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INEC debut a dream come true

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By Michelle Crean

Taking to the INEC stage with their very own show was a dream come true for young actors and writers this week.

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The teens brought 'Prom Queen: The Jukebox Musical’ to life on the big stage on Monday, and did it all again on Tuesday for 400 local students.

While it may have been a daunting task to write, produce and act in their own show, the youngsters took it all in their stride and delivered outstanding performances.

The musical was written, created and starred 15-year-old Sinéad Greene, a Third Year student at Killarney Community College. Her friend Rachel Griffin (17) was co-director, executive producer and also a lead actor, and the cast included local students from Killarney and surrounds.

The aim of the show was to bring awareness to issues such as mental health, bullying, domestic abuse.

There were also references to suicide and LGBTQ+ representation but the idea was to create dialogue and get the conversation going.

"We’re still all on a high! Another 400 attended the show for schools and the feedback to date has been absolutely incredible!" Sinead's mom, Katrin Pietzonka, told the Killarney Advertiser.

"Lots of praise for all cast members but especially to Sinead, Marie and Rachel Griffin, the executive producer, who made it all possible!"

She added that they are all grateful for all the support throughout the Prom Queen journey!

"Special thanks to Kieran Somers, Lily MacMonagle, Shannon and Makaela Crowley from the MACademy, Tony O’Flaherty from Killarney Community College, all the parents and everybody who believed and supported this amazing youth project!"

Lily MacMonagle from MACademy said that the "young adults have surpassed any expectation that me or anyone from The MACademy could have imagined".

"Their passion, creativity and patience for the dramatic arts is outstanding. This show is humorous, full of love, clever, funny and compassionate but more than anything it is relatable to everyone young and old sitting in the theatre. I take my hat off to the whole cast, to the writer to the director, you’ve only just begun."

Filmmaker Jessica Courtney Leen, who is also Head Drama Tutor at the West End House School of Arts, added that it's been really special following their journey.

"Killarney has something really inspiring here - this is a group of entrepreneurial young people who’ve created something they love and brought so much joy to their audiences because of it," she said.

"There’s talent in abundance here but it’s not even about that, it’s about the community they’ve created and the magic they’ve shared. Myself and all of the West End House family are so proud of our students in this group, and of every person involved. Hopefully we’ll see some of them at our Youth Theatre Club in January. Congratulations to everyone on PQ the musical.”

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Is it a good time to sell your property?

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year. The MyHome.ie quarterly report found the market had held up […]

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By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year.

The MyHome.ie quarterly report found the market had held up better than evidence had suggested in 2022. The number of vendors cutting asking prices remained at low levels, while many house prices were being settled above asking prices.

However, the report warned that the resilience of the housing marking is set to be tested this year. It found annual asking price inflation slowed to six percent nationwide, meaning the asking price for the average home in Ireland is now €330,000.

There were 15,000 available properties for sale on MyHome.ie in the fourth quarter of the year – an improvement on the same time last year but still below pre-pandemic levels.

Average time to sale agreed was 2.7 months nationwide which the report said is indicative of a very tight housing market.

The report said it expects to see 28,400 house completions in 2022, exceeding its previous forecast of 26,500 finished units.

The author of the report, Conall MacCoille, Chief Economist at stockbrokers Davy, said it appeared the market had held up better than evidence had suggested.

“The number of vendors cutting their asking prices is still at low levels. Also, transactions in Q4 were still being settled above asking prices, indicative of a tight market,” he said.

Recent months had seen worrying trends in the homebuilding sector, with housing starts slowing, and the construction PMI survey pointing to the flow of new development drying up.

“We still expect housing completions will pick up to 28,400 in 2022 and 27,000 in 2023. However, the outlook for 2024 is far more uncertain. The Government’s ambitious plans to expedite planning processes are welcome although, as ever, the proof will be in the pudding,” he added.

Locally, and unsurprisingly, the lack of supply of new and second-hand properties remains the dominant issue. There has been very little new construction due largely to the rising cost of construction, labour, materials and utilities which in turn is putting pressure on the second hand market.

This market proved particularly strong in 2022 with active bidding experienced on the majority of house sales and a large proportion of guide prices being generally exceeded.

The detached family home end of the market is particularly strong with increased competition for a limited number of available well located family homes.

So, what lies ahead and is it a good time to sell your property?

The answer is a tight market with scarcity of supply being a factor. If selling now you will benefit greatly from a lack of supply of available homes (therefore less competition) provided your property is marketed correctly of course!

For anyone considering placing their property on the market, contact DNG Ted Healy 064 6639000 killarney@dng.ie for genuine honest advice on how to achieve the best possible price for your home.

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Tourism VAT rate should be “continued indefinitely”

A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its […]

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A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its customers”.

The reduced VAT rate of 9% was introduced by the Government in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the hospitality sector.

“I believe a return to a 13.5% Tourism VAT rate would be counterproductive at this stage, to small and medium businesses that welcome visitors to our country and our county,” Councillor Michael Cahill said.

“Catered food is already charged at 13.5%, alcohol at 23% and accommodation presently at 9%. This sector is providing pretty decent returns to the Exchequer and should be supported. All parties in this debate, including the Government and accommodation providers, should review their position and ensure their actions do not contribute to ‘killing the Goose that laid the Golden Egg’.”

He explained that the tourism industry is “in a very volatile market”, as can be seen by the enormous challenges “posed by COVID-19 in recent years”.

“A grain of rice could tip the balance either way and great care must be taken not to damage it irreparably. We are all aware that the next six to 12 months will be extremely difficult for many businesses with the increase in the cost of oil and gas, etc,, and a return to the 13.5% VAT rate will, in my opinion, close many doors. If a minority are ‘price gouging’, then it should be possible to penalise them and continue to support the majority who offer value for money to our visitors.”

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