Killarney at 'breaking point' due to pressure on services, mayor says

Cllr Niall Kelleher said the influx of Ukrainian refugees had put pressure on services
Killarney at 'breaking point' due to pressure on services, mayor says

Vivienne Clarke

Killarney is “at breaking point” due to pressure on services with the influx of Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers, the mayor of the Co Kerry town has warned.

Cllr Niall Kelleher told Newstalk radio that the town understood it needed to play its part in response to those fleeing war.

“This is something that we’ve stressed a number of weeks ago in relation to the services and the amount of people that were being accommodated in Killarney. Let me stress that Killarney, like any other part of the country, understands it needs to play its part in relation to those people that are fleeing war, however, it has to be a balanced response.”

Killarney had taken in larger numbers due to the availability of beds through its established tourism industry, he said.

Local officials had received complaints of anti-social behaviour – such as wolf whistling – in recent weeks, he added. The public mood had changed in recent weeks, he said.

“I’m calling on the State to resource the asylum seeker process and ensure that the applicants that are seeking asylum to the country are dealt with in a speedy fashion and either given protection or dealt with through the system and deported back to their home countries.”

His comments come after a Killarney Municipal District meeting this week was told the level of goodwill towards refugees was no longer there because of the numbers arriving and the pressure on health, education and other services.

Killarney, with a population of 10,360, now accommodates 3,200 refugees and asylum seekers, the meeting was told.

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