Whatever Simon says, Killarney says it’s time to deliver

Vacant: The former Pretty Polly plant in Killarney

Given that he now holds the most powerful political office in the land, expectations are high that new Taoiseach Simon Harris will soon deliver on a pledge to develop a third level college in Killarney plans for which was unveiled during his term as the Minister for Higher and Further Education.

In November 2022, he arrived in town to announce that the 25,000 sq ft former Pretty Polly factory is to be repurposed as a third level institution for training for the hotel and hospitality sector.

The project would be under the auspices of the Kerry Education and Training Board and it would include the development of a state-of-the-art college campus, it was confirmed at the time.

Simon Harris with members of the Kerry ETB at the former Pretty Polly plant in Killarney which is earmarked for a development at a educational centre

The new campus would also include renewable energy, sustainable green technologies and lifelong learning facilities along with craft apprenticeships.

The plan, which was revealed at a reception in the Kerry College Admission offices on High Street, was to provide training for over 4,000 people in the first year, with numbers to rise further by year three.

Earlier this year Mr Harris confirmed in the Dáil that the Kerry Education and Training Board has formally submitted the proposal to rejuvenate the old Pretty Polly site.

The factory, on a seven-acre site at Upper Park Road, has been vacant since 2009 and served as a Pretty Polly hosiery plant as well as Sara Lee and Beocare medical products centre.

When vacated, it was handed over to the town council to be developed for the benefit of the commercial life of the town.

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