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COVID-19 outbreak in Direct Provision Centre in Killarney

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By Anne Lucey

There has been an outbreak of COVID-19 in a Department of Justice Direct Provision Centre premises in Killarney - with two cases at Linden House Killarney - one of three Direct Provision Centres in the town.

Well-informed sources have confirmed two men at the all-male provision centre for 55 people tested positive over two weeks ago and were removed from the centre initially. They have since recovered.

There have been no further outbreaks at the centre, as far as is known.
The failure by the Department to inform the community in Killarney has come under fire.

The opening of what was a third Direct Provision Centre in Killarney, with very little notice, at the former guesthouse and restaurant opposite a number of primary schools and the town’s garda station led to public protests in December 2017.
Local Cllr Donal Grady (Ind), who organised one of the marches, had called for the building, which is privately owned, to be leased by the Council and used for local homeless persons.

This week, Cllr Grady said he wanted a detailed breakdown of all transfers of asylum seekers to centres in Killarney since the pandemic. He said the community should have been informed of the outbreak in Killarney and he was raising the matter at the weekly web meetings between councillors and management.

He wanted to know if the centre had been locked down because of the positive tests there.

Cllr Grady also said he was asking the Department of Justice about movements to centres in Killarney during the pandemic.
“Why were public representatives and the public not informed of the outbreak at Linden House?” Cllr Grady said.

His criticism comes as Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan apologised to the people of Cahersiveen for the anger and upset caused by the opening of a Direct Provision Centre in Cahersiveen during the pandemic and for the damage to an initially positive relationship with the community because of lack of communication surrounding an outbreak there.

Meanwhile the Department of Justice said the figure for residents currently residing in accommodation centres in Kerry have not increased.

As of May 10, there were 517 people being accommodated in accommodation centres in Kerry.

There is an overall total contracted capacity of 671 in the county.

Final moves to centres nationwide were effected on April 14 and April 15, in conjunction with the HSE.
The HSE said in any confirmed outbreak of COVID-19, consultants from the Department of Public Health are involved in an Outbreak Control Team and provide advice on the management of the outbreak.

“Where there are outbreaks in residential facilities which are not under our control (including direct provision centres), the local Department of Public Health gives clear advice to both the management and the residents of the centres to support them in responding appropriately,” it said.
"In any case where someone has tested positive for COVID-19, they are asked to self-isolate for 14 days.”

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Better late than never Christmas present for St Francis Special School

By Sean Moriarty St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use. Husband and wife team Ciaran […]

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By Sean Moriarty

St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use.

Husband and wife team Ciaran and Karen Dwyer, directors of Guerin Engineering and Pumps Ltd in Kilcummin, presented the special adapted bicycle to the staff and pupils at the Beaufort school on Tuesday.

After seeing an online request last December that the school needed the bike, they decided to gift one.

They contacted Glencar Medical, a Dublin-based firm that specialises in the supply of equipment to schools like St Francis, and ordered the bicycle.

However, nothing is straightforward in the current climate, Brexit, COVID and war all contributed to a delay in getting the bike to Ireland. Once it was in Dublin there were further delays in sourcing the special straps that St Francis’ children need to ride the bike safely.

It all came to a happy ending this week when the Dwyers were finally able to present their Christmas present to the school.

“We saw this request and we contacted the school and said we wanted to buy one, they told us where to get one, and we ordered it,” Karen told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We had it paid for by the end of the year but then it took three months to get it into the country. It took more time to import the specialist parts. The costs were increasing but we did not mind at all.”

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Jordan Lee to tell his story to the county’s schools

Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry. The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series […]

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Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry.

The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series of informal talks on his achievements and how he overcame his disability to reach the top of his chosen sport.

The 21-year-old was born with a foreshortened left arm known as amniotic band syndrome but has enjoyed a successful sports career which included representing Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Now he wants to share his story and inspire other students to follow their dreams.

His tour started last week at Colaiste na Sceilge in Cahersiveen and over the next few weeks, depending on his training schedule, will visit schools in Firies, Milltown, and Killarney.

“Don’t be afraid of people with disabilities or different backgrounds,” he said. “A few years ago there was only typical people in classrooms – you never came across people with disabilities or from various different countries. It is a lot more mixed now. I want to inspire people to treat everyone on the same level.”

‘Jordan’s Drive’ is made possible thanks to his role as a brand ambassador for Kelliher’s Garage, dealer principal, Tim Kelliher explained to the Killarney Advertiser.

“Having got to know Jordan so well over the last couple of years we have come to realise how much of an inspiration he is so we decided to ask him to hop into his Toyota CHR Hybrid and bring his story out into the highways and byways of the Kingdom,” he said.

“Headlined ‘Jordans Drive’ and organised by my marketing team headed by Yvonne McMahon they have travelled to many of the schools around Kerry from Cahersiveen to Beaufort, Killorglin and with other dates planned for Firies and Milltown to name but a few. He has spoken his many words of wisdom to the children who have been in awe of the journey and his achievements, and we at Kelliher’s Garage are delighted and proud to have him as our brand ambassador.”

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