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Killarney falls to mid-table in IBAL litter rankings

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‘Clean’ Killarney now 22nd among 40 towns and cities

The latest survey by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) shows Tralee and Killarney both retaining their 'Clean' status, in 14th and 22nd spots respectively in the ranking of 40 towns and cities.

Killarney was previously in 13th position. The study - the 20th year of the IBAL litter surveys - reveals PPE litter is on the decrease, but the prevalence of coffee cups on our streets warrants action such as a levy, says IBAL.

The An Taisce report said Killarney was a "consistently strong performing town".

"As the main tourist season kicks in there were no heavily littered sites in Killarney. Examples of top ranking sites were N22 Tralee Approach Road, the residential area of Pinewood Drive and Beech Road Car Park – this was particularly well presented and maintained. With a little extra effort, a couple of sites could easily get the top litter grade e.g., Main Street and New Street."

The An Taisce report for Tralee stated that it was "A very good result for Tralee, one of its best ever in the IBAL league".

"The paving along Dominick Street and The Mall looks great, creating a very fresh impression and greatly enhancing the overall appearance of both areas. Other examples of top ranking sites included Christ the King Park, a couple of the approach roads and MTU (Munster Technological University). By far the most heavily littered site was Market Street, with heavy levels of alcohol-related litter, cigarette butts and other food related items.

Two-thirds of the 40 towns and cities surveyed were found to be clean, among them Naas, which retained its position atop the rankings, ahead of Letterkenny and Cavan.

Overall litter levels showed a decrease on last year, with a dramatic fall of 50% in the number of sites within towns deemed to be ‘litter blackspots’.

REACTION

While Killarney has been declared Clean to European Norms in the latest Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) League, it is nevertheless disappointing that the town has slipped from 13th place to 22nd in the overall rankings and, clearly, there is a need for everybody to make an extra effort in relation to litter control, Niall Kelleher, President, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, said.

"It is noted that the adjudicators concluded that several sites surveyed very narrowly missed out on receiving the top grade so it is clear that there is not a huge amount of effort required to tackle the few niggling problems that have been presented.

"It is obvious that Killarney, in some ways, has become a victim of its own success as the enormous surge in visitor numbers since the pandemic restrictions have been lifted has created massive footfall on the streets and, unfortunately, when more people gather, there is always a greater risk of an increase in litter.

"Having said that, there is clearly a need for action and the Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce is ready and willing to work in unison with the Killarney Municipal District Council and the Killarney Looking Good Committee to address the problems highlighted by the IBAL judges."

He said that while there is merit in asking people to bring their litter home with them, to ensure it is disposed of properly, we must all remain realistic and realise that not everybody will adhere to that request.

"It is important, therefore, that a sufficient number of litter bins are provided on the streets and approach roads to give people the opportunity to discard of their rubbish in a responsible manner. The possibility of introducing a levy in respect of disposable coffee cups, as recommended by the IBAL adjudicators, should certainly be explored. Chamber is aware that some outlets in Killarney already have an cup return incentive in place but we would encourage others to follow suit. In the meantime, an urgent course of action is required to tackle the problems associated with the careless disposal of cigarette butts which has been highlighted, in no uncertain terms, by IBAL.

"That might involve encouraging businesses to provide more suitable methods for their customers to dispose of cigarettes butts or encouraging Killarney Municipal District Council to increase its efforts to keep the streets litter free."

Everybody in Killarney will remember the magnificent contribution made by local man Dermot O’Connor who was a key part of a team that kept the streets litter free on his daily patrol prior to his retirement in 2020, Mr Kelleher added. "It might take more than one man to replace Dermot but if that is what is required, then so be it and the council needs to act without delay.

"When it comes to personal responsibility in relation to litter control, education is key but, unfortunately, it would appear that many people are slow learners in that regard so the necessary resources to keep Killarney looking its best must be provided. Killarney Looking Good and Tidy Towns volunteers will do what they can but, ultimately, the responsibility for keeping the streets litter free remains with the municipal authority.

"It is important to stress that outdoor staff supervisor Noel O’Leary and his crew are doing magnificent work but Killarney, as the country’s premier tourist town, needs realistic resources if it is to maintain the standards expected of it."

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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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