Killarney gridlock a threat to Irish tourism

Gridlock in Killarney is endangering the tourism industry for the whole county, the local Chamber of Commerce has warned amid growing frustration by tourists and residents over a chronic lack of parking and traffic management plans.

Killarney gridlock a threat to Irish tourism

By Anne Lucey

Gridlock in Killarney is endangering the tourism industry for the whole county, the local Chamber of Commerce has warned amid growing frustration by tourists and residents over a chronic lack of parking and traffic management plans.

Traffic jams of up to 20 minutes are continuing well into the autumn, with all approach roads from Tralee, Killorglin and Cork affected as well as the National Park hit. A 2016 consultant’s study commissioned by the council at a cost of more than €50,000, recommending a range of measures including changes to parking permits and relocating the jarveys, remains to be implemented.

Locals complain that recent traffic measures by the council such as reducing the size of the traffic lanes to widen footpaths seem to have worsened matters.

Now in an unusually strongly-worded statement, the town’s main business representative body, the Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, has lashed out at the lack of progress by the council on traffic management in Killarney.

It said the town is the main driver for tourism in the whole county and it was high time the local authority addressed the issues that have been continually raised with them for the past three years, it said.

The statement, signed by Chamber president Paul O’Neill, described the situation this summer — where Killarney featured regularly on AA roadwatch — as “an ordeal” for motorists, saying it was “alarming” that senior council officials recently said it might take 12 years for an outer relief road.

“There seems to have been little or no progress on short-term remedies such as the proposed inner relief road at the Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Road, the development of the Rock Road car park or the relief road at Deerpark,” the statement said.

There is a clear and present threat that “the Killarney brand will be significantly damaged,” it added, calling on the local authority to act to solve the town’s traffic problems and implement the main findings of the traffic review.

Lack of progress in Killarney traffic projects was also highlighted at the Local Property Tax meeting in Tralee earlier this week in which councillors voted down an increase in the tax for 2019.

Meanwhile, Kerry County Council said it was continuing to engage with TII in relation to an outer relief road for Killarney and was engaging with local groups and progressing measures.

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