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Rainy day fund gone but Killarney will bounce back – says newly elected Chamber president

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If any town in the country has the capability and resolve to recover from the economic and social devastation caused by the Coronavirus it is Killarney but it will take time and initiative, the newly elected President of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce has said.

Cllr Niall Kelleher, whose two-year term at the helm of the organisation commences this month, said there are very significant challenges ahead for businesses but they must rise to meet them with innovative thinking and sheer willpower.

"I am very much aware that many businesses in all sectors, from retail to hospitality, have been devastated by the events that have occurred since last March and that, in many cases, the rainy day fund is now gone," he said.

“There is huge resilience out there, however, and if any town is equipped to bounce back, it is Killarney because of its infrastructure and its natural advantages as a world class tourism destination. We saw that during the few months businesses were allowed to reopen in the summer and Killarney became the number one destination of choice for so many people. As we prepare for a post-COVID world, big opportunities to rebuild will be provided through our National Park with a focus on the great outdoors to promote fitness, health and adventure."

Cllr Kelleher, who is a member of Kerry County Council for the Killarney Municipal District, said while great benefits for businesses exist online, people must remember that money spent locally circulates in the local economy and locals must support locals.

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"The big challenge for Killarney over the next two years will be to get back on the path we were on before the virus struck and to work to further enhance the wonderful destination we already have."

He said the progress to develop Killarney as a gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way would bring significant advantages and Chamber will play its part, working with all the other agencies, to ensure it is implemented.

It was hugely positive news, he said, that Killarney was chosen as one of two pilot areas to test the gateway concept over a three-year period as the Wild Atlantic Way has been a phenomenal success.

Another of his priorities during his term as president will be to continue to work with the relevant authorities to tackle traffic congestion in Killarney which was a major issue prior to COVID and will be again when the town gets back to normal.

“Everybody must work towards the ultimate goal of getting the outer relief road from Farranfore to Killarney underway as it is absolutely vital that the project is brought to shovel ready stage as soon as possible,” he said.

Cllr Kelleher said he is looking forward to the new cycleway from Ross Road to Muckross Road being completed as it is a hugely exciting initiative and there are several other infrastructural projects in the pipeline which the Government has pledged to support.

On a personal level, Cllr Kelleher acknowledges that he is facing a very busy two-year period combining his Chamber duties with his role as a councillor but, he insists, he is more than up for the challenges it will present.

“I have been a member of the Chamber for many years and vice-president for the last two, and I have seen that the organisation shares many common goals with the Council.

“Sometimes, of course, there will be different views but that can only lead to healthy debate as we are all working with one goal in mind and that’s to create a better Killarney and to ensure it continues to prosper as a wonderful town to live in and to do business in,” he stated.

Cllr Kelleher thanked outgoing Chamber president, Paul Sherry, for his enormous work and the huge commitment he demonstrated during his two-year tenure.

“It sounds a bit of a cliché, but I have a very hard act to follow. Paul had a vast amount of knowledge, particularly from a retail perspective, and he did an excellent job,” he said.

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Lee Strand awarded Gold in Sustainability Programme

Lee Strand was recognised once again for their exceptional performance and commitment to sustainability with Gold Membership at the Origin Green 2022 awards. Origin Green is Ireland’s food and drink […]

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Lee Strand was recognised once again for their exceptional performance and commitment to sustainability with Gold Membership at the Origin Green 2022 awards.

Origin Green is Ireland’s food and drink sustainability programme led by Bord Bia – The Irish Food Board. Gold Membership is awarded to companies who demonstrate an exceptional annual performance on their sustainability targets.

“We are delighted Lee Strand is recognised once again with the prestigious Origin Green Gold Membership for our commitment to sustainability,” Gearoid Linnane, CEO said.

“In Lee Strand environmental management and sustainability are key elements of our business model, from launching 100% renewable cartons, to reducing water usage and energy efficiency. This is a great achievement by our sustainability team who are continually striving for higher levels of environmental excellence. We would also like to thank Veronica Kennelly from the Munster Technological University who assisted Lee Strand in the development of our Origin Green plan.”

Origin Green continues to evolve to ensure Bord Bia is helping Irish food and drink companies to remain up to date with the evolving needs of trade customers and their consumers, globally. With the introduction of the Origin Green credits system in early 2022, it is now easier to identify members who are performing at a high level or excelling in their sustainability performance.

To retain ongoing membership of Origin Green, companies must subsequently submit an annual review to demonstrate clear progress against the established targets and initiatives set. This annual review is subject to an independent third-party review by their verification authority Mabbett. This ensures minimum programme requirements are consistently met and maintained. Companies receive credits for their performance in areas such as raw material sourcing; water and energy efficiency; waste reduction; packaging; and social sustainability. Origin Green has established five different membership tiers based on company size and turnover, so that a real diversity of industry is reflected in the overall Gold Membership.

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Shock at the death of “wonderful community activist”

There was a great sense of shock over the weekend when new of the death of Yvonne Quill, a Tidy Towns champion and wonderful community activist, became known. Yvonne, from […]

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There was a great sense of shock over the weekend when new of the death of Yvonne Quill, a Tidy Towns champion and wonderful community activist, became known.

Yvonne, from Barleymount and formerly of the Cafe, College Street, passed away following a short illness on Friday. Requiem Mass takes place this morning (Monday) at 11am in The Prince of Peace Church, Fossa, followed by burial in Aghadoe Lawn Cemetery.

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce President Niall Kelleher said she will be very fondly remembered as an incredibly dedicated woman, a strong personality who led by example and spearheaded the town’s Tidy Towns committee with such passion for over 25 years.

He recalled that her proudest day was when, as chairperson of the Killarney Looking Good Committee, she inspired Killarney to the prestigious overall national award in 2011 which had proved so elusive prior to that.

“Yvonne led by example and she never asked anyone to do something she wouldn’t do herself. You would seldom see her without the yellow bib, playing her part and showing us all what needed to be done to give Killarney the edge,” Mr Kelleher said.

“While winning the overall prize was something special, Killarney has never been far from the top and it has won a gold medal almost every year which is testament to Yvonne’s great ability to organise, her steely determination and her unrivalled ability to rally the troops,” he added.

The Chamber President also remembered her as a great businesswoman, a master baker and confectioner whose café on College Street was a must-visit for a whole generation of Killarney people and visitors.

“Yvonne Quill has left a great legacy in her home town. We thank her for what she has done, we’ll remember her incredible work ethic and we’ll ensure her name will live on in Killarney by continuing the commitment to the Tidy Towns initiative.”

Johnny McGuire, a member of the executive of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, who worked alongside Yvonne at the helm of the Tidy Towns committee, said she was a born leader who inspired the whole community and always led by example.

“Killarney would never have won the All-Ireland Tidy Towns award without her. She was the inspirational captain of the winning team. Yvonne worked night and day and, when it came to Tidy Towns, there was no downtime for her,” Mr McGuire said.

“Her commitment to the cause brought her into every school and every housing estate in Killarney. Working closely with the late Fr Michael Murphy, her great friend, Kathleen Foley, and others, they really put Killarney in contention for the top awards every year. The name Yvonne Quill was known and respected in Tidy Towns circles throughout the entire country – she really was a legend and everything she turned her hand to,
she succeeded. Killarney will miss her,” he added.

She will be deeply missed by her husband John, children Peter, Sandra and Sean, her son-in-law Peter, daughter-in-law Mairéad, grandchildren Anna, Jake, Ted, Abby and Luke, sister Angela Mulvey, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and extended family, friends, neighbours and the community.

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