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Cronin joins Moonraker field in pre-grist rehearsal

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Current British Rally Championship (BRC) leader, Keith Cronin, has placed an entry for the Moonraker Rally, which is set to take place in his home county of Cork on Saturday, July 2.

The Munster Car Club organised event will be based in the village of Ballyvourney and is to be a counting round of the Motorsport Ireland National Forestry Rally Championship.

Cronin and co-driver, Mikie Galvin from Agahdoe, previously won the Moonraker in 2017, and then as now, are using the outing to gain additional gravel running in aid of a BRC campaign. The duo went on to take the British title that year, and presently head the 2022 points standings following a victory on the Jim Clark Rally last month in their Volkswagen Polo GTi R5.

With the BRC due to resume the following weekend on the Nicky Grist Rally in Wales, the Moonraker is ideally placed to provide the required warm-up. 

“The first two BRC rounds were on tarmac, and we’re now heading into two gravel rounds," Cronin explained.

"We haven’t done a forest rally since the Cambrian last October, and that was in the Fiesta rather than the Polo, plus we’re on Pirelli tyres now, so there’s some learning to be done. The Moonraker suits in every way, it’s only a week before the Nicky Grist and it’s only about 40 minutes from home. It’s possible that it will be our only outing in Ireland this year.”

The entry list for the Moonraker features most of the National Forestry Championship frontrunners, including Jordan Hone and Keith Power in Ford Fiestas, Conor McCourt in a Skoda Fabia, and local driver, Gerard Lucey, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8. The field will also include Motorsport Ireland National Junior Rally Series competitors, divided into 14-18 and 19-25 age groups.

The Moonraker Rally will consist of eight stages, a loop of four repeated twice. It will get underway from Coláiste Ghobnatan at 9am, with the first stage scheduled to start at 9.37am. The National Forestry Rally Championship regulations require that two wheel drive cars run first, in reverse seeding order, with four wheel drives after in normal order. Service will be at the Údarás na Gaeltachta complex after stages two, four and six, and the Finish celebrations will take place at the Abbey Hotel in Ballyvourney, which serves as Rally Headquarters, at around 5.45pm.

The Volkswagen Polo of Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin is prepared by Tom Gahan Motorsport and supported by M O’Brien Group of Companies, Keohane Seafoods, Inver Energy, Cremin Coaches, Cronin’s HomeValue Hardware, Cronin’s Centra and Pirelli Tyres.

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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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