Plan to make town car-free

A top tourist town may pedestrianise some of its main streets in a bid to attract visitors and create a lively atmosphere on summer nights.

Pedestrianisation has been a hot issue for a long time in Killarney, with strong lobbies for and against, but the local town council may try to implement it again during the 2012 season.

Night-time pedestrianisation has proved hugely successful during the annual Killarney Summerfest, with thousands of people enjoying entertainment in closed-off town centre streets.

Bands, choral groups and street performers attracted large crowds, which enjoyed the liberty of the streets during the course of the festival.

Now the council has agreed to a proposal by Cllr John O’Donoghue (FF) — whose family own the Gleneagle Hotel group — to look at the possibility of pedestrianising parts of the centre of Killarney during July and August, from 7pm to midnight.

But some councillors expressed reservations. Cllr Hugh Courtney (Ind) said Killarney did not have the infrastructure to go with pedestrianisation, such as Galway, where it worked very well.

Labour’s Sean O’Grady said the closing off of some streets to traffic could have implications for traffic flow elsewhere.

Mayor Sean Counihan described himself as an ardent supporter of the idea, saying pedestrianisation had worked any time it was tried.

“There’s no reason why we can’t do it again,” he said.

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