Calls to remove Protected Structure status at St Finan’s
By Sean Moriarty
Local councillor Brendan Cronin is calling for the removal of the ‘Protected Structure’ designation at the former St Finan's Hospital.
The historic building has been lying idle since it closed in September 2012.
The hospital and adjoining lands are up for sale by the Health Service Executive (HSE) since then.
So far no realistic offer has been made on the site despite suggestions that it could be used for social housing, a catering college and a hotel.
Each year the building, which was built in the 1850s, falls into further disrepair.
Cronin believes its protected status is deterring potential buyers.
At Monday’s full meeting of Kerry County Council Cronin asked the Council executive to reconsider the designation.
“This is a strategically important site and the protected structure designation is a major impediment to any development or use of the building and adjacent lands, the building has been left empty and idle since closing in 2012 and taking on the burden of well over €100 million renovations has proven to be financially toxic,” he told the meeting.
“Ultimately, as time moves on it will become a derelict eyesore like similar buildings in other counties and cities. A change needs to be made in the current designation to lift the obstacles blocking the potential of this important site."
Kerry County Council management did not support the idea.
“A declaration has been issued in relation to the St Finan’s building and it is considered that the elements specified to be retained are not overly restrictive and do not impinge on the ability of this structure to be retained and renovated for a variety of uses. Kerry County Council offers a comprehensive pre-planning service and looks forward to meeting and engaging with the owners or prospective owners of the building with regard to its renovation,” said a Council official.
Fire warning in National Park
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places […]
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places this summer.
As they appeal to the public to exercise renewed care and responsibility when outdoors the National Parks and Wildlife Service has increased ground crews on fire patrol and has ramped up aerial monitoring with helicopters and drones.
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD said:
“If you notice a fire, please call the emergency services on 112 immediately. NPWS teams are upping their patrols to identify potential fire incidents and act quickly should one break out. However as we know, prevention is better than cure, and we’re asking all members of the public to avoid lighting fires in open areas.”
Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan TD commented further:
“Our National Parks and Nature Reserves, coastal sand dunes, mountains and upland areas, forests, meadows and urban parks are all places where we enjoy spending time in nature, but they are also home to our precious wildlife and their vulnerable young. This is a really important time of year for wildlife, especially vulnerable ground-nesting birds and mammals who are now rearing their young. We all want to get out and enjoy the good weather but let’s do it responsibly – without putting nature at risk.”
The Director General of the NPWS, Niall O Donnchú, has also asked for everybody’s cooperation to protect nature and said:
“While NPWS has increased ground crews and monitoring from the air this week, we still need to enlist your help to protect nature at this high risk time. We ask that members of the public not light fires or barbecues in any National Parks or Nature Reserves, or indeed in nature generally. We are also asking that the public be vigilant and report any fire activity without delay.”
Killarney Looking Good Competition returns
Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new […]
Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new committee, new categories, new sponsors and a whole new approach.
When the project was first launched in 1991 it was a relatively low-key community event but it grew in importance with each passing year, culminating in some style when Killarney won the prestigious overall award in the national tidy towns competition in 2011.
After an enforced three-year absence since 2019, due to the pandemic, the competition has now been given a whole new lease of life and the 2023 version was officially launched this week by Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Niall Kelleher.
Awards will be presented in 26 different categories and high achievers in the business and residential community will be honoured at a gala prizegiving ceremony at the close of the tourist season.
This year two new categories are being introduced in memory of two remarkable people who played massive roles in keeping Killarney looking its best down through the years.
Yvonne Quill, who passed away last October, was the driving force behind the Killarney tidy towns campaign for several years and she was at the helm when the sought-after overall award was secured 12 years ago.
This year the Yvonne Quill Memorial Award will be presented to the volunteer of the year – a person who the adjudicators consider to be a standout contributor – in the overall effort to keep Killarney tidy.
Up to the time of his death in January 2020, Fr Michael Murphy was the public face of tidy towns and he played a huge part in Killarney, Kenmare and Sneem winning the overall national award in 2011, 2000 and 1987 respectively. Affectionately known as Fr Tidy, this year the Killarney Looking Good Competition will honour his memory with a special Pride of Place award.
In the business community, there will be awards for the best large and small commercial premises, best newly painted premises, best signage and the best retail award with prizes also for the most impressive hotel, public house, restaurant, café, guesthouse and best public building as well as the most improved premises.
In the residential categories awards will go to the best large and small estates, best private residence, best roadside garden, best floral display and best friendly planting award.
Other categories include a green hospitality award, a corporate special responsibility award, a restoration award, best school and a special biodiversity award.
Several highly commended awards will also be up for grabs and the winner of the prestigious overall award will be announced at the prizegiving ceremony.
The Killarney Looking Good Competition is organised by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and Killarney Municipal District Council and the new committee comprises Sandra Dunlea – a daughter of the late Yvonne Quill – Kathleen Foley, John O’Mahony and Johnny McGuire who is spearheading the project.
MD O’Shea & Sons are the new overall sponsors of the competition and O’Mahony Media Ltd is the media sponsor.
The competition will run throughout the tourist season and businesses and residential areas will be monitored on an ongoing basis.
Fire warning in National Park
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the...
Killarney Looking Good Competition returns
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