Killarney Inquiry Highlights Many Concerns About Anti-Social Behavior

More than half of businesses in Killarney are concerned about “a very high risk” of anti-social behavior on city streets and car parks, according to a survey commissioned by the Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce.

It was, according to House Speaker Cllr Niall Kelleher (Fianna Fáil), one of the most remarkable findings of research carried out in the city last year, published in recent days, and he said Killarney needed of Garda resources to serve not only the population of the town, but the large number of people who visit Killarney.

The Killarney Sentiment Study by Repucon Consulting conducted a survey of community, visitor and business sentiment in the town in 2021. The results on business sentiment cited traffic management and the recruitment of personal as the biggest challenges facing businesses in the post-COVID world.

Cllr Kelleher said The Kerryman that he believes that these concerns have not diminished since the completion of the investigation.

“Personnel, obviously that’s a very, very big concern,” he said. “There are many factors which, if considered, would be helpful. One is housing, and its availability, which would make it easier to attract staff.

“One of the great things [I took from the survey] is that 52% of people expressed concern about the very high risk of damage to Killarney’s reputation if anti-social behavior is not addressed.

“One of the things we can do is have full CCTV deployment. The other is – and this is not a problem coming from Garda Síochána locally or in Kerry – Garda Síochána provides the resources to support the 14,000 people who reside in the town of Killarney. They don’t take into account the increased population that comes to the city during the summer period… This is a key issue that needs to be addressed.

Most business (71.2%) and community (67.8%) respondents, however, felt that Killarney was a safe or very safe place to socialise.

Over 58% of businesses believe that the pedestrianization of Plunkett Street and Main Street has been effective. The community rating was equally strong for Main Street (56.9% agreed it had been effective), but Plunkett’s Pedestrian Street was seen as much more effective, with 72.3% support.

The community feels that the development of a market area such as an outdoor farmers market should be the number one priority for future development; while a bowling alley, at 31.6%, was cited as the number one amenity that could benefit Killarney but does not currently exist.

Visitor sentiment showed the city exceeded or greatly exceeded expectations by 87.3% of respondents, with nearly 60% saying they were “very likely” to return. While Killarney’s reputation was the most commonly cited reason for visiting the town at 43%, the influence of the Wild Atlantic Way, despite Killarney not being located on the road, featured prominently at 23%.

“The research is done independently by a very professional organization, and it was very consultative and open,” said Cllr Kelleher. “It wasn’t just the House members, it was the entire business community.

“1,100 people contributed to the consumer sentiment survey, these are the people of Killarney. It’s as good as having a national political poll.

“This [the survey as a whole] will be of great benefit to the city and local authority by lobbying nationwide for additional support for the city.

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