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“She was a woman who gave so much”

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By Michelle Crean and Sean Moriarty

The devastated family of Joanne Downey, who died following a tragic accident near the Cleeney Roundabout, this week paid tribute to their loving mom - who they said “gave so much” to others.

The popular Ballydribben woman, who is originally from Knocknagoshel, was struck by a lorry at around 9am on Friday last. Emergency services rushed to the scene and she was rushed to Cork University Hospital but sadly passed away on Sunday.

The road was closed until late Friday afternoon to allow Killarney Gardai forensically examine the scene and investigating officers are seeking witnesses to the incident.

Her son Chris this week told the Killarney Advertiser that they are “heartbroken” and miss her “terribly”.

“We are heartbroken at the loss of our mom,” Chris said.

“As I said at the funeral, she was a woman who gave so much, and never asked for anything in return. There is a huge hole in our lives without mom and we will miss her terribly.”

Joanne loved her children dearly and did whatever she could to make them happy. She also loved her club Killarney Legion and made life-long friends there, friends that turned out in droves on Wednesday in Dirreen to applaud her commitment to the club.

“She loved caring for others and was so proud to qualify as a care worker last year. Mom went back to work at the age of 50, it was probably the only thing she ever did for herself and we were all so proud of her achievement. Putting on the care uniform gave her so much pride, joy and independence,” he said.

“She was a strong women, she didn’t always have it easy but she managed, raising six children pretty much single handed. I think she did a fairly good job. She raised us to look out for one another and I think if she was looking down on us the past few days she would be very proud of us all, in particular Shane and Cassie who were right by her side all week until she was finally laid to rest on Wednesday.”

He explained that his mom loved Killarney town, the sense of community here, and was always happy to get involved with different committees.

“Mom wouldn’t pass someone without stoping for a chat.”

Killarney Legion also paid tribute to Joanne this week.

“The club was devastated beyond words to hear of the very sad tragic passing of Joanne Downey early this week,” said club PRO Elaine O’Donoghue.

“Behind every club there are good women who work quietly and effectively for the good of the club, Joanne was one of these. Her loss will be immeasurable to the Legion Club. She will always be remembered within the club for her selfless work and kind heart. A true lady, family woman and Legion legend.”

She is survived by her father Joseph, children Mark, Chris, Katriana, Ellie, Shane and Cassie, and granddaughter Éabha.

She was laid to rest on Wednesday in Aghadoe Lawn Cemetery following Requiem Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral.

Meanwhile Killarney Gardai yesterday (Thursday) renewed their appeal for witnesses to the accident to come forward.

"It was at a busy time as people were going to work," Superintendent Flor Murphy told the Killarney Advertiser. "We thank the people who have already come forward but there are many more who may have seen something - it is a busy junction and there are shops and other services nearby."

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Better late than never Christmas present for St Francis Special School

By Sean Moriarty St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use. Husband and wife team Ciaran […]

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By Sean Moriarty

St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use.

Husband and wife team Ciaran and Karen Dwyer, directors of Guerin Engineering and Pumps Ltd in Kilcummin, presented the special adapted bicycle to the staff and pupils at the Beaufort school on Tuesday.

After seeing an online request last December that the school needed the bike, they decided to gift one.

They contacted Glencar Medical, a Dublin-based firm that specialises in the supply of equipment to schools like St Francis, and ordered the bicycle.

However, nothing is straightforward in the current climate, Brexit, COVID and war all contributed to a delay in getting the bike to Ireland. Once it was in Dublin there were further delays in sourcing the special straps that St Francis’ children need to ride the bike safely.

It all came to a happy ending this week when the Dwyers were finally able to present their Christmas present to the school.

“We saw this request and we contacted the school and said we wanted to buy one, they told us where to get one, and we ordered it,” Karen told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We had it paid for by the end of the year but then it took three months to get it into the country. It took more time to import the specialist parts. The costs were increasing but we did not mind at all.”

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Jordan Lee to tell his story to the county’s schools

Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry. The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series […]

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Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry.

The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series of informal talks on his achievements and how he overcame his disability to reach the top of his chosen sport.

The 21-year-old was born with a foreshortened left arm known as amniotic band syndrome but has enjoyed a successful sports career which included representing Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Now he wants to share his story and inspire other students to follow their dreams.

His tour started last week at Colaiste na Sceilge in Cahersiveen and over the next few weeks, depending on his training schedule, will visit schools in Firies, Milltown, and Killarney.

“Don’t be afraid of people with disabilities or different backgrounds,” he said. “A few years ago there was only typical people in classrooms – you never came across people with disabilities or from various different countries. It is a lot more mixed now. I want to inspire people to treat everyone on the same level.”

‘Jordan’s Drive’ is made possible thanks to his role as a brand ambassador for Kelliher’s Garage, dealer principal, Tim Kelliher explained to the Killarney Advertiser.

“Having got to know Jordan so well over the last couple of years we have come to realise how much of an inspiration he is so we decided to ask him to hop into his Toyota CHR Hybrid and bring his story out into the highways and byways of the Kingdom,” he said.

“Headlined ‘Jordans Drive’ and organised by my marketing team headed by Yvonne McMahon they have travelled to many of the schools around Kerry from Cahersiveen to Beaufort, Killorglin and with other dates planned for Firies and Milltown to name but a few. He has spoken his many words of wisdom to the children who have been in awe of the journey and his achievements, and we at Kelliher’s Garage are delighted and proud to have him as our brand ambassador.”

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