KT

What will become of prime 4.7-acre site?

The vacant council owned site at Derreen which is wanted by the Kerry Stars but might also be used for social housing

CONSULTATIONS are to take place between Kerry County Council and the Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club to determine the use of a prime parcel of land located between the grounds of Killarney Legion GAA Club and Killarney Celtic FC at Derreen.

Council officials said the site was originally identified as a potential location for a specific sports facility being planned by the Kerry Stars but the project has not materialised.

Representatives of the Kerry Stars have again been in contact with the council regarding the use of the site and, while further communication was expected in the short-term, the council said it is still awaiting contact to be made.

Cllr Donal Grady had asked if the council had any plans to build much-needed houses on the site which is in the ownership of the local authority?

“I hear the Kerry Stars are looking for it. I’ve no problems with that but don’t leave it idle – build social housing there is if it remaining vacant,” he said.

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Cllr Niall Kelleher said it is his understanding that the Kerry Stars are still interested in the site and they must be given priority.

The council said it will again liaise with the Kerry Stars organisation before giving consideration to the use of the land under the Housing for All plan.

Back in 2014, the Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club unveiled hugely ambitious plans for a new €10 million sports and adventure centre at the site which was earmarked as a world class centre of excellence for people with physical or intellectual disabilities.

Plans for the 4.7-acre development were submitted to the town council and the state-of-the-art facilities planned included an indoor sports arena and gymnasium, a bowling alley, a seven-a-side indoor pitch, an adventure course and changing facilities.

It was hoped that the development would also incorporate physiotherapy and first aid rooms, counselling and occupational therapy facilities, a social hub and café, offices, a boardroom and a sensory garden.

The developers said they hoped to finance the project through corporate donations and fundraising and the idea was to have it up and running before 2022 but, unfortunately, the project never materialised.

The Kerry Stars had plans for the site

At a meeting of Killarney Municipal District council last May, a deputation from Killarney Celtic FC asked officials to consider utilising the grounds between Legion’s playing fields and Celtic Park to create a much-needed amenity space and recreational sports hub.

Celtic official Paul Sherry expressed concern that the area was becoming a problem spot for anti-social behaviour and various incidents of damage, trespass and all sorts of antics were being observed.

The vacant site, currently waste ground, is currently section off by a border fence which runs all along the boundaries with the Legion and Celtic facilities.