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KERRY'S EYE THIS WEEK - Published Thursday April 16th, 2015

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The Headlines from Kerry's Eye this week

NEWS

 

Student’s parents are

frequent visitors to Killarney

The devastated parents of missing Cork student, Karen Buckley (24), are regular visitors to Killarney on short holiday breaks from their dairy farm outside of Mallow.

The nightmare experience of John and Marian Buckley from Mourneabbey has touched the nation to the core - especially since their heartbreaking TV appeal for news of their only daughter, Karen (24), who disappeared on a night out in Glasgow on Monday.

Karen’s dad, John Buckley, is due to take part in the Ring of Kerry Cycle this July.

He and his wife, Marian, have holidayed regularly in the Muckross area for the past two years but have been visiting the general Killarney area for years.

“When you know a person, you really feel for them, of course” said the owner of the Muckross guest house where they regularly stay.

“Even there today I was reading the paper and it was terrible.

“They are so genuine and so hard-working,” she said. “I have been praying for them.”

The couple are outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hill walking and have climbed Mangerton as well as walking part of the Kerry Way into the Black Valley.

Generally, they come to Kerry on one-night breaks when they are able to secure a relief milker for their farm.

Karen Buckley, who has three older brothers, went missing after she attended the Sanctuary Nightclub in Glasgow with her friends.

During a press conference, police said they feared the missing nurse may have come to some harm after leaving a nightclub in the city early on Sunday.

 

Almost 8,000 now on hospital waiting list

Almost 8,000 people are now waiting to see a consultant at Kerry General Hospital for the first time, with numbers growing at an unprecedented rate.

by Aidan O’Connor

Up to the end of March, the number of children, elderly people and patients waiting for general surgery has grown by 28% on the previous year.

Figures obtained from the National Treatment Purchase Fund show staggering increases in outpatient waiting lists, including for orthopaedics, rheumatology and paediatrics.

By the end of March this year, 7,811 people were waiting to see a consultant  - that’s 1,700 more than the number at the same time last year.

Nationally, the numbers waiting for an outpatient appointment exceeded 400,000 for the first time.

Severe pressure to cope with the outpatient lists at KGH is mirrored by significant increases in the number of people waiting for inpatient or  day-procedures.

The figures further reveal  that more people are waiting longer at KGH, and by the end of  last month, 975 people had been on a waiting list for over a year - up 670% on the previous 12 months.

 

Top secret as US reality show films in Kerry

A hit romantic reality TV series, The Bachelorette - which is watched by over 15 million US viewers every week - will provide priceless publicity for Kerry on ABC television this summer.

The stars of the reality show and a crew of up to 70 have just finished filming in romantic locations around Killarney and Tralee as part of an international shoot for the newest season of the hit series.

But ‘mum’s the word’ in the Kingdom for the programme makers, who insisted on strict confidentiality clauses from local hotels, restaurants and taxi drivers during their stay, which ends this Thursday.

“They’re very, very secretive,” one source said. “It’s on account of the fact that it’s not being aired until June.”

In addition to the massive publicity coup for Kerry, the presence of the team of over 70 in Killarney for about ten days has been a major boost to the locality.

A fleet of mini-buses, taxis and drivers were hired locally to transport personnel and equipment.

Romantic dinner scenes have been shot in the Beaufort Bar and Restaurant and Gaby’s Restaurant in Killarney, and at Ballyseede Castle in Tralee.

Scenic shoots took place at Ross Castle and on Innisfallen Island in the Lower Lake as well as at Muckross House and Gardens. The crew also filmed at the Cliffs of Moher.

Immediately prior to arriving in Killarney, they had a film shoot in Dublin.

The stars and crew were based at the Randles Court and Dromhall Hotels on Muckross Road for the duration of their stay.

Management at the Randles Hotel Group refused to comment on their celebrity guests.

The long-running show has been a massive hit in the US over the past ten years. The stars of the current eleventh season are bachelorettes Britt Nilsson and Kaitlyn Bristowe.

 

 

Locals rally to bring

Mike home

A Lixnaw man who defied medical odds to be able to speak and breathe independently after a freak accident last year, is now looking to the future and hoping to return to his family - with the help of his local community.

Locals are rallying around Mike Shanahan, who plans to move back to his home with his wife and son in the coming months to complete his recovery, after a freak tractor accident left him completely paralysed from the shoulders down last year.

A massive community effort is under way to raise up to €100,000 in support of Mike’s dream to return home from Listowel Community Hospital, where he is currently recovering.

Mike (61) says he hasn’t looked back since the day of the accident - but he can’t wait to get home. “I’m lucky to be alive,” he said this week. “I’m a very positive person. You have to make the best of what you have.”

Read the full story in Kerry's Eye or log on to the digital edition

Niamh finds her twin stranger!

They could be twin sisters - but they’re twin strangers! Castleisland woman Niamh Geaney became an internet sensation this week, after details of her search for her doppleganger went viral.

The 26-year-old - on the left above, we think -  launched a worldwide internet search to find an exact double, as part of a project with two friends.

They launched the campaign on social media sites and the challenge spread across the globe. And it turned out that Dublin-based Niamh really did have a double - but less than an hour away, in Drogheda.

Niamh, the daughter of John and Máire from O'Connell's Demesne in Castleisland, came across Karen Branigan (29) on Facebook and the two met in person for the first time last Sunday in Dublin.

“It’s just crazy and the experience has been so surreal. I spent the whole time just staring at her. It was like talking to my own face,” Niamh said.

Pictures of Niamh, who attended Gaelscoil Aogáin in Castleisland, and her twin stranger have appeared on news sites from China to the US, while the YouTube video explaining the twinstrangers.com challenge has had almost a quarter of a million hits.

Read the full story in Kerry's Eye or log on to the digital edition

Cost of dealing with gorse fires estimated at up to €100k

Mindless thugs are suspected of started a number of the fires last week that destroyed thousands of acres of Killarney National Park and surrounding areas.

As over a dozen firefighters battled a massive wildfire at the foothills of Mangerton last Wednesday evening, four other fires were deliberately started within a 2km radius by bystanders who then fled the scene, it has emerged.

Some of blazes burned dangerously close to homes in the area  - including the home of Moira Murrell, chief executive of Kerry County Council, which oversees the fire service in the county.

Gardaí were called to Mangerton after fire crew noticed that other fires were being recklessly lit nearby by vandals who had arrived on the scene. Several registration numbers of cars were taken at the scene.

“There were five fires within a 2k radius in Mangerton. While we fought the major fire, another four were lit.

“We know there were bystanders around who just lit these fires for no reason. One of those fires came very close to about ten houses,” said assistant chief fire officer, Michael O’Flynn.

Apart from putting lives and homes at risk, the gorse fires last week racked up a bill of up to €100,000 on fire service and the Air Corps.

Meanwhile, the worst wildfire in 30 years that destroyed at least 4,000 acres  of Killarney National Park on Friday began in Kilgarvan sometime on Thursday, investigators now believe.

It smouldered through the night and re-ignited  on Friday, having travelled up to 15km before reaching the treasured tourist amenity.

The National  Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) called in assistance from the Air Corps helicopter on Friday  which waterbombed the blaze for over two hours  - at a cost of almost €10,000. Eventually, the rains Friday evening helped quench the blaze.

The Kerry Wildfire Interagency Group  - made up of senior gardaí,  the Department of Agriculture, the NPWS and the Kerry Fire and Rescue Service - met on Monday to discuss where the fires all started and how the culprits responsible can be tracked down.

Superintendent Flor Murphy said the fires posed a very serious risk to life and property in the affected areas and have resulted in hundreds of thousands of euro worth of damage to such a wonderful amenity.

“The potential long-term damage to the local community and economy is enormous and cannot be quantified at this time,” he said.

Read the full story in Kerry's Eye or log on to the digital edition

Tralee’s Debbie makes her mark in New Zealand

A Tralee girl has been crowned Miss Bikini South America/New Zealand - and is hoping that this major win will help her inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle.

Debbie Sugrue, originally from Fountain Court, Tralee - a former student at Mercy Mounthawk - was named winner in the event at the end of last month, and will now go on to the world final later this year. .

The 22-year-old moved to Australia in 2011, but is now based in Auckland, New Zealand with her partner.

Debbie was approached by a modelling agency while in Australia and since then her career has really taken off.

She said this week that she is so fully booked in the coming months that she is unable to fly home for a visit - and her Miss Bikini win will only enhance her career.

Debbie is also involved in bodybuilding, and this weekend will take part in the Manukau Classic, a major competition in New Zealand, which she hopes to win.

But the Tralee girl’s overall aim is to showcase the importance of healthy eating and exercise.

“My ultimate goal is to empower people to live fit and healthy lifestyles,” says Debbie.

She has set up her own business, Barbelle Beauty by Debbie, but in the interim she also works as a Google technician while studying nutrition.

Debbie is the daughter of Noreen and Patrick Sugrue from Fountain Court and has one younger sister, Maria.

Read the full story in Kerry's Eye or log on to the digital edition

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