News that a funding issue involving North & East Kerry Development is under review by the Department of the Environment is likely to darken the mood of a meeting called for the River Island Hotel in Castleisland at 8pm this evening.
Of course it’s not an agenda the NEKD would wish for – while reeling from and campaigning against Minister Phil Hogan’s local government reforms. However, the meeting is likely to be dominated by the gathering controversy into its financial dealings. And the news that further revelations are due over the coming days are unlikely to ease the pressure on the campaign.
Anyone interested in the development and future direction of Castleisland and its hinterland will want to be at the meeting.
The meeting, one of a series of rallying calls, has been convened by the board of North and East Kerry Development in opposition to last October’s local government reforms proposed by Minister Hogan.
Similar meetings have already been held in Dingle and Tralee last week and another is expected in Listowel tomorrow night, Wednesday, April 16 at 8pm.
Under the new reforms a ‘development board’ will be set up in each of the county council areas and funding, presently under the remit of the likes of NEKD will be adjudicated on and granted by these boards.
County managers in the various areas will have the powers to install the boards in spite of the anticipated opposition from members of the existing development companies and even from elected representatives.
Though a Kerry County Council meeting was interrupted in Tralee on Monday by a show of support for the retention of the status quo – the question remains: Is it all in vain if the minister’s plans are indeed a fait accompli?
Responding to the news of the department’s ‘spotlight’ on its dealings, Pat Mitchell described it as “All Bullshit” and he applied the same brevity of comment to the news that further revelations may surface later this week.
NEKD chairman, Bernard Collins said that it is all down to electioneering:
“Some politicians are obviously feeling the heat and are motivated by a sense of self-preservation in the run-up to the election. And there’s obviously a backlash to our protest in Tralee on Monday as well,” said Mr. Collins
Castleisland has a long history of cutting loose at public meetings and, with the town stunned by a continuation of Main Street business closures, this one is unlikely to be any different. Watch this space.