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€500k to help re-start Killarney’s live music scene

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By Sean Moriarty

A number of Killarney venues were elated this week to learn that funding to the tune of €500k has been announced to help re-start the town's live music scene.

Of the €1,001,944 in funding announced this week for the county Killarney is to receive over half with funds to assist the Gleneagle Hotel Killarney/INEC Arena, Celtic Steps The Show, Scott’s Hotel, and Courtney’s Bar.

The funding, announced by Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley on Tuesday, is in place to assist commercial venues, producers and promoters in Kerry to plan live events over the summer months.

The scheme, managed by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media will support live performances, particularly where capacity for live attendance is restricted due to COVID-19.

The funding will make live performances viable or alternatively make them available online if audiences cannot attend due to restrictions.

“I welcome this funding which will provide an enormous boost to the live entertainment industry in Kerry," Minister Foley said.

"This money will help to facilitate the delivery of exciting programmes of activities over the coming summer and autumn period. This funding will also provide a vital lift to those talented performers, artists, technicians, creative and performance support staff across the sector, who have not been able to work due to the pandemic.”

Four venues and promoters in Killarney will receive a total of €560,646 in grant aid to help re-start the live music and performing arts industries in the town after months of lockdown.

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The Gleneagle Hotel Killarney/INEC Arena will receive €380,822 for live music shows and for the pre-recording of live material from acts of the future.

“We are delighted with this week’s announcement on funding," Mark Egan, Director of the Gleneagle INEC Arena told the Killarney Advertiser. "We can now look ahead to implementing a programme of events that will provide employment for performers, artists, technicians and support staff many of whom have not had work for months. We have a fantastic, diverse programme in the pipeline and we can’t wait to get the various artists, crews and event suppliers back on site and back to the work we all love. We thank Minister Catherine Martin and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media for making this grant available.”

Celtic Steps The Show will receive €84,627 to allow it livestream performances from its Killarney Racecourse Theatre.

For Celtic Steps producer/director David Rae the funding presents more than just an opportunity to get the show back on the road. He will create 43 paid positions from dancers and musicians to sound and lighting engineers and even a COVID-19 Compliance Officer.

He is awaiting further guidance on permission to allow a limited audience attend a Celtic Steps performance but he hopes by early July to have a series of online performances up and running.

“This is what it is all about, getting these people back to work after so long being unemployed,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “I will need all of these people, from two days before I start to two days after, it is almost like building a festival from scratch and we can’t thank the minister and department enough for this chance.”

Scott’s Hotel will receive the same figure as Celtic Steps for live performances for tourists across the summer.

Courtney’s Bar on Plunkett St will receive €10,570 for a number of gigs that will feature local musicians.

“This is fantastic news,” manager Brian Murphy said. “We have been associated with live music in Killarney for a long time so we are delighted to get the funding and allow live music to continue.”

Like Celtic Steps, he is still waiting for confirmation on the format of the funded gigs.

“It is hard to see a bar gig with an audience going ahead but one of the stipulations of the grant is that if we cannot do a live gig under current guidelines, we have to do it online."

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Killarney Triathlon Club’s open water swim on the lake

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On Tuesday evening last, members of the Killarney Triathlon Club took part in a breathtaking open water swim, starting from Dundag Beach and spanning the middle lake to a nearby island. Covering a distance of approximately 1.5 kilometers, the event saw all participants return safely, basking in a well-deserved sense of accomplishment.

Set against the stunning backdrop of Killarney National Park, swimmers enjoyed views of woodlands,  mountains, and Muckross House. Safety was paramount during the swim, as it is in all the club’s events. Essential precautions included the use of tow floats, safety kayakers, and safety boats, ensuring the well-being of all participants.

“Our club is incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such a beautiful environment,” said Caitriona Shanahan, PRO of Killarney Triathlon Club. “The views during our swims are truly spectacular, and the safety measures we implement help everyone feel secure and enjoy the experience.”

Killarney Triathlon Club offers numerous benefits to athletes of all levels. These include structured training programs, expert coaching, group workouts and more. 

“We welcome all levels and abilities. Joining our club not only improves physical fitness but also offers great fun and the added benefits of stress relief from sea swimming. There truly is nothing like the calming effect of a group swim in the sea.” Caitriona added.

For those interested in joining the Killarney Triathlon Club, more information can be found on their social media platforms and their website, Killarneytri.com.

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Danny Healy-Rae welcomes decision to push back changes for cataract payments

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The Health Service Executive has deferred a move to cut the price it reimburses people for cataract treatments in the European Union and in Northern Ireland, under its overseas treatment schemes and a separate system for the North.

The prices were due to change from the start of this month, but the HSE has pushed the date back so that no one is disadvantaged, and to fully communicate with patients, treatment consultants and providers, cost changes will not come into effect until September 1.

The payments for less complex eye treatments were due to fall from €1,912 to €863 or the National Health Service equivalent of £766 in Northern Ireland. The most common cataract procedure payments were due to reduce from €1,456 to €1,171.

The HSE said that the vast majority of procedures fall into this new payment price. It said that the more complex glaucoma/cataract treatment payments will rise from €1,912 to €4,206.

Danny Healy Rae welcomed the news saying, “Following my representations and raising of this matter in the Dáil, I am glad that the HSE have agreed that they will continue to reimburse the higher rates for cataract procedure for those carried out up to the end of August 2024.

“I am advising anyone who needs to have their cataracts removed to do so now before the change to reimbursement amounts comes in.”

All cataract treatment carried out in Belfast after the 1st September 2024 will be subject to the new DRG rates.

Honouring the Kerry women of the revolutionary period

Kerry County Council is to invite expressions of interest next week for the commissioning and development of a commemorative and artistic piece which will honour the role played by women in Kerry during the revolutionary period between 1912 and 1923.

The project follows a joint motion by the five female members of Kerry County Council who called for the development and commissioning of a meaningful and lasting commemorative piece which would reflect the significant and diverse roles and activities of women and their involvement in the campaign for Irish Independence at the beginning of the twentieth century.

A Working Group, including the five female councillors, has been developing a design brief, and the Council intends to publish a detailed brief for the memorial next week and expressions of interest will be invited.

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