By Anne Lucey
Municipal districts in Kerry show marked difference in their ability and success in drawing down matching central Government funding for projects in their towns – with Killarney trailing far behind Tralee as well as the much smaller Listowel.
Budget documents released at a series of individual Municipal District budget meetings at Aras an Chontae Tralee as of last Friday revealed how projects to the value of €7.5 million were netted by Tralee in 2019.
In contrast, Killarney’s efforts netted €1.64 million grants for projects with a total value of €2.5 million. It is understood that Killarney put forward a number of projects including a redesign of the Haha and the Flesk cycleway and walkway, but most were turned down.
The Killarney projects which did attract grants this year included the redevelopment of the Cultural Centre €120,000 of tourism grants; public Wi-Fi in the town centre € 30,000; promotion of cycling stands €16,000; Kenmare Road Parking areas upgrade €160,000 along with monies for schemes in Rathmore and Barraduff.
The Áras Phádraig “Masterplan” got a grant of €112,000 while €15,000 from the Department of Children went towards the playground extension; there was €25,000 towards the Killarney Micro Track Project and two men’s shed projects netted €8,600 in Community Enhancement support grants.
The Listowel District had managed to draw down €3.9 million in grants in 2019.
Mayor of Kerry, Killarney councillor Niall Kelleher said projects like the Haha may be eligible for funding from the roads authority this year. He voted against the 2020 budget plan for Killarney because the town does not get its fair share.
The five other Killarney councillors sought updates on the Bohereen na Goun, Pretty Polly and Áras Phádraig projects, before approving the draft plan.
The allocation for Killarney in 2020 is just over €402,000, which could attract in far more in terms of grants, Town Manager Angela McAllen outlined.