Farmers up in arms over CPOs for Ring of Kerry cycle route
Published 24/05/2016 | 02:30
Farmers are threatening to withdraw their goodwill from a new €4.5m public cycleway planned for a stretch of the Ring of Kerry.
While the vast majority of the 172 landowners along the 32km route claim to support the concept, there is growing resistance to the compulsory purchase order (CPO) mechanism being adopted by the County Council.
"This area needs the Greenway badly because it would be a perfect fit with the type of activity holidays that are not completely weather dependent that this region can offer," admitted local part-time sheep farmer, Denis O'Connor.
"So it can't come soon enough. But a CPO is a deadly blunt instrument that takes one man's livelihood and turns it into another's good time."
Kerry County Council first announced that it had secured funding for a cycleway to be constructed along the old railway line between Glenbeigh and Valentia back in 2014.
Senior county engineer, Tom Sheehy said that the council held a series of meetings with local landowners over the course of three months in 2014 before it concluded that a CPO was the best way to proceed with the project.
"We found that there were at least 10 landowners spread out along the route who were adamant that they would not let the project through their land," said Mr Sheehy.
"At that point we had a choice to let the funding go or to push on because it was important for the area."