Congratulations to Eddie Barrett (son of Mary & Denis, Templeathea) & Mary Anne Leahy (Listowel) who got married recently in Killarney

Changing Times

by  Domhnall de Barra

Post Office

There was a public meeting in the hall last Thursday night in connection with the proposed closing of the Post Office in Athea. Helen Browne is retiring and An Post will not be offering a new contract to anyone else if the population of the village is less than 500 people. The figures from the CSO tell us that there are 369 living in Athea village at the last census so we fall well short of the required numbers to maintain the post office in its present form. These figures may not be exact because they do not include certain parts of the village that come under the townland names.  For example, all the houses on the other side of the bridge are in Templeathea and the houses from Dalton’s Terrace up the Abbeyfeale road are in Gortnagross so, if we take the village as being all the dwellings inside the speed limits, there are probably more than  the required number of 500. Even if we can prove this the question of business transactions comes into the reckoning. A postmaster/mistress is on contract to An Post and is paid on the number of transactions over the year. Business at the Post Office has been dwindling in recent years. Modern technology has practically done away with letter writing and the credit card has made getting the pension or other payments directly from ATMs or banks a simple task. Household bills that could be paid at the Post Office are easy to do on line without having to leave the comfort of one’s own home. That is fine for those who are computer literate but there are many people, elderly in particular, who are unable or unwilling to do things electronically and will be lost if the Post Office closes. There is also the question of the distance to the nearest Post Office if ours closes which will incapacitate many of our people who do not have their own transport . At the moment there are two business people in Athea who would be interested in applying for a contract from An Post but we must first of all make a good case for keeping the business in Athea. A sub-committee has been formed and has  held one meeting on Friday last. This group is not exclusive and anyone who is interested may come to the meetings. The next one is at the Library on Friday next, August 31st at 8pm.  We would like to hear from anyone who has any ideas as to how we should persuade An Post to reverse its decision. We have taken the Post Office for granted over the years but now we can see how much we actually need it. They say you never miss the water until the well runs dry.

Pope’s Visit

There was great coverage of the Pope’s visit to Ireland on all the networks over the weekend. I think the organisers did a fantastic job and gave a very good impression of Ireland to the millions of viewers throughout the world. The entertainment was first class and Pope Francis came across as a sincere, humble man who wants the Church to be more loving and inclusive. He seemed very much at ease among the poor and needy and had time for the ordinary people. He also made genuine apologies to all the victims of clerical abuse and those who had suffered  at the hands of religious institutions. Some people say he did not go far enough but I think it was a bit too much to  expect that he could have all the answers and a definite plan in place at this time. He has huge opposition within the Vatican itself to any changes that he might wish to make but I am sure he will eventually be in a position to ensure that no child will be in danger in future and that those who committed crimes in the past are brought to justice.  It is the only way forward  to heal the deep wounds that have been left by the most shameful episode in our history. I  wasn’t present at any of the ceremonies this year buy I did go to see the Pope in the old Limerick racecourse in 1979. Remembering that time brought into sharp focus how much our country has changed in the meantime.  In ‘79 there was only one type of family, gays could not openly admit to their sexual orientation, divorce could not be countenanced, the population was mainly Catholic and priests  were  in positions of great power in their parishes.  Two of the most prominent and well liked clergymen at that time were Eamon Casey and Michael Cleary. They were to the forefront during the papal visit. Little did we know then what was to unfold with both having affairs and fathering sons. It was a huge scandal at the time but, in the light of what has happened since their “crimes” could be reduced to misdemeanours!! Yes, times have certainly changed