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Michael’s feeling great at 108!




By Michelle Crean

It was yet another very special birthday for Ireland's oldest man as Michael J O'Connor celebrated turning 108 on Wednesday!

And unlike the confines of COVID last year, Michael got to have a special celebration, a meal with his closest family and friends at his home in Muckross - and he even made a speech!

"I'm doing great," Michael told the Killarney Advertiser.

"It was strictly a family party, it's what I wanted. It wasn't an open house. There was no comparison to last year as everything was closed down."

Wednesday began with a visit from local priest Fr Kieran O'Brien followed by family and many many well wishers.

"You couldn't move, the room was full," he said, although his daughter Avril explained that it was all done in a safe socially distanced manner.

"I was tired [afterwards] but thankfully not as tired as I thought I'd be. I feel quite active this morning [Thursday]."

Micheal was born in Glencar in 1913 and wasn't expected to live past the age of six after contracting the Spanish Flu. He has also lived through the War of Independence, the Civil War, World War One and Two.

In February this year Michael received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at Deenagh Torc Medical Practice, Reeks Gateway, and said then that he was looking forward to "life without fear".

He came to Killarney 40 years ago with his wife Joan, who sadly passed away in 2008.

He puts his longevity down to a daily glass of whiskey.

Up until four years ago - at the age of 104 - he was driving, and remembers his first car was a Model T Ford.

"I was driving cars from 1930 until 2017. The old Model T Ford had no gears, no accelerator and there was a throttle for slowing down and for normal driving." He also remembers driving a Volkswagen Jetta up until he stopped driving and never experienced power-steering.

Michael, who has featured in a number of television documentaries, was quite active and independent up until COVID hit 19 months ago.

These days he enjoys time at home with his family, good food, some daily exercise, plenty of rest and a glass of whiskey.

In his family speech he thanked those closest to him for their support saying "everyone has contributed to my happiness", and finished with some inspiring words.

"Every day is an exciting day and you learn something from it."

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Is it a good time to sell your property?

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year. The quarterly report found the market had held up […]




By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year.

The quarterly report found the market had held up better than evidence had suggested in 2022. The number of vendors cutting asking prices remained at low levels, while many house prices were being settled above asking prices.

However, the report warned that the resilience of the housing marking is set to be tested this year. It found annual asking price inflation slowed to six percent nationwide, meaning the asking price for the average home in Ireland is now €330,000.

There were 15,000 available properties for sale on in the fourth quarter of the year – an improvement on the same time last year but still below pre-pandemic levels.

Average time to sale agreed was 2.7 months nationwide which the report said is indicative of a very tight housing market.

The report said it expects to see 28,400 house completions in 2022, exceeding its previous forecast of 26,500 finished units.

The author of the report, Conall MacCoille, Chief Economist at stockbrokers Davy, said it appeared the market had held up better than evidence had suggested.

“The number of vendors cutting their asking prices is still at low levels. Also, transactions in Q4 were still being settled above asking prices, indicative of a tight market,” he said.

Recent months had seen worrying trends in the homebuilding sector, with housing starts slowing, and the construction PMI survey pointing to the flow of new development drying up.

“We still expect housing completions will pick up to 28,400 in 2022 and 27,000 in 2023. However, the outlook for 2024 is far more uncertain. The Government’s ambitious plans to expedite planning processes are welcome although, as ever, the proof will be in the pudding,” he added.

Locally, and unsurprisingly, the lack of supply of new and second-hand properties remains the dominant issue. There has been very little new construction due largely to the rising cost of construction, labour, materials and utilities which in turn is putting pressure on the second hand market.

This market proved particularly strong in 2022 with active bidding experienced on the majority of house sales and a large proportion of guide prices being generally exceeded.

The detached family home end of the market is particularly strong with increased competition for a limited number of available well located family homes.

So, what lies ahead and is it a good time to sell your property?

The answer is a tight market with scarcity of supply being a factor. If selling now you will benefit greatly from a lack of supply of available homes (therefore less competition) provided your property is marketed correctly of course!

For anyone considering placing their property on the market, contact DNG Ted Healy 064 6639000 for genuine honest advice on how to achieve the best possible price for your home.

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Tourism VAT rate should be “continued indefinitely”

A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its […]




A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its customers”.

The reduced VAT rate of 9% was introduced by the Government in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the hospitality sector.

“I believe a return to a 13.5% Tourism VAT rate would be counterproductive at this stage, to small and medium businesses that welcome visitors to our country and our county,” Councillor Michael Cahill said.

“Catered food is already charged at 13.5%, alcohol at 23% and accommodation presently at 9%. This sector is providing pretty decent returns to the Exchequer and should be supported. All parties in this debate, including the Government and accommodation providers, should review their position and ensure their actions do not contribute to ‘killing the Goose that laid the Golden Egg’.”

He explained that the tourism industry is “in a very volatile market”, as can be seen by the enormous challenges “posed by COVID-19 in recent years”.

“A grain of rice could tip the balance either way and great care must be taken not to damage it irreparably. We are all aware that the next six to 12 months will be extremely difficult for many businesses with the increase in the cost of oil and gas, etc,, and a return to the 13.5% VAT rate will, in my opinion, close many doors. If a minority are ‘price gouging’, then it should be possible to penalise them and continue to support the majority who offer value for money to our visitors.”

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