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“The Minister and her Department don’t seem to be listening to our pleas”

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St Brendan's College Junior Cert student Daniel Murphy this week shares his thoughts on the upcoming State exams calling for clarity from the Dept of Education.

 

I have to admit in truth last year when we got the news of a few weeks off I, and my friends, were delighted. It was great and I had loads of time to myself. It started as a two-week holiday which later turned into four weeks - then into three months, and soon the summer holidays in the sun rolled in. Yes, we had our online classes with the work being sent out to us, but in those three months life was great. As a Second Year I had no worries about the Junior Cert at that stage.

But returning back to school as a Third Year in September after five and a half months at home, I began to realise that we should have been more focussed on our study last year. However, that is in the past and there is nothing I can do now but just concentrate on the future and what’s going to happen in the upcoming Junior Cert, which is the biggest worry a Third Year student has right now.

We know from those that have gone before us the daunting pressure that it brings. This year it seems to be really tough because the long absence from being in school itself has changed everything about preparations. Added to that are all the adjustments to school systems because of COVID-19.

It’s now five weeks since we were last in a normal school classroom, face to face with our friends and our teachers, and as the days to the State exams draw closer, the uncertainty and the anxiety has begun to set in. Our teachers have been fabulous with their encouragement and I think we have all become more used to using the online Teams App as our virtual classroom. But we could be off for another few weeks by the way it’s looking. The more time this goes on the harder it gets to keep motivated and engaged on your own with a laptop in your kitchen!

In the last few weeks Third Years all over Ireland are calling for answers from the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, asking that she and education stakeholders make more extensive changes to the Junior Cert now or tell us what they’re going to do about running the exams or asking our teachers to deliver predictive grading. It would take the stress off me and my fellow classmates. All we have been hearing in the past few weeks from the Minister is that the Junior Cert will go ahead, about the reopening of school and how they are safe - even though the rest of the country is told to stay at home. The Minister has said that three quarters of schools have not been affected by COVID-19 but that means a quarter of schools have been affected that is thousands of Junior Certs around Ireland that have lost more time than us which must make it even harder for them to be prepared properly and fairly. And the Minister and her Department don’t seem to be listening to our pleas to clarify if they are thinking of cancelling the Junior Cert.

Last Saturday night I attended a national Student’s Council Zoom meeting with students from all over Ireland and a common theme we have realised is it is getting harder to rely on a Government and a Department who don’t want to make a decision about our future and are not considering or looking at the situation from our point of view.
While we await such clarifications there is nothing for it but to do our best to stay motivated and engaged, to stay working with our teachers in our online classes while, for some, anxiety and worry build each day.

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Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]

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The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.

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A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]

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The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

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