Coun­cil in new ef­fort to se­cure fund­ing to get Blen­nerville Steam­train back up and run­ning

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - NEWS - By SI­MON BROUDER

KERRY County Coun­cil is mak­ing fresh ef­forts to se­cure State fund­ing to re­open the long in­ac­tive Blen­nerville Steam Train.

The Steam­train – and ef­forts to re­store the tourist at­trac­tion which has been ly­ing idle for the last decade – was raised at Mon­day’s monthly meet­ing of Tralee Mu­nic­i­pal Dis­trict coun­cil.

Coun­cil­lors Norma Fo­ley and Toireasa Fer­ris both tabled mo­tions on the mat­ter seek­ing an up­date on the coun­cil’s at­tempts to re­open the ser­vice.

Cllr Fo­ley said the coun­cil needs to be more ag­gres­sive in seek­ing fund­ing adding that it was “very un­for­tu­nate” that the coun­cil was not in a po­si­tion to ad­vance the mat­ter and re­open the ser­vice in time for the 2019m tourist sea­son.

Cllr Fer­ris – who said the train had the po­ten­tial to gen­er­ate “huge money” for the lo­cal tourism sec­tor – asked coun­cil man­age­ment to pri­ori­tise the mat­ter and aim to have the train op­er­a­tional by 2020.

Tralee MD Di­rec­tor of Ser­vice Michael Scannell said that in 2016 Kerry County Coun­cil had sought fund­ing to re­open the train from Failte Ire­land un­der the agency’s Large Cap­i­tal Grants scheme.

This ap­pli­ca­tion was un­suc­cess­ful but fol­low­ing sev­eral meet­ings with Failte Ire­land Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Tourism Min­is­ter Bren­dan Grif­fin a new ap­pli­ca­tion is now be­ing fi­nalised.

Mr Scannell said that Failte Ire­land’s pref­er­ence is for funded de­vel­op­ments to be part of “wider over­all pro­jects”.

As a re­sult, Mr Scannell said, the new ap­pli­ca­tion for fund­ing will see the train, Blen­nerville Wind­mill and the Tralee Bay Wet­lands Cen­tre bun­dled to­gether as a po­ten­tial com­bined at­trac­tion.

It is ex­pected that Kerry County Coun­cil will sub­mit its ap­pli­ca­tion for fund­ing to re­open the train line when the se­cond phase of the grants scheme opens for ap­pli­ca­tions in the se­cond quar­ter of 2019.

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