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No visitors, but there’s new life at Kennedy’s Pet Farm

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NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: Max Kennedy, son of Jerry and Tracy Kennedy, pictured holding a one day old baby kid.

By Michelle Crean

New life is springing into action at one of the county's most loved pet farms - but it'll be a while yet before the public get to meet the new additions.
Kennedy's Pet Farm, located on the Killarney/Cork road, is a popular destination for a day out for families from across the county and beyond - but like most places, COVID has put a halt to that.

For now, as like every other year, the seasonal business is closed to the public, however, the usual March start won't be going ahead either due to the current pandemic.

The animals, which include donkeys, ponies, horses, cows, sheep, goats, deer, birds including ducks, geese, pheasants, doves, pigeons and guinea hens of course are oblivious to what the world is currently going through - but will most likely miss the human visitors over the coming months.

The pet farm side of the business was founded in 1991 by Diarmuid and Noreen Kennedy. It's now run by their son Jerry and his wife Tracy, and the couple's two children Max (2) and Molly (7) are helping to take care of the animals.

Originally a dairy farm, the family's love of pets grew into a small business, and after a Compulsory Purchase Order halved the farm, they later decided to focus on running the pet farm full-time.

And to say it was a success is an understatement. Thousands enjoy a day out every year at the seasonal business which normally opens after St Patrick's Day right through to late October.

Jerry explained this week to the Killarney Advertiser that they're hopeful that once COVID numbers decrease they can reopen in the summer to visitors.

"Every time we plan anything the rug gets pulled from under you," Jerry said. "Normally we get 35 to 40 weeks out of the season. Last year we missed Paddy's Day and all the school tours."

A difficult year, the family had no option but to stay closed as the COVID outbreak occurred just as they were getting ready to reopen. With eight full-time staff in the high season and a number of part-time seasonal workers, they had to make speedy adjustments as the lockdown was lifted.

"We got to open for 10 weeks. We got some of the busy season, families looking for a day out but we had to restrict the times from 10am to 1pm and 1.30pm to 4pm to separate people out. Seating had to be taken out of the coffee shop and we had to switch to a take away option."

And he added that "the costs of running a business are still there" as all the animals need feeding every day.
"There's also an investment in reopening to get it right - this idea of half opening isn't right. Half doing something - you're doing more damage."

He added that "the animals are getting on fine" but will miss the visitors in the coming months.

And Jerry added that regular messages are sent to the family from the public to find out how the animals are doing.
"On Facebook we're getting lots of messages, people asking how the animals are. We're hopeful we'll get back soon."

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Killarney allocated over €600,000 for public outdoor dining

By Sean Moriarty The plan to place council operated outdoor dining on Kenmare Place took a step closer to reality this week. On Wednesday Fáilte Ireland revealed that 38 Municipal Districts were successful in their funding applications. Killarney is set to receive €604,505 under the scheme which is managed by the national tourism promotion body. […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The plan to place council operated outdoor dining on Kenmare Place took a step closer to reality this week.

On Wednesday Fáilte Ireland revealed that 38 Municipal Districts were successful in their funding applications.

Killarney is set to receive €604,505 under the scheme which is managed by the national tourism promotion body.

“The aim of this Scheme is to support tourism and hospitality jobs and help businesses develop new ways of catering for domestic and international tourists outdoors. Access to outdoor dining facilities will continue to be a key part of industry recovery as we look forward to 2022 and beyond,” said Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin at Wednesday’s announcement.

Elected members of Killarney Municipal District are scheduled to meet in the coming weeks and more details of the project will be revealed after this meeting.

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Student grants and renting

Supports Available It’s that time of year where parents and their school leaving children are preparing for college for the first time. The main financial support for students or their parents is the Student Grant from SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland). SUSI typically accepts late applications up until November. This is a means tested grant […]

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Supports Available

It’s that time of year where parents and their school leaving children are preparing for college for the first time. The main financial support for students or their parents is the Student Grant from SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland). SUSI typically accepts late applications up until November. This is a means tested grant which may cover the fees (student contribution) and provide maintenance.

The limits that apply to the grant vary, but if the student was coming from a family with less than four dependent children, in order to qualify for the maximum rate of grant the total net income in the previous tax year would have to have been €39,875 or less. That refers to both the parent’s income and the student’s income, however €4,500 of the student’s income which they earn outside term time e.g. during the summer will be disregarded.

PUP

If the student was getting the PUP payment because they lost their part-time job due to the pandemic, this is taken into account. Currently there are no disregards allowed for PUP payments. If there is more than one student attending college from the same household, the limit may be increased by €4,830.

Maximum Student Grant

There are actually two different maximum rates of grant. There are referred to as the adjacent and non-adjacent rate. The adjacent rate is for students living within 45km of the college and the non-adjacent rate is for students living more than 45km from the college. The adjacent rate is €3,025. The non-adjacent rate is €1,125. There has always been a special higher rate of grant for disadvantaged students.

Student Assistance Fund

Yes, separate from the Student Grant from SUSI the colleges have access to the Student Assistance Fund. Students can apply directly through their college for assistance with expenses such as books or laptops. Typically, this involves completing an application form and going for a short interview in the college. There are no set amounts of funding under this scheme. The college will assess each application on its own merits.

Renting for the First Time

Don’t be tempted to pay a deposit or sign a tenancy agreement until you have seen the property. If you are signing a tenancy agreement check if you want to live in the property for the time period stated on the agreement, check for early break clauses. Make sure you have correct contact details for the landlord. If you chose to leave the property early you may lose your deposit.

Deposits

The landlord should only retain the deposit or part of it to cover any damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear. The tenant should take pictures of the property before they move out as evidence of the condition they left the property in.

Rents

There are different rules depending on whether the property is in a Rent Pressure Zone or not. A Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ)  is an area where rents cannot be increased by more than general inflation. At the beginning of a new tenancy in a RPZ, a landlord is required to provide the tenant, in writing, with the amount of rent that was last set. For a tenancy not located in a Rent Pressure Zones a landlord may increase the rent in line with market value once every two years.

For anyone needing information, advice or have an advocacy issue, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in Kerry on 0761 07 7860. The offices are staffed from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm, email tralee@citinfo.ie or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie for further information.

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