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Handball stars shine brightly in London

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by Con Dennehy

Irish eyes were smiling in London at the weekend following phenomenal performances by Killarney’s handball stars at the prestigious United Kingdom Open One Wall Championship.

The standout players of the championships were Eoin O’Donoghue (Killarney) and John Joe Quirke (Glenbeigh) who were the pride of the Irish on Saturday and Sunday. They put in a devastating display of skill and passion to win the extremely competitive Men’s Doubles B Championship. After prevailing in a number of their opening games, they progressed to the semi-finals where they defeated the French duo of Tom Dutheil and Florina Vaujany 21-11.

In a hard-fought final, the Kerry players beat Naoise Green and Fionn Ó Súilleabháin (Ireland) 25-20 thanks in part to some great play from O’Donoghue.

“I was delighted with the win – it’s a great boost for handball in Kerry,” Eoin said. “We had to use all our experience and skill to edge past the Irish duo and win the title. It’s a great honour for my club, Spa Killarney. Many Kerry people living in London and our own families supported us on both days and this made winning the title very special.

“My doubles partner, John Joe, had a great weekend, winning the singles final and a silver medal in the over 40s doubles event.”

Teams from Ireland, England, France, Italy, USA, UK and Israel competed in the championships with four players from Killarney taking part.

In the Men’s C Singles competition, O’Donoghue finished mid-table in Group B following victories over Irish players Ger Scahill and Ray Carthy and defeat at the hands of James Toop (England) and Declan Keenan.

There was more success for Killarney in the over 40s competition as Brendan O’Donoghue and John Joe Quirke finish runners up in this hotly contested category. They were narrowly defeated by the American team of Carlos Torres and Jay Sanchez.

Elsewhere, Aoife Walsh and Sinéad Moriarty from Spa Killarney Handball Club both reached the semi-finals of the Women’s Singles competition. Walsh defeated Isabel Power (England) 21-4 but lost to Catherine Vos (England) and fellow Irish players Aoife McCarthy and Sinéad Hanley. She lost to Siobhan Prentice 21-16 in the semi-final.

Moriarty was defeated by Anastasya Spiridonov (Israel) and Irish players Sabrina Hughes and Siobhan Prentice while in the semi-final she was defeated by Catherine Vos (England) in a very exciting contest.

There was some consolation for the Killarney pair in the doubles competition where they finished a very credible third overall and just out of the medals after a classic encounter with the English duo of India Blaksley and Becky Connell.

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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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