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A bit of understanding goes a long way

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There’s a lot of negativity floating about at the minute. The upcoming referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment has been hugely contentious so far and we’re still a full month out from the vote. A whole bunch of people feel very strongly about it on both sides and, as a result, debates get very heated very quickly. I would never discourage someone from being passionate about something, especially when it comes to an issue as important as abortion, but if we really want to have a conversation, a bit of understanding could go a long way.

Personally, I’m pro-choice. I think the current legislation is dangerous and equating the life of a foetus to the life of a woman is, to my mind, unreasonable. I also believe that women should have the freedom to decide what’s right for their own bodies, and it’s sad that they have to ask for our permission in the first place. A lot of you might feel as though abortion should remain illegal but, as entitled as you are to your opinion, I fundamentally disagree. I suppose that’s why we’re having a referendum.

When people differ on a subject this emotive, tensions often flare and friendly chats turn argumentative in the blink of an eye. But what does that actually achieve? Maybe it might make you feel a bit better about yourself. You might leave the interaction thinking, “Jeez, I made a right fool out of that fella on Facebook,” or, “I wasn’t long quietening her,” but is your goal to convince or to ridicule? Taking the piss out of someone on the other side or denigrating their beliefs isn’t going to change their mind. If anything, slating the other campaign is more likely to fortify it than break it down.

The only way of reaching someone is by having an actual conversation with them, and to do that you have to make a genuine effort to understand where they’re coming from.

Why does something that seems so inherently right to me, seem inherently wrong to someone, say, 25 years older than me? (I don’t want to generalise but the rift in this particular instance does appear to be largely generational.) I think about this quite a bit. In 25 years’ time, will a new law be proposed that we whole-heartedly oppose, but our future children insist must be passed in the name of progress?

It’s a scary enough thought – especially as we’re part of a generation who consider ourselves to be very liberal and open-minded - but it’s entirely possible. And it opens your eyes to the fact that we think the way we do for a reason. We are, to a large extent, products of our environment. When it comes down to it, I feel the way I do about abortion because of factors like my upbringing, the people around me and the cultural influences I’ve been exposed to. The same is true for those on the other side of this debate. We’re basically the same. For whatever reason, we just ended up on different sides of this specific divide.

When you look at it from that perspective, you can talk to someone and say, “Right, I completely understand where you’re coming from but this is where I’m coming from…” With this kind of approach, maybe you’ll be able to change a mind or two before May 25 - regardless of whether you’re voting ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

And even if it doesn’t work, it’s a lot better than slagging each other off on Twitter for the next four weeks.

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Future Kerry railway plans revealed

By Sean Moriarty Elected members of Kerry County Council have led calls for Iarnród Éireann’s timetable to fall into line with airline schedule at Kerry Airport. On Monday of this week Barry Kenny of Iarnród Éireann gave a presentation to elected members of the council. During the meeting he outlined some of the railway company’s plans […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Elected members of Kerry County Council have led calls for Iarnród Éireann’s timetable to fall into line with airline schedule at Kerry Airport.

On Monday of this week Barry Kenny of Iarnród Éireann gave a presentation to elected members of the council.

During the meeting he outlined some of the railway company’s plans and ambitions from now until 2027.

These include an increase in frequency on the Tralee to Mallow line.

It is hoped to have one train an hour operating on the line at peak times and two-hourly off-peak.

In a perfect world, the rail station at Farranfore would be placed across the road from the airport and not a 1km walk away but such a move is not likely to happen.

Cllr Norma Moriarty, of the Kenmare Municipal District explained how she was on trip to Yorkshire a few years ago.

“I flew from Kerry to Manchester and was able to get a connecting train to Yorkshire without ever leaving the airport building,” she said. “The people I was visiting were very surprised to hear me talk about this so much – it is normal to them.”

Under the Strategy 2027 plan Killarney rail station will get repainted and new signs will be put in place during 2022.

Additional parking spaces will be created at Farranfore Railway station and this lead to calls for a similar expansion at Rathmore.

“A lot of people from South Kerry use Rathmore railway station,” said local councillor Niall Kelleher. “They drive up from Kenmare and cut across by Glenflesk.”

Mr Kenny said he would take the Rathmore comments back to the Iarnród Éireann engineer in charge of parking strategy.

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Walking and cycling projects set for upgrade 

Commuters and nature enthusiasts will benefit from €4.13m in funding allocated to Kerry County Council for walking and cycling projects. €350,000 has been allocated for Transport/Mobility Plans for Killarney, Tralee and Listowel. Locally €704,835 is being given towards an interconnected network of cycleways on Rock Road, while there’s €70,000 funding for the Deerpark Road/Gealscoil Junction to include […]

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Commuters and nature enthusiasts will benefit from €4.13m in funding allocated to Kerry County Council for walking and cycling projects.

€350,000 has been allocated for Transport/Mobility Plans for Killarney, Tralee and Listowel.

Locally €704,835 is being given towards an interconnected network of cycleways on Rock Road, while there’s €70,000 funding for the Deerpark Road/Gealscoil Junction to include an interconnected network of cycleways. €300,000 is planned for an interconnected network of cycleways for the Gaelscoil Road/Chestnut Drive area, while The Flesk Walkway and Cycleway, Killarney is to get €123,866, as well as a further €186,527 for Rock Road.

Deputy Government Chief Whip, Brendan Griffin TD has said the funding from the National Transport Authority (NTA) will deliver high quality upgrades to walking and cycling infrastructure, with sustainable transport modes vital as the county emerges from the pandemic.

“I am pleased that Kerry County Council has been awarded funding which is part of an overall total of €289 million for approximately 1,200 Active Travel projects across the country,” Deputy Griffin said.

“Ensuring we have a good and efficient transport system in Kerry is essential for the future as we aim to make our communities and town centres more vibrant, in addition to making commuting to work and school safer and easier. Over the past two years we have spent more time enjoying our outdoor amenities and investing in active travel will also help us to meet our climate change obligations.”

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