160 join picket line at UHK

HUNDREDS OF PATIENTS at University Hospital Kerry could face further disruptions next week, as SIPTU members gear up for a three-day strike.

Almost 160 members of the union at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) took to the picket line on Wednesday, as part of a national strike at 38 hospitals in support of a pay increase for health care assistants.

All elective surgeries, including in-patient, day case surgeries and endoscopy procedures at UHK were cancelled during yesterday’s 24-hour strike.

What happened in Kerry this week

Hundreds of patients at University Hospital Kerry could face further disruptions next week, as SIPTU members gear up for a three-day strike. All elective surgeries, including inpatient, day case surgeries and endoscopy procedures at UHK were cancelled during yesterday’s 24-hour strike and, now, with the threat of extending the strike to three days next week, the HSE have warned patient services could suffer a “significant impact” if ongoing negotiations between healthcare support workers and the HSE fail to find a resolution.

 

“When I first saw her, I cried - knowing this little girl owned nothing but her wheelchair,” - host Mom Susan Sugrue tells us about the first meeting she had with Chernobyl orphan Angelina and the hugely positive impact visiting Kerry has on the little girl.

 

Syrian children who suffered the trauma of death and destruction during the brutal civil war in their homeland are now thriving in Tralee. Scoil Eoin teacher Mary McMahon tells us how far the children have integrated and grown into a welcoming community here in Kerry, when just three years ago they would run under the desks after the school bell rang - fearing it was a bomb alert.

 

Angry parishioners in Kilcummin say they are ‘devastated’ by what they see as the downgrading of their parish after hearing that their resident parish priest, Fr Eamon Mulvihill, would be moved to another parish and would not be replaced. And some in the parish are now thinking of withholding church donations until a resident priest is re-installed.

Mary’s joy as Syrian kids thrive in Kerry

Syrian children who suffered the trauma of death and destruction during the brutal civil war in their homeland are thriving in Tralee, according to retiring teacher Mary McMahon.

The Scoil Eoin Balloonagh teacher told Kerry’s Eye of her joy this week at how the children are now integrating fully into a peaceful and welcoming community in Kerry.

Ms McMahon said that when they arrived first, the Syrian children would run under the desks after the school bell rang - fearing it was a bomb alert.

“They were so used to hiding when they’d hear a bomb alert - but now they are thriving.

Builder promises to finish estate

THE developer behind an unfinished housing estate in Tralee has promised to complete the building in less than two years.

Frank Kneeshaw stopped work on his development at Lios Ard, on the Abbeydorney Road, in 2008 because of the building and financial crash. Just 16 of the 28 houses planned for that phase of the development has been constructed.

Since then, however, the houses have lain idle and have become a magnet for anti-social behaviour. This resulted in the burning down of one of the houses on Sunday in a suspected arson attack.

Now Mr Kneeshaw is to look at security at the site and promises to complete the building within two years.

Construction starts on €5m social houses

WORK HAS just started on the latest Kerry County Council housing scheme which comes with a €5m price tag.

The estate, at Balloonagh in the centre of Tralee, will accommodate just over 100 people in 28 units, a mixture of 1-3 bedroom homes.

They are being built on a 1.4 hectare greenfield site which backs onto Scoil Eoin, Balloonagh, Connolly Park and Austin Stacks’ football field.

It was bought by Kerry County Council from St Brendan’s Trust, the body vested with ownership of Catholic Church property in the Kerry Diocese.

Greenways cash boost for tourism

Hopes are high that the government’s €6.5m plan to develop 20.5km of Greenway at two locations in Kerry comes as a huge boost for tourism in rural communities.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin announced that €3m is being granted for the first stage of the Greenway linking Tralee to Fenit, and that it will eventually be extended into North Kerry.

Meanwhile, the Great Southern Greenway will be extended 10.5km west from the Limerick border in Abbeyfeale, through the parish of Duagh and into Listowel at a cost of €3.5m.

This second development will increase the 39km-long Great Southern Greenway to 52kms, encompassing two counties.

Chair of the Great Southern Trail Greenway group Liam O’Mahony from Abbeyfeale, says the development will help “revitalise local communities”.

Chernobyl’s ‘little angel’ returns

Susan Sugrue broke down when she first met Chernobyl orphan Angelina - but the little girl’s progress brings the host mom great comfort.

Angelina Harokhava lives in the Vesnova Orphanage in Belarus, near the site of the 1986 nuclear explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

Through Chernobyl Children International, Angelina, who has cerebral palsy, has been coming to Tralee since she was 11.

The little girl, who will be 13 in November, arrived for her fourth visit this week.

“Angelina can’t speak. But she uses her eyes to communicate and uses signs. She couldn’t feed herself but she’s progressing and can do a few simple things now,” said Susan Sugrue.

Harnetts gather from around the globe

From Abbeyfeale to India and from New Zealand to the USA, Harnetts across the globe are gearing up for the family’s International Reunion taking place from July 11 to 14.

Organised by Abbeyfeale man James Harnett, a fantastic weekend of storytelling, dining and rediscovery is in store for everyone, whether they are connected to the Harnett surname or not.

Some truly amazing stories have already been uncovered such as the role of one Honoria Harnett McSweeney who helped protect the centuries-old McSweeney Chalice as the family resettled in New York after the Great Famine.

Speaking to Kerry’s Eye after last week’s launch, James called on locals to extend a warm welcome to everyone travelling to Abbeyfeale for next month’s reunion.

Children ‘no longer slipping through the cracks’

Looking back over his teaching career, the outgoing principal of Lisselton NS, Richard O’Carroll, says he is thankful that children with intellectual and behavioural issues no longer fall through the cracks.

His teaching career began in Dublin, then Richard O’Carroll took up a teaching position in Lisselton NS. That was over 17 years ago.

Now going into his eighth year as principal, Richard says he better understands children’s behaviour because of increased awareness of disorders like autism, attention deficit disorder and other learning difficulties.

“When I started, we only had one special needs assistant, now we have many more.

Tralee cuppa will change kids’ lives

Eileen WHELAN and her team of dedicated fundraisers were thrilled to hear that their Cuppa for Chernobyl charity event will bring two children to Ireland from the nuclear disaster zone in Ukraine.

Last Saturday, Eileen and her colleagues in Paco, Tralee had the posh china at the ready, the prosecco on ice and all the home-baked treats were there - all they needed were guests.

They needn’t have worried because people came in their dozens as the afternoon event spilled out onto the streets.

“We had a fantastic day. The most successful fundraiser I’ve had in the shop to date. We turned the music up and the fashion show spilled out onto the street. I couldn’t believe the overwhelming support we received,” said Eileen.

Race won - with hours to spare

The winner of last Saturday’s Kerry 100k Ultra Marathon passed the finish line a full three hours ahead of the pack - before sitting into his car and cruising on home to Dublin.

Alastair Higgins made light work of the trek with a finishing time of eight hours and 23 minutes, in the first of four fantastic races taking place around Tralee throughout the day.

While the 100k kicked off at 6am in Caherslee, the Kerry 50k Ultra Marathon saw runners get into their paces from noon, as they travelled along the Fenit Greenway, Bracker O’Regan Road and eventually linked up with the 100k route just outside Ardfert where they travelled on to the Ashe Memorial Hall.

Broadway for West Kerry Agri Show

A LITTLE bit of Broadway is coming to the West Kerry Agricultural Show this year where five times All-Ireland champion dancer David Geaney will be performing.

Geaney, who narrowly missed out in a place in the finals of Britain’s Got Talent two years ago, will add a bit of sparkle to the 54th show, which will also highlight two more serious topics - farm safety and rural isolation.

Chairman Derry Murphy said the organisers were delighted Teagasc in Tralee was coming on board to give a demonstration on farm safety but he was also glad the show would be raising awareness about rural isolation.

Baile Mhuire clients reveal artistic charms

They thought their days of creativity were over but the clients of the Baile Mhuire Day Care Centre loved perfecting their works of art for a collaborative exhibition.

Members of the Tralee Art Group (TAG) have been working with clients of the Baile Mhuire Day CareCentre, Tralee, who range in age from 70 upwards, to create a very special art exhibition.

TAG visited the centre every Wednesday since Christmas to collaborate on an exhibition which went on display last Thursday.

PRO for TAG Ber Earley said that the clients of Baile Mhuire had to be almost dragged from their art tables because they were enjoying the creativity so much.