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€10,000 funding announced for ‘The Big Hello’ healthy weekend



SAY HELLO TO HEALTH: Announcing details of 'The Big Hello' Healthy Kerry Community Weekend from l-r: Niamh O'Sullivan (Head of Community Department, Kerry County Council), Cllr Niall Kelleher (Chairperson of Kerry Local Community Development Committee), Deirdre Hegarty (Health and Well-being Officer, Kerry County Council), and Bill Morrell (Kerry Public Participation Network).

Funding of €10,000 has been allocated to community and voluntary groups around the county as part of ‘The Big Hello!’ Healthy Kerry Community Weekend 2019 which takes places on the May Bank Holiday Weekend.

The nationwide initiative, which is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development, offers a chance for organisations and community groups to host an event which will help people to get know all members of their community, to reconnect with neighbours and have a community celebration that is open and inclusive. The purpose of the event is to strengthen community ties and tackle social isolation. Events are to be centred around food, environment, well-being or culture.

Funding of €10,000 was allocated to Kerry events by the department and the Kerry Local Community and Development Committee (LCDC) who recently invited applications for funding from community groups.

The LCDC agreed that the Healthy Kerry Committee along with representatives from Udarás na Gaeltachta and the Public Participation Network (PPN) would oversee the administration of the fund. This committee themed the 2019 Healthy Kerry Community Weekend as ‘Well-being Across the Ages.’

The LCDC has announced details of the successful applicants this week:

KASI CLG – Killarney Immigrant Support Centre €1,000

This event will centre around the launch of their food market to assist local producers and artisans set up stalls in the garden. It is intended that this event will create a space for social interaction between people of all ages and backgrounds. It will be a family event with face painting, music and food available.

Killarney Looking Good – Mountain Meitheal €400

The mountain meitheal volunteers currently operate in the Muckross part of the National Park.  A social event for the 50 volunteers will be held in Glena, the other side of the Muckross Peninsula.  It is intended that the group will clear long-overgrown trails in this location to improve access for all from both the Tomies and Dinis sides of Killarney National Park and that food will be provided afterwards.

Killarney Celtic Football Club €400

This event will be held in Ballydribbeen Estate promoted by Killarney Celtic Football Club. This event will include Ballydribbeen residents and club members coming together to clean, paint and brighten the area so that all of the community will work together and be proud of the area.

Kenmare Marketing and Events Group €1,000

This group will hold a 2k, 5k and 10k community walk to celebrate the reopening and community support for the direct provision centre in Kenmare. The local sports clubs will also offer two-hour open sessions for children e.g. soccer, GAA and swimming.  A ‘Grow Your Own Fruit/Veg’ workshop will be held in a marquee in Kenmare town. There will also be a summer foods BBQ demo held in the local soccer club field showcasing Kenmare Foodie Karen Coakley. A booklet of walking trails around Kenmare will also be launched during this event.

Kerry Public Participation Network €1,000

Street Feasts to be held by groups across Kerry on Sunday May 5. A Street Feast can be held anywhere; in a park, a front garden, a field or a cul-de-sac.  Street Feasts support groups to host their own celebrations in their neighbourhoods by providing them with the tools, guidance and support to do so. Groups are provided with free Street Feast packs (DIY guide, posters, flyers), local promotion (press releases, features on regional radio and newspapers), local support and admin (every event gets their own event webpage) and street chalk.











Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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