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Events at risk due to Civil Defence medical licence issues

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Events at risk due to Civil Defence medical licence issues

Major events in the county, including Killarney, are at risk of being either cancelled or having major financial headaches unless a stand-off between the Civil Defence and the Department of Defence is resolved before August 31.

The row centres on the medical licences issued to Civil Defence volunteers.

Two major events in the Killarney area currently in the advanced planning stages could be effected by the issues. Killarney and District Motor Club’s Historic Rally, set for November 30 needs six ambulances and 12 Emergency Medical Technicians to comply with its safety plan.

Organisers of Quest Killarney, the multi-discipline adventure race set for October 12, uses a combination of Civil Defence and commercial providers to cover their event.

The Civil Defence is a recognised training institute by the Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC), volunteers are certified from Cardiac First Response (CFR) to Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) through the Civil Defence. The national body answers to the Department of Defence.

A new administrator at the Department of Defence is refusing to sign-off licences for PHECC volunteers, it is understood that the department fears liable and insurance-claim repercussions.

If volunteer staff cannot get their PHECC licences signed-off by department officials senior Civil Defence staff have told the Killarney Advertiser that they will have no option but to remove staff from events in September and will be unable to allocate medical staff to events later in the year.

Event organisers have the option of booking commercial ambulance providers at a substantial extra costs or face cancelling their event altogether.

This weekend alone, Kerry Civil Defence is providing medical cover for the three days of Puck Fair, two nights of the Listowel Revival Festival and the Dingle Triathlon.

September events in the county that could face problems unless the issue is resolved include the Listowel Harvest Festival, the National Hillclimb Cycling Championships and the homecoming parades should the county football team be successful in winning the All-Ireland football championship.

“We are the capital of tourism in Kerry and my staff attend around 120 events a year,” Kerry Civil Defence Officer,Thomas Brosnan, told the Killarney Advertiser. “I am hopeful of a resolution but in reality the Taoiseach, as head of the Department of Defence, needs to get involved in this. August 31 is make or break, this has been going on since last November and we have been given previous extensions but I can’t see the department giving another one. Our volunteers want to be involved in these events and I want them there, but if we don’t get our licences I will have to stand them down.”

Event organisers pay the Civil Defence a nominal fee for services provided. Alternative cover is available from commercial ambulance providers at much greater costs. Not all event organisers in the county will be able to absorb the rising costs and this could force events to be cancelled.

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County Board open to GAA museum proposals

By Sean Moriarty The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county. There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county.

There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built in their home town.

Before he retired from politics in April, Michael Gleeson was campaigning to build a GAA and cultural museum on the grounds of Fitzgerald Stadium.

His campaign goes back several years before the recession set in, with a €0.5 million bridging loan secured from Croke Park along with funding from Fáilte Ireland. That funding was lost with the onset of the recession before 2010.

Tim Murphy, the outgoing chairman of the Kerry County Board, has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser that no approaches have been made to the County Board at executive level during his five year stint at the helm.

However, he said the Board would be open to such approaches provided there is sound financial planning behind the project in place.

“The first and most important aspect is the capital funding and my understanding is there needs to be Fáilte Ireland funding in place first,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “If it gets up and running, there needs to be very clear talks with all stakeholders so everyone knows each others expectations. A museum attracts footfall, but it costs a lot of money to run. We would offer an open door policy to all proposals but funding, first from a capital point of view and then from an operational point of view, will need to be in place.”

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Loreto pupils are happy to help save the planet

By Michelle Crean School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign. Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme. It’s all about taking on […]

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By Michelle Crean

School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign.

Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme.

It’s all about taking on a litter-picking adventure in their local area as well as learning songs, reading storybooks, filling in activity books while witnessing that their real-world actions are making a positive difference and inspiring others to join the movement.

Picker Pals is a unique primary school programme that gives children the tools and motivation to become the next generation of environmentalists, teacher Claire O’Meara explained.

“The Picker Pal Programme is a fantastic initiative and will go a long way to raise awareness of the impact litter has on our environment,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

Real litter-picking is motivated by a Picker Pack made from upcycled dinghy sails and containing adult and child litter-picking tools, gloves, hi-vis vests and safety information.

“This pack is then taken home by a different pupil every week. That child takes their adult on a litter-picking adventure. The children then tell the story of their litter-picking adventures through art and writing. Raising awareness is an essential part of the solution to littering. Picker Pals gives young people the tools and positive motivation to steward their local environment and make the world a better place.”

The programme, run by environmental NGO VOICE Ireland, is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and various local authorities across Ireland.

Now in its third year of operation, over one thousand schools all across Ireland will be taking part in the Picker Pals programme this year. In Kerry, 29 schools are taking part, and Scoil Bhríde, Loreto is delighted to be included, she added.

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