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Father and daughter receive housing from Peter McVerry Trust

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NEW HOME NEW HOPE: Spencer Wheeler, one of the new tenants who moved into the Peter McVerry Trust’s housing units in Killarney. Photo: Graham Seely/Peter McVerry Trust

“We were in a constant limbo land of uncertainty”

By Michelle Crean

One father and his young daughter are now feeling safer and more secure after receiving one of 15 housing units from the Peter McVerry Trust in Killarney town.

Spencer Wheeler says that he and his daughter “were in a constant limbo land of uncertainty” but now have “a safe” space to call their own.
The charity, which is working in partnership with Kerry County Council, said it is working to increase housing pathways for people experiencing homelessness in the county.

The national housing and homeless charity has delivered 15 social housing units in Killarney housing over 30 people.

"We are delighted to be able to help meet the housing needs of people impacted by homelessness in Kerry," Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, said.

"We have been working closely with the Council to understand the need that exists locally and how best we can be of support to people in the county. We are now working on developing housing pathways to ensure people can exit hostels and B&Bs and get the wraparound supports they need once housed. All our tenants will receive ongoing support from our dedicated Housing With Supports team who are available to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

On Friday last, official figures released by the Department of Housing showed a decrease of 13 percent in the number of people accessing emergency accommodation in Kerry to 113 people.

“The challenge is to grow the number of homes we can provide and in particular the number of one-bedroom homes, as they are the type most needed, yet are the hardest to come by. We are looking at any possible opportunities, including long-term vacant buildings, commercial properties that can be converted to residential, or vacant sites with planning permission. We’d encourage anyone that has a property, which would be suitable for social housing in Killarney or Tralee, to contact us so that we can secure more housing options to help tackle homelessness in Kerry.”

SECURITY

Spencer added that before living in his new two-bedroom apartment he was in a homeless hostel with his daughter in Tralee for approximately a year and a half.

“We were in a constant limbo land of uncertainty. It all happened really quickly, we received a letter from the Council saying we had been referred to the Peter McVerry Trust. I had never even heard of it beforehand.

“Being in a hostel, it was very hard for me to go out and actually look for work, so now we have a safe area, I can actually get out there and start to get a bit more work. The fact that we have somewhere which is ours where we can close the door, and she can do whatever she wants and relax, without having to worry about other people coming into the kitchen and things like that, is really nice for her. She has her own room here as well, which she is starting to mess up!”

 

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Killarney co-drivers to the fore at this weekend

Two Killarney-based co-drivers will contest this weekend’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, the fourth rounds of the British Rally Championship. The two-day event gets underway tonight (Friday) with one stage set to be run under the cover of darkness. On the startline will be Muckross man Noel O’Sullivan and Aghadoe’s Mikie Galvin. O’Sullivan, co-driver to Welshman Osian […]

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Two Killarney-based co-drivers will contest this weekend’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, the fourth rounds of the British Rally Championship.

The two-day event gets underway tonight (Friday) with one stage set to be run under the cover of darkness.
On the startline will be Muckross man Noel O’Sullivan and Aghadoe’s Mikie Galvin.

O’Sullivan, co-driver to Welshman Osian Pryce, is the current leader of the series while Galvin, who reads pacenotes for fellow Killarney and District Motor Club member, West Cork’s Keith Cronin, is eighth after missing the opening round.

“The element of darkness certainly brings an additional challenge to all the crews, especially since most of us will not have done any night stages for some time, the most recent I did was in 2017 on the Ulster Rally,” Cronin noted.

The route layout reads like an extract from the itinerary of the World Championship counting RAC Rally of the 1980s, featuring familiar locations such as Dalby, Gale Rigg and Langdale, and it will be the Dalby Forest test that opens the competition shortly after 8pm tonight.

Meanwhile, Irish rallying returned last Sunday after the pandemic-enforced lay-off with the ‘Munster Car Club’s Cork 20’.

London-based Listry co-driver Shane Buckley was the best of the local entrants, guiding Daniel Cronin, Keith’s brother, to fifth overall.

Ger Conway and his driver Stephen Wright were just two places and 8.9 seconds behind in another Ford Fiesta RC2. It was Conway’s first taste of a RC2 car since he and Rob Duggan finished second overall on the 2018 Donegal International Rally.

“There is a taste of more after this,” said Ger after a trouble-free day.
Damien Fleming came close to making it four local co-drivers in the top 10. He and his driver Stephen McCann were 11th, just 16.6 off the leader board. They said it took a while to get used to the bumpy Irish tar after a recent trip to the Tour of Flanders in Belgium.

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Education Minister officially opens The Mon’s new classrooms

A town primary school – which has a deep connection to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty – has a whole new look which was officially opened today (Friday) by the Minister for Education. Norma Foley TD officially opened the newly constructed wing to the Presentation Monastery Primary School on New Road which will house two special needs classrooms, a multi-sensory room […]

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A town primary school – which has a deep connection to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty – has a whole new look which was officially opened today (Friday) by the Minister for Education.

Norma Foley TD officially opened the newly constructed wing to the Presentation Monastery Primary School on New Road which will house two special needs classrooms, a multi-sensory room and a general-purpose hall.

The project, which was funded by Department of Education along with money raised by the school as part of their ‘THE MON-ster Fundraiser’, was just one of three officially opened new additions to the school along with a special dedication of the school’s hall in honour of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a past pupil of the school from 1909-1914.

Also, The Most Rev. Ray Browne, Bishop of Kerry, officially opened a three-classroom extension at the school’s present site which was opened in 1958 having moved from its College Street location which was opened in 1838 by the Presentation Brothers.

Former Supreme Court Judge Hugh O’Flaherty and Mrs Pearl Dineen the nephew and niece of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty officiated over the dedicating of the school’s new hall to past pupil, Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, in recognition of his heroic deeds during WWII.

O’Flaherty, who also taught at the school later, became better known for the role he played in World War II while at the Vatican leading over 6,500 prisoners of war, partisans and Jews to freedom to earn him the title of the ‘Vatican Pimpernel’, leading to the 1983 film ‘The Scarlet and the Black’ with Gregory Peck portraying the role of O’Flaherty.

OUTDOOR CLASSROOM

A special outdoor classroom ‘Dotts Garden’, dedicated to the memory of Dorothy (Dott) Hennggler the 2011 Washington DC Rose who died at the family home in Baltimore from a brain tumour, was officially opened by Anne O’Shea (aunt of the late Dorothy), and Àine McMahon (cousin of the late Dorothy and BOM member). The outdoor classroom was beautifully decorated over the summer by artist Katríona Lynch.

Due to COVID restrictions, the main event took place outdoors with staff joined by a small group of pupils selected from each of the classes representing the student body along with members of the school’s Board of Management.

“Your achievements have been remarkable over the last number of months,” Minister of Education, Norma Foley, said today at the official opening.

“It is my wish going forward that the next year in education will be less complicated, less trying and less difficult one. I think school staff are deserving of that. We can put the COVID atmosphere behind us and we are moving positively along. We hope that in a few months we will talk about living in a post-COVID time. The story of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty speaks of the calibre of students produced here, but it also speaks of the courage and bravery and vision that Kerry people can have in the most difficult and trying of times.”

School principal Colm Ó Suilleabháin, who is shortly moving on to St Oliver’s NS in Ballycasheen, was delighted to be in attendance to see the building come to fruition.

“It’s a fantastic culmination of hard work by the staff and the Board of Management, and we are delighted to see the school is fully equipped and resourced for the next generation of pupils from Killarney and beyond,” he said.

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