A PROPOSAL by Kerry County Council to turn the old Fenit to Tralee railway line into a walkway and cycle path to boost tourism and provide a local amenity is meeting stiff resistance by some villagers who fear it will bring anti-social behaviour and loss of privacy.
The 12.5 km line, with views of Tralee Bay and the Slieve Mish mountains, operated between 1887 and 1978 and is still largely intact. However, it would cost €11 million to reopen as a railway.
A free bus tour is being offered to interested parties to visit a similar scheme on the old Abbeyfeale-Newcastle line, 28km of which are a similar walkway/cycleway. Originally there were also strong objections to that route.
John Williams, from Fenit, said many people had concerns about the project, including anti-social behaviour, planning, lighting and security issues.
Kerry County Council has got a licence agreement from CIÉ, owner of the line, to turn it into a dedicated walkway and cycleway directly from the heart of Tralee to the deepwater port of Fenit.
The project manager said it had also ironed out many difficulties with residents along the line and had held meetings with communities over the past year or so.
Mayor of Kerry Bobby O’Connell said: “Both visitors and locals will have the opportunity to cycle or walk from Tralee to Fenit on a dedicated path without interference from traffic.
“The amenity value of the cycleway will be immense also as it passes through rolling countryside with glorious views of the Slieve Mish Mountains and Tralee Bay, ” the councillor added.