Archive for 2011

Pat’s Corner 14/12/11


The Budget

 While there is no doubt that many people, some indeed with good reason, are very upset about the painful austerity measures that were introduced in the recent budget but in all fair play however it must be stated that in the overall context it was not too bad. The Taoiseach in his pre-budget speech had of course warned the people of the State about stressful times ahead and the need that we as a people must get our financial priorities right before there can be any hope of a national recovery we must all accept however reluctantly that without  there can be no restriction. To give credit where it is due the Government have stopped short of any cutbacks on basic pensions for the elderly or social welfare payments for the unemployed and by all accounts they have back-tracked since the original budget announcements of any disability cutbacks for the unfortunate people who are depending on this allowance . So while naturally some of the cutbacks will cause hardship in some respects such as the fuel allowance for elderly people particularly those living in towns and cities, it is somewhat different in rural areas where many people have a turf supply (so far anyway) from their own bogs.  In my own case they do not give me a fuel allowance because of my extra income from my English pension. The fact also that some of the other benefits for retired people were left untouched such as medical cards, television licence, electricity and telephone allowances as well as the free travel which is also very important to many people. All or any of these benefits could have been targeted and the fact that these benefits were for the most part left as they were is something for which the Government certainly deserve credit.  On the other hand, on the negative side however such as the VAT increase, motor fuel tax, property tax and indeed many other hidden charges of which we are not yet aware of are in due course going to affect us all.  But some sections of the population will feel the squeeze more than others, such as the reduction of Children’s Allowance for a family with a third child or more. Actually it should have been the other way around. It is only common sense for anybody to realize that a family with three or more children are less well off than a family with two.  Any way one looks at it they have much more expense and the fact that their allowances are cut for the extra children was a very short sighted measure. One wonders if this is all a part of the so called liberal agenda so beloved by some sections of the Labour Party in order to discourage families from having extra children.  Ordinary people like ourselves can never know the real motive behind this measure. Another section of the population who are going to be badly hit are those with big mortgages who have lost their jobs and who are dependent on social welfare.  These unfortunate people are now the new poor and need all the help they can get if they are to survive. Sadly many of them are now finding out that the prospects of getting employment here again are very slim and because of this some of the more energetic and ambitious among them are emigrating to foreign countries where they are able to find suitable and well paid employment which in the long term is most likely to benefit their families as well as themselves. It is a very sad thing when men and much more rarely women have to leave their spouses and families at home and seek employment abroad. But sure more of us had to do the same thing in our younger days for the sake of our families and their future. It now seems an awful pity that the government has done nothing to alleviate the plight of such families particularly those who may be at risk of being evicted from their heavily laden mortgaged homes.  In this budget there will be few winners and certainly there will be many losers but then we all must understand that in the financial morass in which we find ourselves the Government had a very tricky balancing act to do, all of a very delicate nature.  So taking all aspects of the budget into consideration this government could be said to have done as good as can be expected as we face into another year of austerity. It is certainly very doubtful if Fianna Fáil, or any other party combination of parties, could have done much better.  So in spite of the fact that some people with good reason will feel that in this budget they were hard done by there are others who no doubt will understand that we are not living in normal times and that everything that happens here is now directed by our European masters and that our own  Government is under constant pressure to toe the European line and in the extraordinary circumstances prevailing in our country at present the Government must be given due credit for doing the best they could in this austerity budget.  In the meantime the British Prime Minister David Cameron must be admired for the stand he took and using the veto against the deal that was hammered out at the Prime Ministers meeting. As usual the Irish went along with the flow to the detriment of our country and its people.  Fair play to the English they are not going to be bullied or dictated into accepting measures that could damage their independence or way of life. It is very likely that a referendum will need to be held here before further integration with the Europeans can be sanctioned. It is  to be hoped if this goes ahead that our people will not be codded again or bullied by threats into voting for another stupid treaty the likes of which has left us as we are at present, a broken bankrupt nation that has forfeited our hard won independence for a litany of broken promises made by our own successive Governments down through the years telling us of a European Utopia which looks now to be in the process of disintegration as it is obvious if the Euro concept falls apart the likelihood of the collapse of the European Union might very well follow.  A couple of weeks ago the Tánaiste Eamonn Gilmore expressed the hope that whatever deal is made in Europe there will be no need for a referendum here. Mr Gilmore and the rest of the Government have every reason to be apprehensive about a referendum for they know the people are sick and tired of supporting these European treaties which have got this country nowhere except deeper and deeper into debt with the European money lenders. In the meantime we will have to be reconciled into accepting this austerity budget and carrying on our usual everyday lives as best we can. 


Fr Gerry Memorial Unveiled

A large number of people from far and near turned out at St Bartholomew’s  Parish Church, Athea, on Sunday last for the Fr Gerry Roche’s second Anniversary Mass and the unveiling of the lovely memorial to him in the Church grounds.  The Mass was a beautiful ceremony which was concelebrated by one of the Kiltegan priests (Fr Gerry’s Order) and other Kiltegan Missionaries including a native priest from Kenya where Fr Gerry ministered for several years, also the local clergy and a number of other priests from various areas of Limerick and Kerry.  During the Mass members of the Memorial Committee and of Fr Gerry’s family performed the readings. Michael Woulfe, Chairman of the Memorial Committee, spoke of how the committee members met regularly for the past 18 months and put a lot of effort into the fund-raising. He also paid tribute to all those who contributed to the fund-raising and others who helped in different ways, such as the local FAS workers and supervisors and stone masons Brian Scanlon and his son John and Alan Ryan Hall who designed the Memorial, as well as the local clergy in providing the site within the Church Grounds, and Fr Gerry’s family for their co-operation. The local GAA club were also thanked for the 1968 County Championship medal which is incorporated into the Memorial.  During the Mass, Domhnall de Barra, who was also a member of the 1968 Athea team, sang one of Fr Gerry’s favourite songs “The Boys of Barr na Sráide” and after the Mass the Memorial was unveiled by Jimmy Denihan TD Minister for Arts and Culture who also paid a tribute to Fr Gerry’s courage and dedication to his calling. When the unveiling ceremony was completed tea, sandwiches, cakes and apple tarts were provided for all those who attended in the Memorial Hall afterwards. Domhnall de Barra, Bríd and Joe Stapleton provided some great lively music and later on a film was shown depicting the mission life of Fr Gerry in Kenya and the work he performed there right up to the time of his tragic death. The film also portrayed members of his family and friends and the shock and sadness that they went through on hearing the traumatic tidings of Fr Gerry’s death.  Last Sunday was a day of some great memories of a mighty man and to the Athea people one of their own, naturally intertwined with sadness and regret that a priest of his calibre and commitment did not make it home for his retirement where he would have been such an asset to our Parish.  It is good to know however that this beautiful memorial has been put in place to his memory where it will be honoured by all the people of the parish as well as other areas and hopefully by many of future generations.


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Kathleen’s Corner 14/12/11


“Congratulations to All”

 Firstly we send heartiest congratulations to Nora Hassett, Lower Athea, who recently celebrated her 80th Birthday along with her family having a meal out. Here’s to the next ‘10’years of good health to her.

On Saturday night last it was the turn of Lorraine Higgins, Glenagragra, who celebrated her 30th Birthday at the Knockdown Arms with family, relatives and friends. All enjoyed a great night.

Also on Saturday night Kelly-Anne Reidy had a surprise party at Brown Joe’s here in Athea to celebrate her 30th also everyone enjoying the night. 

Jessica Ahern, Gortnagross celebrated her 21st also over the weekend. Jessica, as we all know, is gifted with the Athea Choir and had a huge input into “Walking on Sunshine” – the grand fund-raising concert. Wishing all “The Birthday Girls” all the very best.

Incidentally the DVD’S of the Concert are now available from John Scanlon on 087-7620855.

Sincere congratulations go to Ciara Murphy, Upper Athea (daughter of Val and Dr. Kieran) who recently became engaged to Alan Horan of Cork. Here’s to their future happiness. 

Congratulations and well done to Gillian Liston, Knocknagorna (daughter of Haulie and Catherine) who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Business Degree (Hon) from Sligo IT. Gillian now works in Tommy Moran’s – “Red Cow Inn” in Dublin.  She is wished well.



Well Sunday last saw both a ‘sad’ and ‘joyous’ occasion for Athea parish and especially for the Roche family, relatives and many friends. On the occasion of Fr Gerry’s 2nd Anniversary a great crowd attended the Mass in his memory here in Athea Church. A total of 15 priests graced the Altar led by Fr Tom Deegan, Fr Gerry’s long time friend, from The Kiltegan Missionaries, as well as priests from Kerry, Limerick and other Diocese.  Mike Woulfe (another great friend of Gerry’s and formerly of Athea – Chairman of our Fr Gerry’s Fund-raising Committee) spoke of Fr Gerry’s great work in Kenya, his love of music, the craic and so much more. Joe Stapleton along with Fr Gerry’s niece Erin Stack sang beautifully as did Donal de Barra with his rendition of “Barr na Sráide” – Gerry’s favourite song. His sister Hannah Sheehy thanked everyone after Mass and said “Gerry would be humbled” to see so many people gathered together in his memory.  Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jimmy Denihan performed the unveiling ceremony of the bronze-bust commissioned by Alan Ryan Hall of Valentia Island and it was blessed.  Fr Gerry’s 1968 Senior County Championship GAA medal has been incorporated into the pedestal. Photos were taken all around.

Then it was down to the Hall for teas and eats.  And on behalf of the committee can I thank all who helped with the serving, making of sandwiches, cakes, buns etc – ye were great. Thanks to John Scanlon for hanging Gerry’s pictures in the Hall. To Tom O’Keeffe, Ned Mahony, Brian and Johnny Scanlon,  FAS and all who helped with the preparation of the area in the Church Grounds and to Fr Bowen for allowing the bust there. To Mary, Catherine and Cornelia Brouder for their touching documentary on Fr Gerry’s Life it has to be seen to be believed “A TRUE SAINT – A MARTYR”.



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Knockdown News 14/12/11

Last year we had snow and ice, this year we have wind and rain but at least we can travel. My daughter out in Perth cannot go out with the heat so we all have our little challenges. Christmas is upon us whatever the weather.


It is nice to see both the BRJ and the Athea journal on the shelves. Having just glanced through both so far it is obvious that there are some very interesting articles which will keep us company through the Christmas holidays.


Next Sunday’s Mass in Ballyhahill at 10.00 am is being offered for Chrissie O’Brien whose 1st anniversary occurs at this time.


Reconciliation Ceremonies in preparation for Christmas are as follows: Loughill on the 20th @ 8 pm and Glin on the 21st @ 7.00 pm

The Christmas Masses are: Christmas Eve in Loughill at 7.30 pm and in Ballyhahill at 9.00 pm. Christmas Day in Ballyhahill at 10.00 am and in Loughill at 11 am. Holy Communion will be brought to the housebound after the 10 am Mass in Ballyhahill.


I came across the following guidelines, which have already been published some years ago but which never goes out of date and is very suitable for this time of year when all the Christmas lights are being put up. It is the advice of a Fire Officer about the dangers of fires in the home. A few tips to be aware of at Christmas.


Do not have TV, video and Fairy lights plugged into a double adaptor. It is lethal. Overloaded. Use fused plug board.

Do not put the crib on top of the TV. Can get too hot and go on fire.

Do not have fairy lights near curtains as they can get hot enough to burn.

A TV in a steamy kitchen is not a good idea.

Beware of leaving on TV when there is nobody in the house. Too dangerous.

Unplug everything at night except fridge and radio-clock.

Do not let children near matches

It is not wise to have a mirror over a fire, for fear of clothes catching fire while leaning in over it.

Electric blankets should not be folded away for the summer. If you use them, always  keep them flat.

Be sensible and be safe.


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