WHITEWASH

‘I have brothers and sisters I’ve never met’

A SURVIVOR of St Joseph’s Industrial School in Tralee has branded the report by the Commission of Inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes ‘a whitewash’.

Felix O’Neill (67) told Kerry’s Eye he would never be able to ‘lose the stench of my childhood’ and said the publication of the report brought him no nearer to being able to get vital information on where his mother is buried, and what became of the brothers and sisters he was told he had.

Mr O’Neill, who was born Patrick McCarthy in a mother and baby home in Dublin, told how:

● he was held at St Joseph’s Industrial School in Tralee from age nine

What happened in Kerry this week

Children attending Lixnaw’s Scoil Mhuire gan Smál deserve better protection from trucks and farm machinery passing just yards from their school, says their Principal Ann Dowling Hilliard.

 

Kerry County Council is to look at creating a traffic management plan for Rath Graveyard - following claims that cars are blocking the passageways and keeping families from visiting the graves of their loved ones.

 

This week saw a return to remote learning for Kerry’s primary and secondary schools but this time around the county’s schools say they’re well prepared for the challenges of online teaching, having learnt a lot from the first lockdown.

 

They’ve been ever present since the lockdown first hit last March, and this week Kerry’s essential workers in shops across the county tell their stories of delivering vital services to our communities.

 

CNN journalist and Cahersiveen man Donie O'Sullivan reported to a global television audience from the frontline as Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill last Wednesday. This week he tells Kerry's Eye all about the historic events he witnessed on that fateful day in Washington.

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Our  Man  in Washington

CNN star journalist Donie O’Sullivan had a sense that something big could happen in Washington last Wednesday as Donald Trump supporters planned a major protest at Capitol Hill.

A few days earlier, the 29-year-old Cahersiveen man had interviewed Trump backers in Georgia and was startled when he asked one man what could possibly happen now to stop Joe Biden becoming President. The man responded: “Maybe civil war.”

On Wednesday, Trump supporters, incited by President Trump, stormed Capitol Hill, disrupting the joint session of US Congress as they processed the Electoral College votes that would certify Joe Biden’s victory.

Half of all virus cases in just TWO weeks

ALMOST half of all Covid-19 cases in Kerry since the pandemic began last March were recorded over the past two weeks, according to the latest figures.

As the country endures its third national lockdown, new figures reveal the startling spread of Covid-19 across the county - there have been 1,641 new cases of the deadly disease over the past fortnight, 47% of all cases.

This dramatic rise in the level of infections in the county emerges as the number of Covid patients critically ill inside the Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) tripled in the space of a week, reaching six on Monday - a record high.

‘Covid-19 delays 100 Tralee jobs’

THE Covid-19 pandemic has been blamed for a further delay in the creation of over 100 new jobs in Tralee - a year-and-a-half after UK-based Central Pharma was supposed to commence operations at the IDA-owned Advanced Technology Building at Kerry Technology Park in Tralee.

The €3.5m building remains empty, nearly four years after it was completed, but the IDA have confirmed to Kerry’s Eye that Central Pharma now expect to begin production in Tralee in 2021.

Central Pharma, a leading packaging and supply company headquartered in Bedford in England, announced its expansion into Ireland in December 2018 and took a long-term lease on the Advance Technology Building in Tralee with plans to locate its packaging and supply operation inside the IDA-owned building by July 2019.

John’s now expecting visitors after jab

 A 95-year-old grandfather became the first resident at Killarney Community Hospital to receive the miracle Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday morning last.

John Cremin from Knocknagree in Cork was delighted to be administered the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine alongside other residents and healthcare staff, as Kerry and the rest of the country endures the highest rate of Covid-19 infection since the pandemic began.

The father-of-four says he’s relieved to be safe from the deadly disease.

Two High Court challenges to greenway

Two separate High Court challenges have been initiated over a proposed cycling and pedestrian greenway in County Kerry.

The actions relate to the proposed 32 kilometre South Kerry Greenway, between Glenbeigh and Cahersiveen, to run mainly along the former disused Great Southern and Western Railway line which operated from 1892 to 1960.

In the first action, a local farmer, James Clifford, and environmental activist Peter Sweetman, are seeking permission to challenge An Bord Pleanála’s decision on November 10 last to approve Kerry County Council’s application for the greenway, which includes a 3-metre wide paved surface.

‘This is extinction by a thousand cuts’

AN OBJECTION to the proposed extension of the seafront car park in Waterville by the national organisation Friends of the Irish Environment was among around 300 submissions received by Kerry County Council by last Friday’s deadline.

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), a registered charity based in Allihies in West Cork, said the impact of the proposals would be ‘significant’ and ‘misjudged’, describing them as part of an ‘extinction by 1,000 cuts’.

The Council had invited submissions to its controversial proposals as a statutory requirement of the Part 8 planning process, whereby a local authority applies for planning permission for its own developments.

Virus restrictions switch off the power at Tarbert

Covid-19 restrictions led to Tarbert power station failing to produce any electricity on January 6.

Tarbert was one of a number of power stations with reduced maintenance during the summer because of the pandemic which led to the station running at reduced capacity.

However, Tarbert’s station failure on January 6 – along with a number of other factors – forced an Amber Alert warning of overall reduced power throughout the entire country.

No money for Ballylongford flooding

Funding is not currently available through the Office of Public Works (OPW) to solve ongoing flooding at Quay Street in Ballylongford, according to Kerry County Council.

Responding to a request by Listowel Municipal District (MD) Mayor Michael Foley on the issue during Monday’s MD meeting, the Council stated that flooding is a matter for the OPW.

They also stated that an assessment carried out by the OPW reported that a €9.6m project may be suitable for the area, consisting of 800m of new flood defence walls and 1,200m of embankments.

Louise’s call to Arms

WHENEVER LOUISE Huggard faces a challenge at the Butler Arms Hotel, she often wonders what her great-grandmother, Mary Huggard, might have done in the same situation.

Louise and her sister Paula own and run the landmark Waterville hotel that’s been in their family for over a century and have the distinction of being fourth generation hoteliers.

They grew up with the business and worked there since they were able to, Louise starting out collecting glasses in the bar in the 1980s. Although she contemplated other career paths, she says she was drawn back to Waterville to take over the family business and hopefully hand it over to a fifth generation.

Ballybunion hotel now an ‘eyesore’

Dangerous debris is falling from Ballybunion’s derelict Golf Hotel and the building has become an eyesore, according to Sinn Féin councillor Robert Beasley.

During Monday’s virtual meeting of Listowel Municipal District (MD), Councillor Beasley  called on the Council to investigate the condition of the 6,039-square-metre structure, featuring almost 100 empty bedrooms, which shut in 2016 following a drop in trade.

For decades, the Golf Hotel was a hive of activity, employing 80 full-time seasonal workers and providing significant spin-off employment in the wider community.

Councillor Barry said: “It’s an eyesore now for those of us who knew it in its heyday.”