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Three Killarney men take on 2,500km cycle challenge

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WILD WAYS: Brothers Donnacha Cassidy (foreground) and Benny Cassidy pictured leaving home in The Park on Wednesday for the epic challenge.

 

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By Sean Moriarty

 

Three Killarney men set off from Derry on Thursday in an attempt to cycle the entire Wild Atlantic Way.

The famed 2,500km driving route passes through nine counties and three provinces, stretching from county Donegal's Inishowen Peninsula in Ulster to Kinsale, County Cork, in Munster.

Brothers Benny and Donnacha Cassidy from The Park, and Tom Daly who is secretary of Killarney Cycling Club, have set a target of between 300 and 500kms of cycling a day and hope to arrive in the County Cork tourist town within six days. Their daily target will depend on weather and other prevailing conditions.

Benny is no stranger to ultra-cycling events and only last weekend finished fourth on the Cycling Ireland sanctioned Donegal Atlantic Way Ultra Cycle. He completed that event in 19.5 hours and only stopped for a total of 20 minutes.

Last weekend’s route started and finished in Letterkenny and covered the Inishowen Peninsula as well as the entire coastline of County Donegal.

[caption id="attachment_33667" align="alignleft" width="258"] HILLS OF DONEGAL: Benny Cassidy passes through Mamore Gap on last weekend's Donegal Atlantic Way Ultra Cycle with his father Brendan driving their support vehicle.[/caption]

His brother Donnacha, and Tom, revisited most of last weekend’s route on Friday before heading south from Donegal town.

The brother’s father Brendan acted as support vehicle driver last weekend but this week they are on their own.

“Cycling Ireland events require a support vehicle, especially for the night sections,” Brendan told the Killarney Advertiser. “I know how hard it was as I had to drive for those 19 hours. This week’s event is about personal challenges rather than a competition.”

The trio hope to arrive in Kinsale by Tuesday. Their finish estimate is based on Benny’s previous solo attempt in 2018 when he took six days to complete the challenge.

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Killarney hotels are still open for business

By Sean Moriarty Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation. […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation.

This week she said that there’s still accommodation to be found in Killarney for visitors.

She was speaking in relation to the current accommodation situation facing International Protection Applicants and Ukrainian war refugees.

She explained that there is a perception that Killarney has taken in too many refugees and that it is putting the tourism industry at risk as people are starting to think that the town is at full capacity.

“If you can’t get a room in Killarney there is something wrong,” she said. “Maybe with the exception of New Year’s Eve.”

She added that hotels that are providing emergency accommodation are helping off-season unemployment.

Many hotels remain in survival mode after two years of pandemic turmoil and the additional off season business is important, she explained.

“Many could be closed at this time of the year, others would not be operating at full capacity,” she added.

However, she warned the Government needs to put a plan in place before the tourism season starts next year. Some hotels offering emergency accommodation either have a three or six month contract.

“I can see there will be tears next April – the Government must have a long-term plan,” she said.

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Homing refugees worth almost €14m

By Sean Moriarty Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees. The Department of Children, […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth released figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

Documents show that contracts totalling €13,852,255.00 are being shared between 13 premises in the Killarney urban area.

However, the department warned these figures are “indicative” only and the full value of the contracts depends on “occupancy and actual usage”.

The Eviston Hotel has secured a contract worth €5,727,590.00, the Innisfallen Hotel in Fossa for €2,404,620.00 and The Hotel Killarney signed a deal worth €1,701,000.00. These are the three biggest contracts published in the documentation.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, and Department officials say more contracts could come on stream. Figures seen by the Killarney Advertiser only cover contracted premises up to the end of September this year and updated figures are only released every three months.

“We are in contract with far more, but the formal exchange of contracts can take place sometime after the service commences,” a department spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is obliged to publish a list of contracts formally signed off each quarter that have been awarded under a special EU Derogation that permits the Department to enter into contracts in the context of the Ukraine accommodation crisis without going to formal tender.

“The values of the contracts shown are estimates; the actual value materialises upon occupancy and actual usage. Standard contracts have no-fault break clauses available to both parties so again, the figures are indicative rather than actual.”

These figures only cover Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war and do not include International Protection Applicants.

The Department refused to release International Protection Applicant figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

“The International Protection Applicant accommodation contract information is commercially sensitive information and is not available,” added the Department spokesperson.

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