Radio Discussion

 On Thursday morning of last week those of us on the panel of The Exchange programme on West Limerick Radio had some lively discussions on a number of different subjects. The other panellists on the programme were Noel Leahy from Abbeyfeale and Mary Lee Geary from Broadford , Sheila O’Regan was the presenter. One of the first items on the agenda was the proposed coming inspection of septic tanks which of course applies only to rural areas and in some cases to housing on the outskirts of country towns and villages which has not yet been serviced (one could very easily and truthfully call it neglected) and ignored by County Councils up and down the country who have failed to install essential sewerage systems in these areas. This is certainly true of housing in the suburbs of Athea where Council neglect is so very evident and which has been mentioned many times previously in this column. Some of us tried our best in the programme to portray the disgust and even anger that rural people feel at the idea of these inspectors calling around with their heads in the air and their noses to the ground to inspect our septic tanks on behalf of the European bureaucrats who know little or nothing about life or conditions in rural Ireland.

As mentioned by me on the radio a couple of my friends who visited Bavaria in Germany last year told of a village there where the local people are ignoring all those stupid regulations and rightly so. One can imagine the uproar there would be by local authority officials not to mention the Government Ministers and the European Masters of our country if someone kept a cow stall on the side of the street in Athea with a manure heap in front and bales of hay piled up under cover on the footpath, what would we think of it.  Yet if the stories we hear can be believed, and there is no reason why they should not, these are the things that are happening in other EU countries who are ignoring the regulations.  And then again let no one tell me that people in England are no longer burning rubbish in the traditional way in their back gardens. The English people, fair play to them, will not be dictated to by the Europeans. But we ourselves God help us in our bid to present our country and ourselves as squeaky clean to please and impress our European Masters must keep all the regulations that have been imposed on us or face enormous fines if we are in breach of these in any way.  It is in this context that the septic tank inspectors will be visiting us after Christmas. Where is the veto that our Government is supposed to have and where they are expected to use in the national interest? The national interest is certainly now so where do our present Government stand?  The septic tanks are of course some of the stupid regulations that are being imposed on us from Europe for which each household will have to pay €50 for the inspection alone.  

Another of the subjects that we discussed on the programme was the connection, if any, between sports people and suicide in the aftermath of the tragic death of the Welsh National Soccer manager Gary Speed.  While most people would agree that it is very unlikely that the stresses and pressures in trying to accomplish victories in sport or indeed in cultural or other competitions can be demanding in at least the short term and the results can sometimes be disappointing there is no reason to believe that a team losing in an All- Ireland football or Hurling final for instance would take it to heart to such a degree that it would cause long-term depression among one or more of the team members. The same would apply to competitions in another context all together such as an All-Ireland Comhaltas contest. My own experience of qualifying for an All-Ireland Final in new ballads and once in Irish singing and then losing out at the final fence naturally can be very frustrating but then winning in an All-Ireland Competition and the knowledge that someone else had to lose gives one a sense of proportion and the knowledge that winning and losing is all part of a natural process in sport as in everything else. The concept and realisation that there are many out there whom we may meet in various competitions that there are some who are better than us and more who are not as good as us is a very useful yardstick to measure our own abilities and shortcomings, but there are very little grounds for believing that losing a match or indeed any other competition either in sport or other activities could be a reason for somebody going into such a state of depression that it might end up in a tragic suicide. 

The consensus that the panel reached in this discussion was that in the case of sports people deliberately ending their lives there most likely were other personal factors involved. Of course there are sports people just as in the general population who become victims of such a sad happening, it happened to a well-known former Kerry hurler several years ago and also to a girl who was an All-Ireland winner with the famous Kerry ladies team that won 9 All-Ireland titles.  There are many people no doubt who could quote other instances of sports people of the past committing suicide, but none of these could establish a reason for this that it had anything to do with their sporting activities. The death by suicide of a high profile figure in the world of professional soccer such as Gary Speed will naturally generate a lot of debate and discussion and indeed much speculation in an attempt to establish if his soccer career had anything to do with the tragedy. It is a matter for greater experts than those of us who were on the West Limerick Radio last Thursday to establish their findings on that mystery.

 Carrigkerry Party

The Ardagh/Carrigkerry Senior Citizens Party to which one of the Committee members kindly gave me an invitation was held in the Carrigkerry Community Hall on Sunday afternoon.  There was a big attendance including a number of patients from St Ita’s Hospital and it was all a very enjoyable gathering and meeting many friends. The afternoon commenced with Mass at 2 pm celebrated by Fr Larry Madden PP Ardagh /Carrigkerry and our former Parish Priest in Athea. This was followed by a lovely sit-down meal and afterwards by music, dancing and singing. Later in the afternoon the local Wrenboys and girls attended and wearing their full colours gave a fine exhibition of their talents in music, songs and set dancing and some wonderful story telling  by Daisy Kearney.  After that, tea was served by the catering ladies with homemade raisin cake and apple tart. After that the singing and dancing resumed again and continued until the late evening. Throughout the afternoon the committee members served Irish Coffee other drinks and minerals and every one in attendance was presented with a draw ticket for a raffle as well as a National Lottery Scratch card.  The committee deserve every thanks for organising such a wonderful party for the local Senior Citizens.