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MABS launch nationwide Christmas campaign

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While Christmas is a time of joy and giving that everyone looks forward to, it’s safe to say it’s not without its financial pressures for many.

From gifting to socialising throughout the festivities, it’s no surprise that the month of December is one of the most expensive months for households on the calendar.

For those who struggle financially during the year, Christmas is more than often a time of high anxiety and stress when it comes to managing finances. Kerry MABS, the money advice and budgeting service is encouraging the public to be mindful of their realistic spending budgets and to reach out to MABS to speak with a Money Advisor or to avail of their useful financial planning tools and information on www.mabs.ie for advice.

“For the majority of people, Christmas is one of the most demanding and stressful months financially and unfortunately, we see a lot of people entering into the New Year in debt and under financial pressure," Eamonn Foley, Money Advice Co-Ordinator, Kerry MABS, said.

"The financial demands during the festive period make it very easy to exceed budgets and rack up debts. At MABS, we are here to help and support the public in better managing their particular financial situations and making these expensive periods like Christmas that little bit easier.”

For the month of December, MABS has launched a nationwide social media campaign to help the public this Christmas. The campaign titled 'Boss Christmas with MABS', meaning, Budget, Online and Offline Spending, Shopping, and Saving is targeted at those who want to take control and aims to empower people with skills, tips, and life hacks to make celebrating Christmas a little easier.

Kerry MABS is encouraging those who will find this period financially stressful to make sure they stick to a plan of realistic gifting and socialising expenses to avoid going over budget and spending unnecessary money on last-minute gifts. MABS strongly advises against borrowing money to spend on gifts and Christmas expenses which will put individuals under even more pressure in the New Year.

For more information on MABS and to find your local office, visit www.mabs.ie or call their helpline on 0818 07 2000, available Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm.

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Killarney Triathlon Club’s open water swim on the lake

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On Tuesday evening last, members of the Killarney Triathlon Club took part in a breathtaking open water swim, starting from Dundag Beach and spanning the middle lake to a nearby island. Covering a distance of approximately 1.5 kilometers, the event saw all participants return safely, basking in a well-deserved sense of accomplishment.

Set against the stunning backdrop of Killarney National Park, swimmers enjoyed views of woodlands,  mountains, and Muckross House. Safety was paramount during the swim, as it is in all the club’s events. Essential precautions included the use of tow floats, safety kayakers, and safety boats, ensuring the well-being of all participants.

“Our club is incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such a beautiful environment,” said Caitriona Shanahan, PRO of Killarney Triathlon Club. “The views during our swims are truly spectacular, and the safety measures we implement help everyone feel secure and enjoy the experience.”

Killarney Triathlon Club offers numerous benefits to athletes of all levels. These include structured training programs, expert coaching, group workouts and more. 

“We welcome all levels and abilities. Joining our club not only improves physical fitness but also offers great fun and the added benefits of stress relief from sea swimming. There truly is nothing like the calming effect of a group swim in the sea.” Caitriona added.

For those interested in joining the Killarney Triathlon Club, more information can be found on their social media platforms and their website, Killarneytri.com.

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Danny Healy-Rae welcomes decision to push back changes for cataract payments

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The Health Service Executive has deferred a move to cut the price it reimburses people for cataract treatments in the European Union and in Northern Ireland, under its overseas treatment schemes and a separate system for the North.

The prices were due to change from the start of this month, but the HSE has pushed the date back so that no one is disadvantaged, and to fully communicate with patients, treatment consultants and providers, cost changes will not come into effect until September 1.

The payments for less complex eye treatments were due to fall from €1,912 to €863 or the National Health Service equivalent of £766 in Northern Ireland. The most common cataract procedure payments were due to reduce from €1,456 to €1,171.

The HSE said that the vast majority of procedures fall into this new payment price. It said that the more complex glaucoma/cataract treatment payments will rise from €1,912 to €4,206.

Danny Healy Rae welcomed the news saying, “Following my representations and raising of this matter in the Dáil, I am glad that the HSE have agreed that they will continue to reimburse the higher rates for cataract procedure for those carried out up to the end of August 2024.

“I am advising anyone who needs to have their cataracts removed to do so now before the change to reimbursement amounts comes in.”

All cataract treatment carried out in Belfast after the 1st September 2024 will be subject to the new DRG rates.

Honouring the Kerry women of the revolutionary period

Kerry County Council is to invite expressions of interest next week for the commissioning and development of a commemorative and artistic piece which will honour the role played by women in Kerry during the revolutionary period between 1912 and 1923.

The project follows a joint motion by the five female members of Kerry County Council who called for the development and commissioning of a meaningful and lasting commemorative piece which would reflect the significant and diverse roles and activities of women and their involvement in the campaign for Irish Independence at the beginning of the twentieth century.

A Working Group, including the five female councillors, has been developing a design brief, and the Council intends to publish a detailed brief for the memorial next week and expressions of interest will be invited.

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