Oral hearing on South Kerry Greenway to begin today

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An oral hearing is due to begin today on the proposed South Kerry Greenway project.

An Bord Pleanala is due to hear from contributions from witnesses over eight days in Tralee.

The South Kerry Greenway was earmarked as a major project in the Department of Transport’s National Greenway Strategy in 2014.

Kerry County Council says the three-metre-wide greenway is an economic shot in the arm for the Iveragh peninsula, which has been badly hit by rural depopulation and decline.

However, following failure to secure agreement over the years with nearly 200 landowners along the 32-kilometre route from Glenbeigh to Renard, the council decided to acquire the lands needed by Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO).

It’s a decision that led to anger among some landowners and the Irish Farmers’ Association to protest outside Kerry County Council headquarters; they say the are opposed to the CPO not the greenway.

The CPO seeks to acquire over 220 parcels of land; the majority of which are on the former railway line, which closed in 1960.

Today, An Bord Pleanala will open an oral hearing on the project at Manor West Hotel in Tralee, it is due to run until October 17th.

The hearing, which begins at 10 o’clock, will examine both the CPO and the overall planning application.