The impacts to farmers of the Cork to Limerick motorway and the Mallow to Dungarvan greenway projects were discussed at a meeting of the IFA north Cork executive, with farmers voicing concerns on compensation for compulsory land sales and the projects’ lengthy timelines.

The Cork to Limerick motorway had been discussed from the 1990s, leaving farmers uncertain of the “upheaval” that will be caused to their farms once land acquisitions and works begin, according to the IFA.

Answers needed

“Farmers affected by the roadway deserve detailed answers to their queries at this stage,” stated north Cork IFA chair Pat O’Keefe.

“Now that the wider preferred route has been identified, it’s essential that there is early and intensive consultation with all landowners,” he said.

The IFA has said it is currently negotiating an update of the IFA-Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) Roads Agreement, which will be important for setting out the details of compensation for landowners.

The IFA will seek a meeting with Cork County Council to raise farmer concerns on the project, the north Cork chair added.

Mallow to Dungarvan Greenway

The meeting also heard that Cork and Waterford County Councils intend on constructing a 74km Greenway for cycling and walking between Mallow and Dungarvan, with the route to follow along old railway tracks.

“IFA and farmers understand the importance of greenways to local communities. However, they can impact significantly on farmers whose lands are along the route,” said O’Keefe.

The IFA said that it had negotiated a new code of best practice for national and regional Greenways with TII, saying that the code will be an important “safeguard” for the affected farmers.

Clear engagement

“This code allows for a clear engagement process to minimise the impact and disruption to individual farms, along with a sustainability payment to farmers for their co-operation with the project during the construction phase,” said Kinsella.

“The farmer’s statutory rights are fully protected if they participate in this voluntary process.

“They still have full access to mediation and arbitration if there is no agreement on the valuation of the land and compensation for other impacts on their farms,” he commented.

The IFA has encouraged all farmers affected by the works to make a submission to the public consultation, which will remain open until Friday 29 April.