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First phase of Tralee-Fenit Greenway officially opened

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The official opening of the first phase of the Tralee-Fenit Greenway took place today (Friday) when the Fenit-Spa leg of the greenway was opened to cyclists and walkers.

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Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD joined Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, Mayor of Tralee, Cllr Johnnie Wall and Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr Jimmy Moloney to launch the opening of the first 6.5km of greenway, allowing pedestrians and cyclists travel from Fenit to Spa and back again. The remainder of the greenway is expected to open in autumn.

The entire 11.3 km greenway will encompass the already constructed stretch from Tralee Railway Station to the Bracker O’Regan Road and will greatly enhance the local tourist economy, allowing locals and tourists to cycle safely in a healthy and scenic car-free environment.

It will also provide a new link between Fenit, Tralee and the surrounding townlands, thereby improving the social fabric of local communities and providing a universally accessible amenity which will attract families, the elderly and disabled persons and complement the range of existing tourism trails throughout Kerry.

Welcoming the project, Mayor of Tralee, Cllr Johnnie Wall praised the work carried out by Kerry County Council staff on the project.

“It is something that has been in the pipeline for many years and to see it coming to fruition is fantastic,” he said.

“Great credit must go to everyone involved, including the Council staff who built the greenway, the landowners for their cooperation, and the Department of Transport and TII for funding the project. This, along with current and future Greenway projects in the county will be hugely beneficial for locals and visitors alike and I look forward to the rest of the Greenway opening in autumn.”

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan added that “the Tralee to Fenit Greenway is another great example of the role Greenways can plan in connecting communities in a sustainable manner".

"This new infrastructure from Fenit to Spa is accessible to all and allows those living on this route to commute safely to school, work or other amenities by foot or bike. It also provides an attractive amenity for visitors to the area and I look forward to the delivery of the rest of the greenway which will further support tourism and sustainable transport in the region.”

Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD said she too is delighted to join with Cabinet Colleague Minister Ryan to officially open the Tralee to Fenit Greenway "which will provide locals and visitors alike a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the delights of walking and cycling in beautiful, picturesque and safe surroundings".

"I would like to acknowledge the enormous effort put in by Kerry County Council, the landowners and the Department of Transport whose tireless endeavours have made all of this possible. Today’s launch marks a hugely significant day for Kerry and I look forward to the opening of the remainder of the greenway which will further enhance and enrich the visitor experience.”

WORKS

In September 2018 the members of Tralee Municipal District approved the Part 8 Planning for the construction of the Tralee to Fenit.

Kerry County Council were allocated funding under the DTTAS Greenway’s Funding Programme 2019-2021, in June 2019.

Construction works began in November 2019 however it was delayed for six months due to COVID restrictions.

The greenway begins in Fenit Village, close to the harbour, and travels along the corridor of the former railway line to the Bracker O’Regan Road, Tralee. It connects with the existing urban section of the route, from Mounthawk area to Tralee Railway Station. It will also link with the future extension of the North Kerry Greenway from Limerick County Bounds to Tralee.

The total length, approx. 11.3km, is 3.0m wide with an asphalt concrete finished surface. It includes 20 agricultural crossings, 10 private crossings, two public crossings and eight potential pedestrian access points.

Large structures include the Kilfenora Bridge which was re-instated, the greenway underpass of the local road in Ballymakegoge and installation of agricultural underpasses, accommodation works to local residential properties and farm holdings, including screening for privacy and accommodating agriculture operations.

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Killarney hotels are still open for business

By Sean Moriarty Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation. […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation.

This week she said that there’s still accommodation to be found in Killarney for visitors.

She was speaking in relation to the current accommodation situation facing International Protection Applicants and Ukrainian war refugees.

She explained that there is a perception that Killarney has taken in too many refugees and that it is putting the tourism industry at risk as people are starting to think that the town is at full capacity.

“If you can’t get a room in Killarney there is something wrong,” she said. “Maybe with the exception of New Year’s Eve.”

She added that hotels that are providing emergency accommodation are helping off-season unemployment.

Many hotels remain in survival mode after two years of pandemic turmoil and the additional off season business is important, she explained.

“Many could be closed at this time of the year, others would not be operating at full capacity,” she added.

However, she warned the Government needs to put a plan in place before the tourism season starts next year. Some hotels offering emergency accommodation either have a three or six month contract.

“I can see there will be tears next April – the Government must have a long-term plan,” she said.

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Homing refugees worth almost €14m

By Sean Moriarty Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees. The Department of Children, […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth released figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

Documents show that contracts totalling €13,852,255.00 are being shared between 13 premises in the Killarney urban area.

However, the department warned these figures are “indicative” only and the full value of the contracts depends on “occupancy and actual usage”.

The Eviston Hotel has secured a contract worth €5,727,590.00, the Innisfallen Hotel in Fossa for €2,404,620.00 and The Hotel Killarney signed a deal worth €1,701,000.00. These are the three biggest contracts published in the documentation.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, and Department officials say more contracts could come on stream. Figures seen by the Killarney Advertiser only cover contracted premises up to the end of September this year and updated figures are only released every three months.

“We are in contract with far more, but the formal exchange of contracts can take place sometime after the service commences,” a department spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is obliged to publish a list of contracts formally signed off each quarter that have been awarded under a special EU Derogation that permits the Department to enter into contracts in the context of the Ukraine accommodation crisis without going to formal tender.

“The values of the contracts shown are estimates; the actual value materialises upon occupancy and actual usage. Standard contracts have no-fault break clauses available to both parties so again, the figures are indicative rather than actual.”

These figures only cover Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war and do not include International Protection Applicants.

The Department refused to release International Protection Applicant figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

“The International Protection Applicant accommodation contract information is commercially sensitive information and is not available,” added the Department spokesperson.

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