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Pub owners anger at Government indecision

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GIVE US A CHANCE TO OPEN: Tony McSweeney and his daughter Kelly Ann say the Government is not helping small family run pubs like their landmark Sand Trap Bar on College St.

 

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By Sean Moriarty

 

Publicans in Killarney are calling for the Government to allow them open on August 10 and for it to stop judging rural pubs on what is happening in Dublin.

There are 90 licensed premises in Killarney - including hotels and restaurants - and all but 12 of them have opened since June 29.

The remaining pubs are not allowed open as they do not serve food. They are considered local bars for local people but they have not traded since March as a result of COVID-19 regulations designed to prevent people from gathering in the one area.

Since the June reopening date, pubs in Killarney that serve food are allowed open and serve alcohol with a meal.

The discrepancy is unfair according to pub owners in Kerry and resulted in an emergency meeting of the Kerry Branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland in Tralee on Tuesday night, which was attended by representatives of the Killarney Vintners.

The local vintners group exists primarily to raise funds for events like Christmas in Killarney and the annual 4th of July celebration, and leaves the political issues to the county federation.

Tony McSweeney and his family have been running the McSweeney Arms Hotel and the adjoining Sand Trap Bar for 70 years. While the premises attracts a large amount of tourists is it primarily a locals’ bar and is very popular with local horse racing fans.

His daughter, Kelly Ann, attended Tuesday’s meeting and afterwards the family called for more leniency from the Government so they can reopen their landmark town centre pub.

“A simple thing like allowing us serve until 10.30pm and close by 11pm latest every night, and regulate that, is one solution,” Tony told the Killarney Advertiser. “And those who flout it, come down heavy on them. I am talking about pubs in rural Ireland. There is no way you can compare these pubs to pubs in Temple Bar. I am against opening until one or two in the morning, but it can be regulated for these pubs; the Americans would call them neighbourhood bars.”

His idea was taken to Dublin by the Kerry Branch Chairman Christy Walsh from Listowel, but the outcome of that meeting, which took place yesterday (Thursday), was not publicised by the time the Killarney Advertiser went to press.

His daughter has similar views. She is upset that her family-run local pub is considered the same risk as a casino, nightclub or late night venue.

“We are respected licence holders – we are going to do it right,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “Opening more bars spreads out the amount of people that are already in town – people will be separated out. Give us stricter guidelines and we will follow them. It is unfair to group rural pubs into the same category as night clubs and casinos. How can you compare rural Ireland to a club in Dublin? Why not open my bar, or Jimmy O’Brien’s beside me, but at the same time do not open Copper Face Jacks.”

As it stands, pubs will be allowed reopen on August 10 subject to the COVID-19 situation in the country at that time. But bar owners remain very worried that their issue will be kicked down the road once again.

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Further rise in house prices forecast for 2022 as average price of a resale home in the capital reaches €500,000

According to the latest residential market review and outlook from leading property advisors DNG, house prices are set to continue rising this year, following the strong growth in values recorded in 2021. At a national level (excluding Dublin) the DNG National Price Gauge (NPG) recorded an increase in the average price of a second hand […]

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According to the latest residential market review and outlook from leading property advisors
DNG, house prices are set to continue rising this year, following the strong growth in values
recorded in 2021.

At a national level (excluding Dublin) the DNG National Price Gauge (NPG)
recorded an increase in the average price of a second hand home of 13.6% last year, a marked
acceleration in the rate of inflation compared to 2020 when prices rose by 1.4%.
At the national level (including Dublin) the overall rate of price increase last year stood at 12.0%. The NPG, which tracks house prices across the country on a half yearly basis, recorded growth of 5.3% in the six months to December 2021, compared to an increase of 7.9% in the first six months of last year.
All regions of Ireland recorded double digit price growth in 2021, except for Dublin (+9.9%).
Nationally, the strongest rate of house price appreciation was in the Mid-West region (+17.2%)
followed by the Midlands (+14.2%) and West (+13.8%) whilst the South East region saw the
lowest rate of growth in prices last year (+11.0%).
Outside the capital the highest average price was found in the Mid-East (€349,259) followed by the South West (€279,844).

Looking at the outlook for the year ahead, the agency forecasts further growth in prices both in
Dublin and nationally, with regional price gains set to outstrip those in the capital where nominal
values are already elevated, and affordability is more challenged.
The agency is forecasting an average uplift in regional markets of 12-13% this year whilst price growth in Dublin will more likely be high single digits, in the order of 6-8%.
The factors underpinning the forecasts include continued strong economic and wage growth, the heightened household savings levels seen in 2020-21, the extension of government initiatives for first time buyers announced in the budget, strong demand from this cohort evident in the mortgage approvals data and the prevailing low interest rate environment.
On the supply side, whilst the supply of new residential completions is set to increase to around 26,000 units this year, this will still be well below the estimated 30-35,000 new units required each year to meet demand thereby putting upward pressure on prices in the market.
“Whilst Covid-related issues rightly dominated the news agenda in 2021, housing undoubtedly came a close second, given the emotive nature of the housing debate and the current market dynamics of
rising house prices and rents and a shortage of accommodation available to buy or rent, not only
in Dublin but across the country.”, said DNG’s Director of Research Paul Murgatroyd said “Price growth was clearly very robust last year across all regions and the factors that drove those increases continue to be evident in the market as we enter 2022. The stock of homes for sale in the second hand market remains very low by historical standards and this, combined with the elevated level of demand, brought about in part by factors linked to changing behaviours throughout the pandemic, will mean further price appreciation will be evident as we progress through the year ahead.”

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Iarnrod Eireann refuses plans for footbridge at railway station

By Sean Moriarty Iarnrod Eireann will not be providing a footbridge to allow pedestrian’s access Killarney Bus Station direct from Killarney Railway Station. Following a motion put forward by Cllr John O’Dongohue last year it was decided that Kerry County Council would write to the railway company about building a footbridge to link the two […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Iarnrod Eireann will not be providing a footbridge to allow pedestrian’s access Killarney Bus Station direct from Killarney Railway Station.

Following a motion put forward by Cllr John O’Dongohue last year it was decided that Kerry County Council would write to the railway company about building a footbridge to link the two public transport hubs.

Currently rail passengers must walk from Killarney station, via the front entrance of the Great Southern Hotel and then walk the entire length of the Outlet Centre before reaching the bus station.

“It’s an anomaly that wouldn’t be tolerated in any other European country,” said Cllr O’Donoghue in November.

Iarnrod Eireann has responded to the letter sent shortly after the November meeting.

In reply the railway company said that in October 2019 it carried out a study which included the possibility of a either an underpass or a footbridge.

The study revealed that passenger would face a short four to five minute walk when trying to access one hub from another.

“Iarnrod Eireann would regard this as scheme as a low priority investment,” said chief executive Jim Meade in the letter.

Cllr Donoghue said the response was “ludicrous” and that he had often witnessed passengers lugging suitcases through the Outlet Centre.

“You would not jog it in five minutes,” he said.

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