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Kerry Airport is a triumph of spirit over reason




Killarney’s Tom Randles and the Tralee Chamber Alliance have tackled the Irish Times business position last weekend that it is time for Kerry Airport to “fly solo”. Propped up with Government grants, the “village” airport stands as “peculiar example of the Republic’s sub-standard ability to plan good transport solutions for its citizens,” is the Irish Times’ view

The country is paying to subvent an airport for a village of 84 and a passenger load of a quarter of the 1.2 million that makes any airport near viable, the Irish Times Cantillon column stated.

As Kerry Airport approaches its 50th anniversary, it is time to let it go on a wing or a prayer as it is “a drain on finances,” is the consensus of the column, a column inspired by the French-Irish man regarded as the father of economic writing, Richard Cantillon (born in Kerry by the way).

Dublin is being held up as an example of a busy airport. But there is no mention of the fact that Dublin Airport has among the worst records in Europe this summer in terms of flight delays. Dublin is overloaded and as this column has argued before, the Dublin load should be spread around, not least to Cork where buses depart the city on the hour for Dublin Airport. There is a lobby now for a second and maybe a third runway for Dublin!

Kerry Airport is, of course, a triumph of spirit over reason: most achievements in the human sphere are. (It is necessary increasingly to say “human sphere” because the species has increasingly to compete with dogs/animals on the one side, and robots on the other.) But it is particularly dispiriting to see the Kerry Airport project attacked by the Dublin establishment, of which the Irish Times is the respected voice.

Certainly, faced with “economic reason” (is there any other kind these days?) Kerry does not “need” an airport. It has already a heavily subsidised rail and bus link, this is true.

Generations of TDs and ministers, as I have pointed out before, have failed us spectacularly in Kerry with regard to road links. It is belittling, and surely must be embarrassing for anyone involved in national politics, to see how long it is taking to get two basic bypasses for Kerry in Adare and Macroom when what is needed are motorway links to Tralee and Killarney.

When you think about it, there are more rural than city TDs in the Dáil, yet they have failed again and again to cross party lines and come together and come up with proper infrastructure for south and west Munster. In their failure they have allowed Dublin to eat up the rest of the country. This is the real failure of the Dáil: the failure of the rural TDs to adopt a common strategy so the rest of the country can prosper.

The truth is that the country properly planned “needs” only one airport and that  would be in Athlone smack in the centre with high speed rail and road links. That is not going to happen.

But what is entirely glossed over by everyone are the real reasons that inspired Kerry Airport and I turn to the introduction by airport chairman Denis Cregan to Donal Hickey’s 2009 book Kerry in the Jet Age, where the founders are rightly called “visionaries”.

“One of the many motivating factors for the building of the airport was the need to create access to Kerry for many people who emigrated for economic purposes. In the early years of the airport project, the visionaries would have been very familiar with the writings of John Healy, his championing of rural Ireland and his book Nobody Shouted Stop.”

The social reason was one, the industrial development of the region was another, Cregan says, giving full credit by the way to politicians for the grants for the airport.

But I would suggest there is an overwhelming third reason: Kerry needs increasingly not just to be connected to Dublin, which has failed it, but directly to Europe and North America, so it can bypass Dublin.

Unfortunately, the Dublin-centric view only sees the road to Dublin, and the need to connect with Dublin. Kerry in its increasing reliance on tourism and hopefully foreign investment has at least as great a need to be nearer Berlin and probably Boston these days.

And on this note, the Cantillon column might need to reflect on that key correspondence through history and before the foundation of this State, between Kerry and Europe, whether it is via Daniel O’Connell or Richard Cantillon. Like O’Connell, who was educated in France, Cantillon emigrated to France, not Dublin, and it was there he developed his economic theories.

Dublin has had plenty of time to give Kerry opportunities and a fighting chance over the past 100 years. It has failed to do so. It is time now for Kerry to fly solo in a real sense and time to recognise the reason for the need of the airport is not just economic need.

As Tralee Chamber Alliance argues, it is more, not less, investment that is needed for Kerry, “an airport  with direct flights to seven destinations: London Luton, London Stansted, Frankfurt-Hahn, Berlin Schönefeld SXF, Alicante and Faro (summer) with Ryanair, and to Dublin with Aer Lingus Regional offering connections to the United States and Middle East.”





Donie McCarthy to be remembered by Firies GAA with golf classic

On the approach of the second anniversary of his passing, Firies GAA have taken the opportunity to both acknowledge and pay tribute to the late Donie McCarthy by organising a […]




On the approach of the second anniversary of his passing, Firies GAA have taken the opportunity to both acknowledge and pay tribute to the late Donie McCarthy by organising a golf classic in his name. Donie was a key figure; player, coach, mentor and officer in the club for many years.

Michael Quirke, former team mate and part of the events’ committee, outlined the significance of remembering and acknowledging the legacy that Donie left to his beloved club. “Donie exemplified the concept of a club stalwart, his love of both the game and the development of the club was boundless. His energy towards the development of young players is truly visible today in Firies. Donie got great satisfaction from seeing young players improve, and as they got older and achieve success with Firies. During his successful playing days, he helped lead Firies to secure the O’Sullivan Cup title in 1979 and went onto manage and coach many Firies teams down through the years. Since his untimely passing in November 2022, the club has aspired to acknowledge his legacy.”

Final preparations are being put in place for the classic which takes place on Saturday, July 13, in Maine Valley Members Golf Club, Killorglin. The classic, which includes GUI handicap applied with a maximum adjusted handicap of 24 for men and 36 for ladies, promises to be a great day celebrating Donie, with top team, nearest the pin, and longest drive prizes.

Family, friends and former club mates of Donie gathered to officially launch the golf classic in Pairc Eamonn, along with Kerry Senior Footballer; Dara Moynihan to lend his support the event. The Firies GAA Club were eager to recognise L. & M. Construction, of New York City for their generous contribution towards The Donie McCarthy Memorial Golf Classic. The American company, has strong club connections and supports many of the club events. “Without this support, we would be unable to organise such events. The Club would also like to acknowledge the members who attended the launch today from young to old to recognise Donies’ contribution”. A club spokesperson said this week.

If you or your club are interested in submitting a team of four at €200 per team, you can contact Brendan Quirke 087-9172854, Dermot O’Connor 087-6958610, Michael Quirke 087-6683699 or Maine Valley Members Golf Club 066-9761979. Likewise, sponsored tee boxes are available for €50.

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Muckross Lottery goes online

Muckross Community Association has announced the launch of its new online facility for playing the Muckross Lottery. The Muckross Lottery community fundraiser has operated since 1995, raising thousands of euro […]




Muckross Community Association has announced the launch of its new online facility for playing the Muckross Lottery.

The Muckross Lottery community fundraiser has operated since 1995, raising thousands of euro for the benefit of local community groups and bodies including Loughquittane National School, Muckross ICA and Muckross Rowing Club among others.

Over the years, countless prize winners have also benefited in the share of jackpot and Match 3 prize wins.

The first Muckross Lottery draw was held in the summer of 1995, a year which also saw the opening of the Muckross Community Centre.
At the time, the lottery draw was a first of its kind in Killarney and was to set a fine example for the many other sports club and community lotteries that were later established in the town.

The community fundraiser has continued to be a vital support, initially securing the completion of the Muckross Community Centre and over time generating funds for the development of school, community and sporting facilities in the Muckross area.

Since 1995, the lottery has been sustained by the unwavering commitment of local sellers and a dedicated committee within the community association.

A number of the lottery’s founding members continue to sell weekly tickets to this day in support of local causes.

In a move with the times and ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Muckross Lottery, the association is now building for the future and launching its new online lottery facility.

Ahead of the online launch this month, the Association has collaborated with Irish company ClubForce, a leading provider of online lottery systems, to develop the secure online system.

It is hoped the new online facility will generate new lottery sales, extend the lottery’s reach to those living abroad and sustain the community fundraiser long into the future.

Existing lottery supporters who avail of the online option can also enjoy the benefits of new features including a weekly results email, ticket auto renewal and access to ticket purchase history. The Association are also keen to highlight that existing hard copy tickets will continue to be available and sold as normal.

The Community Association is seeking the support of all residents of the Muckross area and all those with a connection to the community, to spread the word and get behind the new online lottery.

Online tickets can now be purchased ahead of the weekly draws on June 22, June 29 and throughout July.

The jackpot for June 22 stands at €5,050 with a rollover each week if the jackpot is not won. Online lottery tickets can be purchased each week (3 tickets for €5). A single €2 ticket can also be purchased for multiple draws. The lottery’s annual ‘green’ ticket is also available online for €100 and continues to include two free draws.

Link to Muckross Lottery online.

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