Canon Tony Mullins, Dr. Kieran Murphy, Fr. Brendan Duggan & Garda Gerry Griffin at the Senior Citizens Christmas Party in the Top of the Town on Wednesday last.

Canon Tony Mullins, Dr. Kieran Murphy, Fr. Brendan Duggan & Garda Gerry Griffin at the Senior Citizens Christmas Party in the Top of the Town on Wednesday last.

Grandparents Day at Athea National School

Grandparents Day will take place on Friday, December 16th. Beginning with Mass at 10.30am in the church.

If any grandparents would like to accompany their grandchildren from the school to the church for mass they would be welcome to do so.

Refreshments afterwards in the school and a tour of the school facilities.

Rambling House

Benny Thade’s Rambling House takes place at Fr. Casey’s Clubhouse on Thursday night next, December 15th. The doors will open at 8.30pm with Santa and his Missus making a surprise visit.  All proceeds this month go to Noonan’s Lights to add to the pot for the charities that Tony, Hannah and Siobhan are supporting this year.

Athea & District Credit Union AGM

Will take place on Friday, December 16th at 7pm in the Credit Union Office. All members are invited to attend.

Athea Children’s Drama 

Will perform The Nativity and Willie Wonka on Sunday, December 18th at 3pm in the Con Colbert Community Hall. Admission – Children €5 Adults €8

Community First Responders

(CFR)  AGM  

The AGM of the Athea Community First Responders (CFRs) was held on 01st December.  All sitting officers were re-elected:-   Medical Director – Dr Kieran Murphy:  Development Adviser – Rodge Byrne:  Training Instructor – Richael Griffin:  Quarter Master – Pat I Mulvihill:  Chairperson – Paudie Quille:  Secretary – Mary Sheahan:  Assistant Secretary – Sharon Reidy.

The year’s activities included recertification of members, new developments, training and callouts.  Anyone wishing to learn CPR / use of defibrillator should contact Richael at 086 8841171.   Dr Kieran Murphy gave suggestions of how the group could improve their services and his wish to see more second level students trained in CPR.

The group wish to thank Dr Kieran Murphy for the advice and time he gives the group especially the way he facilitates debriefs after callouts.  He also emphasised the importance of using Eircode when phoning for  an ambulance. Eircode enables the ambulance service to pinpoint a person’s location and saves the caller having to give directions.

The Land of the Free

America has always had a fascination for us maybe because of all the Irish that settled there after the famine. In our school days we had the comics with all the cowboy heroes. We had Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tom Mix, Billy the Kid, The Durango Kid, The Lone Ranger and many more. Later on, the silver screen brought them to light and gave us a glimpse of the cowboys riding the wide open ranges shooting bad guys and savage Indians. The good guys wore white hats and the baddies wore black ones. The good guys always won and the Indians were shot down as they road around trying to fire arrows. They were always portrayed as savages who were trying to scalp the white people. Nothing could be further from the truth. Far from being savage, the noble Red Indian lived a nomadic life within his own area. They followed the buffalo, their main source of food and clothing and had different places where they pitched camp. Each tribe had its own strict set of rules and they lived a relatively good peaceful life. Occasionally there were disputes between neighbouring tribes over hunting rites and such but rather than killing each other they worked out a system of conflict that left nobody dead or wounded. It was called “counting coup”.  Warriors attacked each other with the object of touching their opponents. As soon as a man was touched he had to retire from the contest. The winners were the side who inflicted the most hits and settlements were made.

The white man came and forcibly took their lands to develop ranches, mines and build towns. The native Americans were no match for the fire power of the settlers’ rifles and those that weren’t killed ended up in reservations. There wasn’t much freedom for those.

In the southern states of America, vast fortunes were made by landowners who practiced slavery. African men and women were captured in their own lands and transported to America to be used as slaves in the cotton fields and houses of the south. Not too much freedom for them either. A civil war between north and south eventually gave them freedom but they were always considered inferior to the white population and there is still racial discrimination, even to this day .  As a matter of fact much of white America considers itself superior to the rest of the world. “Let’s make America great again” was one of Donald Trump’s best vote catchers in the recent presidential election. It found favour with many who consider America the best country in the world. But is it?  If you have money, and lots of it, it is. But it is not the land of the free if you don’t. If you need an operation and can’t afford the astronomical hospital fees, you die. If your child is showing signs of being brainy  but you can’t afford the huge college fees, the likelihood is he/she will end up pumping gas or flipping burgers if they are lucky. People born in particular areas do not have the same opportunities as others. This may be due to ethnic background but it creates ghettos that spawn gangs , drug abuse and  racial tension.  America believes in the capitalist system. The idea is that the government provides the business environment for entrepreneurs to flourish and create jobs for people. If the business thrives the idea is the employees will share in the good fortune and everyone will get wealthy. What really happens is quite different. The business thrives and is then put on the stock exchange. Shares are bought by investors who expect a good return for their money. They now become the focus of the CEO, not the workers. Maximising profits may mean cutting wages or even moving the manufacturing section out of America to places such as China or Taiwan where there is a workforce  willing to work ungodly hours for a pittance. The American workers are left high and dry and the government also suffers because they lose taxes. Is it any wonder that, in the election, they chose a bigoted, politically naïve, womanising narcissist as their president?

Hang on though, didn’t Hilary Clinton get over 3,000,000 more votes than Donald Trump?  Yes but their weird system of elections didn’t reflect the popular vote. Trump is now surrounding himself with extremists of all kinds. He is more or less holding up two fingers to the rest of the world. It will be interesting to see what is coming down the tracks. The home of the free it may not be but Americans will certainly need to be brave. God help us all.

Domhnall de Barra