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Killarney London reunion takes place tonight

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PRIZE: Killarney London Reunion committee member Michael O'Leary with the trophy that will be presented to Jack Ryan this weekend in London. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Sean Moriarty

Over 200 people are expected to attend the Killarney London Reunion 50th anniversary tonight (Saturday) at the famous Crown Hotel in Cricklewood.

The annual reunion, which is sponsored by the Killarney Advertiser, is one of the social highlights of the year for Killarney people living in London.

Each year the Killarney London committee select a ‘Person of the Year’ – and Jack Ryan is the deserved recipient this year.

Aside from Ryan’s celebration, the organisation, which served as a home away from home for Killarney people, will celebrate its 50th birthday.

The Killarney Association London was formed in 1969 by local priest Tom Looney, who was the parish priest in Wembley at the time, Cllr Donal Grady and the late Cllr Michael Courtney.

Former town clerk Michael O’Leary has been a Killarney side committee member since his Council days.

“One of the most important things, in practical terms, was when young Killarney people emigrated to London there was a welcome and social system in place that still exists to this day,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.
“There were always two sides to the organisation and the local committee existed to help those who wanted to move home after time away.”

[caption id="attachment_28940" align="alignleft" width="300"] BACK IN TIME: A group celebrate one of the first Killarney London Reunions at the now closed Spotted Dog in Willesden in 1970. The landmark pub was once owned by the Harty Family of Ballinskelligs.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_28939" align="alignleft" width="300"] FOUNDER: Fr Tom Looney (centre), was one of the founding members of the Killarney London Reunion.[/caption]

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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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