GREENWAY SHOULD MINIMISE DISRUPTION TO FARMING ACTIVITY

17 JULY 2017

ICSA rural development chair Seamus Sherlock has insisted that the Greenway cycle plan cannot be implemented through a process of CPO or without proper consultation with landowners. “The whole process has been discredited because of an arrogant or heavy handed approach in which routes were designed from the sky without any understanding of how this might interfere with ordinary farmers on the ground. We need to minimise disruption to farming activity as a key principle in the process.”

“ICSA believes that the focus on greenway is too narrow. There is no justification for insisting on a route that dissects working farms in half. Instead, all options should be looked at including segregated on-road, off-road and cycle trails. Where possible, state lands should be used. We also need to recognise that in the vicinity of Galway city, the primary user of a proper cycle route are likely to be commuters and this should be prioritised in the design rather than some notion of taking a meandering route through farmland.”

“ICSA is committed to standing up for the rights of farmers. We have already met with Minister Ross who gave a commitment to proper consultation with landowners and we intend to hold him to that commitment.”

Mr Sherlock indicated that the ICSA submission to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport insists on proper consultation, use of non-farmland where possible including some on-road routes and that farmland should be considered only where there is complete consensus with all farmers in a given area. “Even then, we cannot accept route plans which split farm holdings or interfere with the normal commercial activities of farms. CPOs are totally unacceptable as this is not essential infrastructure but in fact, is an experimental tourism project.”

ENDS