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4th of July parade proved there is more room for pedestrianisation





The subject of town centre pedestrianisation is always a hot topic in Killarney.

Many people want to see more of it. An equal amount want to see less of it.

I am firmly in the former camp and believe that the day and night time experience in Killarney town centre would be greatly enhanced if a more European attitude to pedestrianisation was adopted in the town centre.

Last summer Killarney Municipal District experimented with Main St. It was closed off to traffic for the duration of each weekend and it greatly added to the atmosphere in the town centre.

I would like to see more of this, and Monday night’s spectacular 4th of July parade gives us new evidence as to why this is an idea that should be explored further.

Street closures, to facilitate the parade, on Main St and Upper New St, meant, by default, that High St had become an unofficial pedestrian zone.

As I walked up the middle of High St, not long after the parade had finished, I noticed just how many people were roaming freely on a street usually choc-a-bloc with traffic.

Many stopped off at the many bars and shops along the way, it is fair to say that there were more people enjoying Upper High St last Monday than on a typical Monday evening.

There will always be an argument against this move but the pros outweigh the cons. The vast majority of cars on High St are being driven by people who are driving around looking for a parking space. If Upper New St was closed then drivers would have no choice but to divert into the Beech Road car park.

Rock Road car park, a very much underused asset in the town is less than three minutes’ walk from High St.

The advent of the new inner relief road, that will take traffic from New St to Upper High St, will be a godsend – let’s not waste it – let’s use it as an opportunity to increase footfall on upper High St.



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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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch



At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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