Claims that court award could have serious consequences for hillwalking in Kerry

John Joe Culloty. 1Members of Kerry County Council have expressed concern over the awarding of €40,000 to a woman who fell while hillwalking, warning it could be disastrous for the county. A Circuit Court judge made the award to a 59-year-old woman, who fell on a rotting boardwalk while walking the Wicklow Way. The monthly meeting of Kerry County Council heard that hillwalking was a huge part of Kerry’s tourism product and the judgement could have implications for this.   Last Friday, Judge Jacqueline Linnane made the award to 59-year Teresa Wall at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin. She said it was clear from photographs used in evidence the boardwalk had been made of second-hand wooden railway sleepers that were badly rotted. She said the injured woman had been directed by signs to use the boardwalk that had been placed on the land by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The decision is being appealed to the High Court. Michael Gleeson of the Kerry Independent Alliance suggested Kerry County Council should support the appeal of this judgement because, if allowed stand, it would be a disaster for Kerry. Fianna Fáil councillor John Joe Culloty said the ruling would affect Kerry more than any other county because of built structures on the mountains. He said Killarney National Park and the county’s mountains had considerable built infrastructure that were now at risk because of the judgement. The meeting heard sleepers on Torc Mountain to aid walkers are under the remit of the National Parks and Wildlife Service and work is also underway to provide stone paths on Carrauountoohil.