Tarbert man demands apology on Thalidomide

Tarbert man John Stack is demanding a State apology for allowing the sale of a devastating drug to his mother which she took while pregnant.

Mr Stack (58) is one of three known survivors in Kerry affected by Thalidomide – the morning sickness drug which caused babies to be born with physical deformities.

It’s 60 years since the international withdrawal of the drug – but Thalidomide continued to be made available in Ireland for several months afterwards.

John Stack - who is chairman of the Irish Thalidomide Association - says he would have avoided his disabilities if the drug had been taken off the Irish market at the same time as other countries.

He says his injuries were directly attributable to the failure of the Irish State to protect him as an unborn child.


What happened in Kerry this week

The new Covid-19 safety measures introduced as of this Wednesday have met with generally high compliance in Kerry classrooms, and school principals have welcomed more transparency around confirmed cases.


Tralee is in the grips of county final fever as football fans around the Kingdom’s capital show their tribal colours ahead of Sunday’s all-Tralee showdown between Austin Stacks and Kerins O’Rahillys


A North Kerry man is demanding a State apology for allowing the sale of a devastating drug to his mother which she took while pregnant.


Half a million euro, the largest allocation in the county, is being invested in a 2km stretch of Greenway to straddle the stunning Tralee Bay coastline.


Cahersiveen’s Donie O’Sullivan may have missed out on an Emmy Award this year for his work with CNN, but at least one man in Kerry has got his hands on the prestigious award.


School safety now a primary concern

Thousands of schoolchildren all over Kerry are getting used to wearing masks in their classrooms this week, as new requirements came into effect to help quell the spread of the Coronavirus.

School principals, teachers and parents are also adapting to the measures, which mean that children aged nine and over are asked to wear face coverings, at least until February.

Mask-wearing has been the norm since March at Presentation Primary in Tralee - and principal John Hickey said the school has had a relatively low number of cases as a result.

“We’re happy that the rest of the country is taking up an idea we showed was totally feasible,” he said.

As the new requirements came into force on Wednesday, Fifth Class pupil Ally Spring said she is already used to wearing a mask.

“I do feel safer with them on - even though I do find them a little bit difficult to wear sometimes,” she said.

“It doesn’t bother me too much, you just get on with it.”

Changing of the guard  as SIX women take top jobs

Kilcummin has made GAA history - by electing the highest number of women ever appointed at once to a club’s executive committee.

History was made last Sunday, as Eugene McSweeney ended his term as club chairman, and six women were named to the executive committee, including new chairperson, Ciara Kelly.

Not only is it momentous that six women were elected to senior posts - Ciara also becomes the first-ever female chairperson in the history of Kilcummin GAA Club.

It is believed the six appointees comprise the biggest-ever female group at the head of any GAA club in the country, in a move that’s being applauded by former County Board chairman and current President of Kerry GAA Gerald McKenna.

“It’s a development that I appreciate and applaud,” he said.


Francie says Happy Christmas!

 Tralee singer Francie Conway has realised a dream and followed in the musical trail of some all-time rock greats by releasing a Christmas song that he hopes will be a hit for years to come.

The singer said he fulfilled another dream of his by having his son Rory join him to sing on the video for his Christmas song, which is called ‘Christmas Night’.

The video was shot in part in Ireland, while some of it was also shot in Sweden. Francie said he feels it’s very important to showcase his home country in his work.

The Tralee singer said he was thrilled to finally get the chance to record a Christmas song and he now hopes that it will be a hit with rock and roll fans and a festive favourite for many years.

“It’s our first ever and only Christmas song. It was customary when I was with RCA Records London that rock artists recorded a Christmas song, but it was out of my reach at the time.



Tralee Bay greenway link gets €500k

 Half a million euro is being invested in a 2km stretch of Greenway to straddle the stunning Tralee Bay coastline.

The Tralee greenway received the largest allocation in the county, as almost a million euro was announced on Monday by the Dept of Rural and Community Development for outdoor projects.

The projects to benefit are:

● Tralee Bay Coastal Greenway (€500,000)

● Kenmare Peninsula Land Eco Trail (€200,000)

● North Kerry Greenway(s) (€200,000)

● Inch Beach Development Plan (€49,950)

Proposals by Kerry County Council to develop the waterfront along Cockleshell Beach - considered by many to be the hidden gem of Tralee - would see the Cockleshell Road in the Kerries connected with the Tralee-Fenit Greenway at The Spa.

If given the go-ahead, the works would consist of the clearance of vegetation on the proposed route, the laying of a three-metre wide bituminous tarmacadam surface on a crushed stone base, provision of drainage for the Greenway, agricultural crossings and boundary treatment works including the installation of stock proof fencing.



Mickey Ned gets his medal 43 years later!

 It took a random phone call and an impromptu presentation in a Cork car park, but after a 43-year wait, Kerry GAA legend Mickey Ned O’Sullivan finally got to complete his medal collection when he got his hands on a long lost Sigerson Cup medal he won way back in 1978.

With a warm welcome, O’Sullivan, who has three All-Ireland medals to his name, was delighted to see his old friend Gerry Dineen calling him last month. Little did he know, it was a call about a universities competition he had won over four decades ago.

Having completed a degree in physical education, finishing in 1974, the All-Ireland winning captain went teaching before going to UCD to study career guidance counselling in 1977.

Mickey Ned, the captain of Mick O’Dwyer’s first All-Ireland winning team in 1975, not only played on the UCD team, but also helped coach the Sigerson Cup winning university side of 1977/ 78. However, due to being away at the time, Mickey Ned never received his winner’s medal from that victorious campaign.



And the Emmy goes to…Kerry!

 Cahersiveen’s Donie O’Sullivan may have missed out on an Emmy Award this year for his work with CNN, but at least one man in Kerry has got his hands on the prestigious award.

Micheál O’Dowd of O’Connor’s Pub in Cloghane arrived home from Chicago this week with the coveted statuette that was won by his second cousin, Paul Felix McCann, in 2018.

The television award, known simply as an Emmy, is considered one of the four major entertainment awards in the United States - along with the Grammy (music), the Oscar (film) and the Tony (theatre) - and is awarded every year to recognise achievements in the television industry.

McCann’s mother, Brenda O’Connor, and Mícheál’s mother, Catherine O’Dowd, are first cousins and Brenda’s father, Timothy O’Connor, hailed from the pub that’s now owned by his grandnephew.


Snail farmers slowed down by red tape

 SNAIL FARMING offers a greener, more sustainable livelihood for farmers but Cahersiveen producer

Deirdre O’Connor says the biggest obstacle to her new business is the classification of the snail as an animal rather than a shellfish.

Deirdre and her husband, Declan, a suckler farmer in Toormore, Cahersiveen, diversified part of their farming enterprise to snail farming in May this year.

The mother-of-four was forced to give up work to homeschool her children during lockdown and she and her husband were looking for ways to subsidise their family income - so they set aside less than a quarter acre of their land to the 4,000 breeder snails they bought for their Skellig Escargot venture.

She said although Ireland has ideal conditions for breeding snails, their classification as animals in Ireland rather than as shellfish, as they are in France, is proving the biggest obstacle to the success of their business.



Graveyard now at ‘crisis point’

 THE lack of burial space in Beaufort has now reached a ‘crisis point’  with the existing graveyard now at ‘near capacity’, according to chairman of the local community council Padraig O’Sullivan.

Locals are now fearing they won’t be able to be buried in their own community when they die if a new graveyard isn’t built, with Mr O’Sullivan warning that there is now an ‘urgent need’ to find a new burial ground or extend the existing Churchtown Cemetery near Beaufort village before the local graveyard runs out of room.

Kerry County Council has been seeking land for either an extension to the existing burial ground, or to construct a new cemetery in Beaufort for several years, but to no avail.



Locals demand action  on dangerous crossroads

 A DANGEROUS collection point for schoolchildren in Scartaglen needs urgent attention to prevent another serious car crash, according to locals.

In recent years, the John Richard’s crossroads between Scartaglen, Currow, Gneeveguilla and Kilcummin has been the scene of several serious crashes and near-misses, some of which occurred while local children were waiting for their school bus to arrive.

Now, locals are demanding that immediate works be carried out to improve visibility at the crossroads and dramatically reduce the likelihood of a potentially fatal crash.

Tom Culloty lives close to the crossroads and says the area is an ‘accident waiting to happen’.



Stark warning on ambulance service

 KERRY’S AMBULANCE service needs at least three more ambulances and 30 staff to run them or lives will be lost, a former chairman of the Ambulance Association of Ireland has warned.

Pat Hanafin - who retired from the National Ambulance Service (NAS) this week after 37-and-a-half years of loyal service - said his most immediate concern is burnout in existing staff who are stretched to the limit working in a severely under-resourced system.

The retiring paramedic supervisor with the NAS in Dingle said parts of the county are frequently left without any ambulance cover when ambulances are dispatched from Kerry to other parts of the country.



Lily-Anna gets special welcome at Holy Family

 Tralee girl Lily-Anna Šebestová was welcomed back to Holy Family Primary School this week to mark the beginning of a fundraising drive in aid of childhood cancer.

The primary school is raising awareness of the illness while supporting Lily-Anna, who is currently receiving treatment for Rhabobmyosarcoma - a type of sarcoma, a cancer of soft tissue or muscle.

This week, the seven-year-old called into the school in Balloonagh to turn on the Christmas tree lights. She was joined by some of her friends who were delighted to welcome her back.

A popular little girl from Spa Road, Lily-Anna continues her battle with cancer but her family are hoping that the bubbly girl will get home for Christmas.

Lily-Anna has been through months of treatment since doctors discovered the cancer in her hand, only days after her birthday.