Farmers ‘deserve respect’ and should be informed on greenway decision

The more time that passes, the more frustration that is felt by the local community near the route of the proposed South Kerry Greenway.

Locals, including many farmers and landowners whose land was acquired by Kerry County Council, continue to await a decision on whether the ‘greenway’ will be developed or not.

An Bord Pleanála has been called upon to announce its decision on the granting of planning permission for the project, as “the people of south Kerry deserve to be treated with respect and not left hanging”.

The South Kerry Greenway project has been controversial for many years. The project was first proposed in 2011. A final decision was due to be made on July 6 of this year by An Bord Pleanála on whether the development will go ahead or not, but it appears the wait is set to continue.

A decision on the 32km greenway route from Glenbeigh to Renard has been delayed indefinitely.

Announcement is ‘long past due’

Kerry County Councillor Michael Cahill has voiced the frustration of locals, saying that a decision is “long past due”.

“The people of south Kerry deserve to be treated with respect and not left hanging on through postponed announcement after postponed announcement,” Cllr. Cahill said.

“Nearly 10 months have passed now since the oral hearing commenced in Tralee and we all expected that the decision would have been known by now.

“I understand that we had a change of government and the interruption of the Covid-19 pandemic, but this announcement is long past due.”

The councillor said that the future plans of many businesses in the rural area depend on “whether or not this project gets the go ahead”.

‘All stakeholders await the decision’

After failing to meet agreement with nearly 200 landowners, Kerry County Council decided to acquire 115ac of land by compulsory purchase order (CPO).

“All stakeholders await the decision, which will have such a major bearing on the livelihoods of generations to come and it should be delayed no longer,” Cllr. Cahill continued.

A positive decision can be a game-changer for all of south Kerry and beyond and I am very hopeful that is what the outcome will be.

This week, Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys announced the allocation of €5.5 million in funding for regeneration projects in seven communities under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

One of the projects is the regeneration of the town centre in Cahersiveen and Cllr. Cahill said that this funding provides a “golden opportunity to transform all of south Kerry” and that “now is the time to develop the greenway”.

‘You cannot have machinery crossing a greenway without accidents’

Recently, AgriLand reported that landowners along the route of the proposed South Kerry Greenway are “worried” about the dangers posed by machinery and general farm work.

Morgan Lyne, a landowner along the proposed greenway’s route, said a big concern of his are the potential dangers of the greenway’s proximity to farmland.

“Everything needs to be taken into account, including the ongoing viability of the family farm and, very importantly, the safety of those living and farming on the route, as well as those travelling on it,” Lyne said.

“You cannot have machinery and farm vehicles crossing a greenway without having any accidents.”