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United front to save 3,500 tourism jobs



UNITED FRONT: Bernadette Randles (Chair Kerry IHF), Paul Sherry (Killarney Chamber President) and Niamh O’Shea (ITIC area Council member) are backing a five point plan by the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC). Photo: Grigoriy Geniyevskiy

By Sean Moriarty

The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) has launched a five point plan that it wants the Government to follow to save up to 3,500 jobs which are at potential risk locally in the tourism and allied sectors unless action is taken.

The Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation (IHF) have this week backed the plan.

Businesses in the sector are concerned that COVID-19 has had shattering financial consequences on Ireland’s tourism and hospitality industry.

The jobs concerns come one week after publicans marched to the Dáil for the same reasons. They said at the time that up 15,000 jobs were at risk in Kerry - but the Killarney Chamber of Tourism has narrowed that down to 3,500 jobs in the Killarney district.

They say that last year, over one million people visited Killarney and that figure will be reduced by 600,000 this year - mainly due to the lack of international visitors.

“We are thankful we had a reasonably busy summer,” President Paul Sherry told the Killarney Advertiser. “But even if we get all of the staycation market we would still fall short. And this is not all about Killarney, it is a national problem and recognising there is pain in the industry and that something needs to be done. Everyone in this town depends one way or another on tourism.”

The closure of tourism and hospitality businesses for long periods, the reduction in capacity due to social distancing rules, and the effective restriction to the country of international tourists has caused massive damage to Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and biggest regional employer.

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has projected that tourism revenue will fall nationally by €5 billion this year and there will be up to 200,000 industry job losses.

Both Killarney Chamber and the Kerry branch of the IFH are members of the ITIC, and Niamh O’Shea, manager of the Killarney Park Hotel, is one of the local representatives at Council level.

“If you take these figures and break it down locally, there is without doubt, jobs and businesses at risk,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “Kerry and Killarney is disproportionally reliant on tourism, we have no Foreign Direct Investment.”

The Kerry branch of the IHF say that 11,000 jobs are now at risk in the county and that the Kerry economy is facing a €440m loss this year. Killarney has a higher proportion of tourism employees than any other town in the county.

“A severely devastated tourism sector would be a major loss to the economy and society here in Kerry for many years to come," said local hotelier Bernadette Randles, who is the Chair of the Kerry branch of the IHF. “This can and must be avoided. We are doing everything we can to protect public health whilst also helping to restore the economy and safeguard people’s livelihoods, but we face extraordinary challenges.”

The ITIC believe that Ireland’s world-class tourism and hospitality industry can be secured if the Government take five key steps.

These include the introduction of rapid COVID-19 testing to replace quarantine rules, the reduction of the VAT rate to nine percent until April 2021, the review of the wage subsidy scheme, the introduction of business continuity grants, and the doubling of international marketing budgets.

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Eight month wait for a driving test in Killarney

A Killarney councillor is calling for action in an effort to reduce the driving test wait list in Killarney The current wait list for a test in Killarney sits at […]




A Killarney councillor is calling for action in an effort to reduce the driving test wait list in Killarney

The current wait list for a test in Killarney sits at eight months.

Cllr John O’Donoghue raised the issue at Monday’s full meeting of Kerry County Council.

He proposed that driving instructors should be employed to carry out the final test to reduce the current backlog.

At Monday’s meeting he asked that hat Kerry County Council would write to the Minister for Transport to ask him to consider giving driving instructors temporary powers to issue a temporary Driving Licence/Certificate of Competence to those on the waiting list for tests.

“The wait is currently far too long and the system is in danger of becoming completely overwhelmed,” he said.

“The huge waiting list for young drivers is well documented at this stage. In a case I am familiar with, a young person passed their theory test in January 2022 and he immediately applied for his mandatory 12 driving lessons. When these were completed, he applied for his driving test on the 2nd of December 2022. Some weeks ago, he still had not received an application to apply for his driving test. This wait is placing him and his family under considerable extra cost and stress which is completely unacceptable.”

In the course of his research into the matter Cllr O’Donoghue discovered that the next available date for a driving test in Killarney is May 25, 2024, while Tralee is June 3 2024.

“Bear in mind, these are only the dates on which you receive an invitation to book your test, the test itself will then be an estimated three to five weeks later.

“This is an appalling situation and one which needs to be rectified as a matter of urgency. I am proposing that driving instructors, which presumably are fully trained up on the rules of the road, be granted temporary powers to be allowed to issue temporary driving licences to young people. When the waiting list time has been reduced, I would still propose that these people sit the test as usual, but the current pressure needs to be alleviated as soon as possible. There is precedent as I believe that in the 1970s, a cohort in this country were issued driving licences without having sat a test as the wait time for the test was too long.”


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Ballymac charity vintage run on October 1

The Ballymac Vintage Club is hosting a classic car, tractor and Honda 50 run on October 1. The run will leave from and return to the Halfway Bar, Ballymac. Registration […]




The Ballymac Vintage Club is hosting a classic car, tractor and Honda 50 run on October 1.

The run will leave from and return to the Halfway Bar, Ballymac.

Registration begins at 9:30am and sets off at 11am.

“There will be two separate routes with one for tractors and the other for cars and motorbikes. Proceeds on the day are in aid of Castleisland Day Care Centre and we’ll have plenty of spot prizes to giveaway too in the morning,” said the club’s PRO Kieran Glover.


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