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Santa helpers now doing home visits

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ELF DRIVE: Santa's Little Helpers will be visiting Killarney children until December 22.

By Sean Moriarty

It's not a case of the elf on the shelf this Christmas - instead elves are planning to come to life and visit excited children outside their homes.

At a time when it is not possible for Santa Claus to welcome children to his town centre grotto, his helpers have joined forces with O’Callaghan Coaches so they can visit children in their own homes.

In the run up to Christmas, the family coach firm would usually be flat out ferrying Christmas shoppers to and from Dublin, Belfast and other destinations.

Apart from their school work, their fleet is effectively parked up and with office staff and drivers available to work, but with little else happening, they have come up with a novel idea to bring Christmas cheer to your own front door.

O’Callaghan Coaches are working with Tom Kennedy of Experience Ireland Golf and Travel.

The two companies retrained five of their staff, some drivers and some office workers, as fully-qualified elves with the support from Fiona Crowley of Killarney Stage School, and have adapted one of their minibuses into an elf-mobile.

“I saw the idea in Cork and ran it past my team and they all jumped on it,” Phillip O’Callaghan told the Killarney Advertiser. “We are bringing some Christmas cheer to the town, but is has also helped raise our own spirits too in a difficult year.”

Each visit includes a personal poem read out by the elves, a gift pack and a certificate of good behaviour signed by Santa Claus himself. Full COVID-19 protocols are exercised during each visit including a socially distanced photo and all activities take place outdoors.

Santa’s Helpers will be visiting homes in the Killarney area until December 22. Bookings and further details, including time slots, are available via www.santashelpers.ie.

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County Board open to GAA museum proposals

By Sean Moriarty The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county. There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county.

There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built in their home town.

Before he retired from politics in April, Michael Gleeson was campaigning to build a GAA and cultural museum on the grounds of Fitzgerald Stadium.

His campaign goes back several years before the recession set in, with a €0.5 million bridging loan secured from Croke Park along with funding from Fáilte Ireland. That funding was lost with the onset of the recession before 2010.

Tim Murphy, the outgoing chairman of the Kerry County Board, has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser that no approaches have been made to the County Board at executive level during his five year stint at the helm.

However, he said the Board would be open to such approaches provided there is sound financial planning behind the project in place.

“The first and most important aspect is the capital funding and my understanding is there needs to be Fáilte Ireland funding in place first,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “If it gets up and running, there needs to be very clear talks with all stakeholders so everyone knows each others expectations. A museum attracts footfall, but it costs a lot of money to run. We would offer an open door policy to all proposals but funding, first from a capital point of view and then from an operational point of view, will need to be in place.”

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Loreto pupils are happy to help save the planet

By Michelle Crean School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign. Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme. It’s all about taking on […]

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By Michelle Crean

School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign.

Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme.

It’s all about taking on a litter-picking adventure in their local area as well as learning songs, reading storybooks, filling in activity books while witnessing that their real-world actions are making a positive difference and inspiring others to join the movement.

Picker Pals is a unique primary school programme that gives children the tools and motivation to become the next generation of environmentalists, teacher Claire O’Meara explained.

“The Picker Pal Programme is a fantastic initiative and will go a long way to raise awareness of the impact litter has on our environment,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

Real litter-picking is motivated by a Picker Pack made from upcycled dinghy sails and containing adult and child litter-picking tools, gloves, hi-vis vests and safety information.

“This pack is then taken home by a different pupil every week. That child takes their adult on a litter-picking adventure. The children then tell the story of their litter-picking adventures through art and writing. Raising awareness is an essential part of the solution to littering. Picker Pals gives young people the tools and positive motivation to steward their local environment and make the world a better place.”

The programme, run by environmental NGO VOICE Ireland, is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and various local authorities across Ireland.

Now in its third year of operation, over one thousand schools all across Ireland will be taking part in the Picker Pals programme this year. In Kerry, 29 schools are taking part, and Scoil Bhríde, Loreto is delighted to be included, she added.

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