Mayor: The ball has been dropped on walkway plan

The proposed Lough Léin loop walk

The long-promised Lough Lein loop walk in Killarney – once described as having the potential to be Kerry’s version of Lake Garda – has been completely stalled and there is no indication that the project will commence anytime soon, it has been claimed.

Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Brendan Cronin, said it was stated four of five years ago that the project was at priority stage and that it was down to negotiations with a handful of owners.

He said, however, that he has spoken to the landowners who have long since indicated their support but, they told him, the council has not returned to them on the matter.

“A huge amount of work has been done by local groups and the community to get progress on the continuation of the Fossa Way up to Tomies but it looks to me like it has been dropped completely,” Cllr Cronin told a meeting of Kerry County Council this Monday.

Mayor Brendan Cronin
Chief Executive Officer Moira Murrell

He said the lack of action was sad to see given that so much work had been done in advance to make it possible.

“People will be very shocked and disappointed. Are we now telling them that it will be three or four of five years before it gets off the ground?” Mayor Cronin asked officials.

He said former senior council official John Breen had said the Lough Lein loop had the potential to be Kerry’s Lake Garda but Cllr Cronin added: “The ball has been dropped by Kerry County Council”.

Council officials insisted, however, that the plans have not been aborted and they stressed that such projects take time given the environmental issues and other matters that have to be addressed.

Council CEO Moira Murrell said the local authority is committed to dealing with 80km of greenway developments currently under construction and current funding streams were earmarked for those projects.

She said the South Kerry Greenway had taken a great deal of resources internally but to suggest that nothing is being done in terms of the Lough Lein loop project was not correct as the council is fully committed to it.

Announcing government support for the Lough Lein loop walk in 2018 was the then Minister of State Brendan Griffin (left) with Padruig O’Sullivan, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Niamh O’Shea, Kerry branch Irish Hotels Federation and Paul O’Neill, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce.
Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

Kerry County Council has an extensive project list of greenways and Active Travel Schemes throughout the county which are at the various stages between feasibility studies, design, planning and construction and all have funding commitments either from Transport Infrastructure Ireland or the National Transport Authority.

But, council official said: “The Lough Lein walkway/cycleway has not been funded and, at present, our resources are committed to those schemes which have funding. This walkway can be considered for inclusion in future projects and funding submissions”.

It was initially proposed that the 9km looped amenity trail around Lough Leane and Muckross Lake would meander through rich woodlands on the slopes of the 735m Tomies mountain and wind its way along the shores of Lough Lein and the spectacular O’Sullivan’s Cascade in the Killarney National Park.

The project would link up a number of the existing trail sections to create a full circuit around the lakes, starting and finishing in Killarney town.

It was proposed that the route would provide accessible trails for walkers and cyclists and, given the stunning landscape and scenery that would be on view, the project had real potential to deliver an iconic trail that would be renowned internationally.

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