Connect with us

News

Kerry soccer chief rejects claims that league breached COVID restrictions

Published

on

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.

featured

Picture This announce Killarney gigs

Following on from being the fastest act ever to sell out the Gleneagle INEC Arena, with tickets going in under five minutes, Picture This have announced their only Irish shows of 2021 with a three-night run at the Killarney venue on December 16 -18. These exclusive gigs coincide with the release of their brand-new album […]

Published

on

0203047_Picture_This_Album_Shoot-8.jpg

Following on from being the fastest act ever to sell out the Gleneagle INEC Arena, with tickets going in under five minutes, Picture This have announced their only Irish shows of 2021 with a three-night run at the Killarney venue on December 16 -18.

These exclusive gigs coincide with the release of their brand-new album ‘Life in Colour’ set to be released June 25 via Republic Records.

“We are so excited to be playing at the INEC Arena this December,” Picture This frontman, Ryan Hennessy said.

“It is a place that holds many fond memories for us from starting out in the Acoustic Club to selling out the arena in record time. We have missed the atmosphere and the people so much and can’t wait to be reunited!”

Representing music’s biggest global underdog story, Picture This have unassumingly captivated listeners in every corner of the world, amassing nearly 300 million total streams, selling out stadiums, and inspiring praise from Billboard, ThisSongIsSick, and many more.

Their new album ‘Life in Colour’ boasts hits such as ‘Things Are Different’, ‘LA House Party’ and ‘Unconditional’. Thus far, tracks from the record have already gathered over 25 million total streams and counting prior to its arrival.

Tickets from €49.90 plus booking fees for these exclusive shows go on sale this Friday at 9am www.inec.ie and www.ticketmaster.ie.

Continue Reading

featured

Renowned chef to host men’s charity cookery demo

Published

on

To celebrate International Men’s Health Week, cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has organised a live cookery demonstration with renowned chef, Mark Doe.

It takes place on Tuesday next, June 15.

Open to all men dealing with cancer, the free Zoom cook-along event will take place from 6.30pm to 7.30pm, where the famous Just Cooking cookery school founder will share some of his expertise with participants.

Mark has chosen a simple marinated chicken in pitta bread with wedges and coleslaw as his dish of choice for the evening, and will be taking participants through the steps to create their very own meal via this live cook-along event.

“We wanted to do something special to mark International Men’s Health Week and we are honoured that Mark has agreed to come on board to host this exciting event,” Recovery Haven manager Siobhan MacSweeney said.

“The free event is open to all men who are dealing with cancer, not just our own clients, so we are encouraging as many men as possible to sign up for what promises to be a great, fun evening.”

Anyone interested in taking part is required to register in advance by phoning Recovery Haven Kerry on 066 7192122.

Once registered you will receive a Zoom link to join the cook-along on the evening as well as the list of ingredients you will need.

Continue Reading

featured

Loss of Kerry to Dublin route a “severe blow” 

  Ths loss of the Stobart Air Kerry to Dublin routes – which was announced yesterday (Sunday) that it’s to cease trading with immediate effect – will have a serious impact on the county, in particular the tourism and hospitality industry. Kerry Tourism Industry Federation (KTIF) is urgently requesting the Government act quickly on the collapse of the […]

Published

on

0203078_shutterstock1858756756.JPG

 

Ths loss of the Stobart Air Kerry to Dublin routes – which was announced yesterday (Sunday) that it’s to cease trading with immediate effect – will have a serious impact on the county, in particular the tourism and hospitality industry.

Kerry Tourism Industry Federation (KTIF) is urgently requesting the Government act quickly on the collapse of the airline and appoint a replacement.

The tourism group said that the loss of the routes is “such a severe blow to an industry that has been the most impacted by COVID for over 15 months and will take years to recover”.
 
Passengers affected are advised not to travel to the airport and to check the Aer Lingus website for updated information.

The Department of Transport is currently examining the implications of the announcement while Kerry County Council said it has full confidence in the future of Kerry Airport and will work closely with airport management to ensure the quick restoration of this key route and the future development of further air traffic routes into the county.

Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley said that she was “saddened to hear the announcement”.

“I have spoken directly on the issue with Kerry Airport and Minister Eamon Ryan and officials regarding the importance of the restoration of services, including the Dublin/Kerry route which is vital to the region. We are all committed to finding a pathway forward for the restoration of connectivity as a matter of urgency.”

The Government is acutely aware of the devastating impact that COVID-19 restrictions are having on the aviation sector.

By the end of June, the sector will have received approx. €300 million in State funding spanning employment supports, waiver of commercial rates and deferral of taxes. The bulk of the support to airlines is through the TWSS/EWSS wage subsidy schemes which were specifically designed to maintain the link between employers and employees. Liquidity support has also been made available by ISIF to large aviation enterprises.

This is in addition to PSO support of approximately €7 million per annum for the affected routes.

LIFEBLOOD

Tourism in Kerry generates €661 million annually, employing some 14,000 people. COVID-19 has forced 82% out of the workforce into unemployment. Tourism supply and support businesses have also been severely affected with thousands of employees out of work and companies struggling to survive.

“Connectivity and transport is the lifeblood to rebuilding tourism,” Pat O’Leary, Chairman of KTIF said. “The tourism and aviation sector is critical to the economy and viability of life in Kerry, it impacts on every household. It was the first industry to feel the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the last to recover. The Government can save vital tourism and businesses connectivity by moving swiftly and confidently appointing a replacement to service these crucial routes. Our thoughts are with the employees at Stobart Air, our colleagues in Kerry Airport and the tourism and aviation industry who are all working so hard on recovery and reopening plans.”

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce said that Stobart operated the Kerry-Dublin service with great professionalism and customer care was always a priority, and that they wish them well as the face a very difficult time.

“Killarney Chamber won’t be found wanting in its commitment to support Kerry Airport and we have every confidence that John Mulhern and his team possess the ability, the knowledge and the determination to bring about the restoration of the service,” Niall Kelleher, President, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, said. 

“Going forward, Kerry Airport will be critical to reopening the Kerry economy and we must all work to build on any opportunities that arise to provide greater access into the county. Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce is fully committed to help find a pathway forward for the restoration of connectivity.”

 

Continue Reading

Trending