15 MAY 2017
ICSA Galway representative Adrian Kelly has said that Minister Shane Ross is reneging on his commitment to roll out a comprehensive consultation process on how to deliver cycling infrastructure in this country. Mr Kelly said: “At our meeting with Minister Ross and Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan in January to discuss the pathway forward for the Athlone to Clifden section of the National Cycle Network, it was our clear understanding with the Ministers that no further attempts to force cycle routes through private property would occur and that the only way to develop this cycling project was through proper consultation and consent.”
Mr Kelly made his comments following recent revelations that up to 130 Kerry landowners could potentially be subject to Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) to facilitate the South Kerry “Greenway”. These developments in Kerry have increased the concerns of landowners in Connemara that Galway County Council will use similar tactics to force a cycle route through their farms. The Council’s proposal to construct a cycle route through environmentally sensitive areas while ignoring other more environmentally friendly and acceptable alternatives flies in the face of all logic. “ICSA has long since considered that proper consultation and cooperation amongst all parties was the only way to progress the cycleway”. ICSA welcomes the work that the group “Galway Cycling Solutions” has done over the past eighteen months in identifying these alternative routes.
“The Ministers acknowledged that the previous top down approach to the project which essentially ignored the feelings of local landowners and local communities was a failure, yet the promise of proper consultation has so far failed to materialise. The preparation of CPO orders by Kerry County Council lays down the template for how Connemara and Galway farmers are likely to be treated regarding this issue. It’s a very worrying development and amounts to concerned landowners being thrown under the bus for a non-critical infrastructure project.”