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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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Wine, art and lots of catching up at popular fundraiser

By Michelle Crean Spirits were high and the atmosphere electric at this year’s Wine & Art Night which had a huge attendance on Wednesday night. Over 50 exhibitors gathered in […]

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By Michelle Crean

Spirits were high and the atmosphere electric at this year’s Wine & Art Night which had a huge attendance on Wednesday night.

Over 50 exhibitors gathered in the Great Southern Killarney as the Killarney Rotary Club’s fundraising event – which is one of the biggest in the town each year – was back after a COVID break.

During the afternoon the artists and crafters, many who travelled from all over Kerry, Clare, Cork and even Waterford this year, organised their display for the event. Later that evening there were a lot of familiar faces but also some new people who absolutely loved the evening.

There were many wines available to taste as well as cheese and breads at the event which is run in conjunction with Daly’s SuperValu, Killarney and Killarney Brewing Company.

“There was a huge attendance and everybody was in good spirits to be back to normal,” President of Rotary, Rayla Tadjimatova, said.

“Many of the patrons were buying some art as Christmas presents and the members of Rotary were delighted to be kept busy packing these. A portion of all art sales goes to the fundraiser. One local young man, who is only 16, exhibited his beautiful photographs of local scenic areas. There was an auction of donated works of art and a Kerry Jersey. All one hundred percent of the proceeds from this auction goes to the fundraiser.”

Mike Neeson entertained the crowd on arrival and right until the end of the night.

“Mike is a great supporter of our events and we would like to thank him for keeping everybody entertained.”

The Irish Pilgrimage Trust ran the raffle and they had some wonderful hampers and gifts to be won.

Beneficiaries from this year’s event are: Coolick NS, Gaelscoil Faithleann NS, Knockanes NS, Holy Cross Mercy NS, St Francis Special School, Kerry Stars, Killarney Athletic AFC, and Killarney Cougars Basketball Club.

She thanked everybody for attending and everyone for their help organising the event.

Some, she added, had never been before and said they did not know what exactly the night involved but will definitely be back again next time as it was “so enjoyable”.

“We hope the money raised will help the beneficiaries to proceed with projects,” she said.

“We are delighted for Rotary to be able to help these charities, community groups and schools through our fundraising event.”

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Comedy drama ready for the stage

By Michelle Crean Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage. What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy […]

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By Michelle Crean

Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage.

What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy father and a confused visitor to the dentist, all have in common? You’ll have to come along to the Killarney Avenue Hotel on Monday, December 12, Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 at 8pm to find out.

The popular drama group will present their three new comedies featuring the work of playwrights Brian Bowler, Ger Madden and Mary Quirke.Come along for a night filled with fun and laughter. Just the right beginning to the festive season. Doors open at 7.15pm and tickets are available at the door. All tickets; adults, seniors, students and children are €10. Don’t miss a great night out.

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