Editorial: Smiles under masks as reopening is under way in Kilkenny

KILKENNY

Kieran Street, Kilkenny

Monday was a very happy day for many local business owners and their staff as the shutters finally went up again — in some cases, for the first time this year.

It’s great to see the smiles (behind masks) on the faces of people arriving early in the morning to open up for a day’s trade. A handful of brave souls stood patiently in the drizzle outside local barbers on Monday, while phones have been ringing off the hook in salons for weeks now.

A number of tricky problem areas remain, such as inconsistencies in the sequence of reopening. On pages eight and nine of this week’s paper, a local business owner expresses frustration that indoor dining will be allowed in hotels and not in a spacious gastro-pub. Many such businesses have spent considerable sums on reconfiguring interiors and installing new furniture to facilitate indoor dining.

Will our newfound fondness for outdoor dining become a permanent part of our nature or will it wilt when the inclement weather returns? After the initial novelty and rush back to the restaurants when they reopen for outdoor dining, is it here to stay?

In any case, well done to everyone in getting ready to reopen. We look forward to the next phase in the coming days.

Illegal quarries
Local TD John McGuinness has raised a very serious issue in a recent Dáil debate — illegal quarrying.
Deputy McGuinness says such quarries are operating illegally in this county, causing enormous damage to the environment.

This matter needs to be investigated fully and addressed. Any quarry found to be operating without license and proper planning consents must be closed and the operator sanctioned.

If local authorities are not adequately resourced to tackle this problem, the Department needs to put its full weight behind it. A blind eye cannot be turned to the destruction of our countryside.

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