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Council takes a bow as Kerry tourism strategy selected as best in Ireland

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KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL has clinched a coveted national award this week, having been selected as outright winner of the Irish Public Sector Service to Tourism Award 2016 for its newly published tourism strategy.

The ‘Excellence in Business’ Awards to Local Government, sponsored by the Irish Public Sector Magazine, are awarded annually to companies and authorities who can demonstrate outstanding service, continuity, track record and general excellence in business to the public sector, Irish companies, and to the people of Ireland. Last year, the council won the ITIC Best Tourism Innovation Award at the inaugural National Tourism Awards.

The new Kerry Tourism Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2022 is the culmination of two years’ work by the council and the Destination Kerry Tourism Forum and follows extensive local, national and international consultation with the public, visitors, agencies and trade and is the most in-depth analysis of tourism ever undertaken in the county.

The new report sets out 272 specific actions to be implemented across seven key areas over the short, medium or long term, including community tourism, events and festivals, education, enterprise and innovation, environment, natural and cultural heritage, infrastructure, adventure, and branding and marketing.

The prioritisation of the extensive number of projects which were agreed following full public consultation was based on the need to
extend the tourism activity into the shoulder season. A focus is also placed on the promotion of Kerry's green and clean image, further development of the Wild Atlantic Way, and development of projects with significant visitor appeal.

The vision set out in the strategy is “to maximise, in a sustainable manner, tourism’s contribution to the quality of life, economy, employment and local community development, paying particular attention to nurturing and protecting the natural, built, cultural and linguistic heritage of the county.”

Kerry is Ireland’s premier regional holiday destination. It has been welcoming visitors for generations and today attracts 1.7m overseas and domestic holidaymakers which generate over €420m in tourist-related income for the county. The county currently attracts 13% of all overseas visitors to Ireland and one in three American visitors includes Kerry on their itineraries. It has the greatest concentration of tourist accommodation outside of Dublin - up to 50,000 beds in the approved and unapproved sectors.

Kerry is also more dependent on tourism than any other county with over 20% of its workforce employed in tourism-related enterprises and has over 9,000 people directly employed in the accommodation and hospitality sectors.

Moira Murrell, Chief Executive of Kerry County Council, welcomed the award saying: “The Tourism Strategy which forms an integral part of Kerry County Council’s Local Economic and Community Plan 2016-2022, is a living document that will respond to new challenges, changing market trends and consumer behaviour and will be reviewed and updated annually.”
 


 
Welcoming the award for the Kerry County Tourism Strategy at County Buildings this week, Cllr Robert Beasley (chairman, Tourism Strategic Policy Committee), Cllr Michael O’Shea (mayor), Moira Murrell (chief executive), Joan McCarthy (head of tourism development), John Griffin (tourism officer).

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Further rise in house prices forecast for 2022 as average price of a resale home in the capital reaches €500,000

According to the latest residential market review and outlook from leading property advisors DNG, house prices are set to continue rising this year, following the strong growth in values recorded in 2021. At a national level (excluding Dublin) the DNG National Price Gauge (NPG) recorded an increase in the average price of a second hand […]

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According to the latest residential market review and outlook from leading property advisors
DNG, house prices are set to continue rising this year, following the strong growth in values
recorded in 2021.

At a national level (excluding Dublin) the DNG National Price Gauge (NPG)
recorded an increase in the average price of a second hand home of 13.6% last year, a marked
acceleration in the rate of inflation compared to 2020 when prices rose by 1.4%.
At the national level (including Dublin) the overall rate of price increase last year stood at 12.0%. The NPG, which tracks house prices across the country on a half yearly basis, recorded growth of 5.3% in the six months to December 2021, compared to an increase of 7.9% in the first six months of last year.
All regions of Ireland recorded double digit price growth in 2021, except for Dublin (+9.9%).
Nationally, the strongest rate of house price appreciation was in the Mid-West region (+17.2%)
followed by the Midlands (+14.2%) and West (+13.8%) whilst the South East region saw the
lowest rate of growth in prices last year (+11.0%).
Outside the capital the highest average price was found in the Mid-East (€349,259) followed by the South West (€279,844).

Looking at the outlook for the year ahead, the agency forecasts further growth in prices both in
Dublin and nationally, with regional price gains set to outstrip those in the capital where nominal
values are already elevated, and affordability is more challenged.
The agency is forecasting an average uplift in regional markets of 12-13% this year whilst price growth in Dublin will more likely be high single digits, in the order of 6-8%.
The factors underpinning the forecasts include continued strong economic and wage growth, the heightened household savings levels seen in 2020-21, the extension of government initiatives for first time buyers announced in the budget, strong demand from this cohort evident in the mortgage approvals data and the prevailing low interest rate environment.
On the supply side, whilst the supply of new residential completions is set to increase to around 26,000 units this year, this will still be well below the estimated 30-35,000 new units required each year to meet demand thereby putting upward pressure on prices in the market.
“Whilst Covid-related issues rightly dominated the news agenda in 2021, housing undoubtedly came a close second, given the emotive nature of the housing debate and the current market dynamics of
rising house prices and rents and a shortage of accommodation available to buy or rent, not only
in Dublin but across the country.”, said DNG’s Director of Research Paul Murgatroyd said “Price growth was clearly very robust last year across all regions and the factors that drove those increases continue to be evident in the market as we enter 2022. The stock of homes for sale in the second hand market remains very low by historical standards and this, combined with the elevated level of demand, brought about in part by factors linked to changing behaviours throughout the pandemic, will mean further price appreciation will be evident as we progress through the year ahead.”

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Iarnrod Eireann refuses plans for footbridge at railway station

By Sean Moriarty Iarnrod Eireann will not be providing a footbridge to allow pedestrian’s access Killarney Bus Station direct from Killarney Railway Station. Following a motion put forward by Cllr John O’Dongohue last year it was decided that Kerry County Council would write to the railway company about building a footbridge to link the two […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Iarnrod Eireann will not be providing a footbridge to allow pedestrian’s access Killarney Bus Station direct from Killarney Railway Station.

Following a motion put forward by Cllr John O’Dongohue last year it was decided that Kerry County Council would write to the railway company about building a footbridge to link the two public transport hubs.

Currently rail passengers must walk from Killarney station, via the front entrance of the Great Southern Hotel and then walk the entire length of the Outlet Centre before reaching the bus station.

“It’s an anomaly that wouldn’t be tolerated in any other European country,” said Cllr O’Donoghue in November.

Iarnrod Eireann has responded to the letter sent shortly after the November meeting.

In reply the railway company said that in October 2019 it carried out a study which included the possibility of a either an underpass or a footbridge.

The study revealed that passenger would face a short four to five minute walk when trying to access one hub from another.

“Iarnrod Eireann would regard this as scheme as a low priority investment,” said chief executive Jim Meade in the letter.

Cllr Donoghue said the response was “ludicrous” and that he had often witnessed passengers lugging suitcases through the Outlet Centre.

“You would not jog it in five minutes,” he said.

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