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Marie delivers on a very special promise




By Michelle Crean

When the world came to a standstill in 2020 due to the pandemic - local photographer Marie Carroll-O'Sullivan decided to document the challenges and help others - and last week she did just that.

Marie's book, 'Killarney Behind the Mask', features life during the initial days of COVID-19 and with the money raised she donated €7,000 worth of gift vouchers to hospital staff last week.

Nursing staff, redeployed nurses, health care attendants, domestic staff, supplies, portering, maintenance, physio and biomedical departments who received the gifts were ‘on the ground’ at the height of the pandemic.

Marie, a columnist and photographer with the Killarney Advertiser, also donated proceeds from the sale of the book to the Irish Cancer Society and Pieta House.

"Not only did she write this beautiful book, she spent the next year pushing sales and we received a substantial donation for all members of staff, unvaccinated at the time, amidst a global pandemic who were truly dedicated to their work at here at UHK," Margaret Griffin CNM, University Hospital Kerry, said.

"We were the people Marie chose to acknowledge. As Clinical Nurse Manager I was humbled to draw up that list. Marie’s promise to us when she photographed many of the staff in UHK in April 2021, was that she would return with gift vouchers of appreciation from all who purchased her book from Killarney, Kerry, Ireland and beyond. Every member of this team was looked after. True to her word, Marie delivered 90 vouchers, from three Killarney establishments who supported her enthusiasm from day one - Brícín Restaurant Killarney, O’Donoghue Ring Hotels and the International Hotel Killarney. Each voucher is to the value of €80 unless we decide to use it at the Killarney Plaza Hotel where an O'Donoghue Ring Hotel voucher will magically, almost double in value, at the hotel's Spa for a one hour treatment of our choice.

"On behalf of my hard working colleagues, I would like to say a huge thank you to Marie, to each and every person who supported and bought a copy of 'Behind the Mask' and to Mary O’Carroll for providing the link to University Hospital Kerry to receive this amazing gesture of kindness. We are truly overwhelmed,” she said.

“It was baby steps all the way," Marie, who said she "was so excited to return to UHK and deliver the goods" explained.

"If I thought too much about the overall graft that writing a book entails, I might have run a mile! With restrictions in place, even if I wanted to, I couldn’t! Killarney is an amazingly generous town which I have had the great privilege to blow into from Roscrea, Co Tipperary. I thank each and every person, from the fiver to the five hundreds, every cent made this project happen."

There are still some copies available in Killarney Eason on Main Street, Kerry Catering Supplies at the Countess Shopping Centre, Carry Out Killarney, SuperValu Tralee and Carrig Road Service Station Roscrea, Co. Tipperary. It is also available online to purchase at Shop Prints — The Little Memory Gallery.

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Five questions to ask yourself before buying a stock

By Michael O’Connor, When it comes to investing, nothing is certain. There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy. […]




By Michael O’Connor,

When it comes to investing, nothing is certain.

There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy.

The truth is, investing is hard, and building a portfolio of top stocks that beat the market is something that even financial professionals have trouble doing consistently.

For most people, investing in index funds is the perfect hands-off approach, providing broad exposure to the stock market at a very low fee. Even my own personal portfolio is made up of roughly 70% ETFs despite the fact I invest in the market for a living.

But I believe some stock picking is a good strategy for many hands-on people.

Taking a small portion of your overall portfolio and diligently selecting a small number of companies to invest in gives you an opportunity to learn about the investing process and fully understand the businesses you are investing in, which helps to build conviction in your positions.

From a psychological standpoint “collector’s instinct” kicks in, enabling people to participate and invest more money over time.

Lastly, for Irish investors, there are tax benefits to consider. If you invest in individual stocks, you are taxed at the CGT rate of 33%, and the first €1,270 of your gains are exempt from CGT each year. When investing in index funds or ETFs, you are taxed at the exit tax rate of 41% with no annual exemption.

For those interested in picking individual stocks, here are five questions you should ask yourself before investing in any company.

Do I understand the business?

Too many people invest in businesses they don’t understand because it ‘sounds good’. If you have no idea how the company works, you won’t have the conviction needed to hold onto the stock when an inevitable downturn comes.

Can the balance sheet withstand severe, temporary adversity?

This seems obvious, but so many people invest in companies without understanding how much money a company holds and who they owe money to. Economic cycles are guaranteed. You must ensure that the company has enough cash-on-hand to avoid becoming obsolete when activity slows.

Will the company benefit from long-term trends?

Make sure the company will remain relevant into the future. If the stock is cheap now, it may be cheap for a reason.

Is the company enjoying profitable growth?

Not growth at all costs, but a combination of sustainable growth and value. All this information can be found online at sites like

What are the risk factors?

Is the company trying something new and untested? If yes, who are its competitors and how successful are they? If other players are more established, this company may have a tough time breaking into the market.


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Ballyspillane staff open up mental health conversation

By Michelle Crean “Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign. It’s all in partnership […]




By Michelle Crean

“Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign.

It’s all in partnership with Mental Health Ireland (MHI) and the centre will host an information/coffee morning on Thursday next (March 30) at 12.30pm at their centre and all are welcome to attend.

The campaign initiated by MHI identifies the need for positive engagement and connections with the people around us.

It asks people to engage in open conversations about mental health and prompts us all to ask the question “How Are You?”

The word HELLO is a useful acronym to guide everyone through such conversations, H: Hello, E: Engage positively with the person, L: Listen actively, L: Learn about the person and O: seek options to assist the person if required.

“We all need a listening and compassionate ear sometimes to get us through some challenges in our lives and I think the pandemic has opened a new way of looking at the world, where we can all recognise the challenges that people experience more readily,” Derek O’Leary, Manager of Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre, said.

“Our team here are in the business of supporting families and individuals across the Killarney area and beyond and see the challenges that people face first hand. We also see the positive impact that a caring person can have in such circumstances and this campaign that encourages positive engagement, regarding mental health is a great reminder to us all, the role we can play is assisting others who are struggling.”

Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre provide a suite of support and intervention services including family supports, social prescribing/community connection services and physiotherapeutic services across the Killarney municipal area and beyond.


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