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Flesk Walkway and Cycleway row rumbles on

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By Sean Moriarty

The future of the Flesk Walkway and Cycleway could be placed in jeopardy unless a row between local residents and Kerry County Council is resolved.

The row centres on four proposed vehicle access points to Killarney Racecourse that have only recently been revealed.

Construction on the €450,000 project started this week after years of planning and public consultations.

In documentation seen by the Killarney Advertiser, back in 2017 the local residents were assured by Killarney Municipal District staff that the new pathway would be for use by pedestrians and cyclists only.

KEY DETAILS

It was one of the key details of an agreement between KMD and the residents of Castle Falls and Priory Paddocks to allow the project to go ahead.

However, during last Friday’s KMD annual Draft Budgetary Plans the elected councillors were served a bombshell that Killarney Racecourse is to be allowed four access gates along the walkway to be used as an emergency exit for horses from the venue.

In another letter, also seen by the Killarney Advertiser, and dated on Monday of this week, the residents accused Kerry County Council of “having a sweetheart deal” with the Killarney Racecourse Company.

“[This] gives them the vehicular access which they always wanted, but to try and put it in such a way for emergency access for horses is an insult to our intelligence,” the residents’ letter stated. “Killarney Municipal District have totally ignored the residents of both estates. This is blatant disregard for us residents and we ask that they reverse their decision to do a deal with Killarney Racecourse behind our backs.”

EMERGENCY ACCESS ONLY

Killarney Municipal District Angela McAllen confirmed on Wednesday during an online meeting with elected councillors and local media that four gates would be used by the racecourse for emergency reasons only.

The elected membership were not so convinced and asked who would man such gates and decide what was an emergency or not. All elected members said that the Council had let down the local residents with this latest move.

“I am raising concerns that this will jeopardise the whole project,” said Cllr Maura Healy-Rae. “Residents were misled and were duped.”

Cllr Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan raised concerns over funding for the project.

“The funding is for a cycleway,” he said, worried that any change in the plans could prevent the Council from drawing down the funding allocation.

“What will these accesses be used for?” asked Cllr Niall Kelleher. “We must have clean hands when it comes to the residents.”

“We all want this to go ahead,” added Cllr Marie Moloney. “We can’t walk rough-shot over the residents.”

PREVIOUS PROMISE

Cllr Donal Grady referred to the previous promise 10 years ago.

“The residents have been ignored,” he said, citing another enforcement order that was served on Killarney Racecourse in September 2010 regarding another entrance that he claims has not been properly dealt with by the Council’s legal department.

“I am devastated by what has come to pass,” said Cllr Michael Gleeson. “There is more than adequate room within the racecourse [for alternative access]. The people feel betrayed. Where do we stand if the residents have a legal challenge. There was a legal agreement in place in 2017.”

Mayor Brendan Cronin was also disappointed but warned that there are other factors at play like what would be the outcome if there was a genuine emergency on the site and the four access points were not available.

“I share the disrespect shown to residents having arrived at such a situation,” he said. “We need to talk to the residents and talk to the racecourse and accommodate both sides.”

For now construction will continue from the Flesk River side of the walkway, while elected councillors, KMD officials, residents and Killarney Racecourse attempt to work out a resolution.

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Local soprano releases new single

Local soprano Mary Culloty O’Sullivan has released her second self-penned single. Following the success of her debut song ‘Forever and a Day’ which was released on July 16 and was aired on radio stations all over the world and on streaming platforms like Spotify, YouTube and iTunes, her second single was released last Friday. ‘Before […]

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Local soprano Mary Culloty O’Sullivan has released her second self-penned single.

Following the success of her debut song ‘Forever and a Day’ which was released on July 16 and was aired on radio stations all over the world and on streaming platforms like Spotify, YouTube and iTunes, her second single was released last Friday.

‘Before You Leave Me’ has a Jazz influence. Mary has been writing her own songs since March this year covering several different genres.

“Tony O’Flaherty of Sonas Studios has brought my songs to life and I am delighted with the production on the songs,” Mary told the Killarney Advertiser.

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Fun Urban Orienteering event coming to Killarney town

The event is free, open to all ages, levels of fitness and is both wheelchair and buggy friendly.Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership are calling on you, to get out and #BeActive as part of European Week of Sport 2021, which runs from September 23 to 30. Sport Ireland, the national coordinating body for European Week of Sport in […]

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The event is free, open to all ages, levels of fitness and is both wheelchair and buggy friendly.
Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership are calling on you, to get out and #BeActive as part of European Week of Sport 2021, which runs from September 23 to 30.

Sport Ireland, the national coordinating body for European Week of Sport in Ireland hope that this year’s event will inspire even more people than previous years and has funded multiple flagship as well as local events run by the Network of Local Sports Partnerships, including this ‘Family Street Orienteering Kerry’ event.

“This free event looks to offer everyone an opportunity the get out and be active and maybe try something new,” Gearóid O Doherty, the Coordinator of Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership said. 

“Urban Orienteering is an activity that you can do on your own or with your family and friends. You get to challenge yourself a little and still go at a pace that suits you – and what a beautiful location to do it all in, Killarney town!

“With many people possibly new to the Kerry region, be that through work, college or otherwise, this is an ideal way to get involved in the community and explore the streets and lanes of Killarney in a fun and active way.”

The Kerry Orienteers Club have designed the courses for this event and are looking forward to the excitement of it all and helping those new to the sport to continue taking part in the months and years that follow.

“We know that, for a lot of people, this will be their first time trying orienteering, but they can rest assured, as we will be there to talk them through it and help them out if needed,” Brendan O’Brien from Kerry Orienteers said.

“If it is something they want to try again, we can signpost them to other events, both locally here in Kerry and indeed nationally. Orienteering is a fantastic sport that allows you to build your skills and confidence, with all events having a variety of routes to cater for all levels.”

To cater for physical distancing and government guidelines, there are several staggered start times for participants to choose from, beginning at 6pm and the last group heading off at 7.30pm. With free t-shirts for all who sign up and additional workshops onsite, from the likes of Leave No Trace Ireland, it is sure to be a fun and vibrant evening, all stemming from the start point at ANAM – Killarney’s Arts and Culture Centre.

Places are limited for this event. Free online registration is available and those looking to attend are encouraged to book their place early to avoid disappointment.

For more information, you can visit any of the Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership social media accounts or go to www.sportireland.ie.

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