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Bird’s Funfair ready to open amid public health concerns




By Sean Moriarty

Birds Euroshow Funfair will open in Killarney tomorrow (Saturday) for the first time in two years.

The funfair will operate at its traditional location in the Fair Field car park despite concerns raised by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce who said the attraction could draw large crowds and increase the risk of the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Bird’s said it will operate a “robust” COVID-19 plan that will include hand sanitisation stations at the entrance and exit of the fair and on each of the rides. Face masks will have to be worn on site and a COVID-19 compliance officer will work with visitors to ensure social distancing.

“We are glad to be back,” Don Bird, grandson of founder William Bird, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We have a robust protocol in place that is also subject to tweaking and improving.”

Bird’s Euroshow Funfair have been a traditional part of Killarney summers since 1937.

William Bird ran fundraisers to help build Fitzgerald Stadium and the family paid for the initial paving of the car park in the 1960s.

They applied to Kerry County Council to operate in the town centre car park, they also pay a fee to the Council and all of their fair-rides are subject to an annual safety check.

“As they do every year, the funfair indicated the dates they wish to set up and this is facilitated as part of a long-standing arrangement and relationship with Birds. The Council has no role in the licensing of funfairs but does require the submission of safety certs before a funfair sets up,” a Council official told the Killarney Advertiser.

However, the Chamber remains opposed to the fun fair operating in Fair Field car park this year.

They worked with the funfair and Kerry County Council to find alternative venues as car parking spaces in town are already at a premium.

The Chamber is also worried that the funfair will attract large groups of people at a time when there are wider concerns about the spread of the Delta Variant of COVID-19.

“Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce had, and still has, concerns about a funfair setting up in the centre of town at a time when concerned public health officials are warning of an extremely contagious new variant of the COVID-19 virus,” a statement, issued yesterday (Thursday), said.

“Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce appreciates and values the role played by the funfair in entertaining generations of children in the town and we hope they have a very successful and safe stay.

“It remains Chamber’s view, however, that the public health concerns must be given absolute priority and that the Fair Field car park is not a suitable location at a time when parking facilities in the town are at an absolute premium and in the current public health environment.”

Last week’s Killarney Advertiser suggested that Killarney Chamber made two separate statements on its concerns about the funfair. In fact, it only made one – the Killarney Advertiser is happy to clarify this.

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Developing St Finan’s “cost prohibitive” – Council

Converting the idle St Finan’s hospital into social housing is cost-prohibitive according to Kerry County council officials. The historic building has been lying idle since it closed in September 2012. […]




Converting the idle St Finan’s hospital into social housing is cost-prohibitive according to Kerry County council officials.

The historic building has been lying idle since it closed in September 2012.

The hospital and adjoining lands are up for sale by the Health Service Executive (HSE) since then.

So far no realistic offer has been made on the site despite suggestions that it could be used for social housing, a catering college and a hotel.

Each year the building, which was built in the 1850s, falls into further disrepair.

There were fresh calls again this week as local councillors called for some sort of action to redevelop the site that is fast becoming an eyesore.

At last Friday’s Killarney Municipal District meeting councillors called for action at the site .

Mayor Brendan Cronin wants the building’s protected status to be removed or at least reduced to speed up potential development work which ties in with Cllr Marie Moloney’s idea that the old hospital could be converted into apartments or flats.

Cllr John O’Donoghue wants the HSE to find a way to hand over the property to Kerry County Council either by way of reduced payment or an intra-government agency ownership change.

A Kerry County Council official told the meeting that any works to potentially convert the old hospital into social housing “would be cost prohibitive.”


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Eight month wait for a driving test in Killarney

A Killarney councillor is calling for action in an effort to reduce the driving test wait list in Killarney The current wait list for a test in Killarney sits at […]




A Killarney councillor is calling for action in an effort to reduce the driving test wait list in Killarney

The current wait list for a test in Killarney sits at eight months.

Cllr John O’Donoghue raised the issue at Monday’s full meeting of Kerry County Council.

He proposed that driving instructors should be employed to carry out the final test to reduce the current backlog.

At Monday’s meeting he asked that hat Kerry County Council would write to the Minister for Transport to ask him to consider giving driving instructors temporary powers to issue a temporary Driving Licence/Certificate of Competence to those on the waiting list for tests.

“The wait is currently far too long and the system is in danger of becoming completely overwhelmed,” he said.

“The huge waiting list for young drivers is well documented at this stage. In a case I am familiar with, a young person passed their theory test in January 2022 and he immediately applied for his mandatory 12 driving lessons. When these were completed, he applied for his driving test on the 2nd of December 2022. Some weeks ago, he still had not received an application to apply for his driving test. This wait is placing him and his family under considerable extra cost and stress which is completely unacceptable.”

In the course of his research into the matter Cllr O’Donoghue discovered that the next available date for a driving test in Killarney is May 25, 2024, while Tralee is June 3 2024.

“Bear in mind, these are only the dates on which you receive an invitation to book your test, the test itself will then be an estimated three to five weeks later.

“This is an appalling situation and one which needs to be rectified as a matter of urgency. I am proposing that driving instructors, which presumably are fully trained up on the rules of the road, be granted temporary powers to be allowed to issue temporary driving licences to young people. When the waiting list time has been reduced, I would still propose that these people sit the test as usual, but the current pressure needs to be alleviated as soon as possible. There is precedent as I believe that in the 1970s, a cohort in this country were issued driving licences without having sat a test as the wait time for the test was too long.”


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