The International Hotel set to reopen in just three weeks
THE International Hotel could be open for business in just three weeks if given the all clear by relevant authorities, that's according to owner Sean Coyne who was speaking in the aftermath of Saturday morning's shock explosion.
The clear up continues this week following the tragic 6.25am blast that resulted in the death of 59-year-old launderette owner James Gleeson.
Located opposite, in narrow Brewery Lane, the 80-bedroom International Hotel absorbed the brunt of the impact yet, remarkably, hotel guests and staff escaped unscathed.
Mr Coyne this week said that, while there were tragic circumstances surrounding the explosion, it was fortunate that the explosion hadn't occurred half an hour later.
"We had 70 guests from the US due for breakfast at around 7am so we were very lucky that the blast was earlier as glass may have been blasted through," he stated.
Despite the extensive explosion that was heard over a mile away and shattered windows throughout Plunkett Street and College Square - it also smashed over 15 windows in The Killarney Towers - Mr Coyne said he hoped to have part of his hotel open just in a matter of weeks.
"Contrary to what people are saying there is no structural damage," he stated.
"We hope to open 75 percent of the hotel on the western side within three or four weeks if the ESB, HSA, Kerry County Council and others are satisfied.
"The main damage was to around eight of our 21 new rooms on the eastern side and to the boiler plant and this section could take three months or so to prepare.
"We had sound-proof windows put in on the laneways and, while some of those were sucked out, I feel they may have helped save people in some cases," he added.
Mr Coyne praised Munster Joinery who have been working throughout the holidays to help with repairs and he highlighted the support from local hoteliers in assisting with supplementary accommodation.
The hotel has undergone a €5m upgrade over the last number of years and was aiming for four star status. Mr Coyne said he could not confirm the value of damage caused.