Bid for State funding for south Kerry 'greenway'

KERRY County Council is to make a bid for government funding by mid November to progress plans for the Glenbeigh to Renard 'greenway' which could potentially attract 100,000 visitors to the region.

In June, an allocation of €50,000 was provided by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to carry out a structural assessment of the main structures on the disused railway line, with plans ultimately to create a Ring of Kerry walk and cycleway.

That allocation is being used on a structural assessment of the route, in particular the iconic Gleesk Viaduct, two railway tunnels at nearby Mountain Stage and the railway bridge into Cahersiveen.

At Monday's council meeting Cllr Michael Cahill asked that the council, along with project partners SKDP, engage with all land owners with a view to progressing the greenway. The councillor also questioned what were the findings of the €50,000 feasibility study and asked if an application had been made to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to commence works

"Kerry County Council has engaged with SKDP over the last year to progress the Glenbeigh to Renard project by providing guidance and assistance on numerous issues, including the provision of a draft agreement to be used with the landowners," a council spokesperson replied.

"Whilst the feasibility study supports the development of the route, the indicative costs for the proposed works are substantial. The tendering process to appoint suitable qualified consultants is under way and we expect a report towards the latter part of the year.

"Depending on the outcome of this report, Kerry County Council intends to make a bid for funding to the Department by mid November," the spokesperson added.

The proposed Glenbeigh to Renard greenway is one of four Kerry County Council is involved in, with the first section of the Tralee/Fenit walkway recently opened.

The council has also admitted that walkway projects are "extremely difficult" to deliver due to a range of conflicting view points, adding that they can be extremely costly to put in place.