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Friday 20 April 2018

Kerry landowners on board for new rail line greenway plan after getting key concessions

Guaranteed provision of underpasses/overpasses for cattle and plant machinery

The Kells Viaduct on the Ring of Kerry where the Dublin to Cahersiveen train passed by Dingle Bay. The last train to cross the bridge was in 1960. The route is one of the proposed 'greenway routes' for walkers and cyclists.
The Kells Viaduct on the Ring of Kerry where the Dublin to Cahersiveen train passed by Dingle Bay. The last train to cross the bridge was in 1960. The route is one of the proposed 'greenway routes' for walkers and cyclists.

Dónal Nolan

LANDOWNERS who were initially opposed to plans to extend the Great Southern Trail from West Limerick into Listowel when they were first mooted are now fully on board with the project.

The Kerryman reports that it's one of two major developments in the project announced last week that are set to realise an attraction many believe will be worth millions in tourist euros annually to the North Kerry region.

This first official indication of the landowners' change of view comes as massive relief to the thousands of keen walkers and cyclists in the region supporting the project amid deep uncertainty in recent years.

The other major development announced last week is that Kerry County Council has now started designing the new route, having cleared the old railway line on which the greenway will run of vegetation in recent months.

It was a visit to the Deise Greenway in Waterford that convinced the landowners of the potential for a trail design that would address all their concerns. Their subsequent change of opinion was this week credited by the Authority as the key factor in bringing the project to such an advanced stage.

Read also: The Great Greenways Debate: 'If they had negotiated with farmers, they would have got agreement a lot sooner'

"A key factor in getting the clearance works completed has been the co-operation and assistance of the land owners along the route of the old railway line. A committee of relevant landowners, the 'Landowners on the North Kerry Abandoned Railway Line' group has been instrumental in liaising with the Council and facilitating the works undertaken to date. The group arranged for several farmers along the line to provide access points to the line for the Council's plant and machinery," Council spokesperson Owen O'Shea said.

Landowners' initial objections were due to the lack of any plan providing for their concerns, The Kerryman understands. They feared the impact on their operations could have been disastrous with walkers and cyclists effectively passing through busy farms in a scenario that raised public liability fears.

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However, the new route will now be treated as a public road to all intents and purposes, and with guaranteed provision of underpasses/overpasses for cattle and plant machinery; privacy screening and more landowners are finally happy for the whole thing to proceed.

Indeed, it was the landowners who first produced just such a plan to the Council after meeting counterparts in Waterford whose initial concerns were fully allayed in the end.

Kerryman

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