A PARTNERSHIP has been formed to improve the image of Killarney’s jarvey trade and the service it provides to tourists.
15 jarveys are now part of Killarney Horse and Carriage Tours, and will wear distinctive clothing of the same colour, including polo shirts, fleece jackets and rain gear, all with a logo.
Spokesman for the group, Michael Sweetman, yesterday said he would not describe the apparel as uniforms but they wanted to clean up the image of jarveys, after much negative publicity from the recent controversy about using dung catchers.
Meetings have been held with senior Killarney Town Council officials, including town clerk, Michael O’Leary, and mayor Donal Grady, who fully supported the partnership initiative.
Representatives of the jarveys may, before the year end, visit Prague where horse-drawn carriages are also an attraction to see how the business operates there.
The partnership is due to be fully operational for the 2011 tourist season.
There are 37 carriages are registered with the local authority, of which 25 are operated by the jarveys in the partnership.
Mr Sweetman said the partnership was also responding to changes that had taken place in the last 10 years, with most of their business now coming from bus tours rather than from tourists travelling independently.
“There’s been a substantial drop-off in business, with the biggest factor being the effects of the 9/11 tragedy in America.”
Also, the jarveys were planning a half-price day for local people. Many had never been on a jaunting car and the only times locals would use the service would be special occasions, such as First Holy Communions, Mr Sweetman observed.
The jarveys, who had been locked out of Killarney National Park for eight months because of their refusal to fit dung catchers to their carriages, brought an unsuccessful High Court action against the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Following the court ruling, in May, the jarveys agreed to use the devices and were readmitted to the park.
Mr Sweetman said the dung catchers were “working perfectly”, adding that no horse had refused to take to them.
Meanwhile, bylaws in Killarney town are being amended so that operators of all horse-drawn carriages in the town will be obliged to use dung catchers.
The bylaws will be in force for the 2011 season. Council manager John Breen said while the devices were not catching 100% of the dung, they were making a “noticeable difference” to cleanliness and smell on the streets.
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