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Kerry welcomes €10.2m windfall in Leader funding

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The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, signing the first batch of Funding Agreements under the LEADER Programme 2020. The Minister said the €250 million programme will support hundreds of jobs across rural Ireland. The agreements are being signed with Local Action Groups from around the country at an event in the Virginia Show Centre in Cavan, which previously benefitted from €500,000 in LEADER funding. Funding of €250 million will be distributed to entrepreneurs and community groups throughout Ireland by the Local Action Groups, which are made up of public and private representatives. The LEADER programme funds projects under a diverse range of themes that include enterprise development, rural tourism, social inclusion and the environment. The programme is co-financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The previous LEADER programme delivered almost 10,000 projects throughout rural Ireland. In addition to supporting community-based projects, last year LEADER funding supported over 800 enterprises and 500 jobs. Minister Humphreys is pictured with standing is Moira Farrell and seated is Norma Moriarty of Kerry LEADER Local Action Group. Photo: Brian Mulligan

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THE Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, has signed a funding agreement with Kerry Local Action Group to approve €10,219,868.29 in funding under the Leader Programme 2020.

The funding will support jobs and investment in Kerry over the next four years.

Funding of €250 million will be distributed to entrepreneurs and community groups throughout Ireland by the Local Action Groups, which are made up of public and private representatives. The Leader programme funds projects under a diverse range of themes that include enterprise development, rural tourism, social inclusion and the environment.

Minister Humphreys said: “The Leader programme will deliver some €250 million into rural towns and villages right across the country over the next four years. By signing the funding agreements with Kerry Local Action Group, we are unlocking €10,219,868.29 in vital funding for rural communities across Kerry.

“I know that communities across Kerry are very eager to access this funding, for the benefit of local groups and organisations. Upon taking over responsibility for rural and regional affairs, I was very keen to ensure the Funding Agreements could be signed as quickly as possible so that this money can start to flow into rural Ireland. Now, the majority of Funding Agreements are being signed, meaning the Local Action Groups can start receiving applications for funding.

“One of the great strengths of the Leader programme is that it puts funding decisions in the hands of the communities where the money is spent; local decisions by local people. The Leader programme will fund a wide variety of projects in Kerry over the coming years; projects large or small; projects with economic, social or environmental dimensions.

“Leader is built on local people facilitated by Local Action Groups. The investment provided through Leader at a national level can only make a meaningful impact with the vision and effort of community groups and entrepreneurs at a local level. I wish the Local Action Group in Kerry the very best and I look forward to facilitating their work, and funding their investments, in the coming years.”


The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, pictured with Kerry County Council chief executive Moira Murrell, standing, and Norma Moriarty of Kerry Leader Local Action Group. PICTURE: BRIAN MULLIGAN

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Therapy dog begins first day of school

By Michelle Crean A four-month-old puppy is the latest addition to school life at one local secondary school and his homework is to help students and staff. On Wednesday, there was great excitement as therapy dog Zoomer joined the school community at St Brigid’s on New Road – the second post primary school in the county […]

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By Michelle Crean

A four-month-old puppy is the latest addition to school life at one local secondary school and his homework is to help students and staff.

On Wednesday, there was great excitement as therapy dog Zoomer joined the school community at St Brigid’s on New Road – the second post primary school in the county to welcome such a dog.

It’s part of the My Canine Companion (MCC) charity which has a number of therapy dogs in schools across the country.

Deirdre Horgan from MCC paid a visit to schools looking for families for the charity’s socialisation programme. ​​​​​​

Zoomer is a mix of a sheepdog and a poodle and Deirdre’s dog Fifi is his mother.

In May Fifi had 10 puppies all named with the letter ‘z’. Just recently Fossa National School welcomed Zoomer’s sister Zazu to their classrooms, and puppy Zoro went to the CBS in Tralee.

The dogs not only provide comfort and support to pupils and students with Autism but to all in the school.

“There is an increasing body of research to support the benefit of a dog in school,” Ber O’Connor, a teacher in St Brigid’s, said.

Zoomer will be under the guidance of Ms O’Connor and some Transition Year students who will undertake a specific training programme for the therapy dog.

“The dog will be based in different rooms around the school but will have a timetable of interactions. We hope Zoomer settles in well and brings joy to many of our students lives. You can follow all the updates of Zoomer’s life on Instagram by following @zoomersbk or his TikTok account ‘zoomerthepuppy’.

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Brian James secures much sought after award

A local business is celebrating receiving a very special accolade – beating off stiff competition from UK and Irish retailers – by taking home the title of ‘Menswear Independent of the Year 2021’. Brian James, whose business is located on Main Street, secured the award at the internationally acclaimed Drapers Independents Awards in London last […]

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A local business is celebrating receiving a very special accolade – beating off stiff competition from UK and Irish retailers – by taking home the title of ‘Menswear Independent of the Year 2021’.

Brian James, whose business is located on Main Street, secured the award at the internationally acclaimed Drapers Independents Awards in London last week.

The highly respected and sought after Drapers Awards celebrate the very best of independent fashion retail and Brian James saw off exceptionally tough competition from other menswear stores to bring home this much coveted award.

Brian James were announced the winners at a celebratory luncheon in The Hilton London Bankside amongst fashion industry leaders and were presented with the iconic Drapers mannequin bust to much applause.

Commenting that Brian James has been a destination for fashion-conscious shoppers for more than 15 years, the judges praised Brian James’ strong “roster of brands” and said that it “offers an aspirational experience in Killarney”.

“Killarney is an incredible town to trade in – it is a brand in itself, offers the best of everything to those that are lucky to live here and an unbeatable experience for those that visit,” Brian O’Shea, who founded and runs Brian James for the last 15 years, said. “This award recognises Brian James and Killarney as a superior shopping destination town. Brian James and the other superb retailers in Killarney are an important piece of the jigsaw – the Park, the lakes and mountains, the hotels, restaurants and bars… it is the whole picture which guarantees the experience is first class.”

He added that his team are a key element of the experience at Brian James.

“My sincere thanks go to each of the team as without them we could not provide the customer experience and service we aim to ensure each and every time. Brian James’ success is also down to the partnerships we have developed over time with key international brands. On the store itself, of course we have relocated to our new super store on Main Street and more than doubled our floor space. Although it has been great to be able to design and create this stunning space to enhance the customer experience, it also allowed us to add more brands to our menswear mix. This year we will have added Hugo Boss and Eden Park to our familiar brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Gant, Barbour, Bugatti and Farah. The new space also plays host to ladies collections from Tommy Jeans, Calvin Klein, Diesel and Superdry and this is an exciting new element we are really enjoying too!”

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