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Brexit the key issue at Killarney Economic Conference

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Brexit remained the key issue at this year’s Killarney Economic Conference held in the The Brehon/INEC complex, last week.
Up to thirty economic, civic and political leaders from Britain and Ireland spoke at the second annual conference, including former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin, Ryanair’s Chief Operating Officer Peter Bellew, Ed Sibley Deputy Governor with the Central Bank, Mark Kennedy from Mazars, and Professor Eilis Ferran, University of Cambridge.
Ryanair’s Chief Operating Officer and Killarney resident Peter Bellew, formerly of Kerry Airport spoke at the event and said that as an airline, Ryanair had decided “not to be bashing the English”.
Mr Bellew told the packed conference that there was too much "gloating" here about England’s difficulties with Brexit. He urged a softer more helpful approach from Government, businesses and people here - and to move on from the obsession with backstops “and the devil knows what else” - to a more positive front.
“We need to get behind the UK economy a little bit more, and end a lot of the gloating that is going on,” Mr Bellew said.
Ireland would be the only English speaking country now able to interact in the EU.
“We have been obsessed with backstops and the devil knows what - it has all moved on now,” he said, adding there was a need to position this country as an open, friendly place to do business.
Cahersiveen native Brigid Laffan, who went to Loreto Convent in Killarney, and now Professor and Director at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, said in some sections of the UK media and in some circles, either Ireland was “a stooge” of the EU, or Ireland was running the EU.
“Brexit is extremely damaging to British-Irish relations,” Professor Laffan said. Relations were not as bad as during the Troubles, but they would never return to the Queen’s visit. Unlike Ireland, England would now be a non-EU State.
“It will be in some ways the final breaking of that umbilical cord,” Ms Laffan said of the impact.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin gave the keynote address of the conference on Friday. Brexit was “the defining issue of our age” and the decay of British politics had been a tragedy. Ireland must reposition itself not only in terms of its relations with UK, but also take a more active role in Europe, he said.
“In recent years Ireland has too often been a bystander,” he said. “We have failed to understand fully how much has changed in the Union and how our old strategies are out of date. We don’t just need to join new groupings, we need a new agenda,” he said.
New relations would also have to be constructed “with our nearest neighbour” also, post Brexit, Mr Martin said, calling for “a formal structure for meetings to discuss not just trade but health, pensions, education, qualifications and much more.
“Something like the Nordic Council of Ministers needs to be discussed,” the Fianna Fail leader urged.

Meanwhile, The rural economy and rural employer will “suffer most” with Brexit, Mark Kennedy managing partner for Mazars Ireland, said.
Mr Kennedy warned also of the uncertainty posed to Financial Services businesses by a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario. Such challenges included the requirement of Financial Services firms to be ready for the March 29 exit deadline and a lack of clarity facing unregulated elements of Financial Services businesses.
A no deal scenario would do away with “the effective transition period to 2020.”
Meanwhile former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, said that a second referendum on Brexit could be “a very dicey scene” and “not at all the simple task some people here think”.
Mr Ahern, who helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement said his preferred approach would be one in which three options were quickly narrowed down from a field of say ten and those final three negotiated upon.
Then and only then, could Mrs May go to Europe and successfully look for an extension of time of Article 50.
“If you went over today and said can we have an article 50 extension, they probably would just tell you take a hike, and if they didn’t, they should,” he said.
Taking a number of targeted swipes at US President Donald Trump, The US President’s world view was “dog eat dog competition,” Mr Ahern added.
Trump’s actions were to destroy the architecture and institutions of “global governance” which the US itself had built along with the UK.
Cooperation or multilateralism was necessary to solve the world’s problems, Mr Ahern said.
But institutions like the European Union and United Nations were under attack now in a “rising tide of populism and xenophobia”.

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Relegation battle has town divided

By Sean Moriarty This is bigger than the county final itself – with the main prize on offer being bragging rights in the town. After an unprecedented run of events during this year’s Kerry Senior Football championship Killarney’s two biggest clubs, Dr Crokes and Killarney Legion are set to face off in a relegation battle […]

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By Sean Moriarty

This is bigger than the county final itself – with the main prize on offer being bragging rights in the town.

After an unprecedented run of events during this year’s Kerry Senior Football championship Killarney’s two biggest clubs, Dr Crokes and Killarney Legion are set to face off in a relegation battle that is sure to divide the town.

In sporting terms, the outcome of the big game, set for December 5, is simple enough. The winner stays in the Senior Championship next season and the losers will have to play in the Intermediate Championship.

Fans of the black and amber or the green and white face an anxious week. Winning the county title is one thing – consigning your cross town rivals to second division football in football is altogether a bigger prize.

Senior officials from both clubs are being very guarded on a potential outcome as both sides know the significance of this play off.

“It is a pity that two Killarney clubs, with a long tradition of playing football in the top tier, find themselves in the position of having to play off to avoid relegation,” Matt O’Neill, Cathaoirleach of Dr Crokes, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Both teams will fight tooth and nail to stay in the senior ranks. I am confident that on Sunday week our lads will do themselves and the club proud, as always, and give their all in the quest to keep the black and amber to the fore.”

Crokes are based off the Lewis Road with Legion a short distance away on the other side of the bypass.

“Everyone has an opinion on this,” Legion PRO, Elaine O’Donoghue, told the Killarney Advertiser. “Both sides will be nervous – may the best team win. There are a lot of questions, are the Crokes suffering after defeat to Kerins O’Rahillys [in the semi-final]? Are our lads suffering after losing to St Brendan’s for the third year in a row?”

Every football fan will be keeping a close eye on next weekend’s Intermediate County Final too which takes place on December 4.

The winners of the match between Beaufort and Tralee side Na Gael will be automatically promoted to replace the losers of the Killarney play-off in the Senior Championship next season.

Should Beaufort prevail, a (relatively) local team could replace a town team in the top flight.

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Handball off the wall in Killarney

By Con Dennehy The popularity of handball as one of the fastest growing sports in Kerry is set to continue in the East Kerry region with the continued development of Spa/Killarney Handball Club. On Monday night the progressive club hosts a Beginners and Advanced League at their magnificent indoor facility located at the Spa GAA grounds […]

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By Con Dennehy

The popularity of handball as one of the fastest growing sports in Kerry is set to continue in the East Kerry region with the continued development of Spa/Killarney Handball Club.

On Monday night the progressive club hosts a Beginners and Advanced League at their magnificent indoor facility located at the Spa GAA grounds in Killarney. The club boasts two state-of-the-art indoor handball walls which were designed and built by local player and sportsman Mike Casey. It was opened in May 2018.

“On Monday night the games will tip off at 7pm with 11 players in the Advanced League and seven in the Beginners League. The format of the competition will see quarter finals in the first round progressing to overall winners on the night. It promises to be a great night of exciting handball and we welcome spectators,” said Eoin O’Donoghue, secretary of the club.

Competitors taking part in the Beginners League are Sheila Kelliher, Elena O’Donoghue, Niamh Faulds, Rosin King, Brid Horgan, Neill Horgan and Sinead Moriarty.

Players signed up for the Advanced League include Aoife Walsh, John Daniel Cronin, Eoin O’Donoghue, Kieran O’Brien, Brendan O’Donoghue, Michael Clifford, Evan Enright, Eoghan Daly, Brian McEvoy, Jerry Cronin and Maggie Quirke.

One player set to receive a warm welcome will be Brendan O’Donoghue. At the 2019 All-Ireland Hardball championships in Mayo, Brendan became the first Spa/Killarney man to win an All-Ireland Handball medal. He achieved this unique and much publicised honour in the highly ranked Master’s 55 B final.

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