Thursday, 19 May 2022
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
I wish to raise the restriction by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, TII, which prevents many people who wish to exit onto national secondary roads from getting planning permission. This is adversely affecting applicants especially along the N72 from Rathmore to Killarney and from Killarney to Killorglin. We are talking about 22 of the 25 miles. In 2012 the Department authorised the National Roads Authority, NRA, now TII, not to grant permission to planning applicants to access the national secondary roads if the road from which they emerge onto the national secondary road is not in the charge of the local authority. This is very unfair. These roads and junctions are every bit as safe as those that are in the charge of Kerry County Council. Sons and daughters of farmers, landowners and people who have lived and worked their holdings for generations need to build homes for themselves on their own land to be near their ageing parents and to be near their cows in order to milk and calve them. They need to live on the farm on which they work but they are being denied the right by the TII rule. I ask that the TII restrictions be lifted where there is an existing exit onto the N72 serving these holdings, in order that the next generation will be allowed to continue living at home. No extra traffic movements would be created as they would be happy living in their parents' home.
My contention is that if a farmer is forced to build or buy a house at a remove from the farm, he will most definitely generate more traffic movements going to and from his outside home to his farm and his ageing parents who are in his care. Many of these local roads are public rights of way serving several holdings, houses and farms. They are the same in every way as those that are in the charge of Kerry County Council. However, Kerry County Council does not now have the funding to take them in charge. These people who pay every tax and abide by every regulation are being blocked from getting planning permission by TII. I wish to stress that what I ask is that where there is an existing exit onto the national secondary road and where the site distance at the junction complies with the regulations, planning be allowed for the landowners' sons and daughters.
The problem for all those who cannot get permission in respect of their own land is that they have no hope of getting planning anywhere near their own holdings because all the areas surrounding Killarney - Mucross, Kilcummin, Aghadoe, Fossa and Beaufort - are designated as areas under intense upward pressure. That means there can be no planning for outsiders. The only option left is Killarney town, where land is making €1 million an acre and where houses cost €500,000 to €600,000 or more.