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Seasonal businesses face closure unless Government steps in

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By Sean Moriarty

Local seasonal tourism related businesses could face permanent closure unless they are included in the Government’s Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.

As hotels and guesthouses in Killarney get ready to reopen on Monday next the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) is calling on the Government to expand the current Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) to include seasonal tourism employees.

A discrepancy exists in the Government scheme where hotels and other related business that had not reopened after the winter break prior to the COVID-19 shutdown will not be able to pay their staff wages through TWSS.

Those that were operating prior to the shutdown will be able to avail of the scheme.

There are other concerns too, like due to COVID-19 safety guidelines tourism and hospitality businesses including hotels, will be operating under significant operating constraints this summer.

As a result, income is expected to be significantly down on previous years but tourism sector operators will be faced with higher operating costs.

Bernadette Randles, the Chair of the local branch of the IHF said that the issue was not exclusive to hotel operators and that any business that only operates in the peak tourism months of March to October could face financial ruin despite planning to reopening next week.

The TWSS is just one way seasonal tourism business operators could offset some financial difficulties but, as it stands, they will not qualify for the scheme unlike their full-time colleagues.

As a result there will be job losses and some businesses may not reopen at all this year and some are concerned that they could face closure further down the line if they do open this week.

They, through representations being made by IHF, are calling on the Government to extend the scheme to seasonal businesses and not just restrict it to full-time operators.

There are over 17,000 people directly employed in the tourism sector in Kerry and it is estimated that one-third of these are seasonal employees.

“It is just not fair,” Ms Randles told the Killarney Advertiser. “Every other business sector got looked after and if this is not actioned then you are looking at either closures, or some that won’t reopen at all this year and that will amount to high levels of unemployment which will cost the Government even more money. The Government has done absolutely nothing to help.”

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Volunteers wanted for street collection

By Michelle Crean October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and local volunteers are keen to not only raise awareness but also funds. Kathrina Breen, Eleanor O’Doherty and Kathleen O’Shea who […]

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By Michelle Crean

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and local volunteers are keen to not only raise awareness but also funds.

Kathrina Breen, Eleanor O’Doherty and Kathleen O’Shea who have been supporting the Irish Cancer Society for many years are delighted to be able to get back to their Pink Ribbon street collection in Killarney town next Friday (October 7).

They are the only group in the country doing the collection as many fundraisers have moved online since the pandemic struck.

“We’re the only town in Ireland doing it this year,” Kathrina, who feels it’s important to keep a street collection going, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We haven’t done it in two years since before COVID. I pushed to do it as it raises a lot of money. People have been supporting this for years, this money goes towards breast detection equipment, information leaflets in doctors surgeries and towards cancer grants.”

In 2021, donations helped 254 breast cancer patients with free transport to and from 2,380 chemotherapy appointments by volunteer drivers, 154 patients received 514 nights of end-of-life care from Night Nurses and 3,430 enquiries were made about breast cancer through the Freephone Support Line 1800 200 700 and at 13 Daffodil Centres across the country.

And she added that they’re looking for a few volunteers to help out on the day.

“If anyone would like to help they can contact me on 087 2612992.”

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Calls for Council to acquire vacant Rock Road properties

By Sean Moriarty There are calls to make two vacant properties on Rock Road available to Kerry County Council’s housing inventory. The two cottages, one either side of the entrance […]

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By Sean Moriarty

There are calls to make two vacant properties on Rock Road available to Kerry County Council’s housing inventory.

The two cottages, one either side of the entrance to St Finan’s Hospital, are vacant for some time.
Cllr Maura Healy-Rae raised the issue at a recent Killarney Municipal District meeting.

“Regarding two vacant houses at the entrance to St Finan’s on Rock Road which appear to be vacant for a significant period of time. One of the properties is in the ownership of the HSE. I requested that Kerry County Council would liaise with the HSE with a view to potentially acquiring this house,” she told the Killarney Advertiser after the meeting.

“I stressed that it is important that the local authority exhaust all possibilities when it comes to providing more houses, particularly properties located within the town of Killarney where the need and demand for housing is critical.”

Kerry County Council said it would get the Vacant Homes Officer to contact the owner of the privately owned bungalow.

“They will inform the property owner that there is funding available under various schemes and grants to aid the return of this property to habitable use. Such schemes include the Repair and Lease Scheme and the recently launched Croí Cónaithe vacant property grant,” said a Council official.

Cllr Healy-Rae added: “I requested that KCC would liaise with the HSE with a view to potentially acquiring this house.”

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