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Fearless leaders speak about personal adversity

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By Michelle Crean 

There was full attendance at the KDYS in Fairhill on Thursday during a discussion on youth mental heath in Ireland. 

ADVOCATE: Senator Tom Clonan who has campaigned against gender discrimination sexual violence against women and is an advocate for children and young people with disabilities pictured at the KDYS Killarney to discuss youth mental health in Ireland for the Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Festival. Photo: Marie Carroll-O'Sullivan

DISCUSSION: Dr Brigid Quilligan Manager of Kerry Travellers Health and Community Development Project and spokesperson for the Traveller community pictured at the KDYS Killarney to discuss youth mental health in Ireland for Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Festival. Photo: Marie Carroll-O'Sullivan

FULL HOUSE: A full house at KDYS Killarney for a talk on youth mental health in Ireland for Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Festival on Thursday. Photo: Marie Carroll-O'Sullivan

EXPERT PANEL: CEO of KDYS Berni Smyth (left) welcomes an expert panel to KDYS Killarney for the Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Festival. From l-r were: Senator Tom Clonan who has campaigned against gender discrimination sexual violence against women and is an advocate for children and young people with disabilities Ian O’Connell who is an inspirational young person and presenter on Radio Kerry Dr Brigid Quilligan (Manager of Kerry Travellers Health and Community Development Project and spokesperson for the Traveller community) and Roisin Clarke (CEO of Mental Health Reform Ireland). Photo: Marie Carroll-O'Sullivan

It was hosted by the KDYS and included and expert panel including Roisin Clarke CEO of Mental Health Reform Ireland; Senator Tom Clonan who has campaigned against gender discrimination, sexual violence against women and is an advocate for children and young people with disabilities, Dr Brigid Quilligan, Manager of Kerry Travellers Health and Community Development Project and spokesperson for the Traveller community, Ian O’Connell, well known Killarney native, inspirational young person and presenter on Radio Kerry.

‘Spotlight on Youth Mental Health – Living Without Limits’ was part of the Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Festival, according to Berni Smyth, CEO of KDYS.

Berni opened the discussion by describing the panel as ‘fearless leaders who have faced personal adversity, challenged stereotypes, questioned societal norms and shone a light on injustice’.

"The panel spoke about the current challenges and opportunities in Ireland to support youth mental health to a packed audience of young people, KDYS partner organisations, KDYS staff and volunteers and members of the public," she explained. 

"The panel talked about their individual motivations for speaking out on behalf of others, the importance of being honest about our own mental health and creating safe spaces for young people to express themselves."

Roisin Clarke, CEO of Mental Health Reform Ireland referred to the commitment of an additional €72.8 million to mental health services in Budget 2023 and reform of the Mental Health Act 2001. Critically, the appointment of a dedicated HSE youth mental health lead role will assist with the governance and oversight of mental health services for young people and will ensure that the role of the voluntary community sector in supporting youth mental health is recognised.

Dr Brigid Quilligan explained that there is still a stigma within some parts of the Traveller community to open up about mental health. Ian O’Connell and Senator Clonan agreed that it can be particularly challenging for men to admit they need support with mental health and said that using their platform on this issue had given other men permission to admit they need support. Ian emphasised the importance of ‘reaching out when you need to’.

"The session ended with questions and comments from the audience. Seamus Whitty, Youth Development Officer from KETB, reflected on how powerful the simplest exchange between a supportive adult and young person can be."

Berni thanked the panellists for their contribution to a ‘thought-provoking and hopeful’ morning and asked the audience to continue to lobby local politicians and ministers to review the disappointing 1.6% allocation to youth work in the recent budget.

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Wine, art and lots of catching up at popular fundraiser

By Michelle Crean Spirits were high and the atmosphere electric at this year’s Wine & Art Night which had a huge attendance on Wednesday night. Over 50 exhibitors gathered in […]

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By Michelle Crean

Spirits were high and the atmosphere electric at this year’s Wine & Art Night which had a huge attendance on Wednesday night.

Over 50 exhibitors gathered in the Great Southern Killarney as the Killarney Rotary Club’s fundraising event – which is one of the biggest in the town each year – was back after a COVID break.

During the afternoon the artists and crafters, many who travelled from all over Kerry, Clare, Cork and even Waterford this year, organised their display for the event. Later that evening there were a lot of familiar faces but also some new people who absolutely loved the evening.

There were many wines available to taste as well as cheese and breads at the event which is run in conjunction with Daly’s SuperValu, Killarney and Killarney Brewing Company.

“There was a huge attendance and everybody was in good spirits to be back to normal,” President of Rotary, Rayla Tadjimatova, said.

“Many of the patrons were buying some art as Christmas presents and the members of Rotary were delighted to be kept busy packing these. A portion of all art sales goes to the fundraiser. One local young man, who is only 16, exhibited his beautiful photographs of local scenic areas. There was an auction of donated works of art and a Kerry Jersey. All one hundred percent of the proceeds from this auction goes to the fundraiser.”

Mike Neeson entertained the crowd on arrival and right until the end of the night.

“Mike is a great supporter of our events and we would like to thank him for keeping everybody entertained.”

The Irish Pilgrimage Trust ran the raffle and they had some wonderful hampers and gifts to be won.

Beneficiaries from this year’s event are: Coolick NS, Gaelscoil Faithleann NS, Knockanes NS, Holy Cross Mercy NS, St Francis Special School, Kerry Stars, Killarney Athletic AFC, and Killarney Cougars Basketball Club.

She thanked everybody for attending and everyone for their help organising the event.

Some, she added, had never been before and said they did not know what exactly the night involved but will definitely be back again next time as it was “so enjoyable”.

“We hope the money raised will help the beneficiaries to proceed with projects,” she said.

“We are delighted for Rotary to be able to help these charities, community groups and schools through our fundraising event.”

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Comedy drama ready for the stage

By Michelle Crean Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage. What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy […]

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By Michelle Crean

Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage.

What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy father and a confused visitor to the dentist, all have in common? You’ll have to come along to the Killarney Avenue Hotel on Monday, December 12, Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 at 8pm to find out.

The popular drama group will present their three new comedies featuring the work of playwrights Brian Bowler, Ger Madden and Mary Quirke.Come along for a night filled with fun and laughter. Just the right beginning to the festive season. Doors open at 7.15pm and tickets are available at the door. All tickets; adults, seniors, students and children are €10. Don’t miss a great night out.

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