With a population of just 15,000, the Kerry town is about to get its 15th betting shop. And local town council policy on betting shops was disregarded as An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for a new outlet.
Many locals have compared the tourist haven to Las Vegas due to the proliferation of gambling facilities. Local business couple Pat and Eileen Sheahan have been granted planning to convert existing ground floor retail space into a betting shop.
It is understood Boylesports — which also has another outlet in Killarney — will be moving into the premises. There are currently 14 betting offices in Killarney, according to the town council. In its new draft development plan, the council says its policy is not to give planning permission for betting offices.
But board inspector Bob Gunkel said as the draft plan had not yet been adopted, it could be changed in its final version and he would be reluctant to base a recommendation on a draft document.
The Sheahan-owned premises is in Michael Collins Place, close to the town centre. James and Shelley O’Neill, owners of Fairview guesthouse which adjoins the premises, objected to the planning decision, claiming there had been a huge increase in betting offices in the town and the development would have an adverse visual impact on the streetscape. The Sheahans had sold the first floor to Mr and Mrs O’Neill.
Mr Gunkel, however, found the building met all regulations on noise and said the closing hours would prevent any adverse impact on patrons of the guesthouse.