Congratulations to the Athea U-10s who won the Shield Final at the Billy Kirwan Tournament in Shanagolden on Sunday last.

Post Office Closure

Parishioners are urged to lobby their local T.D.’s by making calls or sending emails outlining their concerns for the loss of the PO service in Athea, and letting them know the knock-on effects for the local shops, the distance to the nearest PO, etc.

Contact details below for our local T.D.’s

Tom Neville –[email protected] Telephone: 069 63610 / 086 3110031

Patrick O’ Donovan –[email protected] Telephone: 069 77998

Niall Collins –[email protected] Telephone: 061 300149 / 087 2749659

Community First Responders (CFRs) – AGM

The Community First Responders will hold their AGM in the hall on Wednesday 12th September at 8:30pm. Since June, after satisfying certain criteria, the group are now directly linked to NEOC (National Emergency Operations Centre).   This means we are attending a lot more callouts.  Everyone is very welcome to attend the AGM and because of increased activity, new volunteers are especially welcome

Coffee Morning

A Coffee Morning aid of Milford Hospice will take place in the Hall on Thursday, September 20th. All support greatly appreciated.

Athea GAA Commemoration Night

Tickets at €30 each are now on sale  for the Commemoration Night on Friday, October 5th at the Devon Inn Hotel. You are advised to buy early to avoid disappointment.

C.E. Scheme Vacancies

There are two vacancies on the current C.E. Scheme for positions in the Community Hall. If you are receiving a social welfare payment you may qualify for a place. You can call into the  Community Council Office on Colbert Street or phone 068-42301 for more details.

Use it or Lose it 

By Domhnall de Barra

The slogan “lose it or use it” is very apt in the current climate with the possibility of no post office in many rural villages, Athea amongst them. With the advent of modern technology people are being encouraged to do most of their business on line. It is easy to get your car taxed, pay your utility bills, dog licences, TV licenses etc from the comfort of your own home without the hassle of having to drive to the nearest  post office or tax office. Pensions can be paid into bank accounts so all you need is a convenient ATM to get your money. I must admit to taking advantage of the online system for most of my transactions without ever thinking of the consequences for our post office. I’m sure there are many more of you out there who do the same. Had we all used the post office instead we wouldn’t be facing the predicament that we now do. The sub-title on the bottom of this newsletter reads “Support Local Enterprise”. Well, some of us are guilty of not doing so.  At one stage there were five sets of petrol pumps in the parish. Gradually that number was reduced until there was only one in the village which has now sadly closed as well. The reason it closed is because it was not viable for the owner to keep it open. I was talking to a motorist from the parish one day who told me that he would not buy his petrol in Athea because it was  1c a litre cheaper in Newcastle West. I am sure there were more like him but now that the pumps have closed they will have to do a minimum round trip of 14 miles if they need a gallon of petrol for their lawn mower –  false economy in the long run.

We are down to one shop in the village. I remember a time when every second house in the street was a business of some kind. Of course those were the days before the Lidl’s and Aldi’s of this world came to our shores along with the Tesco’s and our own Irish supermarkets. Of course people will do the big shop where the best bargains are but unless it is a big shop the savings can be minimal if you take into consideration the cost of travel and the fact that supermarket aisles are laid out to tempt us into buying goods we don’t really need. “Buy one, get another for half price” sounds like a good deal but, nine times out of ten the second item is chucked out of the fridge the following week. The local shop is there for our convenience so, if we want to keep it, we have to support it. Can you imagine a time when you get up in the morning, find the milk sour, and have to travel to Abbeyfeale or Listowel to buy a pint!  That is the reality in villages like Mountcollins and Tournafulla, villages that were once vibrant.  In this day and age it is difficult to keep villages alive but we have a better chance than most here in Athea.

The doctor’s surgery brings people to the village on a daily basis. Many of those will come down the village to get their prescriptions filled at the chemist’s and while in town may visit the shop or the butchers because it is convenient. This is why the creamery was so important and why its closure was such a big blow to the businesses of the area.

If we want to keep what services we have left we have to support them. I know what it is like to try and keep going in a small village. Printing has changed a lot over the years but business has continued to decline year by year as there are more and more paperless transactions. One time I was doing hundreds of invoice books. Now, firms send an email to their customers with the invoice as an attachment that they themselves have to download and print out. Very little expense involved there. I am now semi-retired so it does not really affect me but I have to say the support I get from local organisations is disappointing. Some get their printing done outside the parish. Now they have every right to do this and maybe they are getting a better price but, my point is, when I am finished there will not be enough business for anybody else to carry on and another door will close. This will mean the end of the weekly newsletter and the annual journal because the printing has been supplementing those two for the past few years. I do it because I love doing it but it would not pay anybody else to take it on.

This is what happens when we do not support our local businesses and we will eventually end up with a village that will resemble a big housing estate. If we want to stay alive our first task is to fight for our post office/ We have two businesses who are interested in  maintaining the services if An Post are willing to reverse their decision to close. Please put as much pressure as possible on your local TDs and councillors to lobby on our behalf. It is up to all of us to try our best. We may not succeed but we will not go down without a fight. Everything should not be about economy and ensuring every government service makes a profit. People who live in isolated rural areas deserve the same services as those living in Dublin 4. This is what our democracy is built on and what our forefathers fought and died for. In the grand scheme of things, the cost of keeping post offices open in smaller villages is but a pittance but the social cost of closing them is vast.  Ladies and gentlemen, it is up to you!!!