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Q&A with Louise Byrne

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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

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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 www.mywaste.ie 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 www.repairmystuff.ie 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 (www.pollinators.ie)
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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Kerry v Cork match day parking

  Kerry take on Cork in the first round of the Munster Championship at Fitzgerald Stadium on Saturday. This glamour tie always attracts a huge crowd and Cork fans will […]

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Kerry take on Cork in the first round of the Munster Championship at Fitzgerald Stadium on Saturday.

This glamour tie always attracts a huge crowd and Cork fans will travel in their droves from the Rebel County.

As a result there will be parking restrictions and traffic disruptions in the town on Saturday afternoon.

“Please be aware that the town will be bustling with activity, and traffic congestion is expected. Some parking areas may reach capacity, so we recommend allowing extra time for your journey,” said a Garda spokesperson.

Parking will be available in the following areas near the stadium: New Street, The Glebe car park, Fair Hill car park, High Street, Rock Road car park and the Lewis Road car park.

Parking in the vicinity of Fitzgerald Stadium is reserved for residents with parking passes only.

For a full preview of the match turn to our Sports section on page 54

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Win tickets for Taylor Swift and support Palestine

Killarney For Palestine is raffling two tickets to a Taylor Swift concert in Edinburgh. The group is raising funds for the Halaq family who are known to Kerry Friends of […]

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Killarney For Palestine is raffling two tickets to a Taylor Swift concert in Edinburgh.

The group is raising funds for the Halaq family who are known to Kerry Friends of Palestine and who are currently displaced in tents in the Gaza Strip.

Their homes were destroyed in the city of Khan Younis by Israeli airstrikes.

“It currently costs between €5,000 and €6,000 per person to be evacuated from Gaza,” said Susan Larkin of Killarney For Palestine.

To be in with a chance of winning the tickets for the June 8 concert all you have to do is make a donation via the gofundme link below.

A minimum €5.00 donation ensures entry to the draw which will be made on April 24.

Link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/hx5ahx-help-my-children

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