report which has been sent to the Minister which suggests that almost two-thirds of landowners in Co Galway are totally opposed to the project going through their lands.
“ICSA has held a half a dozen meetings with local farmers, some of which were attended by over a hundred farmers, and it is clear to us that the opposition to this project is resolute and deeply held. If anything, we believe that the report on the Minister’s desk is understating the opposition. At one meeting, a number of farmers alleged that their total opposition to the project was not adequately captured by the consultation process. In any event, the degree of opposition is such that the Minister needs to re-think the strategy for this project.”
“It must be understood that this is not a piece of essential infrastructure but an experimental tourism project. No tourism project can be a success without the goodwill and active positive engagement of locals. Talk of CPOs shows a failure to understand this basic reality.”
If the project is to work, it can only happen with a route which has the support of the vast majority and this is not the case at present. Farmers are simply unwilling to countenance the current proposals but there are alternative routes available in their view. Minister Donohoe needs to consider the example set out by the Comhairle na Tuatha process which is built on consent and negotiation. It would be a shame if the current Minister was to abandon those principles.”