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“Save St Finan’s from decay”

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Local councillor hits out at the HSE

By Michelle Crean

A Killarney councillor has this week hit out at the HSE to make a decision on future plans for St Finan’s Hospital.

Councillor Michael Gleeson says the HSE needs to clarify its plans for the iconic building – which he says is in a serious state of decay – and give the people of Killarney hope for its future.

Frustrated by the lack of answers over the last decade, Cllr Gleeson once again raised the issue at Monday’s Council meeting in Tralee.

Set on 30 acres of land,the mid 20th century hospital - which was originally named the Killarney District Lunatic Asylum - housed over 1,100 patients.

This week he told the Killarney Advertiser that it’s a disgrace that the historic building which has dominated the Killarney skyline since 1852 – is lying idle.

He said that there are multiple ways of developing the facility including public private partnership.

“It is very sad that it is simply standing there idle and forlorn for quite a few years,” Cllr Gleeson said.

“Killarney Town Council members tried for many years to extract some answers from the Southern Health Board, and later the HSE, regarding the future of the building and its attached land. But all in vain.”

He said that in his time he has suggested that it could be an ideal location for apartments for the elderly, especially for people who might wish to move from the country closer to town.

“Such use for similar type buildings has existed in Britain for some time. Such use I believe accords with present Irish Government policy in relation to closed convent and hospital buildings,” he said.

“I also suggested that it could be transformed into a wonderful location for outreach third level education by one of our universities and that could be particularly relevant now with the proposed merger into a new University of Institute of Technology Tralee and CIT. It could become an umbrella location for many or all of the public service centres in the greater Killarney area. But it can’t become anything other than a decaying building until the HSE makes up its corporate mind.

“I am calling on that organisation to make a positive decision now and save the building from dereliction and save itself from further ignominy.

“There is also the important matter of the adjacent land that is lying more or less idle and that has such rich potential for so many community uses.”

The Council told the meeting that they are continuing to engage with the HSE on the matter and will revert to the Members should there be any developments.

 

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Trees down, power out and roads flooded due to Storm Barra

Strom Barra has arrived quite violently across the county this morning causing havoc in some areas. At 6am the storm made itself known and as a result a number of trees are down and roads flooded. According to Kerry County Council, there’s some flooding at Fossa near the new brewery and it’s reported that there […]

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Strom Barra has arrived quite violently across the county this morning causing havoc in some areas.

At 6am the storm made itself known and as a result a number of trees are down and roads flooded.

According to Kerry County Council, there’s some flooding at Fossa near the new brewery and it’s reported that there is a tree down close to Lough Guitane National School with motorists advised to avoid the area. There is also a tree down at Brookhill, Kilgobnet.

There’s currently a power outage in Coolcorcoran which cut out at 6am this morning with 89 customers affected. It’s expected that the power will be restored at approximately 1.45pm today.

In other areas, the N71 road is impassable this morning near the Suspension Bridge due to flooding, as well as Pier Road in Kenmare, and trees down on N71 at Gortamullen and on the Roughty Road in Kenmare.

In Tralee, Godfrey Place, Prince’s Quay and Ballyard Road are also experiencing flooding which has now receded as pumps were in place since 5am. The road is reported to be blocked at the Ballyroe Hotel near Tralee due to flooding and there’s some flooding on the road in Ballylongford village but no properties affected currently.

The road is partially blocked at Minard Castle and there’s reports of a tree down 3km west of Killaha on Castletownbere Road.

Useful numbers

Kerry County Council’s emergency phoneline for the duration of Storm Barra is 066 7183588. Crews will respond to issues which arise when it is safe to do so.

Fallen electricity wires/poles and power outages should be reported to ESB Networks on 1800 372 999.

For other emergencies dial 999/112.

To check for power outages go to the ESB Networks website: https://powercheck.esbnetworks.ie/index.html

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Lissi’s love of nature nets prize

After a successful launch year in the Isle of Man in 2020, ‘The Young Nature Blogger 2021’ went international as Kerry Biosphere and Dublin Bay Biosphere joined the competition. Open to anyone under 21, entrants were asked to write up to 500 words about their favourite experience or place in nature. Each Biosphere participating awarded […]

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After a successful launch year in the Isle of Man in 2020, ‘The Young Nature Blogger 2021’ went international as Kerry Biosphere and Dublin Bay Biosphere joined the competition.

Open to anyone under 21, entrants were asked to write up to 500 words about their favourite experience or place in nature.

Each Biosphere participating awarded local prizes with the top entry from each being submitted to the international competition between the three.

This week the two judges for the international element Author Dara McAnulty and Professor Martin Price, Chair of the UK Man and the Biosphere Committee, have unanimously chosen ‘The Otter’ by Lissi Nickelsen (Kerry) as winner of the inter-Biosphere Young Nature Blogger 2021.

“I absolutely love the observational detail in this piece,” Dara McAnulty, author of ‘Diary of a Young Naturalist’ and the youngest ever winner of The Wainright Prize for nature writing said:

“You can really feel that breathless excitement and tension of seeing an otter. The drawing shows how multimedia can be used to great effect in a blog.”

Professor Martin Price added that it “is a beautifully written blog about a very special encounter”.

“I really get the feeling of what Lissi observed so carefully, and her joy about spending time with an otter! And the drawing is wonderful too!”

Lissi will receive a young naturalist writing set from Dara McNulty, a framed otter picture from Wildlife photographer Vincent Hyland, Wild Derrynane, and a family kayak trip in the Kerry Biosphere.

The winning entry can be read on the Kerry Biosphere website www.kerrybiosphere.ie/news.

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