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Loss of Kerry to Dublin route a “severe blow” 

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Ths loss of the Stobart Air Kerry to Dublin routes - which was announced yesterday (Sunday) that it's to cease trading with immediate effect - will have a serious impact on the county, in particular the tourism and hospitality industry.

Kerry Tourism Industry Federation (KTIF) is urgently requesting the Government act quickly on the collapse of the airline and appoint a replacement.

The tourism group said that the loss of the routes is "such a severe blow to an industry that has been the most impacted by COVID for over 15 months and will take years to recover".   Passengers affected are advised not to travel to the airport and to check the Aer Lingus website for updated information.

The Department of Transport is currently examining the implications of the announcement while Kerry County Council said it has full confidence in the future of Kerry Airport and will work closely with airport management to ensure the quick restoration of this key route and the future development of further air traffic routes into the county.

Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley said that she was “saddened to hear the announcement”.

“I have spoken directly on the issue with Kerry Airport and Minister Eamon Ryan and officials regarding the importance of the restoration of services, including the Dublin/Kerry route which is vital to the region. We are all committed to finding a pathway forward for the restoration of connectivity as a matter of urgency.”

The Government is acutely aware of the devastating impact that COVID-19 restrictions are having on the aviation sector.

By the end of June, the sector will have received approx. €300 million in State funding spanning employment supports, waiver of commercial rates and deferral of taxes. The bulk of the support to airlines is through the TWSS/EWSS wage subsidy schemes which were specifically designed to maintain the link between employers and employees. Liquidity support has also been made available by ISIF to large aviation enterprises.

This is in addition to PSO support of approximately €7 million per annum for the affected routes.

LIFEBLOOD

Tourism in Kerry generates €661 million annually, employing some 14,000 people. COVID-19 has forced 82% out of the workforce into unemployment. Tourism supply and support businesses have also been severely affected with thousands of employees out of work and companies struggling to survive.

"Connectivity and transport is the lifeblood to rebuilding tourism," Pat O'Leary, Chairman of KTIF said. “The tourism and aviation sector is critical to the economy and viability of life in Kerry, it impacts on every household. It was the first industry to feel the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the last to recover. The Government can save vital tourism and businesses connectivity by moving swiftly and confidently appointing a replacement to service these crucial routes. Our thoughts are with the employees at Stobart Air, our colleagues in Kerry Airport and the tourism and aviation industry who are all working so hard on recovery and reopening plans."

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce said that Stobart operated the Kerry-Dublin service with great professionalism and customer care was always a priority, and that they wish them well as the face a very difficult time.

"Killarney Chamber won’t be found wanting in its commitment to support Kerry Airport and we have every confidence that John Mulhern and his team possess the ability, the knowledge and the determination to bring about the restoration of the service," Niall Kelleher, President, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, said. 

"Going forward, Kerry Airport will be critical to reopening the Kerry economy and we must all work to build on any opportunities that arise to provide greater access into the county. Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce is fully committed to help find a pathway forward for the restoration of connectivity."

 

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County Board open to GAA museum proposals

By Sean Moriarty The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county. There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county.

There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built in their home town.

Before he retired from politics in April, Michael Gleeson was campaigning to build a GAA and cultural museum on the grounds of Fitzgerald Stadium.

His campaign goes back several years before the recession set in, with a €0.5 million bridging loan secured from Croke Park along with funding from Fáilte Ireland. That funding was lost with the onset of the recession before 2010.

Tim Murphy, the outgoing chairman of the Kerry County Board, has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser that no approaches have been made to the County Board at executive level during his five year stint at the helm.

However, he said the Board would be open to such approaches provided there is sound financial planning behind the project in place.

“The first and most important aspect is the capital funding and my understanding is there needs to be Fáilte Ireland funding in place first,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “If it gets up and running, there needs to be very clear talks with all stakeholders so everyone knows each others expectations. A museum attracts footfall, but it costs a lot of money to run. We would offer an open door policy to all proposals but funding, first from a capital point of view and then from an operational point of view, will need to be in place.”

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Loreto pupils are happy to help save the planet

By Michelle Crean School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign. Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme. It’s all about taking on […]

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By Michelle Crean

School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign.

Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme.

It’s all about taking on a litter-picking adventure in their local area as well as learning songs, reading storybooks, filling in activity books while witnessing that their real-world actions are making a positive difference and inspiring others to join the movement.

Picker Pals is a unique primary school programme that gives children the tools and motivation to become the next generation of environmentalists, teacher Claire O’Meara explained.

“The Picker Pal Programme is a fantastic initiative and will go a long way to raise awareness of the impact litter has on our environment,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

Real litter-picking is motivated by a Picker Pack made from upcycled dinghy sails and containing adult and child litter-picking tools, gloves, hi-vis vests and safety information.

“This pack is then taken home by a different pupil every week. That child takes their adult on a litter-picking adventure. The children then tell the story of their litter-picking adventures through art and writing. Raising awareness is an essential part of the solution to littering. Picker Pals gives young people the tools and positive motivation to steward their local environment and make the world a better place.”

The programme, run by environmental NGO VOICE Ireland, is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and various local authorities across Ireland.

Now in its third year of operation, over one thousand schools all across Ireland will be taking part in the Picker Pals programme this year. In Kerry, 29 schools are taking part, and Scoil Bhríde, Loreto is delighted to be included, she added.

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