Landowners at beauty spot ordered to remove fencing
Landowners on a scenic island have been ordered to remove fencing that had blocked public access to a popular walking route.
Kerry County Council has served enforcement notices on five landowners on Fenit Island, in Co Kerry.
The notices give them eight weeks to remove the fencing, which the council said was not exempt from planning and was put up without permission.
The local authority has also warned the landowners they will incur costs if it has to remove and dispose of the structures.
The landowners have also been given four weeks to pay an enforcement fine of €250 for expenses incurred by the council in dealing with the matter.
The notices were served on May 4 on John Murphy, of Fenit Island; Kathleen, Kit and Liam McCarthy, also of Fenit Island; and on Seamus O'Sullivan, with an address at Bindon Street, Ennis, Co Clare.
The notices were issued on foot of a decision by An Bord Pleanála nearly two years ago that the fencing required planning permission.
The issue had been referred to the planning authority by access campaign group, Keep Ireland Open, which has welcomed the issuing of the enforcement notices.
Local campaigners and sea anglers have also welcomed the decision.
The erection of the fencing angered local people and led to a number of protests on the island.
Fenit Island measures an area of approximately 440 acres.
It is owned by nine different landowners.
Matt Hopper, of Save Fenit Island Alliance, said that there was a sense of relief and real optimism among local people and campaigners that the "ugly, industrial-style fencing" that had "disfigured" the historic island for seven years would at last be removed.