Group of parishioners attending the mass at Templeathea Graveyard on Friday evening last
with Fr. Brendan Duggan.

Annual Pilgrmage to Knock

The annual parish pilgrimage to Knock will take place on this Thursday, July 26th. The bus will depart from the hall at 8am sharp. There are still a few seats available and Agatha Barrett can be contacted on 068-52930 to book a seat.


The Comhaltas Summer Seisiún season is continuing at the Devon Inn Hotel Templeglantine on Thursdays. It is a traditional music song dance and storytelling show that entertains the audience for over two hours.

Vinny Wrenn with his grandson Cathal during a recent outing to Carlow

Joan Lane and Eileen Woulfe at the motor neurone walk
in the Phoenix Park in Dublin on Saturday

The West Limerick group who travelled to Carlow last week on a visit to the Delta Sensory Gardens and also Carlow Museum.
The night ended with dancing in the Greenhills Hotel in Limerick. Thanks to everyone who made the day possible. Marie & Joan.

Chickens Home to Roost

Once upon a time, not that long ago, the job of Air Hostess (“cabin crews” hadn’t been invented yet) was thought to be a very glamorous one indeed. There was great competition for places and only those with exceptional looks and personalities were considered for a position. In those days only women were considered, men did not start doing the job until much later. Air travel was expensive as well so passengers, who were not short of a bob or two, were very well looked after. I remember the first time I travelled by plane after winning a few bob on the horses. It was from Birmingham to Cork in the ‘sixties and it cost a small fortune. Ordinary working people couldn’t afford the luxury of air travel so they travelled by boat to England and before that to America. Aer Lingus had it all to themselves in Ireland so the fares remained high until Ryanair started operating. They brought a whole new model to the industry with cheap flights available for the first time. It opened up the market and soon other airlines began to lower their prices to compete for business. Ryanair continued to grow and eventually became what it is today; the biggest airline in Europe. They had low fares, at least at face value, but they maximised their profits by getting the last ounce out of their employees. Turnaround time was cut to the minimum and cabin crews had to act as cleaners as well as looking after the passengers. Their wages, which were fairly low,  also depended on the amount of sales they made during a flight. Under no circumstances would unions be recognised so workers had no protection. Passengers were not treated very well either. The basic cost of a ticket might be low but then the add-ons started; extra money if you had a bag too big for the cabin, very low weight allowances, extra money if you wanted to choose your seat or get priority boarding at gates where there were no seats so passengers had to stand for long periods in a cue. On board, the cost of food and drink was excessive but they had to make money some way to satisfy the shareholders who, at the end of the day, financed the airline. It is the ugly side of capitalism where workers are exploited to make money for investors. I always thought that some day the bubble would burst when Ryanair employees would be pushed too far and would organise themselves. With what is happening at the moment, it seems that day has arrived. There is unrest among pilots and cabin crews throughout Europe and we are witnessing strike action by a quarter of the pilots in Ireland which is having a very bad effect on business. Share prices have dropped and people are cautious about advanced bookings because of the uncertainty. Eventually management are going to have to recognise trade unions and it is their own fault. They were making great profits for years but instead of treating their employees in a decent manner they sought to get more and more out of them. Now the chickens are coming home to roost and  life in Ryanair will never be the same again. We have to be grateful to them for making air travel more affordable but we should also condemn their management style which is nothing short of dictatorial. I hope common ground can be reached and that  everyone will be satisfied.

The problem of worker exploitation is not confined to airlines. Big supermarkets use the same tactics to maximise their profits. So called “zero hour” contracts mean that workers only work when required and have no protection. The government have promised to move on this and I hope they do it soon. Every worker is entitled to some type of job security and should have the protection of the state. Having somebody on a beck and call basis is not on.  With a job like that a person will never be able to get a mortgage for a house or a loan to buy a car because they do not know from week to week how much, or how little, they might earn. Supermarkets are “cleaning up “ in Ireland, especially the multinational ones. In the trade they refer to Ireland as “treasure island” because they can get away with charging much higher prices than they do in mainland Britain or the North of Ireland. They will not reveal what their profits are in this country but we know that they would not be here unless it was worth their while.  I am not a communist and I saw, fist hand, in England how trade unions became so powerful that they practically ruined the car industry, but there is no doubt that good workers deserve decent pay. Treat people well and they will pay you back in kind. There would then be no need for trade unions but I am afraid that many companies cannot be relied on to do the decent thing so it is inevitable that workers will try to defend themselves. We need Ryanair to keep the cost of travel down and to provide destinations for us that other carriers do not. They should not drag out negotiations but grasp the nettle and deal with the dreaded unions, even if it does give Michael O’Leary apoplexy !!

I had a great few days in Seattle. The best part was spending time with my son Sean and his wife Maria. Seattle is a beautiful place that is growing at an alarming rate with lots of good employment on offer. I will write a few words about it later on.

Hope for the day:  “May the best part of your today be the worst part of your tomorrows.”