TWENTY-SEVEN per cent of the population of Kenmare are foreign-nationals, compared with a figure of 14 per cent in other towns in Co Kerry and the rest of the country, according to a new local area plan.
Large numbers of the population – 16 per cent – are over 65, as against a national average of 11 per cent.
“This figure indicates the attractiveness of Kenmare as a place to settle,” the report says.
However, the report presented to local councillors says too many holiday homes have been built and there has been haphazard development of housing estates on Kenmare’s outskirts, and many estates are not permanently occupied.
The heritage town with a population of 1,701 has enough existing housing. Hundreds of houses and apartments have been planned or built in the past five years, despite a significant decline in permanent residents, according to the new study of the area.
One-quarter of Kenmare’s housing stock of almost 600 has been built since 2001.
In the past five years, a further 670 dwellings have been given permission within the town boundary, many as holiday home lettings. Eighty of these are apartments.
If all the units were to be completed, the housing stock of Kenmare would double, despite the fact the population of Kenmare is declining.
It went down by 8 per cent in the 2002-2006 census period.
Meanwhile, councillors have asked for legal advice with regard to dezoning lands, claiming that large tracts in the wider Kenmare area and elsewhere are set to be returned to agricultural and rural general zonings.
Director of planning Michael McMahon said there could be no guarantee that lands zoned in one five-year development plan would retain their zoning in a subsequent plan.
There was no question of compensation, he also said.