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People facing ‘toughest Christmas in decades’

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By Sean Moriarty

It's a choice of "heat or eat" for over 300 local people desperately seeking support from the St Vincent de Paul this Christmas.

Local helpers on the ground say that they've seen an increase in over one hundred people this year who are faced with impossible choices. And, many of those same people are the very ones who previously supported the charity, according to the Killarney branch of St Vincent de Paul (SVP).

Demand for its services is now at its highest in years in the run up to Christmas.

This time last year SVP in Killarney helped around 200 families but that figure will exceed 300 families by Christmas as people grapple with the 'Cost of Living Crisis'.

The local branch says it is getting “over 10 calls a day" from people seeking help and many of those calls are coming from "people who helped us in the past now need help themselves”.

As well as usual food parcels, the local SVP is getting more and more calls from people seeking help to pay their electricity and fuel bills.

The rising costs of energy is having an effect on local families but is also effecting SVP’s budgets.

Last year, on average, the charity gave out fuel vouchers for €400 but they are adding another €200 to this year’s voucher and "that is not even filling a tank”.

Breda Dwyer is the President of the local conference of St Vincent de Paul.

“So far this month, we have helped nearly 300 in some way, we are getting 10 calls a day,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

“There is a lot of demand for fuel vouchers, people may be getting the Government grant but there are a lot of very old houses in the Killarney area that are almost impossible to heat, they are not insulated.”

The charity has also revealed that the most significant increase in calls this year is coming from lower income earners in full-time employment.

“What we are finding is that people who helped us in the past and now need help themselves," added Breda.

Across counties Kerry and Cork the charity expects to reach a peak of 1,400 calls per week this month.

Local people seeking help should call the dedicated Killarney phone number on 087 6164888.

“If the phone is not answered, leave a message. We will get back to everyone who makes contact.”

CAR DRAW

The annual SVP South-West Annual Car Draw will be a key fundraising event for the region this year, with tickets and free post return envelopes delivered to every household in Kerry and Cork and the added option of buying tickets online. Donations are also welcome through both channels.

SVP South-West’s Regional Co-ordinator Gerry Garvey said the charity is gearing up for one of the most difficult periods for the South-West region in many years.

“We have received an unprecedented number of calls for this time of year and from all walks of life."

Tickets for the raffle cost €5 each and can be returned in the Freepost SVP envelope or dropped into the SVP Regional Office at Ozanam House, 2 Tuckey Street, Cork or Unit 2 Monavalley Business Park, Tralee.

You can also purchase tickets online at app.galabid.com/svpcardraw.

First prize will be a brand-new Ford Focus, kindly donated by the Kavanagh family’s TOMAR Trust, and there will be six other cash prizes. The final date for entries will be 12 noon on Friday, January 6.

The draw will take on Wednesday, January 11 at CAB Motor Company showrooms, where the winners will be announced. Details of the winners will be published on www.SVP.ie.

DONATION

A €25,000 donation has been made to the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) local conference in Killarney to help individuals and families over the Christmas period.

The RISE Community Fund supported by National Broadband Ireland, the company delivering the National Broadband Plan (NBP), made the donation to mark National Broadband Ireland’s 25,000th connection to its high-speed fibre broadband network, which was officially announced at the Cahernane House Hotel, Killarney last week.

Killarney Cardiac Response Unit is also one of six community groups in Kerry set to receive €1,000 from the group. The unit now plans to expand their communication systems and provide an additional projector for their training courses.

 

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Rebel lights delight for Killarney star

By Con Dennehy The continued growth, development and participation of women’s handball in East Kerry was rewarded at the weekend when Cork hosted ‘She’s Ace’, the prestigious All Ladies Handball […]

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By Con Dennehy

The continued growth, development and participation of women’s handball in East Kerry was rewarded at the weekend when Cork hosted ‘She’s Ace’, the prestigious All Ladies Handball championships.

Attracting all the leading players in Ireland, it was Sarah Dineen, the Spa/Killarney player who shot out the Rebel lights in Conna with a phenomenal display of handball.

Competing in the highly competitive Ladies Challenger championship, the Killarney player, who took up the sport just 18 months ago, had the perfect start in the competition defeating the home town favourite Agnes Hurley from Conna on a 21-20 scoreline following an energy sapping and close encounter that hung in the balance to the final ace.

In her second game she took on the challenge of Nolwenn Even from St Brigids where her skill, superior fitness and movement on the court resulted in the 21-12 victory and a place in the prestigious final.

“The final was always going to be a difficult game not least playing local girl Kate O’Riordan from Conna. I concentrated on my serve and kill shots which ensured we shared the aces early in the game. It was a difficult game with the home supporters out in force to cheer on their local hero. However, I played well and secured a 21-11 victory. This was the second time this title came to Spa Killarney following the 2022 win by Aoife Walsh in Northern Ireland,” said Sarah, who is currently chairperson of the Killarney Camogie Club.

A native of Westmeath, Sarah (46) runs a jewellery business in Killarney and lives in Rathmore. No stranger to competitive sport she played camogie for Westmeath and Leinster and also won an Intermediate championship Gaelic football medal in Westmeath.

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STEM Scholarship for outstanding female student

By Michelle Crean A Killarney student attending University College Cork has received a STEM scholarship. Annie O’Donoghue (22) who is in her final year of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Data Science […]

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By Michelle Crean

A Killarney student attending University College Cork has received a STEM scholarship.

Annie O’Donoghue (22) who is in her final year of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Data Science and Analytics in University College Cork, was recognised as an outstanding female student in STEM2D disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design at a ceremony held at Janssen Sciences site in Ringaskiddy.

Annie, from Muckross, will receive a student award, a bursary of €1,500, industry mentoring and leadership training, along with the opportunity to attend career workshops, visit Johnson & Johnson sites and participate in WiSTEM2D events designed to support students with pursuing future STEM careers.

The Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D programme fuels the development of the female STEM2D talent pipeline by awarding and sponsoring girls and women at critical points in their educational experience and their careers, in STEM disciplines. The Undergraduate programme was first introduced at University of Limerick in 2016. Since then, it has expanded to include University College Cork in 2018, University of Galway in 2021, and Munster Technological University in 2022, supporting more than 400 female students over the last six years.

“It’s an honour to be a recipient of this award,” Annie, who is a former St Brigid’s Presentation Secondary School student, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It’s great to see the number of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing and Design, increase over the years.”

She added that the goal of the award is “to inspire women to pursue their career path in their respective STEM2D field of work”.  
 

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