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Funding down but demand for food up – say SVdD volunteers

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MEETING DEMAND: Volunteers with St Vincent de Paul Killarney Conference say there's a huge demand for food hampers this year. Pictured were: Mike Riordan, Niall Keogh, Liz Ryan, Jackie Foley, Brendan Joy, Dymphna Horgan and Breda Dwyer. Photo: Michelle Crean

 

By Michelle Crean

With funding decimated and a huge increase in families seeking assistance as a result of COVID this year the St Vincent de Paul (SVdD) is urging the public to help.

As volunteers prepare hundreds of hampers for the vulnerable in Killarney and surrounds, the Killarney Conference is expecting a massive demand on their services.

Speaking this week to the Killarney Advertiser, President of the local conference Breda Dwyer said that 2020 "is the toughest year" the service has experienced to date.

Not alone have they lost out on church gate collections - including the annual Christmas one - their biggest of the year usually runs the second weekend of December - but more families are in dire straights due to the loss of jobs or reduction in hours.

In recent weeks SVdP has sent out 6,000 envelopes to homes across the town and are asking people to give a generous donation to help raise the funds to fill the food hampers which will be distributed to their clients in need.

The service - which has also felt the loss of revenue with their charity shop closed in both the first and second lockdown - will also help by providing food vouchers, coal or oil to those who cannot afford it.

"It's our toughest year," Breda told the Killarney Advertiser this week.
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"Our main aim is to help people who are in poverty. Our church gate collection, that's our biggest fundraiser of the year but that won't be going ahead this year. That's an awful lot of fundraising we won't have this year. Our funds are down substantially and we're making a special appeal to people to please support SVdP as the needs of people have increased."

Volunteer Niall Keogh added that not only do they provide food and other provisions but can monitor those who need additional services like mental health.

However, due to COVID, calling in and just sitting and chatting to clients isn't possible this year.
"We can't call and sit down and have a chat. We can't access their mental health needs."
Anyone who needs support in any way should call 064 6634021 or 087 7718200. "They can leave a message and a volunteer will get back to them," he said.

And the service is also seeking more volunteers, anyone who'd like to give a hand can contact them on the numbers above.

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Relief as indoor dining finally resumes

By Michelle Crean After almost 500 days of closures the sense of relief was evident this week as restaurants, cafés and bars were finally allowed to welcome customers back in. Some had reopened for outdoor dining previously to help keep their businesses afloat but it was back to normal on Monday. According to the new […]

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By Michelle Crean

After almost 500 days of closures the sense of relief was evident this week as restaurants, cafés and bars were finally allowed to welcome customers back in.

Some had reopened for outdoor dining previously to help keep their businesses afloat but it was back to normal on Monday.

According to the new rules as set out by Fáilte Ireland and the Government, in order for customers to access indoor service, they must show proof that they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months. Those who are not yet vaccinated can only be served outside.

A maximum of six people aged 13 and over are allowed per table and it’s advised that face coverings be worn when not at the table, there is no time limit, customers can only eat or drink at a table and not at the bar or counter, and one person must give their details for contract tracing purposes. Live music and dancing is not allowed.

The Killarney Advertiser spoke to a number of businesses this week and overall the feeling was relief that they can finally get back to normal service but the issue of staffing still remains.

Brian Murphy from Courtney’s Bar said he was feeling nervous.

“I’m feeling nervous as we don’t have enough staff,” he said. “It’s a Monday so hopefully we can cope. Things will settle down and we’ll find a level we are all happy with.”

At the Porterhouse Restaurant Lee O’Callaghan said “It’s great to be back open and have people coming into the restaurant”.

“Hopefully we have a long season after being closed for so long.”

Staff at Reidy’s, Ellen Shannon, Rory Carroll and Jack Sweeney, added that they’re delighted to return to indoor dining.

“Hopefully we get back to normal soon and to brighter days ahead.”

At Jimmy Brien’s Bar in Fair Hill, customers echoed the same sentiments about being finally open.

“We are delighted to be back,” Danjoe Aherne said.

“We appreciate everything Alan Breen has done for us. We’re glad to be back home again!” Charlie Buckingham said.

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Time to get your skates on!

By Sean Moriarty People of Killarney are being urged to have their say on a new skateboard park before next week’s deadline. A public consultation on the project has been launched by Kerry County Council. Cllr Donal Grady, who first put forward the idea of a Killarney skateboard park in 2018, is urging the people […]

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By Sean Moriarty

People of Killarney are being urged to have their say on a new skateboard park before next week’s deadline.

A public consultation on the project has been launched by Kerry County Council.

Cllr Donal Grady, who first put forward the idea of a Killarney skateboard park in 2018, is urging the people of the town to have their say.

It is proposed to build the park on land adjacent to the Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre with help and support from the KDYS.

“In 2017 a group of skateboard enthusiasts approached me, they had no designated safe area to enjoy their sport. Sport is vital for youths, stakeboarding increases metabolism, improves balance and enhances coordination use,” Cllr Grady told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Skateboarding is now an Olympic sport. I commend Kerry County Council, management, engineers and the planning team for getting the project to this stage, it’s now up to the people of Killarney to have their say. It’s vital positive submissions are lodged by Wednesday, August 25,”

Submissions can be lodged to the Playground Unit, Finance Dept, Kerry County Council.

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