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“Cluttered street space will have negative effect” says Cllr Donal Grady

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CONCERN: Cllr Donal Grady fears temporary measures by the Council will lead to long-term pedestrianisation of Killarney town centre. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Sean Moriarty

 

A long-serving councillor has warned that the temporary footpath widening, put in place to allow social-distancing, is a covert way to extend pedestrianisation in Killarney.

In July, to allow the town centre reopen following the national shut down, Kerry County Council extended the width of footpaths in several town centre locations.

Cllr Donal Grady says he is at odds with the Council’s decision concerning the widening of footpaths and the reasons stated.

The entire project is supposed to be a temporary arrangement to allow social distancing while there is still a threat of COVID-19 in the country.

“The town will be desecrated,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “It is OK now, we have plenty of visitors around, but mark my words, come September, when the season is over, the town centre will be dead.”

However, these ’temporary’ works have been installed in such a fashion that it would require a lot of money and work to restore them to pre-social distancing times. The restoration works would involve breaking out new tarmac and kerbing, and the streets would then need full resurfacing.

The widened footpaths have been decorated with large flower paths, effectively, reducing the width of the path to their previous size and some wider pavements are now being used as parking bays for motorcycles.

“It is a way of sneaking in pedestrianisation,” he added. “The elected councillors were not consulted. We had no say in the matter,” added Grady. “This is going to kill the town centre. Locals will go to Tralee and Castleisland to shop and we will lose everything.”

Additionally, Plunkett St has been closed to traffic since early July. The town centre street had a long-running arrangement where it is pedestrianised every day between the hours of 7pm and 7am and this scheme has divided the Council for years. This has been further extended to 24hrs – until September – to allow social distancing on the narrow street.

While some elected members are pushing to increase pedestrianisation on the streets and to other areas in the town centre, Mr O’Grady is amongst those against the idea stating that businesses are suffering due to restricted passing trade. He will bring the issue up again at next month’s Killarney Municipal District meeting.

There has been an increased level of outdoor dining in the town centre since the country started to reopen in late June and early July and while Grady welcomed this as a short-term solution to help businesses get back on their feet, he warned that long-term, the cluttered street space will have a negative effect on the town centre.

“We are not living in Portugal,” said Mr Grady, who added that the temporary arrangements have come at the cost of over 50 parking spaces in the town. “We have been shouting about parking issues for years.”
The Council have been contacted for a comment.

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Ballycasheen junction to get upgraded this year.

A long awaited solution to traffic problems where Ballycasheen Road meets the N22 Cork Road looks like finally being resolved this year. Late last year Transport Infrastructure Ireland allocated €1.2m to be spent on the section of road between the Park Road roundabout and Ballycasheen junction. “Technical Approval for the improvements, along this section which […]

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A long awaited solution to traffic problems where Ballycasheen Road meets the N22 Cork Road looks like finally being resolved this year.

Late last year Transport Infrastructure Ireland allocated €1.2m to be spent on the section of road between the Park Road roundabout and Ballycasheen junction.

“Technical Approval for the improvements, along this section which include Active Travel provision and Junction Improvements at Ballycasheen, is being sought from TII before commencing,” a council spokesperson confirmed. “The elected members will be briefed on the proposals ahead of the commencement of the statutory process in early 2022.”

The council official was responding to a request by Cllr John O’Donoghue who sought an update on progress being on a promised “more user friendly junction.”

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€2.3m funding for Kerry schools under Summer Works Programme

Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley has today (Monday) announced funding of €2.3 million for the approval of 24 projects across Kerry under the Department’s 2022 Summer Works Scheme. This funding is part of the overall package of €65m for a total of 497 projects around the country. “I am delighted to confirm […]

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Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley has today (Monday) announced funding of €2.3 million for the approval of 24 projects across Kerry under the Department’s 2022 Summer Works Scheme.

This funding is part of the overall package of €65m for a total of 497 projects around the country.

“I am delighted to confirm this significant tranche of funding which will provide further investment for schools in Kerry under the Summer Works Scheme,” Minister Foley said.

“School communities have shown great resilience, flexibility and leadership in adapting to the many challenges that arose over the course of the pandemic. This funding is a further endorsement of the excellence in education provided by schools across the county. I am announcing the Summer Works Scheme projects now so that schools have a good lead-in period to plan and deliver the projects in summer 2022,” she said.

“Today’s announcement follows on from the enhanced minor works funding which was delivered to schools a number of weeks ago.”

The projects for Kerry included in today’s announcement include Mechanical Works at Two Mile Community NS and Spa National School, Science Labs including Gas Works at Community College Killorglin and Castleisland Community College, as well as Roof Works at Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra. 

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