Senator Lorraine Higgins has called for the local section of the Dublin to Galway greenway route to be altered from the current plan which proposes to go through vast tracts of farmland in East Galway.
She said that while she is positive about the proposed greenway project and confident of the benefits it will bring to the area, she believesthe proposed route needs to be reconsidered.
" As it stands, potential compulsory purchase orders, splitting of farmland, insurance issues, fencing requirements, potential for exclusion zones for future planning and so on, are causing the local farming community great distress and this is not good enough. This is why it is imperative that the greenway route be revised to reduce or resolve these concern,” said, adding that it is of paramount importance to small farmers that their farmland sh ould not be divided, that they would not be exposed to insurance risks or be left with unfair maintenance costs which the current proposal presents to them.
" Furthermore, it is critical if we are going to make our rural towns and villages sustainable and help share in the recovery that the greenway is in close proximity to these towns so that users w ill be able to enjoy a full range of services which the current route would never be able to provide.
She said that many towns like Kilrickle, Loughrea and Craughwell substantially lost out on business due to the development of the M6 motorway and it would be wrong if they lose out again if the greenway takes the route proposed.
"I have requested a meeting with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and the M inister for Agriculture to discuss this very serious issue with them both. Any greenway being constructed must be develop as sensitively as possible, keeping in mind at all times the best interests of local business and farming communities. I welcome all investment in the region and I am sure the greenway will bring much needed benefits but this must be balanced with the existing and future needs of our area,” she concluded.