Dispute with council sees tourism attraction blocked
Landowners living along the Greenway between Mulranny and Achill have blocked the route, and are vowing to keep it blocked until Mayo County Council meets their concerns. At issue, they say, is the council’s failure to instal adequate fencing and warning signs along the much-trumpeted walking and cycling amenity, the full length of which runs from Westport to Achill.
The landowners closed off a section of the route at Owenduff, around 4km from Mulranny, yesterday (Monday) morning by locking a gate and placed barbed wire along the top.
A spokesperson for the landowners told The Mayo News that they took the action because they were ‘fed up’ with the council’s inaction. “We want the Greenway to be opened, but we are fed up with the fact that the work has not been completed and nothing is being done about it.”
He went on to say that when the landowners notified the council about their concerns a year ago, they were given assurances that the fencing and signage would be dealt with once the Greenway was open. However, ‘nothing has been done, and enough is enough’, he said.
“There are sheep coming onto the Greenway from the commonage and getting into people’s lands and gardens because the proper fencing was not put up by the council. It has gone beyond a joke. We will not be opening the gate until the council completes the work.
It knows what needs to be done because we have told it often enough,” the spokesperson said.
The gate was locked at around 10am on yesterday morning by the landowners, who notified the council of their intentions.
The spokesperson said the council has asked them to reopen the Greenway, saying it will seek to address their concerns. However, the landowners say the gate will remain locked until the work is done.
Some landowners in the area have also highlighted other issues, including gates blocked by vehicles, signs beside junctions that make it unsafe for cars to come onto the road, and the brightness of two warning lights said to be ‘dazzling’ motorists when they come on them in the dark.
The Greenway was officially opened last year by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny and runs for 42km from Westport to Achill. Since it opened it is estimated that it has attracted over 145,000 visitors and generated €7.2 million to the local economy.
Earlier this year, landowners along the Greenway were awarded the Mayo Association in Dublin’s Meitheal Award for granting unrestricted access of their property to the public to enjoy the amenities of the cycle and walkway.
Attempts to contact a County Council official for comment on the dispute were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.
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