ICMSA Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Chairman Denis Drennan said his organization welcomed an agreement on a code of practice for greenway development and “struck the desired balance” for farmers and landowners in terms of fair payment and avoiding it he said that CPOs and legal disputes would be tedious and time consuming.
The first thing to note is that the code of practice in no way prejudices the legal rights of a landowner and is a voluntary option available to a landowner.
Mr Drennan said that once again the farmers have been cooperative and committed to the public good by showing fairness to the farmers concerned.
He said the negotiations had been long and complex, and the task force set up by the Ministry of Transport had been diligent and aware of the rights of farmers and landowners.
He noted that the realism and appreciation of the nature of the issue contrasted sharply with the atmosphere around other so-called ‘access issues’, where progress was not possible due to unrealistic expectations that farmer-owners should set aside their rights and property for the benefit of visitors or hikers.
The ICMSA committee chair said progress on greenways provided the template for future discussions on these issues: “Where farmers are consulted and treated with respect, where our rights and property are respected, progress is made. can and will be achieved.
“ICMSA believes the code protects farmers’ rights and provides clear guidance on greenway issues for farmers. Obviously, we believe that the use of private property for greenways should be minimized and, when it is unavoidable, the level of disturbance should be kept to an absolute minimum, ”Drennan concluded.