Call to halt works on Caha Pass at tourism peak time

Sinead Kelleher

Local residents and tourism providers in Bonane, Kenmare and Glengariff are calling for Kerry County Council and Cork County Council to postpone planned works on the main Kenmare to Glengarriff road until later in the tourism season.

Kerry County Council has announced that it is to close the road near the county bounds to carry out works at the tunnels on the Caha Pass on the first week of September.

Cork County Council is also planning to close the route for the last week of September and the month of October to carry out resurfacing works on the Cork side of the route. In both cases, diversions - and a potential round trip of 85km - will be in place which will have a huge effect on the region, local business owners and residents claim.

he route is the main artery between Kenmare and Glengarriff and is a busy tourist drive that also takes in the scenic Bonane area. A public meeting was held on Monday night in Bonane to raise concerns about the closure which many fear will have a detrimental affect on tourism.

The meeting was attended by local councillors as well as representatives from Kenmare Marketing and Events group (KMEG) and tourism interests from both sides of the border.  Cllr Dan McCarthy who runs Kenmare Mart also said that the closure would have a huge effect on farmers, many of whom travel from Cork to Kenmare to sell animals.

he closing date for submissions for the proposed closure by Kerry County Council is Wednesday, August 1 and locals are calling on the local authority to postpone  its plans until later in the season. Cork County Council has not yet published details of the planned closure. Residents and tourism interests are calling for both councils to work together and undertake the works much later in the year.

Stephen O'Sullivan of Bonane Community Council said this week that "common sense" is needed. "You have Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland trying to extend the season on one hand and on the other hand you have these local authorities halting the season. It is crazy."