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Dr Valeria is one tough cookie

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By Natalya Krasnenkova

Valeria Mashkovska applies make-up, manages a short hairstyle and looks like a Roxette soloist. Today she will go to a medical clinic to start taking in Ukrainian patients.

In Ukraine, Valeria worked as a family doctor and head of a medical centre. She is currently an assistant physician at a medical clinic in Killarney. She is preparing for an English language exam and confirmation of a Ukrainian doctor's degree.

Valeria moved to Killarney at the end of March with her two children, Hlib (13) and Veronica (21). Leaving Odessa was a real challenge for her as she had to urgently evacuate her children and herself when rocket attacks began on the city.

Valeria jumped in the car and ran towards the Moldovan border, the closest point to Odessa. There was no plan but to flee the war as far as possible to save her children.

All she managed to grab was a few things and put a knife under the car seat which was needed to feel at least a little bit safe. Of course, she would not be able to use a knife as a weapon.

"I completely forgot about this knife and crossed all borders with it. I can't even imagine what it would be like if it was found at a checkpoint or at the border. When I remembered about it, I was very scared. I left it in the kitchen in Sofia, Bulgaria,” Valeria says.

After crossing the border, Valeria's family took some time out to recover, and then became quite frightened because they had no money and nowhere to stay. Valeria moved to Bulgaria where she spent a week with the children.

Acquaintances in Sofia gave them housing, but not food. For several days they simply did not have anything to eat. Then Valeria got to the Red Cross, where she received some food. For several days, they have eaten only canned food.

"Nobody taught us how to behave in war, nobody prepared us to drive a car for 24 hours without rest, nobody told us to pay money in case of escape," Valeria added. “You have to do all this for the first time and you can't make mistakes and risk your children. You still have to take them away from the war. ”

To buy tickets to Ireland she had to sell her car. These were one-way tickets.

In Killarney, on the first day of her arrival, Valeria told me: “I need to come to my senses and rest. I'm terribly tired".

But in three days she started working. Valeria took a job as a waitress at The Killarney Oaks Hotel, all the time looking for an opportunity to be useful as a doctor.

All Innisfallen citizens know that we have a doctor that can be knocked on 24/7. Valeria is ready to help people, even when she is very tired after 10 hours as a waitress.

And now Valeria is standing by the mirror, straightening her hair and smiling. For several weeks now, she has been working as an assistant doctor in Killarney two days a week. For the remaining four days, Valeria works as a waitress and she spends all her free time learning English. She's a really tough cookie.

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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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