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Council votes to move Tralee Courthouse to Island of Geese




The controversial decision to move Tralee Courthouse to a site within the newly renovated Island of Geese site has been given the backing by the majority of elected councillors in Kerry.

VOTE: Cllr Patrick O'Connor-Scarteen who is the Cathaoirleach of Kenmare Municipal District and a Killarney-based solicitor said the Council's vote to move Tralee Courthouse to the Island of Geese is welcome news.

As a result of today’s vote, a plot of land on the Island of Geese will be sold to the Court Services and a new courthouse will be built on that site.

The decision will be controversial as the site was gifted to the people of Tralee by the Denny Family when they vacated the site a few years ago.

Earlier this month a new walkway and town centre public amenity was officially opened by Kerry County Council.

“It's a huge relief and very progressive that Councillors by a large majority voted to sell a small section of the Island of Geese site in Tralee to the Court Service for the provision of a new courthouse in Tralee which is badly needed,” said Cllr Patrick O'Connor-Scarteen, who is the Cathaoirleach of Kenmare Municipal District and a Killarney-based solicitor.

He cited the following reasons as the why it was necessary to build a new courthouse in Tralee.

- The Court Service deemed the current Courthouse in Ashe Street no longer fit for purpose.

- Without a new courthouse, Kerry cases would be lost to Limerick and Cork, resulting in a huge waste of time, money and resources for Gardai and those appearing before the courts.

- It's important that justice is administered locally in the county.

- Kerry cases would not get adequate coverage in the press if Kerry cases were heard outside the county. The public are entitled to know about most cases before the courts.

- The legal profession is a big employer in the county and it's essential such jobs are retained in Kerry

- The new courthouse will be very close to Tralee Garda Station which would be sensible and convenient on a number of fronts.

- A new courthouse would adequately cater for people with disabilities, will be more spacious, will have consultation rooms, and will have facilities for the legal profession

- The courthouse would be located in the centre of Tralee town and will result in spin off businesses such as shops, restaurants etc., being retained in the town.

- The courthouse would not only be for Tralee, but for all of Kerry.

“Today I call upon the Court Service to proceed with the various formalities to build a new courthouse including obtaining the funding, planning permission, design," he added. “Today's decision is a positive step and it is imperative the construction of the new court is progressed without delay.”

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Is it a good time to sell your property?

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year. The quarterly report found the market had held up […]




By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year.

The quarterly report found the market had held up better than evidence had suggested in 2022. The number of vendors cutting asking prices remained at low levels, while many house prices were being settled above asking prices.

However, the report warned that the resilience of the housing marking is set to be tested this year. It found annual asking price inflation slowed to six percent nationwide, meaning the asking price for the average home in Ireland is now €330,000.

There were 15,000 available properties for sale on in the fourth quarter of the year – an improvement on the same time last year but still below pre-pandemic levels.

Average time to sale agreed was 2.7 months nationwide which the report said is indicative of a very tight housing market.

The report said it expects to see 28,400 house completions in 2022, exceeding its previous forecast of 26,500 finished units.

The author of the report, Conall MacCoille, Chief Economist at stockbrokers Davy, said it appeared the market had held up better than evidence had suggested.

“The number of vendors cutting their asking prices is still at low levels. Also, transactions in Q4 were still being settled above asking prices, indicative of a tight market,” he said.

Recent months had seen worrying trends in the homebuilding sector, with housing starts slowing, and the construction PMI survey pointing to the flow of new development drying up.

“We still expect housing completions will pick up to 28,400 in 2022 and 27,000 in 2023. However, the outlook for 2024 is far more uncertain. The Government’s ambitious plans to expedite planning processes are welcome although, as ever, the proof will be in the pudding,” he added.

Locally, and unsurprisingly, the lack of supply of new and second-hand properties remains the dominant issue. There has been very little new construction due largely to the rising cost of construction, labour, materials and utilities which in turn is putting pressure on the second hand market.

This market proved particularly strong in 2022 with active bidding experienced on the majority of house sales and a large proportion of guide prices being generally exceeded.

The detached family home end of the market is particularly strong with increased competition for a limited number of available well located family homes.

So, what lies ahead and is it a good time to sell your property?

The answer is a tight market with scarcity of supply being a factor. If selling now you will benefit greatly from a lack of supply of available homes (therefore less competition) provided your property is marketed correctly of course!

For anyone considering placing their property on the market, contact DNG Ted Healy 064 6639000 for genuine honest advice on how to achieve the best possible price for your home.

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Tourism VAT rate should be “continued indefinitely”

A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its […]




A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its customers”.

The reduced VAT rate of 9% was introduced by the Government in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the hospitality sector.

“I believe a return to a 13.5% Tourism VAT rate would be counterproductive at this stage, to small and medium businesses that welcome visitors to our country and our county,” Councillor Michael Cahill said.

“Catered food is already charged at 13.5%, alcohol at 23% and accommodation presently at 9%. This sector is providing pretty decent returns to the Exchequer and should be supported. All parties in this debate, including the Government and accommodation providers, should review their position and ensure their actions do not contribute to ‘killing the Goose that laid the Golden Egg’.”

He explained that the tourism industry is “in a very volatile market”, as can be seen by the enormous challenges “posed by COVID-19 in recent years”.

“A grain of rice could tip the balance either way and great care must be taken not to damage it irreparably. We are all aware that the next six to 12 months will be extremely difficult for many businesses with the increase in the cost of oil and gas, etc,, and a return to the 13.5% VAT rate will, in my opinion, close many doors. If a minority are ‘price gouging’, then it should be possible to penalise them and continue to support the majority who offer value for money to our visitors.”

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