Farmers have rejected an outline offer from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) relating to ‘goodwill payments’ for the proposed Galway to Athlone Greenway.

Five possible routes for the new greenway have been identified and TII has been in talks with farm representatives around ‘goodwill’ payment for landowners.

TII is offering a ‘goodwill’ payment of €2,250 per landowner

This goodwill payment is in addition to the land purchase price and compensation which will be established by an independent agent and will be subject to negotiation between the landowner and the local authority.

TII is offering a ‘goodwill’ payment of €2,250 per landowner, plus €25/m for the length of greenway that passes through each farmer’s property.

However, the IFA wants the ‘goodwill’ payment to be increased to €5,000 per landowner, plus €60/m.

The difference between the two sides is significant.

Under the TII offer, a farmer losing a 200m long strip to the greenway – which is generally 8m wide – would be paid €7,250 for his/her goodwill and co-operation.

However, the IFA is seeking €17,000 for the same area of ground.

At a meeting in Loughrea this week, local IFA representatives voiced their opposition to the TII offer.

Between 200 and 400 farmers will be impacted by the proposed greenway

Connacht IFA regional chair Pat Murphy described the goodwill payment floated by TII as an “insult to farmers”.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Martin Murphy from Turloughmore, who urged the meeting to reject the TII offer.

Between 200 and 400 farmers will be impacted by the proposed greenway, depending on the route chosen.

While the greenway route will use public land where possible, a significant proportion of the cycle path and walkway – which will be 90-120km long – will necessitate the purchase of private land.

IFA environment chair Paul O’Brien told the Galway meeting that the TII offer was “totally unacceptable” and “way short of what was needed to secure farmers’ goodwill and agreement”.

O’Brien pointed out that other State bodies are paying up to €130/m for wayleaves which do not involve a land purchase.