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Seasonal workers left short-changed by COVID payment scheme

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By Sean Moriarty

Employers from several tourism-sector services are backing calls for COVID-19 welfare payments to be extended to seasonal workers for the duration of the current crisis.

 

The tourism industry in Killarney is largely staffed by local seasonal workers who commit to the full season from March to October but who then sign-on for Jobseekers Allowance for the months that hotels and restaurants are either closed or operating at a reduced level.

The Government led COVID-19 weekly payment of €350 has been in place since the crisis started in mid-March, with any worker who was in employment up to and including February 29, in receipt of the weekly payment.

However, seasonal staff, who should be back in the workforce by now, continue to get their Jobseeker Allowance which is capped at €203 a week.

Industry leaders believe this is unfair, saying seasonal staff who would have budgeted through the winter now find themselves short on income through no fault of their own. Up to 15,000 seasonal workers in the Kerry hospitality industry could be affected and this figure does not include ancillary services like bus drivers and seasonal employees of services like bicycle hire shops and even jarveys.

Local hotelier Bernadette Randles, who is the chair of the Kerry Branch of the Irish Hotel Federation and vice-chair of the national federation, has been lobbying Government officials in an effort to reverse the issue.

“It is simple, the Government staff need to look at the revenue records of these staff and see that they have been regular contributors to the State over the last few years,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “These are seasonal workers, who worked six days a week last year and now find themselves living on €203 or less a week. It is not right. As a federation, we can fight for the reduction in rates and other issues but this is more important, this is about our people.”

Ms Randles added she has been involved in high-level talks with senior Government officials to highlight the situation to those who might be able to change it including local TD Brendan Griffin who is the Junior Minister for Tourism and Sport.

“The Kerry and Irish federation will continue to fight this, it is not going to go away, it is not right. This is about individuals – our people are most important.”

Others campaigning on behalf of seasonal workers include Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Niall Kelleher.

Are you a seasonal worker who has suffered as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and want to tell your story? Get in touch with Sean Moriarty on 087 6771019 or sean@killarneyadvertiser.ie.

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GAA stars set to gather for A Night With Legends

By Sean Moriarty Over 1,500 people are expected to attend Fossa GAA Club’s ‘A Night With Legends’ on Tuesday night. GAA royalty will grace the INEC stage as part of […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Over 1,500 people are expected to attend Fossa GAA Club’s ‘A Night With Legends’ on Tuesday night.

GAA royalty will grace the INEC stage as part of an ambitious fundraiser by the club.

The event will be styled on RTÉ’s popular pre All-Ireland Final show ‘Up for the Match’ where footballing legends will tell some of their life stories in between music and songs.

It will be hosted by author and raconteur Billy Keane and horseracing photographer Pat Healy. The event is one of the key fundraisers for the expanding Fossa GAA Club.

Coming just days before Kerry’s All-Ireland semi-final with Dublin, ‘A Night With Legends’ will also serve as a light-hearted preview to the important game.

Kerry greats like Pat Spillane, Mike Frank Russell, Paul Galvin and Eamon Fitzmaurice will be joined on stage by Dublin hero Bernard Brogan Sr. Killarney greats Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper and Ambrose O’Donovan will also be there.

“This is not going to be a boring night, it is going to be filled with fun and banter, music and craic,” Fossa GAA chairman, Dermot Clifford, told the Killarney Advertiser.

Several raffle and auction prizes are up for grabs on the night too, the most unusual being a chance to bid on a racing greyhound, donated by the Murphy Family from Brosna.

The fundraiser has already raised €10,000 thanks to a recent auction organised by Paul Nagle. The local rally star sold one of his world championship helmets for €25,000 with the balance going to Recovery Haven in Tralee.

Limited tickets are still available at a cost of €25 per person or groups can buy a table of 12 for €250.

Ticket enquires: nightoflegends2022@gmail.com.

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Salvias are valuable plants for any gardener

By Debby Looney, gardening expert One plant which I think is a super addition to borders and pots is the salvia. There are many to choose from, but there are […]

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

One plant which I think is a super addition to borders and pots is the salvia. There are many to choose from, but there are two broad differences, one is the bedding salvia, with its spikes of fire-engine-red flowers – though they come in cream and purple also.

These have become less popular with gardeners over the years, as slugs eat them with relish. I have found the product ‘Grazers’, a spray, excellent as a slug repellent. As an aside, ‘Grazers’ also do a rabbit, deer, lily beetle and caterpillar repellent, all of which are organically certified and perfectly safe to use. They are also quite effective products. Secondly, everyone knows the herb salvia, or sage which goes perfect with chicken, roast squash or parma ham, it is a flavour of autumn.

However, there are over 500 salvias to choose from, and happily, nurseries are taking notice of them. This year a notable addition to most garden centre stock is the hybrid Wish collection. There are three; ‘Love and Wishes’, ‘Ember’s Wish’ and ‘Wendy’s Wish’. Being the greedy gardener I am, I planted all three, and have been rewarded by large bushy plants with masses of colour. I planted them in a free draining, sunny part of the garden, where they have plenty of space. The plants themselves reach about 80cm, flower spikes being at least 20cm long in colours pink, aubergine and orange.

Another beauty is S. Amistad, which every garden with a flower border should have. They grow up to 1.2m, with lush dark green foliage, topped by dark blue flowers. The calyces (the bit the flower comes out of!) are almost black, giving it a fantastically dramatic look. S. nemerosa is a hardy variety, used in Irish gardens for years, as it spreads happily keeping weeds at bay. ‘New Dimension Blue’ is a lovely variety, with rich blue flower spikes. S. nemerosa does not grow that tall, about 30cm. It is also one of the few salvias which will tolerate heavy soil and a lot of winter rain.

S. roemeriana ‘Hot Trumpets’ is also a low growing spreading salvia, about 30cm, with the brightest red flower spikes I have yet to see rivalled! It grows well in dappled shade, adding great splashes of colour. Another red is S. x jamensis ‘Hot Lips’. It is an evergreen perennial, which loves full sun. It grows to about 50cm, and has flowers from April through to the first frosts. The flowers are bicoloured red and white, like little flags. ‘Killer Cranberry’ is another beauty with magenta flowers.

All salvias are attractive to bees and other pollinators, and as such are valuable plants for any gardener. They look great grouped with other perennials, as well as in pots or on their own in beds.

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