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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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The tax you’re really paying for your health

By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness With the budget just squared away, there’s always an air of “how did I do out of it?” In Ireland, we enjoy a public healthcare system which is touted to become a universal healthcare system. Maybe “enjoy” is the wrong word. We have it, and we use it, and, […]

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By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

With the budget just squared away, there’s always an air of “how did I do out of it?”

In Ireland, we enjoy a public healthcare system which is touted to become a universal healthcare system. Maybe “enjoy” is the wrong word.

We have it, and we use it, and, of course we pay for it. We justify the constant ratcheting-up of our tax burden to pay for rising health-care costs. That tax is on our wallets.

We also pay another type of tax: When we’re unhealthy, we don’t get to do the things we like. When we’re overweight, we don’t always say “YES!” when our kids ask to go to the swimming pool.
When we’re unfit, we don’t take our buddy’s invitation for a weekend hiking and camping trip. We can’t start jogging because our knees hurt; can’t lift weights because our back hurts; can’t cut down calories because we feel we need the energy.

Those things are taxes. Physical taxes, but they’re not the worst taxes we pay.

The worst tax we pay is the mental tax.

When we’re self-conscious about our fitness or health, we don’t want to start exercising. We don’t want to look dumb or fail.

We don’t want to start a new lifestyle because our families will say “good for you”, because they know we need it, or they’ll say “you don’t need that …” and lie. Or they’ll roll their eyes because they know we’ve failed before.

When we’ve been away from the gym for four months, we don’t want to do that first workout because we’re going to be last. It’s going to suck and we might get embarrassed.

SELF IMPOSED TAX

The Government makes us pay financial tax, but the other two – physical and mental – are self-imposed.

No one cares if you’re slow.

No one cares if you finish last.

No one cares if you blow your nutrition this week and have to start all over again.

You’d stop caring about what others thought about you if you realised how rarely they actually do.

Everyone thinks about themselves, mostly. That’s the tax they’re paying – and most of us overpay.

We’re taxed enough. Stop worrying about what you look like and start caring about what makes you feel good.

If you’d like to start taking steps in the right direction with your health and fitness, call in for a free consultation with us at Activate. Visit www.activate.ie/free-intro for more information.

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Tractor run raises €500 for charity

By Sean Moriarty Members of Killarney Valley Vintage and Classic Club raised €500 for the Kerry Mental Health Association during their first tractor run since April 2019. 30 tractors took part on Sunday including two rare Ford 3000s from 1974 and an even rarer Zetor Crystal from 1980. Departing from the club’s new ‘Vintage Shed’ […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Members of Killarney Valley Vintage and Classic Club raised €500 for the Kerry Mental Health Association during their first tractor run since April 2019.

30 tractors took part on Sunday including two rare Ford 3000s from 1974 and an even rarer Zetor Crystal from 1980.

Departing from the club’s new ‘Vintage Shed’ on Lewis Road, the convoy travelled to the communications mast near Coolick in Kilcummin, where participants enjoyed views of the wider Castleisland district and Killarney Valley.

“Some of the drivers were never up there before and they were amazed with the views across the two valleys,” organiser Tom Leslie told the Killarney Advertiser.

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