Liam McAuliffe with Knockout Glory who won The Horse and Jockey Hotel Oaks in Clonmel.

Clonmel Win – Congratulations

Bonfires were burning in Athea last night to welcome home the McAuliffe family, Lower Road who won The Horse and Jockey Hotel Oaks with Knockout Glory in Clonmel.

This is a fantastic achievement, and a well deserved win for the McAuliffes who have been involved in dog racing for many years.  Winning in Clonmel is like winning the Olympics. Well done and continue to keep Athea on the map with your wonderful dogs.

Athea Drama

Rehearsals are progressing very well for our upcoming play ‘Anyone Could Rob a Bank’ by Thomas Coffey. If rehearsals are anything to go by, the audience are in for a real treat with this laugh a minute comedy.

Keep an eye on our facebook page for a chance to win two tickets to the play on a night of your choice. The play opens on February 9th and continues 11th, 12th, 16th, 18th & 19th at Con Colbert Memorial Hall, Athea at 8pm. Spread the word!

Worse Than Expected

In the past few weeks I have written about the dangers of the Trump administration and asking whether we need borders and controls at all. I had a feeling things were going to be bad but never did I imagine how civilisation could be set back so far in one week by the greatest danger to world peace since Adolf Hitler. I couldn’t believe that the so called “leader of the free world” would state on national television that he believed in torture “because it works”. The end justifies the means, no matter how awful and barbaric those means are. The world has come a long way since people were nailed by their hands and feet to wooden crosses for misdemeanours, or so it seems.

I have witnessed barbarity and state cruelty of the worst type during my time working in Libya. Those who opposed the reign of Kaddafi were dealt with in a manner that was designed to deter others from following in their footsteps. Hangings were conducted in public places and locals were forced to attend. We were coming back from working out in the desert one evening and we saw a crowd of people going into the football stadium. We thought it was for a football match so we decided to follow them in. To our horror it was not a match but  public hangings and cutting off of hands that was taking place. We dare not attempt to leave as we would certainly have been arrested and, as foreigners, had even less rights than  the local citizens. One by one, men were led to the gallows and hanged by the neck. Then the cutting off of hands began. This was the punishment for theft. There was only a couple of these but I was appalled at the savagery. It wasn’t a swift cut with a sword or axe, no, the hand was cut slowly with a small knife until the bone was exposed. This took a while and there was plenty of blood. Finally the bone was severed with a cleaver and the stump was thrust into a tub of boiling oil to stop the bleeding.  All the time the crowd cheered. It was spine-tingling.

Due to the severity of the cutting off of hands, there is very little theft in evidence in Tripoli or Benghazi. You could leave your wallet on the street and, normally, it would not be taken, so, it works. Will this be Trump’s next method of fighting lawlessness in America?.  Why not; if the end justifies the means then what difference is there in discriminating against  forms of torture. It is either wrong or right and there can be no grey areas.  Does torture really work?  If somebody is tortured for long enough they will say anything, confess to any crime even if totally innocent, just to stop the pain. How many innocent individuals are locked up throughout the world for crimes they never committed? Torturing them won’t get results.

Torturing says more about the perpetrator than the victim. It is ironic that it is America, “the home of the brave and the land of the free”, that is now in the news because of  its leaders comments. America is made up of nationalities from all over the world. The native Americans were hunted off their own land and almost eradicated by the pioneers and settlers who took the land by force. I suppose the nomadic life of the Red Indian could not have been sustained  as the world was changing but the American people should know all about borders and immigration more than any other nation because they are all immigrants.

Now, in a stroke, Trump has decreed that people from seven different nations are banned from entering the USA. This is done to “keep America safe”. I can understand why people who are a threat to the state should be stopped but to target every single citizen of a country is ludicrous. It is no coincidence that all the countries are Muslim. Does he believe that all Muslims are a threat to the States?  Is he that ignorant that he can’t distinguish between the God fearing, peace loving people that make up the majority of the Muslim community and the small number of hard line fundamentalists that hate the West and will have no problem giving up their own lives to cause death and mayhem.

I wonder where it is all going to end. One hopeful sign is the resistance by the leaders of some cities in America who will not  tow the line when it comes to the deportation of the undocumented immigrants in their jurisdiction They will have a fight on their hands  and may have to rely on the supreme courts to stop Donald Trump from cutting off some of the federal money they receive.

So, the wall is to be built along the Mexican border, Muslims are banned from entering the country, detainees may be tortured “in the national interest”, the undocumented are to be deported. What is coming next?  Be afraid –  be very, very afraid.

Domhnall de Barra

A Bit of Polish History continued….

 By Fr. Brendan Duggan

At the end of the war the territory of Poland changed drastically. The whole Western part of Poland’s boundary was set by what is called the Oder-Neisse Line. The Oder (Oder in German) extends from the Baltic Sea until it meets the Neisse river in Central Poland and continued south. The Oder-Neisse Line was agreed by Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill at Yalta 1945. By adopting this Western boundary, Poland gained all of the Silesian Coalfields. There are in fact two Neisse Rivers, one several hundred kilometres to the east of the Western Neisse used as the German-Polish boundary. Stalin fooled Churchill certainly (Roosevelt was a sick  man then) and so Germany lost the Silesian Industrial area. One can see that Hitler had good reason to attack Poland as Germany had few coalfields.

Poland lost a lot of territory on the East to Russia which then suet up the state now called Belarus (White Russia).

After the war of course Poland became a puppet state of Russia until 1989 when communism collapsed.

The above history I have given you is very brief. Poland has a complex history so perhaps it is dangerous to try to summarise it in a page or two. The internet is a great source of Polish history.

To bring you up to date on how I teamed up with my Polish friends is a fascinating story.

In the Summer of 1989 I was involved in the Taize Movement. Taize is a Calvinist Ecumenical Monastery in Eastern France near the ancient monastery of Cluny, near Paray-le-Monial where St. Margaret Mary had a vision of the Sacred Heart, and also nearby is the  Convent of Nevers which houses the incorrupt body of St. Bernadette of Lourdes in a small outdoor church. The convent and all the nearby town houses were destroyed during the Second World War. The chapel containing Bernadette’s body was untouched except for one of her fingernails which was slightly disturbed. A US doctor in General George S. Patton’s army (who liberated Nevers) pushed the nail back into its proper place. While in Taize I met a very nice Polish girl called Kasia (or Kate in English) and we became friends. At the end of the week we returned to Ireland and Kasia went to Poland. I was accompanied on that trip to Taize by a larger group of young adults from Down & Conor Diocese. We had a wonderful experience there and I also experienced the Chants and Hymns of Taize which we still use to this day.

While in Taize we heard of the overthrow of Ceausescu, the Dictator of Romania and also it was announced that Mazuwiesky was the new Solidarity Prime Minister of Poland. That was the summer of 1989.

On November 9th 1989 the Berlin Wall was scaled and broken by Berliners and the Communist domination of Europe ceased.

We will continue next week as there were lots of new developments.

















Gun Club