Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht and Island Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív says the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport’s policy on greenway expansion must be reassessed so that a consistent approach can be adopted.
Deputy Ó Cuív says the current system is not working as it fails to compensate farmers for the use of their land, and fails to guarantee the future of the greenway as farmers can revoke permission at any time.
“The last Government failed to appropriately develop walking and cycling tourism – it took a top down, rather than a community-led approach, and dictated to landowners rather than developing greenways in a true partnership with communities and landowners. The Department needs to urgently review the greenway development procedure so that more walkways and cycle routes can be created,” he said.
“The current system is flawed and I’m glad that there appears to be some movement within the Department to explore other options. At the moment, the permissive access model is causing problems for both landowners and the State as the landowners are not compensated for the use of their land, and are therefore able to withdraw permission to use the greenway at any time.
““Following a question on the issue Minister Ross confirmed to me that his Department is “currently working on developing a good greenway strategy, including consultation with landowners and possible compensation for land purchase”. “This is a welcome development and will hopefully lead to a more consistent approach to greenways. I will be continuing to monitor the progress of this strategy and will be pressing the Minister to ensure that this issue is not put on the back burner,” he concluded.