Athea Drama Group

Following a very successful run of the Lonesome West, our group were delighted to make a contribution to two deserving charities recently. The Athea Community First Responders and Milford Care Centre were the chosen charities receiving €500 each. Our donation to Milford Hospice was donated in memory of a former member Betty Murphy RIP who passed away recently. Thanks to everyone for their support throughout our 2019 production. Keep an eye out for our AGM in late August/September.


Memorial Mass

A Memorial Mass will be said for the late John Hunt of Chicago (and formerly of Athea)  in St. Bartholomew’s Church, Athea on Tuesday, May 7th at 7pm.

Ladies Monthly Night Out

The next Ladies Monthly night out will take place on Friday, May 3rd at Brown Joe’s at 9.30pm. This will be a fundraiser for the Lourdes Fund. All the usual games, quiz, bingo and fun. Your support would be appreciated.

Church Gate Collection

In aid of Rehab this weekend, Sat 4th/Sun 5th May. Your support would be appreciated

Thank You

Christina at Athea Hairstyles is finishing up on Saturday, May 11th and would like to thank all her loyal clients from the hair salon and barbering over the last 9 years..

Contact Christina on 0872433516 for any enquires on hairdressing and barbering as she is at a new location.

The Cost of “Progress” 

by Domhnall de Barra

There has been a dramatic change in the way we produce food and do our shopping in recent years. Not that long ago everybody who had a patch of ground made a garden to supply the home with potatoes, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, turnips etc.  Those with larger pieces of ground also had mangolds for the cows and oats for the horses. It was fairly common for a farmer to give a piece of ground to a neighbour who didn’t have any land of his own so that he might cultivate it. There were very few, if any, chemicals used except maybe a spray to prevent blight or a few pellets to keep the slugs away from the cabbage.  Farmyard manure was the driving force and the vegetables, when ready, were taken from the ground and straight onto the table. There is no better taste than fresh vegetables, especially those grown on your own land. People in large towns and cities did not have this luxury but, in some cases, they were able to rent allotments that were owned by the local authorities to make their gardens. I remember years ago in Coventry when my uncle-in-law, Pat O’Sullivan who came originally from Caolchill in West Cork, had such an allotment. I was a young fellow of 16 at the time and had no appreciation of the art of gardening; hurling and football were more important, so I was never too pleased when Pat announced that we would go to the allotment. After a while though I began to like it, especially when it came to the harvest time and we would arrive home with buckets of fresh produce. The arrival of the supermarkets with relatively cheap food changed everything.  Now it was cheaper to buy vegetables than to set them. As time went on they became cheaper and cheaper with rival supermarket chains trying to outdo each other. With the small gardens gone the big market gardeners were the only suppliers but now the supermarkets began to put the squeeze on them. They had the buying power and dictated the price. The producer had no place else to go so it was take it or leave it. They took it for a while but nearly half of them have gone out of business in the last few years. This is a worrying trend because we knew where the vegetables came from and were assured quality by the Irish system. The supermarkets will source food wherever it can get it but there is no guarantee that it will be anywhere near the quality we had before. It is likely that these vegetables will be artificially forced to mature as quickly as possible and will be sprayed with chemicals to extend their shelf life. Just look at fruit. Take an apple from a tree an leave it for two days and it will start to go off. The same type of apple will sit for a week on a supermarket shelf and will look as fresh as a daisy.  Is it any wonder that we are so unhealthy? I am no expert but you don’t need a degree to work out that spraying with chemicals has a knock on effect that does not do us any good. The more I think about supermarkets the angrier I become. Their only motivation is profit and they don’t mind how many people they put out of business in the process. Look at all the shops and traders that have closed down because they could not even buy products at the price they sell for in the supermarkets. Greengrocers, butchers, bakers and many others are disappearing from our towns and villages. The counter argument is that they are giving employment locally. True but what kind of employment is it? Many workers are on what is known as “zero hours contracts” . They do not know when they are working or for how long. Because of that insecurity they have no hope of getting a mortgage for a house or indeed just making short-term plans for the future. Yes, it is all very well to be getting food for half nothing but what is the real cost and where is this race to the bottom going to end. People were never more conscious of what they eat and every second program on the TV is telling us what is not good for us. If we want quality we will have to pay a little more for it or we will have no producers left. What about the price of a litre of milk?  It is cheaper by far than water when you look at €2.50 for a 30ml bottle.  There is no comparison to the price the farmer gets to the shelf price. This forces more intense dairy farming with every inch of grazing land being used up to maximise the herd numbers. Herds are getting bigger every year and if the trend continues there will only be a handful of very big ranches in each county. Milk is a vital commodity that we use every day and, let’s be honest , we could afford to pay a little more for it but if the supermarkets continue to sell their own labels at ridiculously low prices the future of dairy farming in this country is not looking too good. There is no way of turning back the clock so we have to find a way forward that will ensure we have an available food at prices that will give a living to the producers or we will be consuming produce from the other side of the world, probably created by slave labour.

I’m glad I am not young again!

Knockdown Vintage Club members and helpers presenting a cheque for €6975 to Claudine Herbert who accepted it on behalf of The Paediatric Oncology Patient and Family Support Fund, The Children’s Ark Unit U.H. L.