STANDSTILL: Our 2017 design show the site’s potential but there is still no movement on what will happen with the Áras Phádraig.
It seems the powers that be are putting projects in Killarney on the long-finger while similar ideas in other towns get pushed through at a much faster rate.
In the first of a two-part series, the Killarney Advertiser’s Sean Moriarty exposes why this town is left floundering as other towns push ahead and reap the rewards.
In Part One we look at how substantial land donations by two very different institutions, one unique to Killarney and the other, a global business giant based in Tralee, had polar opposite outcomes.
The Áras Phádraig on the Lewis Road, a former popular community centre has been idle since May 2009 when the Franciscan Brothers transferred ownership of the facility to the municipal council.
Five years later, Kerry Group, the global food giant with its world headquarters in Tralee, donated its former Denny’s Meat factory site at the Island of Geese in the town centre to its home town.
At the latest meeting of Killarney Municipal Council, the elected members were told: “Kerry County Council has appointed Reddy A&U Architects to prepare a development plan for the Áras Phádraig site and adjoining car park. A number of options are being considered for the development. An economic and financial Cost Benefit Analysis is being carried out on each of these options in accordance with the requirements of the Public Spending Code”.
Meanwhile, in Tralee, last February Kerry County Council and the Tralee Municipal District unveiled plans for the Island of Geese site including a three-storey office block; a large park and public realm area featuring a children’s play area; public seating and an amphitheatre with curved seating.
Elected members of Tralee Municipal District approved these plans in early July. Tralee is pushing on with its plans to redevelop a donated site. Killarney is still in the “development plan stage” despite having a five year head start over the county town.
In fairness, the Áras Phádraig site hit a legal hitch connected with the charity status of either the donator or the receiver – but surely Tralee hit similar snags along the way?
It took until 2017 before the legal hitch could be overcome in Killarney, but three years down the road we are still no closer to getting this important facility, which is fast becoming an eyesore, off the ground. Three years ago, the design team at the Killarney Advertiser came up with our own concept – so why is this project so far away from being even started, not to mind finished?
It took Tralee less than six years to get from the point of receiving the donation to approving plans.
Nearly 12 years on, and Killarney remains in the planning stages and we are asking whose responsibility is this and who is going to step up and make this happen now and not dilly-dally for God knows how long more.
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