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€100k for rhododendron eradication like “spitting into the ocean” – Healy-Rae

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“We desperately need an aggressive campaign”

 

BY ADAM MOYNIHAN

 

€100k of government funding aimed at eradicating the invasive and highly destructive rhododendron plant in Killarney National Park is like “spitting into the ocean,” Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae has claimed.

 

His comments come after the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht announced the funding earlier this week.

 

Recently local volunteers and members of Men’s Shed groups from across the country came together to help clear some of the plant away.

 

The men, who had been invited by Haven Pharmacy, the Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the trustees of Muckross House, cleared significant acreage of the invasive weed. The Chamber provided all accommodation free of charge.

 

And while Mr Healy-Rae was full of praise for the volunteers’ efforts, he said more help was needed.

 

“It is quite simply not enough,” he said. “We desperately need an aggressive campaign.”

 

Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser this week, Mr Healy-Rae added that the issue is “way more serious” than people grasp and that the park is “dying before our eyes”.

 

“The future viability of the National Park is at stake here,” he said. “We take the park for granted. We think that it will always be there the way that it is, but it won’t. The National Park is actually dying before our eyes because of lack of maintenance.”

 

Mr Healy-Rae claims the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who said it was issuing a one-year contract for the management and implementation of a plan that would solve the issues caused by the aggressive weed, is not enough.

 

“The funding announced recently, the €100,000 contract, is like spitting into the ocean,” he said. “I have taken an awful lot of advice on the National Park from extremely experienced people who know the park inside out, and it will take planning, funding and continuous maintenance. Not a once-off contract that will last for two years. Not a campaign that will last for a number of weeks. Year-round maintenance is needed.

 

“Whether it will be done through schemes working on a continuous basis, or a new proper plan by government that will say yes this is a national treasure – because that’s what it is.

 

“We say the National Park is there. It isn’t going to disappear - but it is dying under our eyes.”

 

The Kerry politician has drawn ire over his comments on the issue in the past - but insists that it’s a very grave problem that needs to be taken seriously.

 

“When I stood up in the Dáil and said that the army should be called in to help solve this problem it did get people talking, but it has gone off the boil again now. People were inclined to say that it’s a bit of craic - but it’s not. This is awful serious.

 

“I want the National Park to be there in 50, in 150, in 350 years. I want it to be a place of glory and a place that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be able to enjoy. We have to demand better.”

 

 

[caption id="attachment_23826" align="aligncenter" width="1772"] Niall O'Donoghue (Killarney Meitheal Volunteer) and Pat Monaghan (Leitrim Men's Shed) tackling the invasive rhododendron in Killarney National Park. Pic: Valerie O'Sullivan.[/caption]

 

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Local author’s debut book makes Late Late Toy Show

Killarney art psychotherapist Katie O’Donoghue was delighted to spot her first children’s book on last Friday’s Late Late Toy Show! ‘The Little Squirrel Who Worried’ was written and illustrated by Katie, and published by Gill Books in July. With almost every eye in Ireland on the Toy Show every year, children’s authors, illustrators and publishers […]

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Killarney art psychotherapist Katie O’Donoghue was delighted to spot her first children’s book on last Friday’s Late Late Toy Show!

‘The Little Squirrel Who Worried’ was written and illustrated by Katie, and published by Gill Books in July.

With almost every eye in Ireland on the Toy Show every year, children’s authors, illustrators and publishers compete for a much-coveted spot on the set. Aware that her book had been sent to Ryan, but not having heard anything from RTÉ, Katie was thrilled to see it in a prominent position. It was a wonderful surprise to discover ‘The Little Squirrel Who Worried’ had been placed in the front row of the book corner. There, it had a little chair of its own and was even embraced by a cuddly toy.

It was visible many times over the course of the evening, particularly during the book discussion, an incredibly proud moment for first-time author Katie.

“I have to admit, when I saw ‘The Little Squirrel Who Worried’ cradled in the teddy’s arms, I may have jumped up and down with excitement,” Katie told the Killarney Advertiser.

What began as a lockdown project while Katie was living in London and missing her family in Kerry, is providing comfort to children around the world.

Using a gentle story with gorgeous illustrations, Little Squirrel and his forest friends teach young people a variety of simple coping techniques.

“These skills will benefit children their entire lives and the book is even helpful for adults who are prone to worrying and overthinking,” she added.

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No 2021 return for Killarney on Ice

By Michelle Crean Fans of the ice will be disappointed to hear that Killarney on Ice will not return for a second year. Following its huge popularity year on year since returning to Killarney in 2015, the promoters of Killarney on Ice are disappointed to confirm that they are unable to operate again this year. […]

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By Michelle Crean

Fans of the ice will be disappointed to hear that Killarney on Ice will not return for a second year.

Following its huge popularity year on year since returning to Killarney in 2015, the promoters of Killarney on Ice are disappointed to confirm that they are unable to operate again this year.

Rising case numbers, uncertain COVID-19 restrictions, and insurance challenges have been the main drivers behind the decision not to open, according to the company.

As Kerry’s only festive ice rink, the facility has brought much fun and life to the town over the years, attracting thousands of people from all over the county, and indeed the whole country, with many families coming to stay overnight in Killarney and enjoying all that this great town has to offer.

As well as friends and families coming to skate, schools, youth clubs, sports teams and employees of local companies use the group booking discount rate to plan sessions on the ice, and Killarney on Ice would like to thank them all for their continuing loyalty.

“We sincerely hope to be back better and stronger in 2022, and we look forward to welcoming all of our valued customers,” Tim O’Donoghue, the promoter of the rink, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“In the meantime, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.”

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