The actions relate to the proposed 32km South Kerry Greenway from Glenbeigh to Caherciveen, which will run mainly along the former disused Southern and Western Railway which operated from 1892 to 1960.
In the first action local farmer James Clifford and environmental activist Peter Sweetman are seeking permission to challenge An Bord Pleanála’s decision of November 10th last to approve Kerry Co Council’s application for the greenway, which includes a 3 metre-wide paved surface.
Represented in the action by Margaret Heavey Bl, instructed by solicitor Brian Harrington, the applicants claim the board’s decision is invalid because it contravenes various EU directives on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Habitats.
Slug and bat protection
The applicants claim the board decision’s decision is invalid on grounds including that it failed to take required steps to establish a system of strict protection for the Kerry slug and the Lesser Horseshoe bat in their natural range.
In their judicial review action they seek an order quashing the board’s decision.
They also seek a declaration that a section of the 2000 Planning & Development Act does not comply with the state’s obligations under the EIA Directive.
This is because the State has failed to transpose into Irish law an obligation to determine if a road should be made the subject of an EIA, it is claimed.
Compulsory purchase orders
A second challenge has been brought against the board’s decision has been taken by members of group representing local landowners, called the Greenway Information Group, whose land is to be used as part of the greenway.
Their lands are to be acquired by way of compulsory purchase orders. Represented by Michael O Donnell Bl, also instructed by Mr Harrington, they are also seeking orders from the court quashing the council’s decision to grant permission for the greenway.
Counsel said his client’s action is similar, with a few differences to the action brought by Mr Sweetman and Mr Clifford.
Kerry County Council is a notice party to both actions.
Both cases were briefly mentioned before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Wednesday, who deemed both actions formally opened.
The judge then adjourned both actions to a date later this month.
The applications for permission to bring the challenges were transferred to the High Court’s strategic infrastructure development and commercial planning list, which is managed by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys.
Revenue seize €32,000-worth of drugs at Dublin Mail Centre
Over 1.5kg of illegal drugs, including herbal cannabis and cannabis infused ‘jelly sweets’ were discovered with the assistance of detector dogs Bailey and Sam.
The drugs were found in parcels which had come from the US and UK which had been declared as clothing, tea, a backpack, an incense burner, and a candle set.
The parcels were being sent to various addresses in Dublin, Offaly, Kilkenny, Clare and Kildare.
Revenue say investigations are ongoing and anyone with information regarding smuggling is asked to contact the Revenue Confidential Line on 1800 295 295.
Ireland faces ‘indefinite lockdown’ without further vaccine supplies, TD claims
Marc MacSharry has urged his Government colleagues to break with the European Union’s purchase system and to try obtain more doses directly from the companies involved.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said the Government intends to offer all citizens in Ireland a vaccine by September.
However, his Fianna Fáil party colleague Mr MacSharry does not believe the goal can be achieved with current number of doses expected.
“I want us to do the old-fashioned — lift the phone, secure supplies, and if they want €70 a dose, give it to them,” Mr MacSharry said.
“Otherwise, you’re looking forward to a fourth wave, an indefinite lockdown, and that is no good to any of us.”
The Republic has now administered 121,900 jabs of a Covid-19 vaccine, equating to 2.5 per cent of the population.
European Union leaders are meeting by video conference on Thursday to discuss a target of vaccinating 70 per cent of the bloc’s population by the summer.
The HSE’s chief Paul Reid told a weekly briefing that the country’s vaccination programme provided a roadmap for getting out of the pandemic.
However, he criticised some hospitals who have administered leftover vaccines to people other than their employees.
Ireland ‘nowhere near’ easing Level 5 but schools…
“There has been much reporting this week of a smaller number of incidents and cases where some people have been vaccinated in a manner or certainly in a sequence that didn’t comply with the agreed sequencing,” Mr Reid said.
“I want to be very clear — this shouldn’t have happened, and nobody could have been confused or needed further clarity in terms of the agreed sequencing for the vaccines.”
Meanwhile, the Tánaiste has said that Ireland is “nowhere near where we need to be at present” to consider easing Level 5 restrictions.
Leo Varadkar told the Dáil that the numbers surrounding Covid-19 were too high to consider lifting restrictions in the short-term, but that did not mean schools could not reopen in February.