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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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Jordan’s new role with St Paul’s

By Sean Moriarty Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club. Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level. The High Jumper then switched […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club.

Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level.

The High Jumper then switched to track and field and qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics where he made history by becoming the first Kerry athlete to act as a flag bearer for an opening ceremony and lead an Irish team into an Olympic Stadium.

Now back home and preparing for the next Olympics in Paris, he has returned to his first love and will join the backroom staff at the local Division One basketball club ahead of their National League campaign which begins next month.

His father Jarlath Lee is head coach with St Paul’s.

“Jordan is joining us as our strength and conditioning coach,” Jarlath told the Killarney Advertiser.

INTERNATIONALS

Meanwhile, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club National League team will have a distinctive feel to it this year after securing the services of three overseas players it for the season ahead.

The club’s biggest signing is Canadian professional Ben Miller. It was originally hoped that the former two-time Manitoba Player of the Year would play for the local side last season but the pandemic got in the way and the National League was never played. However, he did play two training games this time last year before returning to Canada until travel restrictions lifted.

“He is a good guy, very approachable and very good with the young members,” Jarlath said.

The club has also signed Bulgarian International Emilian Grudov.

The 20-year-old has already represented his home country at U16, 18 and 20 level.

“He is young, athletic and very good offensively,” added Lee.

The returning Lithuanian Dianius Varanaukus completes the club international line up for the 2020/21 season.

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Soccer coach licensed to one of the highest levels in Ireland

By Sean Moriarty A Killarney soccer coach has been praised by the FAI for her contribution to soccer in the county and on the occasion of her being granted a UEFA B Licence this week. Ramona Keogh of Mastergeeha FC has qualified for one of highest-ranking coach licences in Europe.The UEFA B Licence is a […]

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By Sean Moriarty

A Killarney soccer coach has been praised by the FAI for her contribution to soccer in the county and on the occasion of her being granted a UEFA B Licence this week.

Ramona Keogh of Mastergeeha FC has qualified for one of highest-ranking coach licences in Europe.
The UEFA B Licence is a coaching licence mandated by UEFA, the official governing body of European football. The licence is one level below the UEFA A Licence and allows holders to be head coaches of amateur clubs, youths up to age 16, and assistant coaches for professional clubs.

Ramona started her training in November 2019 and continued, when restrictions allowed, on several block weekends taking place in FAI Headquarters Dublin, Foto Island in Cork, and final assessments in NUIG in Galway.

“Ramona played a significant role in the course group, supporting the younger coaches and challenging those more experienced, ensuring that the group was dynamic, engaging, interactive and a real positive learning environment,” said the FAI’s Head of Coach Education FAI Niall O’Regan.

“Ramona has been a significant role model for not only female coaches but also males coaches in the Kerry region and has done phenomenal work in her previous club Killarney Celtic and more recently with Mastergeeha. It is so important to have such role models and the motivation Ramona has shown is infectious and many coaches will continue in the same vein.”

For Ramona, this week’s award was the culmination of months of hard work, seminars and study.

“It was really tough at the time, final assessments had been submitted, everything had then switched to Zoom and we were so eager to get it finished. Luckily enough I got to finish off a lot of the course content online and then had individual assessments with my tutor Richie Holland current Cork City Men’s Assistant Manager,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “Then when we returned to outdoor sports in July we got our practical assessments finished with Galway Utd in NUIG.”

ASSESSMENT

The final assessment took place at Mastergeeha FC pitch – the first time ever that a UEFA coaching assessment took place in Kerry.

“I was coaching in Mastergeeha FC in Killarney pre covid and based on logistics and other coaches’ locations in Munster on my UEFA B I was delighted to coordinate a UEFA B assessment with the FAI to be held in the Mastergeeha with the help of the committee,” she added.

“Tom O’Connor FAI Coach Educator and former Interim Republic of Ireland’s Head Coach was really impressed with the setup, the standard of really good footballers and the fantastic committee that ran it so smoothly.”

It was the first time UEFA B assessments were ever held in Kerry and the facilities, committee and the Mastergeeha U16 Boys team were outstanding that day.

She received mentoring and support from some of the biggest names in Irish soccer.

“I was delighted and honoured to receive my UEFA B Diploma Licence,” she said. “Throughout the diploma I’ve had some great tutors, mentors and some great guest speakers from Robbie Keane, Vera Pauw, Stephen Rice and Ruud Dokter FAI High Performance.

“There was a great core group of us on the course from Irish Senior International Players like Katie McCabe, Megan Campbell, Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahy and I’ve made some amazing friendships with all the ladies on the course. From the start it was a group of huge experience, drive and determination was something we all had in common and it’s great to see us all complete it together.”

LOCAL HELP

She could not have done it without the help of her home club.

“On a personal note, I just want to thank Mastergeeha FC for all their help and support, with special mention to all the management committee, teams and coaches. Must give a mention to Allan Moynihan, Brendan Buckley, Paul Lenihan and Ulick O’Sullivan also. I’m really looking forward to getting back to Academy training in the next two weeks,” she added.

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