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Allow people travel outside county – say hoteliers

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Hoteliers are calling on the Government to allow people to travel outside their county and to permit indoor dining in hotels, including for non-residents, as part of its reduced restrictions for reopening society safely this December.

Bernadette Randles, Chair of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) Kerry branch, says these measures will ensure hotels in Kerry and across the country can reopen in a safe and sustainable manner, while helping to provide safe, controlled environments for people during the festive season this year.

DIFFERENT CHRISTMAS

“It is clear that Christmas will be very different this year. Nonetheless there is still an expectation that people will be able to travel to family outside their county, and hotels can be an important part of the infrastructure in facilitating this safely. We are urging the Government to recognise the important role hotels can play as part of the solution for a safer Christmas,” she said.

"Public health is our number one priority. Hotels provide very safe, highly-controlled, spacious environments with extensive measures in place to minimise the risk from COVID-19. The sector’s proven track record is borne out by statistics from the HPSC, which show that hotels have been associated with very few clusters (0.14%) since March.”

Ms Randles added that "by allowing indoor dining, including for non-residents, the Government can provide a safer option this year".

"The controlled environment of hotels can help to minimise the number and extent of social gatherings in home settings, thereby significantly reducing the risk this Christmas."

SEVEN DAYS' NOTICE

The IHF is also asking for at least seven days’ notice of the revised restrictions for December so hotels can plan effectively.

“There are five key weeks of trading available to hotels when they reopen at the start of December so it is vital that hotels can operate as fully as possible while obviously staying within the restrictions. This trading period can act as a life buoy in terms of sustaining the early few months of the year. With two weeks of preparatory time remaining, and the necessity for reasonable lead-in times after such a long closure period, realistic advance notice is crucial.”

Before entering Level 5 restrictions, hotel revenues were already down by over 80% nationally.
"As a result of the current restrictions, revenues have collapsed even further and there is a real sense within the sector that hotels are being disproportionately affected despite our commitment and proven track record in safeguarding public health,” she said.

15,700 JOBS LOST

Since March, hotels and guesthouses, along with the wider tourism industry, have been decimated by the impact of COVID-19 Government restrictions. Prior to the pandemic, tourism and hospitality supported the livelihoods of some 270,000 people nationally, including 15,700 jobs in Kerry where it generated €592 million in revenues annually for the local economy.

“Hotels here in Kerry and in every county have shown that they can operate safely during this pandemic. All we are asking is for the opportunity to do so again and in a manner that will help make Christmas memorable for our guests, our teams and their families after such a difficult year for everyone,” she added.

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New Patient Advocacy Service offering support to Kerry people

A newly established Patient Advocacy Service is offering support to people in the Kerry area who want to make a complaint about the care they have received in a public hospital. The service provides free, independent and confidential information and support to people making a formal complaint about their care in a Health Service Executive […]

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A newly established Patient Advocacy Service is offering support to people in the Kerry area who want to make a complaint about the care they have received in a public hospital.

The service provides free, independent and confidential information and support to people making a formal complaint about their care in a Health Service Executive (HSE) funded public acute hospital.

People in the Kerry area looking for support can contact the Patient Advocacy Service confidential helpline on 0818 293003 to speak to a trained advocate who will help them to get information on the HSE’s complaints investigation process, called ‘Your Service, Your Say’.

The professionally trained independent advocate will support and empower the person making the complaint, with the aim of highlighting their views and concerns.

The advocate will explain to the person how to write a formal complaint and what to include in it. They will also help the person prepare for meetings with the HSE about their complaint, and they will help the person explore their options following a response from the HSE to their complaint.

“Until now, people in Kerry and across Ireland who experienced difficulties in the Irish health service often felt there was nowhere for them to turn,” Service Manager for the Patient Advocacy Service, Claire Lehane, said.

GUIDANCE

“The newly established Patient Advocacy Service offers patients the guidance and information they need to make a complaint when they are unhappy with the care they receive. It is free, independent and run by our professionally trained patient advocates who will use their compassion and knowledge to guide people through the HSE complaints process.”

The helpline is open Monday to Friday from 10am until 4pm, including lunchtimes. You can also email info@patientadvocacyservice.ie or for more information see patientadvocacyservice.ie.

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New Kerry Dublin flight takes off

By Sean Moriarty The Kerry-Dublin air route returned to the skies for the first time in nearly seven weeks today (Wednesday). Budget airline Ryanair has taken over the route following the collapse of Stobart Air on June 12. At around 1pm, one of Ryanair’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft landed at the airport after completing its 50 minute […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The Kerry-Dublin air route returned to the skies for the first time in nearly seven weeks today (Wednesday).

Budget airline Ryanair has taken over the route following the collapse of Stobart Air on June 12.

At around 1pm, one of Ryanair’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft landed at the airport after completing its 50 minute journey for Dublin.

Less than 25 minutes later it was back in the sky again for its return journey to the capital.

The flight will operate once a day until September 1 when the frequency will increase to twice daily.

“We are happy to report a positive start to the service which has been absent since early June,” the airport’s CEO John Mulhern told the Killarney Advertiser. “Ryanair intends to operate the route once a day until the end of August and has committed to restoring a twice-daily service from September.”

The route is operated on a commercial basis by Ryanair. Since 2011, Aer Lingus, through its subsidiary Aer Lingus Regional or its partners Aer Arran and Stobart Air operated the flight as a Government support Public Service Obligation (PSO). Previously, between 2008 and 2011 Ryanair operated the route on a commercial basis but withdrew at short notice as it could not make it profitable.

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