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Kerry Food Hub officially opens new food production units

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Kerry Food Hub, a food innovation centre, has officially opened its 10 new 1,000sq ft food grade production units and launched of the artisanmarket.ie, a multi-vendor online marketplace linking artisan food producers and professional buyers.

ARTISAN FOOD: Minister for Education Norma Foley TD pictured at the opening of The Kerry Food Hub new food production units and the launch of the Artisanmarket.ie with from left: Kelly O’Halloran Kiera Fell Rosalyn O’Connor (Murphy’s Ice Cream) Michael Brosnan Niamh Kennedy (Murphy’s Ice Cream) and Lisa O’Halloran in Firies on Friday. Photo: Michelle Cooper Galvin

FAB FOOD: Jessica Clinton of Ballyhar Foods pictured with Minister for Education Norma Foley TD who opened The Kerry Food Hub new food production units and launched the Artisanmarket.ie on Friday. Photo: Michelle Cooper Galvin

OFFICIAL OPENING: Minister for Education Norma Foley TD cutting the tape to open The Kerry Food Hub new food production units and launch of the Artisanmarket.ie with David Gleeson (Chairman) Martin Brosnan (Project Manager) Anne O’Donoghue (Secretary) Morgan McMahon (Tres) Denis Dwyer Donal Spring and Mike McKenna (Directors) Cllr Jimmy Moloney Mayor of Kerry Sean Linnane (NEWKD) Jerry Moloney (Regional Manager Mid West Enterprise Ireland) Deputies Michael Healy Rae Sean Kelly (MEP) and food producers and entrepreneurs in Firies on Friday. Photo: Michelle Cooper Galvin

The 10 new spaces are part of the ongoing expansion of a community project comprising of four existing production units, which employ 40 people across four local food producers. This expansion will allow new food entrepreneurs to enter the market and facilitate established brands to scale up, delivering 162 local jobs and contributing an estimated €3 million in new income to the Kerry economy.

The online Artisan Market re-imagines the role of digital technology in the local food business. The platform enables local food producers to drive new value and leverage all elements of their unique brand and products, to grow and reshape the local food ecosystem across traditional industry borders. At the heart of this digital transformation strategy is sales and information exchange between the local food producer and professional buyers in the retail and hospitality sectors.

The Artisan Market facilitates an excellent opportunity to create more innovative business models and bring a new era of collaboration and partnership to all stakeholders.

The Kerry Food Hub is a not-for-profit community project located in Firies. It was the vision of local farmer David Gleeson who assembled a group of local social entrepreneurs to enhance employment opportunities in the region and make the community it serves a "better place to live".

"This considerable investment in the local economy and the online platform signifies confidence within Ireland's indigenous food artisan industry," David Gleeson, The Kerry Food Hub Chairman and Founder, said.

"The €2m investment ensures that The Kerry Food Hub will be a crucial source of employment within our local community. The platform offers the opportunity to re-think how we support our local food producers, providing a sharper focus on what consumers and visitors want to experience, great local food.

Without the investment from Enterprise Ireland, the Local community, North East West Kerry Development, Kerry County Council, Kerry Group, and Clann Credo, we would not be here today. We are truly grateful for their unwavering trust and belief in the project."

The Kerry Food Hub was established in 2016 and has enjoyed a one hundred percent uninterrupted occupancy since opening. While the activities over the past number of years have worked as a very successful proof of concept, the future is exceptionally bright. Through the extensive expansion of the existing premises and the development of the Artisan Market Platform, the board of local volunteers will aim to achieve their goal of encouraging and supporting local culinary talent.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch

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At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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