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Close the county bounds say 74% of Killarney Advertiser readers

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By Sean Moriarty

 

Killarney Advertiser readers are in favour of further investigating a plan to seal the county bounds in an effort to allow life get back to some degree of normality in Kerry. A survey, conducted by the Killarney Advertiser this week, revealed that 74% of respondents were in favour of such a move.

As Kerry continues to have one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, the Killarney Advertiser asked an important question:

“If we could close all the access roads into County Kerry and manage arrivals by train and air from Dublin would you be in favour of such a move, if it allowed life in the Kingdom to get back to some degree of normal, albeit without visitors?”

Participants were asked to vote 'Yes' if they thought this idea should be explored further with the powers-that-be and to vote 'No' if they thought the idea is absurd and cannot and will not work.

It is accepted, that for the plan to work, it would demand a massive buy-in from both the public and Government agencies like the Gardai, Kerry County Council and Killarney Municipal District.

“Let’s be fair here,” said one respondent, “the 5k rule is broken left, right and centre so this would be just impossible.”

The idea might seem far-fetched but it is not impossible. Gardai currently deployed on the county’s roads checking that everyone is operating within their own 5k could be re-deployed to the county borders. However, every back road from Lauragh to Tarbert would have to be manned 24-hours a day.

“I agree,” one respondent to our survey said. “But people will only take it further and ruin if for everyone.”

Maybe, but the payback would be after, say two weeks COVID-19 free, we could move anywhere in the county. In fact, we could start thinking about reopening the whole of Kerry society and start organising events again. We could have inter-club GAA matches but not inter-county games.

“I think it would be easier to control the county border, rather than each individual’s 5k,” said another respondent.

Exceptions would have to be made for those on essential journeys for work or medical reasons.

Another difficulty would be the management of the airport and railway stations. While Kerry, and Killarney in particular, normally welcomes visitors, the last thing needed for this plan to work is a message that Kerry is open for business.

But an agreement with Irish Rail could mean that all Kerry-bound rail passengers must change in Mallow for a Kerry train and that could be controlled in an effective way, meaning only genuine essential travellers would be allowed board that train.

Yes, we could be open for business limited to residents of the county, but it can only work if the county borders are effectively sealed.

“This is a great idea, I wonder have they [Government agencies] the resources to lockdown the county borders,” said another respondent.

It could also be a pilot programme and if it was deemed a success the cordon could be extended to include Cork and then Limerick and so on until COVID-19 is contained in very specific geographic areas.

If the same plan was rolled out in Mayo at the same time for example, it would not take too long to have the entire West Coast sealed and COVID-19 free. In time the Mayo cordon could extend into Galway while the Kerry cordon could be expanded to include Clare. The net result being the majority of the western seaboard could be back to normal in a matter of weeks.

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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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