IFA President Joe Healy met this week with Transport Minister Shane Ross TD and called for the publication of the long-awaited strategy document which sets out the framework for the delivery of recreational routes such as greenways.
He said, “Farmers and their families are they most important stakeholders in any infrastructure development, as projects such as greenways will have an ongoing impact on their livelihoods and farm businesses. Consultation to date has been haphazard and, in some cases, non-existent.
“The greenways strategy document must clearly set out a robust and professional consultation process and funding from the Department of Transport should be withheld, unless adequate consultation takes place.”
He also called for the appointment of agronomists on all new greenways, to represent landowners impacted and to ensure that farmers’ interests are professionally represented.
Joe Healy said, “We can see at first hand the problems with the proposed south Kerry greenway, where the local authority has failed to appoint an agronomist. The IFA delegation that met with Minister Ross made the strongest case possible for the immediate appointment of an agronomist to this project and for the threat of CPO’s to be dropped.”
He concluded, “Farmers in Counties Kerry, Galway, Clare, Donegal and right across the country deserve to be treated better when it comes to the development of recreational routes, whether they are greenways or blueways. Such recreational routes have an important role to play in re-energising rural areas. However they must be built in consultation with farm families and local communities.”