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Three Green Flags for Kerry’s parks and gardens

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Three Kerry beauty spots are celebrating today (Wednesday) after being awarded the 2021 Green Flag by An Taisce, which acknowledges Ireland’s best public parks and gardens.

Childers Park and Woodlands in Listowel and Tralee Town Park retained their prestigious Green Flag Award accreditation for 2021/22. They are joined by Tralee Wetlands which entered the competition this year for the very first time.

The award provides international recognition and is the mark of a quality park or green space and is recognised throughout the world. The Green Flag Awards are judged every year by a peer jury of green space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability, and community involvement.

International accreditation for public park excellence in Ireland has increased again this year, to reach over 100 accredited public green spaces. Ireland was today awarded a total of 103 Green Flag sites, comprised of 84 formal public Green Flag Park sites, along with 19 volunteer run Green Community Sites.

This year over 2,300 public sites in 16 countries around the world have achieved Green Flag or Green Flag Community Award status.

The Green Flag Community Award extends the scheme to include community initiatives such as Community Gardens, Community Parks, and Tidy Towns Projects. In Ireland the Green Flag Community Award Scheme is supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

“These awards are due to the work of not only Kerry County Council staff but also the huge efforts of the Tidy Towns Groups and park users in Tralee, including local community groups and volunteers, with the assistance of NEWKD who operate various Community Employment Schemes as well as the local Gardai who regularly patrol the areas," Mayor of Tralee, Cllr Johnny Wall, said. 

"It is great to see Tralee Wetlands receive this accreditation as it is a fantastic facility and visitor attraction. I hope that over the coming years other Kerry towns and villages will also enter this competition."

Cathaoirleach of Listowel Municipal District, Cllr. Mike Kennelly noted that “while Childers Park and Woodlands is essentially a local amenity, it has an important role in Listowel’s economic development.

"The park gives Listowel a quality of life and environment which increases its overall attractiveness as a place to live, visit and invest in. The opening of the Greenway in 2022, with a connection through Childers Park and Woodlands into The Square, will enable many more people the chance to experience all of the great attractions Listowel has to offer, including our fantastic park.”

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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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