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It’s pastures new for Les as he joins the Aghadoe Hotel




By Sean Moriarty

Les Brzozka is the definition that determination and work can take you to the very top.

When he arrived in Ireland from Poland in 2006 he started as a salesman in a local furniture store.

This week he was appointed the assistant manager at the Aghadoe Heights Hotel.

Mr Les, as he affectionately known locally, always wanted to work in the hospitality industry and started out as a Trainee Manager at the Fairview Hotel in 2012 before being promoted to Duty Manager there less than a year later.

Always with his eye on the bigger picture, he took one step back to take two steps forward when he joined the team at the International Hotel in November 2015.

With support from the Coyne family, owners of the International Hotel, Les set out on a journey from the bottom to the top.

Starting out as a barman and restaurant specialist, by 2017 he was promoted to restaurant supervisor. In 2019 he joined the International Hotel’s Trainee Manager Programme, and doubled his work load by taking on courses at what was then called IT Tralee.

By March 2020, just as the pandemic set in, he was promoted to Duty Manager, and despite the disruption, he continued his studies while gathering vital on-the-job experience.

His journey reached its latest milestone in June when he passed his Hotel Management course from MTU Tralee with First Class Honours.

During the three years on the National Trainee Manager Development Programme for employees of the hotel industry he worked and gained experience in every department of the very busy 99-bedroom four-star International Hotel.

Les was the face of the International Hotel for many years, and he will be “forever grateful” to the Coyne family who run the town centre hotel.

But his new found qualification meant he was a prime target for every hotel in town and after several offers he finally got one he could not refuse from the Aghadoe Heights.

“All my life, I am not a jumper, I am committed, I became known as Mr International, and am forever grateful to Tracy and the Coyne,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “But the college course was like a rocket.”

Les had become such a popular figure in Killarney that it often took 40 minutes to walk from the Lewis Road car park to his place of work.

“I have not left the people of Killarney or my customers,” he said. “Now I am looking over them all from the top of the hill.”

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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 quarterly report found the market had held up […]




By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

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

The 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 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 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 […]




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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