It’s claimed rights of South Kerry farmers are being ignored

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It’s claimed the rights and wishes of farmers in South Kerry are being ignored.

The assertion was made during the fifth day of An Bord Pleanála’s oral hearing into the proposed South Kerry Greenway, which has arisen due to failure between Kerry County Council and landowners to come to an agreement over land acquisition.

The proposed 32-kilometre route comprises 222 plots of land, 160 of which are agricultural holdings.

The vast majority of the remaining objectors to the CPO – 30 down from a total of 70 – are associated with the Greenway Information Group.

Farmer Patrick O’Shea from Kells is not part of that group.

Farm consultant Dermot O’Brien, who is representing the farmer, said the proposed route runs within 160 feet of Mr O’Shea’s home and impinges on his privacy.

He believes the whole social fabric of South Kerry is affected by disagreement over the greenway, meaningful negotiations have not taken place and that farmers’ rights and wishes are being ignored.

Mr O’Brien also claimed the advertised employment benefits of the greenway are exaggerated; the farm consultant says there’s no study conducted on the number of jobs the greenway will bring and, as the Ring of Kerry begins and ends in Killarney, the jobs will not be in South Kerry regardless.

He added that Mr O’Shea proposed a re-routing of the greenway away from his home and along the boundary of a commonage; the local authority said this wasn’t feasible due to a steep gradient.

In response to claims of a lack of negotiation with landowners, Kerry County Council said it conducted extensive public consultations and meetings since the inception of the project.