Tourism leaders glad of road reprieve

Businesses have welcomed news that a strategic road on the Cork-Kerry border will not be closed during the height of the tourist season.

Kerry County Council had earlier planned to carry out roadworks for seven weeks in June and July on its side of “the tunnel” on the N71 between Glengarriff and Kenmare.

It initially said the €1.45m remedial works in the Bonane area might require the complete closure of the road.

This caused serious concern in both counties, and county councillors in Cork wrote to their counterparts in Kerry and the National Road Authority urging that work would not be carried out in the tourist season.

Maureen McCarthy, owner of the Glengarriff Park Hotel, said businesses in the town feared a closure in the height of the season would cause big losses.

Ms McCarthy said the main bulk of tourists coming to her 23-bed hotel were travelling into the area from the Kerry side.

“We’re were seriously concerned that would damage our business,” she said. “We also have a restaurant which is very dependent on passing trade.”

Ms McCarthy’s family also owns a shop in Kenmare where her daughter works.

“She would have had to take a detour through the Healy Pass to get to Kenmare which would add about 60 miles to the round trip.”

However, she welcomed yesterday’s statement from Kerry County Council, which said resurfacing work would now take place either in early April or the autumn.

However, Kenmare livestock mart manager Dan McCarthy said that while the need to improve the road was understood, its closure would be “disastrous” for business and would make it harder for many farmers to get to the mart.

“Between 60% and 70% of farmers using our mart come from the Beara Peninsula and a closure would mean they would have to make long detours either over the Healy Pass, through Castletownbere, or Borlin,’’ he said.


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