NO further work will take place on the western section of the proposed Greenway route without the support of local people, according to an assurance given to Galway IFA, by East Galway Government TD, Ciaran Cannon.
Last month, Galway IFA representatives met with with Transport Minister, Pascal Donohoe on the Greenway issue and the usage of CPOs (compulsory purchase orders) to acquire land from farmers.
Following that meeting, Galway IFA representatives said that they were satisfied at assurances given to them by the Minister in relation to the route progressing without the use of CPOs.
This week, Galway IFA Chairman, Pat Murphy, said that he was further reassured last week, in a statement given to him by Deputy Ciaran Cannon, in relation to a meeting that he had with Minister Donohoe on the issue.
“Deputy Cannon has made it quite clear to us, that Minister Donohoe has assured him that work will not start on the project, without the support of local people.
“The Minister said that pending further discussions with the NRA (National Roads Authority) and Galway County Council, no further work would take place in developing the current route,” said Pat Murphy.
In his statement to the IFA, Deputy Cannon said that without the support of the local people, the project would not go ahead.
“I have asked that all of the other route options be reconsidered for the development of the route and I’m hopeful that this will happen. To stress once again, a Greenway will not happen without the support of local people,” said Deputy Cannon.
Since details of the Greenway from Athlone to Oranmore emerged last year, there have been major concerns from farmers about the prospect of having their holdings split with the Greenway and with the use of CPOS to ‘take’ their land.
Initially farmers had hoped that the proposed greenway walk and cycleway would run side by side with one of the main Galway to Dublin road arteries, but this is now not the case.
A preferred corridor has been identified for the western section of the Greenway that will run from Athlone to Eyre Square via Ballinasloe, Aughrim, Kilreekil, Loughrea, Craughwell, Clarinbridge and Oranmore.
To date, 30 kilometres of the Greenway has been developed from the Meath border to Mullingar along the Royal Canal and work is currently well in progress on developing a further 40 kilometres along a disused railway line from Mullingar to Athlone.
The next stage of the route is proposed to be constructed through lands owned by Bord na Mona as well as property owned by farmers and other private landowners.