A landowner has told an oral hearing that his farming days are really over if the proposed South Kerry Greenway goes ahead.
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.
This is the fourth week of An Bord Pleanala’s oral hearing on the scheme at Manor West Hotel, Tralee.
Christy and Mary McDonnell run a suckler and sheep farm at Lisbawn; the proposed greenway would cross their driveway about 60 metres from the main N70 Ring of Kerry road.
Mr McDonnell said the greenway would make a massive change to his life as he is so used to moving around his farm freely; he said he might have to cross the greenway up to 30 times a day.
Kerry County Council told the hearing this is a priority crossing favouring the McDonnells; there will be chicanes and signage in place advising cyclists they must yield.
Council barrister Esmond Keane said in the event of a crash if the cyclist failed to yield they would presumably be found liable.
Gates that fold back onto the greenway would be provided and could be closed to get animals from one side to another.
In terms of livestock getting onto the greenway, the council said the test would be reasonable care and there would be no need for Mr McDonnell to lock the gates across his driveway permanently.
However, Mr McDonnell’s barrister, Michael O’Donnell said if reasonable care is the test applied you could never rely on that defence if you allowed the gates open on the greenway.
Mr McDonnell said he and another farmer use the proposed route to drive sheep in for dipping; the council said dogs would be allowed on the greenway on a leash but sheep would not be.
Mr McDonnell said if the greenway goes ahead his farming days are really over.