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Killarney pop-up COVID-19 test centre to stay open until Tuesday

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A pop-up COVID-19 test site will run at Killarney Community Hospital, Saint Margaret’s Road, until tomorrow Tuesday (August 24), from 11am to 7pm each day.

Walk-in testing in several parts of the region has proven to be quite successful in detecting and containing cases of Covid-19 in recent months. This site was planned in partnership by CKCH, the National Ambulance Service and Public Health experts.

Everyone attending for testing needs to bring a photo ID and a mobile phone number to receive their results. No appointment is necessary.

Specialist in Public Health Medicine with the Department of Public Health HSE South Dr Peter Barrett, thanked those who have come forward for this kind of testing so far.

“We know that there are high levels of Covid-19 circulating in Kerry at present. By coming forward for testing, you are helping the entire community to keep Covid-19 under control.”

Head of Health and Wellbeing with Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Gabrielle O'Keeffe said there has been a great reaction to the no-appointment testing initiative from the people of Kerry and this is a welcome addition to the ongoing efforts to detect and contain cases of Covid-19.

“Thank you to everyone who has presented for a test so far. Taking up this opportunity for testing even when you don’t have symptoms will help us to go a step further again in containing any cases.”

Ms O'Keeffe thanked the Administration team and National Ambulance Service for their support in setting up the temporary testing location in Killarney.

Walk-in test centres of this kind have opened in a number of locations around the country in recent months. These no appointment necessary testing centres offer those without symptoms of Covid-19 an opportunity to be tested.

You should use this free, walk-in COVID-19 testing service primarily if you:

• Do not have symptoms of Covid-19 but would like to be tested
• Have not tested positive for Covid-19 in the last nine months

Children under 16 can attend a walk-in centre. The parent or guardian attending with a child must have photographic ID and give consent for a child under 16 to have a COVID 19 test and there must also be an accompanying adult present when a child under 16 has a COVID 19 test

You must bring photo identification with you and provide us with a mobile telephone number so we can contact you with your results.

Social distancing measures will apply as people attend for testing.

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Musician Liam O’Connor back and busier than ever

By Sean Moriarty Local musician Liam O’Connor has gone from zero to hero following the lifting on the ban on live music as a result of pandemic restrictions. On Saturday he played his first gig in over 18 months, next Friday he will release a new single, and before that he will play a special gig […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Local musician Liam O’Connor has gone from zero to hero following the lifting on the ban on live music as a result of pandemic restrictions.

On Saturday he played his first gig in over 18 months, next Friday he will release a new single, and before that he will play a special gig in London.

Liam and his family played at the Kerry County Council organised ‘ANSEO’ concert in North Kerry that was run to coincide with the Listowel Harvest Festival last weekend.

It was his first live show since he played at St Brendan’s College, Killarney when he shared the stage with special guest, former Irish rugby coach, Joe Schmidt. That event took place on March 11, 2020, the night before the country entered its first COVID-19 lockdown.

The ‘ANSEO’ series of concerts signalled the return of live music in Kerry and the O’Connor family shared the stage with other local musicians like Tim O’Shea and his Afro Trad Ireland group.

“People were delighted, they were mad for it, they were obviously missing it,” Liam told the Killarney Advertiser. “But they are not letting go just yet, they are still a bit hesitant.”

This Sunday Liam heads to London were he will help Dan Tim O’Sullivan steer sheep over Southwark Bridge (see page 36 for more on this story).

To cap an exceptionally busy period for the local accordion player, he has joined forces with Moya Brennan of Clannad fame. Brennan and O’Connor will release a new single – ‘Strong in Numbers’ on Friday next, October 1.

They previously performed together at a concert in the Friary in 2017.

“It was such a positive experience for all of us we just had to repeat it,” he added. “So not only have we done this recording of ‘Strong in Numbers’ but we are planning to do the Friary again later this year. After that, I wouldn’t rule anything out.”

Meanwhile, the ‘ANSEO’ series visits Killarney on Sunday night.

The Fair Hill car park will host two shows featuring: The Gleneagle Concert Band; Pauline Scanlon with Mick Galvin; The Small Hours; The Rising; Cathal Flaherty and Truly Diverse.

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Coach operators plead for Government aid in budget

By Sean Moriarty   A Killarney tour operator has called for the Government to provide further financial aid for the industry in light of an uncertain 2022 season. He described to an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sports and Media on Wednesday how a coach with just two American tourists and two staff […]

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By Sean Moriarty
 

A Killarney tour operator has called for the Government to provide further financial aid for the industry in light of an uncertain 2022 season.

He described to an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sports and Media on Wednesday how a coach with just two American tourists and two staff is currently touring Ireland.

Representatives from the Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC) including Mike Buckley of Kerry Coaches, were invited to outline the detrimental impact COVID-19 has had on the coach tour industry.

Mr Buckley said he and his industry colleagues were desperate to highlight that Ireland was open for business and that the empty coach was an attempt by tour operators to prove how far they are willing to go to get this message out there.

“There is a reticence by people who travel in large numbers, people are not buying,” he told the meeting.

“There is anecdotal evidence that one coach operator is touring Ireland with two passengers, a driver and a tour guide.”

Mr Buckley said he was grateful for the previous support the industry had received but that funding stems back to the summer of 2020 and they were not included in the July 2021 round of funding.

That money was put towards existing loans on buses and coaches and has now dried up.

“It was like putting a bandage over a major bleed or haemorrhage,” he added.

The CTTC said that the coach industry contributed €215 million to the economy in 2019, the last year full figures are available for.

“Shops, cafes, hotels, attractions are hugely dependent on coach tours,” he added.

Kerry Coaches, in peak times, employ up to 114 drivers and tour guides.

“We are down to a skeleton staff,” he added.

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