Taking part in the Lip Sync Show on Feb. 4th in the Devon Inn Hotel are ‘Brown Joe’s Burlesque Boys’, Patrick Ahern, Michael O’Connor, Thomas Brosnan & Brian McKenna

Athea Lip Sync 

The demand for tickets for the Lip Sync Fundraiser has exceeded all expectations. Tickets are now fully sold out. THERE WILL BE NO TICKETS FOR SALE AT THE DOOR. We wish to advise that there will be 450 – 500 seats available on the night but the stage will be visible to all . There will also be screens erected to improve the audience’s experience. There will be no reserved seating ( except for our VIP guests – who are our main sponsors). Doors open from 7 pm.

We are currently sourcing spot prizes for our raffle on the night – please get in touch with any member of the committee if you would like to donate.

As part of their fundraising efforts, 4 lip sync acts are currently planning events.

*  There will be a Darts Tournament at Brown Joes’s Bar on Friday January 27th organised by the ‘Brown Joes Burlesque Boys’. There is a €5 entry fee and the tournament starts at 9pm sharp.

*  A  Quiz at the Knockdown Arms on January 27th is currently being  organised by ‘The Druids of Lalaland Act’, There is €100 up for grabs for the winning table. Quiz starts at 9pm!

*  A Duck race will take place on January 29th at 12pm at the Bridge Athea organised by the Top of the Town Zombies ( Ducks currently on sale at Shops & Pubs in Athea)

*   ‘The Tina Divas’ have a hamper up for grabs at Kathleen’s Hairstylists! All you need to do is sponsor the group and you are in with the chance of winning!! Please spread the word!


Our A.G.M. will take place on Saturday night January 28th in the club house at 9pm. All are welcome to attend.

Athea Bingo Committee

Would like to say a big Thank You to all the people who sponsored prizes for our Christmas Bingo. It was very much appreciated.

Bingo continues every Friday night in the Community Hall with tea and scones served at half time.

Do we Need Border Control?

One of the big surprises last year was the result of the Brexit referendum with the UK deciding to leave the European Union. Very few people saw it coming, indeed all the pundits and pollsters got it wrong. We now have to deal with the outcome of that vote and the possibility that we may once again have customs posts and border controls along the border with Northern Ireland. I fear we are looking at the breakup of the EC as we know it. There is a surging rise in populism throughout Europe that will seek to follow Britain out of the union especially if it is perceived that they are better off on the outside. This would be a terrible mistake for all the countries involved. Before the common market there was continuous squabbling and wars throughout Europe. Now there is peace and though the beaurocrats in Brussels have made many mistakes, most of the members of the union are far better off than they were before. Our own country has benefitted greatly. Where would farming be if the European cheque wasn’t in the post?  That is only one industry that  depends on the union surviving. But, to get back to borders; is it necessary to have customs and borders at all? We have had free movement and trade throughout Europe for years. Naturally people will go where the most employment is. That is why our cities are growing and rural populations are declining. Governments are not unhappy with this. We are far easier to manage and provide services for if we live together in large groups rather than in individual dwellings in the countryside. Once upon a time local authorities built cottages for anyone in a rural area who had a site and qualified for housing. They are dotted all over the country and many is the fine family that was reared on the “cottage and acre”.  They should never have stopped  that practice. On a wider scale we can take a look at an example of a huge area that has no interior borders. I refer to the United States of America. One can roam freely from one state to the next without hindrance. Each state has its own laws and government with subdivisions or counties. They are autonomous but are under the national government. This federation works very well. Some of these states are bigger than many European countries. Imagine if they all had borders that needed to be manned and that each state had to have its own defence forces.  They are so much better off and I think we, on this side of the Atlantic, would be better off too.  There is the argument that customs are needed to stop the flow of drugs and other illegal substances into the country. Well, they haven’t been too successful to date have they. Every week tons of drugs make their way into the country not to mention guns  and other contraband goods. It is a bit like King Canute trying to keep back the tide. There is a case to be made for legalising and controlling the sale of drugs. If this was done there would be less criminal gangs and we would not have the spate of killings and shootings  that we have at the moment. Remember, it was the prohibition of alcoholic drink in America that created the mobs. Banning stuff simply does not work. Anyone who wants drugs can get them in any town or village anyway. Maybe if they were available at a reasonable price, legally, there would be less robberies and thefts by those who have to have the money to buy them. There is no prohibition on the sale of tobacco and alcohol, two drugs that are far more lethal than some of the banned ones. Of course some people will become addicted but that is going to happen anyway and surely it is better to put supports in place for them rather than spending vast amounts of money trying to stop them. Retreating behind borders and thinking that your own country is better than all the others and should only be enjoyed by its own citizens is not a good sign. It is a reminder of the politics of the 1930s when Hitler persuaded a whole nation to follow him in his quest to rid the world of all the “inferior races”. I am not saying that Donald Trump is the new Hitler but some of his ideas like “America first” and “expand the armed forces”, not to mention his remarks about Muslims, Mexicans, Latinos, Chinese and illegal immigrants are quite dangerous. There are a lot of people throughout the world who share the same sentiments and they will be rejuvenated in their racism and bigotry.  I don’t ever again want to see a return to the days of the last century when travelling to and through the North of Ireland meant being stopped and searched by armed officers. We are better off without the border, especially those people who live along its route.  All it would do is create smuggling  on a large scale again and it will destroy the lives of many citizens on both sides. To have six counties of a small country divided from the  rest of it is ridiculous  anyway. The sooner the powers that be on both sides of the Irish sea realise this, the better. It is time to unite Ireland under one jurisdiction. Wishful thinking, I know, as long as there are people in the majority who don’t want it but, times are changing. We live in hope.

Domhnall de Barra

A Bit of Polish History 

By Fr. Brendan Duggan

Poland is a country which I know very well. I enjoyed a week’s visit to my friends in Gliwice, Southern Poland just after Christmas. Our New Year’s celebration was special as they had a recently born baby girl. I know these good people since 1989 and we have been friends since.

Let me tell you a little about Poland. It has 4million plus people, is six times the size of Ireland with Germany to the West, Belarus and Russia to the right and the Czech Republic and Ukraine to the South. It is a Slavic nation together with Russia, Czech Republic, Serbia and others. Like Ireland it is predominantly Catholic and has a similar tragic history.

Poland’s problems in the past stemmed from the problem of having Prussia (now Germany) to the West, Russia to the East and the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the South.

Poland was partitioned three times during the 18th Century and finally went out of existence in 1795. It is interesting that our own Edmund Burke spoke in favour of Poland’s right to exist, during an English Parliament debate in 1795.

Poland was first divided in 1772. The continued growth of the Russian Empire which threatened both the Kingdom of Prussia and the Hapsburg Austrian Empire was the primary motive behind the partition. Poland was divided among the three neighbouring powers to restore the balance of power in Europe. Russia and Austria took about 80% of Poland while Prussia took most of the Baltic Corridor linking Russia to Prussia.

Poland still had a government in name but was weak. In 1790 a pact was made with Prussia (the arch enemy). Russia feared Poland might rise again and attacked in 1792. Prussia supported Russia and signed a treaty taking further chunks of Poland. Prussia named its newly acquired province as ‘South Prussia’ with Warsaw (later) as the capital of the new province.

Finally in 1794 the Poles revolted led by Kosciuszko. In 1795, the revolt having failed, Poland was divided completely between Prussia, Russia and Austria and it disappeared totally off the map until the Treaty of Versailles recreated it in 1918.

The boundaries of Poland took several more years to establish. The area I visit – Silesia had three uprisings between 1919 and 1923. Poland’s boundaries were internationally ratified in 1923. Democracy existed from 1923-26 but ended in 1926 when Josef Pilsudski took over. A third of Poles consisted of minorities – Ukrainians, Jews, Belarusians  (white Russians) and Germans, who were not always made welcome. Poland was weak and then Hitler arrived on the scene. Germany invaded Poland on August 31st 1939.

The second World War was begun in Gleiwitz, Southern Poland when a German SS Officer called Sturmbanfuehrer Alfred Naujocks led a party of German convicts dressed n Polish uniforms in an attack on the German Radio station at  Gleiwitz (now known as Gliwice). The raiders burst into the studios, broadcast a patriotic announcement in Polish, fired a few shots and left. Outside the convicts were executed by the SS. The bodies were left for the local police to find. Poland was blamed for the “unprovoked” attack and Germany invaded Poland on September 1st. On September 17th Russia also invaded Poland.

During the war, part of Poland was administered by the Germans in an area called the “General Government”. Being a keen stamp collector I have lots of ‘German Government’ stamps, plus stamps of Silesia (the coal mining area) which contains Gliwice, where the war began, and where my friends live.

(To be continued next week………….)