Athea Tidy Towns River Walk Project is shaping up nicely

Athea Drama Group

Athea Drama Group proudly presents ‘Looking for Love’, the comic drama written by Westmeath playwright Jimmy Keary on February 6th, 8th, 9th, 13th, 15th & 16th at Con Colbert Memorial Hall, Athea at 8pm.

An amalgamation of two one – act plays written in 1996 and 1998 respectively, ‘Looking for Love’ tells the tale of Vivian and Denis’ romance – from their first encounter in Bewley’s cafe to their wedding night exactly one year later – “where everything that can go wrong, does go wrong, with hilarious consequences.”

Directed by Tommy Denihan and starring Theresa O’Halloran, John Sheahan, Rebecca Stapleton, Nora Hunt, Linda Hunt, Oliver McGrath, Annette O’Donnell and Denis Casey.

Special opening night concession price on Thursday February 6th where all tickets will be priced at €5. Booking line will open on January 27th by calling/ texting 087 2743189.

Thank You

A sincere thank you to Athea Utd Soccer Club for their generous donation of €565 to the Going Strong, proceeds of their St. Stephen’s Day Tournament at The Vales.

Sacristan’s Collection

The Sacristan’s Collection for Carol takes place on Saturday/Sunday February 1st and 2nd. Envelopes are available at the 3 main Church doors. Your support, as always, will be appreciated.

C.E Scheme Vacancy

A vacancy will arise in February for a place on the current Athea/Carrigkerry/Old Mill C.E. Scheme. We are looking for someone to take over the cleaning of our Church in Athea.  The candidates need to be on a Social Welfare payment in order to qualify. If interested please contact 068-42301.

Athea Tidy Towns

River walk

With a bit of a stretch in the evenings our group are almost ready to come out of hibernation! Our first meeting of 2020 is scheduled to take place on Thursday night at the Library. New members are always welcome. If interested, please contact any member of the committee, you would be more than welcome!

Our Riverwalk Project team met on Saturday morning to put a plan in place to have this project complete during the year. The first step will be to erect a fence at the river bank to ensure the site is safe. Concrete will  be laid on the path which will then allow us to  plant our community orchard of various apple trees and wildlife friendly shrubs and flowers. Thanks to Colin Mumbray who is overseeing this project whilst doing many of the work behind the scenes.

Six Whitebeam Trees will also be planted at the Creamery in the coming weeks. These Native trees produce blossoms for bees and berries for birds, ticking all the tidy towns boxes. We look forward to witnessing these trees develop adding to our village streetscape in the coming years.

Dumping at the Bottle Banks continued to be an issue over the Christmas Period. We are currently investigating ways to alter the layout of the bottle bank to open up the area in an effort to deter dumping. We welcome any suggestions from the public.

Our Heritage Trail map is also near completion. Huge thanks to Rachael Grainger who has put into a lot of voluntary hours into this project. We look forward to launching this project during the year.

The Fence at the Giant’s Garden will also be replaced in the coming months thanks to a grant secured by Athea Community Council from Limerick City & County Council. The current timber rail and concrete post fence will be replaced with a recycled plastic fence. This will ensure this fence will not have to be maintained annually going forward, cutting down on the workload!

We would like to offer our sympathies to Derek Curtin, Margaret Carroll and family on the death of Derek’s Dad, Bertie Curtin RIP. May the light of heaven shine upon him.

The Consequences of Drug-taking

By Domhnall de Barra

Last week, I wrote about the year starting out on a positive note and hoping it would continue. Well, since then my bubble has been well and truly burst. I don’t think we have ever had a week, outside of the troubles, when so many people were shot, some of them fatally. In some ways we have become used to it because it happens so frequently but the sheer savagery of the murder and dismemberment of a 17 year old from Drogheda plumbed new depths of depravity.  Gangs of criminals seem to be able to act with impunity and terrorise many towns in this country. Young people are drawn to these gangs by the trappings of wealth and the lifestyle they aspire to. They get sucked in at an early age and are introduced to criminal behaviour as something normal. Those who do honest work for a living are seen as fools who will never have the kind of money some of these youths can amass before their twenties.  There is a lot of money in supplying the demand for drugs in this country and therein lies the problem. When a rival gang tries to muscle in on a particular turf, war ensues and the cycle of tit-for-tat killings begins. An “eye for an eye” ends up with everyone becoming  blind and so many families deprived of loved ones.  The sad thing is that everyone knows who the people involved are and where they live but our justice system is such that concrete evidence has to be obtained before somebody can be brought to trial. Is it time for emergency legislation, like we had to deal with  subversives in the past, to give the Gardaí more powers of arrest and conviction ?  Some have suggested that the word of a Chief Superintendent  should be taken as fact. In other words if the super says “I believe this defendant is a member of a drugs gang and has committed  a crime”  that would be enough to satisfy the court. It is one solution but it is fraught with danger. In the recent past some of our Chief Superintendents have shown themselves to be less than honest in their dealings with whistle blowers. Indeed it has cost a couple of them their jobs so, even though they are mostly upright, honest professionals, there is the opportunity for a miscarriage of justice. I think the “CAB” approach is working. If a person, with no visible sources of income, is buying designer clothes, flash cars and  large houses then they should be brought in for questioning and their ill-gotten gains stripped from them. I certainly don’t know what should be done but the government should listen to the Gardaí on the ground and give them whatever resources they need. There is another question that has to be  answered: why is there such a market for illegal drugs in this country?  We have this image of drug users as members from the lower strata in society who rob and steal to get the money to feed their habit but that is not so. Most of the drugs today are bought by what we call “recreational users”. These are people in well paid jobs who can afford to have lines of coke at their parties and gatherings. It was rare enough a few years ago but now it has gained “normal” status. These are the people who are funding the drug lords and are as guilty of the murder of the 17 year old as those who pulled the trigger. Why do people need to shove poison up their noses to get a “buzz” ?  For as long as we can remember people have been experimenting with various substances to give themselves a high. The Bible tells us that Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding feast.  In our day it was drink and tobacco.  We did not have the option of taking other types of drugs in those days but I am sure that if they were available we would have experimented with them. Being able to drink and smoke was a sign of maturity and we all wanted to be thought of as grown up. We never thought about the consequences or what harm we were doing to our bodies and before we knew it we were hooked. Anyone who has given up cigarettes will know what a hard job it is. I did it myself in 1974. I had been on a concert tour of America and spent the last couple of days in New York with members of Noreen’s family. I came straight from a party to the plane and fell asleep. We were almost in Shannon when I woke up and my first instinct was to light a cigarette (in those days smoking was allowed on aircrafts).  It was an American cigarette and did not taste too good. After a good bout of coughing I looked at the cigarette and said to myself “what am I smoking you for”.  I decided not to smoke for the rest of that day but I kept the packet in my  pocket. Day followed day and, though I put a cigarette in my mouth hundreds of times, I never lit one. Every now and then I would get a craving and it took all my resolve not to light up. As time went on the periods between the cravings became longer and longer until, after about a year, they disappeared altogether. It was one of the toughest things I ever did in my life and I don’t envy anyone trying to do it today. Trying to give up hard drugs is ten times more difficult and can not be done without professional assistance. The best way is not to start in the first place. We need  a big push in national schools to educate our children before they fall prey to the pushers. The glamour has to be taken out of it and the cost in human life has to be stressed. There are more ways of passing the time than shoving harmful substances into the body and the lows far outweigh the highs. I live in hope that the appalling death of the young man in Drogheda will be a watershed that spurs the powers that be into action before we are subjected to even more brutal savagery. And don’t think for one minute this does not apply to Athea. Drugs are readily available in this small village, just like every other town and village in the country.