Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Rural, Regional, Gaeltacht & Island Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív has called on the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport to publish the Greenway Strategy as a matter of urgency.  The plan was due to be published in the first quarter of the year, yet more than halfway through 2018, we’re still waiting.

Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “The Greenway Strategy is an important part of our tourism, nature and healthy lifestyle offering and in places where greenways have already been developed, the local economy has thrived.

“When I submitted questions on the strategy, I was assured that it would be published in the first quarter of 2018. However, like everything with this Government there have been inordinate delays in the process, and we are still waiting on a plan to develop greenways across the country.  We are now into the third quarter of the year and we’re still waiting.  Until the strategy is published, we cannot proceed with the development of the greenways by agreement with landholders.

“There must be a full consultation with farmers and landowners to devise a compensation plan for any loss that they will incur as a result of the construction of these greenways, which should be only built where there is broad agreement with landholders about the developments. This consultation is essential to ensure the success of the projects and to bring the local community on board.

“The policy to-date has been to try build greenways by permissive access that is only available on a week-to-week and day-to-day basis. This is utterly foolish, because it means that having invested millions of euro in greenways, there is always the chance that permission could be withdrawn. It is also an unjust policy, as it expects rural people to make land available for free, amounting to an abuse of their hospitality and generosity.

“I will continue pressing the Minister to publish this strategy and will be emphasising the need for him to ensure that a progressive community led approach is taken to the development of greenways”.