Talk of greenway compensation ‘misses the point’

ICSA Rural Development Chairman Seamus Sherlock has said that ICSA and local landowners will not tolerate any effort to railroad through the Athlone to Galway section of the proposed Dublin-Galway Greenway.

Speaking following comments made by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, that affected landowners may be entitled to compensation Sherlock said “compensation is not necessarily the issue”.

“Landowners do not want their family farms divided in two and ICSA will stand firm against any attempt to force farmers into accepting that they have no choice in the matter.

“Any suggestion that a compulsory purchase order (CPO) disguised as compensation could be used to force the project through against the wishes of the farmers will be strenuously resisted.”

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He said that ICSA fully stands behind farmers in the region and share their legitimate concerns about the negative impact of a greenway route that splits farms or which interferes in any way with the business or the privacy or security of individual farmers.

“It must be understood that this is not a piece of essential infrastructure but an experimental tourism project and no tourism project can be a success without the goodwill and active positive engagement of locals.”

Sherlock said he would urge Minister Ross not to rely on expensive outside consultants operating on the basis of maps and theory to decide the issue and to accept that farmers have legitimate concerns and will not tolerate this invasion of their land.