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O’Sullivan toast of Killarney as Muckross man wins Rally of the Lakes




By Sean Moriarty

Killarney competitors took the top honours in all four categories of the Rally of the Lakes at the weekend.

JUNIOR CHAMPS: Junior Category winners Jason Farrell and John McCarthy with club officers Martin Farrell and Diarmuid Lynch at the prizegiving ceremony of the International Rally of the Lakes at The Gleneagle Hotel on Sunday. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

CLASS WINNERS: Local crew Pat Looney and Amy Burke with Joe McCarthy (Vice Chairman) and Ann O'Donoghue (Entries Secretary) at the prizegiving ceremony of the International Rally of the Lakes on Sunday. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

WINNERS: National category winners Rob Duggan and Ger Conway with Michael O'Mahoney (Rentokil Initial) and Paul Ahern (Ahern's Motor Group) at the prizegiving ceremony of the International Rally of the Lakes at The Gleneagle Hotel on Sunday. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

TWO IN A ROW: Historic category winners Alan Ring (right) and Adrian Deasy with Darren McCormick (Clerk of the Course) at the prizegiving ceremony of the Killarney and District Motor Club International Rally of the Lakes at The Gleneagle Hotel on Sunday. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

FAMILY OCCASION: Winning co-driver Noel O'Sullivan Jnr with his parents Noel Snr and Marion O'Sullivan at the prizegiving ceremony of the International Rally of the Lakes. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

Killarney and District Motor Club (KDMC) member Noel O'Sullivan said it was the stuff of dreams on the finish ramp on Sunday evening after he and his driver, Derry man Callum Devine won the rally in dramatic circumstances.

Drama is a word often thrown around in sport, but on Sunday last, the final stage of the International Rally of the Lakes will go down in history.

Overnight leader Alastair Fisher had a 7.7-second lead coming into Sunday but a quick run up Molls Gap and Ballaghbeama by Devine early on Sunday morning cut the gap to 5.8 seconds.

Following a dead heat on the second run over the Gap, the battle came down to the final stage of the event, Caragh Lake, with just 3.1 seconds between the pair. Alastair was first on the road and halfway through when his Volkswagen Polo left the road and he couldn’t get back out to finish the stage.

Devine and O’Sullivan held on to claim a memorable victory for the local man.

“I am speechless, it is not often I am caught for words,” he said one week after he won the opening round of the British Rally Championship alongside Osian Pryce.
“The pace is up there with all the British, European and world events I have done.”

It was a special weekend for the O’Sullivan family. Noel’s father, Noel Snr, on his 38th attempt (out of 41 events) at the Rally of the Lakes, finished second in his class in his Ford Escort. Co-driver Nicky Burke started the rally for the 25th consecutive time.

The 'Acesigns' Irish Tarmac Rally Championship leader Josh Moffett, said he was finding the going difficult all weekend, left Killarney in second place, a result which he said he was happy with. Belfast’s Jonathan Greer rounded out the podium places in his Citroen C3.

National Rally

National honours went to Killarney club man Rob Duggan and Ger Conway. Having complained of clutch issues from the word go, Rob battled hard throughout setting multiple fastest stage times to win out by 48.9 seconds from Donegal man Kevin Eves in his Toyota Corolla Twin Cam.

“Sunday was a long day,” Duggan said, after nursing his car through the final day. As well as his clutch problems his Ford Escort suffered from a leaking head gasket and starter motor issues.

Conor Murphy and Sean Collins brought their Ford Escort home in third place overall in the national section.

“We are delighted with the clean run – drama free,” said Murphy at the finish.

Kilcummin’s Damien Fleming guided Raymond Conlon to a class in their Toyota Corolla.

Defending Kingdom of Kerry rally champion Mark Murphy and his co-driver Thomas Murphy were another crew to take top honours in their class.

Another local driver John Hickey, and his north Kerry co-driver Maurice McElligott, won their class in their unusual Fubaru Escort RS 4x4 while Denis Nagle and Brian Rowan won the 1400cc class in their Nissan Micra.

Historic Rally

Alan Ring went one better than his second place result in the Killarney Historic Rally last November by taking the historic win on his home rally in the Subaru Legacy.

Alan and his co-driver Adrian Deasy had 45.8 seconds to spare over another local crew Fergus O’Meara and Ronald Riordan in their Ford Escort.

Ring suffered brake problems on Saturday but recovered the lost time over the Sunday loop of stages.

“The pedal went to the floor,” said Ring in Parc Ferme on Saturday evening. "It did not inspire confidence.”
His win on Sunday was the second time in a row that he won the historic section of his home rally – his previous victory coming in 2019, the last time the rally ran.

Local garage man Pat Looney and his co-driver Amy Burke, who is better known for her equestrian skills, won their class in a Ford Escort Mk1.

Junior Rally

Killarney and District Motor Club member Jason Farrell has extended his lead at the top of the standings in the Irish Junior Tarmac Rally Championship following an emphatic Junior rally win. This was his third victory of the year.

Local debutants Gary Healy and Gearoid Moynihan brought their Honda Civic home in third, a fantastic result for them given it was their first outing on home soil.

The rally was held in some glorious weather over the weekend, with just some showers early on Sunday morning to test the driver’s skill and technique. Thousands of spectators lined the stages in what was one of the biggest crowds seen at the International Rally of the Lakes for years.



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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