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Calls to honour Killarney’s unknown World War 2 heroine

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By Sean Moriarty

Efforts are being made to honour a Killarney woman who played a key role in opposing the Nazi occupation of France during World War 2.

Janie McCarthy was born Bohereen na Goun, New Street, in 1885.

She was educated at The Convent of Mercy and went to France in 1910 where she worked as an au pair in Brittany and as a teacher for 15 years in Vannes.

She was teaching in Paris when the Germans occupied the city during World War 2 and she immediately joined La Résistance.

Her heroic efforts were similar to those on Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty’s efforts in Rome.

She specialised in rescue work and saved many lives during the occupation of France, including members of the allied armies and intelligence services.

She was awarded France’s highest award, the Legion d’Honour, the Croix de Guerre and a Croix de la Resistance. The United States of America also honoured the Killarney native with the Medal of Freedom while Britain awarded her the Tedder Certificate.

Monsignor O’Flaherty has already been remembered in his home town. A town centre street bears his name and there is a mural painted in his memory on the gable of a High St building.

There are now two separate calls to honour Janie McCarthy in a similar fashion.

Mayor Marie Moloney wants to erect a plaque at her reputed birthplace on Bohereen na Goun and eventually name the proposed new inner relief road after her.

The road will link Bohereen na Goun with New St and the Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Road on the top of High St.

“There is a huge lack of women being recognised for their humanitarian, community and business work in Killarney town. I am now asking that a plaque be erected to commemorate the work and the heroism of the late Janie McCarthy, in France during World War 2,” Cllr Moloney told Wednesday’s Killarney Municipal District meeting.

“It is now time for Killarney to honour our own native. In addition to a plaque, I am asking that when the time comes that serious consideration be given to naming the new link road at Bohereen na Goun after Janie McCarthy.”

Cllr John O’Donoghue had a similar motion before the meeting.

Heroic deeds

“Her heroic deeds are too numerous to list in their entirety today but she visited the civilian camp at Saint Denis, to whom she donated much of her wages, and was also involved in numerous dangerous missions, risking her own life to rescue parachutists and bring them to safe houses in Paris,” he told the meeting. “In recognition of her contributions, she has received some of the highest awards that can be bestowed upon a civilian by the French, American and British Governments, but she is yet to be recognised by her own people and it is time we put that right.”

Cllr O’Donoghue is also asking for people who have a historical knowledge of Janie to come forward. His council predecessor, his uncle Michael Gleeson, made several attempts to honour the war hero in 2005 but they never came to fruition.

“The purpose of my bringing this motion before you today is to ask that this Council immediately initiate proceedings to honour Janie, and also to launch an appeal to members of the public for further information regarding her life. Michael Gleeson is in contact with a person who is carrying out research for a proposed thesis on her life and legacy, and when this research is complete we would be delighted to bring more information before this Council.”

According to research by Gleeson, Janie (or Janíl as she was known in France) was born in 1885, probably in High Street Killarney to Michael and Margaret McCarthy and was baptised on January 20 of that year.

The family initially lived here but by the time of the 1901 Census, the family are listed as living at number 15 New Street. While it is impossible to state with absolute certainty where number 15 New Street is today, there is evidence to support it approximately being where Dr McCullough now resides.

There are additional mentions of the family living at 74 New Street but these are difficult to verify. The latter New St address would tie in with an older Bohereen na Goun address.

Janie also featured in a booked called ‘Hidden Kerry’, published in 2014, by local author and journalist Breda Joy.

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Credit Union launch a new collaboration with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd.

Building on recent success the Credit Unions of Kerry and West Limerick have launched a new collaboration with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd. Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd specialise in Photovoltaic (PV) […]

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Building on recent success the Credit Unions of Kerry and West Limerick have launched a new collaboration with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd.

Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd specialise in Photovoltaic (PV) Solar systems that generate electricity, battery storage, air to water heat-pumps and much more.
Gilroy’s work with customers to receive the SEAI once-off grant towards the purchase and installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and heat pumps for your home.
Collaborating with Kerry and West Limerick Credit Union expands the finance options available to Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd customers to help finance new PV Solar Panel installations. Loan rates will be directly linked to the property BER starting from 4.7%(4.89APR) for an “A” rated BER.
Martin Gilroy; CEO with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd said: “We are delighted to officially launch this collaboration with the Credit Unions of Kerry and West Limerick. Customers have already reaped the benefits on recent installation projects after contacting their local Credit Union. Having a direct link to local Credit Unions allows us to guide customers to affordable financing options based on the specific installation quotation we provide at very competitive rates.“
Speaking on behalf of the Kerry and West Limerick Credit Unions, Ashley Fitzgerald added: “We are delighted to have Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd come on board as part of our Greener Homes Loan offering. Home Energy Upgrade have become a prominent concern and talking point among members in recent months, by Credit Unions having a direct link with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd allows both sides to make referrals and seek the best finance option for members. We are working hard building relationships with Green Energy Ltd providers as we want to ensure our members can avail of the best loan rates for all upgrade works.”
Credit Unions across Kerry and West Limerick. Abbeyfeale Credit Union, Cara Credit Union, Killarney Credit Union, Listowel Credit Union and Rathmore and District Credit Union can be reached via: www.creditunion.ie
Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd can be contacted on 066-7115920, email info@gilroys.ie or for more information visit www.gilroys.ie.

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Racegoers Club to host Cheltenham Preview Night

Killarney Racegoers Club will host its annual Cheltenham Preview Night in Corkery’s Bar on March 7. Admission is free and this year’s chosen beneficiary is the Killarney Branch of St […]

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Killarney Racegoers Club will host its annual Cheltenham Preview Night in Corkery’s Bar on March 7.

Admission is free and this year’s chosen beneficiary is the Killarney Branch of St Vincent De Paul Society.
The expert panel includes professional punter Paddy Wilmott, leading jockey Conor McNamara, up-and-coming Kerry-based trainer Eoin McCarthy and local bookmaker Brendan Tyther with Vince Casey acting as the event’s compere.

“There is no admission fee but a raffle on the night for dual membership of Killarney Racegoers Club for the year, which includes 13 days racing and many reciprocal days to other race meetings,” said Mr Casey.

The Cheltenham Festival begins on March 12.

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