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Make Way Day highlights issues that people with disabilities  face every day




Make Way Day highlights issues that people with disabilities  face every da

By Sean Moriarty

Members of Killarney Access Group and well-known local people with disabilities took to the streets of Killarney on Thursday to highlight obstacles they meet on an everyday basis.

Poorly parked cars and trucks, wheelie bins left on the streets for collection, bicycles chained to fences and lamp posts, suitcases being loaded into tour coaches and even dogs tied to railings are just some of the obstacles wheelchair users and visually impaired people face every day.

Thursday was Make Way Day, a national day of action organised by the Disability Federation of Ireland and locally by the Killarney Access Group and the Municipal District Council.

Well-known local musician Morgan Pierce is visually impaired. He uses a cane to find his way around.

“Suitcases on the footpath are the bane of my life,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “I enjoy running too and often go for a run out the Muckross Road. People ask me why I need a cane to get around town and can go running without one. It is simple, I just know there will be no obstructions out the Muckross Road.”

Morgan’s cane is fitted with a special golf ball-sized extension. It helps him identify cracks in the pavement and other potential hazards that could lead him to trip or fall.

“The new pedestrian zone in Tralee has a special groove in the footpath that acts like a guide,” he added and would like the Municipal District Council to consider adding the same in future Killarney improvement works.

Municipal District officer Eileen O’Donoghue confirmed that the local council has done an audit in the town centre and that there is now a programme of works based on the results of that audit.

“One of the reasons we put the new bike racks into various town centre locations was to discourage people from chaining their bicycles to railings and other places that may cause an obstruction,” she explained.

Timo O’Sullivan, a well-known member of Lough Lein Anglers Association and a long-time campaigner has been in a wheelchair for 35 years following a workplace accident.

“Since day one things have improved immensely,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “Killarney is not a bad town but we have to strive for better.”

His biggest issue is poorly parked cars and cars and delivery trucks parked in dedicated blue zones.

“I heard a story where a group of wheelchair users parked several of their chairs in an ordinary parking zone and left notes saying ‘back in five minutes’ on them to get a message across,” he added.





Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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