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South African event inspires hospice mountain run




By Sean Moriarty

A group of local hill runners, inspired by world record holder South African Gerda Steyn, raised over €800 for the Kerry Hospice Foundation in the Gap of Dunloe last Sunday.

MOUNTAIN RUN: Colleen Coffey Stephen Griffin Denise Smith Siobhan Falvey all from Beaufort at Sunday's mountain run.


FUNDRAISING: Martina Thompson Anna Eager Louise Riordan Miriam Beasley Claire O’Malley Colleen Coffey. Back row: Denise Smith and Stephen Griffin all from Beaufort.

FINISH LINE: At the finish line at Lord Brandon’s Cottage were Gary Landers Diarmuid O’Malley Miriam Beasley Tadhg O’Malley Noel Hyde Chris Grayson Paul O’Sullivan and Jeremy Curran.


Steyn is the fastest woman to complete Comrades Marathon in her native South Africa.

The 98 kilometre event, run annually in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, is the world's biggest and oldest ultra-marathon race.

In 2019 she won the Comrades Marathon in a record time of 5 hours, 58 minutes and 53 seconds, becoming the first woman to complete the run in under six hours.

Beaufort man Diarmuid O’Malley is a veteran of over 30 marathons and ultra-marathons, including the 2013 Comrades Race, and he was one of the organisers of Sunday’s event that catered for all abilities. He is planning to return to the famed South African event as soon as travel restrictions allow.

“A week after her 2019 Comrades success, I had the pleasure to show Gerda Steyn the Gap of Dunloe route and her exact comment to me was "you have no excuse not to run Comrades again with a training route like this on your doorstep",” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

O’Malley’s plans were disrupted due to pandemic related restrictions and the 2021 Comrades event was contested online. He decided to use the route he had shown to Steyn for this year’s Comrades Virtual event and roped in 35 other local hill running enthusiasts to help him out.

"I competed in Comrades in 2013 which is the year of the famous 'bird wind' edition with the highest percentage of dropouts from the warm temperatures, it was a bit like that last Sunday. I had planned to do it last year, it then got moved to this year and now moved to 2022, so fingers crossed," he added.

“35 runners and walkers gathered at the Gap of Dunloe to cover 10km, 21km and 45km routes over the hills of one of Ireland's most iconic roads to Lord Brandon's Cottage. The 45km route covered two loops and the 21km was one loop. In the true spirit of Comrades, all participants managed to successfully get to the finish line in the hottest recorded day of the year in Ireland."

Between them they raised €800 for the Kerry Hospice Foundation, helped by local women Denise Smith and Siobhan Falvey who were on the organising team, as well as members of the hospice staff.

“It was great to get out running and not chasing a time, just catching up with running friends again and all for a fantastic worthy cause,” Diarmuid added.

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The Irish investment market is pathetic

By Michael O’Connor,    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 […]




By Michael O’Connor,   

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.


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


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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 […]




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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