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Call for shoppers to use “common sense” parking

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CREATE SPACE: John Ferguson (Programme Assistant/Driver) pictured with wheelchair user Bernard James are calling on the public to be patient and allow more access for people with disabilities during the last shopping week before Christmas. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Michelle Crean

With days to go to Christmas and a huge surge in shopping expected - one local group is calling on the public to keep access open for shoppers with disabilities.

The Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) is asking Killarney businesses to keep their pathways and disability parking clear for shoppers in wheelchairs and their families, as lockdown ends and for the public to be mindful of where they park.

Illegal parking in disabled spaces, double parking on footpaths, and even family members using a disability disc inappropriately cause a huge inconvenience and lack of access for those who need it most.

​​​​A recent Irish Wheelchair Association survey found that 77% of people with physical disabilities have poor or no access to public spaces and amenities because of issues with pavements, parking, pedestrian crossings and more.

Now, as shoppers descend on Killarney town in the coming days, the IWA has launched a special Christmas appeal calling on the public to think twice and think of others.

This week Bernard James, a service user with the IWA Killarney branch at the Reeks Gateway, says people with disabilities have a right to go shopping too but are fearful that the next few days are going to be manic in relation to parking.

He says that it's daunting to go out and about during normal shopping times and lack of parking or bad parking such as up on footpaths coupled with bad weather will make it very difficult.

"It depends on the weather also as I might have to travel far to get to the shop I need to go to. I understand everybody has to shop but I am just asking for people to be more aware of where they park."

Terry O'Brien, Service Coordinator for the IWA Kerry, says people need to "use a common sense approach" to parking and access.

"We're not trying to scaremonger anybody but giving a gentle reminder to people that people in wheelchairs are also excited about shopping for Christmas. The last thing we want is that in the middle of the madness that there will be wheelchair users that can't access parking to go shopping. We're asking that people don't abuse the disabled parking spaces."

The IWA has also launched its Christmas fundraising appeal, which supports services for people with physical disabilities through community centres and sports clubs. To support Irish Wheelchair Association this Christmas visit www.iwa.ie/donate.

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Killarney man wins most-coveted trophy in sheepdog trials

By Sean Moriarty Kilcummin farmer Tom O’Sullivan – one of the main organisers of last month’s Sheep Dog Trials in Fossa – has become the first Kerry man to win the biggest award in the sport. Tom is the chairman of the Killarney sub-committee and was a member of the 15-strong Irish team that participated […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Kilcummin farmer Tom O’Sullivan – one of the main organisers of last month’s Sheep Dog Trials in Fossa – has become the first Kerry man to win the biggest award in the sport.

Tom is the chairman of the Killarney sub-committee and was a member of the 15-strong Irish team that participated in the international sheepdog competition in Aberystwyth in Wales last weekend.

A total of 60 competitors, 15 each from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, contested the biggest event in sheepdog trials on Friday to Sunday last.

After getting through the qualifiers on Friday and Saturday, Tom and his dog Northhill Tess, fended off the challenges of the other top-15 qualifiers to win the International Supreme Champion award.

Not alone is he the first Kerry man to win the competition, which has been running since 1947, he is just the fifth Irishman to do so and the first from Munster.

“The qualifying course was similar to Killarney,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

However, Sunday’s final was much more difficult. His dog had to round up a flock of sheep at the left hand side of the course. Then Northhill Tess, under the guidance of Tom, had to round up a smaller flock and bring them to the same holding pen. When finished, five of the sheep were wearing red collars and Tom had to instruct his dog to separate them and bring them to a separate holding area.

“It is the biggest trophy in sheep dog trailing,” he added. “Everyone who trains a dog does so for this day. It is mind blowing. My family are very proud, they know the time and the work involved preparing for this.”

The standard at the Killarney event last month was evident in Wales last weekend. The Killarney winner, Peter Morgan and his dog Moss, ran Tom to a very close second.

His son Peter Og won the Young Handlers award and Team Ireland were declared the overall winners based on aggregate scores in the final 15.

Tom arrived home to Kilcummin on Monday night to a traditional homecoming bonfire.

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Vaccination centre leaves basketball club homeless

By Sean Moriarty With the National Basketball League set to get underway in two weeks’ time, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club are still unsure where they will play their homes games this season as their usual venue is being used as a COVID-19 vaccination centre. The local side play Limerick Celtic away on […]

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By Sean Moriarty

With the National Basketball League set to get underway in two weeks’ time, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club are still unsure where they will play their homes games this season as their usual venue is being used as a COVID-19 vaccination centre.

The local side play Limerick Celtic away on the weekend of October 8 and 9 and their first home game is set for October 16.

Currently their home venue at Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre is unavailable as it is being used as a COVID-19 vaccination centre and according to the Health Service Executive (HSE) this week, there are no plans in place, as of yet, to move out.

Killarney Cougars, the town’s newest addition to the National League, has secured the use of the gym at St Brigid’s Secondary School in the town centre but, as it stands, St Paul’s remain homeless as the season opener looms.

“It is ridiculous at this stage,” said head coach Jarlath Lee. “If you look at what is happening at the Sports Centre, there are very few people in and out of there now compared to the start [of the vaccination roll-out].”

The HSE when contacted by the Killarney Advertiser this week said that they would not be adding to a previous statement issued earlier this month, which said: “In relation to Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre, we are very grateful to staff and management for the use of their facility as a vaccination centre.

“Planning work is well underway for the next phase of the vaccination programme, locally and nationally. This includes a review of where vaccinations are administered in future, but we cannot confirm any decisions in relation to any particular location at this point in time.”

However, the HSE did confirm this week, that the Tralee Vaccination Centre, located at the Munster Technology University, will re-locate to the recently vacated Borg Warner factory in the town. The move is expected to be completed within the next week to 10 days.

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