Both ministers met with a stakeholder delegation this Thursday to discuss future plans for the Roscommon and Galway section of the off-road cycle route from Dublin to Galway known as the Dublin to Galway Greenway.
Adrian Kelly of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA), who was present at the meeting, said in a statement that the group got “a really good hearing” and the ministers have “agreed that the only way forward is to have a proper consultation process”.
Kelly also said the case for an agreed route, which would include a mixture of secondary public roads and other public lands rather than family farms, was made very strongly.
“The group made a strong case for a consultative committee involving the local stakeholders and insisted that the threat of Compulsory Purchase Orders must be taken off the table,” said Kelly. “All of this was taken on board by the ministers,” he added.
The pause button
A decision to halt work on the Roscommon and Galway section of the Greenway was made in October 2015 by former Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe. The decision followed the publication of a report by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, which found there were strong objections from farmers and landowners to the project as the cycle way would cut through their land.
It is clear that the top-down approach which ignores the feelings of local landowners has been a failure
In June 2016, however, Minister Ross indicated that he wants to lift the “pause button” on this section of the Greenway, saying he wants “to ensure it will go ahead soon”.
Top down approach a “failure”
Also commenting on Thursday’s meeting with the two ministers, ICSA general secretary Eddie Punch said that the organisation has had “numerous meetings” in Galway and Roscommon on this issue and “it is clear that the top-down approach which ignores the feelings of local landowners has been a failure”.
The meeting on Thursday was facilitated by Roscommon-South Leitrim Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.
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Full coverage: Greenway