Who Dropped the Ball on Castleisland’s NTA Funding Scheme?

Cllr. Charlie Farrelly inset against the genuine health and safety risk on Barrack Street Bridge in Castleisland – the solution for which asked Kerry County Council to include in the NTA grant application last December.  ©Photographs: John Reidy

Questions of an angry and curious nature have been raised locally over the past couple of days wondering where and by whom the ball was dropped in relation to Castleisland being excluded from the National Transport Authority funding scheme for cycle-ways and walk-ways.

The apparent absence of any input from Castleisland Chamber Alliance and the lack of support from Kerry County Council have also been asked about.

Out in the Cold

What matters now is that Castleisland was yet again left out in the cold in spite of Cllr. Charlie Farrelly presenting the case for the town and district with a handful of relatively small jobs.

What he asked for in a letter to Kerry County Council was for a couple of short footpaths in Cordal and Castleisland.

He also asked that a foot-bridge at Barrack Street would be put in place as a matter of urgent priority and vital safety.

The area has a huge and very dangerous capacity for bottle-necking since the opening of the local children’s playground 12 years years ago.

Screamed from On High

Cases like this should be screamed of from on high because of the obvious dangers involved and it will be far too late when a widely predicted accident will happen there.

The ancient and historic bridge over the River Maine there is just about fit for one-way traffic.

Into that mix throw a scene full of excited children heading down Barrack Street or along by the river walk and then exiting to take their chances over the bridge and parents’ nerves on edge as traffic goes on its way.

Run of Luck on the Bridge

It’s a common sight to see pedestrians standing on the little plinth up off the road on the parapet of the bridge and hanging on to let traffic pass.

The injury free run of luck the bridge has had since the playground opened won’t last and locals know that only too well.

It is just 12 months since the town’s golf club closed down and only a few weeks since the Bank of Ireland announced it was shutting up shop here.

‘Where are Your Bike Stands Now?

During the height of last summer me and my equals were getting government releases about bicycles stands and the like.

We printed them and then we’re asked ‘where are your bike stands now’ and we don’t know and then it’s yesterday’s news.

Is it any wonder that people are looking around them and trying to figure out what’s going on or what’s to become of the place – the place that was so vibrant no so long ago.

Other Afflicted Towns

These people know that every other town in the country is suffering through this current crisis.

But television documentaries on shattered towns, rapidly aging buildings and boarded up shops had been appearing long before Covid-19 stalked the land.

Castleisland could possibly accept its fate in the company of all these other afflicted towns around the country.

However, when the powers that be had the chance of directing a bit of grant aid its way – for a handful of small improvements – why did they turn a blind eye – and who are they – who dropped the ball ?

Cllr. Fionnán Fitzgerald with news of the €17m Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme.

New €17million Scheme

Cllr. Fionnán Fitzgerald has just sent in the following news of the newly announced scheme for the creation of outdoor dining throughout the country and it reads as follows:

Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme

The Government will today announce a new €17million Scheme for developing outdoor dining capacity nationwide.

The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme comprises two parts and will be delivered in partnership between Fáilte Ireland and Local Authorities across the country.

Part One of the Scheme will provide funding for individual tourism and hospitality businesses to develop and increase their own outdoor seating capacity.

Funding allocated under Part Two will enable Local Authorities to develop permanent outdoor public dining spaces in towns and urban centres, similar to those that exist in various European cities.

This Scheme has two main objectives: firstly, to enable individual tourism and hospitality businesses increase their dining and seating capacity in the short-term and secondly to enable a long-term strategy for local authorities to develop appropriate permanent weatherproofed outdoor dining infrastructure.

The aim is to support jobs and businesses and to transform appropriate outdoor spaces within our cities and towns as welcoming, vibrant places that will help support economic recovery.

The Scheme will open for applications on April 12 2021.”

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