Plea over court review of road plan

A strong plea was yesterday made to An Taisce not to proceed with a judicial review in the High Court of a project to upgrade a major tourist route.

Kerry County Council chairman John Brassil said he was “really infuriated” by the heritage body’s move and was seeking a meeting with An Taisce chairman John Harnett.

An Bord Pleanála recently approved a €65m plan to straighten, widen and provide cycle lanes along a 28km section of the Tralee to Dingle road.

The route involved is between Annascaul and Camp.

However, An Taisce claims the appeals board did not fulfil its obligations under the EU Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, and widening the road would adversely affect the scenic landscape.

Mr Brassil said €4m allocated by the National Roads Authority for work on the road this year could now be transferred to some other part of the country if there were any further delays.

“I’m really infuriated and just don’t know where An Taisce is coming from. There are huge implications for this county and a massive investment in tourism being put in jeopardy.

“We’ve already been through the judicial process in relation to the road. What An Taisce is doing is beyond belief and it has serious questions to answer.”

Mr Brassil said: “I’m asking An Taisce to withdraw the review.”

Kerry County Council had sought a review of an appeals board decision to refuse permission for the project in 2012.

The decision had been quashed in the High Court and returned to the planning appeals’ board for reconsideration.

As a result, the board reversed its decision and gave the green light to the project.

But An Taisce claims the assessment of the scheme had been “compromised” by the appeals’ board.

There was no further comment from An Taisce, yesterday, while a High Court hearing is scheduled for March.

Meanwhile, lobby group (Irish Cycling Advocacy Network) has opposed plans for the cycle lanes, saying that unlike the Great Western Greenway in Co Mayo, which is mostly away from the main road, the N86 Dingle road project provides for cycle lanes directly alongside the road.

The cycling body argued an off-road cycle route would be a tourist attraction in itself and more appealing than a route design which would put cyclists metres from high-speed traffic.


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