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Q&A with Louise Byrne





Sustainability Manager with The Killarney Park tells the Killarney Advertiser about running an environmentally friendly hotel and her role in the new coffee cup scheme in Killarney


What are the benefits of becoming a more sustainable organisation?

There are many benefits to becoming a sustainable organisation.
There is of course a financial benefit to resource efficiency which is appealing to any business in the current climate. Also, we are noticing the rise of the eco-conscious consumer and there are numerous studies to confirm that customers are looking to make sustainable choices. It is important that businesses prioritise sustainable innovation to not only differentiate themselves from competitors but also for long term growth. More than half the world’s GDP is reliant on nature and if we want to future-proof our businesses we need to protect that natural capital.

We also just have to turn on the news to see the impact climate change is having globally, businesses have an ethical responsibility to do the right thing. The next generation will remember who stood on the right side of history.

You were heavily involved in the coffee cup project, how did the idea come about?

The idea started over a year ago. I was trying to implement circular solutions to our waste in the hotels and at this time Killian and Emily Treacy were opening Luna deli + wine. We sat down to discuss sustainable cup options for the shop and the hotels. I was always uncomfortable with the fact that most people consider compostables as an eco-friendly choice when in fact less than 1% of the 200 million cups thrown away every year in Ireland are actually composted. Following on from this we participated in the KWD County Clean Up, where we noticed that the most common source of litter in The National Park was single use cups and lids. This led to me, Killian and Ciara Treacy coming together to see if we could come up with a solution to the problem. The impact would only be significant and effective if the whole town got involved. We held a town hall style meeting with all the independent coffee shops where we posed the question “Could Killarney become single use coffee cup free?” We were met with resounding enthusiasm from the coffee shop owners and from there we got to work.

I think the last time I checked there was well over 50 coffee shops and hotels on board with the project, you must be pleased with the reaction so far?

I am thrilled and immensely proud to be part of a community that comes together the way Killarney has. The positive reaction from businesses and customers has been overwhelming and really highlights the fact that the people of Killarney want to protect their local environment.

Do you believe it is community lead projects like this that will make a real difference to our environment in the long run?

Community projects are a key part of tackling climate change and creating resilience in local communities. This small project alone removes over a million paper cups from our local environment - but it also mitigates the environmental impact of producing these cups, transporting them across the world, and the emissions from both the waste itself and the infrastructure required to process the waste. That’s a big impact from a small local behavioural change. We can’t underestimate the potential of local communities.

Do you think that there is the potential for other local projects like this to tackle other environmental issues?

Absolutely! Killarney Coffee Cup Project is the first of a series of initiatives for Killarney, so stay tuned!

Just for our readers who are interested in educating themselves a bit more on how to live more sustainably, what tips would you give?

Switch to green energy with your provider, it’s easy quick and often the same price
Separate your waste. Use to find out what is recyclable. A lot of items are recyclable, and you will save on your bin charges
Reuse and repair your items. Visit to find a local professional to help you fix your items
Shop local and Irish. It helps your neighbour and the planet.
Support the Irish Pollinators Plan in your garden (
On a national level, and maybe even global level, are you optimistic that the world can address climate change?

Of course! For instance, if we had a more circular economy we would use 70% of the materials we currently extract and use and limit global warming to within 1.5 degrees as needed. The information, technology, and systems are there we just have to be willing to adjust and not wait too long to do it.

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Eight month wait for a driving test in Killarney

A Killarney councillor is calling for action in an effort to reduce the driving test wait list in Killarney The current wait list for a test in Killarney sits at […]




A Killarney councillor is calling for action in an effort to reduce the driving test wait list in Killarney

The current wait list for a test in Killarney sits at eight months.

Cllr John O’Donoghue raised the issue at Monday’s full meeting of Kerry County Council.

He proposed that driving instructors should be employed to carry out the final test to reduce the current backlog.

At Monday’s meeting he asked that hat Kerry County Council would write to the Minister for Transport to ask him to consider giving driving instructors temporary powers to issue a temporary Driving Licence/Certificate of Competence to those on the waiting list for tests.

“The wait is currently far too long and the system is in danger of becoming completely overwhelmed,” he said.

“The huge waiting list for young drivers is well documented at this stage. In a case I am familiar with, a young person passed their theory test in January 2022 and he immediately applied for his mandatory 12 driving lessons. When these were completed, he applied for his driving test on the 2nd of December 2022. Some weeks ago, he still had not received an application to apply for his driving test. This wait is placing him and his family under considerable extra cost and stress which is completely unacceptable.”

In the course of his research into the matter Cllr O’Donoghue discovered that the next available date for a driving test in Killarney is May 25, 2024, while Tralee is June 3 2024.

“Bear in mind, these are only the dates on which you receive an invitation to book your test, the test itself will then be an estimated three to five weeks later.

“This is an appalling situation and one which needs to be rectified as a matter of urgency. I am proposing that driving instructors, which presumably are fully trained up on the rules of the road, be granted temporary powers to be allowed to issue temporary driving licences to young people. When the waiting list time has been reduced, I would still propose that these people sit the test as usual, but the current pressure needs to be alleviated as soon as possible. There is precedent as I believe that in the 1970s, a cohort in this country were issued driving licences without having sat a test as the wait time for the test was too long.”


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Ballymac charity vintage run on October 1

The Ballymac Vintage Club is hosting a classic car, tractor and Honda 50 run on October 1. The run will leave from and return to the Halfway Bar, Ballymac. Registration […]




The Ballymac Vintage Club is hosting a classic car, tractor and Honda 50 run on October 1.

The run will leave from and return to the Halfway Bar, Ballymac.

Registration begins at 9:30am and sets off at 11am.

“There will be two separate routes with one for tractors and the other for cars and motorbikes. Proceeds on the day are in aid of Castleisland Day Care Centre and we’ll have plenty of spot prizes to giveaway too in the morning,” said the club’s PRO Kieran Glover.


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