by Pat Brosnan


Prolonging the Agony


There is little doubt that the Michaela McAreavey murder trial in the Supreme Court, Port Louis, Mauritius, which ended on Wednesday July 11 after a marathon eight weeks trial of the two men accused of Michaela’s brutal murder were acquitted by the jury with a unanimous “not guilty” verdict. While nobody of course would wish to see two innocent people convicted of a crime for which they were not responsible, justice had not yet been done and the acquittal of the two men, who were presumably wrongfully accused, means that there is a murderer still on the loose in Mauritius and until such time as this guilty individual or individuals are found and  convicted there can be no closure or sense of justice forthcoming for the McAreavey and Harte families and the longer this is delayed the longer will be the ongoing agony of these two wonderful families from Tyrone and Down.

Nobody can ever realise the awful trauma and heartache that both these families have been through not alone for the grief and sadness of the loss of their beautiful girl, but also the disgraceful and despicable manner in which John McAreavey was treated by the authorities in Mauritius particularly by the police there who were so heartless and insensitive to handcuff him for several hours as if he might be a suspect in Michaela’s murder. And then there was the gruesome story of how one police officer asked him what he was crying about and told him that he could easily find another person to marry. What a deplorable thing to say to a person in their grief after John’s wife had been found murdered in the hotel earlier that day. And also of course there were the sickening allegations which some of the lawyers tried to bring up during the trial. Nobody can no longer have any respect for much of the way that the Supreme Court carried out the trial and where dignity seemed to be missing for much of the time if media reports are true and there is no reason to believe that they are not. As well as the grim tragedy of the murder of Michaela the ordeal of attending the trial must have been heartrending for both the Harte and McAreavey families. The courage and dignity they have shown during the last 18 months is surely an example to us all that even the greatest of tragedies can be coped with and overcome if people have the faith and the belief that life can still go on despite all its setbacks.

By all accounts the Harte and McAreavey families are devout Catholics and no doubt their faith has helped them through all the dark days since January of last year. Mickey Harte, despite being one of the greatest football team managers of recent times, still remains a Pioneer and it is great to know that he still remains at the helm in Tyrone GAA circles. According to an article in last Friday’s Irish Independent John McAreavey intends to be back playing football in Down again and we certainly hope that he will.

In another quote from Mickey Harte which was both poignant and deeply moving is one in which he expresses the hope that in the course of time John McAreavey will be able to find love again and that this is what Michaela would want.

In their grief and sadness the families of John and Michaela have won the sympathy and admiration of people from all over the country for the dignity they have shown even in their darkest hour and in spite of all the blatant and false insults that John McAreavey had to endure from some of the inhabitants of this so-called Paradise Island it is now very unlikely that holidaymakers or young honeymoon couples from Ireland or even England, Wales and Scotland will be rushing to book a place in the Legends Hotel or indeed any other hotel in Mauritius.

In fact it would be my opinion that holidaying out there ought to be discouraged at the highest level after the way that the authorities there treated John McAreavey after his wife was murdered. It looked as if they had no grasp of how civilized people ought to behave. However, we will live in hope that the Harte and McAreavey families will finally see justice being done. In the meantime we can only pray that both families may find the comfort and consolation that they deserve in knowing that all our hearts are with them in their distress and sadness and in the hope that eventually they can resume normal life again to the best of their abilities and while the memories of the awful times that they have been through can never be forgotten, that in spite of all this they may be able to face the future with faith and hope in their hearts.


21st Birthday

Best wishes to James McSweeney, son of Margaret and Bridget, Knocknaclugga, who last Saturday night celebrated his 21st birthday with a party of his family, relatives and friends at the Knockdown Arms. His younger brother Martin was on the Limerick County U-15 panel that played against Kerry and Cork in the Humphrey Kelleher Tournament at Dromtariffe last Saturday.



Sympathy is extended to the Ahern family, Coole East, on the recent death of their family member Catherine, which occurred recently in England. Condolences to her mother, brothers, sister and other relatives on their sad loss and also to her own relations in England.

Catherine was a member of a highly regarded local family and will be sadly missed by all who knew her both here and in England. May her soul rest in peace.


No Féile This Time

There is no doubt that the effects of the recession is having an impact not alone on the economic situation and unemployment in our country as well as the tens of thousands of our well educated and talented young people who are emigrating week after week because they can see no future for themselves in this economically depressed land. It is quite obvious that the situation is not improving despite all the flowery promises before last year’s general election.

It is also of course affecting the social life of the nation even in our own parish, as early this year we learned of the motor bike races being cancelled which was an awful blow to the economy of our own little town. Now apparently the annual Trad Féile, which had been successfully held in Athea during the past number of years on the August Bank holiday weekend by the Athea Comhaltas branch, will not take place on this occasion. It looks as if the difficulty of getting sponsorship for the organising of these events is the problem because the business firms and others who were always so generous with sponsorship and support for these festivals can no longer afford to do so.

All this arises because of the drop in income in most business concerns because of the recession and again this is reflected back when events would bring much needed business to a small town like Athea. It is all surely a vicious circle all brought about by the recession and in turn by the mismanagement of successive Governments over the financial affairs of our country. Sad indeed but that is the reality.