Mistakes were made in the consultation process with landowners over the Dublin-Galway Greenway, according to ICSA Rural Development Chairman Seamus Sherlock.
Sherlock was speaking following the recent announcement by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross that the issue was back on the agenda.
Last year, farmers in Galway objected to the greenway going through their private land, which resulted in the former Minister for Tourism, Pashcal Donohue withdrawing funding from the Galway section.
“ICSA stands with farmers wishing to protect the integrity of their farms. Mistakes were made in the initial consultation process with landowners.
“ICSA is calling on the Minister to engage in a new, more thorough consultation process with farmers in order to achieve a consensus on a route that doesn’t involve the destruction of family farms.”
We believe that alternative routes for the cycle path which would leave farms intact have largely been ignored at County Council and Government level.
According to Sherlock, there is no need for farmers to have to sacrifice their land, privacy and security.
“I would urge the Minister to use reason and come to a consensus with landowners, without resorting to the threat of Compulsory Purchase Orders.
“This project, like all tourism projects, needs the support of local communities to succeed,” he said.
In a parliamentary question last week, Minister Ross said that the time for pausing over the Dublin to Galway Greenway is over.
The Minister said that he is not going to get involved in the rights and wrongs of the dispute or the difficulties which are obviously obstructing the progress of this greenway.
However, he said that he is going to appeal and hope to do something in a more concrete way to ensure it will go ahead soon.
The time for pausing is over. There was a pause called for and it was probably a good and sensible decision at the time.
The Minister said that he is not familiar with the actual detail of the arguments between the various landowners and others in the area.
He also said that he will make an effort to see to it that they will put their heads together once again in order that we make a serious and energetic attempt to open the greenway with a great deal more speed.