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Proceeds of Castlemaine Fair Day presented to Kerry Hospice Foundation




The revival of Castlemaine Fair Day was held on Sunday, October 10th 2021 in memory of the late John O’Donoghue Castlemaine was described as a resounding success and a fitting tribute to a pillar of the community who sadly passed away on January 1 2021.

On Saturday evening last, in Griffin’s Bar and Lounge, Castlemaine, the proceeds of the Fair Day which amounted to an incredible sum of €40,061.76 were presented by family members, close friends and the Castlemaine Events Committee to the very deserving Kerry Hospice Foundation who provided exemplary care and support to John and his family following a shock diagnosis of terminal bowel cancer in May 2019.

John O’Donoghue was born on January 21 1965 which happened to coincide with a staging of Castlemaine Fair Day over fifty years ago and it was with this in mind that Cathy, John’s daughter and his good friend for many years, Pat O’Keeffe felt a Fair Day would be an appropriate way to celebrate his life due to his lifelong passion for farming and his love of attending many different fairs throughout the county and indeed country.

The added motivation of bringing back an old tradition to Castlemaine Village and raising funds for Kerry Hospice Foundation at the same time were key factors in deciding to proceed with the memorial event.

Speaking following the cheque presentation to Kerry Hospice Foundation, John’s daughter Cathy said: “We couldn’t have done it without the incredible assistance of the Castlemaine Events Committee, the farming community, locals, An Garda Siochana, St Joseph’s National School Castlemaine, Sayers Insurance, Castlemaine Community Centre, Department of Agriculture officials, very generous local businesses and the unwavering support from Evelyn and Mary Shanahan of the Kerry Hospice Foundation.
“A huge thank you also to the amazing doctors, nurses and carers who looked after my father so well during his short time in the Palliative Care Unit back in 2020. It was a great pleasure to present the cheque on Saturday evening to the Kerry Hospice Foundation alongside Castlemaine Events Committee and some members of the farming community on behalf of Castlemaine and its surrounding areas.

“I’d like to express my gratitude to all of you that gave very generous donations before, during and after the Fair Day. Your contribution is greatly appreciated. It is impossible to mention everyone as some gave contributions through sponsorship prizes, supplying equipment/entertainment on the day, volunteering, purchasing tickets, donating or bidding at the auction etc so I wish to reiterate that your support is so valued.
“It is the intention that this will now become an annual event as not only does it help raise funds for the wonderful service that the Kerry Hospice Foundation provides, it will also help keep my father’s memory alive.
“John would be beaming with pride and will be forever proud.”



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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