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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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500,000 coffee cups prevented from going to landfill in Killarney

The team behind Killarney’s ban on single-use cups is launching an adult education programme later this year. Since its inception in July last year (up to December 31), 506,000 cups […]

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The team behind Killarney’s ban on single-use cups is launching an adult education programme later this year.

Since its inception in July last year (up to December 31), 506,000 cups have been prevented from going to landfill or becoming litter in Killarney National Park.
Additionally, the scheme has saved 872,413 litres of water and 279 trees.
The decision to ban single-use cups was underpinned by complaints that some of Killarney’s most visited beauty spots were being polluted and studies of clean-ups in the National Park revealed that one of the most common forms of waste recovered was single-use coffee cups.
With this in mind, the team behind the project, in conjunction with the Munster Technology University, will launch an adult education programme.
Late last year secondary school students attended a series of workshops in Killarney House hosted by the Killarney Coffee Cup project.
The session began with the task of matching the common items of litter to the time it takes for them to decompose.
The items ranged from crisp packets, banana skins and single-use coffee cups. The aim of this activity was to highlight the importance of minimising waste and litter, to protect the unique Biosphere Reserve that is Killarney National Park.
The plan now is to roll out a series of workshops aimed at adults with support from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
“This is still in the very early stages,” said project lead Louise Byrne who is also the Sustainability Manager at The Killarney Park and The Ross hotels. “Why should we care?”
Byrne cited a recent article by The Guardian newspaper in Britain.
“The entire lifecycle of disposable cups, from raw material extraction to production and transportation, requires significant energy, contributing to environmental degradation. The slow decomposition of disposable cups, especially those with plastic linings, can lead to the release of microplastics into the environment and on the off chance that your disposable cup winds up in waste bound for incineration, that process can release pollutants into the air,” said a report on coffee cup waste by the Kent School of Business and published in the London newspaper.
Byrne believes there is still far too much litter, including coffee cups, ending up disposed of in the National Park and this is one of the key drivers behind the new adult education programme.
Meanwhile the scheme won two more awards this week. Eco Hero group at the Outsider Magazine gave the scheme its Eco Hero award and the scheme won the Green Transformation Award at the Green Awards.

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Jesse Buckley’s latest blockbuster showing at Killarney cinemas

  Killarney actress Jesse Buckley latest movie is now showing in local cinemas ‘Wicked Little Letters’ is described as raucous comedy full of hilarious profanities. Set in a sleepy seaside […]

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Killarney actress Jesse Buckley latest movie is now showing in local cinemas

‘Wicked Little Letters’ is described as raucous comedy full of hilarious profanities.

Set in a sleepy seaside village in 1920s England, the plot centres on two women who fall out after Edith Swan (played by Olivia Colman) accuses Buckley’s character Rose Gooding of sending poison and anonymous letters’ and things get very heated between the two.

The Irish Film Institute says: “ This delightfully foul-mouthed comedy gives free reign to the considerable comedic talents of Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley to uproarious effect.”

Rose Gooding is described as a rambunctious Irish immigrant while Edith Swan , a spinster living with her dictatorial father is their next door neighbour.

“Relations between the pair are frosty at best, and when Edith starts receiving truly foul anonymous letters, accusing the god-fearing woman of all manner of unspeakable degradations, the finger of guilt would appear to point squarely at Rose. The letters prompt a national uproar, and a trial ensues,” adds the Irish Film Institute.

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