Friday 16 March 2007

Right-of-way issues hamper Carrantuohill safety works

PLANS to make the ascent to Ireland’s highest mountain safer are on hold because of a right-of-way issues over a steep climb known as the Devil’s Ladder.
A sum of €100,000 has been provided to develop Carrantuohill for climbers, and a Scottish company with mountaineering expertise engaged to do safety work on the ascent.
Agreement has yet to be reached with all local landowners, however, holding up the project.
Acting Kerry county manager Tom Curran told county councillors yesterday he was hopeful the matter would be resolved soon, through local mediation.
The issue was raised by Killarney-based Cllr Michael Gleeson, who said there were particular concerns about the safety of the steep Devil’s Ladder, which climbers negotiate on their ascent of Carrantuohill.
“Many climbers are now loath to go up the Devil’s Ladder, because of the multitude of loose stones which can come tumbling down — posing a real risk to life and limb,’’ he remarked.
“We’re not asking for stairways, lifts or railway sleepers, or anything like that. But, because of the importance of walking tourism in Ireland, it’s essential that safety measures are put in place,” he added.
Cllr Gleeson said he was disappointed that the council’s efforts, in conjunction with the Department of Transport, had not yet come to fruition.
Mr Curren added that there was a need for a footbridge over the Gaddagh river, which become “very angry” in heavy rainfall, and where a young climber was swept to her death some years ago.
The manager said he was still hopeful the issue could be resolved with the help of Beaufort Community Council, which is anxious to see safety improved.
Several climbers have died in falls on Carrantuohill and many have been rescued by the Kerry Mountain Rescue Team there.
A submission has been made to Fáilte Ireland, under a tourism initiative, to improve safety and access to the mountain.
Mr Curran said an access road had been taken over at Lislibane, while land for parking had also been acquired.
Donal Hickey
© Irish Examiner

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