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Anger as Port Road development heads for An Bord Pleanála

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By Sean Moriarty

Kerry County Council has recommended that planning permission be granted for a controversial development on Port Road despite widespread objections from elected councillors.

Portal Asset Holdings Ltd has lodged planning permission with Kerry County Council for the construction of a development of 76 houses, 56 duplexes and 96 apartments on a greenfield site to the rear of the District Hospital on St Margaret’s Road and to the rear of the traditional cottages on Port Road.
It is proposed to build an access road off the Port Road too.

The proposed development includes upgrade works to Port Road, a pedestrian connection to Millwood Estate, and improvements to the stormwater network on St Margaret’s Road as part of enabling infrastructure for the project.

Last month the application caused anger amongst residents of the area who fear their quality of life will be affected by the development.

The application is set to go before An Bord Pleanála.

On Wednesday, Kerry County Council’s senior planner Damien Ginty gave a presentation on various issues and concerns connected with the application at a Killarney Municipal District meeting.

The 30 page report outlined pros and cons on why the development should or should not go ahead.

“The proposed development provides a mix of housing sizes and types to facilitate a wide demographic of housing need, but in particular provides an increased number of small units which typifies housing demand in Killarney and the surrounding area,” stated the report. “It is recommended that permission be granted for the proposed development.”

ANGER

Mr Ginty’s conclusion was met with anger from all seven elected councillors. They were unanimous in their calls that such a large development should not go ahead in the area.

And while they all admitted that Killarney urgently needs more houses they felt that there were too many local issues to allow this particular development go ahead in its current format.

One of the proposals is to include a pedestrian access point from the existing Millwood estate into the new development which will include a crèche.
Cllr Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan said Millwood would become a “a drop off point” for parents.

“I am not in favour to the connectivity to Millwood,” he told the meeting, “This is something that this estate does not deserve. I am disappointed by a lot of things in the report – they don’t wash with me. My view is I am not in favour of what is being proposed.”

Cllr Brendan Cronin raised concerns about the potential increase in traffic in an already congested area.

“I have very serious concerns regarding the size and scale of this development on a number of fronts,” he told the meeting. “The scale and size [of the development] with only one access will create traffic chaos in an already busy road. This planning should be downsized to an appropriate level.”

Cllr Maura Healy-Rae was also concerned about traffic issues in the area if the development goes ahead.

“We are well aware of the traffic congestion in that area,” she said. “That road is often gridlocked.”
She also raised concerns about the size of the development. “I am not against housing development,” she added. “But there are issues there in terms of scale, height, number of houses and the impact on traffic.”

Cllr John O’Donoghue echoed his colleagues' concerns regarding traffic in the area “that is already blocked up three or four months of the year”.
He has raised concerns about stormwater drains coming from the site that “will have a colossal impact on the lakes”.

Cllr Donal Grady said the proposal was “a concrete jungle”.

“We badly need houses but what is happening here is ridiculous,” he said.

Cllr Niall Kelleher took a similar stance.

“We need houses but we need it done properly,” he told the meeting.

Mayor Marie Moloney concluded the discussion.

“I am not against housing but I am against the scale of this development. It is too big and too imposing,” she said.

A separate issue arose concerning lands belonging to the Kerry Education Training Board (KETB) which sit adjacent to the proposed development.

It is proposed that two pedestrian/cycle routes will connect the development with ETB’s lands.

Both Mayor Moloney and Cllr O’Callaghan sit on the ETB board and both said that the ETB has not given consent for such a move.

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The Irish investment market is pathetic

By Michael O’Connor, theislandinvestor.com    I lived abroad for years, so all the investment strategies I created were typically outside of Irish tax considerations. But over the last few weeks I […]

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By Michael O’Connor, theislandinvestor.com   

I lived abroad for years, so all the investment strategies I created were typically outside of Irish tax considerations.

But over the last few weeks I have been putting together several investment strategies for Irish-domiciled clients. It has been eye-opening, to say the least.

In short, most of the Irish market appears to be dominated by a handful of life insurance companies that offer ‘wrapped’ Multi Asset Funds. This means they offer a basket of stocks, bonds, property etc., all within one investment.

Irish Life’s MAPs 4 multi-asset fund states a standard annual management charge of 1.15%. A bit on the higher side for my liking, but this is still manageable.

But when you dig a little deeper, the KID documents (where all fees have to be fully disclosed as part of UCITS regulations) show the fee as 2.2%.

Double the quoted price

As an added bonus, they lock your money up for seven years, where an early encashment charge is waiting for those who wish to withdraw their money early. That’s right, they charge YOU for making your money inaccessible.

This lock-up period is a shrewd business tactic. An exit charge is an excellent way to ensure customers don’t leave when they realise how poor the performance is.

Too late, you’re trapped.

Performance

Fees become more digestible provided the performance is strong, but unfortunately, the misery continues.

The Irish Life MAPS 4 Portfolio has an annual return of 1.63% a year over the last five years. Granted, this was a challenging market climate to navigate, but falling below even the lowest expectations of inflation means that this fund has returned negative real returns after inflation over the last five years.

A similar 60/40 portfolio made up of passive index funds (S&P 500 and US T bonds) would have returned roughly 6.5% a year over the same period for a fee of roughly 0.1%.

We can go round and round in circles regarding the ‘risk adjusted’ approach and the added ‘diversification’ of the multi-asset fund versus the 60/40 portfolio I have shown. But the reality is much of this so-called diversification is over-engineering for an extra cost for many long term investors.

So, how can such pathetic offerings still exist in a system where low-cost operators such as De Giro are providing endless ETF options and commission-free trades that provide access to market returns at a fraction of the price?

Two reasons spring to mind

Firstly, the Irish retail investment scene is built on a financial broker commission system where unsuspecting customers are shoved into these products by ‘financial planners’ who receive kickbacks and commissions from these investment companies. You think you’re getting free investment advice; believe me, you’re not.

Second, the tax treatment of ETF structures is comical in Ireland, and US ETFs aren’t even an investment option. A 41% exit tax and an eight-year deemed disposal rule leaves investors stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Choose an overpriced, underperforming product that locks your money away for multiple years or choose the cheaper, better-performing product and suffer the tax consequences.

Bizarrely, investors are forced to make decisions based on preferential tax treatment rather than on the underlying investment’s merits.

I have gone into much more detail on the tax treatment and investment options in Ireland on my website. Just scan the QR code.

If you would like me to independently review your investment portfolio, just send me an email at mike@theislandinvestor.com.

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Rebel lights delight for Killarney star

By Con Dennehy The continued growth, development and participation of women’s handball in East Kerry was rewarded at the weekend when Cork hosted ‘She’s Ace’, the prestigious All Ladies Handball […]

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By Con Dennehy

The continued growth, development and participation of women’s handball in East Kerry was rewarded at the weekend when Cork hosted ‘She’s Ace’, the prestigious All Ladies Handball championships.

Attracting all the leading players in Ireland, it was Sarah Dineen, the Spa/Killarney player who shot out the Rebel lights in Conna with a phenomenal display of handball.

Competing in the highly competitive Ladies Challenger championship, the Killarney player, who took up the sport just 18 months ago, had the perfect start in the competition defeating the home town favourite Agnes Hurley from Conna on a 21-20 scoreline following an energy sapping and close encounter that hung in the balance to the final ace.

In her second game she took on the challenge of Nolwenn Even from St Brigids where her skill, superior fitness and movement on the court resulted in the 21-12 victory and a place in the prestigious final.

“The final was always going to be a difficult game not least playing local girl Kate O’Riordan from Conna. I concentrated on my serve and kill shots which ensured we shared the aces early in the game. It was a difficult game with the home supporters out in force to cheer on their local hero. However, I played well and secured a 21-11 victory. This was the second time this title came to Spa Killarney following the 2022 win by Aoife Walsh in Northern Ireland,” said Sarah, who is currently chairperson of the Killarney Camogie Club.

A native of Westmeath, Sarah (46) runs a jewellery business in Killarney and lives in Rathmore. No stranger to competitive sport she played camogie for Westmeath and Leinster and also won an Intermediate championship Gaelic football medal in Westmeath.

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