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Pub owners anger at Government indecision



GIVE US A CHANCE TO OPEN: Tony McSweeney and his daughter Kelly Ann say the Government is not helping small family run pubs like their landmark Sand Trap Bar on College St.



By Sean Moriarty


Publicans in Killarney are calling for the Government to allow them open on August 10 and for it to stop judging rural pubs on what is happening in Dublin.

There are 90 licensed premises in Killarney - including hotels and restaurants - and all but 12 of them have opened since June 29.

The remaining pubs are not allowed open as they do not serve food. They are considered local bars for local people but they have not traded since March as a result of COVID-19 regulations designed to prevent people from gathering in the one area.

Since the June reopening date, pubs in Killarney that serve food are allowed open and serve alcohol with a meal.

The discrepancy is unfair according to pub owners in Kerry and resulted in an emergency meeting of the Kerry Branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland in Tralee on Tuesday night, which was attended by representatives of the Killarney Vintners.

The local vintners group exists primarily to raise funds for events like Christmas in Killarney and the annual 4th of July celebration, and leaves the political issues to the county federation.

Tony McSweeney and his family have been running the McSweeney Arms Hotel and the adjoining Sand Trap Bar for 70 years. While the premises attracts a large amount of tourists is it primarily a locals’ bar and is very popular with local horse racing fans.

His daughter, Kelly Ann, attended Tuesday’s meeting and afterwards the family called for more leniency from the Government so they can reopen their landmark town centre pub.

“A simple thing like allowing us serve until 10.30pm and close by 11pm latest every night, and regulate that, is one solution,” Tony told the Killarney Advertiser. “And those who flout it, come down heavy on them. I am talking about pubs in rural Ireland. There is no way you can compare these pubs to pubs in Temple Bar. I am against opening until one or two in the morning, but it can be regulated for these pubs; the Americans would call them neighbourhood bars.”

His idea was taken to Dublin by the Kerry Branch Chairman Christy Walsh from Listowel, but the outcome of that meeting, which took place yesterday (Thursday), was not publicised by the time the Killarney Advertiser went to press.

His daughter has similar views. She is upset that her family-run local pub is considered the same risk as a casino, nightclub or late night venue.

“We are respected licence holders – we are going to do it right,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “Opening more bars spreads out the amount of people that are already in town – people will be separated out. Give us stricter guidelines and we will follow them. It is unfair to group rural pubs into the same category as night clubs and casinos. How can you compare rural Ireland to a club in Dublin? Why not open my bar, or Jimmy O’Brien’s beside me, but at the same time do not open Copper Face Jacks.”

As it stands, pubs will be allowed reopen on August 10 subject to the COVID-19 situation in the country at that time. But bar owners remain very worried that their issue will be kicked down the road once again.



Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]




The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.


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A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]




The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

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