A new deal sealed this week between the Government and the IFA will see ‘goodwill payments’ paid to farmers for not obstructing the compulsory purchase of land for road projects.
The Minister of State, Michael Ring announced the signing of a renewed co-operation agreement between his Department, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the Irish Farmers Association in respect of land compulsorily acquired or to be acquired for the development of the national road network.
The renewed agreement will see a fixed payment of €3,000 per acre being paid to landowners on all lands and associated areas acquired for national road improvement works in accordance with the terms of the agreement.
The payment had been scraped under Minister Leo Varadkar tenure in the Transport department and is down from €5,000 per acre under a previous agreement introduced in 2001.
Compulsory Purchase Agreement
The agreement applies to land compulsorily acquired, or to be acquired, in relation to national roads development and which is not the subject of planning permission or zoned for open space, commercial, residential, industrial, or recreational purposes.
Where the landowner and the local authority, or where appropriate TII, fail to reach agreement on a settlement for the compulsory purchase, either party may seek an independent assessment by a suitably qualified arbitrator. At assessments, the acquiring authority will only consider using the services of Counsel where the landowner has signalled his/her intention to be represented by Counsel.
Under the deal, the IFA will promote full co-operation with TII, local authorities and their agents in implementing the National Roads Programme in accordance with this agreement. The landowner on receipt of at least 14 days written notice will allow early access to land for site investigation works in order to identify and assess potential routes and will co-operate fully with local authorities for these purposes.
Reacting to the agreement Minister Ring said he was delighted that the Department has renewed its partnership with the IFA and TII to ensure the delivery of key national infrastructure while respecting landowners’ rights and concerns.
“I thank everyone for the work they have done in getting to this stage and ensuring continued co-operation.”
Meanwhile IFA’s National Chairman, Jer Bergin, said the compulsory purchase agreement is an important framework which shapes further the original 2001 agreement. Important measures such as the fixed payment are restored, albeit at a reduced rate, and the assessment process where disputes arise is streamlined.
“IFA has also secured a commitment that the fixed payment will be made retrospective and all eligible farmers who missed out on this payment will now benefit.
“Important measures such as the fixed payment are restored, albeit at a reduced rate, and the assessment process where disputes arise is streamlined. IFA has also secured a commitment that the fixed payment will be made retrospective and all eligible farmers who missed out on this payment will now benefit.”