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Coping with a special needs adult during COVID-19 restrictions

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LOOKING AFTER EACH OTHER: Dermot and Rita Moriarty with Rita’s sister Roseanne O’Connor from Tiernaboul, Marie Lenihan (KPFA), and Denis Kerins from Gneeveguilla pictured earlier this year. The Moriarty family have praised the support they have received from KPFA in this difficult time Photo: Grigoriy Geniyevskiy

By Sean Moriarty

A Killarney woman, who is the full-time carer for her special needs sister, says moves that would see full-time carers and family members being made a priority for COVID-19 testing, would be welcome.

Rita Moriarty, wife of local broadcasting legend Dermot, has been the full-time carer of her sister Roseanne O’Connor since their mother died in 2001.

Roseanne attended the Kerry Parents and Friends Day Care Centre in Killarney every day, but that has now been closed due to Coronavirus restrictions.

“I would agree as Roseanne is high-risk,” Rita told the Killarney Advertiser. “We are lucky, we live in the country and have a big garden but there are other families who have special needs and they could live in an apartment block and how are they coping and what if something happens to them? I am taking every precaution, I would not let my brother into the house on the day of Roseanne’s birthday in March.

Like many other families, the Moriarty family is now facing new challenges.

KPFA care for 270 special needs patients across Kerry – 115 of them based in the greater Killarney area.

Like all other schools and similar establishments in the country, the facility was forced to close on March 13.

“During these unprecedented weeks as a family having to care for someone with an intellectual disability at home is difficult. Roseanne attends the Kerry Parents and Friends in Killarney, 'The Mon' as she calls it, from Monday to Friday and refers to it as 'going to work'. She has made lifelong friends there and she is mad about the staff who look after her so well,” Rita said.

Rita and Dermot were forced to reorganise their day around Roseanne’s needs and while they are lucky to have a big back garden for walks and other physical exercises, Dermot’s record collection offers another escape.

“While these activities are great for her and a distraction for a short while, Roseanne has a short attention span, she is getting bored and really misses 'The Mon', her friends and carers, and keeps asking for them,” added Rita. “The staff from the Kerry Parents and Friends have been very supportive and keep in touch each week to see how we are coping for which we thank them sincerely and hope they are well and keeping safe.”

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Ballycasheen junction to get upgraded this year

A long awaited solution to traffic problems where Ballycasheen Road meets the N22 Cork Road looks like finally being resolved this year. Late last year Transport Infrastructure Ireland allocated €1.2m to be spent on the section of road between the Park Road roundabout and Ballycasheen junction. “Technical Approval for the improvements, along this section which […]

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A long awaited solution to traffic problems where Ballycasheen Road meets the N22 Cork Road looks like finally being resolved this year.

Late last year Transport Infrastructure Ireland allocated €1.2m to be spent on the section of road between the Park Road roundabout and Ballycasheen junction.

“Technical Approval for the improvements, along this section which include Active Travel provision and Junction Improvements at Ballycasheen, is being sought from TII before commencing,” a council spokesperson confirmed. “The elected members will be briefed on the proposals ahead of the commencement of the statutory process in early 2022.”

The council official was responding to a request by Cllr John O’Donoghue who sought an update on progress being on a promised “more user friendly junction.”

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€2.3m funding for Kerry schools under Summer Works Programme

Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley has today (Monday) announced funding of €2.3 million for the approval of 24 projects across Kerry under the Department’s 2022 Summer Works Scheme. This funding is part of the overall package of €65m for a total of 497 projects around the country. “I am delighted to confirm […]

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Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley has today (Monday) announced funding of €2.3 million for the approval of 24 projects across Kerry under the Department’s 2022 Summer Works Scheme.

This funding is part of the overall package of €65m for a total of 497 projects around the country.

“I am delighted to confirm this significant tranche of funding which will provide further investment for schools in Kerry under the Summer Works Scheme,” Minister Foley said.

“School communities have shown great resilience, flexibility and leadership in adapting to the many challenges that arose over the course of the pandemic. This funding is a further endorsement of the excellence in education provided by schools across the county. I am announcing the Summer Works Scheme projects now so that schools have a good lead-in period to plan and deliver the projects in summer 2022,” she said.

“Today’s announcement follows on from the enhanced minor works funding which was delivered to schools a number of weeks ago.”

The projects for Kerry included in today’s announcement include Mechanical Works at Two Mile Community NS and Spa National School, Science Labs including Gas Works at Community College Killorglin and Castleisland Community College, as well as Roof Works at Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra. 

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