by Pat Brosnan


Domestic Abuse


Adapt (Limerick) Support Group for Women have asked me to include the following article in my columns both in the county and local media newspapers.


Support Group for Women

A support group for women survivors of Domestic Abuse will resume in Newcastle West shortly. This group began in the Autumn of 2010 and is now open for new members. Women should be out of the abusive relationship before coming to the group. Professional facilitators from Adapt Services in Limerick attend each week. Please ring Adapt on 061-412354 for more information. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing Domestic Abuse, a one to one outreach service is available weekly in Newcastle West providing support and information. The support worker from Adapt Services can meet a woman by appointment at a private location and can help with planning for the safety of women and their children. This service is also available to those who are living with abuse. Adapt also provides safe refuge accommodation for women and children, Advocacy and accompaniment to services and courts, Play Therapy Service: Childcare, Youth Club and other supports for young people.  24 hour helpline: 1800 200 504.


€1,763 on Weekly Benefits

Recently when some of us were doing a radio programme we learned about an unemployed married couple living in Dublin with 4 children who are drawing a total amount of €1,763 weekly in social welfare benefits.  This would surely equate a modern version of that famous film of the 1950’s “Love on the Dole”. Attention was apparently drawn to this by a Labour Senator from Donegal, Jimmy Harte, who according to media reports received the information from Department of Social Protection officials. Mr Harte was reported as stating that while the family are doing nothing illegal, he believed such a figure was far too much and he was also alleged to have said that €50,000 a year should be more than enough for a family to survive on.  It appears that this particularly favoured family will not either have to pay property tax or water charges. The Senator was also stated to have said that while this was a Dublin based family he knew there were families in other counties who are receiving up to €85,000 yearly. They won’t take in as much in rent allowance, but they are still entitled to all the other payments. He pointed out that there were hard working married couples in this country who are not receiving anything like this. He continued that one would have to be earning close to €140,000 to take home this sort of money after tax.  According to figures obtained by Mr Harte the weekly breakdown of social welfare payments received by this Dublin family is as follows: Father on Disability Allowance €322, Guardians pension for a child taken in : €286, Mother- Carers Allowance €380, Child Benefit €288, Daughter (17) with Special needs €211.  Mr Harte said that he had forwarded all the information to the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton. From the above information it is certainly evident that certain families on Social Welfare have almost as big an income as an average Dáil Deputy and much less for a Senator. So, who on these figures would really want to be a TD or Senator with all its worries and responsibilities and the expense and uncertainty of having to contest an election every 5 years and perhaps sometimes more often. Some people might consider this comparison and who could blame them, but then is it really? Nobody would begrudge any family where the breadwinner is genuinely unemployed and unable to find any kind of productive and financially rewarding employment or suffering from either physical or mental disability. These people need to be looked after and deserve all the help that the State and the Social Welfare Department can afford to give them.  As we all know there are some citizens whom the State willingly neglected and this too needs to be taken very seriously. But some of these Social Welfare Beneficiaries that Senator Harte had in mind are in a somewhat different category to the run of the mill Social Welfare recipients, but in all fair play they are not ripping off the exchequer in any degree to the extent that the big Financiers have done to this country in comparatively recent years. The damage that such operators have done to our country far exceeds any Social Welfare fiddling that might be undertaken by some people who do so generally not out of greed but more out of necessity.  That is the reason why the whole Social Welfare system needs to be restructured so as to achieve a full measure of fair play and equal treatment for everybody concerned. It is now up to Minister Joan Burton and her Labour Associates to see to it that all this is brought about.


Death of Jackie McAuliffe

The death of John (Jackie) McAuliffe of Toureendonnell, Athea which occurred recently at his home was widely regretted throughout Athea parish and indeed much further afield, as the family have many connections in various parts of the county and in Kerry as well as some in England. Jackie had been ill for a short period prior to his death and had been in hospital for a short while before being discharged home. At home he was lovingly cared for by members of his family right up to the end.  Together with his late wife Peg, who pre-deceased him a few years ago, they raised a lovely family and both worked hard during times when life in rural areas was not easy for people who were bringing up a young family. While Jackie was interested in football and regularly attended matches otherwise he preferred his home life much of the time. His son Martin was goalkeeper for Athea teams on many occasions both in Gaelic and Soccer. Big numbers of people called to the McAuliffe home on Tuesday evening of last week to pay their respects and sympathise with the family. The removal took place to St Bartholomew’s Church, Athea on Wednesday morning prior to Requiem Mass and the funeral afterwards to Templeathea cemetery both at which there was a large attendance.  He is survived by his sons, daughters, grandsons, grand-daughters, great grandchildren, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, extended family and other relatives to whom sympathy is extended. ‘May his soul rest in peace’.


Was This Fair?

While, naturally, there are two sides to every story the jailing of that Offaly woman who was in dispute with the ESB over what she allegedly considered an invasion of her property has shocked thousands of decent people not only in Offaly but all over the country. When private individual property owners or otherwise are involved in a confrontation with a major semi-state company or local authority the sympathy of the vast majority of the population would be inclined to be on the side of the person whom they would generally believe to have been unjustly treated. But when that person is sent to prison as the recent case illustrates much of the precious respect for such a company is inclined to evaporate.

As a former part-time employee of the ESB the jailing of this unfortunate Offaly woman certainly surprised me as the Company has a very good reputation of being fair and decent with their employees, customers and the general public.  Now, of course, don’t we all remember how several years ago when a field was being acquired from the late Maighreád McGrath by the County Council a dispute about what the Council was willing to pay arose and when the developers arrived with their machines and Maighreád sat for two or more days in front of the digger and refused to move until finally the Council relented and agreed to pay the price for the field that she had demanded. She also had a proviso inserted in the agreement with the Council that the new estate be named Markievicz Park. Unlike the craythur in Offaly who has spent weeks in jail Maighreád’s protest had a happy ending and many local people, at the time, were delighted that the Council officials had to climb down. In most cases, however, whenever they are challenged the big companies and the local authorities always appear to come out on top. People are defiantly entitled to ask the question –“Is this Fair”?


Rugby Quarter Final

The Irish Rugby team’s defeat by Wales in the Quarter-final of the World Cup could not be said to be totally unexpected and it certainly would have been a big surprise if Ireland had won. However, getting to the stage that they did was no mean achievement for the Irish team and they have much to be proud of. A somewhat bigger surprise was the French defeat of the English team, who, like Ireland, are now out of the competition. The attention of Irish Rugby followers is likely to turn to the Welsh team to see how they can advance after their defeat of Ireland.