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‘I want to be a mayor that is representative of the wider community’




PARKING and traffic management in Killarney are among issues Killarney Municipal District’s new mayor highlighted as he took office this morning.

As he donned the chain of office, Councillor Niall Kelleher also pledged to focus on the need for improved safety at the Upper Lewis Road junction leading to the Killarney Bypass road, an issue on which Killarney Advertiser has also strongly campaigned. This along with a number of other junctions such as Madam’s Hill, Coolcaslagh and Pike Hill, all need to be made safer, he said.

Councillor Kelleher, who is three years in to his first term as an elected representative, said he believes he now has the knowledge to be able to approach the role from a different perspective.

“I welcome the new chain of office which is representative of the entire municipal district and it's important because the town of Killarney and the hinterland, stretching to our other towns of Castleisland, my own native Rathmore and the wider communities, co-exist and are very much interlinked in our daily lives, whether through sport, through music, through work or through socialising,” said Cllr Kelleher.

“I want to be a mayor that is representative of this wider community and to further promote inclusivity and dialogue among all groups, both commercial and voluntary.”

Councillor Kelleher said he looked forward to working with groups such as the Chamber of Tourism & Commerce in Killarney, the Chamber in Castleisland, Rathmore Community Council and with the many community, voluntary and sporting organisations in the towns and villages of the Killarney Municipal District.

“This is important as it's only through dialogue and sharing each other's experiences and motivations that we all move forward together, working for the greater good of our community as a whole,” said Cllr Kelleher.

“We have a special and unique district and I believe we are the well placed to achieve many things but we need to constantly strive to build on this and make our community the best place to grow up in, to be educated in, to work in, to do business in and to grow old in.”

Buildings like the Aras Phádraig and the Pretty Polly site are of unique importance to the town, said Mayor Kelleher. “I want to ensure that these sites are developed and life brought back into them and creating employment for our town,” he said.

“My own town of Rathmore needs major development to one make it brighter, both during the day in its appearance and at night and we need a vastly upgraded public lighting system there to entice business back onto our Main Street and to reopen some of the units closed during the recession.

“Castleisland has many similar difficulties in that there are many vacant units. We need to introduce a rates incentive scheme for non-competing new businesses and proactively deal with the long-term parking difficulties on the Main Street as well as the lack of a proper infrastructure to allow safe turning around at the top of the town.”

Cllr Kelleher is also in favour of broadcasting council meetings on the Internet. “As we haven't been able to deliver this, for a variety of reasons, I'm hoping to bring our meetings into the heart of communities we represent,” he said.
“Instead of meeting in the same place all the time, I believe we should also go out into the community and meet the people, by hosting at least one meeting in our three towns and also for example at our airport where we can sit down with the stakeholders to see how we can help to promote this vitally important asset in our municipal district.

“I'm not afraid to work hard and I'm passionate about the work I do. I am never afraid to speak my mind but I won’t speak for the sake of it and if I feel it’s for the betterment of the people and the area we live in, I shall continue speaking out for the people and raising their concerns.”

Mayor of Killarney, Cathaoirleach of Killarney Municipal District, Cllr Niall Kelleher (FF) and his stepdaughter Portia Gor.



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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