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“We need to know what is happening so that we can prepare”

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By Michelle Crean

Local groups are demanding that the International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) and other agencies keep Killarney fully briefed on additional refugees or asylum seekers coming to the town.

Sheila Casey Chairperson of KASI.

Concern has been expressed by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and the Killarney Asylum Seekers Initiative (KASI) that essential wrap-around services, such as medical care and day-to-day community and supports, are already at snapping point and the town is struggling to cope with the demand.

According to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, currently there's a total of 360 International Protection (IP) applicants residing in Hotel Killarney including single males, females and families, and a total number of 572 International Protection applicants living in Killarney.

"The people who are being accommodated are recent arrivals to Ireland who have made International Protection Applications," the Department said in a reply to a Killarney Advertiser query, yesterday (Thursday).

They also said that they can't give a clear answer how long they will be staying "having regard to the ongoing crisis in the numbers of IP applicants arriving and the scarcity of more appropriate accommodation".

There are 1,304 Ukrainian women and children housed across Killarney.

Chamber President Niall Kelleher said the town was delighted to play its part when agreeing to accommodate Ukrainian refugees, mainly women and children, fleeing from the terrors of war, but it is dreadful that the necessary follow-on support services required have not been put in place.

The Chamber said while Killarney has probably the highest ratio of refugees and asylum seekers per head of population in the entire country, there has been little or no communication from IPAS, Government departments or the non-governmental organisations charged with sourcing suitable accommodation.

“All too often, the first we hear of developments is when buses pull up outside accommodation centres with people on board. We need to know what is happening so that we can prepare and the only way to achieve that is through proper dialogue,” Mr Kelleher said.

GROWING CONCERN

The Chamber acknowledged that there is growing concern locally that the State agencies seeking to house refugees and asylum seekers are merely identifying available beds in Killarney – given its tourism base – but there seems to be very little thought going into providing the related professional services required, particularly access to medical services, school places and support systems.

“The lack of access to proper services is not fair on them, it is not fair on the service providers who are under strain and if the current trends continue, it can only lead to a complete systems failure,” Chamber stated.

KASI – which provides key support services to the asylum seekers and refugees – said it simply doesn’t have the staff or the space to cope with demand and there is a complete lack of communication from the agencies involved.

Chairperson Sheila Casey said people are queuing out on the street waiting to be seen but KASI has only four staff and very inadequate office space.

“We can’t cope with the situation, the health service can’t cope and the schools can’t cope with the huge demand."

Nationally, from the beginning of 2022 to date, over 11,300 people have arrived in Ireland seeking protection. As of October 16, there are over 16,500 people accommodated in the International Protection Accommodation System (IPAS) as a whole compared with 7,250 people at this time last year. This figure is in addition to the arrival of almost 54,000 Ukrainian nationals of whom over 42,700 are currently seeking accommodation from the Department.

"The pressure on the State to accommodate over 58,000 people currently has led to significant shortages particularly for the international protection cohort," the Department said.

"All of the limited accommodation capacity within the IPAS system is currently being used. Officials continue to seek accommodation solutions to the increasing numbers of IP arrivals."

In terms of medical care, local GPs have said they can no longer accept new referrals to ensure they can provide a safe service to existing patients.

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Festive jumpers and a Kerry jersey brings fundraiser to €10k

By Michelle Crean Jumpers have helped to raise almost €10k so far – but now it’s a very special jersey which could drive the fundraising numbers up! A Kerry football […]

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By Michelle Crean

Jumpers have helped to raise almost €10k so far – but now it’s a very special jersey which could drive the fundraising numbers up!

A Kerry football jersey signed by the 2022 All-Ireland winning team is up for grabs via a fundraising link once a donation is made to the Presents for Palliative fundraiser.

On Friday eight local schools including Holy Cross Mercy, Killarney Community College, Presentation Monastery, Lissivigeen, St Brendan’s College, St Brigid’s, St Francis Special School, and St Oliver’s
swapped their uniforms for their most colourful festive gear with funds going to help the amazing services in the Palliative Care Unit/Kerry Hospice Foundation.

“The day took place across the schools involved last Friday (December 2) and looks like it has been a success,” teacher Elaine Moynihan from St Brendan’s College told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The donations from the schools are still being counted but students look to be on their way towards making their goal of €10k.”

The iDonate ‘Fundraising For Kerry Hospice Foundation’ has been very helpful in this regard, she added.

“Anyone who donates via the link and leaves their name will be in with a chance to win a Kerry jersey signed by the 2022 All-Ireland winning team which will be presented to them before Christmas by a couple of members of the team.

“This was organised by the students involved in the fundraiser as a way to say thanks, and give back, to the members of the community who have gotten involved in the event – the link is live until December 18 and the draw will be made the following day.”

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Killarney punter secures €50,000 in EuroMillions draw

A lucky Killarney punter got an early Christmas present when they scooped €50,000 in the EuroMillions ‘Ireland Only Raffle’. The winning ticket, sold in the Lidl supermarket on the Tralee road, was […]

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A lucky Killarney punter got an early Christmas present when they scooped €50,000 in the EuroMillions ‘Ireland Only Raffle’.

The winning ticket, sold in the Lidl supermarket on the Tralee road, was valid for Tuesday night’s special draw.

The Killarney winner was one of 10 who each secured the €50,000 windfall.

“The National Lottery can reveal that three players in Dublin, three players in Cork and one player in Kerry, Roscommon, Kildare and Wexford all scooped the special raffle prize which was the seventh of 12 draws in the National Lottery’s ’12 Draws of Christmas’ promotion,” said a National Lottery statement.

The eighth draw will take place tonight (December 9) where 10 more players are guaranteed to win the amazing prizes.

Meanwhile, a player in Belgium scooped the EuroMillions Jackpot prize worth an astonishing €142,897,164.

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