‘No amount of scone sales will mitigate severing a farm in 2’

Consultation and respecting the wishes of landowners is key to any greenway strategy or proposals, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock voiced such views in reaction to the recent publication of the greenways strategy, the Strategy for the Future Development of National and Regional Greenways.

Greenway planning

Released by the Government on Friday (July 20), the strategy notes: “A significant number of the submissions made in the public consultation phase concerned the impact on those with an agricultural business.”

Commenting following the publication, Sherlock said:

CPOs have no place in greenway development, because a tourism strategy that does not have local goodwill cannot succeed.

“However, ICSA acknowledges the acceptance by the minister that the development of a code of practice for greenway development must first be agreed between the department and the farm organisations.”

Sherlock contended that Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross must understand that “adverse impacts on farming operations are not acceptable”.

“The suggestion in the strategy that farmers can develop new businesses as a result of the greenway is hopelessly optimistic.

No amount of scone sales will mitigate the disaster of severing a farm in two.

Impact on farmers

The strategy acknowledges that “great care must be taken” to ensure that greenways do not impact on the livelihoods of adjacent landowners.

The document states: “Under this strategy, professional assessment of land use by agronomists and agricultural advisors should be used by project promoters to assess the impact on agriculture during the planning process.

This would be carried out at no cost to the landowner.

The strategy also states: “The development of a greenway adjacent to land may also present opportunities for some farm owners to develop small businesses – which could be attractive to users of the greenways; for example through petting farms, accommodation and sales of farm produce.”