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Nathan’s Walk launch set for Tuesday evening

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By Sean Moriarty

Details of this year’s Darkness into Light – Nathan’s Walk will be unveiled at a special launch event at Reidy’s Bar on Tuesday night.

Marie O'Carroll set up the Killarney walk in 2011 following the loss of her 14-year-old son Nathan. It was the second such event – which raises awareness on suicide and mental health.

The idea behind 'Nathan’s Walk, Darkness into Light - Pieta House' is to help spread awareness to help prevent suicide and self-harm. It's also a chance to raise vital funds for the service provided free by Pieta House.

The inaugural event took place in Dublin’s Phoenix Park the year before and it has now grown to become and international event.

This year’s event will start at 4.25am on May 7 from Ross Castle and Marie is encouraging early registration as she is expecting a large turn-out. The walk did not take place in 2020 and last year’s walk was a scaled back version due to the pandemic.

Souvenir t-shirts from the annual event have become sought after collectors’ items.

“We will open registration at the launch,” Marie told the Killarney Advertiser. “T-shirts are in limited supply this year so we are encouraging early registration. We don’t want big crowds at the sign-on desk on Saturday morning either.”

Additional early registration dates have been organised for the Racecourse on May 5 between 5pm and 8pm and May 6 between 5pm and 8pm.

London Darkness into Light

London's Darkness into Light is also making a return next month with two events to raise funds for the Immigrant Counselling and Psychotherapy (ICAP), a mental health charity serving the Irish community in the UK.

Both events have an Aghadoe native at the helm.

Liam Kearney is the chairman of the London organising committee and he is running one walk at the London Irish Rugby Club’s training ground in Hazelwood.

Tara Cronin who, during her term as secretary of the Kerry Association London, was one of the founders of the London walk back in 2014.

She is now the fundraising and events manager with ICAP and she will take charge of the Cricklewood walk.

“We are delighted that the walks are back after two years when we could not gather together to walk from the Darkness into the Light," Liam said. "This year we welcome you to join us at either of the two walks, Hazelwood or Cricklewood, at 4.15am. We will gather to remember all those that we have lost to suicide and hope that each of us by walking, running, hiking, swimming can be the power to be a light against the dark.”

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Killarney hotels are still open for business

By Sean Moriarty Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation. […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation.

This week she said that there’s still accommodation to be found in Killarney for visitors.

She was speaking in relation to the current accommodation situation facing International Protection Applicants and Ukrainian war refugees.

She explained that there is a perception that Killarney has taken in too many refugees and that it is putting the tourism industry at risk as people are starting to think that the town is at full capacity.

“If you can’t get a room in Killarney there is something wrong,” she said. “Maybe with the exception of New Year’s Eve.”

She added that hotels that are providing emergency accommodation are helping off-season unemployment.

Many hotels remain in survival mode after two years of pandemic turmoil and the additional off season business is important, she explained.

“Many could be closed at this time of the year, others would not be operating at full capacity,” she added.

However, she warned the Government needs to put a plan in place before the tourism season starts next year. Some hotels offering emergency accommodation either have a three or six month contract.

“I can see there will be tears next April – the Government must have a long-term plan,” she said.

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Homing refugees worth almost €14m

By Sean Moriarty Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees. The Department of Children, […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth released figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

Documents show that contracts totalling €13,852,255.00 are being shared between 13 premises in the Killarney urban area.

However, the department warned these figures are “indicative” only and the full value of the contracts depends on “occupancy and actual usage”.

The Eviston Hotel has secured a contract worth €5,727,590.00, the Innisfallen Hotel in Fossa for €2,404,620.00 and The Hotel Killarney signed a deal worth €1,701,000.00. These are the three biggest contracts published in the documentation.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, and Department officials say more contracts could come on stream. Figures seen by the Killarney Advertiser only cover contracted premises up to the end of September this year and updated figures are only released every three months.

“We are in contract with far more, but the formal exchange of contracts can take place sometime after the service commences,” a department spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is obliged to publish a list of contracts formally signed off each quarter that have been awarded under a special EU Derogation that permits the Department to enter into contracts in the context of the Ukraine accommodation crisis without going to formal tender.

“The values of the contracts shown are estimates; the actual value materialises upon occupancy and actual usage. Standard contracts have no-fault break clauses available to both parties so again, the figures are indicative rather than actual.”

These figures only cover Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war and do not include International Protection Applicants.

The Department refused to release International Protection Applicant figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

“The International Protection Applicant accommodation contract information is commercially sensitive information and is not available,” added the Department spokesperson.

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