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Some Killarney residents should watch their gardens like hawks

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A “compelling” case is being made for the intensive use of lands within walking distance of Killarney town for housing. Close to 700 residential units will be needed, according to the draft Killarney Municipal District Plan for the next six years.

For Killarney town, so compelling is the case in the well-put-together, suspiciously cohesive, logically built-up and well-written plan, one wonders if one smells a CPO – a Compulsory Purchase Order?

For instance, we are told up front that the zoning strategy is to “build up critical mass” in the towns and villages of the Killarney area.

We are told that Killarney is the only town to have enjoyed significant growth, going from 13,760 in 2011 to 15,312 in 2016. Although the growth can’t be properly measured because of changes in census boundaries, we are told in another section.

We are told that Killarney has “unique” requirements as a tourist town and that this places significant pressure on local accommodation, in terms of provision and cost.

“In addition to the absence of affordable accommodation, the town requires significant numbers of seasonal workers, which creates extra pressure in terms of the high numbers seeking local accommodation and high rental costs,” it is stated.

The figure of 685 units is mentioned in the context of Killarney’s unique status of being the town with the oldest average age in the nation, thanks, we are told, to all the retirees who move here.

Significant areas of available and serviced land are not being released onto the market, and the proposal now is for almost 70 hectares south of the bypass and north of the Flesk to be zoned for housing. Next to nothing is to be allowed beyond this until houses have gone up in that area.

But the real meat, I suspect, is in the statement that as much as 30 per cent of the new housing will beon “infill or brownfield sites” within the town.

(By the way, there is a lovely howler on page 52, under the section “Housing Land Requirement”, where it states that “a principal tenant” of the approach is a sequential approach to zoning of residential lands, extending outwards from the centre. Nice one!)

But the part that interests me most is this:

“The Local Authority shall facilitate the redevelopment of all backland, infill, vacant and derelict sites throughout the town. It will encourage the construction of well-designed, high-density apartments or residential units subject to achieving a high quality of living accommodation for incoming residents, adequate provision of amenity space and refuse storage.”

Then there is the rather cheeky step of corralling the back gardens of the old houses in New Street, with accompanying map. And statements that New Street is to be” regenerated”.

In this context too, the Mission Road and Beech Road car park will be developed for housing and commercial, it is envisaged.

Green Lane and Pound Lane are other areas where there is plenty of  “underutilised rear residential gardens”. Sunnyhill, too, gets a mention in the unused land context.

The “sizeable” gardens in New Street would be developed as “a cohesive unit”, it is envisaged. This is, of course, language for a “new New Street” into the area south and adjoining Beech Road car park.

One thing interests me: with the plans for higher density within the town walls, as it were, what sort of heights are we really talking about? Heights like the Plaza? The Cathedral? The Beech Road apartments? The question of height provokes headaches in Killarney and there are real concerns about infill development. So any kind of gung-ho approach as appears in the new town plan about filling in here, there and everywhere on the basis of great need, warrants very careful scrutiny, it seems to me.

Already a situation is developing where Kerry County Council have opened an enforcement file on the two-storey mews building underway at the back of the West End, one of the town’s oldest buildings. New Street residents complained that windows are going in at the eastern side where they should not go in in the apartment development and will overlook their gardens and privacy and deprive them of light.  A warning letter has been issued from the council to the applicants.

And let’s face it, this town has not distinguished itself in the development allowed in many of the old lanes.

Back to the draft plan. In the middle of it all, the horseshoe bat gets prime mention in the plan. I can’t understand the horseshoe bat’s import… and have to digress a bit here again. The lesser horseshoe bat gets a whole page to himself. I blinked a bit here. Is this about the jarvey horses and my bad eyesight? No, the lesser horsehoe bat.

Actually, he is actually in good condition we are told. Great! However, he could be disturbed by artificial lighting. Okay! Right!

On a morning where deer – also protected – are hopping in front of motorists and taking up car parking spaces in Beech Road, I would have thought they deserved a mention in a draft plan for their impact on the town, if only to protect humans?

But away from the deer and the bats. If I were a resident of Green and Pound Lanes and Lower New Street, and maybe Sunnyhill, I would be watching my little back garden roost like the proverbial hawk.

Submissions can be made until June 15.

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Picture This announce Killarney gigs

Following on from being the fastest act ever to sell out the Gleneagle INEC Arena, with tickets going in under five minutes, Picture This have announced their only Irish shows of 2021 with a three-night run at the Killarney venue on December 16 -18. These exclusive gigs coincide with the release of their brand-new album […]

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Following on from being the fastest act ever to sell out the Gleneagle INEC Arena, with tickets going in under five minutes, Picture This have announced their only Irish shows of 2021 with a three-night run at the Killarney venue on December 16 -18.

These exclusive gigs coincide with the release of their brand-new album ‘Life in Colour’ set to be released June 25 via Republic Records.

“We are so excited to be playing at the INEC Arena this December,” Picture This frontman, Ryan Hennessy said.

“It is a place that holds many fond memories for us from starting out in the Acoustic Club to selling out the arena in record time. We have missed the atmosphere and the people so much and can’t wait to be reunited!”

Representing music’s biggest global underdog story, Picture This have unassumingly captivated listeners in every corner of the world, amassing nearly 300 million total streams, selling out stadiums, and inspiring praise from Billboard, ThisSongIsSick, and many more.

Their new album ‘Life in Colour’ boasts hits such as ‘Things Are Different’, ‘LA House Party’ and ‘Unconditional’. Thus far, tracks from the record have already gathered over 25 million total streams and counting prior to its arrival.

Tickets from €49.90 plus booking fees for these exclusive shows go on sale this Friday at 9am www.inec.ie and www.ticketmaster.ie.

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Renowned chef to host men’s charity cookery demo

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To celebrate International Men’s Health Week, cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has organised a live cookery demonstration with renowned chef, Mark Doe.

It takes place on Tuesday next, June 15.

Open to all men dealing with cancer, the free Zoom cook-along event will take place from 6.30pm to 7.30pm, where the famous Just Cooking cookery school founder will share some of his expertise with participants.

Mark has chosen a simple marinated chicken in pitta bread with wedges and coleslaw as his dish of choice for the evening, and will be taking participants through the steps to create their very own meal via this live cook-along event.

“We wanted to do something special to mark International Men’s Health Week and we are honoured that Mark has agreed to come on board to host this exciting event,” Recovery Haven manager Siobhan MacSweeney said.

“The free event is open to all men who are dealing with cancer, not just our own clients, so we are encouraging as many men as possible to sign up for what promises to be a great, fun evening.”

Anyone interested in taking part is required to register in advance by phoning Recovery Haven Kerry on 066 7192122.

Once registered you will receive a Zoom link to join the cook-along on the evening as well as the list of ingredients you will need.

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Loss of Kerry to Dublin route a “severe blow” 

  Ths loss of the Stobart Air Kerry to Dublin routes – which was announced yesterday (Sunday) that it’s to cease trading with immediate effect – will have a serious impact on the county, in particular the tourism and hospitality industry. Kerry Tourism Industry Federation (KTIF) is urgently requesting the Government act quickly on the collapse of the […]

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Ths loss of the Stobart Air Kerry to Dublin routes – which was announced yesterday (Sunday) that it’s to cease trading with immediate effect – will have a serious impact on the county, in particular the tourism and hospitality industry.

Kerry Tourism Industry Federation (KTIF) is urgently requesting the Government act quickly on the collapse of the airline and appoint a replacement.

The tourism group said that the loss of the routes is “such a severe blow to an industry that has been the most impacted by COVID for over 15 months and will take years to recover”.
 
Passengers affected are advised not to travel to the airport and to check the Aer Lingus website for updated information.

The Department of Transport is currently examining the implications of the announcement while Kerry County Council said it has full confidence in the future of Kerry Airport and will work closely with airport management to ensure the quick restoration of this key route and the future development of further air traffic routes into the county.

Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley said that she was “saddened to hear the announcement”.

“I have spoken directly on the issue with Kerry Airport and Minister Eamon Ryan and officials regarding the importance of the restoration of services, including the Dublin/Kerry route which is vital to the region. We are all committed to finding a pathway forward for the restoration of connectivity as a matter of urgency.”

The Government is acutely aware of the devastating impact that COVID-19 restrictions are having on the aviation sector.

By the end of June, the sector will have received approx. €300 million in State funding spanning employment supports, waiver of commercial rates and deferral of taxes. The bulk of the support to airlines is through the TWSS/EWSS wage subsidy schemes which were specifically designed to maintain the link between employers and employees. Liquidity support has also been made available by ISIF to large aviation enterprises.

This is in addition to PSO support of approximately €7 million per annum for the affected routes.

LIFEBLOOD

Tourism in Kerry generates €661 million annually, employing some 14,000 people. COVID-19 has forced 82% out of the workforce into unemployment. Tourism supply and support businesses have also been severely affected with thousands of employees out of work and companies struggling to survive.

“Connectivity and transport is the lifeblood to rebuilding tourism,” Pat O’Leary, Chairman of KTIF said. “The tourism and aviation sector is critical to the economy and viability of life in Kerry, it impacts on every household. It was the first industry to feel the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the last to recover. The Government can save vital tourism and businesses connectivity by moving swiftly and confidently appointing a replacement to service these crucial routes. Our thoughts are with the employees at Stobart Air, our colleagues in Kerry Airport and the tourism and aviation industry who are all working so hard on recovery and reopening plans.”

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce said that Stobart operated the Kerry-Dublin service with great professionalism and customer care was always a priority, and that they wish them well as the face a very difficult time.

“Killarney Chamber won’t be found wanting in its commitment to support Kerry Airport and we have every confidence that John Mulhern and his team possess the ability, the knowledge and the determination to bring about the restoration of the service,” Niall Kelleher, President, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, said. 

“Going forward, Kerry Airport will be critical to reopening the Kerry economy and we must all work to build on any opportunities that arise to provide greater access into the county. Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce is fully committed to help find a pathway forward for the restoration of connectivity.”

 

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