IT WAS most unfair that a Kerry snail was being blamed for holding up a major road into the county from Cork, a council meeting in Tralee has heard.
Because of a judicial review on behalf of the rare geomalacus maculosus in the High Court, the long-awaited Macroom to Ballyvourney relief road, approved by An Bord Pleanála, is proceeding at "a snail's pace".
The rare spotted slug, a red data species found only in south Kerry, west Cork and the northern tip of the Iberian peninsula, is now "looking over the ditch" at the trucks and traffic piled up in traffic jams between Cork and Kerry on its behalf, Councillor Danny Healy-Rae said.
"It is most unfortunate this proposal is held up by environmentalists on behalf of a Kerry snail - as if it was the snail from Kerry's fault," he said.
He was speaking on foot of a council motion from Cllr Michael Gleeson calling on the NRA to "commence construction with all due haste".
Cllr Gleeson said the road which was the main artery between Cork and Kerry, was "deplorable".
"It's not just the surface, but the bends. It is deplorable that people commuting on a daily basis have to travel that monstrosity of a road," Cllr Gleeson said.
However, the council report said the NRA's hands were tied until the result of the judicial review.
Cllr Gleeson said the slug had a red and white underbelly - a reference to the fact it is on the international conservation list of rare species, the red list.
This prompted one senior council official, John Flynn, to quip the road was indeed moving at a snail's pace.
By Anne Lucey, Irish Examiner