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UN Peacekeepers to receive prestigious award



AWARD: UN veteran John O'Mahony from Scartaglin, pictured at the announcement that the men and women of the Irish Defence Forces, who served on UN Peacekeeping duties over the past 60 years, are to receive the Hugh O'Flaherty Humanitarian Award 2019. Photo: Don MacMonagle


It was announced this week that the men and women of the Irish Defence Forces, who have served on UN Peacekeeping duties over the past 60 years, are to receive the Hugh O'Flaherty Humanitarian Award 2019.

This year, the Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society decided to move the programme forward to June 4, to coincide with the 75th Anniversary of the WW II liberation of Rome and the successful conclusion of the Hugh O’Flaherty inspired Rome Escape Line.

In 2008, the Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society was formed in his home town of Killarney to honour his memory by acknowledging his humanitarian works during the 1930s in Haiti and San Domingo, and the early 1940s during WW II in Rome.

At its first meeting of 2019, the Memorial Committee unanimously decided that it should present the 2019 Humanitarian Award to the members of the Irish Defence Forces, past and present, who have served in UN Peacekeeping Missions overseas for the past 60+ years,

Chair of the O’Flaherty Memorial Society Jerry O’Grady explained.

“To date, 86 members of the Irish Defence Forces have lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping humanitarian missions with the UN,” he said.

“We believe that this immense selfless sacrifice in the name of world peace deserves to be acknowledged in this way and we should all be tremendously proud of our men and women who wear the famous Blue Beret.”

In 1980, Private John O’Mahony 15 Bn. UN Veteran (Retd) from Scartaglin (pictured) served with the Irish Peacekeeping Force in the Lebanon. While there, John and two of his colleagues were captured by Lebanese Christian Militia. Although shot in three places, John survived, but sadly, his colleagues Private Derek Smallhorne from Dublin and Private Thomas Barrett from Cork were both killed.

The ceremony will be attended by the Minister of State for Defence, Paul Kehoe TD and the Defence Forces Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett. Invitations will also be issued to the ambassadors of the various countries of origin of the PoWs saved by the Rome Escape Line.

“Details of the full programme of events will be announced later, but we are delighted to confirm that it will include a free public performance of Donie Courtney’s highly successful one-man play on the Monsignor’s life – ‘God Has No Country’.”

The Hugh O’Flaherty Commemoration Programme is supported by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and Kerry County Council Community Support Fund.









Muckross Rowing Club members on Irish teams for two major regattas

  Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events. Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse […]





Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events.

Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta.

Daniel Fleming and Ian Coffey have both been selected for the Under 19 Irish squad to race at the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta for European junior rowers. The Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta, involving 16 European countries, will be held over from over three days, August 9-11 in Racice, Czechia.

Four Under 23 university rowers from the Muckross club have also been selected as part of the Senior Irish squad for the Home International Regatta this month.

Niamh Coffey (University of Limerick), Patrick Buckley (University of Limerick), Finn O’Sullivan (University of Limerick) and Ethan O’Neill (University College Cork Rowing Club) will take on the ‘Triple Crown’ event of rowing, competing for Ireland against crews from England, Scotland and Wales.

The Home International Regatta will be held on Saturday, July 27 in Strathclyde, Scotland.

All six Muckross rowers have earned their green jerseys following a lengthy and testing trial series on land and water which began in Autumn 2023 and culminated in final water trials at the end of June.

“Muckross Rowing Club sends its best wishes to the very talented Muckross oarsmen and women and all their crewmates as they fly the flag for Ireland this summer. The talented group build on a successful record in the sport,” said club PRO Tim O’Shea.

Niamh Coffey is a multiple Irish and University Championship winner and has previously represented Ireland in the Under 23 European Championships.

In 2022, O’Neill rowed at Junior level at the Home International event and won a gold medal as part of the Irish quadruple scull crew in the 500m sprint event.

Both Buckley and O’Sullivan continue to compete at the highest level nationally with the University of Limerick Rowing Club,  and join the Irish squad for the first time this year.

The international selections come at an exciting time before the Olympic Regatta in Paris, where Zoe Hyde (Tralee Rowing Club) will be among the largest Irish rowing contingent of 16 rowers to contest an Olympic Games.

Killorglin native Zoe has previously rowed for both Killorglin and Muckross rowing clubs and will race the Women’s Double event for Ireland with Alison Bergin (Fermoy Rowing Club) in Paris.


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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally



Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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