‘Farmers feel misled’: IFA submits objection to Kerry CPO

A submission has been made to An Bord Pleanala, objecting to the proposed South Kerry Greenway project, by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

This is due to the failure of Kerry County Council (KCC) to adhere to Government policy on greenway development, according to the farming organisation.

The IFA also said the council had not honoured a commitment given to landowners that lands would not be compulsorily acquired.

IFA national environment chairman Thomas Cooney commented on the matter.

He said: “Recreational routes such as the proposed greenway in south Kerry have an important role to play in promoting agri-tourism and economic activity in rural areas.

“It is with regret that Kerry County Council has forced the IFA into a position where we have to object to this project, in order to restore the rights of the farmers affected.”

‘Misled’

Kerry IFA chairman Pat O’Driscoll also spoke, adding: “Farmers impacted by this proposed greenway feel misled.

“When the project started, they were clearly told CPOs were off the table, yet the Council ignored this commitment and is now seeking to use the offices of An Bord Pleanala to compulsorily carve up almost 50% of the farm holdings, for a cycle track.

“This is not acceptable and it’s not in keeping with the Government’s policy for greenway development, which requires local authorities to design greenways ‘to traverse field boundaries and hedgelines to avoid severance’.

The council does not understand the impact of this proposed cycle track on farming activity.

“It has failed to listen to, record or respond to the alternative routing proposals put forward by landowners or appoint an agronomist to liaise with landowners.

“This all contravenes the Government’s policy on greenways, which is required in order for funding to be made available to build the cycle track.”

Cooney said: “IFA is concerned that KCC actions may result in funding not being made available for this greenway project.

“We have written to both Ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin in the Department of Transport and are calling on them to ensure that the national strategy for the development of greenways is fully adhered to on this project.

Also, that an agronomist is appointed to look at the alternative routing options put forward by landowners on their own lands and to call on KCC to remove the threat of CPOs.

“Government must stand over its own policies,” he concluded.

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