Farmers in Co. Galway are calling for the proposed development of a greenway between Dublin and Galway to keep farm units intact.

Farmers and landowners based in the town of Portumna in the southeast of the county attended a meeting last week organised by the local branch of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

The meeting was attended by Galway IFA county executive chairperson Stephen Canavan, who has called on the promoters and all others involved in the greenway development to “observe the key principles” to keep farm units physically intact, rather than breaking them up.

Speaking after the meeting, Canavan also called for “full engagement of the promoters with the local landowners”, adding that “every effort must be made to facilitate local views”.

“Farmers’ rights must be respected in this regard and no individual should take it upon themselves to go beyond this,” he argued.

The Galway IFA chairperson went on to say that greenways “must serve the local people first” ahead of their use as a “national facility”.

“By that, where a greenway is situated it should provide safe access to local schools, sports fields and the local village above all else,” Canavan insisted.

“Common sense must prevail on all sides.”

Similar concerns were also raised among farmers in north Co. Cork over a proposed greenway between Mallow and Dungarvan in Co. Waterford.

These plans, along with the proposed M20 motorway between Limerick and Cork cities, were discussed at a meeting of the North Cork IFA executive in late April.

IFA North Cork chairperson Pat O’Keefe said: “The north Cork area is a top-class, highly productive agricultural area and the new Cork to Limerick motorway will cause significant damage to farmers.

“Equally, farmers are concerned about the impact of the Mallow to Dungarvan greenway project.

Cork and Waterford county councils are proposing a 74km walking and cycle path between Mallow and Dungarvan, largely following the route of a now-disused railroad.