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Killarney students on national motorsport stage

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By Sean Moriarty

Four members of St Brigid’s F1 in Schools team represented Killarney at a national event recently.

Team Vroom, which consisted of Ilona Sheehan, Kayla Byrne, Ella Galvin and Grace Daly, won the 'Women in Engineering' prize in the F1 in Schools competition earlier this year.

They received support from Formula Female, a national initiative set up by hockey star and motorsport engineer Nicci Daly, to encourage more young women to study STEM subjects and take up careers in engineering.

Another part of Formula Female is the All-Ireland Go Girls Karting competition. The final of this competition took place, at Kiltorcan Race Track in Kilkenny, in early December.

A total of 24 students competed at the event, after which they attended a panel discussion on Women in Motorsport which comprised of representatives from Motorsport Ireland, Formula Female, Digital Motorsports, a kart racer and even an Irish Formula 1 engineer.

Team Vroom’s Ilona Sheehan was invited to participate in the panel discussion where she shared the stage with influential female motorsport professionals like Pippa Treacy (engineer at the Mercedes F1 team), Kayleigh Cole (a 17-year-old racing driver) and Laura Hannon (an engineer and author of Daisy’s 1st Race Car book).

“Ilona shared an insight into F1 in Schools and the challenge each member took on having very little knowledge of F1 or the technology and software skills required for designing and developing an F1 in schools car,” explained Nicci Daly. “It was a project they felt educated them on the sport and the various roles within it, including engineering, business, marketing and PR. It was a wonderful experience that encouraged them to consider motorsport careers after school.”

It was the first time that the four Killarney students attended a race track.

“We learned lots as there were many other key speakers besides ourselves. A female representative from the team told us all about her course and how she got involved in extracurriculars related to motorsport. This was particularly interesting as we got to see how her course opens many other doorways as well as providing many experiences that will look great on a CV,” Ilona said.

“We got to watch a number of young women take part in a racing shootout competition. After this, I represented us on the Q&A panel facilitated by Niamh Tallon of hersport.ie. I answered on behalf of our team, mostly offering an insight into the F1 in Schools competition how we got involved and the opportunities arising from this.”

The others were very inclusive and accommodating, she added.

"They were also so very encouraging and seemed to take great interest in our experience in the F1 in Schools competition. They made it known to us that there is many other possibilities in the world of motorsport and encouraged everyone to get involved in motorsport and STEM.”

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Future Kerry railway plans revealed

By Sean Moriarty Elected members of Kerry County Council have led calls for Iarnród Éireann’s timetable to fall into line with airline schedule at Kerry Airport. On Monday of this week Barry Kenny of Iarnród Éireann gave a presentation to elected members of the council. During the meeting he outlined some of the railway company’s plans […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Elected members of Kerry County Council have led calls for Iarnród Éireann’s timetable to fall into line with airline schedule at Kerry Airport.

On Monday of this week Barry Kenny of Iarnród Éireann gave a presentation to elected members of the council.

During the meeting he outlined some of the railway company’s plans and ambitions from now until 2027.

These include an increase in frequency on the Tralee to Mallow line.

It is hoped to have one train an hour operating on the line at peak times and two-hourly off-peak.

In a perfect world, the rail station at Farranfore would be placed across the road from the airport and not a 1km walk away but such a move is not likely to happen.

Cllr Norma Moriarty, of the Kenmare Municipal District explained how she was on trip to Yorkshire a few years ago.

“I flew from Kerry to Manchester and was able to get a connecting train to Yorkshire without ever leaving the airport building,” she said. “The people I was visiting were very surprised to hear me talk about this so much – it is normal to them.”

Under the Strategy 2027 plan Killarney rail station will get repainted and new signs will be put in place during 2022.

Additional parking spaces will be created at Farranfore Railway station and this lead to calls for a similar expansion at Rathmore.

“A lot of people from South Kerry use Rathmore railway station,” said local councillor Niall Kelleher. “They drive up from Kenmare and cut across by Glenflesk.”

Mr Kenny said he would take the Rathmore comments back to the Iarnród Éireann engineer in charge of parking strategy.

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Walking and cycling projects set for upgrade 

Commuters and nature enthusiasts will benefit from €4.13m in funding allocated to Kerry County Council for walking and cycling projects. €350,000 has been allocated for Transport/Mobility Plans for Killarney, Tralee and Listowel. Locally €704,835 is being given towards an interconnected network of cycleways on Rock Road, while there’s €70,000 funding for the Deerpark Road/Gealscoil Junction to include […]

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Commuters and nature enthusiasts will benefit from €4.13m in funding allocated to Kerry County Council for walking and cycling projects.

€350,000 has been allocated for Transport/Mobility Plans for Killarney, Tralee and Listowel.

Locally €704,835 is being given towards an interconnected network of cycleways on Rock Road, while there’s €70,000 funding for the Deerpark Road/Gealscoil Junction to include an interconnected network of cycleways. €300,000 is planned for an interconnected network of cycleways for the Gaelscoil Road/Chestnut Drive area, while The Flesk Walkway and Cycleway, Killarney is to get €123,866, as well as a further €186,527 for Rock Road.

Deputy Government Chief Whip, Brendan Griffin TD has said the funding from the National Transport Authority (NTA) will deliver high quality upgrades to walking and cycling infrastructure, with sustainable transport modes vital as the county emerges from the pandemic.

“I am pleased that Kerry County Council has been awarded funding which is part of an overall total of €289 million for approximately 1,200 Active Travel projects across the country,” Deputy Griffin said.

“Ensuring we have a good and efficient transport system in Kerry is essential for the future as we aim to make our communities and town centres more vibrant, in addition to making commuting to work and school safer and easier. Over the past two years we have spent more time enjoying our outdoor amenities and investing in active travel will also help us to meet our climate change obligations.”

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