Opportunities for Sustainable Economic and Community Development in County Kerry
Issues Paper prepared for the Public Participation Network (PPN) by Breandán Ó Caoimh, July 2021
This paper draws on a set of conversations with the PPN membership and secretariat between November 2020 and June 2021. It seeks to provide baseline indicators in respect of demographic, socio-economic and community development issues and to identify pointers to enable Kerry to excel in respect of sustainable development. The conversations with the PPN advocated an assets-based approach – identifying and harnessing potential and making investments in enabling Kerry to realise its potential, while promoting spatial justice. In this respect, Kerry ought to be in a strong position, considering the county’s traditional striving for excellence and its citizens’ endeavours and achievements in sport, literature, the arts, and public life among many other fields.
According to the most recent Census of Population, County Kerry has a total resident population of 147,707. While the county’s population has increased gradually since the early 1970s, it is still below the level it had in 1911 (159,691 persons). Over the same period, the population of the State has grown by 52% (from 3.13m to 4.76m).
Between 1996 and 2016, County Kerry’s population increased by 17%, but this growth was geographically uneven. Many peri-urban areas and the suburbs of our main towns have experienced rapid population growth. Rates exceed thirty percent in most electoral divisions (EDs) in an area formed by an imaginary triangle from Abbeydorney to Barraduff to Cromane. This core of the county is experiencing some demographic pressures (e.g., for school places), while other parts of the county have capacity to absorb population growth, and many need a demographic injection to sustain existing services. While suburbs and peri-urban zones are growing, many neighbourhoods in the centres of Tralee and, to a lesser extent, Killarney, have experienced population decline. Population decline is most prevalent in the Iveragh Peninsula, along the Shannon Estuary, in the Mullaghareirk Mountains (from Knocknagoshel to Ballydesmond) and parts of Beara. Several EDs in these areas lost over ten percent of their population in the twenty years to the most recent census.
Unless recent trends are arrested, Kerry’s demographic imbalance is likely to deteriorate further. Population projections can be derived from the current distribution of particular age cohorts. Children and teenagers are, in proportional terms, much more likely to live in the centre of the county than elsewhere; in some EDs – from Kilcummin to Ballymacelligott to Milltown – over thirty percent of the population is aged under 19. Conversely the proportion of the population aged 0 to 19 is below fourteen percent across most of the three peninsulas (Corca Dhuibhne, Iveragh and Beara).
While core areas have high proportions of young people, peripheral areas tend to have high proportions of older people. Over a quarter of the population is aged over 65 in most of Beara, Iveragh and in rural communities north of Listowel. These (latter) areas have considerable and growing needs in respect of services for older people and carers.
The current spatial imbalance in County Kerry can be expressed in terms of core – periphery; the county has a core (triangle) that is performing strongly, while the periphery is either stagnant or declining. This profile is similar to that which pertained in the EU (EU15) in the 1980s. Then, Europe’s economic core was largely within a pentagon (imaginary 5-sided area), the five points of which were denoted by London, Hamburg, Munich, Milan and Paris. In order to correct this imbalance – to alleviate agglomeration effects in the pentagon (core) and to enable the periphery to develop, the EU increased its investments in the periphery – mainly through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF). EU regional and cohesion policy ensured substantial transfers of resources from the core to the periphery. Ireland was the single biggest beneficiary, in per capita terms, of these investments, and they contributed to our country’s development over the past thirty years. At the same time, the core benefited from reduced pressures on infrastructure, although many of its larger urban areas continue to need bespoke and area-based integration and social inclusion interventions. A similar approach in respect of County Kerry would seek to promote convergence between the core and the periphery and to ensure spatial justice, in the interest of social cohesion and inclusion.
Income and Economic Opportunities
In 2019, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published county-level data in respect of household income. Figures showed that the median gross national household income was €45,256. Among the thirty-one local authority areas, Kerry recorded the fifth-lowest level at €37,339.
As with demographics, there is a notable spatial imbalance within County Kerry in respect of household income. The median household income is in excess of €49,000 in the environs of Killarney – in Muckross, Beaufort, Faha and Kilcummin and in Tralee’s northern environs – from Spa to Kielduff. In contrast, the lowest median household incomes (<€29,000) are in the south and west of Iveragh and Beara and in Ballybunion. Levels are also below the county average in several parts of rural North Kerry.
The Pobal HP Index, which provides a composite measure of affluence and deprivation, can be mapped at small area (SA) level. When this is done for County Kerry, some areas around Killarney emerge as ‘affluent’. They include Muckross and Fossa along with some of the town’s southern suburbs. Levels of affluence are notably lower in Tralee. The highest levels of compound socio-economic disadvantage, in County Kerry, are found in Tralee Town, and in particular in its northern and eastern suburbs, as well as in the Iveragh Gaeltacht, the Mullaghareirks and along the Shannon Estuary. Levels of disadvantage are also elevated in much of East Kerry – along the border with County Cork.
The levels of dependency on either the State pension and / or social welfare are highest in disadvantaged urban areas, particularly in Tralee, Castleisland and Listowel and in rural North Kerry.
An objective spatial analysis of socio-economic variables reveals persistent spatial inequalities in Ireland and within County Kerry. Their persistence and the growing social polarisation between communities is resulting in several population cohorts being prevented from realising their development potential; these include migrants, travellers and those who grow up in households that experience inter-generational unemployment / under-employment. Across the OECD, the most equal societies e.g., the Scandinavian countries, Austria and Switzerland tend to have the fewest social problems (e.g., low levels of criminality), while the more unequal countries (e.g., the USA, UK and Italy) tend to have greater social problems. Thus, the promotion of equality of opportunity, through investments in education, housing, healthcare and community development, evidently promotes social cohesion. Indeed, despite their climates and infrastructural challenges, the Scandinavian countries also record the highest levels of happiness in Europe.
It is worth noting that on all the aforementioned demographic and socio-economic variables, values in Kerry’s periphery are similar to those that pertain in West Limerick, Duhallow, West Muskerry and Beara. This cross-border commonality underscores the merits of inter-community and cross-boundary collaboration, including in the formulation of county development plans and local area plans.
Wellbeing and Social Capital
Successive studies have shown the merits of investing in the various dimensions of wellbeing i.e., evaluative, emotional, functioning, vitality, community and supportive relationships. Indeed, the Kerry PPN has done considerable work in promoting wellbeing at community and county levels.
Research undertaken by the Carnegie Institute, on public engagement, shows that relative to the four UK jurisdictions, Ireland has the highest level of volunteerism, and more people in Ireland (rather than in GB or NI) were likely to agree that people in their community are kind. People in Ireland were also more likely to report that they have been helpful to others and could turn to friends and neighbours for support. While these figures are encouraging, the most recent Irish Health Survey reveals that non-Irish people living here have fewer friends available to them to provide support when they need it; nine percent of them have nobody to turn to, compared to two percent of Irish people. These figures, among others, point to the importance of marrying integration with the promotion of wellbeing. Indeed, despite our society’s claims of being generous to the so-called ‘developing (third) world’, Ireland has taken in relatively few refugees, and many parishes have yet failed to heed Pope Francis’ call to host a refugee family.
The aforementioned Carnegie Commission research finds that levels of kindness and public engagement (in community development and decision-making) are higher in rural areas (than in cities or towns). Relative to their urban counterparts, rural residents are more likely to volunteer, attend public meetings, contact elected representatives, make complaints and set up groups.
Data from the European Social Survey (ESS) show that almost one fifth of Europeans believe that voluntary work is ‘very important’ in their lives. The corresponding figure in Ireland is 15%. ESS data in respect of the proportion of the population who devote time to voluntary activities show the highest levels are in Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Spain, all of which have strong cooperative structures. Ireland records a value that is similar to the European average; approximately one fifth of people volunteer monthly, and a further quarter does so less frequently. Ireland’s Census of Population has not recorded data on volunteering since 2006. The figures that emerged at that time revealed that just over sixteen percent of people had engaged in some volunteering within the previous month. Values were generally higher in rural areas and lowest in the cities.
Community and Ecology
The promotion of wellbeing and the fostering of social capital dovetail with ecology, and there are several emerging opportunities in respect of engaging citizens and civil society organisations in promoting ecological conservation.
Irelands recently published (and first ever) marine spatial plan is hugely significant for coastal counties, such as Kerry, and local stakeholders will need to be equipped with the tools to enable them to engage in it, so that opportunities are realised – for local community and ecological gain.
Across Kerry, there are currently several place-based ecological initiatives underway, and several communities are working with farmers, foresters, planners, scientists and statutory bodies to develop and implement river catchment management plans. The recently published evaluation of KerryLIFE notes scope for greater community participation in agri-environmental initiatives. Kerry has further significant potential in respect of high-nature-value farming, and community involvement ensures that local heritage, traditions and social structures are to the fore – along with ecological considerations.
Citizen science initiatives provide useful ways of ensuring that communities are empowered to gather, collate and analyse scientific data, so that all stakeholders, including government, put a value on ecological resources. Citizen science is most successful when communities are provided with training, capacity-building and supports, and are encouraged to ask questions and enabled to make decisions, in partnership with others. The National Biodiversity Data Centre provides a mechanism for showcasing citizen science and connecting communities.
Public Participation Networks represent an important element of Ireland’s sub-national governance infrastructure. Under the Local Government (Reform) Act, 2014, they are part of the framework “for the purposes of promoting, developing and implementing a coherent and integrated approach to participation in decision-making processes of the local authority by the local community.” The legislation requires that all local authorities have participatory mechanisms in place to ensure two-way communication between local government and communities.
Just as the Governance Code relates to community and voluntary organisations, the Council of Europe 12 Principles of Good Democratic Governanceprovide a useful mechanism for guiding local authorities. While all twelve principles relate to the work of PPNs, particularly through their representation on SPCs, Principles 4 (Openness and Transparency) and 12 (Accountability) are of paramount relevance. Each principle has a clear set of indicators, to enable the effective monitoring of governance performance. Several local authorities have received Council of Europe awards in recognition of their excellence in governance, and Kerry ought to strive for such an award.
Public Consultation on Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, T.D., invites submissions, observations and comments on Ireland’s Draft Nitrates Action Programme.
The objective of this public consultation process is to invite stakeholders to feed into finalisation of measures for Ireland’s fifth Nitrates Action Programme. This follows an initial public consultation which was held in late 2020.
Why are we launching a Public Consultation?
Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme is given effect by European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2017 (S.I. No. 605 of 2017), as amended. The regulations contain specific measures to protect surface waters and groundwater from nutrient pollution arising from agricultural sources. In accordance with the Nitrates Directive these regulations are due to be reviewed this year. In addition, there are a number of measures in the Draft Nitrates Action Programme that will be implemented outside the regulations.
How to get involved
The Department is inviting any interested parties to make submissions to help inform the legislative process.
To get involved, please email your observations or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by 20 September 2021.
Terms and Conditions
All submissions and comments submitted to the Department for this purpose are subject to release under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2014 and the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007-2014. Submissions are also subject to Data Protection legislation.
Personal, confidential or commercially sensitive information should not be included in your submission and it will be presumed that all information contained in your submission is releasable under the Freedom of Information Act 2014.
What we will do with your Response
The information provided by respondents will be used in order to refine the measures in the next Nitrates Action Programme for Ireland.
Full details available at www.gov.ie
Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027 – Public Consultation on Proposed Interventions
Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan (CSP) for the period 2023-2027 will underpin the sustainable development of Ireland’s farming and food sector by supporting viable farm incomes and enhancing competitiveness, by strengthening the socio-economic fabric of rural areas, and by contributing to the achievement of environmental and climate objectives at national and EU levels.
The new CSP will represent a change in the approach to CAP planning and implementation compared to previous programming periods. Instead of the familiar compliance-based approach followed previously, a new performance-based approach will be adopted. This will be underpinned by a ‘New Delivery Model’, under which Member States’ performance will be judged on outputs and results, and on how their CSPs contribute to CAP objectives at EU level. The CSP will also take a more holistic approach, incorporating interventions under both Pillar I (Direct Payments and Sectoral Interventions) and Pillar II (Rural Development) into one plan.
Plans must be aimed at supporting the economic, environmental and social sustainability of rural areas, and there is a particularly strong emphasis on the achievement of a higher level of climate and environment ambition through a new “Green Architecture” that will operate across both pillars. Ireland proposes to put the CSP at the core of the transition to sustainability of our agricultural and food systems.
As part of the ongoing process of designing the new CSP, the enclosed set of proposed intervention outlines has been developed. These outlines build on the stakeholder input received to date, including through the national CAP Stakeholder Consultative Committee, as well as through ongoing preparatory work undertaken by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (in particular, the work undertaken on the SWOT analysis and Needs Assessment required under the CAP Strategic Plan Regulation), in consultation with other relevant Departments and agencies.
The views of stakeholders and the wider public are now being sought on the composition of the proposed interventions.
Format of Consultation
To ensure that maximum stakeholder input is received at this stage of the CSP design process, there are two strands to the consultation, as follows:
Written submissions, which are invited from interested parties by the closing date of 3 September 2021.
Written submissions should be made to CAPStrategicPlan@agriculture.gov.ie or by post to:
CAP Rural Development Division,
Please mark your submissions ‘draft interventions for CAP Strategic Plan’
You may also may submissions online here
Please note: – The survey will not operate correctly using Internet Explorer. To participate in the survey, you should use a different browser.
Virtual townhall meetings will be conducted via Webinar. Please click here to register.
Full details available here, www.gov.ie
Our Rural Future: Minister Humphreys announces the 124 towns and villages to benefit from new €7 million fund to enhance streetscapes & shopfronts
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today announced the 124 towns and villages that will benefit from a new €7 million fund to support the enhancement of streetscapes and shopfronts.
The Streetscape Enhancement Initiative is a key part of Our Rural Future and is designed to make our rural towns and villages more attractive places to live, work and visit.
Under the scheme, property owners will be provided with funding to improve the facades of their buildings, carry out artwork and install features such as canopies and street furniture.
The 124 towns and villages announced by the Minister today were selected by each local authority, which will now begin the process of advertising locally for applications.
The types of projects to be supported include:
Minister Humphreys today encouraged business and property owners in any of the 124 towns and villages selected to contact their local authority for information on how to apply.
The list of towns is included available on www.gov.ie .
On behalf of the young people that produced, ‘I’m still me and I still need you,’ I’m delighted to invite you to the first screening and official launch of their film. ‘I’m still me and I still need you’ is a short film about inclusion and the importance of supporting someone who identifies as being a part of the LGBTI+ community.
Please RSVP to this email address GarethHarteveld@kdys.ie by Friday 10th September 2021. A zoom link will then be sent to you.
This project is supported by the LGBTI+ Community Services Fund 2020 through the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.
Further to requests received from some Disability User Groups the deadline for completion of our Accessibility Survey has now been extended until Thursday, 30 September 2021. The survey asks for experiences, opinions and advice on the demand for and accessibility levels of taxi, hackney and limousine services nationwide. The information obtained through this survey is crucial to future planning for improved Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV – Taxi, Hackney and limousine) services for all but particularly for people with disabilities who are using or might use this door to door transport service.
The survey commenced on 2 July 2021 however response rates have been very low and not enough to properly be a part of NTA’s consideration of future plans and strategy in this important area. NTA is happy to facilitate the requests for deadline extension which have been received, in the hope that meaningful response levels will now be achieved.
The survey can be completed in the following ways:
1. Online, via the following link which is compatible with screen-readers: https://secure.bandasurvey.ie/WebProd/Start/Ba212691
2. By post: if you require a hard-copy version of the survey, please contact Behaviour & Attitudes at email@example.com. You will also receive a stamped addressed envelope to facilitate the return of your completed survey.
3. By telephone: should you prefer to complete the survey in this manner, please contact Behaviour & Attitudes at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01 2057561.They will arrange for an agent to call you to go through the questions with you.
Should you wish, someone else may complete the survey on your behalf.
Whilst it will not be possible for NTA to respond directly to any individual submissions received, all will be considered in detail and a report on the findings will be published. NTA is subject to Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation and submissions may be published on foot of FOI requests, so please be mindful of adding any personal information to your submissions.
Finally, NTA would like to express our sincere appreciation to everyone who has taken the time to complete the survey to-date.
As you know Make Way Day is a National Public Awareness Campaign that highlights the issues people with disabilities face getting around their local communities. “Hey, this blocks my way!” is the message.
The theme for this year’s campaign is?
“Make Way in My 5k”
We once again take aim at obstacles like cars on the footpath, while taking measures to keep a safe distance.?However, with the ongoing COVID pandemic we need to adapt?the Make Way Day campaign for this year.
You will be invited to undertake a survey of your area with an online easy-to-use tool we designed. People will be empowered to give their 5K or area a rating from one to five stars depending on the obstacles they come across.
The?tool?is mobile friendly?and is?used to?draw attention to?anything that represents an access problem.?This?quick?and easy?exercise is?mainly picture-based, and people can use it as often as they like on the day.
There will be a link to the tool on all our social media platforms and?website on Friday 24thn September. We will also send it out to all?coordinators.
Our aim is to have all the 5ks or neighbourhoods join up to give us one comprehensive map of Ireland. We will coordinate all the results and share them with the right people and work together to help solve the problems.
Thank you for your ongoing support?for Make Way Day, which is vital to the success of the campaign. Make Way Day is a real team undertaking?that has a positive impact in achieving local and national recognition of accessibility in our towns and communities.?
As?always,?we are open to any suggestions and any other?ideas?you may have for?the day itself.?
Introduction to Understanding self-harm dates & ‘START’ suicide alertness online training
This is just to advise you of the upcoming FREE online training for the following programmes: 90 minute ‘START’ suicide alertness trainingand 2 hour Introduction to Understanding Self-Harm.
These online workshops are free of charge…to anyone over the age of 18 – we would appreciate it if you could circulate this email to your colleagues and networks in the community across Cork and Kerry – to access these training dates and to register for any of these workshops, participants may click on the following booking links:
Introduction to Understanding Self-harm Wednesday 8th September 10.00 a.m. to 12 noon –
Introduction to Understanding Self-harm Wednesday 6th October 10.00 a.m. to 12 noon –
Introduction to Understanding Self-harm Wednesday 29th September from 10.00 a.m. to 12 noon –
Introduction to Understanding Self-harm Wednesday 6th October 10.00 a.m. to 12 noon –
Introduction to Understanding Self-harm Wednesday 3rd November 10.00 a.m. to 12 noon – https://bookwhen.com/suicideprevention-trainingkerry
Thank you in advance,
Helena A. Cogan
Regional Resource Officer For Suicide Prevention | Mental Health Services Cork Kerry Community Healthcare) |’Nemetona’ | Health Service Executive | St. Stephen’s Hospital | Glanmire| Cork
Tel. 021 4858596 | Mob. 087 2995913 | E: Helena.email@example.com Consider The Environment ü Do you really need to print this email ?
HUGG is a peer support organisation. We provide a safe, confidential environment in which those bereaved by suicide can share their experiences and feelings, so giving and gaining support from each other. The aftermath of a suicide is shocking, debilitating, surreal, life changing. But you can learn to live with this loss. It is not easy, but we are here to help.
People who are suicide bereaved sometimes find it can be difficult for people who have not experienced suicide loss, including professionals, to understand what they are going through. Often the best conversations are had with peers – other people bereaved by suicide. Our support groups are facilitated by people who have been bereaved by suicide. The groups are open, meet fortnightly and are free of charge. You do not have to speak, there is healing in just being with those who understand your pain.
If you would like to come along to a HUGG group, just call us on
(monitored answering machine) or email
for more information.
The Health Service Executive is running Covid-19 walk-in vaccination clinics across Kerry for anyone aged 12 or older who needs either their first or second dose of a Pfizer vaccine.
People who have already registered through the online portal can attend the walk-in clinics but must bring photo ID such as passport, drivers’ licence, garda age card, student/school ID. If your date of birth does not appear on the ID, you must also bring proof of your DOB i.e. your birth cert.
Any persons who have yet to register online must bring their PPS number, Eircode, mobile number, email address and photo ID including their date of birth or photo ID along with your birth cert. A birth cert will do as proof of ID if you don’t have photo ID with a date of birth on it.
People who are coming for dose 2 Pfizer must be at least 21 days since their first dose.
Stone, Bone and Belonging: Buy your copy of Dr Michael Connolly’s new publication about the Killaclohane Portal Tombs here at Kerry County Museum
We got a very exciting delivery yesterday and are delighted to have Dr Michael Connolly’s new publication “Stone, Bone and Belonging – The Early Neolithic Portal Tombs at Killaclohane, Co. Kerry” for sale here at Kerry County Museum. This exciting and superbly illustrated book outlines the results of the excavation of two portal tombs at Killaclohane, Co. Kerry between 2015 and 2018. The Killaclohane Excavation and Conservation project was born from a meeting with Kenneth O’Neill landowner of Killaclohane and would not have been possible without the support of the O’ Neill family. The author would like to acknowledge the support received from Kerry County Council and The Heritage Council of Ireland. “Stone, Bone and Belonging” is now available from Kerry County Museum and retails at €20. For more information, please call us on 066-7127777 , email firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook.
Community Involvement Schemes
The current 2-year Community Involvement Scheme, covering the years 2020 and 2021, will be completed at the end of the 2021 Roads Programme.
The Department of Transport has advised that they propose to continue with the CIS scheme for 2022 and for 2023 and have invited
Local Authorities to apply for CIS funding for these years, which the Council must submit, with detailed costings, by 30th September 2021
In this regard, Kerry County Council invited applications for CIS by public advertisement on 16th June 2021 with a Closing Date of 9th July 2021.
Based on the number of valid applications received, and based on the level of funding the Council received for CIS projects in 2020 and 2021, there
may be scope to include additional schemes in the next 2-year programme.
Accordingly, the Council will continue to accept applications under this scheme over the next 2 weeks..
Further details of the CIS scheme, together with an application form are attached. These documents are also available from the Council’s website:
Completed application forms should be returned to Mr. Mossy Brosnan, Administrative Officer, Roads Department, County Buildings, Tralee
or emailed to email@example.com on or before Friday, 10th September 2021