Issue of liability on proposed greenway discussed

The issue of liability on the proposed South Kerry Greenway has been raised at an oral hearing on the project.

Kerry County Council is seeking permission to construct a 32-kilometre walk and cycleway from Glenbeigh to Renard; it is also seeking approval for a Compulsory Purchase Order for the lands needed.

Barrister for the Greenway Information Group, Michael O’Donnell claimed if his client’s livestock wandered onto the greenway, the farmers would be liable for any damage caused.

Inspector Karla McBride sought clarity from Kerry County Council on the matter as she said she was under the impression that the council would be liable.

Denis O’Connor said he and the landowners had been told the greenway would be insured.

Kerry County Council’s response to Mr O’Connor’s submission on the CPO states: “The greenway is a public road and the insurances that are in place for the public road network as it stands will extend to the route.”

Barrister for Kerry County Council, Esmond Keane said the council would retain ownership of fencing on the greenway, which is being developed under the Roads Act, and would be responsible for its maintenance.

In relation to liability with livestock, Mr Keane pointed to the Animals Act of 1985.

It states that where damage is caused by an animal straying from unfenced land onto a public road, the person who placed the animal on the land won’t be regarded as breaching a duty of care if the land is in an area where fencing is not customary and they had a right to place the animal on that land.