Ballybunion 'punished' for successful summer
BALLYBUNION is being punished for last year's highly-successful tourist season when it comes to securing funding for vital works, a local councillor has claimed.
Thousands flocked to the resort's golden beaches last summer in one of the biggest summer exoduses to the north Kerry coast in years. However, the county authority was forced to spend more than it had budgeted for in keeping Ballybunion tip-top all summer long and is now counting the cost, Sinn Féin County Councillor Robert Beasley said.
With the resort poised to open its doors on another tourist season, Kerry County Council finds itself struggling to address some major local issues - because its budget has been cut in what amounts to effective 'punishment' from central government for spending too much last year.
"Our biggest concern at the moment is getting rid of the tonnes of soil that came down in the massive landslide in February," Councillor Beasley said.
"It's ridiculous, but it's not the council's fault as it simply doesn't have the funding or manpower to deal with everything. This is because it is being effectively punished for having spent so much last year dealing with the works needed to clean up our beaches in the fine weather. Now, its budget has been reduced as a result," the councillor added.
Cllr Beasley raised the issue of the landslide last February amid fears then it would impact on tourism in the town if not removed in time for the summer trade.
"Kerry County Council was unable to give me any guarantee on Monday they would be in a position to remove it prior to the May Bank Holiday weekend. The worst of it is that it is unsightly and ugly and gives visitors a very poor impression. People are asking how it is still there two months on."
Cllr Beasley said the work of the council is also seriously hampered by the current staffing embargo. "This needs to be lifted immediately to allow the council employ enough manpower to tackle everything. We were calling for days and days for someone to clean the beaches after the Easter weekend and, while the council staff did a fantastic job when they came out, they weren't made available until last weekend."