As revealed in last week’s Killarney Advertiser, we are currently in the midst of a crippling rental crisis the likes of which have never been seen in Killarney. Locals and migrants alike are struggling to find suitable accommodation and there appears to be no solution in sight. Rents nationally are significantly higher than they were at the height of the boom and they continue to climb. In Kerry, this quarter showed an 8.9% increase on the same period last year.
Incredibly, there are currently just 13 properties available for rent in the Killarney area on Daft.ie (and some of those listed are miles from the town itself). On Airbnb, meanwhile, there are over 300 listings in Killarney.
It is virtually impossible to find somewhere to rent long term in the Killarney area. Worryingly, many local businesses now say that they have jobs available but they can’t attract employees because there’s nowhere to house them.
Chairperson of the Irish Hotels Federation, Niamh O’Shea, says the issue is affecting many local hotels.
“In Killarney in particular, there is a shortage of supply when it comes to accommodation and that is a challenge,” she said. “There aren’t enough houses being built and you also have the scenario where some of those who were in the market have exited in favour of Airbnb. It’s a double-whammy, for want of a better word.
“It’s at all levels. You’ll have a demand for residential accommodation for international students coming on a year’s placement, but equally it affects more senior positions. We’ve struggled to find suitable family accommodation for people looking to move their career to Killarney.”
Some hotels, most notably the Hotel Europe, have taken matters into their own hands by providing their own accommodation for staff but Ms O’Shea says that’s not an option for everyone.
“That’s a considerable investment (€3 million) by the Hotel Europe but that just goes to show the level of the shortages. It’s not something that’s feasible for all hotels, and it is a longer process with planning and building. This is an immediate problem and it’s one we’ve experienced all summer.”
Ms O’Shea says it’s reassuring to see that there are some developments that have started in Killarney but “it will take time before we see a relief.”
“In terms of Airbnb, I do feel that there needs to be some regulation both in planning law and taxation policy so that it’s a level playing field.”
I also spoke to local businessman Cormac Casey about the issue and he confirmed that the current situation is a “nightmare” for business.
“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to attract staff to Killarney,” he said. “Even before you reach the interview stage, you’re at a disadvantage because would-be employees know that accommodation is a problem here. It has reached the stage where we’re actually entertaining the idea of purchasing property, just so we have somewhere for our staff and their families to live.
“That’s obviously a major problem because then you’re pumping cash resources into accommodation instead of into the business. It’s a real issue for many businesses in town and something needs to be done.”
Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser, estate agent Ted Healy said a number of factors were responsible for the severe lack of available rental properties.
“Over the past number of years, more and more landlords have exited the rental market than have entered it,” he said. “There are a number of reasons why this is the case. A large number of investment properties have been repossessed by financial institutions, and a large proportion of landlords have exited the market due to increased costs and taxes associated with renting a property.
“The lack of what one would describe as your traditional starter home/investment property (i.e. three-bed semis) has also stifled the rental market. This type of property has not been built in Killarney in the past number of years. Demand is there but supply is not.
“As a result of the tight market existing tenants are not moving around as much as they once did. Any tenant happy in a property is not going to give it up. Renters are staying where they are.”
This current rental crisis is clearly a major concern for the town and, worryingly, it appears as though there is no quick fix in sight.
What do you think? What steps can be taken to improve the situation? Let us know by emailing newsdesk@killarneyadvertiser.
Possible return to campus for college students
By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors
The announcement by the Department of Education this week, that the Leaving Cert results will be issued on Friday, September 3, was followed by confirmation from the Central Applications Office that CAO Round 1 offers will be issued online, four days later on Tuesday, September 7 at 2pm.
This is about three weeks later than normal, although it is earlier than the 2020 dates. Coinciding with the release of these dates comes the news from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, that it is the priority of Government to get college students back on campus for the 2021/2022 academic year. Because of the later issue of Leaving Cert results and CAO offers, this means that First Year students will start college a couple of weeks later than those who are returning to college in Second, Third and Fourth Year.
From the point of social distancing, the staggered start may be an advantage, as we will still be living with certain restrictions due to COVID-19. There are a number of contributing factors what will influence a safe and successful return to the college campus for students according to Minister Harris. They include the roll-out and take-up of vaccinations in the college-age cohort by September, the use of rapid testing on campus which has been run as a pilot in several universities this year, and a varied approach to face-to-face lectures. It is hoped that smaller classes, practicals and tutorials can be operated as before with social distancing while the larger lectures may need to be facilitated using a blended approach. It is also felt that if cafés, restaurants and bars are open everywhere else, there is no reason why they can’t open on campus. This of course is all based on vaccinations and public health guidelines.
A big concern for First Year students following the announcements is the fact that they will be looking for accommodation later than all other students. This is an issue every single year because when CAO offers are issued, many students get offers for colleges in locations where they have not secured accommodation. Naturally it is of particular concern to rural students and mirrors a greater societal shortage of accommodation. Minister Harris has also stated that he is bringing a proposal to Cabinet in the coming weeks to implement legislation which means that the owners of purpose-built student accommodation will only be allowed to charge rents a month in advance rather than insisting on payment of rent for half of the college year, something which has put enormous strain on students and their families over the years.
So, while any kind of certainty surrounding a return to ‘normal’ college life isn’t possible, it is both hopeful and exciting for new and returning college students to be able to look forward to the next college year with the prospect of getting to enjoy a real college experience and all that has to offer.
I will be hosting a free webinar for Leaving Cert parents on June 16 at 7pm on ‘How to help your son/daughter with CAO Change of Mind and other career options’ ahead of the CAO deadline on July 1.
To register see links on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @mycareerplan or email me on email@example.com.
Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Deadline for health and well-being fest fast approaching
Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching. This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10. Organised by an interagency […]
Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching.
This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10.
Organised by an interagency steering group, the key focus of the Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest is to promote mental health and well-being in Kerry through a fun and interactive programme of events.
“The Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest aims to create awareness of, and schedule events that empower people to engage with the Five Ways to Well-being – Connect | Give | Take Notice | Keep Learning | Be Active – as well as raising awareness of the available supports and services in the county,” Chair of the Steering Committee, Donagh Hennebry, said.
“The Fest has a wide reach across Kerry and we want to continue to build on its success in 2021. But we can’t do this without you! We are inviting anyone who is interested in helping us achieve our goal, by hosting an event(s) during #KerryMHWFest, to register online as soon as possible.”
The organising committee is a collaboration between Connecting for Life Kerry, Healthy Kerry, Kerry County Council, the HSE, NEWKD, SKDP, Kerry Mental Health Association, Jigsaw Kerry, Munster Technological University/Kerry, and Kerry Volunteer Centre.
To register your interest to host an event for the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, visit www.healthykerry.ie before close of business on Friday, June 25.
For more information about registration, promotion, or the Fest in general, please contact the interagency steering group at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free and subsidised higher education courses for Kerry
11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry. The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in […]
11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry.
The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in Retail Food Service Operations and a Postgraduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business.
Over 10,000 places are available across both programmes nationwide in 2021.
Springboard+ provides free courses for people who are unemployed, people who have taken time out of work or education to raise their families or care for loved ones, or people who want to upskill. Now in its 10th year, over 75,000 people have benefited from Springboard+ to date.
Courses under the HCI Pillar 1 programme are aimed at graduates and offer incentivised places for them to reskill in areas of skills shortage and emerging technologies. These are being run alongside, and complementary to, the Springboard+ offerings.
For those in employment, the Government will fund 90% of the cost of a Springboard+ or HCI Pillar 1 course. The programmes are managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.
Launching the programme, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD said, “As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need to ensure that people have the skills they need”.
Candidates who wish to participate will find full details on the approved courses on www.springboardcourses.ie. Experienced guidance counsellors will be available to advise potential Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 participants on their options on the freephone Springboard+ helpline: 1800 303 523. The helpline is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
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