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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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Volunteers wanted for street collection

By Michelle Crean October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and local volunteers are keen to not only raise awareness but also funds. Kathrina Breen, Eleanor O’Doherty and Kathleen O’Shea who […]

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By Michelle Crean

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and local volunteers are keen to not only raise awareness but also funds.

Kathrina Breen, Eleanor O’Doherty and Kathleen O’Shea who have been supporting the Irish Cancer Society for many years are delighted to be able to get back to their Pink Ribbon street collection in Killarney town next Friday (October 7).

They are the only group in the country doing the collection as many fundraisers have moved online since the pandemic struck.

“We’re the only town in Ireland doing it this year,” Kathrina, who feels it’s important to keep a street collection going, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We haven’t done it in two years since before COVID. I pushed to do it as it raises a lot of money. People have been supporting this for years, this money goes towards breast detection equipment, information leaflets in doctors surgeries and towards cancer grants.”

In 2021, donations helped 254 breast cancer patients with free transport to and from 2,380 chemotherapy appointments by volunteer drivers, 154 patients received 514 nights of end-of-life care from Night Nurses and 3,430 enquiries were made about breast cancer through the Freephone Support Line 1800 200 700 and at 13 Daffodil Centres across the country.

And she added that they’re looking for a few volunteers to help out on the day.

“If anyone would like to help they can contact me on 087 2612992.”

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Calls for Council to acquire vacant Rock Road properties

By Sean Moriarty There are calls to make two vacant properties on Rock Road available to Kerry County Council’s housing inventory. The two cottages, one either side of the entrance […]

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By Sean Moriarty

There are calls to make two vacant properties on Rock Road available to Kerry County Council’s housing inventory.

The two cottages, one either side of the entrance to St Finan’s Hospital, are vacant for some time.
Cllr Maura Healy-Rae raised the issue at a recent Killarney Municipal District meeting.

“Regarding two vacant houses at the entrance to St Finan’s on Rock Road which appear to be vacant for a significant period of time. One of the properties is in the ownership of the HSE. I requested that Kerry County Council would liaise with the HSE with a view to potentially acquiring this house,” she told the Killarney Advertiser after the meeting.

“I stressed that it is important that the local authority exhaust all possibilities when it comes to providing more houses, particularly properties located within the town of Killarney where the need and demand for housing is critical.”

Kerry County Council said it would get the Vacant Homes Officer to contact the owner of the privately owned bungalow.

“They will inform the property owner that there is funding available under various schemes and grants to aid the return of this property to habitable use. Such schemes include the Repair and Lease Scheme and the recently launched Croí Cónaithe vacant property grant,” said a Council official.

Cllr Healy-Rae added: “I requested that KCC would liaise with the HSE with a view to potentially acquiring this house.”

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