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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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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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