Killarney ‘At the Crossroads’

Killarney is at "a crossroads" and will have to face the reality of whether it is going to continue as a major tourist centre, or become a direct provision and refugee centre, according to a former town mayor.

A Killarney Municipal District meeting was also told the level of goodwill  towards refugees is no longer there because of the numbers arriving and the pressure on health, education and other services as well as fears for the future of the town’s tourism.

Killarney, with a population of 10,360, now accommodates 3,200 refugees and asylum seekers, the meeting was told.

"Is Killarney next March going to be a major tourist destination or a direct provision centre? Big accommodation providers in Killarney are going to have to be asked that question,"  independent councillor and former mayor of Killarney Brendan Cronin said.

Former senator and Labour councillor Marie Moloney said the business people bringing Ukrainians to a town with no services for them "should be questioned". 

"These business people are in the same trade as the rest of the town but are destroying tourism," she said. "We cannot bring people from the Ukraine into Killarney, and then not be able to provide the services. They are going from one hell to another."

Niall Callaghan, councillor and hotelier, requested a meeting with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. He said pub, restaurant and cafe business is down by up to 40% because of the reduction in footfall due to Government policy in placing so many refugees in Killarney’s tourist accommodation.