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Donie’s influence lives on

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By Aidan Quirke

Killarney’s thespians and writers lit up the stage on Wednesday night in the Gleneagle Hotel in what was a fitting tribute to a much loved local actor.

STANDING OVATION: The 200-strong audience gave a standing ovation at the Four Esquire Productions performance in the Gleneagle on Wednesday night.

An audience of over 200 came along to appreciate the first live production post-pandemic by local troupe Four Esquire Productions.

It was poignant to many that this series of three short plays came just weeks after the passing of local actor, writer and director of West End House School of Arts, Donie Courtney.

His influence could be seen in the young faces that graced the stage, some who are also students at the drama school - a fitting tribute to the inspirational Killarney man.

The first play, 'The Letter D', was a farce based on a retired rug seller selling off his stock online. The only issue was he advertised drugs and not rugs which caught the eye of the local garda, drug dealer and party goer. It held up well with a great turn from emerging talent Killian Fleming and Ryan Jones. Brian Bowler as the local garda and Martin O’Brien kept everyone laughing.

The second play about a disillusioned hospitality worker was less farce and more introspective with two young actors, Dylan Shortt and Sean Gannon holding the audience’s gaze. Many will be watching with keen interest how these two talented actors will progress as both performances were excellent.

The best laughs were saved for last with ‘Bin Wars’ a darkly comic farce about two neighbours fighting over their wheelie bins. Events take a turn for the worst in violent comic fashion.

The timing of the lead actors was impeccable, Danny McClure, Paul Spitere, Anne Browne, and Otis Ikogho had the audience in stitches.

A standing ovation on the night left no one in doubt that Four Esquires Productions has come back in strong form.

It is a great shot in the arm for the arts in Killarney with young and old talent showing great commitment.

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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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