NEW tourism projects with the potential to attract thousands of extra visitors can only progress in a timely manner if “roadblocks” like lengthy delays in the planning system are removed.
Travel commentator Eoghan Corry insists that Ireland’s “convoluted planning process” needs to be addressed if new greenways, walkways and cycle paths are to be developed in response to the obvious demand for such attractions.
“Get the roadblocks out of the way. There is a need to have a special designation for tourism infrastructure, like our roads system,” he told the Let’s Talk Tourism forum in Killarney at the weekend.
However, Minister of State for Tourism, Brendan Griffin, a guest at the conference in the Brehon Hotel, said people’s individual property right have to be respected.
“Projects might be taking too long to get through the planning process but you can’t dump down on people’s rights,” he insisted.
Mr Griffin said, in his opinion, greenways should be called goldways because of the huge economic advantages they create.
Commenting on the planning process, Kerry County Council CEO, Moira Murrell, said she has “very mixed views” on using the compulsory purchase process for developments such as greenways.
The proposed South Kerry Greenway has the potential to be the best in Europe but there are 197 landholdings involved and it was a very complex matter.
“If I had 30 years we would get there by consensus. Kerry County Council’s decision to go through the compulsory purchase process was a very difficult decision but we shouldn’t be making CPO decisions day by day or there would be something wrong,” Ms Murrell stated.