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Boy racer convictions good news for motorsport

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney Gardai, business leaders in the town and rally organisers have all welcomed a recent court decision to disqualify 12 drivers for two years after they were found guilty of dangerous driving while attending this year’s Rally of the Lakes.

The popular event, which this year celebrated its 40thanniversary, has been blighted by anti-social behaviour by these so called boy racers in recent years.

The spectacular two-day motorsport festival has been over-shadowed by the anti-social actions of non-genuine motorsport fans who arrive in Killarney at the same time the rally is in progress.

They engage in dangerous driving and disruptive behaviour but make no contribution to the sport and make no effort to attend official events connected with the popular rally.

ANTI-SOCIAL

Their actions have caused widespread problems for the sport and they are unfairly linked to real supporters. They are a nuisance to the people of Killarney and genuine rally fans are blamed for their actions.

Tired of the bad publicity attached to the boy racers element indirectly connected with the event, event organiser Killarney and District Motor Club joined forces with Killarney Gardai in an effort to stamp out the issues that have blighted recent rallies.

Ahead of this year’s May Bank Holiday weekend rally, both organisations put out the message that boy racers were not welcome at the rally and that anybody found misbehaving or bringing the sport into disrepute would be heavily dealt with by the authorities.

Gardai launched a major undercover operation at this year’s rally. As a result 12 men were arrested on various charges of dangerous driving.

CONVICTIONS

This week the 12 men, two of whom were from Kerry, faced judge David Waters at a special sitting of Killarney District Court. They were found guilty of dangerous driving and received a two-year driving ban.

“I welcome these convictions and the strong sanctions imposed, in particular the two year driving disqualification handed out,” Superintendent Flor Murphy told the Killarney Advertiser.

“These convictions reflect a determined effort by An Garda Siochana and all the other stakeholders who work with us, to make the Rally of the Lakes a better and safer event for all concerned.

An Garda Siochana in Killarney will be relentless in hunting down reckless drivers who flout the law and we will be innovative in utilising every available legal means to gather evidence and bring these individuals before the courts. Not only are these drivers a menace to other road users, they are also destroying our roads in some of the most scenic parts of the county.”

Killarney and District Motor Club also welcomed the convictions as its professionally organised event has been tarnished by the actions of a minority who do not support the event in any way. Aside from the rally, the club puts on a host of other events during rally weekend, including a family friendly ceremonial start on Friday night and a gala prize giving ceremony at The Gleneagle Hotel on Sunday evening. Motor clubs from all over Ireland and the UK supply over 200 volunteer marshals to run the event and it attracts international media coverage.

The boy racer element makes no contribution towards the event and does not visit the live special stages to watch the weekend’s action unfold, instead preferring to cause disruption to the town and its hinterland.

“The motorsport community is aware of the great lengths that our club and event has gone to in order to deal with this issue,” said KDMC Chairman Diarmuid Cronin. “The community of Killarney has been very supportive in our endeavours and these convictions reaffirms our commitment to the community.”

PROGRESSIVE THINKING

Progressive thinking by the Rally of the Lakes organisers some years ago brought about a successful collaboration with the Gardai resulting in the convictions this week. The Rally of the Lakes directly funded Garda efforts for the last 10 years by investing over €100,000 in that period to the policing operation.

“Our investment in policing our event against the activities of these few sends a clear message that our event will not tolerate this behaviour,” Dermot Healy, Clerk of the Course, said. “We must not lose sight of the genuine motorsport fan, who will always receive a warm Killarney welcome.”

The anti-social behaviour of boy racers has blighted this popular international motorsport event in recent years. Not isolated to the Killarney-based event, other motorsport events have suffered from the same faith. The behaviour of these boy racers has marred the sport and unfairly implicated the genuine motorsport fan.

This year’s rally attracted over 140 rally teams from all over Europe and was buoyed by the appearance of Hollywood A-lister and local hero, Michael Fassbender, who is well known for his love of motorsport. Fassbender competed in this year’s event and was seen by millions across the world promoting the event on the Graham Norton Show.

TOURISM BOOST

The event provides a welcome early season boost for Killarney with the town close to 80 percent hotel room capacity during rally weekend.

Gardai, at the time, estimated that there was over 60,000 people in Killarney on the weekend of the rally between those directly involved in the rally and traditional tourists.

Television coverage of the rally, broadcast to several European countries, showcased the natural beauty of the region to millions of more potential future visitors.

“Killarney is known for the welcome it offers visitors and as the events capital of Ireland,” said Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce President Paul Sherry. “The actions of these individuals diminishes enjoyment for the real rally fans and causes an unprecedented nuisance to visitors and locals alike. We welcome these convictions and echo the Gardai and the motor club’s message that these people simply are not welcome in our town.”

 

 

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The tax you’re really paying for your health

By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness With the budget just squared away, there’s always an air of “how did I do out of it?” In Ireland, we enjoy a public healthcare system which is touted to become a universal healthcare system. Maybe “enjoy” is the wrong word. We have it, and we use it, and, […]

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By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

With the budget just squared away, there’s always an air of “how did I do out of it?”

In Ireland, we enjoy a public healthcare system which is touted to become a universal healthcare system. Maybe “enjoy” is the wrong word.

We have it, and we use it, and, of course we pay for it. We justify the constant ratcheting-up of our tax burden to pay for rising health-care costs. That tax is on our wallets.

We also pay another type of tax: When we’re unhealthy, we don’t get to do the things we like. When we’re overweight, we don’t always say “YES!” when our kids ask to go to the swimming pool.
When we’re unfit, we don’t take our buddy’s invitation for a weekend hiking and camping trip. We can’t start jogging because our knees hurt; can’t lift weights because our back hurts; can’t cut down calories because we feel we need the energy.

Those things are taxes. Physical taxes, but they’re not the worst taxes we pay.

The worst tax we pay is the mental tax.

When we’re self-conscious about our fitness or health, we don’t want to start exercising. We don’t want to look dumb or fail.

We don’t want to start a new lifestyle because our families will say “good for you”, because they know we need it, or they’ll say “you don’t need that …” and lie. Or they’ll roll their eyes because they know we’ve failed before.

When we’ve been away from the gym for four months, we don’t want to do that first workout because we’re going to be last. It’s going to suck and we might get embarrassed.

SELF IMPOSED TAX

The Government makes us pay financial tax, but the other two – physical and mental – are self-imposed.

No one cares if you’re slow.

No one cares if you finish last.

No one cares if you blow your nutrition this week and have to start all over again.

You’d stop caring about what others thought about you if you realised how rarely they actually do.

Everyone thinks about themselves, mostly. That’s the tax they’re paying – and most of us overpay.

We’re taxed enough. Stop worrying about what you look like and start caring about what makes you feel good.

If you’d like to start taking steps in the right direction with your health and fitness, call in for a free consultation with us at Activate. Visit www.activate.ie/free-intro for more information.

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Tractor run raises €500 for charity

By Sean Moriarty Members of Killarney Valley Vintage and Classic Club raised €500 for the Kerry Mental Health Association during their first tractor run since April 2019. 30 tractors took part on Sunday including two rare Ford 3000s from 1974 and an even rarer Zetor Crystal from 1980. Departing from the club’s new ‘Vintage Shed’ […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Members of Killarney Valley Vintage and Classic Club raised €500 for the Kerry Mental Health Association during their first tractor run since April 2019.

30 tractors took part on Sunday including two rare Ford 3000s from 1974 and an even rarer Zetor Crystal from 1980.

Departing from the club’s new ‘Vintage Shed’ on Lewis Road, the convoy travelled to the communications mast near Coolick in Kilcummin, where participants enjoyed views of the wider Castleisland district and Killarney Valley.

“Some of the drivers were never up there before and they were amazed with the views across the two valleys,” organiser Tom Leslie told the Killarney Advertiser.

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