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Easter traditions continue in new accommodation




It is a long-standing Ukrainian tradition to tidy up our homes, plant flowers, saw dry tree branches and sweep leaves on the eve of Easter.

Sunday morning, Ukrainians from the Innisfallen Hotel were very active as we decided to clean up the area around the hotel and the path in the park that leads from Fossa to Killarney.

In the old days, women used to paint the house white with white lime to prepare for the holidays.
Therefore, Ukrainians who have private homes or relatives in the villages always gather a week before Easter to work together.

11-year-old Volodymyr Kravchenko from Kharkiv is carefully clearing last year's leaves near the hotel.

"At home we clean every spring at our summer cottage and I really like this kind of work."

Lilia Paseka, who sweeps the rubbish, says she wants to thank both the hotel staff and the local community for the warm welcome in Killarney.

"Now this is our home, and it should be cozy and comfortable," she said.

Neither the wind nor the rain prevented us from working well and happily in the yard. There were so many people willing to help that there were not enough shovels and brooms for everyone.

Olga Tkachenko and her 13-year-old son Ivan actively worked together with all the people. Due to the war in 2014, Olga was forced to leave her home in Donbass and move to Kyiv. Now she is again forced to save her family from the Russian army by coming to Ireland. Olga almost cries, and says she is very grateful to the Irish who warmly sheltered her family. "I want to thank everyone for their work," she added.

Svitlana Malysheva and Olena Okhrimchuk jog in the park every day. They took rubber gloves and large bags with them and removed all the rubbish on the picturesque path leading from Fossa to Killarney.

But a real surprise was prepared by Svetlana. She brought with her from Ukraine the seeds of marigold flowers which are very popular. They have been growing in every Ukrainian yard for centuries and we compose songs about these flowers.

Marigold - plant of the daisy family, typically with yellow, orange, or copper-brown flowers, that is widely cultivated as an ornamental. Imagine, marigolds for Ukrainians are as important a symbol as the Rose of Tralee is to the Irish. Svetlana planted the seeds in a flowerbed near the hotel. In June, everyone will be able to admire the bright yellow and orange flowers near our new home.



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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