Athea Creamery staff holding their re-union at Batt’s Bar on Tuesday night last

Athea Community CouncilPublic Meeting

 Regarding Athea Christmas Lights

Our current Christmas Lighting has served us well over the last number of years and has been well supported by the Athea Community. Athea Community Council haw decided to hold a public meeting on Thursday night November 28th at 8.30pm at the Library in Athea to form a sub committee to oversee the lighting up of Athea over the Christmas Period. There are alot more options of lighting available to us today including energy efficient options which would reduce the running costs. Anyone interested in getting involved is asked to come along to the meeting on Thursday night.

St. Vincent de Paul Collection

The Annual St. Vincent De Paul collection will take place on Saturday, November 30th & Sunday, December 1st at both Masses. Your support would be appreciated.

Athea Craft Group Open Day/Gift Sale

Athea Craft Group will have an open day on Saturday November 30th at the Library from 10am – 4pm. All crafts will be on display and available to purchase. Everyone welcome to come along for free festive refreshments and to see first hand the projects the group carry out.

Going Strong Christmas Party

The Going Strong Christmas Party will take place on Wednesday, December 4th. Mass will be celebrated in the Top of the Town at 12 noon sharp followed by Dinner & Music by Blue Rhythm.  €15 per person inclusive for Dinner, Dance and Afternoon Tea. Names must be in by Saturday, November 30th. To book please contact Maireád Langan on 087-6407026, Eilish Geoghegan on 087 9065042 or Eileen O’Sullivan on 087-9848247.

Menu: Beef or Turkey. Take Away dinners on the day need to be ordered in advance when booking.

The Journal and Overcharging

By Domhnall de Barra

I was asked the question the other day, “how do you make the Journal?”  My flippant answer was, “with great difficulty”, so as we are at it at the moment, I will try to explain what happens,  Work begins at the beginning of October when we start looking for articles and photographs. This is done through notices in the newsletter and personal contact  Some people are regular contributors and they will respond in good time but others need a bit of reminding to make the deadline, actually that is our biggest problem, getting material in on time. We want to include everything but at some point you have to go ahead and start putting it together. In recent years most of the articles come in online but there are still a few that have to be typed up and that is time consuming. Anyway, all the articles are downloaded and placed in a file. Photos have to be scanned individually, registered on the computer and then brought into the photo shop to be cropped, resized and named. They are then saved into their own file ready to be inserted later on. Advertisers have to be contacted  which also takes up a fair bit of time. Most of our advertisers have been with us for years  and we are grateful to them  for their continued support. After the deadline we start to bring the articles into the journal. Again they have to be placed  in certain areas and have to fit into the designated spaces. This means tweaking text and spacing, leaving room sometimes for the insertion of photos and captions. Articles should ideally fit into pages, half pages or quarters but they rarely do but, by using a few publishing tricks, we eventually have them all inserted with no blank spaces at the bottom of pages.  Pages of photos bring another challenge but one by one they are placed and the captions are typed underneath or at one side. They must fit into the available space, just like the text. Sometimes the quality of the photos, especially some of the older ones, is not very good but it is important that they are included because they are a reminder of a particular time in our history, As we go through the book the ads are placed throughout making sure that all the details, especially contact details, are correct. At last all the material is entered and we now add  the index page and the  editorial comment.  The book is then printed and Lillian takes it away to go through it all looking for errors and making corrections. By this time the cover has already been designed and printed. It is made of heavier card with a glossy finish. When we have finally agreed that we are satisfied with everything it is over to me and I start printing. I set up the job on the printing press and send through a trial copy. The machine folds as it prints but, because there are so many pages, it comes out in three sections. I now have to check every page again and see if I have to do extra work on the photos. Once satisfied I set the required amount and off we go. The three sections have to be put together manually and the cover must be added before it is stapled in the middle and folded by hand.  When I have five finished they are put into a clamp that puts pressure on the folded spines and they are then trimmed in the guillotine. It is all go between taking them from the machine, putting them together, stapling, folding and trimming but, at last, the books are ready for the shops. There is great pressure while all the work is being done but there is also great satisfaction when that first finished book comes off the press.

I was listening to the radio while I was doing a bit of work today and though I pay little attention to it as it is always on in the background, a woman’s complaint caught my ear. It was on the Joe Duffy show and she told of an experience she had in a particular restaurant when she was charged €14.50 for a glass of wine. I thought that this must be some rare vintage but no, it could be bought by the bottle for less than the price of the glass!  It was actually more expensive than  the meal she had and it led to other similar experiences being discussed. The owner of the restaurant came on and tried to defend the price; he should have  kept his powder dry. It is just a rip-off and it is something we in Ireland are very good at. It is not so long ago that hoteliers and restaurant owners were lobbying the government to reduce the vat for them because they were doing so badly but now that the country is doing a little better and people have a bit of disposable income the masks are back on and they are acting like highway robbers. We will never learn in this country; it is one of the most expensive places in the world to live because greed has again taken over leaving most of us unable to afford rent, never mind a night out. It never lasts and sooner or later times will change and we will be listening to the sob stories again. The only way to deal with restaurants that overcharge is to vote with your feet and walk away. You can get  really good wine in any supermarket for less than €20.

Another example of greed is the way hotels and airlines hike up  their prices when a big event is happening.  Let us say the Heineken Cup final (as it used to be called) was fixed for Glasgow. As soon as the date is announced the room prices in that city go to multiples of what they normally are. Likewise the price of a Ryanair ticket will go from about €60 return to €800. The fans are caught in a bind and have no other option but to cough up and accept it. It is as bad as blackmail because they are making enough already. A modest increase might be acceptable but the “make hay while the sun shines” mentality is alive and kicking.