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Killarney opens arms to welcome Ukrainians in

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By Sean Moriarty

Up to 650 Ukrainians - who had no option but to flee their war torn country - are to be re-homed in Kerry including two Killarney hotels, some by the end of the long weekend.

READY TO DONATE: Some of the donations for Ukraine were held back to be given to Ukrainian refugees expected to arrive in to Killarney over the weekend. Photo: Gosia Miczek

The refugees are also to be housed in hotels in Tralee and Cahersiveen. Some have already arrived at the Earl of Desmond Hotel just outside Tralee.

The Killarney Advertiser understands that two local hotels are being prepared to welcome refugees as early as this weekend.

A new interagency group was established in Kerry yesterday (Wednesday).

The group is to coordinate the response to the arrival of Ukrainian refugees in the county.

It includes a wide range of statutory, community, and voluntary agencies as well as representatives of the HSE and the Department of Social Protection.

The Mayor of Killarney Marie Moloney has praised the people behind the 'Kerry for Ukraine' charity.

They have already shipped close to 200 pallets of goods to the Polish border and one local truck load is said to have made it all the way to Kyiv, the under-attack Ukrainian capital.

The charity is being led by well-known Killarney photographer Konrad Paprocki and he and his team have held back several pallets of vital equipment in anticipation of the arrival of refugees.

“I want to praise their wisdom in retaining a number of pallets,” Mayor Moloney told the Killarney Advertiser.

Retained donations include nappies, toothbrushes and other essential hygiene products.

Mr Paprocki is awaiting confirmation from the Saint Vincent de Paul Society on what products he and his team need to set aside in Killarney, but they will continue to collect goods and essential products.

Shipments to Poland will continue alongside localised distribution once the 650 refugees are re-housed in Kerry.

Mayor Moloney added that there is dire need for interpreters in the county in the coming weeks and called on Ukrainian-English speakers to make contact with her.

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Killarney hotels are still open for business

By Sean Moriarty Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation. […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation.

This week she said that there’s still accommodation to be found in Killarney for visitors.

She was speaking in relation to the current accommodation situation facing International Protection Applicants and Ukrainian war refugees.

She explained that there is a perception that Killarney has taken in too many refugees and that it is putting the tourism industry at risk as people are starting to think that the town is at full capacity.

“If you can’t get a room in Killarney there is something wrong,” she said. “Maybe with the exception of New Year’s Eve.”

She added that hotels that are providing emergency accommodation are helping off-season unemployment.

Many hotels remain in survival mode after two years of pandemic turmoil and the additional off season business is important, she explained.

“Many could be closed at this time of the year, others would not be operating at full capacity,” she added.

However, she warned the Government needs to put a plan in place before the tourism season starts next year. Some hotels offering emergency accommodation either have a three or six month contract.

“I can see there will be tears next April – the Government must have a long-term plan,” she said.

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Homing refugees worth almost €14m

By Sean Moriarty Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees. The Department of Children, […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth released figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

Documents show that contracts totalling €13,852,255.00 are being shared between 13 premises in the Killarney urban area.

However, the department warned these figures are “indicative” only and the full value of the contracts depends on “occupancy and actual usage”.

The Eviston Hotel has secured a contract worth €5,727,590.00, the Innisfallen Hotel in Fossa for €2,404,620.00 and The Hotel Killarney signed a deal worth €1,701,000.00. These are the three biggest contracts published in the documentation.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, and Department officials say more contracts could come on stream. Figures seen by the Killarney Advertiser only cover contracted premises up to the end of September this year and updated figures are only released every three months.

“We are in contract with far more, but the formal exchange of contracts can take place sometime after the service commences,” a department spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is obliged to publish a list of contracts formally signed off each quarter that have been awarded under a special EU Derogation that permits the Department to enter into contracts in the context of the Ukraine accommodation crisis without going to formal tender.

“The values of the contracts shown are estimates; the actual value materialises upon occupancy and actual usage. Standard contracts have no-fault break clauses available to both parties so again, the figures are indicative rather than actual.”

These figures only cover Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war and do not include International Protection Applicants.

The Department refused to release International Protection Applicant figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

“The International Protection Applicant accommodation contract information is commercially sensitive information and is not available,” added the Department spokesperson.

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