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Temporary ‘Safe Street’ measures extended until January

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Temporary ‘Safe Street’ measures extended until January

 

By Sean Moriarty

 

Kerry County Council is to extend the temporary pedestrian measures in the town centre until at least January next year.

The move, which is sure to anger some traders in the town, reverses a previous decision by the council to run the Safe Streets Programme until next week.

The plan, introduced in July, was designed to make Killarney’s streets safer for visitors and locals. Footpaths were widened and Plunkett St is closed to traffic 24 hours a day instead of its usual overnight closure. A section of Kenmare place is also sectioned off from traffic. The temporary measures were due to end on September 2.

The initial plan upset traders, it came at a cost of around 50 off street parking spaces and some councillors believe it’s a covert plan to introduce fulltime pedestrianisation to the town and without the correct consultation process.

Long-serving councillor, Donal O’Grady, has been particularly vocal on the situation.

Early this month he raised concerns that the footpath widening plan could have a detrimental effect on town centre business and that once the tourist season is over in September the centre will be empty of locals who have better parking options at out of town shopping centres.

Last week Kerry County Council told the Killarney Advertiser that the measures were temporary but within days of issuing that statement officials backtracked and announced the scheme’s extension.

“Following the introduction of the “Safe Streets Safe Town Plans” a commitment was given to carry out a review of the measures put in place to provide a safe environment, particularly for vulnerable road users, whilst supporting the reopening of business in the town. This Plan was developed in accordance with Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business and included the temporary closure of Strand Street in Dingle and Plunkett Street in Killarney," a council spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

O’Grady is now seeking legal advice as he believes Kerry County Council and Killarney Municipal District do not have the powers to bring in such widespread changes in the town centre with a proper consultation process that involves input from elected councillors, traders and residents.

Meanwhile Mayor Brenda Cronin, a long-time supporter of pedestrianisation plans in the town centre has welcomed the move.

“In the fine evenings during the summer, as I walked from College St to Plunkett St, it was great to see the tables out on the streets and people enjoying themselves, “ he told the Killarney Advertiser. “Even New St was full of atmosphere, something we have not seen before.”

Killarney Municipal District cited several reasons to extended the duration of the Safe Streets Programme.

This includes a potential rise in COVID-19 cases, an increased footfall in the town centre through the months of July and August and an anticipated boom in Christmas shopping.

The council is also hopeful that the tourism season could be extended as people are restricted from overseas travel but the ‘staycation’ market is growing.

"The Council is committed to reviewing the overall Safe Streets Plans for the towns and villages of the county, taking into account the tourist season and the reopening of the schools," added the council spokesperson. " Additionally, the full measures identified in the Government’s Roadmap have not been implemented, with the public heath advice remaining for persons to maintain a two metre social distance from others, with additional requirements now imposed for restaurants/cafes and for vulnerable persons."

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Students awarded for their contribution to school life

By Michelle Crean Students were honoured for their contribution to school life this week during a special end of year awards ceremony. Held in the school gym on Wednesday afternoon, […]

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By Michelle Crean

Students were honoured for their contribution to school life this week during a special end of year awards ceremony.

Held in the school gym on Wednesday afternoon, the students from St Brigid’s Presentation were presented with a variety of awards from sport to science, music and visual art while Sixth Year student Saoirse Coffey received the Orla Benson Award.

“During this school year, our students have showcased their brilliance and extensive talents,” teacher Adrienne Brosnan, said.

“We are all so proud of these outstanding achievements across all aspects of school life. Awards day is a truly special occasion for all members of the St Brigid’s community and one which we relish the opportunity to celebrate. It is a time of anticipation, a time of excitement and a time of great joy. The awards that are presented are a testament to that dedication and we also acknowledge all the great work that is done by the teachers here in St Brigid’s.”

Sixth Year students also said their final goodbyes ahead of their State exams next month.

“We wish them the best of luck as they spread their wings and leave the shelter of St Brigid’s for the beginning of a new adventure.”

AWARD WINNERS

Other awards winners were:

Anna Dunlea received the Contribution to Graphics award while Leah Vinluan got the Design and Communication Graphics award.

Clodagh O’Connor and Sarah O’Sullivan both received the Contribution to Visual Art award.

Abbie Finan was awarded Soccer: Player of the Year, Chloe Hue Senior Football: Player of the Year, Emily Buckley 1st Year Football: Player of the Year, Abbey Cronin 2nd Year Football: Player of the Year, and Andrea Murphy Junior Football; Player of the Year, Senior Basketball: Most Valued Player went to Tara Donnellan, the Minor Basketball: Most Valued Player was given to Ciara O’Sullivan and the Cadette Basketball: Most Valued Player went to Leah McMahon.

Kara Huggard earned herself the LCA Student of the Year, Sarah McGrath received the CEIST Award, Excellence in Science was awarded to Emma Myers and Jennie O’Mahony, while Rita Akhter received the Overall Contribution to STEM.

Bríd O’Connor who wrote the book Spark presented Saoirse O’Sullivan with the Outstanding Achievements in Music award.

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Businesses face closure due to staff shortages

Hospitality sector businesses might have to close a few days a week to off-set staff shortages. Fáilte Ireland last week launched a recruitment drive to attract part-time workers into hospitality […]

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Hospitality sector businesses might have to close a few days a week to off-set staff shortages.

Fáilte Ireland last week launched a recruitment drive to attract part-time workers into hospitality and tourism roles, where it is estimated that there is as much as a 40,000 shortage in such roles for the peak summer season.

Damien McCarthy of HR Consultancy firm HR Buddy, founded in Killarney but now based in the RDI Hub in Killorglin, said that workers are losing out due to a more cashless society.

“Hospitality businesses may have to consider shutting their doors or decreasing their operational hours during the peak summer season as many businesses such as bars, restaurants, cafes, B&Bs and hotels are struggling to find staff for the demand. The industry is suffering over these few current weeks in particular as many part-time student workers are not available due to college and Leaving Cert exams. This shows how dependant the industry has become on young student workers,” he said.

“Many service industry workers choose part-time or casual work in hospitality roles because of the tip bonus, but this has even been impacted negatively now as most tips are taxed because they are coming in electronically. The worker is losing out and this key attraction tool that existed when we were a more cash orientated society in pre-pandemic times, is now gone.”

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