President of the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA), Joe Healy, has said that local authorities are ignoring instructions of Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, by continuing to issue farmers with compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) in efforts to develop greenway routes. This is despite the Minister’s decision to halt developments while engagement takes place with all stakeholders.
Mr Healy has written to Minister Ross on the matter. “What is happening in Kerry, Galway and other regions ignores the significant impact these recreational routes will have on farming and rural communities.”
The IFA has engaged in a consultation on greenways, calling for a code of practice to be developed to include the following measures:
- Landowners and IFA must be consulted in advance of route selection and the publication of a defined route corridor;
- All efforts must be made to secure voluntary agreements with landowners. There should be no threat of compulsory acquisition of land;
- The integrity of farm holdings must be protected by limiting the impact of a proposed greenway on an individual farm. This should be achieved by negotiating with local landowners at route design stage, and it must take place in advance of wider public consultation;
- All efforts must be made to use available public lands, before seeking to encroach on farmers’ lands;
- A Code of Practice must be developed, which sets out the rights and entitlements of landowners; and
- The services of a professional agronomist must be provided to each landowner impacted to assist in understanding and resolving concerns, at no cost to the landowners.
Any losses incurred such as exclusion from farm schemes and impact on Basic Payment must be fully compensated.
Local authorities and other delivery agencies must hold community clinics throughout the development of each project to address queries and concerns and a Project Liaison Officer must be appointed to each project
Any landowners impacted by Greenways must be indemnified against any potential claims rising or associated with such Greenway projects.
All health and safety concerns, including and, most importantly, farm security, must be adequately addressed