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Communities unite to work towards UNESCO Heritage status 

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Both sides of the original transatlantic telegraph cable came together in Valentia this week, when representatives from Newfoundland and Labrador paid an official visit to Kerry, and to the Valentia Cable Station.

VISIT: At Valentia Island Cable Station on Valentia Island where representatives from Newfoundland and Labrador paid an official visit to Kerry and to the Valentia Cable Station.Included were: John Griffin (Tourism Officer KCC) Emer Connolly (Director National Monuments Service) Mary Rose Stafford (Valentia Cable Foundation) Michael Lyne (Chairman Valentia Island Development) Cllr Johnny Healy-Rae Gerry Osmond (Assistant Deputy Minister - Arts and Heritage of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador) Minister Tourism Culture Arts and Recreation Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Steve Crocker Cathaoirleach Kerry County Council Cllr John Francis Flynn Cllr Norma Moriarty Siobhan Griffin (SKDP) and Moira Murrell (Chief Executive KCC). Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

The purpose of the visit was the signing of an official Memorandum of Understanding between both communities, which committed Kerry County Council and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to a co-operative approach on their journey to seeking UNESCO Heritage Status for the Cable Stations of Valentia and Heart’s Content, Newfoundland, the western terminus for the transatlantic cable.

Minister Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation Steve Crocker and Gerry Osmond, Assistant Deputy Minister - Arts and Heritage of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador travelled to Kerry for the visit and were welcomed to the Valentia Cable Station by Michael Lyne, Chairman, Valentia Island Development Company, Cathaoirleach Cllr John Francis Flynn and Moira Murrell, Chief Executive, Kerry County Council, as well as members of the Valentia Island Development Company.

Following a tour of the Cable Station Exhibition, a dinner, hosted by the Cathaoirleach, took place in the Royal Hotel.

The signing of the official Memorandum of Understanding between both parties commits Kerry and Newfoundland to a joint approach in seeking UNESCO Heritage Status, but also to a wider cultural and economic cooperation in support of community development.

“Our aim is to safeguard this global heritage for the posterity of mankind but our hope and expectation is that it will unlock other investment opportunities both private and State," Cllr John Francis Flynn speaking at the event said.

"We want to maximise the economic and social opportunities that this will provide for Valentia and South Kerry. I am sure the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will want to achieve similar goals for Hearts Content and its environs. I hope that this will the first of many official exchanges between Newfoundland and County Kerry, your community in Heart’s Content and ours in Valentia. I understand that a vital element of a joint or trans-national World Heritage application is a close working relationship between the two parties. You can be assured of our full commitment to the process and wider co-operation in other areas too - on the community, economic, tourism and social fronts.”

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Walk this way…to Killarney parkrun

By Michelle Crean Killarney’s parkrun has added another element to their ever popular Saturday morning event – suitable for people of all abilities. While most participating up until now enjoyed […]

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By Michelle Crean

Killarney’s parkrun has added another element to their ever popular Saturday morning event – suitable for people of all abilities.

While most participating up until now enjoyed a morning run, the local group is now promoting walking for the month of October every Saturday morning at 9.30am in the grounds of Killarney House.

“parkrun is not just for runners, it’s for walkers and people of all abilities, it doesn’t matter how long it takes,” Philip Gammell, Event Director Killarney House parkrun, said.

“We always have one or more volunteer Tailwalkers, who must ensure that everyone else is safely finished before completing the course themselves.”

He added that parkrun global are promoting this for the month of October but the idea is that if walkers start doing it regularly, they will keep coming back after that too.

As well as getting exercise, it’s also great fun and a social occasion, as you get to know lots of people who you’d otherwise never meet.”

You must register for the event but and once done you can walk or run at any parkrun event anywhere in the world.

“Best of all, after parkrun we go for tea/coffee and a scone in The International Hotel. Come and join us next Saturday and bring a friend!

Registration is free on www.parkrun.ie.

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Budget 2023 is just plastering over the cracks

By Michael O’Connor The Irish Budget has never been something I have paid too much attention to. My day-to-day focus is predominantly on stock market moves, so it never bears […]

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By Michael O’Connor

The Irish Budget has never been something I have paid too much attention to.

My day-to-day focus is predominantly on stock market moves, so it never bears too much relevance, but Budget 2023 certainly caught my attention.

It was set against a backdrop of surging energy prices, inflationary pressures, and a red-hot housing crisis. As one of the few European countries with a budget surplus to dip into, expectations were high.

On the surface, the Budget didn’t disappoint. The €11 billion package had a little something for everyone. The massive package of once-off measures will go a long way toward supporting households and businesses this year.

But when you dig a little deeper, many of the measures are simply providing a short-term sugar rush, with little substance once the initial high wears off.

I get it; financial relief is crucial but adding more money into the economy so people can afford to function in a broken system is not a long-term solution.

Tax cuts have been proclaimed as ‘counter inflation’ measures but are more likely to fan the flames of inflation than eliminate the problem.

Inflation is created when too much money is chasing too few goods. With this in mind, inflation is tackled by reducing the amount of money in the economy or increasing the supply of goods within that economy. Tax cuts do the opposite.

By increasing the amount of money in the system through tax cuts, the government has seemed to double down on the viewpoint that money is both the cause and solution to all of life’s problems.

Fuel to the fire

Sure, these tax cuts will help to curry favour from a political perspective, but from an economic standpoint, you are simply adding fuel to the fire.

Instead of addressing the systemic problems causing the Cost of Living Crisis, they have simply freed up more money so you can tolerate the intolerable price hikes a little longer.

Take housing, for example.

Paschal Donohoe described housing as the “central issue facing the country”.

Undoubtedly there are some positives from a housing perspective in the Budget, but as the “central issue facing the country”, it falls short.

A band-aid solution

The ‘Rent Tax Credit’, in particular, highlights the band-aid solution being applied here.

Renters will be entitled to a rental credit of €500 per year from 2022 onwards. On the surface, this is much-needed relief for renters, but in reality, it simply exacerbates the problem.

Without getting too into the weeds, in economics, you have something called the paradox of aggregation. If everyone gets the benefit, then nobody gets to feel the effects of that benefit because nobody is better off from a relative standpoint.

If you won the lotto in the morning, you would be unquestionably better off. However, if we all won the lotto in the morning, we would all be richer on an absolute level, but you would no longer be better off relative to your peers. Prices would simply increase to account for the higher levels of wealth in the system.

The same logic applies to the ‘Rent Tax Credit’. Everyone gets it, so nobody benefits. It simply just provides another gear for landlords. You can now ‘afford’ to pay higher rents, allowing landlords to raise rents even further. This is not relief but a mechanism to support higher rental prices in the future masked as support for those caught in the rental crisis.

Rent control, short-term letting restrictions, widespread public housing initiatives, subsidies to incentive construction development, and removal of the endless planning regulations. These are solutions that alleviate the supply side of the problem over the long term.

Instead, the government continues to throw more money at the problem so we can ‘justify’ higher and higher prices.

Housing supply

In fact, in a bizarre move, they have now placed a 10% levy on concrete blocks. Environmental concerns aside, at a point where every possible step needs to be taken to incentivise construction development to increase the housing supply in the system, levies are being applied to increase the cost of building even further.

Maybe I’m being overly cynical here. Compared to the UK budget, the Irish offering is a heroic feat of financial prowess, but another short-term response to the newest crisis at our doorstep is not enough.

Long-term allocation of capital and resources to solve the complete supply/demand mismatch in the housing market, nationalisation of energy, and extensive healthcare reform are areas where the bulk of the budgetary surplus needs to be allocated.

Short-sighted

Constantly repeating or extending ‘temporary measures’ is far too short-sighted. We have already seen an economic contraction in Q1 2022. These contractions may continue as we stare down the barrel of a recession in Europe. The budget surplus won’t always be there.

When it is, we must prioritise long-term investments focused on solving systemic issues. Plastering over the cracks and hoping that the foundations stay intact until the next political party takes the wheel just isn’t enough.

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