Thady Hunt, Fr. Duggan, Neddie Hunt & Paul Curry at Páirc na nGael for the Con Colbert Commemoration weekend matches

Thady Hunt, Fr. Duggan, Neddie Hunt & Paul Curry at Páirc na nGael for the Con Colbert Commemoration weekend matches

Above & Below: Some of the group from Athea and surrounding areas on a sightseeing trip to Sligo recently

Above & Below: Some of the group from Athea and surrounding areas on
a sightseeing trip to Sligo recently


Athea Tidy Towns 

The results of the National Tidy Towns were announced on September 26th and Athea faired very well in the competition with a huge increase of 19 points which was the second largest increase in the county. This has increased our points from 250 to 269. We are very proud of this achievement and we would like to thank everyone who has contributed to and supported our work throughout the year.

We also received news this week that we have been shortlisted for the ‘Limerick in Bloom’ prize. Winners will be announced at a celebratory evening at The Strand Hotel on Tuesday October 11th. Athea has won this prize twice before and also we came second place last year in the Going for Gold Prize. Fingers crossed.

Following on from an application made to the Urban Renewal Fund and Limerick City and County Council by Athea Tidy Towns, we have received word from Councillor Seamus Browne that funding has been granted for the car park and footpaths to be tarmacked around the Con Colbert Memorial Hall. This will improve the area immensely and make the area safer.

We would like to congratulate everyone involved in the recent Con Colbert Commemoration Weekend. It was a fitting tribute to one of our bravest sons. We are now left with a magnificent bronze bust sculpture outside the Hall which we will treasure for many years to come and adds considerably to our village environment.

Thanks to NuWave broadband & Mary T. & Denny Mulvihill for their generous donations towards Athea Tidy Towns. Be assured it will be put to good use.

We would like to welcome Fr. Duggan to the parish. We hope you have a very happy time here in Athea!

Retirement Party

There will be a retirement party at the Top of the Town on this Saturday night, October 8th for Amina Parkes, who recently retired from Westbury Medical Centre. All are welcome to attend.

Athea Parish Journal

Another year gone by and it’s time to start putting the journal together again. We are asking all organisations and people who wish to submit material to start doing so now and where possible to email all material to us at [email protected] Photos can be dropped in to the office for scanning and will be returned safely.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Pat and John (not their real names) grew up next door to each other. They were born within a month of each other so they were good company for each other as they went fishing, played football, robbed orchards and got into all the kinds of mischief that young lads get into. They sat beside each other at the local school and though both were blessed with good intellects, Pat was a good worker and studied diligently while John had no interest in learning and, despite the best efforts of the teachers who tried everything from coaxing to beatings, he managed to get through the classes with the minimum amount of effort. Pat’s father was not a rich man but he valued education, something he never had himself, and enrolled him in the secondary school in the next town. In those days secondary education was not free but somehow they managed to scrape enough money together and, when he got a little older, Pat worked during the holidays to help out. He applied himself to his homework and it paid off when he finally sat the Leaving Cert and got a very good result.  He got a job with a financial institution and gradually worked himself up the ladder until he was manager of the branch he worked at. He had an ambition to be his own boss so, when an opportunity arose he invested all his money and a sizeable amount of borrowings and started his own investment company. He married a girl from the city and they bought a fine house in the suburbs with a hefty mortgage from the bank. Work was so demanding that he was seldom at home and often worked up to 20 hours a day but the financial rewards were good and  he was more than able to keep up the repayments and have a bit left over. He invested in a private pension plan that would see him ok in his retirement and looked forward to the future

In the meantime John left school at 14 and was content to hang around with the locals and stay at home until he became old enough to draw the dole. The dole money was  handy for the cigarettes, the few pints with the lads and a few bob on the odd horse. He hadn’t a care in the world and was happy with his lot. Eventually he fell in love with a local girl and, despite having no prospects they got married and applied for a council house. There was no waiting list in those days so they got the house almost immediately in a new estate that was being built near his parents’ house at the princely some of 10 shillings a week to rent.  John’s wife was a good worker and got part-time jobs in local shops and pubs and bits of cleaning in houses during the day. Between the money she was bringing in and the dole they had a very comfortable life and enjoyed regular visits to the local hostelries and the odd holiday to the Costa del Sol. As time went on the council fitted double glazing and a state of the art heating system to their house. They had four children and they all lived very happily. Medical bills were not a problem as they had the medical card and got the best of care whenever it was needed.

Years flew by and both of the lads were getting close to retirement when the financial crash of the ‘noughties’ came and Pat’s world was turned upside down overnight. His business went to the wall and the money he had invested himself disappeared into thin air. Nobody wanted to invest anymore so there was no money coming in. One of his kids had a medical problem and had to see a specialist every so often. He used to have private health insurance but he couldn’t afford to keep up the payments and it had lapsed so he went to his local employment exchange to see how they could help him. To his dismay he found out that, because he was self-employed he wasn’t entitled to any money. This was despite the fact that, through his hard work, he had created jobs for over 100 people when things were going well, he eventually lost his house and was lucky that his parents had left their small house to him so he moved back to where he started from. He was almost at pension age but when he checked up on his pension he discovered that most of it had been lost in the crash and the projected pension of €400 a week was now worth €180 a month. He had no option but to declare bankruptcy and had to wait until everything was sorted before he could apply for the non-contributory old age pension. John, on the other hand hardly noticed any change in his circumstances during the lean years following the crash and, when he reached 65, qualified automatically for the old age pension.

This is the true story of two men and describes the different way in which our government treats its citizens. On the face of it, it seems that one is penalised for trying to make a success of his business while the other is rewarded for doing nothing throughout his life. Is this fair and equitable? I leave that up to you to decide but there is something wrong when somebody who has paid his taxes over the years and created employment for his fellow citizens is left on the scrapheap when, through no fault of his own he is no longer able to cope. We need to have a fair and just society.

Domhnall de Barra