Roosting site for bats debated at south Kerry greenway oral hearing

An environmental campaigner claims he could go to court if the South Kerry Greenway is approved based on information supplied by Kerry County Council regarding bats.

The claim was made as the oral hearing on the project resumed today for another two weeks.

Kerry County Council is proposing to build the 32-kilometre route from Glenbeigh to Renard, it is also seeking to acquire the lands needed through Compulsory Purchase Order; both the development and the CPO are being examined in the hearing.

Ecologist with Malachy Walsh and Partners, Muiréad Kelly, told the oral hearing that a vacant house close to Mountain Stage on the N70 Ring of Kerry road was found to be a summer roost for lesser horseshoe bats in August 2017.

The proposed greenway will pass adjacent to the house, which will lead to construction activity and noise in the area; a limited amount of rock breaking will be required and these works will be undertaken outside of the bat’s breeding season.

The works will be supervised by a project ecologist and the roost will be enhanced while the bats are hibernating underground.

Environmental campaigner, Peter Sweetman claimed the Natura Impact Statement, Kerry Slug Plan and Invasive Species Plan associated with the project all have lacuna or gaps.

Mr Sweetman was unhappy with the level of detail supplied by Kerry County Council, he told Inspector Karla McBride if An Bord Pleanála granted the project based on the information supplied on the Lesser horseshoe bat he would go straight to court.