Meet the man who shook the  hand of a saint!

A man who shook the hand of a saint is now a patient in the Palliative Care Unit at University Hospital Kerry in Tralee - and says he feels like he’s on his holidays.

Gerry Fitzsimons, who’s married to Abbeydorney native Sheila for the last 55 years, is originally from Limerick.

Gerry is helping mark Palliative Care Week, which runs until this Saturday to raise awareness of how palliative care can help people with life-limiting conditions, as well as their carers and families.

What happened in Kerry this week

Everyone knows West Kerry is in a league of its own - but now it's set to also play a starring role in the Sky TV hit sports quiz ‘A League of Their Own’.

 

Kerry’s only soup kitchen, which provides weekly dinners for up to 90 people in Tralee, plans to fully reopen its doors by the end of October.

 

Former Kerry GAA star Darran O’Sulllivan admits he was ill-equipped for the mental torture he endured in the first episode of Ultimate Hell Week: The Professionals.

 

Over 100 years of family history lives within the walls of one popular Tralee bar which looks set to continue now that the pub will be passing into the safe hands of the original owner’s great-grandson.

 

Forget the generation gap - a five-year-old uncle has just started Junior Infants in one Kerry national school with one of his nephews - while another nephew is two classes ahead of him in the same school!

 

In this week’s Kerry’s Eye we meet the inspiring and remarkable patients at Kerry’s palliative care unit and the dedicated staff who deliver a world class service to those with life-limiting conditions.

Soup kitchen plans return to indoor meals

Kerry’s only soup kitchen which provides weekly dinners for up to 90 people in Tralee plans to fully reopen its doors by the end of October.

The soup kitchen was forced to close its doors in March of last year because of the first Covid-19 lockdown and has since only managed to provide a takeaway service on Saturdays for its 80 to 90 users.

Regular users had availed of local Meals on Wheels while the Tralee Soup Kitchen was closed.

Nurse shortage ‘a threat to patients at UHK’

A chronic shortage of nurses at UHK in Tralee is threatening patient care and leading to low morale among staff who can no longer cope, it was claimed this week.

The stark warning came from the local trade union SIPTU official who said that UHK urgently needs 100 additional nurses.

SIPTU branch organiser Donie Doody said there is now a grave shortage of nurses at UHK which has resulted in ‘dangerously low levels of staffing in wards on most days’.

20 new jobs at WAZP after €2m investment

FAST growing Tralee company WAZP is set to expand its operations with the creation of a 3D printing facility in the former BorgWarner factory at the Monavalley Business Park.

The new WAZP  facility will see a further €2m investment by the company in Tralee, allowing the 3D consumer goods maker to increase its workforce by 20 in the next two to three years.

The global end-to-end supply chain company for 3D printing currently employs about 30 staff.

Banna helicopter probe closes down without explanation

Locals who witnessed a helicopter flying dangerously low in thick fog along the shoreline at Banna two weeks ago are baffled as to why the investigation into the incident is now closed.

John Jeffers and his wife Kathleen were walking their two dogs along Banna Beach at about 6.30pm on August 27 when they were suddenly startled by a loud noise which they thought was a large tractor driving along the beach.

Mr Jeffers and his wife managed to take the shocking footage on his mobile phone which showed a large helicopter flying just metres high in the air above the shoreline.

‘My uncle’s in my class!’

Forget the generation gap - a five-year-old uncle has just started Junior Infants in Brosna with one of his nephews, while another nephew is two classes ahead of him in the same school.

Fionn Lane began his education career last week at the same time as his nephew and fellow five-year-old Levi Lane.

And Levi’s older brother Keelin (6) - who is also Fionn’s nephew - is in First Class at the same national school.

The Brosna boys are delighted to be together in the classrooms and playground at their local school.

SouthDoc downsizes in Listowel

The new SouthDoc facility in Listowel is open for 17 hours less every week, compared to its opening hours before the Covid-19 pandemic, and does not have a dedicated driver based in Listowel.

The centre has been mired in controversy since March 2020 when the HSE decided to shut down services because of Covid-19 and force sick and injured locals to travel more than 25km to Tralee for urgent out-of-hours care.

The centre finally reopened at a new location in Listowel Treatment Centre on July 5, 2021, operating at reduced hours.

Jellyfish give swimmers some-sting to talk about

Sea swimmers in Fenit have a sting or two to talk about these days as millions of jellyfish larvae swarm the coastline.

Over the past week, several swimmers have been stung, resulting in itchy red bumps or blisters on their skin.

Member of Tralee Bay Swimming Club Kevin Williams says the stings are normal for this time of year due to falling sea temperatures - and he’s reassuring the public that the impact of a sting should fade away within days.

Kids at risk from dirty waters at famous beach

CHILDREN are at serious risk of getting sick by playing in potentially contaminated flood water on Ballybunion’s popular North Beach, according to local Sinn Féin county councillor Robert Beasley.

Tens of thousands of people flock to Ballybunion each summer from Limerick, Clare and across Ireland to enjoy the sunshine and relax on Ballybunion’s two world-renowned beaches.

Since June 2020, the seaside town has been reeling from the loss of the prized Blue Flag status at the North Beach - also known as the Ladies’ Beach - due to a downgrading of the water quality there from ‘excellent’ to ‘very good’.

Summer traffic terrifies Tarbert locals

PENSIONERS, shoppers and children are afraid to cross the road in Tarbert during busy summer months - because of dangerous volumes of traffic zooming past at all hours of the day.

High levels of traffic made up of tourists travelling between Limerick and Ballybunion adds to the volume of commercial vehicles using the ferry service linking Tarbert and Killimer in Co. Clare.

Local man Paddy Creedon says he first noticed the extent of the problem when volunteering with Tarbert Tidy Towns.

Banna’s litter free after Big Beach Clean

Banna is back in pristine condition again thanks to the efforts of some 67 volunteers who swept the beach clean of late summer litter in just one hour last Sunday morning.

Organised by Banna Coastcare, the Big Beach Clean was held in collaboration with Tralee Tidy Towns and MTU Kerry Green Campus, while willing helpers from both the Kerry Islamic Outreach Society and Kerry Group also turned up to help out on the day.

The Big Beach Clean is an annual call-to-action organised by Clean Coasts that asks volunteers from communities all over Ireland to remove litter from our beautiful coast at the end of the bathing season.

Free WiFi project to begin in Listowel

EVERYONE in Listowel will have access to free WiFi in public areas by the end of October, according to Listowel Municipal District (MD) Officer Andy Smith.

The rollout of the WiFi4EU initiative in Listowel was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic - but now the rush is on to have the infrastructure in place by the beginning of October in order to qualify for funding through the European Union.

Mayor of the Municipal District Mike Kennelly quizzed Andy Smith on Monday on the reason behind the delay - and stated that he’d be a rich man if he had a euro for every time someone enquired about the WiFiEU project.