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Councillors lay in to Irish Water staff

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By Sean Moriarty

Senior officials from Irish Water felt the wrath of elected councillors at Monday’s monthly meeting of Kerry County Council.

Senior Irish Water staff were invited to give a presentation to Kerry County Council as a result of an increasing number of water breaks all over the county – but particularly in the Mid Kerry, Killcummin and Park Road areas.

Sean Laffey, head of asset management, outlined the state body’s plans to alleviate a range of problems with the water supply in the area.

He was left reeling by concerns raised by elected members as he attempted to explain away the issues that face residents all over the county.

Irish Water was described as a Third World service, the firm was accused of making ‘half assed’ attempts at solving water issues in the area and one Killarney Councillor went as far as saying that Irish Water should be disbanded.

One of the key concerns was the delay of the Killcummin Water Scheme. The scheme was all set to go ahead last year – a January 2020 Killarney Municipal District meeting was told as much – only for Irish Water to reverse its plans by March.

Cllr Marie Moloney, who lives in the area, accused Irish Water of electioneering. The Killcummin announcement was made in the run up to the February 2020 General Election.

“Once they got their votes the whole thing stopped,” she told the meeting. “It is very hard to take the word of Irish Water.”

Multiple breaks on the Park Road in Killarney was another issue that was at the fore of Monday’s meeting.

“For me as a councillor, I have no confidence in Irish Water,“ Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan told the meeting. “People of Killcummin are being treated abysmally and Irish Water half-assed attempts at solving the issues. There are weekly breaks on the Park Road. I want to see action, I want to see diggers in Killarney.”

Cllr Brendan Cronin lives in the Listry, Faha, Rockfield area, another area that has seen multiple breaks in recent weeks.

“Irish Water are a public embarrassment,” he told the meeting. “I have lost all faith in Irish Water.”

Moloney raised further concerns on the road network in Killcummin. Several roads along the proposed Irish Water Scheme have been resurfaced in recent weeks. This was a decision taken by elected councillors and Kerry County Council officials after Irish Water reversed its previous promise to complete the scheme.

“Ye will be putting the roads back exactly as ye got them,” she warned. “Why are ye so slow – get a plan together and stick to it.”

Newly co-opted councillor John O’Donoghue made his first contribution to a council debate.

“This is a case of historic neglect,” he said as he raised concerns about sewage entering the river network. “This is a criminal act, Kilcummin is deplorable, the Park Road is like a swimming pool.”

Cllr Niall Kelleher went on the attack too.

“How does Irish Water do its business,” he said. “Heretofore it has not been productive.”

Cllr Donal Grady called for the body to be disbanded.

“They have left us down again,” he told the meeting. “We have to disband them, from County Kerry at least.”

Cllr Michael Cahill said: “Kerry is like a Third World country when it comes to water and waste management,” while Maura Healy-Rae said: “The people of the Killarney Municipal District have been enormously disrespected.

Earlier in the meeting Mr Laffey said he would return to Killarney in January but after listening to the Councillors he moved that meeting to September.

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County Board open to GAA museum proposals

By Sean Moriarty The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county. There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county.

There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built in their home town.

Before he retired from politics in April, Michael Gleeson was campaigning to build a GAA and cultural museum on the grounds of Fitzgerald Stadium.

His campaign goes back several years before the recession set in, with a €0.5 million bridging loan secured from Croke Park along with funding from Fáilte Ireland. That funding was lost with the onset of the recession before 2010.

Tim Murphy, the outgoing chairman of the Kerry County Board, has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser that no approaches have been made to the County Board at executive level during his five year stint at the helm.

However, he said the Board would be open to such approaches provided there is sound financial planning behind the project in place.

“The first and most important aspect is the capital funding and my understanding is there needs to be Fáilte Ireland funding in place first,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “If it gets up and running, there needs to be very clear talks with all stakeholders so everyone knows each others expectations. A museum attracts footfall, but it costs a lot of money to run. We would offer an open door policy to all proposals but funding, first from a capital point of view and then from an operational point of view, will need to be in place.”

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Loreto pupils are happy to help save the planet

By Michelle Crean School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign. Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme. It’s all about taking on […]

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By Michelle Crean

School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign.

Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme.

It’s all about taking on a litter-picking adventure in their local area as well as learning songs, reading storybooks, filling in activity books while witnessing that their real-world actions are making a positive difference and inspiring others to join the movement.

Picker Pals is a unique primary school programme that gives children the tools and motivation to become the next generation of environmentalists, teacher Claire O’Meara explained.

“The Picker Pal Programme is a fantastic initiative and will go a long way to raise awareness of the impact litter has on our environment,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

Real litter-picking is motivated by a Picker Pack made from upcycled dinghy sails and containing adult and child litter-picking tools, gloves, hi-vis vests and safety information.

“This pack is then taken home by a different pupil every week. That child takes their adult on a litter-picking adventure. The children then tell the story of their litter-picking adventures through art and writing. Raising awareness is an essential part of the solution to littering. Picker Pals gives young people the tools and positive motivation to steward their local environment and make the world a better place.”

The programme, run by environmental NGO VOICE Ireland, is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and various local authorities across Ireland.

Now in its third year of operation, over one thousand schools all across Ireland will be taking part in the Picker Pals programme this year. In Kerry, 29 schools are taking part, and Scoil Bhríde, Loreto is delighted to be included, she added.

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