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Cathaoirleach to attend St Patrick’s Day engagements in United States 

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The Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr Jimmy Moloney, will travel to the United States next week for a number of engagements during the St Patrick’s Day period.

He begins his official visit at the weekend by travelling to Listowel’s Sister City of Shawnee in Kansas where he will dedicate the new Listowel Park. He will review the Shawnee St Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday with Mayor Michelle Distler and meet members of Shawnee Chamber of Commerce, Council members, State representatives and the ‘Visit Shawnee’ Tourism Group.

Cllr Moloney will be in New York on Monday next for an evening meeting hosted by the American Ireland Chamber of Commerce in the Irish Consulate. The New York leg includes meetings with IDA Ireland and Tourism Ireland, and an official visit to the Ellis Island Memorial Park in New York Harbour as a guest of the Ellis Island Foundation’s President, Mr. Jesse Brackenberry. Here more than 3.5 million Irish immigrants were processed during its 63 years in operation from 1891 to 1954.

On St Patrick’s Day, the Cathaoirleach will attend a breakfast event with the new Mayor of New York, Mr. Eric Adams, at his residence in Gracie Mansion. He will also lay a wreath at the 9/11 Memorial with members of the New York Fire Department of Kerry descent and attend Mass in St Patrick’s Cathedral. He will later join members of the Kerry Association and Kerry Pipers on the traditional parade down 5th Avenue and attend a meeting of Irish diaspora groups hosted by Minister Eamon Ryan at the Irish Consulate.

On Friday (March 18), Cllr Moloney will attend a tourism briefing co-hosted by Tourism Ireland and Shannon Airport for the Tri State Travel Trade which features Kerry. That evening he will attend the Annual Kerry Association Dinner in Yonkers. He will be accompanied in the US by John Griffin, County Tourism Officer.

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Killarney hotels are still open for business

By Sean Moriarty Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation. […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation.

This week she said that there’s still accommodation to be found in Killarney for visitors.

She was speaking in relation to the current accommodation situation facing International Protection Applicants and Ukrainian war refugees.

She explained that there is a perception that Killarney has taken in too many refugees and that it is putting the tourism industry at risk as people are starting to think that the town is at full capacity.

“If you can’t get a room in Killarney there is something wrong,” she said. “Maybe with the exception of New Year’s Eve.”

She added that hotels that are providing emergency accommodation are helping off-season unemployment.

Many hotels remain in survival mode after two years of pandemic turmoil and the additional off season business is important, she explained.

“Many could be closed at this time of the year, others would not be operating at full capacity,” she added.

However, she warned the Government needs to put a plan in place before the tourism season starts next year. Some hotels offering emergency accommodation either have a three or six month contract.

“I can see there will be tears next April – the Government must have a long-term plan,” she said.

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Homing refugees worth almost €14m

By Sean Moriarty Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees. The Department of Children, […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth released figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

Documents show that contracts totalling €13,852,255.00 are being shared between 13 premises in the Killarney urban area.

However, the department warned these figures are “indicative” only and the full value of the contracts depends on “occupancy and actual usage”.

The Eviston Hotel has secured a contract worth €5,727,590.00, the Innisfallen Hotel in Fossa for €2,404,620.00 and The Hotel Killarney signed a deal worth €1,701,000.00. These are the three biggest contracts published in the documentation.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, and Department officials say more contracts could come on stream. Figures seen by the Killarney Advertiser only cover contracted premises up to the end of September this year and updated figures are only released every three months.

“We are in contract with far more, but the formal exchange of contracts can take place sometime after the service commences,” a department spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is obliged to publish a list of contracts formally signed off each quarter that have been awarded under a special EU Derogation that permits the Department to enter into contracts in the context of the Ukraine accommodation crisis without going to formal tender.

“The values of the contracts shown are estimates; the actual value materialises upon occupancy and actual usage. Standard contracts have no-fault break clauses available to both parties so again, the figures are indicative rather than actual.”

These figures only cover Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war and do not include International Protection Applicants.

The Department refused to release International Protection Applicant figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

“The International Protection Applicant accommodation contract information is commercially sensitive information and is not available,” added the Department spokesperson.

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