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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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New Patient Advocacy Service offering support to Kerry people

A newly established Patient Advocacy Service is offering support to people in the Kerry area who want to make a complaint about the care they have received in a public hospital. The service provides free, independent and confidential information and support to people making a formal complaint about their care in a Health Service Executive […]

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A newly established Patient Advocacy Service is offering support to people in the Kerry area who want to make a complaint about the care they have received in a public hospital.

The service provides free, independent and confidential information and support to people making a formal complaint about their care in a Health Service Executive (HSE) funded public acute hospital.

People in the Kerry area looking for support can contact the Patient Advocacy Service confidential helpline on 0818 293003 to speak to a trained advocate who will help them to get information on the HSE’s complaints investigation process, called ‘Your Service, Your Say’.

The professionally trained independent advocate will support and empower the person making the complaint, with the aim of highlighting their views and concerns.

The advocate will explain to the person how to write a formal complaint and what to include in it. They will also help the person prepare for meetings with the HSE about their complaint, and they will help the person explore their options following a response from the HSE to their complaint.

“Until now, people in Kerry and across Ireland who experienced difficulties in the Irish health service often felt there was nowhere for them to turn,” Service Manager for the Patient Advocacy Service, Claire Lehane, said.

GUIDANCE

“The newly established Patient Advocacy Service offers patients the guidance and information they need to make a complaint when they are unhappy with the care they receive. It is free, independent and run by our professionally trained patient advocates who will use their compassion and knowledge to guide people through the HSE complaints process.”

The helpline is open Monday to Friday from 10am until 4pm, including lunchtimes. You can also email info@patientadvocacyservice.ie or for more information see patientadvocacyservice.ie.

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New Kerry Dublin flight takes off

By Sean Moriarty The Kerry-Dublin air route returned to the skies for the first time in nearly seven weeks today (Wednesday). Budget airline Ryanair has taken over the route following the collapse of Stobart Air on June 12. At around 1pm, one of Ryanair’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft landed at the airport after completing its 50 minute […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The Kerry-Dublin air route returned to the skies for the first time in nearly seven weeks today (Wednesday).

Budget airline Ryanair has taken over the route following the collapse of Stobart Air on June 12.

At around 1pm, one of Ryanair’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft landed at the airport after completing its 50 minute journey for Dublin.

Less than 25 minutes later it was back in the sky again for its return journey to the capital.

The flight will operate once a day until September 1 when the frequency will increase to twice daily.

“We are happy to report a positive start to the service which has been absent since early June,” the airport’s CEO John Mulhern told the Killarney Advertiser. “Ryanair intends to operate the route once a day until the end of August and has committed to restoring a twice-daily service from September.”

The route is operated on a commercial basis by Ryanair. Since 2011, Aer Lingus, through its subsidiary Aer Lingus Regional or its partners Aer Arran and Stobart Air operated the flight as a Government support Public Service Obligation (PSO). Previously, between 2008 and 2011 Ryanair operated the route on a commercial basis but withdrew at short notice as it could not make it profitable.

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