Councillors warned against delaying agreement on €4m walking route

Councillors in south and west Kerry have agreed not to tamper with the County Development Plan to facilitate the construction of a major walking and cycling route on the Iveragh Peninsula. Tunnels along the Mountain Stage section at Kells, Glenbeigh to Caherciveen to Renard railway line The route for the €4m greenway along the line of the old railway line between Glenbeigh and Caherciveen has almost been finalised. Negotiations have involved direct discussions with over 100 landowners but one councillor said he foresees legal challenges to the proposed route. The proposed walking and cycling route along the old Great South Railway line has been hailed as an opportunity to generate 90 jobs and €10m annually for the south Kerry economy. Council officials have held 167 meetings with 111 landowners over the past year and are very close to agreeing the final route which will need to be submitted to An Bord Pleanála for planning approval. At today’s meeting of the South and West Kerry Municipal District, Cllr Michael Cahill said he fully supported the project but some landowners still had concerns and he suggested an amendment to the County Development Plan to deal with the concerns raised. Senior planner, Tom Sheehy warned however that this would potentially jeopardise the entire project because it would take several months and possibly see the withdrawal of funding which has to be spent within a certain timeframe. Mr Sheehy said there would be a series of open days on the proposed route at which any concerns could be addressed, warning that amending the County Development Plan could be the death knell for the project. Cllr Cahill said he could foresee legal challenges to the route but he agreed to withdraw his proposal. Work on the €4m greenway could begin as early as next year. IMAGE: greenway/railway tunnel