€400k walkway will not be affected by land row

A land row between two neighbours will not stop the opening of a new €400,000 walkway along one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in the country.

Clare County Council said the Doolin to Liscannor walk, which takes in the entire Cliffs of Moher stretch to Hag’s Head, will open later this month in spite of the council being unable to complete 12km walkway due to a dispute between two local landowners.

Landowner Michael O’Brien, of Lurraga, Doolin, has a court injunction against his neighbour, farmer Joseph Connole, of Lough South, Liscannor, in relation to lands that form part of the walkway.

The dispute centres on lands on the Old Doolin Cliffs of Moher Rd. Mr O’Brien has had an injunction out against his neighbour interfering with his property since October.

At Ennis Circuit Court last week, where the dispute came before Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, counsel for Mr O’Brien, Pat Whyms BL, said that “there is an urgency to the matter”.

Director of service with Clare County Council, Ger Dollard, yesterday said: “The dispute between the two landowners does not involve the council and doesn’t impact on people having access to the walk.

“The stretch involved is some 600m and, while still walkable, is not currently being upgraded to the same level as the rest of the walk, pending conclusion of the current court proceedings between the parties.”

Mr Dollard said the council remained on course to open the walk in the middle of this month. Others involved in developing the walk include Fáilte Ireland, Shannon Development, the Clare Local Development Company, and the National Trails Office.

Mr Dollard stressed there is no issue for walkers accessing the lands at the heart of the dispute.

“The stretch is part of the old green road and is fully accessible with an established right of way,” he said.

He described the walk as “one of the best walks on a national and international basis. It offers spectacular views on a 12km stretch and offers another high quality activity for both the domestic and international visitors who have a keen interest in walking.”

The walk is for experienced walkers and offers views of the Aran Islands and Connemara in Co Galway. It traverses the lands of 39 landowners, who are to receive maintenance grants towards the upkeep of the walkway.

A spokeswoman for Fáilte Ireland said it is aware of the court proceedings concerning a section of the walk and “we hope the legal issues can be quickly resolved”.

She said Fáilte Ireland has allocated €279,433 towards the scheme and “no monies have been paid to date”.

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