SUPPORTERS of controversial plans to extend the Great Southern Trail (GST) from west Limerick into Listowel along disused railway lines are now hoping to develop a shorter walking route from Listowel to the outlying Bunghara in the near future.
Many landowners remain fiercely opposed to the plans however and they blockaded GST supporters from walking into north Kerry earlier this year as they tried to highlight what they believe could be a fantastic tourist amenity.
The plan to develop the old track as part of the GST connecting Rathkeale to Listowel is still mired in controversy as landowners opposed to it consider taking legal action against CIE over the ownership of the route. CIE is adamant it still owns the old railway line, but opposing landowners contest this.
Now, however, GST supporters are hoping to develop three kilometres of the route from Listowel town to Bunghara. They say this 2.8km stretch does not pass within 100 metres of any homes and should not, therefore, spark any privacy issues - one of the concerns opposed landowners have.
However, it does pass through the land of Listowel Town Councillor Denis Stack who is opposed to the GST plan and who was present at the recent blockade in Kilmorna.
"If you look at the stretch you can see it doesn't come within 100 metres of any homes and should not therefore affect people's privacy," GST member Gearóid Pierse - whose father Robert owns land on either side of the railway on the 2.8km stretch, said.
"It will also provide a very safe cycling and walking way to town for people from Bunghara and Kilmorna, and should make it much safer for students going to school."
He said that more and more people are now coming behind the GST plans.