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Twitter must block Putin’s propaganda – MEP Kelly

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Ireland South MEP, Sean Kelly, is calling for a major social media platform to "immediately suspend" the Russian UK Embassy’s online account.

“I am calling on Twitter to immediately suspend the Russian UK Embassy’s Twitter account, and any other accounts linked to the Russian Federation and used as disinformation platforms for war criminal Putin,” Seán Kelly MEP said today (Monday) in lambasting recent tweets by the embassy.

“Putin is directing the intentional slaughter of innocent civilians, from young children to the very elderly, on a daily basis. The Russian Embassy in the UK, in particular, has been denying these war crimes, despite substantiated reports of these most heinous atrocities, and continues to spread lies and Putin’s propaganda. How long will Twitter facilitate the perpetrator’s propaganda being spouted by accounts hosted on its platform?

“I am urging the EU to urgently re-evaluate its recent ban on Russian propaganda in light of the Russian Federation’s use of social media to publish false information."

He says he supports the ban on Russian propaganda channels such as Sputnik and RT channels, but that the same rules need to apply to social media where a great deal of people get their news and information from.

MEP Kelly pointed to recent tweets by the Russian embassy in the UK, which attempt to falsely lay blame on the Ukrainian side and hit out at our free and independent media for so-called “Russiaphobia”.

“Russia’s attack on Ukraine is an illegal, unprovoked and vicious attack on a sovereign country - it is important that the truth is heard loud and clear,”Kelly underlined.

Mr Kelly pointed out the Russian Federation's restriction or banning of most major social media platforms in the country. He further denounced the move to effectively end media freedom in Russia with a new law that enables the authorities to jail journalists or those who publish what is deemed to be "false" news about the invasion or actions of the Russian armed forces for up to 15 years.

The Fine Gael MEP recently voted in favour of a European Parliament report on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation (INGE), which lays the foundations for collective EU efforts to tackle foreign interference.

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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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