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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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Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]

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The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.

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A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]

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The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

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