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Publicans fury as reopening delayed again

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FRUSTRATED: Gavin O'Donoghue from The Speakeasy Bar on High St says he's anxious and frustrated with the Government's decision this week. Photo: Grigoriy Geniyevskiy

 

By Sean Moriarty

 

Furious Killarney publicans say they are almost at breaking point following the Government’s decision this week to further delay the reopening of pubs.

Tuesday’s announcement means that pubs that do not serve food will have to wait until August 31 - at the very least - before the can start trading again. They have been closed since March 16 as a result of pandemic related regulations.

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

Some Killarney bar owners fear they won’t be allowed open at all this year while others are concerned about the future of their businesses and staff.

They are angry that the Government waits until the last minute to announce plans that they believe were finalised weeks ago.

Gavin O’Donoghue and his family who run The Speakeasy Bar on High Street say that they "are anxious and frustrated”.

“We are being kicked down the road and we do not know where we stand,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

O’Donoghue is calling for more clarity and honesty from the Government so he can plan ahead. He believes Tuesday’s decision was set in stone once confirmed cases of Coronavirus started to increase again from the middle of last week, and would have preferred if the Government made their announcement ahead of the long weekend instead of keeping publicans in the dark.

The Government has stated that its priority is to reopen schools and colleges later this month and that this is a warning shot to publicans who are preparing to open on the latest proposed dates of August 31.

“There is no way they are going to allow the pubs and schools open at the same time, so why not be honest with us and say that now,” he added.

“The stress and the mental health issues this is causing is frightening.”

His mother Mary said: “We are being very badly treated. The Government is going to have to step up. It is our livelihood and the way we are being treated is appalling.”

[caption id="attachment_33279" align="alignleft" width="356"] ANGER: Siobhan Linehan from Dan Linehan's Bar on College St is angry with the Government's lack of support for pubs. Photo: Grigoriy Geniyevskiy[/caption]

Siobhan Linehan, a third-generation publican, runs Dan Linehan’s Bar on College St which was founded by her grandfather.

She is also concerned by the timings of Government announcements and even if pubs were given the go ahead to reopen next Monday there are no directives available to publicans in terms of new procedures.

“It is very hard to make a decision when we are being drip-fed information,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

Both publicans say they deserve a chance to reopen, even if there are stricter regulations.

“We are not being given opportunities to run our businesses,” added Siobhan. “We are professionals, we are going to do everything right, too much else hinges on what we do.”

“Even with reduced capacity and set opening and closing times, it can be done,” added Gavin.

The Government said the reason for delaying the reopening of pubs was due to an increase of COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks but neither publican is buying that.

The publicans say further delays in opening of pubs will lead to additional house parties and illegal gatherings including some reported ‘shebeens’.

“The number of cases are increasing yet the pubs remain closed; it is almost like we are at fault even though we are not opened,” added Siobhan.

Offering food is not an option for either.

“We moved our business model away from food 12 years ago, we sell pints and conversation. My customers are not here for food – they will have eaten at home before going out for a few drinks.”

“If we open to sell food we risk running at a loss, but do we open now and close down for good real soon, or do we stay closed now and close down for good much later – we can’t win. “

Gavin said there are too many restaurants in Killarney already and that offering food at the Speakeasy simply could not work.

“There are certain places for certain things – our bar is not a place for a fine steak meal – and some of my customers come to me because we don’t do food. They do not like the smell of food while they are having a drink,” he said.

 

 

 

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Fossa’s marathon man competes in Vienna

By Sean Moriarty They are a familiar sight on training sessions out the Fossa way, but last weekend two Killarney marathon runners made themselves known in Vienna, Austria. Tony Harty (Fossa) and Seamus Murphy (Milltown and Glencar) train together and travel together to international marathons all over the world. On Sunday they contested the Vienna Marathon […]

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By Sean Moriarty

They are a familiar sight on training sessions out the Fossa way, but last weekend two Killarney marathon runners made themselves known in Vienna, Austria.

Tony Harty (Fossa) and Seamus Murphy (Milltown and Glencar) train together and travel together to international marathons all over the world.

On Sunday they contested the Vienna Marathon with Tony recording a personal-best time of 2hrs and 45mins. He finished second in the Over 45 category and 27th overall, while Tony completed the course in 3hrs and 3mins.

“You won’t see one of us without the other,” said Tony.

Niall Thompson of Killorglin was also competing in the event.

Tony is a member of the well-known Harty family of Waterford. His two brothers Phillip and William and sister Rebecca all raced for Ireland.

Tony took up running later than his siblings and contested his first marathon in 2015 when was 39-years-old.

Now 45 he cannot stop running and takes in at least two overseas marathons every year as well as Irish and local events.

“It is all part of the experience,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. Both he and Seamus have previously contested marathons in Barcelona, Valencia and Rotterdam and he intends to return to Spain in early December for another crack at the Valencia event.

He prepared for Sunday’s race by winning overall at the Churchtown 5-mile race in Cork last month and the Antrim Half-Marathon a few weeks ago.

“Vienna was very hot, up to 26 degrees, and lots of people were suffering,” he added. “Vienna was supposed to run in April but it got deferred. We prefer running in cooler conditions. Valencia will be around 10 degrees in December which is ideal.”

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Jordan’s new role with St Paul’s

By Sean Moriarty Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club. Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level. The High Jumper then switched […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club.

Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level.

The High Jumper then switched to track and field and qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics where he made history by becoming the first Kerry athlete to act as a flag bearer for an opening ceremony and lead an Irish team into an Olympic Stadium.

Now back home and preparing for the next Olympics in Paris, he has returned to his first love and will join the backroom staff at the local Division One basketball club ahead of their National League campaign which begins next month.

His father Jarlath Lee is head coach with St Paul’s.

“Jordan is joining us as our strength and conditioning coach,” Jarlath told the Killarney Advertiser.

INTERNATIONALS

Meanwhile, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club National League team will have a distinctive feel to it this year after securing the services of three overseas players it for the season ahead.

The club’s biggest signing is Canadian professional Ben Miller. It was originally hoped that the former two-time Manitoba Player of the Year would play for the local side last season but the pandemic got in the way and the National League was never played. However, he did play two training games this time last year before returning to Canada until travel restrictions lifted.

“He is a good guy, very approachable and very good with the young members,” Jarlath said.

The club has also signed Bulgarian International Emilian Grudov.

The 20-year-old has already represented his home country at U16, 18 and 20 level.

“He is young, athletic and very good offensively,” added Lee.

The returning Lithuanian Dianius Varanaukus completes the club international line up for the 2020/21 season.

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