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.”
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.
Possible return to campus for college students
By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors
The announcement by the Department of Education this week, that the Leaving Cert results will be issued on Friday, September 3, was followed by confirmation from the Central Applications Office that CAO Round 1 offers will be issued online, four days later on Tuesday, September 7 at 2pm.
This is about three weeks later than normal, although it is earlier than the 2020 dates. Coinciding with the release of these dates comes the news from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, that it is the priority of Government to get college students back on campus for the 2021/2022 academic year. Because of the later issue of Leaving Cert results and CAO offers, this means that First Year students will start college a couple of weeks later than those who are returning to college in Second, Third and Fourth Year.
From the point of social distancing, the staggered start may be an advantage, as we will still be living with certain restrictions due to COVID-19. There are a number of contributing factors what will influence a safe and successful return to the college campus for students according to Minister Harris. They include the roll-out and take-up of vaccinations in the college-age cohort by September, the use of rapid testing on campus which has been run as a pilot in several universities this year, and a varied approach to face-to-face lectures. It is hoped that smaller classes, practicals and tutorials can be operated as before with social distancing while the larger lectures may need to be facilitated using a blended approach. It is also felt that if cafés, restaurants and bars are open everywhere else, there is no reason why they can’t open on campus. This of course is all based on vaccinations and public health guidelines.
A big concern for First Year students following the announcements is the fact that they will be looking for accommodation later than all other students. This is an issue every single year because when CAO offers are issued, many students get offers for colleges in locations where they have not secured accommodation. Naturally it is of particular concern to rural students and mirrors a greater societal shortage of accommodation. Minister Harris has also stated that he is bringing a proposal to Cabinet in the coming weeks to implement legislation which means that the owners of purpose-built student accommodation will only be allowed to charge rents a month in advance rather than insisting on payment of rent for half of the college year, something which has put enormous strain on students and their families over the years.
So, while any kind of certainty surrounding a return to ‘normal’ college life isn’t possible, it is both hopeful and exciting for new and returning college students to be able to look forward to the next college year with the prospect of getting to enjoy a real college experience and all that has to offer.
I will be hosting a free webinar for Leaving Cert parents on June 16 at 7pm on ‘How to help your son/daughter with CAO Change of Mind and other career options’ ahead of the CAO deadline on July 1.
To register see links on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @mycareerplan or email me on email@example.com.
Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Deadline for health and well-being fest fast approaching
Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching. This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10. Organised by an interagency […]
Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching.
This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10.
Organised by an interagency steering group, the key focus of the Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest is to promote mental health and well-being in Kerry through a fun and interactive programme of events.
“The Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest aims to create awareness of, and schedule events that empower people to engage with the Five Ways to Well-being – Connect | Give | Take Notice | Keep Learning | Be Active – as well as raising awareness of the available supports and services in the county,” Chair of the Steering Committee, Donagh Hennebry, said.
“The Fest has a wide reach across Kerry and we want to continue to build on its success in 2021. But we can’t do this without you! We are inviting anyone who is interested in helping us achieve our goal, by hosting an event(s) during #KerryMHWFest, to register online as soon as possible.”
The organising committee is a collaboration between Connecting for Life Kerry, Healthy Kerry, Kerry County Council, the HSE, NEWKD, SKDP, Kerry Mental Health Association, Jigsaw Kerry, Munster Technological University/Kerry, and Kerry Volunteer Centre.
To register your interest to host an event for the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, visit www.healthykerry.ie before close of business on Friday, June 25.
For more information about registration, promotion, or the Fest in general, please contact the interagency steering group at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free and subsidised higher education courses for Kerry
11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry. The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in […]
11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry.
The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in Retail Food Service Operations and a Postgraduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business.
Over 10,000 places are available across both programmes nationwide in 2021.
Springboard+ provides free courses for people who are unemployed, people who have taken time out of work or education to raise their families or care for loved ones, or people who want to upskill. Now in its 10th year, over 75,000 people have benefited from Springboard+ to date.
Courses under the HCI Pillar 1 programme are aimed at graduates and offer incentivised places for them to reskill in areas of skills shortage and emerging technologies. These are being run alongside, and complementary to, the Springboard+ offerings.
For those in employment, the Government will fund 90% of the cost of a Springboard+ or HCI Pillar 1 course. The programmes are managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.
Launching the programme, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD said, “As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need to ensure that people have the skills they need”.
Candidates who wish to participate will find full details on the approved courses on www.springboardcourses.ie. Experienced guidance counsellors will be available to advise potential Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 participants on their options on the freephone Springboard+ helpline: 1800 303 523. The helpline is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
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