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Fr Tom calls time after more than 50 years in the priesthood

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FAMILY: At the Golden Jubilee celebration Mass for Fr Tom Looney at the Prince of Peace Church Fossa last June were from left: James Looney, Fr Donal Looney, Mary Looney, Fr Tom Looney and Sean Looney. Picture: Eamonn Keogh

By Sean Moriarty

Tributes have been paid to Canon Tom Looney who has announced his retirement from the priesthood after over 50 years of service.

Fr Tom served as the parish priest of Fossa since 2015 but his contribution to Killarney life stretches from London to Peru and back.

He announced his retirement via the Prince of Peace Church’s parish newsletter which, due to the current crisis, is only published online.

Fr Tom will turn 75 later this year but the double cancer survivor will continue to play a scaled-back role both in the parish and in the Diocese of Kerry.

“After my 41 years of Priestly Ministry in Kerry Diocese together with 10 years Overseas’ Mission in London and Peru I take this opportunity of expressing my sincerest míle, míle buíochas to all who have inspired, encouraged, accompanied and supported me since 1962 when I entered St Patrick’s College, Maynooth,” he said. “To all of you here in Fossa I offer my heartfelt gratitude and in particular since my surgery, Golden Jubilee and recovery journey last year.”

Last June he and his family celebrated his 50th anniversary in the priesthood.

After leaving St Patrick’s College in Maynooth his first role was as a chaplain to Irish Immigrants in the Wembley area of North London.

He is one of the founding members of the Killarney-London Reunion, another association that celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

Cllr Donal Grady is another longstanding member of the same organisation.

“He was, and still is, highly respected over there. He did some wonderful work, not just for Kerry emigrants but for Irish immigrants as a whole,” Cllr Grady told the Killarney Advertiser.
Fr Tom was the guest of honour at the Killarney-London Reunion in the Crown Hotel Cricklewood last October.

“I would like to wish Fr Tom all the best on his retirement,” said long-time Killarney-London Reunion committee member Noel O’Sullivan. “We had the pleasure of having Fr Tom at our 50th-anniversary dinner in Cricklewood last October and I would like to thank him for all he has done for the reunion over the years. As a founding member, he has made an enormous contribution to Kerry life in London.”

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Better late than never Christmas present for St Francis Special School

By Sean Moriarty St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use. Husband and wife team Ciaran […]

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By Sean Moriarty

St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use.

Husband and wife team Ciaran and Karen Dwyer, directors of Guerin Engineering and Pumps Ltd in Kilcummin, presented the special adapted bicycle to the staff and pupils at the Beaufort school on Tuesday.

After seeing an online request last December that the school needed the bike, they decided to gift one.

They contacted Glencar Medical, a Dublin-based firm that specialises in the supply of equipment to schools like St Francis, and ordered the bicycle.

However, nothing is straightforward in the current climate, Brexit, COVID and war all contributed to a delay in getting the bike to Ireland. Once it was in Dublin there were further delays in sourcing the special straps that St Francis’ children need to ride the bike safely.

It all came to a happy ending this week when the Dwyers were finally able to present their Christmas present to the school.

“We saw this request and we contacted the school and said we wanted to buy one, they told us where to get one, and we ordered it,” Karen told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We had it paid for by the end of the year but then it took three months to get it into the country. It took more time to import the specialist parts. The costs were increasing but we did not mind at all.”

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Jordan Lee to tell his story to the county’s schools

Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry. The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series […]

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Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry.

The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series of informal talks on his achievements and how he overcame his disability to reach the top of his chosen sport.

The 21-year-old was born with a foreshortened left arm known as amniotic band syndrome but has enjoyed a successful sports career which included representing Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Now he wants to share his story and inspire other students to follow their dreams.

His tour started last week at Colaiste na Sceilge in Cahersiveen and over the next few weeks, depending on his training schedule, will visit schools in Firies, Milltown, and Killarney.

“Don’t be afraid of people with disabilities or different backgrounds,” he said. “A few years ago there was only typical people in classrooms – you never came across people with disabilities or from various different countries. It is a lot more mixed now. I want to inspire people to treat everyone on the same level.”

‘Jordan’s Drive’ is made possible thanks to his role as a brand ambassador for Kelliher’s Garage, dealer principal, Tim Kelliher explained to the Killarney Advertiser.

“Having got to know Jordan so well over the last couple of years we have come to realise how much of an inspiration he is so we decided to ask him to hop into his Toyota CHR Hybrid and bring his story out into the highways and byways of the Kingdom,” he said.

“Headlined ‘Jordans Drive’ and organised by my marketing team headed by Yvonne McMahon they have travelled to many of the schools around Kerry from Cahersiveen to Beaufort, Killorglin and with other dates planned for Firies and Milltown to name but a few. He has spoken his many words of wisdom to the children who have been in awe of the journey and his achievements, and we at Kelliher’s Garage are delighted and proud to have him as our brand ambassador.”

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