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Kerry Airport vows to fight back after pandemic losses

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By Sean Moriarty

Kerry Airport has warned that it could years to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic.

The airport's Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place in Tralee last week where the 2019 year-end financial report was presented to shareholders.

The airport reported a strong 2019, but so far this year passenger numbers are at an alarming low level.

Less than one thousand people used the facility between April and June this year.

Only 808 passengers travelled through the airport, all on the Aer Lingus Regional Kerry-Dublin route, during the second quarter of 2020 compared to 102,534 on all routes for the same quarter last year.

“Our country continues its undaunted struggle to overcome this virus. There is no doubt, when the time is right and it is safe to do so, the airport will regroup and continue its mission in supporting Kerry and this regions’ economy,” Kerry Airport’s Chief Executive Officer John Mulhern said. “Undoubtedly there will be many months, if not years, of toil ahead to recover fully. Kerry Airport will face that challenge unabated.”

Prior to last week’s AGM The Minister of State with responsibility for International and Road Transport and Logistics, Hildegarde Naughten TD, visited the airport to hear a first-hand account of how the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions have affected Kerry Airport.

It is understood that during this meeting airport management asked for Government intervention to save Kerry and other regional airports.

“I am confident that the Government is fully aware of the steep downward trajectory in the financial position at all airports and will in due course announce industry specific financial measures to support us through the industry's continued lockdown,” Mr Mulhern added.

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Better late than never Christmas present for St Francis Special School

By Sean Moriarty St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use. Husband and wife team Ciaran […]

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By Sean Moriarty

St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use.

Husband and wife team Ciaran and Karen Dwyer, directors of Guerin Engineering and Pumps Ltd in Kilcummin, presented the special adapted bicycle to the staff and pupils at the Beaufort school on Tuesday.

After seeing an online request last December that the school needed the bike, they decided to gift one.

They contacted Glencar Medical, a Dublin-based firm that specialises in the supply of equipment to schools like St Francis, and ordered the bicycle.

However, nothing is straightforward in the current climate, Brexit, COVID and war all contributed to a delay in getting the bike to Ireland. Once it was in Dublin there were further delays in sourcing the special straps that St Francis’ children need to ride the bike safely.

It all came to a happy ending this week when the Dwyers were finally able to present their Christmas present to the school.

“We saw this request and we contacted the school and said we wanted to buy one, they told us where to get one, and we ordered it,” Karen told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We had it paid for by the end of the year but then it took three months to get it into the country. It took more time to import the specialist parts. The costs were increasing but we did not mind at all.”

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Jordan Lee to tell his story to the county’s schools

Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry. The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series […]

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Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry.

The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series of informal talks on his achievements and how he overcame his disability to reach the top of his chosen sport.

The 21-year-old was born with a foreshortened left arm known as amniotic band syndrome but has enjoyed a successful sports career which included representing Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Now he wants to share his story and inspire other students to follow their dreams.

His tour started last week at Colaiste na Sceilge in Cahersiveen and over the next few weeks, depending on his training schedule, will visit schools in Firies, Milltown, and Killarney.

“Don’t be afraid of people with disabilities or different backgrounds,” he said. “A few years ago there was only typical people in classrooms – you never came across people with disabilities or from various different countries. It is a lot more mixed now. I want to inspire people to treat everyone on the same level.”

‘Jordan’s Drive’ is made possible thanks to his role as a brand ambassador for Kelliher’s Garage, dealer principal, Tim Kelliher explained to the Killarney Advertiser.

“Having got to know Jordan so well over the last couple of years we have come to realise how much of an inspiration he is so we decided to ask him to hop into his Toyota CHR Hybrid and bring his story out into the highways and byways of the Kingdom,” he said.

“Headlined ‘Jordans Drive’ and organised by my marketing team headed by Yvonne McMahon they have travelled to many of the schools around Kerry from Cahersiveen to Beaufort, Killorglin and with other dates planned for Firies and Milltown to name but a few. He has spoken his many words of wisdom to the children who have been in awe of the journey and his achievements, and we at Kelliher’s Garage are delighted and proud to have him as our brand ambassador.”

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