Great Southern Trail plans stall as land dispute rumbles on

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

The stand off on the Great Southern Trail outside Abbeyfeale in February
THE POSSIBILITY of the Great Southern Trail (GST) being extended into North Kerry will remain deadlocked as long as objecting landowners receive “credibility and oxygen from some Kerry county councillors”, it has been claimed.

THE POSSIBILITY of the Great Southern Trail (GST) being extended into North Kerry will remain deadlocked as long as objecting landowners receive “credibility and oxygen from some Kerry county councillors”, it has been claimed.

Little progress has been made over the past six months in breaking an impasse over the disputed ownership of the disused North Kerry railway line, which continues to cast a shadow over efforts by CIE, the GST and local supporters to extend the 40km West Limerick trail into Kerry.

Last Thursday CIE officials, Listowel councillors and GST members carried out site inspections of the former rail line between the Limerick border and Listowel. However no planning application to extend the trail has yet been submitted.

Liam O’Mahony, cathaoirleach of the GST committee, said that they are still waiting for the North Kerry Abandoned Rail Line Action Group to substantiate their apparent claim for adverse possession of the property, which could be worth up to €1 million. “Six months ago, they sent a solicitor’s letter claiming ownership of the land. There was a meeting with CIE in March, and they made no effort then or subsequently to back up their claims. [The action group] are getting credibility and oxygen from some Kerry county councillors. All we’ve succeeded in doing so far is miss out on grants”.

The dispute over the trail development infamously came to a head in February when a stand-off took place on the border between walkers and Kerry landowners. CIE reaffirmed its ownership of the property last month in a written response to a query from Kerry North-Limerick West TD Arthur Spring. The company said it “resists all attempts by third parties to claim adverse possession” of the line, and that it supports plans to extend the GST into North Kerry. “We have facilitated the development of the Great Southern Trail on the North Kerry line and continue to do so”.