All politics is local – here’s what we need

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce Preisident, Paul Sherry (left) at a Chamber General Election Forum with Ciara O’Grady, Gleneagle Group, Jerry O’Sullivan, moderator and Les Brzozka, International Hotel, Killarney.
Picture: Joe Hanley

BUSINESS leaders in Killarney have outlined an 11-point wish list in advance of the general election and candidate of all parties and none have been asked to take the proposals on board in return for local support at tomorrow’s polls.

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce said it is fully committed to supporting the five TDs Kerry will return to Dáil Éireann and it is willing to work with them to ensure the town is allocated the funding and the resources required to ensure a more prosperous future.

“We are fully appreciative of the fact that this a national election but we are firmly of the view that all politics is local,” said Chamber President Paul Sherry.

“We have a number of priority projects that we would like to see implemented, addressed and funded when the new government is formed,” he added.

The key points of the chamber’s manifesto are:

The chamber is seeking a return to the lower VAT rate for tourism

VAT on Tourism: Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce will actively lobby Kerry’s five newly elected TDs to seek the immediate reintroduction of the nine per cent VAT rate for the tourism industry.

Funding for Roads: Chamber says there is a pressing need for more investment in infrastructure in the greater Killarney area which has been seriously underfunded in terms of roads for several years. The Chamber will be calling on the newly formed government to prioritise the outer bypass, from Lissivigeen to Farranfore and from Lissivigeen to Castlelough, which is a critically important project.

Saving our Businesses: The high cost of doing business is taking their toll in Killarney and new national incentives to support small and medium-sized operations and independent retailers are very urgently required. The chamber has highlighted the significant negative impact that escalating insurance costs and local authority rates are having on trade.

Plans for the looped walk around the lakes and mountains of Killarney

Looped Walk Proposal: While work has been progressing on a number of key sections in the development of a fully looped amenity trail around Lough Leane and Muckross Lake, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce wants to see the project brought to fruition as quickly as possible to create another world class attraction in the town. The 29km trail, when complete, will be a full circuit around the lakes, with accessible trails for walkers and cyclists, and it has real potential to deliver an iconic attraction.

Easing the Gridlock: The chamber has ongoing major concerns over chronic traffic congestion and inadequate parking in and around the town. While the provision of a new bus and car park on Rock Road last year was a positive development, courtesy of Kerry County Council, traffic congestion and a lack of parking remain a barrier to business growth, highlighting the need for better traffic management.

The Aras Padraig site will be a key part of the Lewis Road Masterplan

Supporting Town Living: Chamber supports calls to ask property owners in Killarney town centre if the upper floors of their premises or dwellings were available for letting to individuals or families. If this proposal found acceptance with the owners and the council, it would provide much needed accommodation and help revitalise the locations in question, giving the urban area a whole new lease of life.

Killarney Site Visits: Killarney Chamber will continue to lobby for more site visits by the State agencies, including the IDA and Enterprise Ireland, to Killarney to determine potential and maximise job creation opportunities. Killarney and South Kerry needs far greater diversity in relation to job opportunities and there is a highly skilled and extremely well educated workforce to call on with the skills to make their mark.

Lewis Road Masterplan: Chamber will encourage the newly elected government to liaise closely with and support Kerry County Council and Killarney Municipal District Council in relation to the masterplan for the all-important Lewis Road site. There will be just one opportunity to do the right thing and choose the correct option when developing that key site and the hope is that all decisions will be made following proper local dialogue.

Plans for the proposed cyceway which will run from Ross Road (A) to Flesk Bridge (B)

Primary Care Centre: In a town where the population multiplies ten-fold during the busy summer season, the need for a Primary Care Centre in Killarney has never been greater. There are several sites in very close proximity to the town that would be suitable to provide an accessible, professional and first class health care services with general practitioners, nursing staff, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists and others.

New Killarney Cycleway: Turning plans for the development of a new world class walkway and cycle route in Killarney into reality is one of the main priorities for Killarney. Running from Ross Road to Flesk Bridge, the route will provide a continuous off-road route between the national park at Knockreer and the park at Muckross. The project has now reached a stage where everything is ready to go once the required funding is secured.

Poster Free Elections: Killarney was one of the first towns in the country, over 20 years ago, to ask politicians of all parties and none – and their representatives – not to erect election posters within the urban boundaries.  Given the importance of the environment and the need to lead by example, Chamber would like to see this arrangement rolled out at a national level and we would respectfully ask all politicians to give due consideration to an outright prohibition on election posters.

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Brzozka