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‘Bones’ presented with prestigious rally trophy

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Michael ‘Bones’ O’Connor was presented with one of the most prestigious trophies in Kerry rallying at the County Rally Championship awards night in Keel last Friday night.

MILLTOWN: Ray O’Neill and Ger Conway both from Milltown collected their Kingdom of Kerry Rally Championship awards from World Rally start Craig Breen. Photo: Ted O'Connell

CHAMPION: Kingdom of Kerry Historic Rally champion Fergus O’Meara collected his award from world rally star Craig Breen. Photo: Ted O'Connell

REPRESENTING: Mike Buckley collected the championship awards on behalf of his son Aidan and nephew Shane Buckley from Craig Breen at the Kingdom of Kerry Rally Championship awards night in Keel last Friday. Photos: Ted O'Connell

RECOGNITION: Michael ‘Bones’ O’Connor with the Paudie Casey Memorial Trophy. Photo: Ted O'Connell

The Caherdaniel-based Killarney and District Motor Club member was presented with the Paudie Casey Memorial Trophy which is awarded to the person who has made the biggest contribution to motorsport in the county over the last 12 months.

The winner, as judged by championship organisers after receiving nominations from Kerry Motor Club and Killarney and District Motor Club, is a closely guarded secret until the announcement is made.

‘Bones' as he is affectionately known, has been involved in motorsport for most of his life. He was the second-ever Clerk of the Course for the West Cork Rally over 40 years ago.

In 2022, he volunteered to marshal at over 25 events, often taking on jobs that are well out of the limelight like stage entrance or exit marshal and when the long day is over he is one of the last to leave as he stays on to help with a litter pick.

“This is the first awards ceremony I have attended this millennium,” said a clearly surprised ‘Bones’, “But it is an honour and a privilege to accept this trophy.”

World Rally Championship star driver Craig Breen was the guest of honour on the night. He presented many of the awards for both the 2022 championship and the delayed 2021 series.

Other guests included Muckross man Noel O'Sullivan who won the British Rally Championship last year and Aghadoe co-driver Mikie Galvin who was runner-up in the same competition.

Last year’s award winners were: Megan Costello, Kerry Motor Club (Ladies Champion); Jason Farrell Killarney and District Motor Club (KDMC), (Junior Champion); Fergus O’Meara KDMC (Historic Champion); Bob Moran KDMC / Kevin Doherty KMC (third overall); Alan Ring KDMC / Damian Fleming KDMC (second overall); and champions Darren Young Kerry Motor Club and Ger Conway KDMC.

Award winners for the 2021 series included Alan Ring, KDMC and Paul Nagle, KDMC, (Historic Champions); Ray O’Neill, KDMC / Ger Conway, KDMC (third overall); Aidan Buckley, KDMC / Denny Greany, Kerry Motor Club (second overall); and champions Mark Murphy, Kerry Motor Club and Shane Buckley, KDMC.

The Kingdom of Kerry Rally Championship was first run in 2018 and is open to members of both Kerry and Killarney and District Motor Clubs. Since its inception, it has been sponsored by Moriarty’s Centra in Farranfore.

Former proprietor Mike Moriarty retired from the supermarket business in December but will continue to support the championship through his Moriarty’s Central Car Sales operation in the mid-Kerry village.

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Is it a good time to sell your property?

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year. The MyHome.ie quarterly report found the market had held up […]

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By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year.

The MyHome.ie quarterly report found the market had held up better than evidence had suggested in 2022. The number of vendors cutting asking prices remained at low levels, while many house prices were being settled above asking prices.

However, the report warned that the resilience of the housing marking is set to be tested this year. It found annual asking price inflation slowed to six percent nationwide, meaning the asking price for the average home in Ireland is now €330,000.

There were 15,000 available properties for sale on MyHome.ie in the fourth quarter of the year – an improvement on the same time last year but still below pre-pandemic levels.

Average time to sale agreed was 2.7 months nationwide which the report said is indicative of a very tight housing market.

The report said it expects to see 28,400 house completions in 2022, exceeding its previous forecast of 26,500 finished units.

The author of the report, Conall MacCoille, Chief Economist at stockbrokers Davy, said it appeared the market had held up better than evidence had suggested.

“The number of vendors cutting their asking prices is still at low levels. Also, transactions in Q4 were still being settled above asking prices, indicative of a tight market,” he said.

Recent months had seen worrying trends in the homebuilding sector, with housing starts slowing, and the construction PMI survey pointing to the flow of new development drying up.

“We still expect housing completions will pick up to 28,400 in 2022 and 27,000 in 2023. However, the outlook for 2024 is far more uncertain. The Government’s ambitious plans to expedite planning processes are welcome although, as ever, the proof will be in the pudding,” he added.

Locally, and unsurprisingly, the lack of supply of new and second-hand properties remains the dominant issue. There has been very little new construction due largely to the rising cost of construction, labour, materials and utilities which in turn is putting pressure on the second hand market.

This market proved particularly strong in 2022 with active bidding experienced on the majority of house sales and a large proportion of guide prices being generally exceeded.

The detached family home end of the market is particularly strong with increased competition for a limited number of available well located family homes.

So, what lies ahead and is it a good time to sell your property?

The answer is a tight market with scarcity of supply being a factor. If selling now you will benefit greatly from a lack of supply of available homes (therefore less competition) provided your property is marketed correctly of course!

For anyone considering placing their property on the market, contact DNG Ted Healy 064 6639000 killarney@dng.ie for genuine honest advice on how to achieve the best possible price for your home.

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Tourism VAT rate should be “continued indefinitely”

A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its […]

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A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its customers”.

The reduced VAT rate of 9% was introduced by the Government in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the hospitality sector.

“I believe a return to a 13.5% Tourism VAT rate would be counterproductive at this stage, to small and medium businesses that welcome visitors to our country and our county,” Councillor Michael Cahill said.

“Catered food is already charged at 13.5%, alcohol at 23% and accommodation presently at 9%. This sector is providing pretty decent returns to the Exchequer and should be supported. All parties in this debate, including the Government and accommodation providers, should review their position and ensure their actions do not contribute to ‘killing the Goose that laid the Golden Egg’.”

He explained that the tourism industry is “in a very volatile market”, as can be seen by the enormous challenges “posed by COVID-19 in recent years”.

“A grain of rice could tip the balance either way and great care must be taken not to damage it irreparably. We are all aware that the next six to 12 months will be extremely difficult for many businesses with the increase in the cost of oil and gas, etc,, and a return to the 13.5% VAT rate will, in my opinion, close many doors. If a minority are ‘price gouging’, then it should be possible to penalise them and continue to support the majority who offer value for money to our visitors.”

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