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Fire believed to have started accidentally

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“Entire National Park at risk from unrepairable fire damage” - local wildlife expert says

By Sean Moriarty

Forrest fires in Killarney National Park are putting the entire park and Muckross House at risk - well-known local nature lover and Mangerton resident Frank Lewis said this week.

22 firefighters from Killarney and Killorglin Fire Stations battled the flames - which could be seen from miles around - for more than eight hours.
The blaze, which destroyed 100 acres of scrublands near Torc Waterfall and the locally known Cardiac Hill, is believed to have started on the Old Kenmare Road, a popular hiking route, on the northern face of Mangerton Mountain, and quickly spread to the Torc Waterfall area.

Once the fire was contained near the summit of Mangerton, firefighters left for a short break and returned later on Saturday morning for a further three hours.
County fire officials and local Gardai are still investigating the cause of the fire.

The burning of dead grasslands is legal between September 1 and February 28. Farmers burn commonage to facilitate the growth of new grass for livestock grazing purposes.

However, Friday night’s inferno was not on commonage land and unconfirmed reports suggest it was caused by a irresponsibly discarded cigarette butt or the remains of a picnic or barbecue.

“If this fire spread any further in it could have taken out the entire tree cover of the national park, it could have taken out a place like Muckross House,” Mr Lewis, the presenter of Radio Kerry’s Saturday Supplement, said. “Controlled burning of land is for the benefit of everyone, and back in the day the Herbert Estate staff would burn certain parts every five years in a controlled way. But these wildfires are irresponsible and it is only a matter of time before the damage done will take generations to repair.”

Scrubland on the mountain top can grow as high as one metre and according to local sources this is adding to the fire risk. Locals believe that by extending the burning season in to the middle of March and by allowing annual burning of the same areas would reduce the risk of fires getting out of control.

They also believe that this would solve the roaming deer issues on main roads through the National Park.

“Deer want to graze on fresh grass and it is no longer available on high ground,” added a source who did not want to be named. “If the land was burned once a year it would reduce the risk and fresh grass would grow on the mountain top so the deer would not roam on the roads.”

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Muckross Rowing Club members on Irish teams for two major regattas

  Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events. Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse […]

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Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events.

Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta.

Daniel Fleming and Ian Coffey have both been selected for the Under 19 Irish squad to race at the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta for European junior rowers. The Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta, involving 16 European countries, will be held over from over three days, August 9-11 in Racice, Czechia.

Four Under 23 university rowers from the Muckross club have also been selected as part of the Senior Irish squad for the Home International Regatta this month.

Niamh Coffey (University of Limerick), Patrick Buckley (University of Limerick), Finn O’Sullivan (University of Limerick) and Ethan O’Neill (University College Cork Rowing Club) will take on the ‘Triple Crown’ event of rowing, competing for Ireland against crews from England, Scotland and Wales.

The Home International Regatta will be held on Saturday, July 27 in Strathclyde, Scotland.

All six Muckross rowers have earned their green jerseys following a lengthy and testing trial series on land and water which began in Autumn 2023 and culminated in final water trials at the end of June.

“Muckross Rowing Club sends its best wishes to the very talented Muckross oarsmen and women and all their crewmates as they fly the flag for Ireland this summer. The talented group build on a successful record in the sport,” said club PRO Tim O’Shea.

Niamh Coffey is a multiple Irish and University Championship winner and has previously represented Ireland in the Under 23 European Championships.

In 2022, O’Neill rowed at Junior level at the Home International event and won a gold medal as part of the Irish quadruple scull crew in the 500m sprint event.

Both Buckley and O’Sullivan continue to compete at the highest level nationally with the University of Limerick Rowing Club,  and join the Irish squad for the first time this year.

The international selections come at an exciting time before the Olympic Regatta in Paris, where Zoe Hyde (Tralee Rowing Club) will be among the largest Irish rowing contingent of 16 rowers to contest an Olympic Games.

Killorglin native Zoe has previously rowed for both Killorglin and Muckross rowing clubs and will race the Women’s Double event for Ireland with Alison Bergin (Fermoy Rowing Club) in Paris.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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