South Kerry Greenway oral hearing concludes

The oral hearing on the South Kerry Greenway has concluded.

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.

An Bord Pleanála finished an oral hearing examining the project and the CPO at Manor West Hotel, Tralee, yesterday evening.

In his closing statement, barrister for the Greenway Information Group, Michael O’Donnell said the need for the greenway has not been established.

Is it appropriate, he asked, to CPO land and cause damage to landowners to provide an amenity?

Mr O’Donnell said there is a balance in taking land from a citizen versus the effect on the citizen; if the effect is not proportionate, the land shouldn’t be taken.

He said the council has a duty to establish that the acquisition is fair and necessary and that it has carried out all due diligence to ensure it is appropriate.

Barrister for Kerry County Council, Esmond Keane said the greenway is entirely necessary for the sustainable development and proper planning of the area.

It will improve connectivity, be environmentally friendly and provide an essential nucleus for job creation and the retention of young people in the area.

Significant efforts have been made to meet the concerns of landowners which include localised narrowing of the greenway.

He said if the CPO was refused the council would be left open to be held to ransom or to be entirely frustrated by categorical objectors who could hold up the project.

Following 15 days of evidence heard over four weeks from Kerry County Council, landowners, local people, businesses, politicians and more, An Bord Pleanála Inspector Karla McBride closed the hearing and said she will now write her report for the board.

The board can decide to approve the scheme, approve it with conditions or refuse it; it can also decide to confirm or deny the CPO application.

A timeframe for a decision wasn’t given.