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Killarney below national average for vacant commercial buildings

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney has the lowest number of unoccupied commercial buildings in the county according to the latest GeoDirectory Commercial Vacancy Rates Report.

GeoDirectory studies unused commercial premises in every major town in Ireland.

Commercial vacancy rates in Kerry are lower than the national average of 14.0% the report found, but there was an increase by 0.9 percentage points to the end of 2022.

Of the towns in Kerry surveyed, Listowel had the highest commercial rate at 21.4%, while Killarney had the lowest rate at 12.5%.

The lowest commercial vacancy rates were recorded in Meath (10.2%), Wexford (10.4%) and Kerry (12.2%).

At 19.6%, Sligo recorded the highest commercial vacancy rate, followed by Galway (17.6%) and Donegal (17.5%).

“The rate of commercial vacancies is the highest level recorded by GeoDirectory since the Commercial Vacancy Rates Report began in 2013, continuing the trend of increasing rates in recent years.

“It is likely that this will continue in the short to medium term, as working-from-home becomes more formalised, combined with the growth of online retail and services, resulting in businesses requiring less physical space than previously,” Dara Keogh, Chief Executive of GeoDirectory, said.

The accommodation and food services sector had a decrease of 106 units in the last year to an overall total of 22,500 units. The five counties with the highest concentration of accommodation and food services units were Kerry (24.8%), Clare (20.9%), Donegal (19.1%), Leitrim (18.9%), and Galway (17.8%).

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One way traffic system mooted for St Oliver’s National School

The Killarney Advertiser understands that a one-way traffic management system will be introduced at St Oliver’s National School. The plan remains subject to confirmation by Kerry County Council and other […]

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The Killarney Advertiser understands that a one-way traffic management system will be introduced at St Oliver’s National School.

The plan remains subject to confirmation by Kerry County Council and other statutory bodie. It is  understood that the system will be trialled at the beginning of the new school year in September.

The area is subject to serious traffic congestion during school drop-off and pick-up times every day.

Over 650 pupils and 80 staff attend the school every day. New housing developments in the area have added to traffic congestion.

Cllr Martin Grady has being pushing for enhanced road safety measures at the school since his co-option to the council in September 2023.

“The issue has worsened in recent years with Woodlawn, Rookery Road and Ballycasheen having more domestic property developments which brings with it more road activity,” Grady told the Killarney Advertiser.

“I’ve seen first-hand several accidents occur when dropping and collecting my children from the school. It needs a safe solution by means of a drop off- pick up point or a traffic management system put in place.

“It is unfair on all stakeholders involved. I will keep working on this until results are achieved in the interest of everyone’s safety. “

The lack of urban school bus services, not just at St Oliver’s but at all schools is adding to Killarney’s traffic woes.

“I would like to see school bus services return for all students, in both urban and rural schools, this service was a massive loss, it would greatly reduce the volume of traffic on our roads and mitigate the risk of accidents and near misses,” added Cllr Grady.

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Planning rules “nonsensical in a housing crisis” Cllr Healy-Rae

A planning rule which prevents people from building houses on their own land next to major roads is being challenged by Cllr Maura Healy Rae. The current planning policy states […]

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A planning rule which prevents people from building houses on their own land next to major roads is being challenged by Cllr Maura Healy Rae.

The current planning policy states that any application house along national primary and national secondary roadways exiting from existing entrances will not be considered.
Healy-Rae says this problem is particularly acute in the Killarney Municipal District given the amount of national roadway surrounding the area with the N22, N71 and N72.
“It is nonsensical that where an individual is living at home and using an existing entrance, can’t be considered to build their own house and use existing entrance they are already using,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.
“How Transport Infrastructure Ireland can quantify this as additional traffic is preposterous. Given we are in a housing crisis, given all the challenges surrounding planning, given exorbitant house prices and the lack of affordable housing, it is ludicrous that this is a reason people are being refused planning.”
She called on Kerry County Council to write to the TII, the Minister for Transport and the Minister for Local Government requesting that the current blanket policy be lifted.
“It [the policy] has directly resulted in numerous planning applications being refused and even considered at the pre-planning stage,” she added.
Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae has also raised the issue in Dáil Éireann.

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