One of Kerry County Council’s lead arguments for developing a greenway in South Kerry has been called into question.
Barrister Margaret Heavey was speaking at An Bord Pleanála’s oral hearing into the proposed South Kerry Greenway, when she questioned the local authority on its claim that the population of the area had declined dramatically between 2006 and 2016.
Ms Heavey is representing landowner James Clifford.
In outlining the need for the scheme, Kerry County Council said the South Kerry area has experienced ongoing population loss and economic and social decline.
The council said there have been population decreases in three of the four electoral districts along the proposed route between 2006 and 2011, along with an overall decrease in West Iveragh between 2006 and 2016.
However, barrister Margaret Heavey countered and said the population actually increased in three of the four areas when 2011’s figures are compared with the 2016’s.
Conor Culloo, Senior Engineer with Kerry County Council, said he’d prefer not to get bogged down in figures; Ms Heavey said the figures she was citing were provided by the council in the first place.
Kerry County Council said the population decline in Cahir ED was particularly pronounced, with the town of Cahersiveen losing 250 people over ten years.
The barrister said only 5km of the 32km route goes through the Cahir ED and, if the council was set on tackling population decline in the area, why didn’t it just construct a greenway from Cahersiveen to Valentia.
The oral hearing continues this morning.