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Countywide LGBT+ Mentoring Programme launched

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Listowel Family Resource Centre is happy to announce a new project aimed at the LGBT community.

The LGBT Mentoring Programme is available to all members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community over the age of 18, those questioning their sexuality or gender identity, or parents of LGBT+/questioning children, who require information and support in their local community.

The Mentoring Programme is accessible across the county ensuring that those living rurally or without access to transport can avail of support in their local community, at a time and place that suits them. The programme will match up trained volunteer mentors with interested mentees. The focus will be on personal development, confidence-building, and social activities, with the aim to increase well-being and quality of life for those involved. Mentors and mentees will meet weekly to set personal and life goals, and work towards achieving them together.

The Mentoring Programme will be overseen by the dedicated LGBT+ Community Support Worker, ensuring that mentors and mentees benefit from the experience. Supervision will also be provided to support mentors. All volunteers are assessed for suitability, trained, and Garda vetted to ensure that mentees are receiving a high quality of service delivered by knowledgeable and experienced mentors in a safe, accessible, and confidential manner. To ensure that all those who would benefit from mentoring can avail of it, this service is offered free of charge, funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth under the Supporting LGBTI+ Community Services Scheme.

Listowel Family Resource Centre (FRC) is one of 121 FRCs nationwide under the Family Resource Centre Programme and is responsible to the Child and Family Agency (TUSLA). The FRC programme is Ireland’s largest family support programme, delivering universal and targeted services and supports to all individuals, families, and communities. Listowel Family Resource Centre is one of 12 family resource centres in Kerry in this programme, along with two others that are locally funded. The LGBT+ Mentoring Programme will utilise this network to offer support to those in each local community.

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Killarney hotels are still open for business

By Sean Moriarty Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation. […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation.

This week she said that there’s still accommodation to be found in Killarney for visitors.

She was speaking in relation to the current accommodation situation facing International Protection Applicants and Ukrainian war refugees.

She explained that there is a perception that Killarney has taken in too many refugees and that it is putting the tourism industry at risk as people are starting to think that the town is at full capacity.

“If you can’t get a room in Killarney there is something wrong,” she said. “Maybe with the exception of New Year’s Eve.”

She added that hotels that are providing emergency accommodation are helping off-season unemployment.

Many hotels remain in survival mode after two years of pandemic turmoil and the additional off season business is important, she explained.

“Many could be closed at this time of the year, others would not be operating at full capacity,” she added.

However, she warned the Government needs to put a plan in place before the tourism season starts next year. Some hotels offering emergency accommodation either have a three or six month contract.

“I can see there will be tears next April – the Government must have a long-term plan,” she said.

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Homing refugees worth almost €14m

By Sean Moriarty Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees. The Department of Children, […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth released figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

Documents show that contracts totalling €13,852,255.00 are being shared between 13 premises in the Killarney urban area.

However, the department warned these figures are “indicative” only and the full value of the contracts depends on “occupancy and actual usage”.

The Eviston Hotel has secured a contract worth €5,727,590.00, the Innisfallen Hotel in Fossa for €2,404,620.00 and The Hotel Killarney signed a deal worth €1,701,000.00. These are the three biggest contracts published in the documentation.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, and Department officials say more contracts could come on stream. Figures seen by the Killarney Advertiser only cover contracted premises up to the end of September this year and updated figures are only released every three months.

“We are in contract with far more, but the formal exchange of contracts can take place sometime after the service commences,” a department spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is obliged to publish a list of contracts formally signed off each quarter that have been awarded under a special EU Derogation that permits the Department to enter into contracts in the context of the Ukraine accommodation crisis without going to formal tender.

“The values of the contracts shown are estimates; the actual value materialises upon occupancy and actual usage. Standard contracts have no-fault break clauses available to both parties so again, the figures are indicative rather than actual.”

These figures only cover Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war and do not include International Protection Applicants.

The Department refused to release International Protection Applicant figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

“The International Protection Applicant accommodation contract information is commercially sensitive information and is not available,” added the Department spokesperson.

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