That budget strategy and LPT (local property tax) meeting in Tralee on Monday, where management’s and Fine Gael’s call for a 5 per cent increase over the baseline was rejected, made for interesting listening.
The increase would have brought an extra €700,000 on the €13.8 million netted by the council from the tax and the extra financial contribution would be on average between €4.50 and €11.25 per house.
Not that the verbal contributions reached Shakespearean heights, but I was reminded of that Shakespearean quote from the very politic Polonius in Hamlet “by indirection find direction out.”
For anyone with half a brain, between the lines and in the telling was the story of a clear division between the wholehearted attention Tralee/Listowel are getting and, dare I say it, the scant regard for Killarney.
Eight of the ten Fianna Fáil councillors voted against the increase sought by FG/management, as did the four Sinn Féin councillors. Independents were split on the vote.
Tellingly, the two Fianna Fáil councillors who broke ranks were from the Listowel area. They were clearly delighted with the works being undertaken in greenways and bypasses and roads and tourism investment and the various improvements in north Kerry villages and in Listowel.
Tralee councillors seemed equally chuffed. And even some of the Tralee councillors who voted against the increase had high praise for “their” council.
And it is very much “their council”. This is a council for Tralee and north Kerry, it is not doing near enough for Killarney and I base my case, without fear of contradiction, on the very document presented to the meeting where the infrastructural projects of both towns were presented in black and white and in just as stark contrast.
Sinn Féin’s Pa Daly, voting against, went so far as to say “all the good the council do is in this document”. He gave examples of the Tralee greenway now going ahead, the homeless unit, and other works. And tellingly, the Tralee councillor said the council are “the primary driver of festivals in the county”. Of course he was referring to the heavy sponsorship and backing of the Rose of Tralee, of the annual food and bloom festivals, not to mention that every single tourism attraction in Tralee is propped up by council staff and council money.
Finally, Cllr Daly lavished praise on the multi-million euro works by the council in Tralee town centre.
There was clear sense at the meeting that Killarney and south Kerry were not happy. Yet only half of the Killarney councillors voted down the increase. However, Cllrs Cronin and Healy-Rae voted against, as did Cllrs Culloty and Kelleher.
“For the last five years it’s talking, talking, talking and nothing happening,” Cllr Cronin said, referring to lack of progress on everything from car parking to potholes.
In the budget strategy documents, a list of projects per municipal district were outlined. But these are the same projects that have been on the agenda with years, Killarney councillors said.
This is the list Killarney councillors were presented with for the town area:
Commencement of the Lewis Road/Áras Phádraig master plan redevelopment (appointment of a project manager underway); Cultural Centre development (tender process being finalised); Progression of the Lough Leane Loop (overall route corridor being finalised); the Flesk Walkway (project shovel ready); Rock Road Car Park (planning approved by members, potential funding application under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund).
Now remember that Killarney contributes more in rates than Tralee, not to mention the €800,000 the Killarney car parks yield to the council.
Now compare the project list for Tralee. These are projects where teams of council officials are involved in getting funding and drawing designs etc; there is massive consultation and huge council and State money and council time, all council led and look closely at my underlined words between the brackets:
Island of Geese (master plan on display, demolition works ongoing); Town Centre Enhancement Scheme (Phase 1, Denny St and the Mall complete); Phase 2 Russell Street etc (preliminary design and costings complete); Tralee-Fenit Greenway (shovel ready); Tralee Fenit Route (phase 1 completed in 2018; land acquisition being advanced); Mitchel’s Regeneration (85 per cent of overall project completed, housing units near completion others advanced and further facilities being advanced).
Clash to Ballymullen Link Road serving new Gaelcholáiste (planning approved and funding source to be identified); Tralee Northern Relief Road (Part 8 planning approved, land acquisition being advanced).
There is only one thing shovel ready in Killarney, everything else here is “-ing” and being – on the long finger in other words – and there is little or nothing actually “-ed” or completed.
Given the black and white document in front of their eyes, given the strongly worded statement from the normally cautious Killarney Chamber of Commerce and Tourism only last week that the town’s whole tourism industry is threatened by the lack of progress by the local authority on relief roads and car parks, how could three Killarney townish councillors, Cllr Michael Gleeson, Cllr Donal Grady and Cllr John Sheahan vote to take even more money out of the pockets of Killarney people no matter how little?
That’s a question that must be asked on the doorsteps around the town next May, methinks. Local councillors are not global ambassadors. With the loss of the town councils they are not even county representatives – they are above all elected locally to represent their local areas.
Their vote is their power – and especially so when the case for Killarney is so strong and so stark. Cllr Grady himself said, “We are not getting our fair share in Killarney and I apologise to no-one for saying that.”
Cllr Gleeson spoke loftily about the fundamental nature of Irish politics and the “aggrandisement of power” and also spoke about the stagnant Lough Leane Loop; Cllr Sheahan spoke about there being no dent in the projects in Killarney and the need for outdoor staff. But all three voted for the increase.
Kodaline to play stripped down Killarney gig
By Michelle Crean
One of Ireland’s best known bands – who have had their recently released studio album streamed more than 60 million times – as well as reached 100 million YouTube views – are set to come to Killarney.
Kodaline will play their first ever stripped down fully acoustic tour on December 4 in the Gleneagle INEC Arena, which is part of a nationwide tour across the country.
Tickets went on sale yesterday (Friday) from the www.inec.ie.
‘One Day At A Time’ is the band’s fourth album, and adds a new chapter to a career that has already encompassed three number 1 albums in Ireland, two Top 5 albums in the UK, and more than a billion streams at Spotify. Kodaline approached the album with a streamlined process that took them back to their roots. The majority of the sessions revolved around the four band members alone in their modest recording space in Dublin, with bassist Jason Boland leading the production side of things.
In 2019, Kodaline played some of the biggest shows of their career. At home in Dublin they sold-out two huge outdoor shows at St Anne’s Park, while a 10-date UK tour culminated with a packed show at London’s historic Roundhouse. Further afield, they hit festivals including Lollapalooza, Benicàssim and Open’er before becoming the first Irish band to headline the massive NH7 Weekender in Pune, India. Their extensive touring throughout Asia also included a headline set at Monsoon Music Festival in Vietnam plus dates in China, Japan, South Korea, The Phillippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore.
“We’re excited to do our first ever stripped down fully acoustic tour, it’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time and something that’s gonna be very special for us. Hope to see you guys there,” the band said.
Relief for students as State exams finally begin
Kayleigh O’Connor and Bethany Kelly pictured ahead of their Home Economics exam on Wednesday afternoon.
By Michelle Crean and Grigoriy Geniyevskiy
Although it was a Leaving Cert like no other – that didn’t stop some students from feeling nerves and others relief – as they finally began their State exams on Wednesday morning.
After a mix of homeschooling due to the COVID lockdowns, it was a tough final year for the Sixth Years who at times had no idea if they final school exams would even go ahead.
Some have opted for no exams, while others want a mixture of Accredited Grades combined with the option to sit the exams.
And it all began on Wednesday morning as English Paper 1 was first up followed by Home Economics in the afternoon.
For Killian O’Brien, a student in St Brendan’s College, he said that there was no stress as he headed in.
“I’m grand out, not stressed at all.”
George Griffin, also a student in St Brendan’s College was glad to begin the final leg of his school journey and said he too felt grand about it.
“Predictable grades are a good backing to it, it levels out the stress.”
His classmate Darren Counihan was “not too worried” about what was ahead of him.
“You can only go up in points, not down thanks to accredited points.”
Luke Tindall, also a student in the school said he was alright and “not too stressed”
For Adam O’Connor there was some nerves.
“I’m feeling a bit of everything, but mostly stressed,” he said. “I’m just waiting to get it done and over with.”
In Killarney Community College Oliwia Bielanska spoke to the Killarney Advertiser after coming out of her first State exam.
“I was nervous at first, but once I started writing it was all good.”
Aoife O’Brien from the same school said she was “kind of nervous” but that “it was fine”.
“It wasn’t too bad.”
Stefan Lajdar, also a student in Killarney Community College said it went “alright”.
“I finished a bit earlier. I was a bit under pressure before the exam, but it was easy enough. We have a backup with the predicted grades so it was fine.”
A turbulent year
Principal of Killarney Community College, Stella Loughnane, acknowledged the uniqueness of this year. “This year has been a turbulent and emotional year for this particular Leaving Cert group. Thankfully, all of our students sitting these exams have the security of knowing they already have an accredited grade from their subject teacher and can really try to improve on that when sitting their chosen exams. I think this is of great comfort to students and will ease some of their nerves.The majority of our students have embraced this challenge and chosen to sit their exams.”
She added that also this year there are a lot more COVID guidelines from both the Department of Health and the Department of Education that both the school and students must adhere to.
“This year has shown how adaptable our students are, therefore I don’t believe they will cause too much fuss. However, like every other year, our students arrived with the age old butterflies in their stomachs but a willingness to begin their exams.”
Sean Coffey, Principal of St Brendan’s College said it was great to see the exams finally underway.
“It has been the most incredible two years for the students. This is as fair as you can get really. I would say the Sixth Years had a less disruptive year than other students as they had their eye on the prise and could see the finish line in sight.”
Lucky local wins dream Barraduff home
WIN A HOUSE: Barraduff Community Field Organisation fundraiser sub-committee members: Derry Healy, Michael O’Keeffe, Cathy Somers, Linda Dennehy, John Culloty and Rory D’Arcy pictured in the INEC on Sunday evening during the ‘Win A Dream Kerry Home’ draw.
By Michelle Crean
It has been seven months in the making but it was one lucky local who claimed the top prize – a 𝟯-𝗕𝗲𝗱 d𝗲𝘁𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗱 h𝗼𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗕𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗮𝗱𝘂𝗳𝗳.
Ticket no. 17033 owned by Catriona Moriarty was the winner, chosen on Sunday evening in the ‘Win A Dream Kerry Home’ fundraiser prize draw live streamed on Facebook and the website from the INEC Arena, Killarney.
The MC for the evenings event was Rory D’Arcy, fundraiser committee member.
Committee member, Liam Warren, joined Rory to speak about the history and aims of the Barraduff Community Field Organisation since its inception in 1977. It was then time for the prize draw, with the combined value of all prizes in excess of €300,000. Rory introduced the independent adjudicating team of Peter Malone, Solicitor, Malone Hegarty Solicitors, and Denis Murphy, Auditor, Moriarty & Murphy Accountants.
It was certainly a night to remember for all prize winners, particularly Catriona Moriarty who will soon be receiving the keys to her new home.
“The Barraduff Community Field Organisation are forever grateful to all who supported this fundraiser, through purchasing of ticket(s) and sponsoring of prizes, to assist us in realising the vision of our local community. This is only the end of the beginning of another chapter!” Michael O’Keeffe said.
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