KERRY County Council has approved the transfer of six sites around the county, comprising almost 12 hectares of land, to the Government's Land Aggregation Scheme, an equivalent of NAMA for local authorities.
The Land Aggregation allows local authorities to transfer lands to the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency (HSCA). Under the terms of the scheme the title deeds to the lands are transferred to the state which then provides funding to the local authority to pay off loans and interests owed on the sites.
At Monday's monthly meeting, following a heated debate, councillors agreed to transfer six parcels of land at Ballyferriter, Waterville, Milltown, Kenmare, Sneem and Dingle to the Land Aggregation Scheme. A move which management said will save Kerry County Council €600,000 next year.
Any decision on whether these lands will developed or sold on the open market rests with the HSCA though Kerry County Council will be consulted on the fate of the lands.
Objections were raised by several councillors including Councillor Toireasa Ferris who said transferring the titles and deeds to the lands but not the mortgage was "hugely irresponsible."
"I have to ask what is going on in this country?" said Cllr Ferris.
"We'll see the the Land Aggregation Scheme selling this land on cheaply to developers while Kerry County Council is still lumbered with loans based on the ridiculous prices we paid for the lands in the boom," she said.
Councillors Danny and Johnny Healy Rae said the council should have first refusal on the development or sale of any of the lands.
Following six separate votes on the individual land parcels a majority of the councillors agreed to the transfer of the sites. Six councillors voted against the proposal.