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McSweeney Arms reopens as a restaurant

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AT YOUR SERVICE: Kelly Ann McSweeney is ready to greet customers after reopening her restaurant this week for the first time since March. Photo: Grigoriy Geniyevskiy

 

By Sean Moriarty

The McSweeney family business reopened their Sandtrap Grill on Wednesday for the first time since March.

The Sandtrap is part and parcel of the landmark McSweeney Arms Hotel on College St but is a key part of its official title is missing.

The Sandtrap Bar and Grill has reopened as restaurant only after third-generation proprietor Kelly Ann McSweeney, following months of governmental indecisiveness, said she just could not wait any longer.

While the Sandtrap Bar and Grill is renowned for its high-quality bar food it is first and foremost a local's bar and Kelly Ann’s loyalty to her long-term customers meant she was not willing to open her bar for food only until this week.

Simply, she felt uncomfortable charging her locals €9, for the so-called substantial meal.

“These people came to my 21st and danced the night the way,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “They gave me fivers when I made my First Communion. They are family friends.”

However, constant changes by the Government, and without decisive opening dates set for the reopening of pubs, she changed her stance and reopened the Sandtrap – but only as a restaurant and not as a bar that happens to serve food too.

“We are open as a sit down restaurant,” she added. “Even the televisions will be turned off.”

The Sandtrap Bar and Grill is a renowned sports bar and is particularly popular with horse racing fans and Dr Croke’s supporters.

Kelly Ann and her parents, Tony and Pauline, have introduced a range of measures to ensure they more than comply with the COVID-19 regulations.

They are encouraging people to pre-book and credit card details will be taken at booking time, all to comply with the contract tracing rules and limited waiting times when people arrive.

“All our favourite dishes are on the menu. I will greet you at the door, we have an automatic sanitisation station at the door,” she said. “We are opening in September so hopefully I will know everyone. We were fully booked on Wednesday night – mainly locals.”

As the accommodation portion of the hotel will not reopen until March next year, she was able rearrange the hotel’s foyer and breakfast room to accommodate more diners.

“It is very exciting to be back but it tugs my heart that I cannot open my bar as a bar, as my grandfather Christy did 70 years ago this year,” she added. "He is the reason I do what I do."

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Develop skills and improve employability

By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors Traineeships are developed and delivered on an ongoing basis by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) nationwide and are open to potential participants of all ages and backgrounds including school leavers, mature learners and those in or seeking employment. Developed in partnership with industry representatives […]

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

Traineeships are developed and delivered on an ongoing basis by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) nationwide and are open to potential participants of all ages and backgrounds including school leavers, mature learners and those in or seeking employment.

Developed in partnership with industry representatives and employers, these programmes combine learning in the classroom with a minimum of 30 percent of learning on-the-job. The focus is on ‘learning on the go’ and developing perspectives that are in tune with the ever evolving world of work. They span across a range of industry sectors including business and retail, media, manufacturing, agriculture, horticulture and mariculture, care, construction, engineering, animal science, fashion and beauty, finance, ICT, hospitality, sports and leisure, and logistics.

At the core of the scheme is a strong collaboration with the ETBs in the provision of work-based learning opportunities on existing and new programmes. Traineeships lead to an award at Levels 4-6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and are between six to 24 months in duration. Over 75 programmes are available nationwide – although not all of them will be available nationally at all times – and the content, award and duration may vary. They are designed for flexible delivery to include online, face-to-face and blended learning.

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Second level or higher education students who are interested in participating in a Traineeship Programme should contact their local ETB, adult learners should contact the Adult Education Guidance Service through their local ETB, and jobseekers will be able to access information through their local Intreo Office or Local Employment Service. For those currently unemployed, a training allowance or income support may be available. You can check out the range of opportunities offered through Traineeships nationwide on www.fetchcourses.ie and more locally check out the www.kerrycollege.ie.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant – For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Return to work courses

Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce. Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services. The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 […]

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Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce.

Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services.

The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Most of the courses are part-time and last for one year or less, but there are some full-time courses.
You can access a free Springboard+ course, if you are getting a qualifying social welfare payment such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit or the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). You can get a full list of qualifying payments for Springboard+ on citizensinformation.ie

If you are not getting a qualifying social welfare payment, you will have to meet the residency criteria for Springboard+.

You can also apply for a Springboard+ course if:

* You are a qualified adult of working age (under 66) on someone else’s social welfare payment
* You are signing for social insurance credits
* You are on an employment support scheme such as Community Employment (CE) or TUS

To apply for a Springboard+ course, you choose the course(s) you are interested in on springboardcourses.ie and apply online, following the instructions on the website. You can apply for up to 10 courses, but you can only take one course.

If you are getting a social welfare payment, you should notify your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office and check what further steps (if any) you need to take.
If Springboard+ doesn’t meet your needs, there are several other ways to go back to education.
_______________________________________________________________________

During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

Tralee on Tel: Call 0761 07 7860, Monday – Friday (10am-4pm)
The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

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