NORMA PRENDIVILLE – [email protected]
than three decades after the Great Southern Trail Group was
established, one of its founder members and current chairman, Liam
O’Mahony has been invited to address the conference of the
European Greenways Association on the issue of citizen involvement.
conference, which takes place in Spain next week, has attracted
participants from countries all over Europe including a speaker from
the Department of Transport and Tourism who will outline the Irish
strategy in developing Greenways.
to the Limerick Leader in advance of the conference, Mr O’Mahony
said the building of an underpass to Barnagh Tunnel, currently
underway, was to be welcomed.
application by Kerry County Council for funds to develop two
stretches of the old Great Southern railway line from the Limerick
border to Listowel and from Tralee to Fenit was also a positive, he
he questioned whether there was “joined-up” thinking between the
Kerry and Limerick councils on the matter and argued that an
opportunity was being missed to e develop a national greenway.
appears that both councils are working independently of each other”
Mr O’Mahony said. “Kerry is not even using the Great e Southern
tag in their two projects.
councils have also failed to highlight that the railway route is
100km long,” he pointed out.
is also concerned that the momentum that was injected when Limerick
City and County Council took over management of the Limerick trail in
2016 has faded.
grand plan is one. Implementation is something else.”
he has voiced concern that the Great Southern Trail group, is once
again being sidelined. When the idea of a trail along the railway
line was first raised, Shannon Development ignored the group and
effectively “created the opposition among landowners”, he said.
For ten years, Mr O’Mahony said, the trail group was “regarded as
an undesirable element.”
the group persisted in its plan, gradually doing stretches of the
line and gained recognition. Now, Mr O’Mahony feels the group is
again being ignored. “Now everybody seems to be consulted except
us’ he said. “Anything suggested by us has been put on the long
finger,” he said.
he includes in this, a suggestion from the trail group to site
artefacts of railway heritage along the route. These include old
wagons, wheels etc. which could be adapted to new purposes but would
serve as reminders of the past.
group however, is particularly concerned about preserving the
integrity of the line.
the GST Group was developing 40km of the old railway line in
Limerick, it prevailed, despite trenchant opposition form some
sources, in preserving the integrity of the route,” Mr O’Mahony
is a matter of much regret that in 2017, Limerick City and County
Council failed to develop a stretch from Rathkeale to Ballingrane
Junction due to local opposition. To compound this failure, there are
indications the council is now contemplating a deviation from the
already developed 40km Greenway to facilitate one individual.”
is totally unacceptable to the Trail Group, he continued, and could
set a precedent for further deviation in the yet to be developed
stretches of the line.
position is clear: State-owned railway routes are not up for grabs by
private individuals.” he said.