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Planned purchase of Conor Pass compared to Fungi return

The State’s potential purchase of the landmark Conor Pass in Co Kerry, one of the highest mountain passes in the south west, will be like bringing Fungi the dolphin back to Dingle, a local Fianna Fáil councillor has said.

“It looks like it’s going to happen,” Dingle-Corcha Dhuibhne councillor Breandán Fitzgerald told Radio Kerry.

“This will be like Fungi the dolphin coming to Dingle. We will have a national park on our doorstep. We lost Fungi but we will have gained a national park,” he added, and that it would be like the Killarney National Park in terms of attracting tourists.

Mr Fitzgerald was among the first to call on the State to purchase the 1,400 acres of land when it was put on the market by its American owner last August.

Norma Foley says negotiations on a deal are ‘going in the right direction’

He later put down a motion to get the full backing of Kerry County Council for the move.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien indicated his support when approached at the recent Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis, Mr Fitzgerald said.

Separately, Minister for Education Norma Foley has confirmed the purchase is close to a deal and is “going in the right direction”.

It is understood that preliminary agreements have yet to be signed.

The Conor pass went on the market for €10 million, around €7,000 per acre.

The land is made up of upland, forestry and lakes

It is the second time in recent years the iconic site has been put up for sale.

Amid calls to buy the land for use as a national park, the purchase would be considered “at a reasonable price”, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said previously.

Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae said that if the State were to pay the money being sought, it would be better used for housing in Dingle.

A maximum of €2,500 per acre is being paid for sites surrounding Killarney National Park, where the National Parks and Wildlife Service is actively acquiring land, sources confirmed late last year.

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