by Tom Aherne

We welcome the New Year, but many people fear what it may bring as our
country sink deeper into debt each day. We have lost control of our own destiny and sadly we are at the mercy of outside influences which can occur at a moment’s notice. Our currency the Euro is at risk, and the member states are unsure how to tackle the issue, in a fair manner for all.  A war or oil crisis abroad could have devastating consequences on our economy at home. Our problems at home are too numerous to mention, in this short piece, but if we cannot bridge the annual 20 billion deficit between income and expenditure, the days of prosperity in Ireland are numbered. We need a change in our thinking before we become a third World economy. We cannot continue on taking money from the people that can least afford it while ignoring the people with the real wealth who avoid contributing to our economy. The charges coming in this Year will have a devastating effect on people living in rural Ireland who have been dealt a very poor hand of cards from so many Governments over the years. We face the new €100 house tax, €50 Septic Tank Registration Fee. 2% Vat increase, College Fees increasing School Transport Fees Increasing, Car Tax petrol and diesel increasing. Car NCT Test now once a year for aged vehicles. Health insurance increasing and a levy of €12 more to pay for medicine, once the €120 threshold is reached raising it to €132 before claiming. We can also expect to see water rates and refuse charges for all households in the near future. People in rural Ireland are fair minded people and have always paid their way but we need to see a return for our money.   We need services put in place to maintain what we are left with at present before any charges are introduced. We need jobs created to stop the emigration drain and more care and attention to our elderly living in isolated places. If we continue the way we are going parts of rural Ireland will be closed in a number of years. We will have no people, roads or traffic, only stillness, as the country returns to forestry and wandering deer. I
hope the old saying- the darkest hour is before the dawn, is correct.

Anniversary Masses for 2012 may be booked by calling to the sacristy in Ardagh and Carrigkerry before or after Parish Masses, as the diaries are kept there.
The Parish Radio Mass link continues to keep house bound people in contact with all the Church Ceremonies held in Ardagh and Carrigkerry.  It was introduced in April 1998 and it was the first parish in Limerick Diocese to do so. It can be found near Newstalk on 107.
The Mass times in Coolcappa/Kilcolman Parish have changed again, and are as follows for the next six months. Coolcappa Saturday evening at 7.30pm. Kilcolman Sunday morning at 10.30am.
Priests have no longer access to the patient list in any of the Hospitals they visit. If people want their priest to visit family members, they are asked to contact the priest concerned with all the relevant details.
A large crowd participated in the Great Southern Trail Walk from Newcastle West to Rathkeale by Ardagh village on Tuesday 27th December. The weather conditions were ideal for people to walk off the Christmas excess and to enjoy good company and plenty of pure clean
air. It is a wonderful facility to have on our doorstep and many people make great use of it. It is open to cyclists and walkers of
all ages and is highly recommended as a New Year Resolution.
It was wonderful to see the Wrenboy tradition continue in many parts of West Limerick, again this past Christmas. The various groups bring great joy and cheer to all the people they visit who welcome them with open arms into their homes each year. The groups collect good sums of money for their performances, which in turn goes to a number of charitable causes, making everyone a winner. We would like to congratulate Mick Brouder from the Carrigkerry Wrenboys who participated again this year aged 85 years.  He comes home each year from England to continue his involvement as a Bodhrán player with the Group and is passionate about the age old tradition.
One of the success stories of 2011 was the new walkway put in place around Saint Molua’s Well next to Ardagh Cemetery. A Committee was put in place and they deserve great credit for the facility now in place there. The Well can now be accessed from The Cemetery to the Well by the newly laid path all year round. It is also landscaped and a number of seats are in place for people to sit and say a prayer and to enjoy the peace and quiet. Work is ongoing and a credit to all the
volunteers involved.
The road from Geoghegan’s Cross to Keating’s Cross in Glensharrold remains closed since December, due to the collapse of a bridge over the White River. It has caused a lot of problems and detours for the many people that use the road and all users would appreciate if it was repaired as soon as possible.
The death has taken place of Martin Fitzgerald , Garrouse, Bruree,
Mourneabbey Cork and a native of Killard Ardagh. He came from a
farming background and had two brothers Jimmy and Paddy and one sister Maura. His working life was spent farming in Killard, Ardagh, growing up and later returning there following the death of his brother Jimmy.

In between he bought a farm in Cork and later a farm in Bruree. He is gone from Ardagh for many a day and the farm was sold to the late Tom Stack ,Carrigkerry and the late Jim Hartnett, Newcastle West. The present Pallas Foods Factory which began life as Deel Vale Milk Products, in the late sixties, was also part of the Fitzgerald farm. Martin was a noted hurler with Ardagh in the forties, when the team was unlucky not to win a West Junior Championship title in 1947. He
was also involved in the raising and racing of greyhounds, over the years. He was in his nineties, and he will be sadly missed by his family relatives, neighbours, and his many friends, around Ardagh and
his adopted places. His remains were removed from Hawe’s Funeral Home
Charleville, to The Church of the Immaculate Conception Bruree, on
Friday evening last. Burial after Requiem Mass in Castletown Cemetery on Saturday 7th. January. Sympathy to his sons and daughters, and extended family members, neighbours and friends.

John Kelly Kilmore, Ballyagran, was laid to rest in Kilcolman Cemetery,  Ardagh, on Tuesday 3rd January. May they rest in Peace.
Airtricity Community Fund 2012.
Airtricity would like to invite applications from community based projects/activities in the locality of their wind farm at Dromada Wind Farm Athea. Applications will be accepted within a 20Km radius of the wind farm, but preference will be given to projects within the direct
vicinity of the wind farm. Contact Anne Reynolds, Airtricity, Airtricity House, Ravenscourt Office Park, Sandyford. Dublin 18. Tel 016556556 Email
[email protected] The closing date for applications is Friday 27th January.
The Committee who compile the annual Ballyhahill/Loughill Parish Magazine are seeking material at present for the next edition which will be on sale for Easter 2012.
The Desmond Foxhounds will meet in Kilcolman on Sunday 15th January at
Afternoon Tea Dancing in Carrigkerry Community Centre on Sunday 29th January.
The Newcastle West Family and Community Hub will host a public talk
for parents of children grieving as a result of death or separation on Monday January 30th from 7.30-9pm.  Lead by Psychotherapist/PlayTherapist Tina O’Brien, this information evening will cover a range of areas including what children experience when they lose someone, age appropriate ways to talk to a child, activities for children that help
them with their grief and things to look out for that may indicated your child needs extra help.  The talk will be followed by a question and answer session and an opportunity to sign up to two additional workshops which will further explore topics such as bereavement and
parental separation. All sessions are free of charge and open to West
Limerick residents.  Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.  To book a place contact Theresa on 069 79113 or email [email protected].  All are welcome.
Those wishing to learn more about upcoming courses and services
planned for 2012 at the Newcastle West Family and Community Hub are invited to attend a coffee morning on Thursday January 19th from 11am-12 noon. Based upstairs in the Newcastle West Community Centre, located near the entrance to the Demesne, it hosts a range of activities and events throughout the year. Recently announced activities include an ADHD information session and a Health and Beauty Course for parents, both due to start in late January/early February. Contact Theresa on 069 79113 or [email protected].  All are welcome.
Volunteers (unpaid) are also required for the Newcastle West homework club which meets five days a week from 2-5pm. No formal qualifications required.  Contact Theresa on 069 79113 or email [email protected]
The Rainbows Peer Support Programme for children grieving loss or separation has a number of places available for the following age group: 6 – 10 years. This programme is planned to begin this month in Abbeyfeale.  Please not this programme is run by trained volunteers but is not a counseling or therapy service.  Contact Dearbhla or Mary on 068 32444. Application forms available in West Limerick Resources, The Square Abbeyfeale.