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“Let us all open together” – say Killarney publicans

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LET US REOPEN: Killarney publicans are calling on the Government to allow all pubs to reopen when Level 5 restrictions ease. Pictured were: Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan, Paudie O’Callaghan, John C O’Shea and Pat O’Sullivan. Photo: Michelle Crean

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By Sean Moriarty

 

Killarney publicans have put up a united front in calling for the Government to let all pubs reopen – regardless if they serve food or not – once the current Level 5 restrictions are lifted.

The Government is expected to make an announcement today (Friday), but it remains unclear what level of restrictions will be put in place to replace them.

Under Level 3 restrictions the so-called wet pubs can serve drinks in an outdoor setting to no more than 15 people while bars that offer food are subject to a different set of rules.

Paudie O’Callaghan’s family run the Fáilte Hotel on College St. During the summer he was allowed open as he also has a licensed restaurant connected to the bar while his colleagues who only sold drinks were forced to stay closed.

“I don’t agree with not allowing wet pubs to open,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

His brother Niall, a local councillor, but speaking as a business owner, also said it was unfair to differentiate between food and non-food bars. He said that if more pubs were allowed to reopen it would allow better control over numbers and that the expected large crowds over Christmas could be dispersed across a lot more premises.

“I was turning people away over the summer, these are friends and loyal customers, I just did not have a table for them,” he said.

The Fall Guys

Killarney publicans say they are sick of being made the “fall guys” as the Government continues to switch from different levels of restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

They argue that there was no evidence that pubs, when open during the summer months, contributed to the increase of Coronavirus cases.

“Of the 7,500 cases in the country, 22 were directly associated with pubs, 11 in hotels and 38 in restaurants,” John O’Shea who runs JC O’Shea’s Bar on High St, said.
“Country pubs are destroyed, there is a big difference between a bar on Leeson St and bar in Kerry, but we are all being painted with the one brush, the Government does not trust the pubs but there is no evidence to back this up.”

Patrick 'Tatler' O’Sullivan, whose family have operated the Tatler Jack on College St for decades, hit out against what he described as the Government’s lack of planning.

“If we are going to be allowed reopen, give us time to do this, it is not a case of flicking a switch, it is the same when they closed us,” he said.

He also raised concerns about the mental health of customers.

“People come into the bar for lunch to have a drink and to meet people,” he said. “The big difference with the first lockdown is the weather – people can't go anywhere.”

Another issue raised by the publicans was the proposed closing time of 10pm.

“What is this going to do, put hundreds of people onto the street at the same time, and what are they going to do – jump into taxis and go to house parties,” warned Niall ‘Botty’. “There is more control in pubs.”

They also raised concerns about another potential lockdown in January, should cases rise after the Christmas holiday. Their main concern on this point was for the financial well-being of their staff.

Currently, staff receive a percentage of their wages via the PUP scheme. If they go back to work they will lose the payment but they are concerned that there will be difficulties reapplying for PUP if they were out of work again in the New Year.

“These people have families, mortgages,” added Mr O’Sullivan. “They are on and off the PUP. There is too much uncertainty.”

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NPWS survey to find out impact of fires

By Michelle Crean The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has commissioned a comprehensive survey on the impact of fires over the past four decades – in particular Killarney National Park in April. The tender, worth €300,000, and named ‘Study on the Impact of Fires On The Biodiversity of Killarney National Park’, seeks to find […]

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By Michelle Crean

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has commissioned a comprehensive survey on the impact of fires over the past four decades – in particular Killarney National Park in April.

The tender, worth €300,000, and named ‘Study on the Impact of Fires On The Biodiversity of Killarney National Park’, seeks to find out the biological impacts of the fires in the 26,000 acre park.

The fires in April burned from Friday night on April 23 until around 12pm the following Monday when they were finally brought under control.

Parts of the Park were scorched resulting in flora and fauna being wiped out. Some fires came as close as 10 metres to a church and school in the Black Valley area.

Fires raged near Tomies Wood and fire crews from five different districts quenched fires near the properties under threat. A real threat was for The Oak Woods but fire fighters managed to avert danger.

The fire is believed to have begun on the Kenmare Road area escalated by the strong winds.

“The purpose of this tender is to commission a comprehensive survey of the impacts, and the chrono-sequence of fire recovery or otherwise, on lands burned over the past four decades, as well as surveys in unburned areas, in order to assess the biological impacts of the fires, in particular the fire of April 2021, on the biodiversity of Killarney National Park,” an NPWS spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

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Killarney spin will bring comfort to patients

By Michelle Crean Ahead of this year’s ladies only 54321 Challenge a number of spinathons are taking place, including in Killarney town. Sunday, August 15 a group of 10 ladies plan a spinathon day in Killarney ahead of their four day epic adventure from Thursday, August 19 to Sunday 22. This year due to COVID […]

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By Michelle Crean

Ahead of this year’s ladies only 54321 Challenge a number of spinathons are taking place, including in Killarney town.

Sunday, August 15 a group of 10 ladies plan a spinathon day in Killarney ahead of their four day epic adventure from Thursday, August 19 to Sunday 22.

This year due to COVID restrictions the 54321 team will run with two teams of five people, all female – who are raising funds for one single charity – Comfort for Chemo Kerry.

Their four day challenge will include a cycle the Ring of Kerry on day one (Thursday 19), a climb up Carrantuohil on day two (Friday 20), a cycle from Killarney to the foot of Cnoc Na Tobair and then climb Cnoc Na Tobair on day three (Saturday 21) finishing off with a cycle of the Skellig Ring on day four (Sunday 22).

In advance of the ninth annual challenge they will first participate in the spinathons at various locations to help raise much needed funds for this year’s chosen charity.

The first of the spinathons will take place on Saturday, July 31 in Listowel, Killorglin, Dingle, Cahersiveen. On the day volunteers will take to the spinning bikes from 10am to 5pm in different locations around these towns.
This will be followed by Killarney on Sunday, August 15, and Tralee on Saturday, August 28.

When choosing this year’s charity, organisers contacted a past participant and a dear friend, Mairead Dunphy from Glencar who is currently on her own journey with cancer.

“We wanted to show our support to Mairead and knowing that she would like to support those who have supported her on her journey so far, she had already being looking at ideas to raise much needed funds for Comfort for Chemo Kerry,” TJ O’Connor said.

“Please support Comfort for Chemo Kerry by giving what you can.”

For more information about the spinathons go to www.54321challenge.org or the Comfort for Chemo Kerry Facebook page for online donation information.

There’s also a GoFundMe page: ‘Comfort for Chemo Kerry – 54321 Challenge 2021’ which has a €20,000 target set up.

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