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Irish Wheelchair Association appeals for support as charity cancels annual street collection

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Irish Wheelchair Association in Kerry has decided to cancel its annual street collection due to the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the health and safety of the public, its volunteers and the people it supports.

 

The charity has launched an online appeal called ‘Without You, We’re Stuck’ and is asking people to make a donation through its website, www.iwa.ie.

Irish Wheelchair Association’s annual collection, which normally takes place across the country, raises €300,000 towards the charity’s work for people with physical disabilities. This is the first time in the collection’s 30-year history that it has been cancelled.

“The loss of this critical income is concerning at a time when our local fundraising events have already had to stop,” Terry O'Brien of the Irish Wheelchair Association Kerry said. “We estimate that we will have lost almost €1 million in fundraising income nationally by the end of the year. Without this support our services and the people we support will be stuck.

“We rely entirely on the generosity of the public to fund our wheelchair accessible buses, which are a lifeline for connecting people who cannot access public transport, to our services. Our children’s sports clubs, driving school and many other services are also supported through local fundraising efforts.

“We are all in this together as we face this pandemic and we are committed to protecting public health and that of our members and volunteers. As we sadly cancel our street collection, we are asking people, if they can afford it, to make a donation at iwa.ie.”

Irish Wheelchair Association is Ireland’s largest membership organisation for people with physical disabilities. It supports 4,000 people every week in every county of Ireland.

“This year is our 60th anniversary, and while we have had to postpone many plans, our frontline workers throughout Kerry have redoubled their efforts to ensure that nobody we support has been left alone and isolated throughout the crisis,” he said. “Our members in Kerry depend on our services and as an organisation we are working tirelessly to keep everyone we support connected to their communities.

“Our local community centres were turned into outreach services within hours of the lockdown being announced. Our assisted living team, which provides home support, has continued their essential work in peoples’ homes, with an emergency team of courageous frontline staff ready to work in full PPE with people who have to isolate.

“Our services are needed now, more than ever. We would be incredibly grateful if people could remember Irish Wheelchair Association services in Kerry this week and make a donation through our website.”

To support Irish Wheelchair Association’s ‘Without You, We’re Stuck’ appeal visit www.iwa.ie.

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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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