Away for Physiotherapy

During the past fortnight of my absence from Athea for a course of physiotherapy in St Ita’s Hospital, Newcastle West there were a few unusual happenings that made the headlines throughout the world. We had the election of a new Pope who adopted the name of Francis which is of course a fairly usual boy’s name in many countries and who are named after St Francis of Assisi in Italy. Our own son Seanie was baptised with the name of John Francis in the Franciscan Church in Clevedon , Somerset so it is very likely that many more young boy infants will be named Francis in Catholic families after the new Pope who is the first South American to be elected head of the Church.

We will also shortly have our own new Bishop of Limerick and it is all our hope that together he and the recently elected Pope will both play their part in the promotion of Catholic values and standards in the Church at a time when it is most needed.

Some of the other news during the past couple of weeks was the financial crises in Cyprus and the Meath by-election both interesting in their own context.  But before any comment on these it is necessary to thank the staff of St Ita’s Hospital for the way they cared for us the past two weeks and for the courtesy and care which they are still giving to the patients despite all the Government imposed austerity measures and cutbacks which is crippling the health service throughout the State. And where there is no let-up or any improvement in sight, particularly with regard to A&E departments in the country’s hospitals and the frustrating waiting lists for surgery which is at the worst ever since the foundation of the State.  Patsy Dalton of Glasha who shared a room with more of us in Rehab Unit at St Ita’s has made a good recovery after his accident before Christmas and Tom Moran from Clash is also recovering in St Ita’s after being discharged from the Regional Hospital where he had been since he got a fall in his yard some weeks ago. It is great to see that Patsy and Tom are both doing well.

My thanks to Michael McDermott who filled for me in my usual column last week with his excellent description of life and work in Knocknagorna when he was on holidays with his relatives several years ago. Michael certainly portrays a lovely picture of Knocknagorna as it was in those days.  It is my intention to write in my column soon about my own memories of that magic place Knocknagorna after spending 46 years of my life there and only leaving there a few weeks ago to live nearer the village where some members of my family are established and nearer to me. But our house in Knocknagorna is not being abandoned. Members of the family will still use it regularly as a holiday home and a place to visit at weekends and other occasions. In the meantime my thanks to the members of the Athea Housing Society for renting me this comfortable residence close to the village where my usual friends will be welcome to call as usual.

Recent Wedding

The marriage took place recently of Brian Aherne, son of Mossie and Nellie, Garrygloss, South Clash and Ailis Commane, daughter of Pat and Alice, Knockdown. Brian has been a prominent member of Athea football teams during the past number of years.  The reception was held at the Devon Inn Hotel, Templeglantine where an enjoyable time was had by all the guests. The honeymoon is being spent in Mexico and Las Vegas. Congratulations to the young couple and every happiness in their married life.

Death of Bridie A Shine

The death occurred during the week of Bridie Ann Shine of Gortnagross, Athea. She was a member of a well known and highly regarded local family and her death has been widely regretted. Together with her late brother Mossie, Bridie Ann ran a busy and thriving grocery shop in the village which only closed in recent years. Bridie was a very religious person and attended Mass regularly up to very recently even after her health had started to decline.  Bridie Ann and Mossie were both members of Athea Civil Defence Unit at one stage when it had a big membership in the locality and Mossie was also Chairman of Athea GAA Club for a number of years.  A big number of people from far and near called to Kelly’s Funeral Home on Saturday evening to pay their respects and offer their condolences to Bridie Ann’s relations. There was also a large congregation at the Requiem Mass on Easter Sunday morning which was celebrated by Fr Patrick Bowen PP and Canon Patrick Kelly. The funeral to Holy Cross cemetery on Sunday afternoon was also well attended. Michael O’ Halloran from Pallaskenry represented the Retired Limerick County Civil Defence Association at the Requiem Mass. Sympathy is extended to Bridie Ann’s nieces, nephews, her in-laws and other relatives. ‘May her soul rest in peace’.

Cyprus Today, Ireland Tomorrow

The financial crises in Cyprus during the past couple of weeks clearly illustrated the instability of the Euro Currency and the devastating effect that it can inflict on the smaller member states like ourselves.  It could be argued of course that we are very different to the Cypriots and that could be true up to a point. But on the other hand there are certain similarities. Cyprus like Ireland is a small  partitioned island with a part of it cut off and under the influence of an outside power (Turkey in this case) and again against the wishes of the vast majority of the total people of the island.  Again like ourselves the Greek Cypriots fought long and hard for the unity of their island and democratic majority rule but again like ourselves were denied this basic right because of outside interference. We all remember hearing about Archbishop Mahairiotis an Orthodox clergyman and Cypriot revolutionary leader Colonel Grivas (perhaps my spelling of both these names may not be correct) as it is a long time since they were in the news but they were two of the main figures who led the fight for Cypriot democracy. The financial crises of the past few weeks in Cyprus has proved one thing the big nations in the Euro and the European Union do not give one damn about the smaller and weaker members. They were prepared to let Cyprus go to the wall unless the Government there accepted their terms so the question now arises; would Ireland have fared any better if the crunch came.  The ongoing crises in the Euro which is likely to go on indefinitely cannot be sustained and there is every likelihood that the whole structure will finally fall apart.  This indeed might be a good thing but the question arises where would it leave our own Government who have been so devoted to the Euro.  But fair play to the Cypriot Government even though it was under pressure it did not spare the bondholders unlike what happened here.

Labour’s Dilemma

Surely the result of the Meath by-election in which the Labour Party limped in a tired fifth like a lame old nag at a flapper race meeting should act as a wakeup call to the Party to stop supporting Fine Gael’s austerity programme otherwise the Party will be wiped out at the next election and go the same way as the PD’s and the Greens.