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Ministers condemn illegal fires and announce acceleration of Conservation Ranger recruitment

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Following their visit to the site of this weekend’s fire in Killarney National Park, Minister Darragh O’Brien TD and Minister Malcom Noonan TD have announced the accelerated recruitment of an additional 50 Conservation Rangers.
Both strongly condemned the illegal fires Kerry and Mayo, which damaged protected habitats and species, put communities and private property at risk and placed unnecessary additional burden on the emergency services.
Early estimations indicate that 2,500-3,000 hectares – approximately 50% of the terrestrial area, the total area of the park less the area of the lakes, has been impacted.
“While the exact cause of these events is still to be determined, wildfires do not occur naturally in Ireland," Minister O’Brien said.
"The main cause of such conflagrations is thought to be the deliberate starting of fires without concern for the emergency services, the local wildlife, habitat, communities or even private property close by. And they are set knowing them to be illegal. The devastation this has caused cannot be overstated," he said.
"The response on the ground has been an impressive combined effort between the Fire Service, the NPWS and the Air Corps which has thankfully resulted in the fire being brought under control.”
Minister Noonan added that "every year we see devastating fires across our island, started illegally by people who have zero regard for the consequences".
"This weekend’s fires have destroyed the precious habitats of thousands of species and animals, rare and endangered birds, including Hen Harriers. We are in a climate and biodiversity emergency, and to deliberately destroy precious upland habitats in this way is absolutely criminal. I’m thoroughly devastated by what I’ve witnessed here today. The reckless and shameful deliberate setting of fires has enormous impacts on people as well as nature. My heart goes out to the communities who live in these areas and have to breathe in the smoke, the individuals and families whose property is put at risk, and of course to our emergency services who put themselves in the frontline. In the midst of a pandemic it is incredible that our emergency services are put in a position whereby their resources are pulled in this direction. In this regard I must express my appreciation for the Fire Service, An Garda Síochána, Killarney Water Rescue, the Air Corps, my National Park and Wildlife Service staff in Killarney and the local Meitheal who have worked tirelessly together to quench this fire," he said.
NPWS CONSERVATION RANGERS
He added that he's heartened to be able to announce that they’re doubling the intake of NPWS Conservation Rangers and accelerating the recruitment process.
"I’ll also be writing to colleagues across Government in key Ministries and appealing to them to work with us to end these all-too-frequent tragedies. In addition, the National Parks and Wildlife Service will be working with An Garda Síochána to investigate the cause of the fire and fully assess the damage. If anyone has any information about the fires in Kerry or Mayo, I appeal to you to contact your local NPWS office or the Gardaí.”
Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts 1976, as amended, prohibits the cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction of vegetation, with certain strict exemptions, from March 1 to August 31.
“I would like to take this opportunity to again express our deep appreciation for the Fire Service, National Parks and Wildlife Service staff, the Air Corps, An Garda Síochána, and the Civil Defence who work tirelessly and selflessly to battle these fires around the country year in and year out. It is incumbent on all of us as custodians of nature and the land to work together to find solutions to avoid this happening in the future," Minister O’Brien said.
“It is very difficult to stop the spread of these fires once ignited given the sheer scale of land involved, coupled with the remote locations of much of the designated lands and the sporadic occurrence and dynamic nature of such fires. The NPWS staff remain ever-vigilant and remain in close liaison with both the Gardaí and the Fire Services."
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Happy Birthday Sham

Well-known Killarney character Seamus ‘Sham’ Courtney celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday (Thursday) at his favourite town centre watering hole. Sham who has entertained countless tourists over the years with his pronounced Kerry accent is one of the town’s best loved characters. One video recorded by RTE’s Today Show around the time of his 71st birthday […]

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Well-known Killarney character Seamus ‘Sham’ Courtney celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday (Thursday) at his favourite town centre watering hole.

Sham who has entertained countless tourists over the years with his pronounced Kerry accent is one of the town’s best loved characters.

One video recorded by RTE’s Today Show around the time of his 71st birthday has amassed 7.5 million viewers.

Yesterday he visited one of his favourite pubs, Jack C O’Shea’s on High St, where proprietors John and Joan O’Shea and their ever-present dog Ginny placed decorative balloons around the bar to mark the occasion.

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Killarney acts excited to play outdoor mini music event

By Michelle Crean ANSEO, Kerry’s newest outdoor mini music and arts event, plans to have six shows at three venues, including Killarney Town Centre next weekend. On Sunday September 26, there’s plans for an afternoon show by The Gleneagle Concert Band, Pauline Scanlon with Mick Galvin, and The Small Hours from 2 to 4.30pm. Later that […]

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By Michelle Crean

ANSEO, Kerry’s newest outdoor mini music and arts event, plans to have six shows at three venues, including Killarney Town Centre next weekend.

On Sunday September 26, there’s plans for an afternoon show by The Gleneagle Concert Band, Pauline Scanlon with Mick Galvin, and The Small Hours from 2 to 4.30pm. Later that evening, from 7 to 9.30pm, acts such as The Rising, Cathal Flaherty, and Truly Diverse, will play.

It’s all part of two weekends of entertainment including tomorrow (Saturday) at the Town Square Listowel where Eoghan Duignan, John Browne and Brendan O’Sullivan, Tim O’Shea & Afro Trad Ireland, as well as Liam O’Connor and Family play from 1pm to 3.30pm, followed by an evening show from 6pm to 8.30pm featuring Seamus Begley and Donogh Hennessy, Sephira, and Peter Staunton and Super Ceili.

In Tralee on Saturday September 25, acts such as Inish, Lorraine Nash, and Oracle will put on a show from 2pm to 4.30pm, with Mark Leen: ‘the man with many voices’, Aisling Urwin & Andy Yelen, and Renovator playing from 7pm to 9.30pm.

ANSEO Kerry, supported by Kerry County Council, has been created to celebrate and support local artists and get them back out performing via a live outdoor music event for those who love Kerry and its talent.

Culture and local art will also be celebrated on a big screen at all of these events highlighting local talent including super works from visual arts Kerry, Cill Rialaig Arts Centre, Me + The Moon, Kerry Biosphere, St John’s Theatre, as well as Landscapes + Seascapes film, animations and mapping.

“It’s been an unbelievable feeling to be back performing again after what was the longest 18 months for everyone but I feel especially musicians because we were the first to close and just about the last to open again properly,” Cathal from Beaufort, and now living in Killarney town, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“When I read the news a few weeks back that we can perform indoors again it didn’t quite sink in until I was actually playing indoors a few days later. Since then my phone has been hopping with bookings and I’m just so grateful for anyone who has booked me so far. It’s still not entirely back to normal but I won’t be complaining for a while as it’s just so great to be back at it again. I want to give a special thanks to the guys behind ANSEO who have booked me for their Killarney run of shows which I’m really excited for, and also to be sharing the stage with two other incredible Kerry acts – The Rising and Truly Diverse. I know the Truly Diverse lads very well over the last decade so I know it’s gonna be a great show and I can’t wait to get up on that stage and play my own songs in front of real people again!”

ANSEO Kerry will be a family-friendly, alcohol-free, ticket only event for 200 people in pods of four. The concerts will be free of charge and there is expected to be much demand for these socially distanced shows. Tickets are limited but the shows will also be streamed online for those who can’t be there in person. ANSEO Kerry is being run in-line with full Government guidelines and protocols in place.

Tickets are bookable via www.anseokerry.com.

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