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Government announces increased measures to fight spread of COVID-19

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By Michelle Crean

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has just announced increased measures to fight spread of COVID-19 including a National COVID-19 Income Support Scheme.

During a live televised broadcast he said that schools, universities and childcare centres will remain closed until April 19, all non-essential retail outlets are to close, outdoor gatherings are now reduced to four unless from the same family, no unnecessary travel now or over the Easter period, all hotels are to limit occupancy to "essential non-social and non-tourist reasons", caravan parks are to close, there’ll be an increased presence of Park Rangers, new powers will be afforded to Gardai, while private hospitals will operate as public under Section 38 of the Health Act - freeing up a large number of beds.

He said that from midnight tonight (Tuesday) theatres, clubs, gyms, hairdressers, libraries and similar outlets are to shut, and all cafes and restaurants should limit their supply to takeaways only.

The new National COVID-19 Income Support Scheme will provide financial support to Irish workers and companies affected by the crisis.

In summary:
* a temporary wage subsidy of 70% of take home pay up to a maximum weekly tax free amount of €410 per week to help affected companies keep paying their employees. This is the equivalent of €500 per week before tax
* workers who have lost their jobs due to the crisis will receive an enhanced emergency COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week (an increase from €203)
* the COVID-19 illness payment will also be increased to €350 per week
* the self-employed will be eligible for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (rather than the Revenue scheme)
* enhanced protections for people facing difficulties with their mortgages, rent or utility bills
* it follows from a range of supports already in place to help business through the crisis

The Government is taking these extraordinary measures to help ordinary Irish citizens and families during this period of great economic and social stress.

These measures will be costly – with an initial estimated cost of €3.7 billion over a 12 week period, he said.

The Government believes these costs are necessary to ensure social solidarity with workers and their families affected by the crisis.

“The impact of COVID-19 has been sudden and enormous,” the Taoiseach said. “The cost of all this will be great. We’re ahead of the curve in terms of taking action.”

He emphasised that physical distancing, hand washing and staying at home are the most important measures people can take.

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Sinead is queen of the court

By Con Dennehy With a mix of excitement, drama and impressive solo performances on offer, the Spa/Killarney Handball Tournament on Monday night showcased the best of upcoming talent in the sport. Competitions for Beginners and Advanced players at the magnificent Spa GAA facility has ensured the long term success of the sport in the greater […]

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By Con Dennehy

With a mix of excitement, drama and impressive solo performances on offer, the Spa/Killarney Handball Tournament on Monday night showcased the best of upcoming talent in the sport.

Competitions for Beginners and Advanced players at the magnificent Spa GAA facility has ensured the long term success of the sport in the greater Killarney region.

One of the most impressive performances on the night was in the Beginners Category where local star Sinead Moriarty secured a number of electrifying victories to win the overall title.

“This was a very competitive competition. In the opening games Neill Horgan was defeated by Rosin King from Glenbeigh 13-15 with Sinead Moriarty getting the better of exchanges with Bríd Horgan (Spa) 15-8. In the other game Niamh Faulds from Glenflesk lost to Elena O’Donoghue (Spa) 15-10 despite a very brave effort from Niamh,” said Eoin O’Donoghue, secretary of Spa Killarney Handball Club.

In the semi-finals Sheila Kelliher lost to Elena O’Donoghue (Spa) 15-11 with Sinead Moriarty defeating Rosin King 15-12.

“In a pulsating final Sinead saw off the dogged challenge of Elena O’Donoghue 15-11. While Sinead dominated this game, she looked in control and played a brilliant tournament throughout and was a deserving overall winner.”

In the Advanced category there were wins for Evan Enright and Eoin O’Donoghue in the opening games.

In the quarter finals Even Enright saw off the challenge of Brendan O’Donoghue 15-8 while Eoghan Daly defeated Eoin O’Donoghue 15-11, Aoife Walsh (Currow) defeated Maggie Quirke (Glenbeigh) 15-7 and Brian McEvoy beat Michael Clifford 15-6.

Semi-final success for Evan Enright and Eoghan Daly saw them battle it out in a pulsating final with Daly taking the title on a 15-12 scoreline.

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Soroptimists fundraising efforts not “hampered” by COVID

By Michelle Crean COVID didn’t “hamper” their efforts this year as members of the Killarney Soroptimist Club came together and gave generously to charity. Members of the group couldn’t hold normal meetings this year due to the ongoing restrictions but pulled together to continue supporting a women’s aid countywide service. Along with family and friends […]

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By Michelle Crean

COVID didn’t “hamper” their efforts this year as members of the Killarney Soroptimist Club came together and gave generously to charity.

Members of the group couldn’t hold normal meetings this year due to the ongoing restrictions but pulled together to continue supporting a women’s aid countywide service.

Along with family and friends they created Christmas hampers for the third year running and donated them to the ADAPT Centre in Tralee on Tuesday.

There, they presented them to Catherine Casey, who is the Manager of ADAPT Women’s Refuge Centre.

“It is wonderful to be in a position to donate these Christmas hampers to ADAPT once again this year,” Killarney Soroptimist Club President, Teresa Irwin, said.

“Due to COVID and not being able to hold normal club meetings we were unsure what we could manage. We are thrilled with the response since we decided to go ahead and amazed at the generosity and the number of hampers. We wish to thank all those that donated. Hopefully the residents of ADAPT will enjoy them.”

Catherine said that they were once again very grateful to all the members of the Killarney Soroptimist Club.

“We recognise that there is a lot of organising and work done by the Club President Teresa Irwin and all the members in collecting and putting the hampers together. It is heartwarming to see the support and generosity of the club. ADAPT Kerry and the Killarney Soroptimists have built a very good relationship over the last number of years and they have lead many campaigns to highlight our service in the Killarney area, including taking part in the ‘Safe Homes, Safe Communities’ initiatives. There is no doubt that their work raises awareness of our service and has contributed to many more women making contact with us for support by phone, through our outreach service and availing of refuge.”

If you would like to talk to ADAPT Kerry please ring 066 7129100 anytime.

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