IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy has said Kerry County Council (KCC) has by-passed the spirit of the Greenways Strategy launched last Friday in their pursuit of the proposed South Kerry Greenway.
Addressing an IFA protest at the offices of KCC Aras an Chondae in Tralee today, Richard Kennedy said the heavy-handed approach of KCC flies in the face of the Strategy that states: ‘a consultative and proactive manner with the potentially affected landowners, that is sensitive to their needs, that maximises their support for, and goodwill towards, the proposed Greenway and is in line with an agreed code of practice’.
IFA recognises the value of Greenways for rural tourism and has always been willing to engage in a proactive manner to achieve an outcome that recognises the role of everybody. However, KCC has adopted a very rigid approach that has served to alienate farmers and appear unwilling to take on board some constructive suggestions put forward by Kerry IFA.
Thomas Cooney, IFA’s National Environment Chairman appealed to the County Council to move back from its threat of CPOs and participate in genuine dialogue with farmers to move the project forward. “We have requested an agronomist to be appointed, something which the Strategy endorses. This, and other initiatives, would be helpful in building a level of co-operation that has been at the heart of successful Greenway projects elsewhere”.
Kerry IFA Chairman Pat O’Driscoll said IFA was always open to constructive discussions and would happily participate in any forum that gives farmers a genuine hearing. However, he said that it would have to be designed to address farmers’ concerns and achieve progress.