Mayor of Limerick, Stephen Keary, cutting the tape on the new outdoor play area for the Autistic unit in Athea N.S. on December 21st.

Happy New Year

To all our readers, columnists, advertisers, contributors and the shops who sell the newsletter free of charge. May the coming year bring you all you desire.

Crumlin Church Gate Collection

We would like to sincerely thank everyone who gave so generously to the Crumlin church gate collection that took place on the 30th and 31st of December. The amount collected was €707.49 and this money will go towards the Ronald McDonald house and the parents accommodation.











Athea Tidy Towns

We would like to wish all of our supporters a very happy new year and the best of everything for 2018. Our committee will resume its regular meetings shortly in order to get a good head start for this year’s competition.

Thanks to Tommy Hassett who was busy leading up to the festive period coming to our rescue with a slight modification to the door of the telephone box. The box is now in full working order again!  Contrary to local reports, no, the door was not stolen! The remaining sponsorship plaques will be erected following delivery from the printers.

We would like to offer our sincere sympathies to our treasurer Henry Moran and the Moran family on the sudden death of Henry’s nephew, P.J. Lehane RIP. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam.

All Change for the New Year 

Domhnall de Barra

After all the build-up and ballyhoo, Christmas has come and gone and we are now facing a new year. There are mixed emotions at this time. There is a feeling of “flatness” after all the hype and also a sense of hope for the future and resolutions to make better lives for ourselves. New Year’s resolutions  generally do not last long and we revert to our old ways.

In the current climate what hope do we have for the future?  Let us look at the state of things as they stand at the moment. There is an egotistic buffoon in the White House, a turkey whose days are numbered in Downing Street, a mad man in North Korea and a Middle East that is torn apart by various wars and conflicts. Decent Republicans in America must be embarrassed by the actions and utterances of Donald Trump. It would be funny if it wasn’t so dangerous. Diplomacy is the greatest attribute a politician can have, especially in foreign affairs. Trump does not even know the meaning of the word. Taking a belligerent approach to the leader of North Korea is a huge mistake. I was in North Korea at the Spring Cultural festival in the ‘eighties. I was president of Comhaltas at the time and as the representative of my country I got the royal treatment. I had many meetings with leading politicians and I soon learned that they absolutely hate America and that they have no fear of  conflict with one of the biggest armies in the world. They actually believed they could not be beaten. With this mind set war is a definite possibility. Of course if it does happen North Korea will be destroyed but will China stand by its old ally or turn a blind eye? If China gets involved God help us all and don’t forget the Russians who are also just waiting for an excuse to stick it to the Americans. Let us hope that those around Trump are able to keep him on a short leash and let the diplomats do their work.

Theresa May inherited  Brexit when she became prime minister. She had previously campaigned against it but she said it was the will of the people and she would now get the best deal she could. She made the mistake of overestimating the Tory’s popularity and went to the country to secure a big majority. The result left her having to depend on the  DUP to remain in government. Her credibility was gone. At the moment it looks like there will be a “soft” Brexit which will suit Ireland but will not appease the Tory rump who still think Britannia rules the world. There could be trouble ahead.

In the North of Ireland we have a kind of “Punch and |Judy” show going on between the DUP and Sinn Féin. Because they can’t agree there is no devolved government in the North. One could maybe understand if the big argument between them was about the economy, health or the welfare of minorities but the sticking point has to do with the recognition of the Irish language. This would mean it had equal status with English as a language. All official documents would have to be bi-lingual, people in court cases would have the right to have their case tried in Irish and all road signage would also have to be in both languages. The DUP will only go so far along the road but Sinn Féin want it all right away.

Down here we have road signs in both languages but does anyone really read the Irish version?  Is it really that important?  The trouble is, both parties have painted themselves into corners and cannot be seen to back down. It is time for the governments in Ireland and England to get tough. For a start stop paying the salaries of the members of the northern executive until they get around the table and sort out this mess. At least postpone it until Brexit is sorted out. I am not holding my breath.

Three great world religions have their roots in the Middle East; Islam, Christianity and Judaism, yet the area is in constant turmoil. The past few years have seen the rise of Isis and the struggle that has gone on to try and defeat them. The job is almost done but they are still a danger to mankind the world over. Religion can be a power for good but when it is used to brainwash young people into thinking that they are carrying out God’s will by murdering “infidels”, it is a power for evil.

There are numerous wars going on with opposing factions being armed by foreign powers who have their own vested interests. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if all countries minded their own business. I’m afraid that is not going to happen so the future does not look too bright.

2018 might surprise us and find a relief from all the turmoil and disruption. I am looking forward already to the hurling championship and witnessing the fantastic skills of amateur athletes who are amateur in name only. They are as good as any professionals but they do not get paid and sacrifice their time for the love of the game. They gave us so much enjoyment over the past few years as the standard has gone through the roof. I also hope that Gaelic football will get back to basics and give us back the game I used to love playing. I hope so. But in the meantime a Happy New Year to you all.