Athea National School 6th Class pupils celebrating after their Graduation Mass in Athea Church on Saturday last and will be starting secondary school in September. Best of luck to them all.

Athea Playground

On Friday 14th of June we had our weekly meeting in the Library. We thank those in attendance on the night especially Michael O’Connor who has guided & informed us so much to date.

Our plans over the next few weeks are to meet with the council & relevant parties to discuss the possible sites that we have. We will also be meeting up with other playground committee’s to discuss & get information from them on there journeys.

We meet in the Library every Friday night @9pm, everyone is welcome to attend.

Joe Aherne after finishing a 50 mile JFK Challenge Walk in Moylagh, Co. Meath that he completed in 15 hours 8 minutes
on Saturday, June 8th.

Athea Annual Day Trip

The Annual Athea Day Trip will take place on Tuesday, July 16th visiting Derryglad Folk and Heritage Museum, also shopping time in Athlone. Bus leaving Newcastle West at 7.45am via Templeglantine, Abbeyfeale, Athea 8.15 am Carrigkerry, Ardagh, Rathkeale, Adare, South Court. For further information contact Marie Wrenn 087-7674832

Joan Fitzgibbon 087-986-5005.

Ladies Monthly Night Out 

The Ladies Monthly night out will take place on Friday, June 28th at 9.30pm in Brown Joe’s. The proceeds will go to Athea Community Games. All the usual fun and games including bingo, quiz etc. Please come along and enjoy a great night’s entertainment.

Athea Utd Soccer AGM

Athea Utd will hold its Annual General Meeting on Friday, June 28th at 9pm. Venue The Top of the Town. All are welcome to attend.

Normalising Murder

By Domhnall de Barra

In the middle of the last century, there was an incident in Kerry that shocked the nation. It was the murder of a man called Maurice Moore who lived in the mountainy area between Knocknagoshel and Tralee. It was a dispute over land that caused the crime to be committed and it is said to have  given John B. Keane the inspiration to write one of his most famous plays, and one that was eventually made into a film,  “The Field”. Violent crime was so rare at the time that it became the topic of conversation for weeks. People spoke of it in hushed whispers and tried to keep the news away from younger ears. I remember getting an eerie feeling passing the spot where it had happened as there seemed to be an air of malice about the place. Alas things have changed, and not for the better. Murder is now an almost daily event and there seems to be  no respect at all for human life. Quite a lot of the most violent crimes are committed by members of organised criminal gangs who are trying to corner drug and other markets in particular areas. They are usually in what used to be referred to as “deprived areas” where young people are easily recruited due to the lack of education and job opportunities. They see the godfathers driving around in flash cars and living the high life and naturally they want a part of it. They recruit them at a young age and they are well groomed. They become the foot soldiers, the ones who will be sent to mete out punishment to those who  owe money for the drugs they have not paid for or to scare off rival pushers who may be encroaching on their territory. The ultimate punishment, of course, is death and they have no problem with that once they are supplied with weapons. They live by a strict code of behaviour  and  are often in fear for their lives. Shooting somebody does not cause them any worries and there is no remorse afterwards; it is just part of the job. How did something as unnatural as taking a human life become so normalised?  For many of the murders in the past we can see a motif and maybe understand why somebody lost their temper and acted as they did. The crime wasn’t  cold blooded and unfeeling and regarded as just another task to be got out of the way. There are many reasons why killing has become so normalised We can trace the beginnings back to the making of films about organised crime families in America such as “The Godfather” and  later “The Sopranos”.  They gave these gangsters a human face and glamourised their activities to a certain extent. In later years we have series like “The Wire” and “Boardwalk Empire” again all about the rackets and corruption where there was no regard for life at all and where the thugs were even more vicious than in the former films. It is quite easy to see why certain young people would be influenced by these programmes to such an extent that they want to emulate them.  The birth of this type of crime can be traced back to prohibition in America. It was illegal to sell booze in many states but that did not mean that there wasn’t a market for it and some chancers saw there was money to be made from smuggling hard liquor to supply the many “sheebeens” and “speakeasys” that sprung up in cities and towns. Of course this could not have happened if certain policemen and other officials were not willing to turn a blind eye in return for a slice of the action. This was a lucrative industry and as such attracted competition and so began the gang wars that raged throughout America. Eventually the government saw sense and lifted the prohibition but by this time the gangs were moving on to drugs and their well oiled operations continued. In this country, drugs are the main reason for gang rivalry with the resultant killings and murders. The Gardaí are doing as much as they can but they seem to be fighting a losing battle. The fact of the matter is that there is demand and a ready market for prohibited drugs. There isn’t a village or town in the country that is not affected by drugs of  all types. Again the providers could not succeed if there wasn’t a certain amount of help from those who do not themselves take drugs but, money is money and it talks. So the turf wars will continue and more and more young people will die. The only way to counteract it is to take away the demand. If there are no buyers, there are no dealers. It has to start with education, beginning at a very early age in school. Children need to know, in graphic detail, what taking drugs means and what it can do to them. Unfortunately the use of “recreational” drugs on TV and film gives a very bad example. We tend to think of drug users as those at the lower end of the social scale who may have to rob and steal to feed their habit, but professional people make up a high proportion of buyers as they now like to have lines of coke etc at their parties and get-togethers. They can afford the cost and are fuelling the raging fire that is going to consume us all if we are not careful. Many of us set a bad example as well. It is difficult to get across to children the dangers of drug taking when we ourselves indulge in tobacco and alcohol. Yes, they are drugs as well and have ruined many lives over the years. I cannot point the finger at anybody when I myself started smoking and drinking at an early age. I have no doubt that if other types of drugs were available back then I would have tried them too. The difference is, nobody told us we were doing harm to ourselves back then. As a matter of fact we were told, through ads on TV,  that smoking is relaxing and “Guinness is good for you”. At least people are better informed today but the choice has to be made at a very early age.