TWO Kerry councillors, who have been very vocal campaigners in favour of the South Kerry Greenway project, has welcomed that decision of a High Court judge who rejected claims that planning approval for the 27km cycle and pedestrian route is invalid
Mr Justice Richard Humphreys ruled on two separate challenges to the development in a judgement issued today.
He will hear a further module in the case in November to address claims Ireland has not correctly transposed the type of road projects that require environmental impact screening and assessment under EU law.
Judge Humphreys will also consider claims that An Bord Pleanála breached public information requirements of the Roads Act regarding inadequate publication, on its website and in local newspapers, of material and of its decision.
Late last year the board granted permission, subject to several conditions, for a 27km route between Glenbeigh to just outside Caherciveen.
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That permission was subject of challenges by a local farmer and an environmental activist and a number of local landowners whose lands have been compulsorily acquired for the greenway.
Cllr Michael Cahill today extended his congratulations to all involved in the South Kerry Greenway project.
“This is a win-win for all involved, including business and landowners and especially for our children and our children’s children for generations to come. South Kerry has now got its gamechanger, its lifeline,” he said.
“This is a massive boost for the entire county,” he added.
Cllr Patrick O’Connor-Scarteen also welcomed the High Court judgement on the judicial review proceedings.
“There are still further proceedings, however, the main judgement brings a great sense of relief and is a huge step forward in the process to deliver what could possibly be one of the best greenways in the world and a huge boost to South Kerry’s economic and social fabric,” he said.
“As a local councillor, since the start of the process for a greenway and Mayor of Kerry for 2020/2021, the advancement of the South Kerry Greenway has been one of my main priorities and we need to do everything possible to get it in place as soon as possible,” he said.
The decision has also been welcomed by Kerry County Council.
The proposed Greenway has the potential to become one of Kerry’s most significant tourism projects, according to Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Jimmy Moloney.
“The South Kerry Greenway is hugely important for the continued development of tourism in Kerry, not just for the economy of south Kerry but for the whole of the county,” he said.
“This is an iconic project, which has fantastic potential to become a landmark tourist attraction, and with the current development of the North Kerry Greenway and the Tralee-Fenit Greenway, an excellent network of cycling and walking routes for visitors and locals around Kerry is being developed.”
Kerry County Council is currently examining the judgement of the court with a view to assessing its next steps in the project.