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High Court challenges brought against proposed South Kerry Greenway

The actions relate to the proposed 32km South Kerry Greenway, between from Glenbeigh to Caherciveen.

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TWO HIGH COURT challenges have been commenced against a proposed cycling and pedestrian ‘Greenway’ in Co Kerry.

The actions relate to the proposed 32km South Kerry Greenway, between from Glenbeigh to Caherciveen, will run mainly along the former disused Southern and Western Railway which operated from 1892 to 1960.

In the first action local farmer James Clifford and environmental activist Peter Sweetman are seeking permission to challenge An Bord Pleanála’s decision of 10 November to approve Kerry Co Council’s application for the greenway, which includes a 3m wide paved surface.

Represented in the action by Margaret Heavey, instructed by solicitor Brian Harrington, the applicants claim the board’s decision is invalid because it contravenes various EU directives on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Habitats.

The applicants claim the board decision’s decision is invalid on grounds including that it failed to take required steps to establish a system of strict protection for the Kerry slug and the Lesser Horseshoe bat in their natural range. 

In their judicial review action against the Board, Ireland the Attorney General they seek an order quashing the board’s decision.

They also seek a declaration that a section of the 2000 Planning & Development Act does not comply with the state’s obligations under the EIA Directive.

This is because the State has failed to transpose into Irish law an obligation to determine if a road should be made the subject of an EIA, it is claimed.

A second challenge has been brought against the board’s decision has been taken by members of group representing local landowners, called the Greenway Information Group, whose properties are be used as part of the greenway.

Their lands are to be acquired by way of compulsory purchase orders. Represented by Michael O Donnell, also instructed by Harrington, they are also seeking orders from the court quashing the council’s decision to grant permission for the greenway.

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Counsel said his client’s action is similar, with a few differences to the action brought by Sweetman and Clifford.

Kerry County Council are notice party to both actions.

Both cases were briefly mentioned before Justice Charles Meenan on Wednesday, who deemed both actions formally opened.

The judge then adjourned both actions to a date later this month.

The applications for permission to bring the challenges were transferred to the High Court’s strategic infrastructure development and commercial planning list, which is managed by Justice Richard Humphreys.

About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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