Claire Carmody, Michelle & Noelle Curtin with the U14 Cup

Clare Carmody, Michelle & Noelle Curtin with the U14 Cup

Athea Ladies Football team would like to congratulate Michelle and Noelle Curtin and Clare Carmody who represented Athea on the County U14 team who won the All Ireland U14C Championship on Saturday last v Derry in Ballymahon in Longford along with there management team of : Barry O’Halloran, Ken Beirne, Ray O Dell, Dan Larkin, Breda Corbett, John Hickey & the entire squad of 29 players. The U14 team won on a score line of 4 goals 12 points to 3 goals and  9 points with our girl Noelle scoring 4 points.

Troublesome Times

In recent times the airwaves are dominated by the political and financial crises in Greece. Opinion is divided on whether they should have their debt written off or if they should be obliged to do whatever is necessary to repay their creditors. The heart says the Greek people are in trouble and should be helped if at all possible. Austerity has taken its toll on the ordinary people who are not responsible for the position they find themselves in. Maybe that is a bit too simplistic. They are responsible for voting into power the politicians who created the mess for them. This is how democracy works; the people elect a government and they make decisions for them, If, at the end of their term of office, the voters do not like the way they have governed  they have the option to oust them and elect a new government. Opposition parties who have aspirations to be in government will, and do, lie through their teeth and tell the electorate exactly what they want to hear to get into power. Once they are in they soon realise that what they promised is not feasible and they start finding excuses to break all the promises made. This happens over and over again throughout the world and Greece is no exception. The present government there came to power on a promise to end austerity and tell Europe where to go. It sounded good to the man and woman in the street who blames everybody else but themselves for their predicament. The Greek government soon found out that telling Europe to get lost is not as easy as it sounds. Loans have been made; promises to pay back have not been kept. Some people say forget that and give more loans without any guarantee of repayment. What lender would accept these terms? If Greece can raise two fingers to the financiers why should any other country bother to make repayments? Spain, Portugal, Italy and ourselves are all paying back loans. What would happen if we all copied the Greeks?  Governments need to borrow money for day to day spending and this money is paid back when revenue comes in from taxes etc. This is how the system works and in general it works well. The problem in Greece did not start with the bank collapse. For years and years the economy was mismanaged with public spending gone mad. People paid little or no tax (it has one of the biggest black economies in Europe) with many retiring at a very early age. They also have one of the most expensive armies for the size of the country and continue to pour money into equipment for it. If there had never been a bank crisis they were heading for trouble. What happened in the general election is the same as if a group of radicals led by the likes of Paul Murphy and Richard Boyd Barrett got elected in Ireland. Imagine where we would be now if that had happened. We are a small island off the coast of Europe depending on exports to survive. Could we survive on our own without the help of Europe?. If you think so, dream on. Europe has been good to this country. Where would our agriculture industry be without the monthly cheques to our farmers for instance.  We are lucky that the Irish people in the main had more sense and knew that, unpalatable as it was, the steps our government took were the right ones. Yes it was hard for some people and some suffered more than others, especially those who were left with big mortgages and no job and there is no doubt that something should be done for those people, but we are now seeing the results of the sacrifices with employment improving and a sense that we are slowly getting back to normality. Normality does not mean the heady days of the Celtic tiger but  a more sensible way of life in which most of us can have a job and the ability to put a roof over our heads without bankrupting ourselves.  In the meantime the Greek crisis threatens the stability of Europe. A solution must be found but the Greek government has to be realistic in its efforts to get concessions. The holding of the referendum was a bit of a joke. The electorate were voting on the acceptance of a set of proposals that no longer exist. Of course people do not want to hear about more austerity but surely the combined intelligence of the European leaders can come up with a way to help the Greek economy and relieve the obvious hardship that is being suffered. If their economy improves they will then be in a position to repay and everybody wins. It will probably cost us in the region of  one billion Euro in the short term as our contribution to the European fund. This is on top of the 350 million already lent by us. My old teacher, Jim Kelly used to say “there is no such thing as a free meal; somebody has to pay”.  Money does not grow on trees so every country has a responsibility to be prudent in the management of their finances. We are going through testing times. Let us hope we learn from them and never again allow a group of high-rolling gamblers to decide our future.

Domhnall de Barra