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Ponyman “desperately” tried to control his horse – inquest hears





By Anne Lucey

The inquests into the deaths of two American tourists killed in the Gap of Dunloe last year heard how the spot where they died was treacherous and that a barrier should be put in place.

Rosalyn Joy Few (64) of Phoenix, Arizona, and her partner Normand Larose (62) originally from Canada, both died at the Gap of Dunloe on April 9, 2018 of blunt force trauma with severe traumatic brain injury due to a fall on rocks from a pony and trap, post mortems had found.

No external factor such as a passing car was involved when the horse and trap suddenly left the road, and nothing spooked the horse.

The horse had worked as a jarvey horse in Killarney, it knew it was slipping and it tried to resist falling over the edge, the inquest in Killarney on Wednesday heard.

Ponyman Dan Casey had “desperately” tried to control his horse and had jumped from the rear door of the trap as horse and trap left the road shortly after the iron bridge.

The Gap of Dunloe traditional traps were very different to the Killarney four wheel jaunting cars in that they had no braking system, an expert garda witness said.

From his examination of the road markings, the horse’s left front shoe lost traction and the weight of the tub and the passengers pushed him over the edge.

Speed was not a factor. Both trap and horse were in good condition and the horse had been shod in recent weeks. Garda O’Brien said he felt there should be a barrier and also brakes on traps.

The six-man jury returned a verdict of accidental death after almost three hours of evidence. They also recommended that barriers be erected.

Dan Casey (53) of Dunloe Upper, Beaufort, told the inquest he was a ponyman for 37 years; he was on his fourth day back to work for the 2018 season. He picked up Ms Few and Mr Normand at 12.30pm at Brandon’s Cottage.

“Suddenly without warning my horse Johnny bolted,” Mr Casey said. He tried to bring him back into control and he himself fell backwards. The entire accident took 30 seconds, he said.

The horse had been working in Killarney as a jarvey horse before he bought him, and from June 2017 to October Mr Casey used the horse in the Gap, he said. Johnny the horse had “a very quiet demeanour” and he had had no problems with him, "absolutely no problems", Mr Casey said.

“I have never previously had an accident on the Gap,” Mr Casey said.

The horse was “at walking pace” at the time.

Ms Quilter thanked the many witnesses who gave evidence. Superintendent Flor Murphy thanked the Kerry Mountain Rescue Team for their recovery of the bodies

Supt. Murphy on behalf of the Gardai, and foreman Paudie Nagle on behalf of the jury, also extended their condolences.

Solicitor for the families of the deceased, Adrian Hegarty, said they wished to thank the people of Killarney, their hotel and their bus driver and other services.

Solicitor for ponyman Dan Casey, Dan O’Connor, extended “the deepest and most heartfelt sympathy”. There was not a day Mr Casey did not pray for the deceased, he said.


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The Irish investment market is pathetic

By Michael O’Connor,    I lived abroad for years, so all the investment strategies I created were typically outside of Irish tax considerations. But over the last few weeks I […]




By Michael O’Connor,   

I lived abroad for years, so all the investment strategies I created were typically outside of Irish tax considerations.

But over the last few weeks I have been putting together several investment strategies for Irish-domiciled clients. It has been eye-opening, to say the least.

In short, most of the Irish market appears to be dominated by a handful of life insurance companies that offer ‘wrapped’ Multi Asset Funds. This means they offer a basket of stocks, bonds, property etc., all within one investment.

Irish Life’s MAPs 4 multi-asset fund states a standard annual management charge of 1.15%. A bit on the higher side for my liking, but this is still manageable.

But when you dig a little deeper, the KID documents (where all fees have to be fully disclosed as part of UCITS regulations) show the fee as 2.2%.

Double the quoted price

As an added bonus, they lock your money up for seven years, where an early encashment charge is waiting for those who wish to withdraw their money early. That’s right, they charge YOU for making your money inaccessible.

This lock-up period is a shrewd business tactic. An exit charge is an excellent way to ensure customers don’t leave when they realise how poor the performance is.

Too late, you’re trapped.


Fees become more digestible provided the performance is strong, but unfortunately, the misery continues.

The Irish Life MAPS 4 Portfolio has an annual return of 1.63% a year over the last five years. Granted, this was a challenging market climate to navigate, but falling below even the lowest expectations of inflation means that this fund has returned negative real returns after inflation over the last five years.

A similar 60/40 portfolio made up of passive index funds (S&P 500 and US T bonds) would have returned roughly 6.5% a year over the same period for a fee of roughly 0.1%.

We can go round and round in circles regarding the ‘risk adjusted’ approach and the added ‘diversification’ of the multi-asset fund versus the 60/40 portfolio I have shown. But the reality is much of this so-called diversification is over-engineering for an extra cost for many long term investors.

So, how can such pathetic offerings still exist in a system where low-cost operators such as De Giro are providing endless ETF options and commission-free trades that provide access to market returns at a fraction of the price?

Two reasons spring to mind

Firstly, the Irish retail investment scene is built on a financial broker commission system where unsuspecting customers are shoved into these products by ‘financial planners’ who receive kickbacks and commissions from these investment companies. You think you’re getting free investment advice; believe me, you’re not.

Second, the tax treatment of ETF structures is comical in Ireland, and US ETFs aren’t even an investment option. A 41% exit tax and an eight-year deemed disposal rule leaves investors stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Choose an overpriced, underperforming product that locks your money away for multiple years or choose the cheaper, better-performing product and suffer the tax consequences.

Bizarrely, investors are forced to make decisions based on preferential tax treatment rather than on the underlying investment’s merits.

I have gone into much more detail on the tax treatment and investment options in Ireland on my website. Just scan the QR code.

If you would like me to independently review your investment portfolio, just send me an email at


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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 […]




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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