Public consultation day

Kerry County Council is holding a public consultation day regarding the proposed Tralee to Fenit Greenway.

Venue: Fenit Parish Centre
Date: Wednesday 23rd May 2018
Time: 11am – 8pm

Maps of the route of the proposed greenway will be on display for inspection throughout the day. Kerry County Council officials will be available to discuss any aspect of the project on a one-to-one basis with landowners and interested parties during the hours specified above. In the event that a person cannot attend, an appointment can be made on an alternative date in their office in Tralee or at their landholding if preferred.

There will also be a public consultation the following day regarding the proposed Great Southern Trail from Listowel to the County Bounds.

Venue: Listowel Arms Hotel (Greenville Room)
Date: Thursday 24th May 2018
Time: 11am – 8pm

Great news around hopefully Ireland’s longest Greenway from Fenit to Limerick is not too far away, please come out and support Kerry County County Council on these projects.

Part 8 planning to be complete by July

There was positive news at todays Tralee municipal district meeting council meeting following questions raised by a number of councilors. Kerry Council council confirmed that they have now completed the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA) screening reports for the greenway, these reports were required in order to determine the planning with is required for the project.

EIA Screening is carried out  in order to determine if an Environmental Impact Assessment is required while the AA Screening determines the potential effects, if any, of the proposed project on sites with European conservation designations, i.e. Natura 2000 sites located nearby.

The findings of these reports is positive recommending that the remainder of the project can proceed under a Part 8  planning process (similar to the previous phases of the project) rather than requiring a more laborious and expensive application to An Bord Pleanala or a full Environment Impact Statement (EIS) which has caused delays in the delivery of the South Kerry Greenway.

Kerry Council Council also confirmed that work will now commence on preparing this application and reopening of dialogue with landowners and residents whose  land adjoins the former railway, this is expected to be complete by July.

As per the part 8 planning process the council will then publish their proposals for the remainder of the line and the public will have an opportunity to make observations, all going well the results of the process should be known by late September or October.

If the project receives planning approval it will be in an ideal position to contend for national greenway funding which is due to open at the end of the year.

 

Update on ownership and planning

Radio Kerry report that the final pieces of the legal agreement for transferring ownership from CIE are currently being dealt with, and the council is expected to officially own the lands by the New Year.

The next phase of works to be undertaken include completing the design for the planning application, the assessment of the environmental impacts, and lodging the planning application – this is expected to be done before the end of March.

Waterford show us what’s possible in a year !

The Dungarvan Leader (24/2/16)
The Dungarvan Leader (24/2/16)

The  Dungarvan Leader report this week that the entire 50km from Waterford to Dungarvan along the CIÉ owned railway will be converted into a Greenway by late summer. This is just over a year since Waterford City & County Council began works on the route which is licensed to them by CIÉ.

This clearly shows the time-line in which projects like this are deliverable within, meanwhile in Kerry we see no developments on similar state owned lines between Tralee and Fenit and on to the Kerry border.

 

 

Walk the Line, the 4th

Despite the miserable weather, GAA, rugby and even great surf conditions over 100 people (and a good collection of dogs) came out on Sunday last for the 4th Walk the Line to call for the continuation of the Tralee to Fenit Greenway. The group braved the wind and rain and walked the completed section of the Greenway from the Big River out to Mounthawlk, where representatives of community groups, the Great Southern Trail and election candidates called time on excuses and demanded that work recommence on the route, before a group continued on further to the junction of the Feint and North Kerry railways.

With the general election campaign in full swing it was great to see a number of candidates for the Kerry constituency attend the walk and show their support for the project, those included,  Donal Corcoran (Renua), Michael Fitzgerald (Green Party) and Brendan Griffin (Fine Gael). Apologies were also received from Arthur Spring (Labour), Martin Ferris (Sinn Fein) and John Brassil (Fianna Fail) who although unable to attend  gave the full support for the project.

 

 

Walk The line 4

In 2009 Spa-Fenit parish council secured funding for a project that had been talked about or years, namely the redevelopment of the old Tralee to Fenit railway as a greenway.

By 2011 there was still no development with the project due to stories of ‘individuals’ claiming ownership of the state-owned land, lack of funding, planning issue and issues dealing with CIE. With fears that this project might never see the light of day a group of people young and old came out on a miserable October Sunday afternoon to Walk the Line, and despite the erection of barricades that’s what they did. Weeks before Christmas on an equally miserable Sunday people came out to Walk the Line again, this time not even a JCB and barbed wire could stop them… within months of these walks despite years of inaction, work began on the line, the fruits of which we can see today.

That was 2011, we now find ourselves in 2016 and despite a 500m extension to the train station the story is much the same, depending on who you talk to this lack of progress is down to ‘individuals’ claiming ownership of the state-owned land, lack of funding and planning issues,  issues dealing with CIE or some combination of the above.

It took people power to get what we have today and if we want to see further progress we have to ensure that this project is not forgotten about.

If you wish to see progression of this trail to Fenit then make a stand, come Walk the Line this Sunday the 7th of February, meeting at St. Brendan’s Church 2.30 or a 3pm departure.

And remember politicians will also be calling to your door over the next few weeks, make sure you ask them about this project which could revitalise the area.

walk_the_line_4_poster_a4_web

Great Southern Trail to step back from the day to day operations of the Greenway

GST group along the Tralee-Fenit railway in December 2004
GST group along the Tralee-Fenit railway in December 2004

After 25 years of tireless work developing the greenway along the old Tralee to Limerick railway the Great Southern Trail Limited have decided to cease managing the day to day running of the route.

For Limerick this makes a lot of sense as managing the route was proving taxing for a voluntary community group and it will be better managed and promoted by Limerick County Council.

This is great news for the Kerry  too as the change of role will hopefully free up time and resources for the group to return to an advocacy role and to help realise of the rest of the route, from the Kerry border to Fenit.

The full statement is bellow, hat off to all involved for the great work, here to another 25 year, but hopefully it wont take that long !

 

The Directors of the Great Southern Trail Limited (GST) have decided to cease managing the Greenway as and from Sunday November 8th 2015 and their licence with CIÉ who are the owners of the Greenway will end. The  GST thanks the Board of CIÉ for their vision in 2002 in facilitating the initial development of what was to become the first rural Greenway in Ireland along CIÉ property.
The GST is the only Greenway in Europe which is currently managed by a voluntary group. This fact had its origins over 25 years ago when the then State Agency, Shannon Development, withdrew from what had been their flagship and visionary Greenway project. As a result the prospect of the old Limerick-Tralee railway being reclaimed as farmland loomed large with the consequent loss of a very valuable State owned corridor. To safeguard the railway right of way  the GST was founded and with excellent  public support much of the old line was subsequently rejuvenated.
Initially only the 4km from Newcastle West to Ardagh was opened to the public as a walking route. Gradually, the GST was extended to 40km in West Limerick from Rathkeale westwards to the Kerry Border and upgraded to a cycleway. This success has placed a considerable onus on a volunteer group and despite the support of Community Employment, Rural Social and TÚS schemes the challenge of maintaining the Greenway to the standards demanded throughout the E.U. is a demanding one. In particular a very small number of farm crossings are the subject of unfavourable comment due to the difficulties encountered in keeping them clean.

In recent years all newly developed comparable Greenways have been managed by the respective local authorities. CIÉ has current partnership arrangements with Kerry, Waterford and Westmeath County Councils in respect of disused/abandoned railways that remain in CIÉ ownership and are also in negotiation with Kilkenny and Wexford County Councils about new projects. In fact it is probable that the entire Irish Greenway network will become part of the remit of the new Transport Infrastructure Service [TIS] when that organisation takes over the responsibilities of the National Roads Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency.

In June the GST notified CIÉ and Limerick City & County Council (LCCC) of its intention to cease management of the Greenway and is confident that an arrangement  will be forged between CIÉ and LCCC to ensure that the 40km of infrastructure in West Limerick will continue to be available to the public after November 7th. This is an amenity into which about €2 million has been invested by many State and local agencies including the GST Ltd. which has also contributed thousands of voluntary hours to the project.

The GST Ltd. will be happy to support any new management structure and to be represented on it. The GST will also assist in promoting the Greenway and its further extension along the old North Kerry railway to Tralee/Fenit and looks forward to a link also being provided from Limerick City  westwards to the GST at Ballingrane/Rathkeale thereby providing an attractive 120km route from the city to the sea.

Phase 2 complete, well kind of…

Phase 2 of the Tralee to Fenit Greenway​ / Great Southern Trail in Kerry opened late last week and we have posted a few photos of the new route below.
As to be expected there have been ‘issues’ which have prevented the section from the Big River to Rock Street from being completed, this are due to a delay in authorisation from Dunnes Stores for the lowering of the wall of the super market car park bounding the path. It is hoped that this should be resolved and this section of the route completed within the next few weeks.