Local Fine Gael councillor Tom Neville has called for the reintroduction of Capital Gains Tax rollover relief for Compulsory Purchase Orders on land that might be affected by the new Limerick-Foynes road.
The scheme, which was abolished in 2002, would allow tax relief for landowners wishing to buy new land in a certain time period to restore their land holding and help regain their production levels.
“This would go some way to alleviate the impact on farm production as a result of a new road going through agricultural land,” said Cllr Neville.
He added: “A farmer’s land footprint is fundamental to their production, earnings and investment. Every chance should be given to farmers affected and allow them restore their land footprint which maybe reduced due to the new road.”
Meanwhile, business group Ibec Mid-West has given its backing to the preferred route for the N69 Foynes to Limerick road improvement scheme.
The route, which was announced last week, travels from Foynes towards Rathkeale, passing Croagh and Adare and joining up with the M20 at Attyflin junction near Patrickswell.
Land owners along the route have expressed concerns about the impact it would have on their homes and properties.
However, the route has been welcomed in other quarters as it will incorporate a bypass of Adare.
Ibec Mid West and Kerry acting regional director Sinead Mullins said the scheme was of “huge strategic importance” in terms of facilitating access and improving connectivity to the region.
“The scheme is critical to the future sustainable development of Shannon Foynes Port, regulations for which require a high quality road network,” she said.
Ms Mullins added, however, that it was imperative that the project be delivered without delay: “The necessary funding must be made available to deliver the project in the shortest possible timescale to support the region to develop to its full potential.”
The route has been welcomed by Michael Moore from Newcastle West who was a high profile campaigner for a northern bypass of Adare. Mr Moore, a former chairman of Limerick ICSA (Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association) is now communications officer with the recently established Irish Family Farm Rights Group.
He believes that the new road should follow the route of the old West Limerick rail line as closely as possible to minimise disruption to farms along the route. “It is the best route to take while at the same time contributing to optimal connectivity,” he said.
Also giving a cautious welcome to the plan was Maeve Martin-Kelly, manager of the Adare Heritage Centre. She pointed out that the heavy volume of traffic currently passing through Adare was “not enhancing” the experience of the village for tourists or locals.
However, she cautioned that when the bypass is built it would be essential to have proper signage in place to direct tourists to Adare as well as a strategy to promote the village. “We are going to have to make sure people know that Adare is here and that they know about the village,” she added.
Questions have been raised, however, about the future of the N69. Anthony Sheehy, a tour guide based in Askeaton, said he was concerned that Askeaton could be overlooked if the existing road were not maintained to a good standard. He also pointed out that there was a danger that many large trucks would continue to use the N69 as it would be a shorter route to and from Foynes. “I would hate to see that, because tourism is big in Adare and in Foynes, they would forget all about Askeaton,” he said.