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Garda colleague to be remembered at annual school blitz

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By Michelle Crean

Football fever is set to take over the town this Monday as schools from across the county - including Killarney town - pitch against each other.

MEMORIAL CUP: Launching the 17th annual Garda Football Blitz for schools at Killarney Garda Station from l-r were: Sean O'Sullivan (Tadhg O'Suilleabháin Memorial Cup) Laughlan Scannell from Faha NS organiser Garda Eddie Walsh and Brendan McHugh from The Mon. Photo: Marie Carroll-O'Sullivan

18 schools - 17 from Kerry and one from Cork - a total of 270 pupils - will battle it out on the pitch for the Killarney Garda National School 7-a-side Football Blitz which is now in its 16th year.

They've waited quite some time for the annual blitz as the last one was held in 2019 before the pandemic stopped all events.

One of the organisers, Garda Eddie Walsh from Killarney Garda Station, said that it was "great to have it up and running again".

"Every school looks forward to playing in Fitzgerald Stadium," he told the Killarney Advertiser.

"This year we're paying tribute to our colleague Paudie Twohig who was involved in the blitz from the beginning. We're also inviting his family, his wife Diane who also works in Killarney Garda Station and daughters Tara and Olivia."

He added that the event is only possible through the kind sponsorship and cooperation from all those involved.

"I'd like to say thank you to Der Brosnan, Chair of Fitzgerald Stadium and his staff, all the Gardai in the Kerry District including retired members, our sponsor Tom Spillane Auctioneer, Daly's SuperValu, McCarthy's Londis Rathmore, and Tom Tobin Trophy World, the Kerry County GAA Board, Tim O'Sullivan Easy Clean Glenflesk and all the teachers and pupils from each school."

And new this year is the Tadhg O'Suilleabháin Memorial Cup which will go to the winners on the day to honour the late Lissivigeen National School principal who established the first national schools’ competition for young footballers in East Kerry in 1954.

"We are very grateful to the Killarney Gardaí who initiated and organise the Garda National Schools Blitz and who have welcomed this trophy to honour Tadhg’s work with schools' football," the O'Sullivan family said. "We are delighted to see the national schools’ competition thriving. We know that Tadhg would be immensely proud to be associated with this competition.”

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Killarney hotels are still open for business

By Sean Moriarty Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation. […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation.

This week she said that there’s still accommodation to be found in Killarney for visitors.

She was speaking in relation to the current accommodation situation facing International Protection Applicants and Ukrainian war refugees.

She explained that there is a perception that Killarney has taken in too many refugees and that it is putting the tourism industry at risk as people are starting to think that the town is at full capacity.

“If you can’t get a room in Killarney there is something wrong,” she said. “Maybe with the exception of New Year’s Eve.”

She added that hotels that are providing emergency accommodation are helping off-season unemployment.

Many hotels remain in survival mode after two years of pandemic turmoil and the additional off season business is important, she explained.

“Many could be closed at this time of the year, others would not be operating at full capacity,” she added.

However, she warned the Government needs to put a plan in place before the tourism season starts next year. Some hotels offering emergency accommodation either have a three or six month contract.

“I can see there will be tears next April – the Government must have a long-term plan,” she said.

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Homing refugees worth almost €14m

By Sean Moriarty Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees. The Department of Children, […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth released figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

Documents show that contracts totalling €13,852,255.00 are being shared between 13 premises in the Killarney urban area.

However, the department warned these figures are “indicative” only and the full value of the contracts depends on “occupancy and actual usage”.

The Eviston Hotel has secured a contract worth €5,727,590.00, the Innisfallen Hotel in Fossa for €2,404,620.00 and The Hotel Killarney signed a deal worth €1,701,000.00. These are the three biggest contracts published in the documentation.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, and Department officials say more contracts could come on stream. Figures seen by the Killarney Advertiser only cover contracted premises up to the end of September this year and updated figures are only released every three months.

“We are in contract with far more, but the formal exchange of contracts can take place sometime after the service commences,” a department spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is obliged to publish a list of contracts formally signed off each quarter that have been awarded under a special EU Derogation that permits the Department to enter into contracts in the context of the Ukraine accommodation crisis without going to formal tender.

“The values of the contracts shown are estimates; the actual value materialises upon occupancy and actual usage. Standard contracts have no-fault break clauses available to both parties so again, the figures are indicative rather than actual.”

These figures only cover Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war and do not include International Protection Applicants.

The Department refused to release International Protection Applicant figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

“The International Protection Applicant accommodation contract information is commercially sensitive information and is not available,” added the Department spokesperson.

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