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Skaters “thrilled” as construction firm appointed to build skatepark

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By Sean Moriarty

A Spanish construction firm has this week been appointed to build the town's newest €235,000 amenity - and it's left skateboard lovers very happy.

Last week, Kerry County Council revealed Brown Brothers from Cork in partnership with Spanish company, Vulcano, have been awarded the contract to build the Killarney skatepark project.

Construction is expected to commence in the spring with the new facility ready for operation at a site adjacent to the Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre by early summer.

Members of the Killarney Skatepark Committee are currently on a tour of Southern France.

They are there to honour Tralee man Bruce ‘Ox’ Kelliher who died suddenly last January. Bruce was one of Ireland’s most prolific skateboarders and the newly opened Skate Park in Tralee was named in his honour.

He regularly organised trips to France and his sporting colleagues organised this trip as a homage to the man who did so much for the sport in Ireland.

The sport is very popular in France and large cities boast several skateparks.

This week the group took park in skateboard sessions at the Skatepark de Fontainieu in Marseille, which was designed and built by the same Spanish construction firm that has been appointed to the Killarney project.

“We are excited that the tender was awarded to a skater-owned and skater-run company, this means that the end result is going to be top tier for the park's users,” Sean Murphy of the Killarney Skatepark Committee told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Bruce used to come here a lot and he mentioned he wanted a group trip this year so this trip is a homage to him. Skateparks are everywhere in every city in France. It has been a long jaded process but finally Killarney will be able to get its skates on. We are thrilled it's going ahead, and that it is being built by the same company that built a park we visited this week in Marseille.”

Sean also thanked Cllr Donal Grady who has been pushing the project for years at Council level.

The Cathaoirleach of the Killarney Municipal District, Cllr Niall Kelleher welcomed the announcement.

“This is a facility which the Killarney Skatepark Committee and local councillors have been pursuing for many years. It will offer a very high quality facility for skaters of all ages.

“I want to pay tribute to the Skateboard Committee for their perseverance and to thank them for working so closely with Kerry County Council to make this progress. I look forward to the development of the skatepark over the coming months," he said.

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The Irish investment market is pathetic

By Michael O’Connor, theislandinvestor.com    I lived abroad for years, so all the investment strategies I created were typically outside of Irish tax considerations. But over the last few weeks I […]

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By Michael O’Connor, theislandinvestor.com   

I lived abroad for years, so all the investment strategies I created were typically outside of Irish tax considerations.

But over the last few weeks I have been putting together several investment strategies for Irish-domiciled clients. It has been eye-opening, to say the least.

In short, most of the Irish market appears to be dominated by a handful of life insurance companies that offer ‘wrapped’ Multi Asset Funds. This means they offer a basket of stocks, bonds, property etc., all within one investment.

Irish Life’s MAPs 4 multi-asset fund states a standard annual management charge of 1.15%. A bit on the higher side for my liking, but this is still manageable.

But when you dig a little deeper, the KID documents (where all fees have to be fully disclosed as part of UCITS regulations) show the fee as 2.2%.

Double the quoted price

As an added bonus, they lock your money up for seven years, where an early encashment charge is waiting for those who wish to withdraw their money early. That’s right, they charge YOU for making your money inaccessible.

This lock-up period is a shrewd business tactic. An exit charge is an excellent way to ensure customers don’t leave when they realise how poor the performance is.

Too late, you’re trapped.

Performance

Fees become more digestible provided the performance is strong, but unfortunately, the misery continues.

The Irish Life MAPS 4 Portfolio has an annual return of 1.63% a year over the last five years. Granted, this was a challenging market climate to navigate, but falling below even the lowest expectations of inflation means that this fund has returned negative real returns after inflation over the last five years.

A similar 60/40 portfolio made up of passive index funds (S&P 500 and US T bonds) would have returned roughly 6.5% a year over the same period for a fee of roughly 0.1%.

We can go round and round in circles regarding the ‘risk adjusted’ approach and the added ‘diversification’ of the multi-asset fund versus the 60/40 portfolio I have shown. But the reality is much of this so-called diversification is over-engineering for an extra cost for many long term investors.

So, how can such pathetic offerings still exist in a system where low-cost operators such as De Giro are providing endless ETF options and commission-free trades that provide access to market returns at a fraction of the price?

Two reasons spring to mind

Firstly, the Irish retail investment scene is built on a financial broker commission system where unsuspecting customers are shoved into these products by ‘financial planners’ who receive kickbacks and commissions from these investment companies. You think you’re getting free investment advice; believe me, you’re not.

Second, the tax treatment of ETF structures is comical in Ireland, and US ETFs aren’t even an investment option. A 41% exit tax and an eight-year deemed disposal rule leaves investors stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Choose an overpriced, underperforming product that locks your money away for multiple years or choose the cheaper, better-performing product and suffer the tax consequences.

Bizarrely, investors are forced to make decisions based on preferential tax treatment rather than on the underlying investment’s merits.

I have gone into much more detail on the tax treatment and investment options in Ireland on my website. Just scan the QR code.

If you would like me to independently review your investment portfolio, just send me an email at mike@theislandinvestor.com.

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Rebel lights delight for Killarney star

By Con Dennehy The continued growth, development and participation of women’s handball in East Kerry was rewarded at the weekend when Cork hosted ‘She’s Ace’, the prestigious All Ladies Handball […]

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By Con Dennehy

The continued growth, development and participation of women’s handball in East Kerry was rewarded at the weekend when Cork hosted ‘She’s Ace’, the prestigious All Ladies Handball championships.

Attracting all the leading players in Ireland, it was Sarah Dineen, the Spa/Killarney player who shot out the Rebel lights in Conna with a phenomenal display of handball.

Competing in the highly competitive Ladies Challenger championship, the Killarney player, who took up the sport just 18 months ago, had the perfect start in the competition defeating the home town favourite Agnes Hurley from Conna on a 21-20 scoreline following an energy sapping and close encounter that hung in the balance to the final ace.

In her second game she took on the challenge of Nolwenn Even from St Brigids where her skill, superior fitness and movement on the court resulted in the 21-12 victory and a place in the prestigious final.

“The final was always going to be a difficult game not least playing local girl Kate O’Riordan from Conna. I concentrated on my serve and kill shots which ensured we shared the aces early in the game. It was a difficult game with the home supporters out in force to cheer on their local hero. However, I played well and secured a 21-11 victory. This was the second time this title came to Spa Killarney following the 2022 win by Aoife Walsh in Northern Ireland,” said Sarah, who is currently chairperson of the Killarney Camogie Club.

A native of Westmeath, Sarah (46) runs a jewellery business in Killarney and lives in Rathmore. No stranger to competitive sport she played camogie for Westmeath and Leinster and also won an Intermediate championship Gaelic football medal in Westmeath.

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