Independent Senator Fidelma Healy Eames has asked Minister Paschal O’Donohoe to consider using the old N6 for the Greenway cycleway from Ballinasloe to Galway.
Sen Healy Eames, who is running as an Independent candidate in the next General Election said that she made the suggestion to the Minister yesterday after he met with farmers in Loughrea on Tuesday night.
“’This morning I spoke with the Minister following an IFA hosted meeting in Loughrea last night where farmers yet again made it clear that they don’t want the Greenway cycleway cutting through their productive farmland. We are now at a new juncture and coming close to a final decision.
The Minister has initiated a new consultation process this week whereby each farmer affected by the proposed route will be met either one-to-one or in groups. She said that on no account does she want to see farmers lands acquired by CPO, against their will.
“A final decision is expected by September at the latest. If at that point there is no agreement on the route the Minister says he will move the monies for the development of the Greenway elsewhere, if necessary.
“I appealed to him to maximise the use of public lands and coastline and in particular to make safe the old N6 which can bring tourists and cyclists from Ballinasloe to Galway. This would be agreeable to farmers en route.
“I cannot stand over a situation where farmers small holdings are made unviable and put out of business or where dairy farmers may have to cross a Greenway with their herd of cows three to four times a day. This is not acceptable. Neither is this the way it’s done on mainland Europe.
“Gardai have also reported that very real security issues would arise if there is access to the back of people’s homes with a Greenway cutting through their land. As I see it there is really only one way forward that will save the Greenway for tourism benefit for Galway and also meet farmers valid farming needs - and that is to use the old N6 route,” she concluded.