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Game Set and Match for Killarney students




By Con Dennehy

Pupils attending Kerry Primary Schools are set to be top of the class when it comes to sporting and academic success and it’s all thanks to the development of a magnificent Handball Wall opened at Lissivigeen National School gymnasium this week.

Lissivigeen School in Killarney, offers the best and most modern sporting and academic facilities to enhance the development of students in a fully inclusive and holistic manner.

The Indoor Handball Wall initiative, the first of its kind in a Kerry primary school, has been spearheaded by the school community under the guidance of Tadhg O’Sullivan, a member of the Board of Management at the school and a founder member of Spa Killarney Handball Club.

“It will afford students the opportunity to sample one of Ireland’s oldest sports, handball, and provide a fun element as students are introduced to the sport,” said Tadhg, Kerry Handball Board Schools Liaison Officer.

Handball, thanks to the development of the Handball Wall, will now feature as one of the models in the School Recreational Programme and will also form part of the schools Physical Education Programme.

This week teachers from eleven Kerry Primary Schools attended a special handball introductory training programme at Lissivigeen National School hosted by Wexford native Marguerite Gore, Handball Ireland Regional Development Officer and Elaine Cahill from Kerry Recreational and Sports Partnership.

“Our role was to fund and present each of the participants with an information pack that will enable the teachers to coach the game of handball to the students. The afternoon in Lissivigeen was also a practical session where the teachers received hands on training from Marguerite on the rules and procedures involved in the sport.”

Brid Ryan, a teacher at Lissivigeen National School was one of the course participants and is looking forward to teaching the skills to her pupils.

“Playing handball dramatically improves the fine and gross motor skills of the participants. Concentration levels will soar and this will no doubt become evident in the classroom. There is also the added dimension of social interaction between the students and the added benefits that students will learn the skills and rules of a new sport.”

The Handball Wall developed at Lissivigeen School is expected to be the first of many in Kerry.

“From experience I was in a position to advise on the best materials and the correct construction and positioning of the wall which was skilfully built by Tom Hurley. A lot of work was also essential for correct and durable floor marking materials. However the most important element this week was training the teachers to run handball programmes in the school,” said Tadhg O’Sullivan who is now hoping to develop handball walls in other Kerry schools.



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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