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“A lot of it is greed”

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By Sean Moriarty

Hotels accepting large amounts of refugees and asylum seekers into their premises risk destroying the town’s tourism industry - councillors said this week.

Concerns have been raised as to the future of the town's tourism industry come March or April next year following the large influx of refugees which they say is having a detrimental effect on businesses in the town centre.

Councillors raised the issue during a respectful debate at Wednesday’s Killarney Municipal District meeting.

Killarney is currently home to 572 International Protection applicants, and a further 1,300 Ukrainians fleeing from their war torn country also housed in the town.

This marks an approximate 10 percent increase in the town’s population, putting core services like schools and healthcare facilities under considerable extra pressure.

Cllr Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan asked the meeting if Killarney Municipal District would: “Write to the relevant Minister to ask for a plan in relation to the resettling of asylum seekers to Killarney and the support structures that are in place as our town is struggling to cope with the influx in terms of GP services etc.”

He also asked if the KMD would: “Write to the Minister for Finance to ask for a plan for the business community in Killarney that is struggling to survive after the Government decision to remove more beds from the tourism system and thus reducing the footfall and spending power. This is a decision taken by this Government that directly affects our business.”

These two requests prompted a lively debate within the Council chamber. While all elected members understood the need to offer help to those fleeing difficult circumstances in their home countries, they said something needed to be done too to protect Killarney’s tourism offering in the future.

“Where are they going to go? The country can’t cope right now and more people are coming. What’s going to happen in March or April? Are these businesses going to put these people out?” Cllr Brendan Cronin said.

“We must look within at our business sector also because you can’t take with one hand and expect it’s all going to be rosy next March or April.”

Cllr Marie Moloney warned that the system is at breaking point and that the town will not be able to cope. She said this is not fair on both those seeking refuge and town’s residents.

“We cannot bring people from the Ukraine into Killarney and then not be able to provide the services. They are going from one hell to another,” she said.

However, she pointed equal blame at the business people of the town who are continuing to accept refugees – a potential off season boost for such businesses – but one with long-term ramifications for the tourism industry.

“They are the ones that are actually destroying the tourism trade in town by cutting down on the bed nights,” she added.

Cllr O’Callaghan warned that the influx of refugees is having a knock on effect on smaller businesses, like cafés and bars who are not getting the same footfall as usual. He cited the recent closure of two town centre cafés as an example of how businesses are suffering.

“The decisions being taken are taking more bed nights out of the town. A lot of it is greed,” he said.

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Ring of Beara Cycle launches school programme

The Ring of Beara Cycle is for kids too! As part of its commitment to make a positive impact on the local community, the Ring of Beara Cycle are proud […]

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The Ring of Beara Cycle is for kids too! As part of its commitment to make a positive impact on the local community, the Ring of Beara Cycle are proud to continue to with two great initiatives: its Kids’ Cycle and its sponsorship of the School Cycle Safety Programme.

The Ring of Beara Cycle will take place on May 25 with over 4,000 cyclists taking part. The event starts and finishes in Kenmare town, Co Kerry to complete either a 110km or 140km route encompassing the magnificent mountains, valleys and the rugged coastline of the Beara Peninsula.

Kids’ Cycle
Adults are not the only ones getting on their bikes on May 25 for the Ring of Beara Cycle. The event also has its very own cycle for children around the town of Kenmare. Not only does this give kids a chance to join in the days’ activities with their parents, but it’s free and a great way for kids to get outdoors and exercise in a fun and safe environment.
Open to any child in national school between third and fifth class and following a 2km route around Kenmare and a slightly shorter route for tinier ones, registration is from 9.15am in Kenmare town square. Parents and guardians are welcome to cycle with their children. All participants should bring and wear a safety helmet for the cycle.
School Cycle Safety Programme
Another community initiative from the Ring of Beara Cycle is the Cycle Right Programme, working with local schools to get kids’ up to speed on road safety and cycle best practices.
The Ring of Beara Cycle is working with Cycle Sense and Wheely Good Cycling Academy to deliver this 4-week programme to local schools in and around Kenmare and the Beara Peninsula.
Some 250 students across 8 schools are participating in this initiative, and the schools involved are: St John’s National School, Realt Na Mara National School , Lauragh National School and Tulloha National School in Kenmare, and on the Beara Peninsula: Scoil Chaitigheirn in Eyeries, Oir Cheann iNational School in Eyeries, Cahermore National School in Allihies, Scoil An Croi Ro Naofa in Castletownbere, Mhichil Naofa in Castletownbere, Adrigole N S in Bantry, and Trafrask Mixed N S in Ardrigole.
This initiative is normally paid for by the schools themselves but is now free for all the children taking part thanks to a generous donation by the Ring of Beara Cycle Committee that covers the cost of delivering the programme to these schools.
Cycle Right is the National Standard for Cycle Training and provides practical cycle safety and skills training through Department of Transport, the Road Safety Authority and Cycling Ireland. The aim of the programme is to promote cycle confidence on the road in increasingly complex scenarios delivered by qualified, registered trainers.
No stranger to giving back to the local community, not only does the Ring of Beara Cycle make a significant, positive impact on the local economy, it also encourages kids to enjoy themselves on their bikes and to do this safely with confidence.

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Browne’s Agri Open Day is a must-attend event

Browne’s Agri Open Day is always one that was marked in  Agri calendars as a ‘must-attend event’. This year’s event is taking place on Wednesday May 22 on their site […]

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Browne’s Agri Open Day is always one that was marked in  Agri calendars as a ‘must-attend event’.

This year’s event is taking place on Wednesday May 22 on their site in Castleisland.

The event was always renowned for getting great advice on the Agri topics of the day as well as a window into modern developments taking place in all aspect of Agriculture and country living.

The extending of the yard area will allow more space to be given over to even more exhibitors, ensuring all areas of agriculture, and rural life will be showcased on the 22.

There will be experts on hand to advise on Calf Rearing, Grassland management, Weed control, Drainage, Fencing , Shed and Yard Layouts as well as bee keeping, and helpful health advice.

“As well as the great advice, you will be ensured of great deals, great food, great craic and free entry to the many spot prizes that will be available on the day,” said general manager Denis O’Connor.

“All that is asked is your attendance and if at all possible, to make a small contribution to our chosen charity Pieta House.”

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