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Time for “Plan B”?




Killarney has been subject of some difficult headlines of late but the fact remains that there is a problem that needs to be dealt with.

"Plan A" was a resounding success as we supported giving refuge to those who urgently needed humanitarian aid. Now it's time for "Plan B".

The lack of infrastructure is what is failing us and the Government needs to look at the bigger picture. We need to have all interested parties involved now to provide the best solution for Killarney town to secure its future.

According to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Ireland is now accommodating 55,000 people between those fleeing Ukraine (Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection, or BOTPs) and International Protection applicants. This compares to 7,500 at this time last year.

Currently Killarney is the highest county outside Dublin with almost 5,000 refugees and International Protection applicants.

We’re extending the same hospitality as other European countries and we don't deny them that as they are all fleeing their countries for valid reasons - but the decisions made in big cities by Government agencies is having a huge impact on all involved. They are here now and we want to help them - we want to be part of the solution. It’s not their fault where they end up, it’s purely a Government decision but this same Government now needs to be vocal and tell us how they're going to help Killarney going forward.

"We need to ask the Government what the next part of their plan is"

We don’t want to find ourselves in a situation where, come March, Ukrainians are turfed out on the streets with nowhere to go when hotels need their beds back for the summer season.

Questions need to be answered now and not months down the road when it's too late.

What is the Government going to do next?

Why is there no joined up thinking with services such as housing, doctors or schools?

How do we build a community quickly so that everyone can happily live side-by-side?

Why can’t the Government or Kerry County Council come up with a modular housing-type solution; they have the ability to fast track temporary planning. Is there a way to get private investors together and create a tax relief to invest in certain housing?

Take Sligo this week for example, a vacant site at Doorly Park has been identified as a potential location for temporary modular accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.

Borough District of Sligo have said that the accommodation could potentially consist of 30 two-bedroom units with a capacity for four people in each. The site was also chosen for its proximity to schools and health services. The project is being funded nationally. Ukrainians have immersed themselves into society, attending schools, securing jobs, and getting involved with the community.

And what about the asylum seekers? Wouldn't it be great if they were allowed to work locally and contribute to the local economy?

Can we now help them further? How can we make Killarney a place where tourism and support for our new residents can harmonise?

There was a multi-agency approach during COVID which swept into action - why can’t the many agencies involved in the asylum process join with the HSE, Councils and other groups, make a plan and stick to it?

HAVE YOUR SAY: What do you think is the best solution going forward? Share your ideas on our social channels; Facebook and Instagram @killarneyadvertiser or email



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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