COUNTY councilors this Monday gave the green light to the extension of the Great Southern Trail from Abbeyfeale to the county bounds.
Welcoming the move, Cllr Liam Galvin said the trail was a fantastic amenity and a safe place for people to cycle and for the elderly to walk.
“It is good news. The money has been set aside for it. It is one of the best bits of infrastructure to come to West Limerick,” he said.
“I am delighted to see we are back to Kilmorna and the Kerry boundary,” he continued, adding that the local councilors had sought a meeting with councillors in the Listowel area with a view to trying to continue the trail on to Listowel.
He also asked that enquiries be made about Purt Castle which abutted the new length of trail to see who owns it and if funding could be found to make it safe.
“It is important that we spur on our colleagues in Kerry County Council to move on the trail,” Cllr Michael Collins said.
“Now we can start looking the other way and look to connecting Rathkeale with Limerick,” Cllr James Collins said.
But Cllr Kevin Sheahan reacted strongly to a suggestion from Cllr Mike Houlihan that the Limerick to Foynes rail line could be looked at and developoed as a trail.
“Hands off the Limerick Foynes line,” he said. “Not yet. We want that returned to commercial activity.”
However, he said: “I feel like opening a bottle of champagne. There was an occasion here when it was only three or four councilors who supported the trail. It was a disgraceful way of thinking at the time. Thank goodness we have come a long way. Now we are celebrating a success story and the potential for more success.”
Twenty submissions had been received in response to the planning application to extend the line and all were positive, welcoming the development.
The Great Southern Trail Group is also keen to see the trail extend along the old railway track in North Kerry. Work has begun on a section of line near Fenit.