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A decade of growth at Kerry Education and Training Board

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Kerry Education and Training Board (KETB) are participating in celebrations this week to mark the anniversary of the establishment of the Education and Training Board nationally.

Kerry ETB, employs over 1,300 staff, provides education and opportunities for over 15,000 learners annually from their 37 locations in the county, including primary, post-primary and further education and training.

The inaugural ETB Week will culminate in ETB Day today (Thursday) and will see Kerry ETB and other education and training boards around the country host events across their schools, offices and centres. The first ETB Excellence Awards in Croke Park will take place also today and will be hosted by RTE's Ray Kennedy.

Kerry ETB are delighted to have been shortlisted for two awards. The Bright Mind App has been shortlisted for the Equality Award. It was developed by two Transition Year students from Castleisland Community College. 

Students also launched the ETBI Patrons' Framework on Ethos to Kerry ETB board members on Tuesday, addressing how the Patrons Framework benefits their daily lives in school. There will be various activities across Kerry ETB schools during the week, including an ethos treasure hunt, art competitions and quizzes.

To complete the week tomorrow (Friday), ETB day staff coffee mornings in aid of BUMBLEance, are being organised at local schools, centres, campuses and offices.

"Kerry ETB was established 10 years ago this year to provide education, training and youth work services across the county," Cllr Jim Finucane, Chairperson of Kerry ETB, said.

"We have since grown and currently provide education to over 15,000 annual learners, with the scope of our services expanded significantly. We now have three community national schools, eight post-primary schools, five Kerry College Campuses, five Further Education and Training centres and a very extensive range of youth and community education services across the county.

"ETB Week, led by ETBI, gives us all a chance to reflect on the development of the organisation over the past 10 years. The provision of our education and training opportunities is very important. As a county-based organisation, we fully recognise the potential of our provision to enrich and change lives, create opportunities for people, and enhance our communities," he added.

"We look forward to continuing our journey into the future, creating and promoting the development of a life-long learning society in Kerry," Kerry ETB CEO, Colm McEvoy, added.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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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

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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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