Landowners affected by the routing of the Athlone to Galway section of the Galway-Dublin Greenway may be able to apply for compensation from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Minister Shane Ross has said.

Responding to questioning in the Dail this week from Deputy Robert Troy, Minister Ross said that potential levels of compensation to affected landowners will be examined, as well as identifying and agreeing a preferred route.

Work on parts of the Athlone to Galway section of the greenway stalled last year after farmers objected to the route going through their lands.

While work on the section has been paused, it has not been halted and his Department will consult all stakeholders in the coming months on the issue, Minister Ross said.

Furthermore he said that he will consider meeting with a group of the affected landowners if there is any useful purpose in such a meeting.

“I understand the problems for landowners and the fact that they feel threatened by the possibility of compulsory purchase orders.

“My officials and I are determined to promote greenways throughout Ireland. The possibility of a coast to coast greenway of the sort envisaged here is something which we must turn into a reality. We will have to examine all the possibilities.”

Regarding rerouting, it was probably a mistake made by the Transport Infrastructure Ireland, TII, initially in the preferred route it put down here and it was probably jumping the gun a bit.

Minister Ross said he will not meet with affected parties if he thinks it will be just ‘another empty exercise’.

“If I see an opportunity for ministerial intervention which would do some good, I will certainly act accordingly.

“In the meantime, the previous Minister put this project on pause and talks are hopefully going to go ahead which will resolve this problem.”