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Week ending Jan 23 1999



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Leading tour company welcomes prospect of Kill tourist outlet village

KILL, 23 January 1999: One of Ireland's leading tour operators has committed itself to bringing tourists around the many tourist attractions of County Kildare if the proposed Tourist Outlet Village at Kill is built. The sales director of Abbey Tours, Marina Finn, says in a statement to KNN that her company is 'delighted' to hear that the project has been recommended for approval by county manager Niall Bradley, and will use the facility as a basis from which to bring their customers to other attractions.

The project, which this week failed to get the approval of Naas Chamber of Commerce (see previous story below), will be decided on by councillors next month. To help them have full knowledge of the ramifications of the proposal, the council is sending any councillor who wishes to view a similar project at Bicester, near Oxford. Gardai have welcomed the proposal because infrastructural changes associated with it will improve traffic safety, and the village has also been warmly welcomed by Kildare Failte.


Naas's concrete jungle - 'rape or progress?'

BOSTON, USA & NAAS, 23 January 1999: One of Naas's many ex-pats in the US has queried whether the current growth of Naas is 'rape or progress?' Martin Allen, originally from Pacelli Road, says the town seems to be turning into a 'concrete jungle'. "I have to say I don't like what they're doing to my home town," he remarks in a lengthy email to KildareNet News, which is reproduced today on our Kildare Wild Geese page. More happily, Martin recalls many memories and friends and will be keeping in touch with Kildare regularly through KNN. (Nice to hear from you, Martin - Ed)


Nursery certificates presented

NAAS & KILDARE GENERAL, 23 January 1999: Naas man David Kane was presented with a certificate in Hardy Nursery Stock Landscaping this week by An Tanaiste, Mary Harney TD, at a function in the Green Isle Hotel. David lives at St Conleth's Place and was one of 14 people who had taken part in the 12-month scheme which was run by FAS in conjunction with the Nurserymen's Association and the Landscape Contractors Association. He is employed by Flanneries Nurseries in Staplestown, near Donadea.

The course participants, all of whom were employed by horticultural or market garden operations in the region, were released for 3/4-day modules each month by their employers for instruction which was given by Paddy Gleeson of the Teagasc Office in Naas. It was the first course of its kind to be organised by the partners in the initiative.
Others awarded certificates were: Shane Corcoran, Marc Cruise, Patrick O'Connor, John O'Brien, John Heffernan, Gerard Lawless, Dawn Mooney, Kevin Conway, Ann-Marie Slattery, and Anne Dunne. David Hourigan, Paddy Ward and Kathleen Cunningham, who were also awarded certificates, were unable to attend the presentation.


Naas Hospital planning appeal described as 'disgraceful'

NAAS, 22 January 1999: by Brian Byrne. An appeal to An Bord Pleanala by the Eastern Health Board is holding up the Phase Two £20 million development of Naas Hospital, according to a Naas Urban District councillor who says that it is a 'disgrace' that the board is complaining about levies of less than £380,000 when these have been already allocated for in the total. Cllr Charlie Byrne said the EHB was 'messing aroud'.

The EHB lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanala last August against four planning conditions imposed by the local authority. These are a requirement to provide additional car parking on the site, to pay £231,700 in fees to Naas UDC for realignment of roads and footpaths, and to make a £149,021 contribution towards the cost of infrastructural services. The final condition being appealed against is the provision of on-site water storage for firefighting purposes, which would cost £50,000. The EHB's appeal says these conditions are 'inappropriate', 'excessively onerous' and 'unduly punitive'. In particular, the water storage requirement is based on 'low pressure and supply subject to disruption', which the appellants claim is due to a policy by both relevant local authorities to 'save costs' on water for firefighting which is supplied by Dublin Corporation.

However, a spokesman for Kildare County Council told KNN that the policy of lowered pressure was due to a 'variety of factors', including the increasingly pressing need to conserve finite water supplies and to decrease losses from leakage in older mains. In regard to the firefighting water needs, he suggested that a hospital was particularly a place where a site supply should exist, given the self-evident difficulties which evacuation would present.

Cllr Byrne commented that it was a very bad situation when other developments around the county, including leisure facilities which had been supported financially by state grants, were either already completed or in the process of completion, while the hospital was still at a stalemate situation even though the monies for its development had been allocated long before these facilities had received their money.

Alhough there hasbeen condiderable correspondence and delay in dealing with the appeal, A Bord Pleanala has now committed to disposing of the matter before the 23rd of February.


Newbridge Access Group to screen pool design

NEWBRIDGE, 22 January 1999: by Brian Byrne. The Newbridge Access Group is to meet in the near future with the architect for the new swimming pool on the Curragh Camp with a view to having an input into making it accessible for people with disabilities. This follows representations on NAG's behalf by Sean Power TD to the Minister for Defence.

The pool was closed recently for a complete rebuild and a spokesperson for the group said it was an opportunity to provide a swimming facility in the locality which would be usable by people with a cross representation of disabilities. The National Rehabilitation Board will also have a representative at the meeting.

Meanwhile, the group is also awaiting a report on the recently-opened Health Centre in Athy in terms of accessibility, so as to avoid problems in the Health Centre currently being provided for Newbridge.


Naas library now has public internet access

NAAS, 22 January 1999: by Trish Whelan. A new public internet access service at Naas community library should prove a boon to students and adults alike. The library located at the Harbour has been providing the service since early January, for a nominal fee.

Three terminals are available for use - £1 allows for up to 50 minutes of connection time, with a concessionary rate of 50p for students, OAPs and social welfare recipients.
According to librarian Caroline Collins (pictured), other facilities include CD ROM access and word processing. "It's really aimed at everyone to encourage people in the community to take part in Information Technology."

The service is available during normal library opening hours. For further information, telephone Caroline at Naas library, 045 - 879111 or email her at


Kildare could blow powerfully in the wind

COUNTY HALL, 22 January 1999: The boglands of County Kildare could well become locations for wind farms to provide energy in the new millennium. This was suggested during consideration of the Irish Energy Centre submission to the Draft County Development Plan. Planner Philip Jones said it was a 'logical' recommendation to include in the plan, though at present it would not be economically viable to put such farms in the county. "But if energy price structures change, it's quite likely that we may be seen as a place where wind energy may have an advantage."


New business advice service for Newbridge

NEWBRIDGE, 22 January 1999: A local Business Advice Centre begins operating from today in St Anne's Parish Centre in Newbridge. It's being run by Newbridge Community Development and will be open from 11-1 each Friday for anyone wishing to discuss a business idea. The initiative is being supported by the Kildare County Enterprise Board. Further details from Mick Power at 431121 on Friday mornings.


Success of training initiative lauded by Tanaiste

NEWBRIDGE, 21 January 1999: A pilot programme in which long-term unemployed people were retrained for work in Hewlett-Packard in Leixlip was described as 'very successful' by the Tanaiste, Mary Harney TD, at a function today when the model was presented as a blueprint for similar schemes in the county. The Kildare Training Employment Links Project was carried out in partnership with several development agencies - Action South Kildare, the OAK Partnership, the Kildare Leader company KELT and Kildare County Enterprise Board.

The scheme particularly targeted people over 35, among them some who, as the Tanaiste suggested, could have felt they 'might have missed the boat' in terms of ever getting work again. "Clearly it shows that if we have specific programmes geared to the needs of companies, with longterm unemployed, and if we can have other companies participating in this kind of initiative, it can make recruitment much easier." Ms Harney also suggested that companies might get a better commitment from the longterm unemployed than from people who have 'never known the pain of unemployment'.

Una Halligan of Hewlett Packard said it was vital that companies undertaking this kind of scheme actually take on board people who meet their needs. "There's no point in taking on people in the programme and who don't eventually get a job from it ... it's demoralising for them." She noted that there had been no dropout rate in the programme and that all those on it had gained full employment. She also said that HP had gained both in business and community terms. "We felt we were giving something ... and getting something back from it."

Pat Leogue of the OAK Partnership said that a 'blueprint' had now been established which could be applied to a number of companies in the county, or to a group of smaller firms. "It's very flexible, and while we now have a model, what we would develop for the needs of other participants might not look the same at all." He noted also that in the process they had found that training in personal and social skills was equally important to technical training.

RealAudio : Tanaiste Mary Harney TD on the KELP initiative.

RealAudio : Una Halligan of Hewlett-Packard on the KELP initiative.

RealAudio : Pat Leogue of OAK on the KELP initiative.


Weston director welcomes aerodrome draft county plan decision

LEIXLIP, 21 January 1999: by Trish Whelan and Brian Byrne. A submission for the County Kildare Draft Development Plan that Weston Aerodrome near Leixlip should be allowed extend its 'overshoot' area has been agreed by Kildare County Council. The decision means that developments above certain heights will not be allowed within the so-called 'red zone' - these include high masts, telecommunications masts and ESB pylons.

County planner Philip Jones supported the submission, saying that having such a facility in the County Kildare area 'might be desirable' and could help in the marketing of the county. Weston is actually in County Dublin, but the relevant land is inside the Kildare county boundary.

Welcoming the decision, Weston director Captain Darby Kennedy (pictured aove) told KNN that the requirement for extra overshoot was due to EU regulation and would allow the aerodrome to 'keep what we have' in terms of runway length that would allow its use by executive and business-type aircraft. "Dublin is soon going to be choc-a-block and Baldonell doesn't seem to be going to cooperate in the matter of allowing civil planes access," the 84-year-old veteran pilot said. "We're trying to encourage the use of our facilities by executive aircraft as an alternative to Dublin."

As he spoke, two pilots of the kind of aircraft he meant relaxed in 'The Blue Max' lounge at Weston. They are regulars from Wales every Tuesday, bringing businessmen to Dublin.


Good response to Showcase participation

LEIXLIP & STRAFFAN, 21 January 1999: Among the Kildare participants to Showcase in the RDS (see previous story) was Hans Smits of Straffan, who produces wall hangings with Celtic designs in Irish tweed and other materials. He's been in business, with his wife Katherine, for 12 years and also produces unbleached cotton carrier bags which can be printed with logos for companies and special events. Some 40% of his produce is exported, mainly to the UK, North America and mainland Europe. "Showcase kick-starts our year," he says. "It's also a great place to meet American buyers for a relatively keen cost.

Jean Wray from The Silkvine Ltd operates from Ryebrook Industrial Park in Leixlip and specialise in high quality hand-painted silk in a huge range of ladies silk scarves and shawls. It's a family business that is growing - currently with four outworkers. Jean's son Myles produces a lot of the designs and Jean markets the products, mostly on the home market. Both businesses report a very good response from this year's buyers at Showcase.


UN leader in County Kildare

THE CURRAGH, 21 January 1999: UN Secretary General Kofi Anann visits the Curragh Camp today as part of a three-day stay in Ireland. He will visit the UN training school on the camp, which was opened in 1993, to provide training and educationm opportunities for army personnel from both the Irish and overseas armies.


Newbridge man checks in from Kosovo

NEWBRIDGE & KOSOVO, 21 January 1999: We just had an email from Eamonn Smyth of Newbridge, one of five Irish Army members serving with the OSCE mission in Kosovo, topical for tragic reasons at the moment.

He writes: Thank you for taking the time to reply to me. As I live in Newbridge, thanks also for the Kildare (KNN) site. You asked what we are doing here, well there are five Army guys serving with OSCE, in Kosovo, all in different areas. My area is Human Rights and as you can imagine we are currently very busy. I really enjoy reading your mag, which I think is an excellent production ... maybe sometime we'll meet and have a pint. Sorry about the delay in getting back to you but at the moment I am spending most of my time on the ground. Keep up the good work Regards Eamonn Smyth.

(And, of course, we send Eamonn our best wishes on behalf of all his friends in Newbridge - Editors) You can email him at


Naas chamber decides not to support Kill retail village project

NAAS, 20 January 1999: Naas Chamber of Commerce & Industry has decided not to support the proposal for a Tourist Retail Outlet Village at Goffs in Kill. This follows a meeting earlier this week between the chamber and Irish International Tourist Outlets Ltd (IITO), the promoters of the project.

The meeting was addressed by Chris Harris, John Holmes, Declan Kelly and Bernard McHugh for the developers and by John Forde, Gerry McCormack and Tommy O'Driscoll on behalf of the chamber's Retail Business Committee. "After careful consideration of the discussion and views on both sides, it was the majority decision of the chamber to support the Retail Committee and oppose the development," chamber President John Flynn said afterwards in a statement. (See previous story below).


Strong Kildare participation in 'Showcase'

RDS, DUBLIN, 20 January 1999: by Brian Byrne. Twelve Kildare-based manufacturers participated in the 1999 Showcase, the 23rd International Graft, Gift, Fashion & Interiors Fair held at the RDS in the early part of this week. The event attracted some 12,000 buyers, including 2,000 from the UK, continental Europe, North America, Australia and Japan. In all, over 650 exhibitors took part in the event, which is organised by the Crafts Council of Ireland in association with the support of Enterprise Ireland.

The North American director of Enterprise Ireland, John Corrigan, led a delegation of 750 buyers from there and said that if this wasn't a record year for the event, then 'there never would be one'.

The Kildare participants were N&M Craft Ireland of Leixlip, Sun Art of Maynooth, John Forkin Ltd of Athy, Newbridge Cutlery, Emmet Kane Woodturning of Castledermot, Gary Scott-Hayward Furniture of Straffan, Irish Lace Heirlooms of Celbridge, Tyna International Ltd of Monasterevin, Kes Print of Straffan, Stone Circle of Kilcullen, The SilkVine Ltd of Leixlip (whose Jean Wray is pictured above), and The Irish Pewtermill of Timolin. (We'll be bringing you pen-pictures during the rest of the week of some of the participants and how they got on at Showcase.)


Audio warning for traffic lights call

NEWBRIDGE, 20 January 1999: by Trish Whelan. The need for an audio system to be installed at traffic lights outside O'Connor's shop on Main Street has been highlighted by local Cllr Spike Nolan who said such a system would allow the elderly and visually impaired to cross the street in safety. The call follows a number of 'near accidents' at the lights which, it is claimed, are not functioning properly - showing green on one side while red on the other. "The audio system would allow people to hear when it is safe to cross, similar to that in place at the Post Office crossing," Cllr Nolan said.


Kill retail village 'could cut accidents'

KILL, 19 January 1999: by Brian Byrne. Accidents could be reduced on one of Ireland's most notorious road blackspots if the proposed Kildare Tourist Outlet Village goes ahead at Kill. That's the view of Irish International Tourist Outlets Limited (IITO) who say they will asssit in a number of major road safety improvements on the stretch of roadway adjacent to the proposed site beside Goffs. Gardai have welcomed the initiative, according to a statement from the company.

IITO has also met with Naas Chamber of Commerce and reiterated a number of elements of its plan which address fears that the proposed village will cause problems to shops in Naas. These include that the village will not have a supermarket nor any convenience stores such as newsagents, bars, pharmacies or dry cleaners. Instead, according to project director Malcolm Hockaday, the development will actively promote the usage of these facilities in the nearby towns. IITO will also promote links between the village and retail businesses, bars, restaurants and hotels in the area.

Tour operators and travel agents have already expressed strong interest in incuding the area on their itineraries if the development is put in place.

Kildare County Council is sending a delegation of councillors to see a similar operation at Bicester, near Oxford. (IITO's full statement and previous stories are available here.)


Consideration by councillors of draft development plan submissions begins

COUNTY HALL, 19 January 1999: by Trish Whelan. Members of Kildare County Council have begun the process of considering reports on the 106 submissions received on the Draft County Development Plan. County manager Niall Bradley said he hoped to conclude the process by the end of the month to allow the Draft Plan go on public display during February. He said some 59 applicants who had sought oral hearings had turned up on the day's nominated.

Where submissions related to towns whose plans have yet to be adopted, it was recommended they be dealt with in relation to those specific town plans and not the Draft County Development Plan. A number of submissions relating to requests for rezonings outside Naas - for decision by Naas UDC but which the Naas Area Committee had specifically requested be put before the full Council - will be discussed when the Council reconvenes on Thursday to consider further submissions together with population targets for the county.

Meanwhile, councillors arriving for yesterday's meeting were greeted by large signs erected by residents of Ballymore, protesting against the recent granting of permission for over 400 houses in the east Kildare village (see story in last week's news).


Tibutes paid to deceased former chairman of Kildare County Council

CASTLEDERMOT, 19 January 1999: by Trish Whelan. Former Kildare County Council chairman Jack McKenna from Abbeylands, Castledermot, County Kildare, has died at the age of 91 years. Special tributes were paid to him at a special meeting of Kildare Councillors yesterday. Mr McKenna had also held a seat on Athy UDC and had worked with the Great Southern & Western Railway and with CIE at Athy station.

He had first represented the Labour party before changing to become an Independent and became chairman of Kildare County Council in 1974. On behalf of the Fianna Fail party, Cllr Paddy Power said Mr McKenna had been 'a very active and diligent member of the Council and had been held in high regard.' Fine Gael Cllr Rainsford Hendy extended a vote of sympathy to the former chairman's wife, Debbie, and family. Cllr Jim Keane offered condolences on behalf of Deputy Jack Wall and the Labour Party while Asst county manager Terry O Niadh offered sympathy on behalf of the county manager and staff. Mr McKenna passed away on January 15, at St. Vincent's Hospital in Athy.


Set dancers heading for Kilcullen date

KILCULLEN, 19 January 1999: by Trish Whelan. Set dancers in Naas, Newbridge and Kilcullen areas have pencilled in Saturday 23 January as a date not to be missed, according to Naas set dancer Michael McCarthy from Millbrook, Naas. The dancers will that night head for the Cross and Passion College in Kilcullen where music will be provided by the Fodhla Ceile Band, one of the top such bands in the country. Dancing will be from 9-1am and admission is £5.

Dance names such as the Connemara, the Cashel Set, the Clare and Newport sets have become part and parcel of the 'set' scene. Practise nights take place in the old school hall, beside the church, in Kilcullen on Thursdays and a weekend at An Grianan is planned in early March. Dancers recently travelled to Sligo and to Belfast.

'Set' stalwarts in the area include Billy Horan from Brannockstown; Maureen Denis, The Curragh; Brian Keyes, Kilcullen and Paddy Hanlon who teaches set dancing in Newbridge.


Excessive PO queues will be eliminated, commissioners told

NEWBRIDGE, 18 January 1999: The planned sub post office for Newbridge should help eliminate queuing for Social Welfare payments at the town's main post office, the West Wicklow/Kildare regional manager of the Department of Social Welfare & Children told Newbridge Town Commission at its January meeting ... but if it didn't, there would be further discussions with An Post, which has a contract of service that includes ensuring that 90% of DSW&C clients didn't have to wait longer than five minutes.

Maureen Waldron was answering queries from commissioners who said that people standing in the rain outside the post office was something which couldn't be tolerated any longer. In relation to comments that a department office in Eyre Street should be used for making payments, she said it probably had not been planned as a payment centre. Ms Waldron also said that the Department is constantly examining better ways of delivering payments to people, and that electronic funds transfer was the preferred option ... but the takeup for this facility was very low. "People like to go to a post office and get cash. We've even offered Prize Bonds as an inducement to go EFT, but it didn't work. And we're looking at using Laser cards to transfer money, but that's not ready yet."


Welcome for extra houses allocation

KILDARE GENERAL, 17 January 1999: Senator John Dardis has welcomed the announcement that extra local authority houses have been sanctioned for Co Kildare. The local authorities in the county have been authorised to start or acquire a total of 165 houses in 1999, made up as follows: Kildare County Council 130, Athy UDC 20, Naas UDC 15. Senator Dardis has urged the housing authorities to press ahead promptly with work on the programme to ensure that all starts/acquisitions allocated for the year ahead are fully achieved. He said he was confident they would fulfil their housing programmes for 1999.

Nationally, a capital provision of £230m will be available for local authority housing, an increase of £35m on last year's figure. The capital allocations for the housing programmes will be notified to each individual authority within the next few weeks. Welcoming the announcement, Senator Dardis said it marked a significant step forward in tackling the critical housing shortage in the county. The very high cost of new private houses had created increased pressure on the local authorities to provide adequate accommodation for people who could not afford to get on the first rung of home ownership ladder. He said the Government was providing record numbers of new local authority houses to deal with the crisis. Nationally, a total of 4,500 new houses would be started in the coming year.


'Last chance' for public car park?

NEWBRIDGE, 17 January 1999: If any planning application is made for the development of the Irish Ropes site on Cutlery Road, it should be a condition that a public car park be provided. So said Cmmr Joe Kearns at the recent meeting of the commission, adding that it was 'probably the last chance' they'd have of getting a car park for the town. In response, town manager Terry O Niadh said that any town centre development would have to provide parking, but the council couldn't dictate the kind of parking facilities that would be provided.


Old folks have their fun

NAAS, 17 January 1999: by Trish Whelan. Over 130 senior citizens enjoyed their recent annual after-Christmas party and dinner in the Town House Hotel in Naas, organised by the local Care of the Aged committee which fundraises throughout the year to host the event.

The older folk were not the only ones to enjoy the party, with members of the committee and friends joining in the fun. Stalwarts Andy Kelly, Marie Kelly Mary Malone, Mary Delmer, Kathleen Noone, Maureen Vallelly, Bessie Dunne, Kitty Cahill, Kathleen Sheridan and Dr Brendan O'Donnell were all there to ensure that all went as planned. Local musician John Rafferty (Fishery Lane) proved just how effective a one-man-band could be and rowed in to accompany the party pieces of Kate Sheridan (St Corban's), Willie Peacock (St Conleth's Place) Mae Baker (Sarto Road) and Jim McGarr (Our Lady's Place).

"Men were fewer this year" said committee secretary Marie Kelly. However Paddy Sherry, Pat Hanna, Martin Fennell, Jim McGarr, Leo Reddy, Charlie Kavanagh, Ollie Drewitt, Peter and Michael Sheridan and Frank Collier were among those thoroughly enjoying the evening. Pictured below are Jim McGarr, Ilona Hegyi, Nancy Cronin and John Rafferty.


Mass for Winnie Osborne

NAAS, 17 January 1999: A special Mass will be held tomorrow, Monday, in the County Hall at St Mary's in Naas for the late Winnie Osborne. Winnie was a staff member of Kildare County Council for more than 20 years and was employed as housing secretary. Many tributes have been paid to Winnie by members of the various local authority bodies in the county.



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Stories for week ending 28 November 1998 are here

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