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Skatepark gets the official seal of approval

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By Michelle Crean

Skateboarders from Killarney and beyond will be delighted to hear that plans for the €220,000 new dedicated state-of-the-art skatepark have been given the official seal of approval.

The new fun facility for anyone interested in the sport will be developed at Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre and it's hoped to be up and running early next year.

Six councillors in attendance at Wednesday's Special Killarney MD Meeting, held in the ANAM Cultural Centre in town, voted in favour for it to go-ahead. Cllr John O'Donoghue was absent from the meeting.

There were 26 submissions for the skatepark, the majority of which agreed that it would be a positive addition for the youth of the town.

The skatepark's surface will be constructed using a smooth durable concrete to minimise noise pollution. Access to the facility will be by way of 1.8m wide concrete footpaths located within the grounds of the complex.

The skatepark will be insured and maintained by Kerry County Council and there'll be a 2.4 high perimeter fencing surrounding the facility with two lockable access gates, and CCTV.

The skatepark opening hours during winter are planned from 9am to 6pm and during the summer from 9am to 9pm, as agreed by the councillors at the meeting. During the night it'll be closed to the public with no lighting to discourage any anti-social behaviour.

The Council have agreed to co-fund the project in the amount of 30% and it's hoped further funds will be made available from the Sports Capital Grant which will be announced this November.

IDEA

The idea for the project was suggested by Cllr Donal O'Grady three years ago to give skateboard enthusiasts a dedicated place for the sport in town. Many sites were looked at and plans had been ongoing in the background with the support of Town Manager Angela McAllen and County Manager Moira Murrell.

During Wednesday's meeting Cllr Grady positively welcomed the project and thanked everyone involved for their support.

"I'm so grateful to everyone who was involved, including my fellow councillors," he said. "I thank Kerry County Council, they put a lot of work, certainly our county manager, she's put a lot of work in there providing the site. It's something that we as a Council can be very proud of, I've no doubt in my mind about that. We have a lot of work to do to iron it out to make sure it's top of the range."

He added that the KDYS came on board to represent the youth of the town which he's also very grateful for.

In their submission, Killarney Skatepark Committee, signed by Chairperson Sean Murphy and Secretary Barry Coen, said that "the group is committed to supporting the building of a purpose built facility in Killarney for skateboarding, BMX riding, rollerblading, scooter and or other craft that may join the realm of extreme sports in the future". 

"Through this letter, we wish to pledge our full support for a skatepark; a project which we firmly believe has the potential to benefit the wider community. Skateparks are proven amenities in providing an opportunity for (young) people to socialise in a safe environment, through a sport which offers significant physical and mental benefits. We also believe that the skatepark will diversity what Killarney has to offer to the many tourists who visit our town each year, in turn supporting local businesses."

Councillor Niall Kelleher welcomed the skatepark and said he "was absolutely blown away by the engagement from the community" for this project.

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Is it a good time to sell your property?

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year. The MyHome.ie quarterly report found the market had held up […]

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By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year.

The MyHome.ie quarterly report found the market had held up better than evidence had suggested in 2022. The number of vendors cutting asking prices remained at low levels, while many house prices were being settled above asking prices.

However, the report warned that the resilience of the housing marking is set to be tested this year. It found annual asking price inflation slowed to six percent nationwide, meaning the asking price for the average home in Ireland is now €330,000.

There were 15,000 available properties for sale on MyHome.ie in the fourth quarter of the year – an improvement on the same time last year but still below pre-pandemic levels.

Average time to sale agreed was 2.7 months nationwide which the report said is indicative of a very tight housing market.

The report said it expects to see 28,400 house completions in 2022, exceeding its previous forecast of 26,500 finished units.

The author of the report, Conall MacCoille, Chief Economist at stockbrokers Davy, said it appeared the market had held up better than evidence had suggested.

“The number of vendors cutting their asking prices is still at low levels. Also, transactions in Q4 were still being settled above asking prices, indicative of a tight market,” he said.

Recent months had seen worrying trends in the homebuilding sector, with housing starts slowing, and the construction PMI survey pointing to the flow of new development drying up.

“We still expect housing completions will pick up to 28,400 in 2022 and 27,000 in 2023. However, the outlook for 2024 is far more uncertain. The Government’s ambitious plans to expedite planning processes are welcome although, as ever, the proof will be in the pudding,” he added.

Locally, and unsurprisingly, the lack of supply of new and second-hand properties remains the dominant issue. There has been very little new construction due largely to the rising cost of construction, labour, materials and utilities which in turn is putting pressure on the second hand market.

This market proved particularly strong in 2022 with active bidding experienced on the majority of house sales and a large proportion of guide prices being generally exceeded.

The detached family home end of the market is particularly strong with increased competition for a limited number of available well located family homes.

So, what lies ahead and is it a good time to sell your property?

The answer is a tight market with scarcity of supply being a factor. If selling now you will benefit greatly from a lack of supply of available homes (therefore less competition) provided your property is marketed correctly of course!

For anyone considering placing their property on the market, contact DNG Ted Healy 064 6639000 killarney@dng.ie for genuine honest advice on how to achieve the best possible price for your home.

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Tourism VAT rate should be “continued indefinitely”

A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its […]

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A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its customers”.

The reduced VAT rate of 9% was introduced by the Government in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the hospitality sector.

“I believe a return to a 13.5% Tourism VAT rate would be counterproductive at this stage, to small and medium businesses that welcome visitors to our country and our county,” Councillor Michael Cahill said.

“Catered food is already charged at 13.5%, alcohol at 23% and accommodation presently at 9%. This sector is providing pretty decent returns to the Exchequer and should be supported. All parties in this debate, including the Government and accommodation providers, should review their position and ensure their actions do not contribute to ‘killing the Goose that laid the Golden Egg’.”

He explained that the tourism industry is “in a very volatile market”, as can be seen by the enormous challenges “posed by COVID-19 in recent years”.

“A grain of rice could tip the balance either way and great care must be taken not to damage it irreparably. We are all aware that the next six to 12 months will be extremely difficult for many businesses with the increase in the cost of oil and gas, etc,, and a return to the 13.5% VAT rate will, in my opinion, close many doors. If a minority are ‘price gouging’, then it should be possible to penalise them and continue to support the majority who offer value for money to our visitors.”

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