‘The town is on its knees with many closed businesses, a trend that seems to be continuing’

Opinion: The controversial €20 million South Kerry Greenway plan, which has divided opinion along the route, has the potential to be the single, biggest and most important tourism project ever for County Kerry and it will attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, insists Kerry County Council member Cllr Michael Cahill

I WISH to make the following submission in respect of the South Kerry Greenway which has been in the pipeline for a number of years now. In my capacity as a public representative, I have attended many meetings, including public meetings and one-to-one meetings, with landowners in regards to the matter.

It is fair to say that I have been one of the most ardent supporters of the Greenway since the very beginning. It was suggested to me in the early days, by a farmers’ representative in Kerry, to lobby for an annual maintenance payment as he believed it would help bring many of the landowners on board. This I did and, indeed, some other councillors did, and eventually Kerry County Council agreed to this measure.

I did my utmost to help landowners by arranging meetings with council officials, suggesting and proposing alternative routes and accommodation works. It quickly became apparent that we were never going to get 100 per cent agreement and that the only alternative was to go down the CPO route. I fully support this option as I strongly believe it is the only way of getting this massive project for Kerry over the line.

I am confident that all landowners will be adequately compensated for their lands and will get approval for any accommodation works that they request during the CPO process.

I wish to support the South Kerry Greenway for all of the following reasons. I believe this to be the single, biggest and most important tourism project ever for County Kerry, costing in the region of €20 million, and it will attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

The Caherciveen, Iveragh region is an area that has suffered severely at the hands of emigration and it is subject to continuous population decline. It is fair to say that Caherciveen town is on its knees with many closed businesses, a trend that seems to be continuing, based on recent closures.

Caherciveen and Iveragh require immediate help and I believe the South Kerry Greenway, when developed, will have the capability to halt and reverse these trends. I believe this is a lifeline for this area as it is extremely difficult to envisage any large company or factory setting up in the region.

This multi-million Euro project will also benefit the Glenbeigh, Killorglin, Mid Kerry and the South Kerry region. I believe, in fact, that it will benefit the entire county for generations to come.

• This is a submission to An Bord Pleanála from Rossbeigh-based Cllr Michael Cahill who says it is imperative that everyone makes their views known on the project. The closing date for submissions is October 19. The postal address for An Bord Pleanala is 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1 and the email address is [email protected]

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