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Three local competitors to watch in this weekend’s Rally of the Lakes




Three local competitors will start the 2023 Assess Ireland Rally of the Lakes in state-of-the-art rally cars capable of winning the event.

RALLY CARS: Cecelia Lynch (Administrative Quality Assurance Coordinator at Assess Ireland) Paula Buckley (Graphic Design and Marketing Coordinator at Codepak Solutions) Erin Cosgrove (Director of Customer Relations at Assess Ireland) at the launch of the Assess Ireland Rally of the Lakes on Saturday evening. Photo: Digimac Photography

RALLY LAUNCH: Paula Buckley (Graphic Design and Marketing Coordinator at Codepak Solutions) Erin Cosgrove (Director of Customer Relations at Assess Ireland) Cecelia Lynch (Administrative Quality Assurance Coordinator) and Conor Deasy (Managing Director at Assess Ireland) at the Assess Ireland Rally of the Lakes launch on Saturday. Photo: Digimac Photography

UNDER COVER: Rally fans take advantage of the free umbrellas handed out by Assess Ireland at the Rally of the Lakes launch on Saturday evening. Photo: Digimac Photography

CREW: Members of Killarney and District Motor Club and Assess Ireland staff at the launch of the Rally of the Lakes on Saturday. Photo: Digimac Photography

TEAM: Members of Killarney and District Motor Club and Assess Ireland staff at the launch of the Rally of the Lakes on Saturday from left to right; Tom Randles Gavin Lynne Michael Hickey Jim O’Brien Conor Deasy Dermot Healy and Cormac Casey. Photo: Digimac Photography

CROWD: A large group of rally fans attended the Assess Ireland Rally of the Lakes launch on Saturday evening. Photo: Digimac Photography

PARTY: A hen party gate-crashed the launch of the Assess Ireland Rally of the Lakes on Saturday. Photo: Digimac Photography

Defending champion Callum Devine will start at number one and he will have Muckross co-driver Noel O’Sullivan in a Volkswagen Polo Rally2 alongside.

They dramatically won the rally last year after chief rival Alistair Fisher crashed out in the final stage.

Two more local Volkswagens will start the rally in the hands of Rob Duggan and Alan Ring.

“It is an honour to carry number one on the doors,” said O’Sullivan. “The club have put on an incredible route, and it is great to see the two boys out in Polos. There is a very strong entry, and we will do our best to get a good result.”

Duggan is the defending modified category champion but has made a surprise step up to the top class.

“It has always been a dream since I was four or five-years-old to go up The Gap in a top machine,” he said.

“I have no idea what to expect, I will only see the car on Thursday morning, I have only done the rally in a modified car, so I guess this car won’t be as tail happy.”

He will be co-driven, as usual, by Ger Conway.

Duggan’s car will be run by Welsh outfit, Melvyn Evans Motorsport, the same team that will run Alan Ring who makes a welcome return to top-flight rallying after a few years contesting events in the historic category.

“The weekend should be good,” he said. “Myself and Rob will be teammates and it will be nice to have a proper car for the event.”

The rally gets underway with a ceremonial start in Killarney town centre on Friday evening before two action-packed days across 16 stages.

The Saturday run returns to the challenging Beara Peninsula while Sunday morning’s action takes place in South Kerry ahead of the grand finale on East Kerry roads on Sunday evening.



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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