The oral hearing into the proposed South Kerry Greenway in Tralee will resume on November 12th after it was adjourned on Friday, October 25th.
This comes after hundreds of pages of new documentation and corrections were presented at the hearing.
There is a "climate of distrust" between council officials and landowners with claims of lack of consultation, a pre-determined route, an "unwillingness to seriously consider alternatives" and a "too early decision to move to CPO", according to Connemara Greenway Action Group.
Some 130 farmers with land along the proposed greenway route have been hit with CPOs.
In July, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, of NOSAGRI Ltd, produced a report to determine the effects of the proposed route in relation to farming enterprises in the region.
“The agronomy report by Diarmuid O’Sullivan does not mention 220 landowners.” Connemara Greenway Action Group outlined in a statement.
“It states that 160 farm holdings are affected by the route and that in, 86 of these holdings, it is running along the external boundary wall, resulting in no sub-division or severance, meaning it is in their neighbour’s land and so, has no effect.”
Connemara Greenway Action Group said that the council uses these 86 holdings to calculate percentages when they state that "only a small number of farmers are dissatisfied".
“When you look at the remaining 74 farm holdings that are affected, you see that 29 of them, or 39% who have severance in one way or another have participated in the survey, while 45 of them, or 61%, have not participated. “
“As 74 would appear to be the number of correct landholdings and the agronomy does not clarify how the 29 farms, or 39% stand.”
“We can only assume that as much as 70% of farmers along the route are dissatisfied with the council, adding to the distrust."
'Financial greed for tourism'
The statement outlined that while County Councils traditionally appreciate that the use of CPO to acquire land is a traumatic experience for owners and behave sensitively towards them, "no such courtesy has been shown here".
“Unfortunately, the process seems to be driven by financial greed for tourism, by people who have little knowledge of farming and have neither political or personal financial responsibility for the outcome.”
‘A divide in the community’
Michael Burke from Galway Cycling Solutions, in his summary submission, said it was clearly evident that there is a divide in the community.
He said this project is far from “shovel-ready” adding “you are asking landowners to accept an impact and accept it for the rest of their lives when they are clearly not happy with the process.”
Failte Ireland needs to stand up to the podium here - the greenway idea is stated as being a community-led tourism product, delivered from the ground up, but this project is being driven in a top-down strategy and as it stands, this process will never deliver a tourism or cycling product.”
“It will be plagued with controversy for years and years.” the statement stressed.
“The farming community isnot against a greenway/cycleway. They are against severance that causes sub-division for recreational and amenity use and only wish to be seen as stakeholders in a process to deliver such routes using external boundaries and local knowledge to plan and deliver such routes.”