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Lawlor’s Cross man drives coach for mercy mission

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By Sean Moriarty

A well-known Killarney man was among a group of volunteer drivers who drove a fleet of coaches over five days and 5,000kms to help displaced Ukrainians.

CUSTOMS: Ukrainian refugees go through Passport Control in Roscoff France.

Humphrey Kerins was part of a Paddywagon Tours convoy to Warsaw last week as five coaches delivered much needed aid to refugees in the Polish city. The equipment was delivered to a regional sports centre that is now acting as a distribution hub for the donated supplies.

The coaches returned with around 50 Ukrainians who have been re-homed in Ireland - including Killarney.

Each bus had two different drivers who shared driving stints resulting in a non-stop drive from Dublin to Warsaw and back.

Humphrey was among the group of 10 drivers who made the journey. Two other Kerry drivers also drove buses. They were Gabriel Finn from Annascaul who is the Transport Manager with Paddywagon Tours and DJ O’Connor from Kielduff.

Paddywagon Tours is a customer of Humphrey’s Lawlor’s Cross Garage and when he heard that they were looking for volunteer drivers he jumped at the chance to help.

“They had over 300 applications but I know the transport manager as we do a lot of work for them, so I got selected,” Humphrey told the Killarney Advertiser. “It was a great thing to do.”

CHALLENGING

Humphrey explained that the delivery of the aid was straightforward enough but the task of returning with very frightened and confused refugees was very challenging.

“We expected to fill the five coaches but many of the people just did not want to leave, they had no idea where they were going,” he said. “It worked out because they had a lot more comfort on the empty coaches – they could stretch out across the double seats – some of them had not slept in days. Even at that they were very nervous when we stopped for comfort breaks and to change drivers. They had no idea where they were going.”

Only one of the group of refugees spoke broken English and the group of drivers had to rely on his interpretations to make all the passengers - which included a man in his 80s, an elderly woman in a wheelchair and a couple with a special needs son - feel more comfortable.

“We even brought back pets; one dog and one cat. The people did not want to leave without them, but can you imagine the hassle this caused in customs. The cat escaped at one point and ran to the warmth of the engine – we spent 45 minutes trying to coax him out.”

In an amazing twist of fate, some of the refugees that Humphrey drove from Poland have been re-homed in Killarney.

“Most of them went to either Kinsale or Killarney and I saw some of them walking down Park Road the other day,” he added.

Humphrey praised the efforts of Brittany Ferries who played a key role in getting the refugees to safety. They arrived into Dublin via a sailing from Roscoff in France.

“They fed us all, drivers and Ukrainians, and gave us cabins to sleep in but never charged us,” he added.

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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Help with Prescription Charges

If you need further information about any of the issues raised here or you have other questions, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in Kerry on 0818 07 7860 or email on tralee@citinfo.ie or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie.

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There are some schemes available which assist with the cost of prescribed medications and appliances and the qualifying conditions for each scheme is different.

Q. Do I have to pay for prescriptions if I have a Medical Card?

A. If you have a Medical Card, there is a charge for prescribed medicines and other items that you get on prescription from pharmacies. The prescription charge is €1.50 for each item that is dispensed to you under the Medical Card scheme, up to a maximum of €15 per month per person or family. For people aged over 70, the prescription charge is €1 per item, up to a maximum of €10 per month per person or family.

Q. If I have a GP Visit Card does it cover prescription charges?

A. No. Prescribed drugs are not free but may be covered by the Drugs Payment Scheme.

Q. What is the Drug Payment Scheme?

A. Under the Drugs Payment Scheme, you and your family only have to pay a maximum of €80 each month for approved prescribed drugs and medicines, and certain appliances. After you register for the scheme, you will get a plastic swipe card for each person named on the registration form. You should show this card whenever you collect your medication or appliances from the pharmacy. The HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service provides a list of medicines or aids provided under the Drugs Payment Scheme. You should use the same pharmacy in a month to avoid paying more than the maximum €80. You do not have to register with a pharmacy for the scheme.
You can apply for the Drugs Payment Scheme online at mydps.ie or by completing an application form which you can get from your local Citizens Information Centre or Local Health Office.

Q. What is the Long-Term Illness Scheme?

A. If you have a medical condition covered by the Long-Term Illness Scheme, you can get free drugs, medicines and medical and surgical appliances for the treatment of that condition. The qualifying conditions include Diabetes, Epilepsy, Parkinsonism and Multiple Sclerosis. You can get a full list of the conditions covered under this scheme from your local Citizens Information Service. You must be ordinarily resident in Ireland to qualify. This means that you are living here and intend to live here for at least one year. Students from outside the EU do not qualify for the Long-Term Illness Scheme. The Long-Term Illness Scheme does not depend on your income or other circumstances. You may also be eligible for a Medical Card or GP Visit Card, depending on your circumstances. Contact your local Citizens Information Centre for an application form or download it from www.hse.ie.

Q. Can you tell me about the Discretionary Hardship Scheme?

A. The HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PSRS) provides a list of medicines or aids provided under the Medical Card or Drugs Payment Scheme. These products are approved for the schemes by the HSE. Some items that can be bought over the counter are not included in the free or subsidised schemes. If you have a Medical Card and are prescribed an item that is not on PCRS list, your pharmacist or Local Health Office can apply for it to be paid for by the Discretionary Hardship Scheme. If the hardship scheme does not cover the cost of the medicine and you have to pay for it, you may want to check with your doctor to see if there is an alternative medicine. You can get more information about the scheme from your pharmacist or Local Health Office.

Q. Is there any tax relief for medical expenses?

A. If you pay medical expenses that are not covered by the State or by private health insurance, you can claim tax back on some of those expenses, which includes tax relief on medical expenses for prescribed drugs and medicines. You can claim tax relief online using Revenue’s myAccount service.

If you need further information about any of the issues raised here or you have other questions, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in Kerry on 0818 07 7860 or email on tralee@citinfo.ie or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie.

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The ultimate Quest makes a welcome return to Killarney

Adventure race enthusiasts from around the country gathered in Killarney on Saturday for the much anticipated return of Quest Killarney. Last held in 2019, this year’s event attracted over 2,500 […]

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Adventure race enthusiasts from around the country gathered in Killarney on Saturday for the much anticipated return of Quest Killarney.

Last held in 2019, this year’s event attracted over 2,500 participants who signed up to run, cycle and kayak their way around some of the most iconic scenery in the country.

Gap of Dunloe, Ladies View, Mangerton Mountain and Torc Waterfall were just some of the stunning locations along five routes of varying distances: 25km, 55km, 66km (run and cycle only), 75km, and 83km. The choice of routes allowed everyone from beginners to those with more experience to take part, as well as taking into account varying post-lockdown fitness levels!

Taking part this year were a couple of popular first-timers. Fresh from RTÉ’s Hell Week was Kerry’s own viral Instagrammer Tadgh Fleming who completed the 55k Sport Route. A fresh looking Tadgh said at the finish that Quest Killarney was, “Nothing like Hell Week, a bit harder I think! But really enjoyed it, I’d highly recommend it, going for the Pro next time!”

Incorporating Quest Killarney on her transformative weight loss journey was an elated Patricia Lewis (Trisha Transformations) who completed the 27km Challenge route, and had this to say as she crossed the finish line: “Anyone who’s thinking about doing it, don’t even hesitate, register now!”

Now on its tenth event, Quest Killarney, the world’s biggest adventure race, enjoys a growing reputation as a challenging race with a friendly atmosphere. It is also popular with visitors and participants alike as they are introduced to the stunning natural charm of Killarney’s glorious lakes and imposing mountains.

First home in the 83km Expert route was Niall Davis in a time of 04:17:55. In second place was Sebastien Giraud (04:32:47), and in third was Garry Carroll (04:34:24).
Kerry’s own Ellen Vitting (based in Kenmare) and RTÉ Hell Week finalist, was the first female home in 05:02:07. In second position was Laura O’Driscoll (05:18:43), in third position was Eimear O’Brien (05:27:13).

Overall male winner in the 73km Pro route was Dwayne Flynn (03:48:47) and overall female winner was Siobhan Dineen (04:08:37). Overall winners in the 55km ‘Sport’ route were Kevin McGuinness (02:13:08) in the men’s race and Orlaith Smith (02:34:45) in the women’s race. Winners of the 65km ‘Dual’ route were men’s race Liam Aherne (02:40:40) and women’s race Emer Monaghan (03:09:49). Winners of the 27km ‘Challenge’ route were Larry Stapleton for the men (01:13:27) and Niamh Hickey for the women (01:21:08).

Competitors were treated to hot food and music at the finish line, with prize-giving at The Gleneagle Hotel whose significant sponsorship and exceptional support continues to contribute to a positive day for everyone.

“We are thrilled that Quest Killarney has once again proven so popular with adventurers who are looking for a new challeng,” Oliver Kirwan, Race Organiser, said.

“Killarney itself is a great draw to visitors both from Kerry and further afield, introducing new people every year to its inspirational terrain. We are very much looking forward to preparing for 2023 as we encourage more people to discover their next adventure and put themselves to the Quest! We are grateful to everyone who gave us support and volunteered their time. We’d like to thank our main event sponsors Volvo and The Gleneagle Hotel, and also the contribution of our event partners All Real, Gnarly Peaks, Nuasan and MCG Kayaks.”

Organisers Elite Event Management are delighted to announce their event dates for 2023: Quest Kenmare on 11 March 2023, Quest Glendalough on 1 April 2023, Quest Lough Derg on 9 September 2023, and Quest Killarney on 7 October 2023.

For more information on next year’s events please visit www.questadventureseries.com.

 

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