Several parcels of Ray Finnerty’s land in Kilcolgan, Co Galway, will be split in two if the proposed Galway to Athlone cycleway goes ahead.

“There was a meeting on 26 January, and we were told the 28 February was the closing date for submissions. There are a lot of farmers who still don’t know the greenway is going through their land.

“We don’t want to be negative. We’ll give them road frontage, we will help in any way we can to avoid splitting our land but so far we’ve just been kept in the dark. There are four farmers here who are having their farms split down the middle and they won’t give us any solutions.”

The issue

Finnerty says the group has requested several meetings with Galway County Council but said so far they have been unsuccessful.

None of the farmers’ concerns have been addressed so far, they say, and they claim the width of the greenway has been increased in size from what had originally been planned.

“We were told originally it would be three metres wide, and now it’s potentially eight metres. We don’t want to be left holding the pot. We need proper consultation and solutions.”


“Farmers affected by the proposed route have outlined a number of issues. We drive machinery up and down the roadways several times a day, and what about making silage and drawing bales up and down? There’s serious safety and welfare concerns associated with it.

“Also, antisocial behaviour is a worry, stealing out of sheds, no street lighting. “What happens if animals get out on it? Insurance is also a grey area. They’ve given no solutions to us, and they won’t meet us as a group. They’re hoping we’ll fall out but we don’t want to fall out with our neighbours,” Finnerty said.

To be honest, we’re not sleeping at night with the worry of it

Declan Kenny is farming between Eyrecourt and Banagher and has also voiced his concerns over the proposed route for the greenway.

“To be honest, we’re not sleeping at night with the worry of it,” he begins.

“The biggest issue is, it’s going to bypass our local village of Eyrecourt by 4km or 5km. It’s bypassing all schools and amenities. It’s not aimed at locals. No one is saying how it’s going to benefit us as landowners.

“For maintenance, we’d have to give right of way outside the greenway on our land to maintain the greenway. If we don’t and something happens, it’ll be our problem as farmers,” Kenny continues.

“Insurance is also an issue. If someone leaves a gate open, and livestock get on to the main road and there’s an accident, who covers it?”

Lack of consultation

“We’ve been trying to meet our local rep in Portumna for months and we can’t get a meeting. We’re trying to suggest a different route that will include schools, churches and hurling fields.

“A madman wouldn’t let them in. We have too much to lose,” he says.

Another farmer in the area, who wished to remain anonymous, has also condemned the proposals, saying “they’re literally bulldozing through. There’s no ‘how can we work with farmers’.

“There’s a cycleway from Ballinderreen to Kinvara [alongside the road], and I’ve yet to see a bike on it,” the farmer says.

Ray Finnerty surveys the impact the proposed greenway cycle path will have on the family farm. \ David Ruffles

“The biggest argument is that it’s of no benefit to the local community where it’s going. If it was closer to the main road, people could get on and off it and kids could cycle to school.

“It’s coming through Kinvara, Clarinbridge, Oranmore but this area is already saturated by tourists.”

The farmer also had concerns surrounding antisocial behaviour: “By going through our land, they’re making a private space public. I’m all for greenways, but for along railway lines, etc, like has been done before.”

Some other concerns from farmers affected included the division of development and farming lands.

Local farmers Tricia and Ray Finnerty. \ David Ruffles

Other farmers said they had already given land for the cycleway from Ballinderreen to Kinvara and would give more land alongside the road for a new route that would see the continuation of the current cycleway all the way into Kilcolgan from Ballinderreen.

Several parcels of Ray Finnerty’s land in Kilcolgan, Co Galway, will be split in two if the proposed route goes ahead.