Deirdre Clune, MEP and Orla Kelly, Fine Gael local candidate for Kilkenny with Martin Costello of Murphy Jewllers PICTURE: PAT MOORE
The closure of two more Kilkrnny city centre businesses in recent weeks has led local election candidate, Orla Kelly to believe that county council policies have to change if Kilkenny is to remain a vibrant city that works for Kilkenny people and tourists alike.
“There is a government grant for Living over the shop and the council need to assist people who are interested in doing this by appointing a special council officer who will help revitalise the city centre,” the Fine Gael candidate for Kilkenny county Council said.
“Rates also need to be examined carefully as the system and fee scale is running businesses out of the city,” she addeed.
As she canvased around the city, she realised that a decent public transport system would mean that people could get into the city more easily with a reduction in parking and traffic.
She is passionate about the development of the Brewery Quarter.
“We must be brave with our choices. In the past Kilkenny Design Workshops brought the idea of innovation and design to Kilkenny and we should take this idea forward and look at the idea of an animation or design school as the anchor point of the site,” she suggested.
“The east side of the city lacks amenities and a more balanced development and growth is needed for the city to thrive.
“We need to look at best practice in other European cities that keeps vibrancy and people and business in the city centre.
“This will avoid Kilkenny becoming an American style doughnut city with an empty core and all the development on the outer ring,” she said.
“With my background in architecture and design I hope to advocate for quality, intelligent and sustainable growth and development,” she said.
“In addition to an electric bus system we can also increase our bio diversity planting throughout the city.
“Public areas and roundabouts should be planted with pollinators and educational projects should be set up that support communities to set up araes of biodiverse planting in their estates or neighbourhoods.
“Kilkenny has always been associated with it’s city trees. We must protect the existing trees and continue to plant more. This would be greatly helped by a specific council expert in this area,” she said.
“We can work together to make Kilkenny better, more innovative and vibrant and aim to have best pratice on climate action and sustainable, innovative developent,” she said.