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.
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.
An online petition with over 1000 signatures in support of the Tralee to Fenit Greenway was presented to Kerry County Council last week, this petition follows the previous petition with approximately 1000 signatures which was submitted to Tralee Town Council in 2012.
Mr. Stephenson (Fenit) who presented the petition told the Kerry’s Eye
“It’s going on far to long, we have had 20 years of excuses”
The report goes on to quote Moira Murrell CEO of KCC saying “she is hopeful that there will be funding in the near future. It is now with the Department of Tourism”
While this maybe suggest that a funding bid has been made to the department this is not the case and the indications from the department are that in order to be successful in a funding bid planning would need to be in place.
How can Kerry Co Co keep saying this project is a priority and then continuously fail to allocate any funding ?
The examinations are necessary for screening reports, which form part of the planning process for the Tralee Fenit Greenway.
These reports will determine if Environmental Impact and Natura Impact assessments are needed, and whether the planning application will have to go to An Bord Pleanala.
The council’s ecologists have to walk the rail line and undertake preliminary assessments for the screening reports, and once they’re done the scope of the planning process and resources needed will become clear.
The local authority says it’s hoped these walks will completed by the end of June.
The council says significant work has been done in the past 12 months on securing the legal agreement with CIE on the transfer of the land on the rail line, and it’s their objective is to progress the scheme this year.
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.
Earlier this week (June 28th) representatives of the Friends of the Tralee – Fenit Greenway met with the CEO and senior engineer of Kerry County Council.
Mike o Neill thanked Ms Murrell for meeting the delegation and asked that an update
would be given on the current status of the Tralee to Fenit Greenway. He explained that
this project had been the subject of negotiation over a long period of time and there was
deep frustration at the seeming lack of progress and the many promises which for one
reason or another were never realised.
Ms. Murrell outlined that the Greenways were a priority and that they understood the
value of such projects. She explained that they had sought funding for the Tralee/Fenit
and the South Kerry Greenways and they had been granted aid for the South Kerry
project. They had therefore allocated their resources to that project. They do not have
the resources to tackle both projects but they should become available before the end of
this year and they would then allocate them to the Tralee/Fenit project.
Secondly. There was a problem with ownership of the land as Irish rail wanted the
council to absorb the cost of ducting the Fenit and North Kerry lines at a cost of a
million plus euro. This could not be agreed to as it would have caused problems when
funding was later sought for these projects.
However this matter was now resolved and the council is now satisfied that they now
own the land. This will now allow them to apply for planning and do an EiS, which may
be necessary. They will do this as soon as the resources become available, which should
be before the end of this year. In the meantime they will survey the land.
Thirdly. In order to secure funding for the project, it will be listed as a priority in their
action programme due to be launched in July and they will apply for funding from the
newly launched Failte Ireland funding for larger projects. They confirm that it is suitable
project for such funding. Should that not be successful there is another avenue which
will be pursued.
Ms. Murrell and Mr Sheehy assured the delegation that Tralee/Fenit Greenway and Fenit
itself were priority projects and they were positive that they would be delivered
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.
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.
A couple of interesting articles from over 25 years ago have appeared on the Down the Years section of The Kerryman newspaper recently, although the subject is Castleisland the similarities with the current situation with the Tralee – Fenit and the North Kerry line are uncanny:
A community that is crying out for a unused railway to be revitalised.
The land in question is state owned
A project that is part of the county development plan
Owners ( Irish Rail) who want to transfer the ownership to the local authority (Kerry Co Co)
And a local authority (Kerry Co Co) sitting on their hands !