Landowners in the dark over road compensation

Ballyglunin bridge which will be removed as part of the works

A major €8.5 million road widening scheme in North Galway is to commence at the end of February – but affected land owners are still in the dark as to the amount of compensation they will be receiving.

It could effectively mean that works will commence on the Abbeyknockmoy to Annagh Hill scheme along the N63 without land owners receiving a cent in compensation – it is causing uproar locally.

Galway County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland have been urged to engage with the 74 affected property owners – some of whom will have farm sheds removed – as a matter of urgency.

Works on the 3.2 kilometre stretch, which involves a road widening process along with the provision of a cycle lane, is due to begin at the end of next month but farmers and householders along the route are furious over the lack of contact.

Last September the compulsory purchase orders for the acquisition of the lands necessary for the road scheme were approved and this week the successful contractors will be appointed.

But local Cllr Pete Roche told a meeting of Tuam Municipal Council that it was unacceptable that property owners were being ignored in this whole process.

“They don’t know how far the fencing will go into their property and, more importantly, they haven’t a clue what they will receive in compensation. They are being treated very shabbily and it is not right.

“Following on from the CPO process, they no longer own the property that has been acquired so the road widening scheme could commence and they cannot do a thing about it,” Cllr Roche explained.

Last autumn a compulsory purchase order for the acquisition of lands on the Abbeyknockmoy to Annagh Hill road scheme was given the go ahead following a public consultation.

An Bord Pleanála confirmed the CPO after an application submitted by Galway County Council for the on-line improvement of the N63. At the time, a total of 10 parties recorded their objection to the plan.

The site was inspected in early June and this was followed by a two-day oral hearing. An Bord Pleanála officials held a meeting at the end of August when they considered objections to the CPO along with the inspectors report following the oral hearing in June and the general submissions on file.

It was then decided to confirm the CPO. However, the issue of compensation has not been discussed with the vast majority of land owners affected.

The board cited a number of reasons including the present substandard nature of the existing road in relation to the alignment as well as drainage and flooding issues.

Director of Services Michael Timmins told the meeting that the tenders had been assessed and evaluated and the successful contractor would be notified. He expected works to commence on the project by mid to late February.