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Is Killarney dealing with “over tourism”?

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Now this column prides itself on being sometimes ahead of the curve, nationally. Not that we do pride very well. Mostly we try to avoid what until recently at least was the greatest of sins and most offensive types of behaviour, in Christian as well as pagan cultures.

Anyway, imagine my surprise, after going for a breath of French air, to find the very issues raised in this publication not only touched on, but the main spread in the oldest and national daily in France, Le Fiagaro, last weekend.

“La Saturation menace les sites touristiques francais,” Figaro thundered on the front page. And this was followed by three full inside pages of analysis on Saturdays when the paper is at a premium of €5.30 and is most regarded. The article pulled no punches.

While the world focus is on Amsterdam, Barcelona and Venice, all of whom are taking measures to limit the number of visitors, tourist sites around the world are threatened. Already, popular French sites like Mont St Michel, villages that are marked as the prettiest in France and the Eiffel Tower itself are overwhelmed – it uses the word “hordes” of tourists.

The figures are stark. Today 95 per cent of tourists visit less than 5 per cent of the planet. Natural sites, historical sites and parks are declining as a result, and locals are getting angrier and angrier, Le Figaro has found.

The problems in the medieval walled city Carcassonne are immense and echo some of ours in Kerry.

Parking is a huge problem. So, too, toilets. Elsewhere towns and villages are taken over by just restaurants and bars and tourist shops and life is uncomfortable for locals and tourist alike. Carcassonne is spending €300,000 now on new public toilets and laying out a new car park outside the walls.

But the golden egg is being killed, the articles are warning. According to one craftsman in Carcassonne, he sells more in April when there are fewer tourists than in August when there are several times the numbers.

The figures Figaro presents are gob-smacking. In 1980, around the first time I visited France, the country got 30.1 million overseas visitors. Last year there were 87 million.

In Ireland our figures have increased by close to 3 million in ten years and we now get more than 9 million overseas tourists a year. But is there one extra car space at Torc? For that matter, are there three times the car spaces in Killarney? Are there more toilets in Inch?

Figaro has come up with a new term “surtourism” which I care to translate as “over tourism”, as in over-production in the farming sector. Figaro’s conclusion is governments are closing their eyes to the problems being posed. And in France, as in Ireland, the tourism strategy is to attract more and more overseas tourists and up the numbers.

Nobody is addressing the problems of saturation, it finds. And for the most part the problems are being ignored, and being shied away from by political leaders as well as industry leaders. We are to pretend the same sites that welcomed 500,000 can now cope with three times that number without blinking!

It also concludes, as argued in this column, that trying to spread the tourists to other sites (like the pound of butter) is not the solution because most tourists want to go to the well-known place. The challenge is limiting numbers, providing facilities and safeguarding the product.

Few serious newspapers are taking a serious look at the problem or looking properly at tourism, a major industry.

But, it seems, the Killarney Advertiser and the oldest newspaper in France have raised the thorny issue no one else wants to address. And it should be noted that while tourism is now Ireland’s major industry, it is so little seriously taken that a tourism ministry is a minor thing and no major newspaper or broadcaster has a tourism correspondent to monitor it. To paraphrase Leo, the gossip and whispers in the corridors of Leinster house has dozens of correspondents focussing on the rumour mill.

Now if only I could write better in French; Figaro and the Advertiser could have a twinning!

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Green light for teen accommodation

By Michelle Crean  Plans for sheltered accommodation to house homeless teenagers in foster care have been given the go ahead. An Bord Pleanala has approved a three-storey building in Flemings Lane just off High Street, which will have eight bedrooms, two one bedroom apartments and one two bedroom apartment. The teens living within the premises […]

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By Michelle Crean
 

Plans for sheltered accommodation to house homeless teenagers in foster care have been given the go ahead.

An Bord Pleanala has approved a three-storey building in Flemings Lane just off High Street, which will have eight bedrooms, two one bedroom apartments and one two bedroom apartment.

The teens living within the premises will be supervised by applicant Eileen O’Brien who will live on the ground floor of the premises.

The two one-bed apartments on the second floor would either be rented out or used for independent living for the teenagers as they reach adulthood.

The two-bed apartment will be on the third floor. There are also plans for balconies at second and third floor levels.

The proposed apartment building is contemporary in design with a mix of stone and render finish on the lower floors and synthetic burned timber finish on the upper floors. The second floor is recessed at the front and the third floor is recessed at the front and the rear with a decorative feature on the front elevation comprising dark grey timber steel poles. The building will also have a flat roof.

Planning permission was granted subject to 14 conditions including a two-metre high boundary wall to be constructed on south, south-western boundaries of the site and there’s to be no overnight commercial guest accommodation.

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Fans return to Fitzgerald Stadium after eight months

By Sean Moriarty Officials from Fitzgerald Stadium remain hopeful that crowd capacity at the venue can be increased to 500 spectators in time for the Munster final on July 25 – subject to both national health guidelines and Kerry qualifying for the game. Last Saturday evening’s National League semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone was the […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Officials from Fitzgerald Stadium remain hopeful that crowd capacity at the venue can be increased to 500 spectators in time for the Munster final on July 25 – subject to both national health guidelines and Kerry qualifying for the game.

Last Saturday evening’s National League semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone was the first game at the stadium since the 2020 Kerry Petroleum Intermediate Club Football Championship Quarter-Final when Glenbeigh-Glencar played Beaufort on October 4 last year.

Due to current restrictions only 200 fans were allowed attend Saturday’s big match. That will remain in place for Kerry’s opening Munster Championship tie with Clare on June 26.

“It had been more than eight months since Fitzgerald Stadium welcomed back fans to the venue,” stadium PRO Tatyana McGough told the Killarney Advertiser. “Everything went exceptionally well.”

She is hopeful that more restrictions will be eased on July 5, paving the way for an increase in capacity to 500 fans in time for the July 25 Munster Final.

“It is likely that from July 5 up to 500 spectators may be permitted to attend games. We hope this number will increase for the Munster Final. If it is a Cork versus Kerry Munster Final the game will be fixed for Sunday July 25 at 4pm in the Fitzgerald Stadium. The stadium’s staff are very confident in being able to host any number of fans that may be allowed.”

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Garda appeal to park legally at beaches and public amenities

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An Garda Siochana is appealing to the public to park legally in designated car parks and spaces when visiting beaches, beauty spots and other public amenities. 

The good weather has seen an increase in dangerous illegal parking at these locations across the country in recent weeks. An Garda Siochana wants people to enjoy the summer but do so safely.

Parking illegally can lead to unnecessary risk and dangers such as pedestrians being forced to walk along dangerous roads. It can also prevent emergency services from gaining access to these amenities a seaside locations which could lead to the loss of life. 

“We encourage the public to plan their journeys and think safety first when parking your vehicle,” the Gardai said in a statement. 

“The outcome of parking illegally could be far more serious than a FCPN or vehicle towing and puts others and your own life at risk. 

An Garda Siochana reminds and encourages the public to social distance and follow public health guidelines when attending these locations this Summer.

An Garda Siochana is also supporting National Water Safety Awareness Week (June 14th – 20th). Information on this campaign and general water safety can be found on Water Safety Irelands Website – www.watersafety.ie/national-water-safety-awareness-week/

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