IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney has called on Kerry County Council and Transport Minister Shane Ross to halt plans to force through a recreational greenway in South Kerry by compulsorily taking farmers’ lands.

Speaking at the launch of the Strategy for the Future Development of National and Regional Greenways in Moate, Co. Westmeath, Thomas Cooney said, “Recreational walk and cycle ways, such as greenways, have an important role to play in supporting the development of the rural economy and tourism. We can see this with the Waterford Greenway and the Great Western Greenway. They were co-designed with landowners and developed with permissive access and voluntary agreements. This is the blueprint for the future of greenways in Ireland, not by threatening compulsory land acquisitions”.

The greenways strategy document places a clear emphasis on local authorities working with communities to deliver recreational routes such as greenways. This has not happened in Kerry, in Galway and in other parts of the country and change must happen.

Concluding Thomas Cooney said, “All local authority must take the threat of CPOs off the table and foster a co-design approach to greenways development. This means working with landowners, based on permissive access and voluntary agreements. For greenways to happen, a robust code of practice must be put in place, professional agronomists should be appointed to proposed greenways, all available public lands must be used and the integrity of farm holdings must be safeguarded.”