Killarney firms want services retained

Businesses in tourist centre Killarney are to lobby for key local authority services to be retained following the abolition this month of the town council.

Local chamber of commerce and tourism president Johnny McGuire made a presentation to this week’s council meeting, seeking a resort marketing budget and retention of litter control, among other services.

The 114-year-old council is to be replaced by an eight-member municipal district council which will also include rural east Kerry and towns such as Castleisland and Rathmore.

A Killarney Local Government Action Group has been formed under the aegis of the chamber and Mr McGuire said a primary concern was the centralisation of services to Tralee.

He called for a dedicated executive for the Killarney district, as well as the retention of a mayor and finance officer.

Mr McGuire said it was also important to retain responsibility for litter control and landscaping, given that Killarney previously won the National Tidy Towns title and had a most effective, voluntary litter-picking operation.

At their final monthly meeting, Killarney councillors again protested at the scrapping of the nine-member body.

Councillor John O’Donoghue, FF, whose late father Maurice and brother Patrick had also served on the council, said: “I would have gone for election again if the town council were still operating.

“It was always a love of Killarney, it was never about politics,” he said of each council member. “The council is going to be a major loss.”

Labour councillor Sean Counihan described the abolition as “a mistake”, while an emotional Councillor Niall O’Callaghan, Ind, said it was a poignant night for him thinking of his late father Dermot, formerly a councillor.

Councillor Tom Doherty, Ind, whose casting vote as mayor secured a new leisure centre for the town, said he was proud the centre was so successful.

Town manager John Breen, also a director of services with Kerry County Council, said one thing that stood out in the council was pride in Killarney. “I do believe the demise of town councils will be a huge loss to local democracy — two years out from 1916,” he added.

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