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OPINION: Council reluctant to buy State-owned property for housing

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By Sean Moriarty

We hear every day that there is a housing shortage in Killarney. Things are so bad now that hotels are either building or buying apartment blocks to accommodate staff.

Elected councillors are blue in the face from asking Kerry County Council to build more social housing in the town and the Council are constantly explaining that affordable land is not available in the area.

But the local authority seems reluctant to act on State-owned property, often because the State wants to charge market value for its properties.

What many locals and councillors cannot understand is that if State property is our property, why can’t the lands be handed over to different State bodies that need them – even for a nominal fee.

It was up for debate again this week at a Killarney Municipal District meeting. There were more calls by councillors to build social housing on the old St Finan’s site.

But the Council said it was not willing to take a €100 million risk.

While it sounds feasible to acquire the grassed area of the old hospital site and build houses there, the building which is a protected structure needs massive investment to turn it into anything; from flats or even into a hotel, and no one is willing to risk the reported €100 million outlay to do that. The HSE is only wiling to sell the entire site and even if the Council did manage to buy the grassed area, the derelict hospital would become even more unmanageable in the middle of a housing estate.

Ok, so the town is out of luck in that regard, for the foreseeable anyway.

What about lands at the rear of the Pretty Polly site, once earmarked for housing?

That is another big no from the Council. The Kerry Educational Training Board (KETB) announced before Christmas that it is to build a new Killarney campus on the 'Polly' site.

Once the college is complete there are still lands available towards the rear of the old hosiery factory.

A housing executive from Kerry County Council explained to Wednesday’s meeting that the ‘Polly’ site was no longer being considered for housing “given the other [ETB] announcement”.

The Council said at the meeting it would look in to the process of acquiring the District Hospital and St Columbanus properties once the new community hospital is built.

Our prediction: The latter two named properties will join the growing list of State-owned dereliction in the town. It is one prediction we would like to be proved wrong on!

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Photo of “hidden gem” wins Camera Club’s latest competition

A photograph of one of Killarney’s hidden beauty spots was deemed the winner of Killarney Camera Club’s most recent competition. Th standard was high throughout all categories but in the […]

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A photograph of one of Killarney’s hidden beauty spots was deemed the winner of Killarney Camera Club’s most recent competition.

Th standard was high throughout all categories but in the Novice category, Iryna Halaieva’s photograph of O’Sullivan’s Cascade was deemed the winner.

“A waterfall is my favourite waterbody and long exposure is my favourite photographic technique,” she said. “I do my best to have as many waterfalls as possible in my photo collection. I heard a lot about O’Sullivan’s Cascade and wanted to visit that hidden gem of Kerry. So, shortly before our club competition I went with a friend to Tomies Wood to photograph it. It was a dream come true for me.”

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Corcoran’s Furniture walk raises €12k for autism charity

Corcoran’s Furniture and Carpets charity walk through the Gap of Dunloe on Saturday raised almost €12,000 for Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland There were 37 participants in the event, which included […]

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Corcoran’s Furniture and Carpets charity walk through the Gap of Dunloe on Saturday raised almost €12,000 for Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland

There were 37 participants in the event, which included AADI families, dogs, and representatives, as well as fundraisers, supporters, and members of the Corcoran’s team. The stars of the day were the three life-changing super-hero dogs, Buzz, Baron and Hank.

Former Kerry Footballer, James O’ Donoghue, was the ambassador for the event
Those taking part left Ross Castle and were treated to a phenomenal boat ride in the expert hands of Diarmuid ‘Dux’ O’Donoghue of Gap of Dunloe Traditional Boat Tours. The O’Donoghue family entertained the entire group with a range of fascinating stories outlining the history of the lakes of Killarney and Killarney National Park.

The group set out from Lord Brandon’s Cottage and walked the 11K through the iconic Gap of Dunloe, with two AADI families and their dogs taking part in the full walk. This was followed by a well-deserved meal and some rest and relaxation at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. Flemings Taxi’s Killarney brought the group back to Ross Castle, Killarney upon completion of the event.

“On behalf of everybody at Corcoran’s Furniture, we would like to thank everybody who participated in our Gap of Dunloe charity event on behalf of AADI,” said Shane O’ Callaghan, Financial Controller atCorcoran’s.

“Collectively we have raised almost €12,000 for this incredible charity and monies are still coming in. We are extremely grateful to all who supported our walk, and also to James O’ Donoghue, Christina Tagney, the Gap of Dunloe Traditional Boat Tours, the fantastic support of Noel Lucey and Donal McCarthy from the Order Of Malta, Killarney branch, and to Killarney National Park, Kate Kearney’s Cottage and Fleming’s Taxi’s. All funds raised will go toward the expert training and maintenance of the upcoming AADI dogs who will make a dramatic difference to so many children with Autism and their families.”

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