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Cllr Gleeson calls time political career which spanned almost 40 years

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By Sean Moriarty

 

Cllr Michael Gleeson’s shock decision to retire after almost 40 years in active politics – which he announced at Wednesday’s Killarney Municipal District meeting – marks a real end of an era on the local political landscape.

Cllr Gleeson surprised his elected Council colleagues by announcing his news at the end of the meeting that it was to be his last as an elected local representative.

It brings a very dynamic, effective and dignified four decades of active political representation to a close, according to Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce.

The Killarney-based business group was just one of many organisations and individuals to pay tribute to the proud Spa GAA man.

Tagann deireadh le gach rud is mó – all things must come to an end,” the former Killarney town mayor told the meeting. “Life is about to change as I bid farewell to public life.”

ELECTED

Mr Gleeson was co-opted to Kerry County Council in 1983 for the Labour Party. He retained the seat in the 1985 local elections until 1991.

In 1999 he was re-elected to Kerry County Council for the South Kerry Independent Alliance and served until the present time. Michael also served on Killarney Urban District Council and Town Council for many years from 1994 to 2014. He also served as Mayor of Killarney on several occasions during that time.

“I won’t miss it,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “I have been singularly blessed in life that I can move on, and that the past can quietly recede. I played football and I was a teacher and when I retired from both they all but disappeared.”

Mr Gleeson will attend the next full meeting of Kerry County Council but will not be present at the July Killarney Municipal District meeting.

Kerry Independent Alliance will need to select a candidate to replace Mr Gleeson on both Councils but no decision has been taken yet.

“I hope they select someone who will improve on what I have been trying to do,” he added.

TRIBUTES

His surprise announcement prompted a flurry of tributes from his Council colleagues.

“A man of tremendous integrity,” Killarney Mayor Brendan Cronin said.

“He had a long and distinguished career in politics and I am sad to see him retire,” Cllr Niall Kelleher said.
Mr Kelleher is also the President of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce. “He always put the welfare and the well-being of his people, his town, his county and society first and his was a strong and influential voice for all,” he said as Chamber President.

“I never tired of hearing his eloquent speeches,” added Cllr Marie Moloney.

“Look at his record – he made Killarney a better place,” Cllr Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan said of his time in politics.

“His years of service are tremendous and admiral,” Cllr Maura Healy-Rae added.

“Michael served Killarney and Kerry very well,” Cllr Donal Grady said.

Colleagues in the Council’s executive also paid tribute.

“He had the good of the town at heart,” said town manager Angela McAllen, while Corporate Affairs SEO Pádraig Corkery added “I think honour and distinction are the two most suitable words for Mr Gleeson’s time in politics.”

Mayor of Kerry, Patrick O’Connor-Scarteen, said: “He has always been a man of integrity and honour, he was never afraid to make hard decisions. As a man of great faith, he was guided by his morals and principles in doing what he felt was best for Killarney, Kerry and its people.”

Norma Foley added that Cllr Gleeson was “a man of immense integrity, wit and generosity, proud of place and proud of county”.

“We in Kerry have been the beneficiaries of his wonderful eloquence, enormous talent and considerable wisdom. Michael is deserving of a rich and happy retirement.”

KILLARNEY LIFE

The Chamber of Tourism and Commerce said Cllr Gleeson can reflect on a job very well done when he looks back on his contribution to his town and his county, be it as a hugely respected teacher in the Presentation Monastery, as a local bard and scholar, as a community volunteer, as a member of Killarney Town Council, Killarney Municipal District Council and Kerry County Council, and as a very stylish and accomplished footballer with Kerry and his beloved Spa club.

“Michael Gleeson’s life in politics mirrored his life as a footballer in that he worked hard, he prepared well, he enjoyed great success, he left his mark and, at all times, he played the ball and not the man,” Mr Kelleher said.

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Possible return to campus for college students

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

The announcement by the Department of Education this week, that the Leaving Cert results will be issued on Friday, September 3, was followed by confirmation from the Central Applications Office that CAO Round 1 offers will be issued online, four days later on Tuesday, September 7 at 2pm.

This is about three weeks later than normal, although it is earlier than the 2020 dates. Coinciding with the release of these dates comes the news from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, that it is the priority of Government to get college students back on campus for the 2021/2022 academic year. Because of the later issue of Leaving Cert results and CAO offers, this means that First Year students will start college a couple of weeks later than those who are returning to college in Second, Third and Fourth Year.

From the point of social distancing, the staggered start may be an advantage, as we will still be living with certain restrictions due to COVID-19. There are a number of contributing factors what will influence a safe and successful return to the college campus for students according to Minister Harris. They include the roll-out and take-up of vaccinations in the college-age cohort by September, the use of rapid testing on campus which has been run as a pilot in several universities this year, and a varied approach to face-to-face lectures. It is hoped that smaller classes, practicals and tutorials can be operated as before with social distancing while the larger lectures may need to be facilitated using a blended approach. It is also felt that if cafés, restaurants and bars are open everywhere else, there is no reason why they can’t open on campus. This of course is all based on vaccinations and public health guidelines.

ACCOMMODATION

A big concern for First Year students following the announcements is the fact that they will be looking for accommodation later than all other students. This is an issue every single year because when CAO offers are issued, many students get offers for colleges in locations where they have not secured accommodation. Naturally it is of particular concern to rural students and mirrors a greater societal shortage of accommodation. Minister Harris has also stated that he is bringing a proposal to Cabinet in the coming weeks to implement legislation which means that the owners of purpose-built student accommodation will only be allowed to charge rents a month in advance rather than insisting on payment of rent for half of the college year, something which has put enormous strain on students and their families over the years.
So, while any kind of certainty surrounding a return to ‘normal’ college life isn’t possible, it is both hopeful and exciting for new and returning college students to be able to look forward to the next college year with the prospect of getting to enjoy a real college experience and all that has to offer.

WEBINAR

I will be hosting a free webinar for Leaving Cert parents on June 16 at 7pm on ‘How to help your son/daughter with CAO Change of Mind and other career options’ ahead of the CAO deadline on July 1. 

To register see links on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @mycareerplan or email me on info@mycareerplan.ie. 

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Deadline for health and well-being fest fast approaching

Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching. This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10. Organised by an interagency […]

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Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching.

This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10.

Organised by an interagency steering group, the key focus of the Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest is to promote mental health and well-being in Kerry through a fun and interactive programme of events.

“The Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest aims to create awareness of, and schedule events that empower people to engage with the Five Ways to Well-being – Connect | Give | Take Notice | Keep Learning | Be Active – as well as raising awareness of the available supports and services in the county,” Chair of the Steering Committee, Donagh Hennebry, said.

“The Fest has a wide reach across Kerry and we want to continue to build on its success in 2021. But we can’t do this without you! We are inviting anyone who is interested in helping us achieve our goal, by hosting an event(s) during #KerryMHWFest, to register online as soon as possible.”

The organising committee is a collaboration between Connecting for Life Kerry, Healthy Kerry, Kerry County Council, the HSE, NEWKD, SKDP, Kerry Mental Health Association, Jigsaw Kerry, Munster Technological University/Kerry, and Kerry Volunteer Centre.

To register your interest to host an event for the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, visit www.healthykerry.ie before close of business on Friday, June 25.

For more information about registration, promotion, or the Fest in general, please contact the interagency steering group at: kerrymhwfest20@gmail.com.

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Free and subsidised higher education courses for Kerry

  11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry. The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in […]

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11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry.

The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in Retail Food Service Operations and a Postgraduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business.

Over 10,000 places are available across both programmes nationwide in 2021.

Springboard+ provides free courses for people who are unemployed, people who have taken time out of work or education to raise their families or care for loved ones, or people who want to upskill. Now in its 10th year, over 75,000 people have benefited from Springboard+ to date.

Courses under the HCI Pillar 1 programme are aimed at graduates and offer incentivised places for them to reskill in areas of skills shortage and emerging technologies. These are being run alongside, and complementary to, the Springboard+ offerings.

For those in employment, the Government will fund 90% of the cost of a Springboard+ or HCI Pillar 1 course. The programmes are managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.

Launching the programme, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD said, “As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need to ensure that people have the skills they need”.

Helpline

Candidates who wish to participate will find full details on the approved courses on www.springboardcourses.ie. Experienced guidance counsellors will be available to advise potential Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 participants on their options on the freephone Springboard+ helpline: 1800 303 523. The helpline is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

 

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