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Killarney facing rental property dilemma

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By Sean Moriarty

There is a chronic shortage of long-term properties to rent in the town – with just five in a 10km radius this week listed on rental website daft.ie.

There are over 600 short stay properties, in the same radius, available on airbnb.ie. The Government could make a decision within the next 10 days to further restrict the short-term letting of houses and apartments in an effort to appease the national housing shortage.

However, these are the very properties that visitors to Killarney want to rent – and any attempt to reduce available holiday properties in the town will be met with opposition from the town’s tourism leaders.

It will also lead to more expensive holidays for tourists (both Irish and international) as they face ever increasing costs against the backdrop of less choice.

"The visitors who come to rural Ireland for a few months mean a lot to the local economy in rural places such as Gneeveguilla, Scartaglin and Kilgarvan,” Danny Healy-Rae TD told the Dáil during a Lettings Enforcement Bill debate.

“It boosts the local pub or shop. That means something. We should not deprive those people of that. The other thing is these visitors want to experience rural areas. They perhaps left cities and hotels and gave half their life living in those very bright-light urban areas and want to experience a local place. If we hurt those people who operate what they call this Airbnb system, it would be wrong.”

He called on the Government to fund local county councils so they can build more affordable housing.

“I feel this bill is interfering with the democratic rights of house holders to do what they chose with their own property. Rents are expensive but this is not the way to deal with it, they need to build more houses as a matter of urgency,” he added.

"There are two major issues here; one is planning permission where the only place that seems to be available is Killarney where sites are costing €1 million an acre now, and the other issue is the increased cost of materials to build a house.”

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Killarney hotels are still open for business

By Sean Moriarty Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation. […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation.

This week she said that there’s still accommodation to be found in Killarney for visitors.

She was speaking in relation to the current accommodation situation facing International Protection Applicants and Ukrainian war refugees.

She explained that there is a perception that Killarney has taken in too many refugees and that it is putting the tourism industry at risk as people are starting to think that the town is at full capacity.

“If you can’t get a room in Killarney there is something wrong,” she said. “Maybe with the exception of New Year’s Eve.”

She added that hotels that are providing emergency accommodation are helping off-season unemployment.

Many hotels remain in survival mode after two years of pandemic turmoil and the additional off season business is important, she explained.

“Many could be closed at this time of the year, others would not be operating at full capacity,” she added.

However, she warned the Government needs to put a plan in place before the tourism season starts next year. Some hotels offering emergency accommodation either have a three or six month contract.

“I can see there will be tears next April – the Government must have a long-term plan,” she said.

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Homing refugees worth almost €14m

By Sean Moriarty Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees. The Department of Children, […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth released figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

Documents show that contracts totalling €13,852,255.00 are being shared between 13 premises in the Killarney urban area.

However, the department warned these figures are “indicative” only and the full value of the contracts depends on “occupancy and actual usage”.

The Eviston Hotel has secured a contract worth €5,727,590.00, the Innisfallen Hotel in Fossa for €2,404,620.00 and The Hotel Killarney signed a deal worth €1,701,000.00. These are the three biggest contracts published in the documentation.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, and Department officials say more contracts could come on stream. Figures seen by the Killarney Advertiser only cover contracted premises up to the end of September this year and updated figures are only released every three months.

“We are in contract with far more, but the formal exchange of contracts can take place sometime after the service commences,” a department spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is obliged to publish a list of contracts formally signed off each quarter that have been awarded under a special EU Derogation that permits the Department to enter into contracts in the context of the Ukraine accommodation crisis without going to formal tender.

“The values of the contracts shown are estimates; the actual value materialises upon occupancy and actual usage. Standard contracts have no-fault break clauses available to both parties so again, the figures are indicative rather than actual.”

These figures only cover Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war and do not include International Protection Applicants.

The Department refused to release International Protection Applicant figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

“The International Protection Applicant accommodation contract information is commercially sensitive information and is not available,” added the Department spokesperson.

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