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Concerns over 999 phone coverage in the Black Valley 

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Residents of the Black Valley are calling on all agencies to come together to ensure reliable phone and fibre services for their homes as a matter of urgency.

As Ireland's most remote destination, it was the last corner of the country to get electricity in 1976.

While welcoming ongoing initiatives, the tight-knit Black Valley Community point out, that, there is no mobile phone signal and the home phone service currently available in the area does not enable many residents to dial 999 or 112 for emergency services. With ever increasing numbers of visitors to the area throughout the year and the lack of even basic amenities, they say that this could result in the lives of both residents and visitors to the area being lost in the event of an emergency.

In addition to a reliable phone service, the group are also calling for the installation of fibre to the home broadband as promised by the National Broadband Ireland (NBI). They note that some residents in the valley were forced to rent premises in Killarney town during the COVID restrictions in order to be able to “work from home”. This is clearly not sustainable for either residents or businesses in the valley going forward, they note.

The group have put forward proposals that the NBI should link up with Siro in order to be able to quickly provide a reliable fibre to the home broadband service in the valley through the existing ESB Network. Connection points are available from either Molls Gap or The Brida Valley they point out, while noting that work is ongoing by Eir to install new masts in the valley to enhance phone services, they have called for all service providers to come together to share this infrastructure so that customers of all mobile phone service providers can benefit from a reliable service.

Spokesperson for the group Ann Marie O’Donoghue pointed out that the area was one of the last places in the county to get electricity and they certainly don’t want to be last again when it comes to proper phone and broadband services.

“There is a strong community in the valley that is working to develop businesses and facilities including the local school and we need proper phone and broadband services as soon as possible to support the long term viability of our community,” she said.

In addition to this work, the community is also in the process of developing a community managed heritage centre on a site that is being provided to them by a local farming family.

“This project could be an example of good practice in efforts to regenerate and guarantee the sustainable future of rural communities everywhere.”

Ann Marie has welcomed initial funding from KCC to begin work on this project.

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BIG CELEBRATION

Well-known Killarney man, Donncha Crowley, who lives in Woodlawn Park, was joined by his friends and staff from Centra, Muckross Road, to help him celebrate his very special 50th birthday on Saturday. Donncha is a keen cyclist, and well-known for his mastership of Suduko, and expertise on puzzles and general knowledge quizzes, winning many competitions […]

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Well-known Killarney man, Donncha Crowley, who lives in Woodlawn Park, was joined by his friends and staff from Centra, Muckross Road, to help him celebrate his very special 50th birthday on Saturday. Donncha is a keen cyclist, and well-known for his mastership of Suduko, and expertise on puzzles and general knowledge quizzes, winning many competitions down through the years. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

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Musician Liam O’Connor back and busier than ever

By Sean Moriarty Local musician Liam O’Connor has gone from zero to hero following the lifting on the ban on live music as a result of pandemic restrictions. On Saturday he played his first gig in over 18 months, next Friday he will release a new single, and before that he will play a special gig […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Local musician Liam O’Connor has gone from zero to hero following the lifting on the ban on live music as a result of pandemic restrictions.

On Saturday he played his first gig in over 18 months, next Friday he will release a new single, and before that he will play a special gig in London.

Liam and his family played at the Kerry County Council organised ‘ANSEO’ concert in North Kerry that was run to coincide with the Listowel Harvest Festival last weekend.

It was his first live show since he played at St Brendan’s College, Killarney when he shared the stage with special guest, former Irish rugby coach, Joe Schmidt. That event took place on March 11, 2020, the night before the country entered its first COVID-19 lockdown.

The ‘ANSEO’ series of concerts signalled the return of live music in Kerry and the O’Connor family shared the stage with other local musicians like Tim O’Shea and his Afro Trad Ireland group.

“People were delighted, they were mad for it, they were obviously missing it,” Liam told the Killarney Advertiser. “But they are not letting go just yet, they are still a bit hesitant.”

This Sunday Liam heads to London were he will help Dan Tim O’Sullivan steer sheep over Southwark Bridge (see page 36 for more on this story).

To cap an exceptionally busy period for the local accordion player, he has joined forces with Moya Brennan of Clannad fame. Brennan and O’Connor will release a new single – ‘Strong in Numbers’ on Friday next, October 1.

They previously performed together at a concert in the Friary in 2017.

“It was such a positive experience for all of us we just had to repeat it,” he added. “So not only have we done this recording of ‘Strong in Numbers’ but we are planning to do the Friary again later this year. After that, I wouldn’t rule anything out.”

Meanwhile, the ‘ANSEO’ series visits Killarney on Sunday night.

The Fair Hill car park will host two shows featuring: The Gleneagle Concert Band; Pauline Scanlon with Mick Galvin; The Small Hours; The Rising; Cathal Flaherty and Truly Diverse.

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