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Killarney publican behind nationwide campaign

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CAMPAIGN: John C O'Shea with his mother Joan, sister Brigitte Whelan and her children James and Ellie outside their popular High St bar.

 

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By Sean Moriarty

 

A Killarney publican was behind a nationwide social media campaign that highlighted issues being faced by rural pubs who are not allowed open during current COVID-19 restrictions.

Last weekend publicans from all over Kerry and beyond took to social media with their campaign 'Support Not Sympathy' to get their message across.

As of today (Friday) it is 156 days since March 15, they day pubs were told to close. And publicans say their appeal to Government is far from over with further plans to increase the pressure this week - instead of photographing family members or customers outside their pubs - they will now show a sign highlighting the number of days they have been forced to close.

They are growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of Government support and action a pubs have been closed since March 15. Those who don't serve food have to remain closed for now while bars that sell a ‘substantial meal’ have been allowed open since June 29.

The Kerry Vintners Association has been particularly vocal on the situation. They wanted to have one voice on social media platforms so set up an online group called 'The Pubs of Kerry' and the new social media campaign was the brainchild of publican John C O’ Shea whose family run the Jack C’s on High St.

The campaign, which quickly spread from Kerry to include pubs in every county, was calling on the Government to offer support to rural pubs. Publicans and their families were photographed outside their closed premises, which was then shared on social platforms and tagged prominent politicians.

It was a direct attack on comments made by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar last week that he was is “sympathetic” to the difficulties publicans faced.

The campaign was popular on Facebook but gained more traction on Twitter.

“I have experience in running such campaigns,” John C told the Killarney Advertiser. “Some pubs have a Facebook account, some have a Twitter account and some have neither. They sent their photos to me and uploaded them to social media. Twitter is the preferred communication channel of Government. It was a dignified protest but sometime I wonder of the farmers are right – they would have the whole of Dublin city centre blockaded by now.”

He added that publicans can open their bars safely and should be allowed to do so.
"We have spent €12k to €15k preparing our bar – we have the Perspex, we have an outdoor seating area in the lane,” he added. “The only reason we have to stay closed is that we do not do food. We would have to spend another €15k on a proper kitchen and take on more staff. We have never done food. We get a lot of trade from Gaby’s and Bricín across the road. People come to us before or after their meal in the place that does do food.”

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NPWS survey to find out impact of fires

By Michelle Crean The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has commissioned a comprehensive survey on the impact of fires over the past four decades – in particular Killarney National Park in April. The tender, worth €300,000, and named ‘Study on the Impact of Fires On The Biodiversity of Killarney National Park’, seeks to find […]

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By Michelle Crean

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has commissioned a comprehensive survey on the impact of fires over the past four decades – in particular Killarney National Park in April.

The tender, worth €300,000, and named ‘Study on the Impact of Fires On The Biodiversity of Killarney National Park’, seeks to find out the biological impacts of the fires in the 26,000 acre park.

The fires in April burned from Friday night on April 23 until around 12pm the following Monday when they were finally brought under control.

Parts of the Park were scorched resulting in flora and fauna being wiped out. Some fires came as close as 10 metres to a church and school in the Black Valley area.

Fires raged near Tomies Wood and fire crews from five different districts quenched fires near the properties under threat. A real threat was for The Oak Woods but fire fighters managed to avert danger.

The fire is believed to have begun on the Kenmare Road area escalated by the strong winds.

“The purpose of this tender is to commission a comprehensive survey of the impacts, and the chrono-sequence of fire recovery or otherwise, on lands burned over the past four decades, as well as surveys in unburned areas, in order to assess the biological impacts of the fires, in particular the fire of April 2021, on the biodiversity of Killarney National Park,” an NPWS spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

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Killarney spin will bring comfort to patients

By Michelle Crean Ahead of this year’s ladies only 54321 Challenge a number of spinathons are taking place, including in Killarney town. Sunday, August 15 a group of 10 ladies plan a spinathon day in Killarney ahead of their four day epic adventure from Thursday, August 19 to Sunday 22. This year due to COVID […]

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By Michelle Crean

Ahead of this year’s ladies only 54321 Challenge a number of spinathons are taking place, including in Killarney town.

Sunday, August 15 a group of 10 ladies plan a spinathon day in Killarney ahead of their four day epic adventure from Thursday, August 19 to Sunday 22.

This year due to COVID restrictions the 54321 team will run with two teams of five people, all female – who are raising funds for one single charity – Comfort for Chemo Kerry.

Their four day challenge will include a cycle the Ring of Kerry on day one (Thursday 19), a climb up Carrantuohil on day two (Friday 20), a cycle from Killarney to the foot of Cnoc Na Tobair and then climb Cnoc Na Tobair on day three (Saturday 21) finishing off with a cycle of the Skellig Ring on day four (Sunday 22).

In advance of the ninth annual challenge they will first participate in the spinathons at various locations to help raise much needed funds for this year’s chosen charity.

The first of the spinathons will take place on Saturday, July 31 in Listowel, Killorglin, Dingle, Cahersiveen. On the day volunteers will take to the spinning bikes from 10am to 5pm in different locations around these towns.
This will be followed by Killarney on Sunday, August 15, and Tralee on Saturday, August 28.

When choosing this year’s charity, organisers contacted a past participant and a dear friend, Mairead Dunphy from Glencar who is currently on her own journey with cancer.

“We wanted to show our support to Mairead and knowing that she would like to support those who have supported her on her journey so far, she had already being looking at ideas to raise much needed funds for Comfort for Chemo Kerry,” TJ O’Connor said.

“Please support Comfort for Chemo Kerry by giving what you can.”

For more information about the spinathons go to www.54321challenge.org or the Comfort for Chemo Kerry Facebook page for online donation information.

There’s also a GoFundMe page: ‘Comfort for Chemo Kerry – 54321 Challenge 2021’ which has a €20,000 target set up.

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