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New national housing plan “an ideal opportunity” for St Finan’s

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By Sean Moriarty

The newly launched 'Housing for All' strategy, announced yesterday (Thursday) by Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien is "an ideal opportunity" for either the Government or Kerry County Council to acquire lands at St Finan’s Hospital for social housing, according to the mayor of Killarney.

One of the key recommendations of the Government's new housing plan is the release of State owned land for residential construction. 
 
St Finan's is a landmark building, which is a listed and protected structure, has been idle since 2012.

Earlier this year the Health Service Executive (HSE), the current owner of the site, told the Killarney Advertiser that it intends to sell the site to the private sector after other Government agencies declined to take it over.

Under the scheme announced yesterday, the Government will make a €4 billion annual investment in housing and is aiming to deliver 300,000 homes nationally over the next 10 years.

Cllr Marie Moloney, the current Mayor of the town, is expected to raise the issues surrounding St Finan’s at both this month’s Killarney Municipal District meeting and the full meeting of Kerry County Council.

She cited a project in Cork City as the perfect example of what can be done in Killarney.

Earlier this year An Bord Pleanála approved a project to build 46 houses and 220 apartments on the 14-acre former St Kevin’s Hospital site, just west of the city centre.

“The last thing we need is this falling into the hands of private developers that won’t help the housing situation in the town,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

Another option, according to Cllr Moloney, is to use the existing building as a training and educational hub.

Previously, Cllr Michael Gleeson called for the building to be used as a satellite campus for the Munster Technological University (MTU) and since his retirement in April the Kerry Education and Training Board (KETB) has stated that it's looking to expand its Killarney presence. Officials from KETB have visited the former Pretty Polly factory on Park Road to see if it could be converted into classrooms but no decision has been made on that plan either.

In the past CERT (Council for Education, Recruitment and Training) offered training for the hospitality and catering industries in Killarney and given the current staffing situation in the industry a new training facility geared towards the hospitality sector is another option Moloney is hoping will gather pace.

Kerry County Council is in the process of purchasing lands on the St Finan’s site to build social housing. However, this is to the north of the bypass and not on the grounds of the old hospital.

The new community hospital is currently under construction on the site but this project has raised further alarm bells, as so far, there has been no confirmation on what might happen to the existing buildings.

Cllr Moloney plans to seek clarity from Kerry County Council on this matter too.

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Dan Tim to drive sheep over London bridge

London-based South Kerry man, Dan Tim O’Sullivan, will exercise his rights as a Freeman of the city by herding sheep over a London bridge on Sunday. Mr O’Sullivan from Kells, was awarded the Freedom of the City of London in 2019, in recognition for his work in the construction industry. He employs over one thousand […]

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London-based South Kerry man, Dan Tim O’Sullivan, will exercise his rights as a Freeman of the city by herding sheep over a London bridge on Sunday.

Mr O’Sullivan from Kells, was awarded the Freedom of the City of London in 2019, in recognition for his work in the construction industry.

He employs over one thousand people through his labour hire firm ‘Danny Sullivan and Sons’, and has employed countless Kerry people, many of them from his native South Kerry, since its foundation in the mid-1980s.

The Freedom of the City of London allows the bearer to herd one hundred sheep over the landmark Tower Bridge.

However, logistical issues and traffic management plans mean the number of sheep has been reduced to less than 10 and the event will now take place over nearby Southwark Bridge.

London-based news channels, including the BBC, are expected to cover the event while hundreds of his family and friends from South Kerry will be in London to witness the unique event.

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BIG CELEBRATION

Well-known Killarney man, Donncha Crowley, who lives in Woodlawn Park, was joined by his friends and staff from Centra, Muckross Road, to help him celebrate his very special 50th birthday on Saturday. Donncha is a keen cyclist, and well-known for his mastership of Suduko, and expertise on puzzles and general knowledge quizzes, winning many competitions […]

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Well-known Killarney man, Donncha Crowley, who lives in Woodlawn Park, was joined by his friends and staff from Centra, Muckross Road, to help him celebrate his very special 50th birthday on Saturday. Donncha is a keen cyclist, and well-known for his mastership of Suduko, and expertise on puzzles and general knowledge quizzes, winning many competitions down through the years. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

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