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Kerry soccer chief rejects claims that league breached COVID restrictions

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The Secretary of the Kerry District League, John O’Regan, has said that the money he collected from spectators at a recent game at Mounthawk Park in Tralee was for charity.

O’Regan denies claims that he charged an admission fee of €5 at the Premier A League Final between Killarney Athletic and Killarney Celtic, a match that was supposed to be played behind closed doors in line with COVID-19 restrictions.

He also rejects suggestions that upwards of 180 people were at the league decider, stating that the initial accusations were made by someone with a “personal vendetta” which stems from O’Regan’s friendship with disgraced former FAI CEO John Delaney.

Meanwhile, as was reported by Paul Rowan and Mark Tighe of The Sunday Times, the FAI have said that they are "investigating attendances at fixtures in Kerry”.

MONEY

Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser yesterday, O'Regan confirmed that fans were, indeed, asked for money as they entered the ground – as had been reported by multiple attendees – but the long-serving secretary insisted that the money in question was for charity.

“We weren’t allowed to charge but we were collecting for the Red Cross,” O’Regan said. “And what we were asking people to do was to make a donation. Anybody who wanted to donate to the Red Cross was allowed to do so. And people did donate generously.

“Next Thursday night we’ll be presenting the Red Cross with a cheque for €1,000 that we collected at the game. But there was no charge as such.

“Now, the players were charged €2, as always. We’re entitled to do that. That’s a development levy that everyone pays. Otherwise we wouldn’t have Mounthawk Park. It’s a levy that was agreed by all the clubs and very few people complained about it.

“We’re still developing as you can see. We’re starting another bit of a stand at the back of the goals. We haven’t made a bob for I don’t know how long and we’ve got nothing from the FAI. We have insurance and we have work that was done by builders and things over the years. Our reserves are starting to run down a bit.”

GUIDELINES

As for the number of spectators watching the game itself, O’Regan accepted that there may have been people there who shouldn’t have been, but he also asserted that “no guidelines were broken” by the Kerry District League.

“If somebody came to me and said their young fella was playing and he’s under 18, they were allowed in,” he said, referring to the COVID-19 recommendation which states that minors may be accompanied to a match by one parent or guardian.

The Premier A is a senior league so the vast majority of each squad participating in the final was made up of adults. If the players aged 17 and under brought one parent each, this should have accounted for three spectators.

Eyewitness accounts suggest that there may have been around 120 spectators at the fixture, excluding matchday personnel such as players, management, match officials, first aid, league officials and media.

(At this point it should be noted that this journalist was actually playing in the game. While I did not count the number of people and cannot verify the exact attendance, it is fair to say that there were more people there than there should have been, something O’Regan accepts.)

O’Regan said that a training session and another match that were also being held at the facility on the day in question may have contributed to the crowd. He also posited that some spectators may have snuck in via alternative routes.

“There was a few there alright but I can’t do anything about what’s passing up and down,” he said.

“We don’t have the luxury of having everything walled in like Fitzgerald Stadium or Austin Stack Park. They can come in through Tralee Dynamos’ pitch – now, I don’t know whether they did or not [for this match] – and, unfortunately, on the left-hand-side there’s a walkway and people can come from the middle of Tralee or Caherslee.

“Maybe a few people got in that way. There are a few gaps all over the place.”

On Sunday, Rowan and Tighe revealed that the FAI were looking into the incident, but yesterday O’Regan told the Killarney Advertiser that “to the best of [his] knowledge” there was no investigation underway.

However, this morning the FAI have again confirmed that they are following up on the KDL’s alleged breach of COVID-19 restrictions.

In a brief statement to the Killarney Advertiser, a spokesperson said: “The FAI is investigating attendances at fixtures in Kerry.”

 

Read the full interview with John O’Regan in Friday’s Killarney Advertiser as he discusses his critics, his friendship with John Delaney and his thoughts on his future as league secretary

 

Above: File photo of Mounthawk Park in Tralee. Pic: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.

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Killarney postcode V93 home to the county’s most-expensive properties

With properties both for rent and for sale in short supply, prices in the Killarney area have remained strong. In fact, houses with the V93 eircode were, once again, the […]

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With properties both for rent and for sale in short supply, prices in the Killarney area have remained strong.

In fact, houses with the V93 eircode were, once again, the most expensive homes in Kerry over the past 12 months according to data published by the CSO Residential Property Price Index. The report shows that in the year to December 2023, the average cost of buying a home in Kerry was €242,000 up 5% from the previous year’s figure of €230,000
Nationally that figure now stands at €327,000.
The average house price within the V93 eircode region was €284,000, 17% approx. above the average price for a home within the county.
With supply levels at an all time low and with very little new construction in the pipeline, there is little sign of this changing in the immediate term.

Commenting on the market, Ted Healy of DNG, has expressed concern with the low volume of properties available for sale at present.
‘We have lots of interested buyers seeking property in the Killarney area but unfortunately, we cannot satisfy the demand at present. The past 12 months has seen us securing sales in record time for record levels.”

DNG Ted Healy will be launching a new development of townhouses in the Woodlawn area to the market in the coming months and report that demand is exceptionally high.
The expect these properties to sell out in record time.
And with construction due to commence shortly on another scheme of detached houses on Muckross Road, it is looking like a busy year ahead.
However, this will not be enough to satisfy the demand at present. Properties within the V93 area are highly sought after and in very short supply, resulting in strong prices being achieved.
So is now a good time to sell your property? Yes, according to DNG Ted Healy who is actively seeking properties for sale to satisfy their ever expanding list of buyers.

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500,000 coffee cups prevented from going to landfill in Killarney

The team behind Killarney’s ban on single-use cups is launching an adult education programme later this year. Since its inception in July last year (up to December 31), 506,000 cups […]

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The team behind Killarney’s ban on single-use cups is launching an adult education programme later this year.

Since its inception in July last year (up to December 31), 506,000 cups have been prevented from going to landfill or becoming litter in Killarney National Park.
Additionally, the scheme has saved 872,413 litres of water and 279 trees.
The decision to ban single-use cups was underpinned by complaints that some of Killarney’s most visited beauty spots were being polluted and studies of clean-ups in the National Park revealed that one of the most common forms of waste recovered was single-use coffee cups.
With this in mind, the team behind the project, in conjunction with the Munster Technology University, will launch an adult education programme.
Late last year secondary school students attended a series of workshops in Killarney House hosted by the Killarney Coffee Cup project.
The session began with the task of matching the common items of litter to the time it takes for them to decompose.
The items ranged from crisp packets, banana skins and single-use coffee cups. The aim of this activity was to highlight the importance of minimising waste and litter, to protect the unique Biosphere Reserve that is Killarney National Park.
The plan now is to roll out a series of workshops aimed at adults with support from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
“This is still in the very early stages,” said project lead Louise Byrne who is also the Sustainability Manager at The Killarney Park and The Ross hotels. “Why should we care?”
Byrne cited a recent article by The Guardian newspaper in Britain.
“The entire lifecycle of disposable cups, from raw material extraction to production and transportation, requires significant energy, contributing to environmental degradation. The slow decomposition of disposable cups, especially those with plastic linings, can lead to the release of microplastics into the environment and on the off chance that your disposable cup winds up in waste bound for incineration, that process can release pollutants into the air,” said a report on coffee cup waste by the Kent School of Business and published in the London newspaper.
Byrne believes there is still far too much litter, including coffee cups, ending up disposed of in the National Park and this is one of the key drivers behind the new adult education programme.
Meanwhile the scheme won two more awards this week. Eco Hero group at the Outsider Magazine gave the scheme its Eco Hero award and the scheme won the Green Transformation Award at the Green Awards.

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