Joan Carroll of Athea who celebrated her 70th birthday at The Longcourt Hotel, Newcastle West with her husband Donal and family and friends.

County Fleadh for Athea

Athea has been awarded the Limerick County Fleadh Cheoil which will be held over the June Bank Holiday weekend. This is great news and a welcome boost for our village. The local Comhaltas branch will need a lot of help to run this huge event so a meeting to organise the Fleadh Committee will be held at the Top of the Town on Monday Feb 28th. at 8pm All support from clubs, organisations and individuals is welcome so please come along

Knockdown Vintage Club

Fundraising Raffle in aid of Irish Community Air Ambulance.

1st Prize: €150 Voucher for O’Donoghue Ring Hotels, Killarney

2nd Prize: €100 Voucher for Home Heating Oil. 3rd Prize: Monster Hamper. Numerous other Prizes.

Tickets €2 each or 3 for €5.

Draw takes place in the Knockdown Arms on Sunday, March 27th.

Athea Drama Group

Huge Congratulations and Well Done to the cast & crew of “Dancing at Lughnasa” for a fantastic opening performance on Sunday with the audience rising to their feet in appreciation.

The booking line is extremely busy at the moment, with this Saturday night sold out and limited tickets available on 3 of the other nights.

The play continues Thursday 17th, Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th, Wednesday 23rd, Thursday 24th & Saturday 26th.

Bookings, Text or What’s App 087 6926746.

Curtains up at 7:30 sharp each night


Mass Intentions next weekend

Fri Feb 18th 7.30pm:        Ella Ahern

Sat Feb 19th 7.30pm:       Thomas Kennelly – 1st Anniversary. James O’Mahony. Liam & Hannah Murphy.

Sun Feb 20th 10.30am: Mary Barry – Month’s Mind.

All masses are streamed live on

If you wish to book a mass etc., text/phone Siobhan on 087-2237858 or email the parish office at [email protected]

Ministers of the Word and Ministers of the Eucharist 

Sat 19/2     Caroline Pierse / Mary Sheahan  Sun 20/2 Margaret Cotter/ Mary Hunt.

Baptismal Information: Any parent wishing to baptise their child must have completed the baptismal course. Next course Tues Mar 8th – Please contact Theresa for further details 087 1513565.

The Way I See It

By Domhnall de Barra

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the government giving  a €100 payment to power providers for every household in the country and how it was a waste of public finances because it did not make any distinction between those who did and did not need  it. Now they are going to double that to €200 and again there is no talk of means testing. They say people need it now because of the rise in the cost of living but, in reality, they are just taking the easy way out. I’m sure the likes of Michael O’Leary and J.P. McManus will be delighted and there will be many more laughing all the way to the bank. RTE don’t help matters either. To listen to some of their interviews one would think that most households in the country were on the verge of starvation or in danger of dying from the cold. The truth is that the vast majority of households are doing ok and getting by even though they are hit by rising prices. What the government fail to do is to tackle the causes and instead resort to throwing money at the problems in the hope that they will go away or at least ingratiate themselves with the population and enhance their chances of re-election. They could have tackled low wages years ago. It is obvious that the minimum wage is no longer a living wage and some employers are exploiting workers with zero hours contracts etc. Large supermarket chains, most of them British, are among the worst offenders along with the hospitality industry. They will complain that, if the minimum wage is raised they will not be able to survive. This  should be taken with a pinch of salt as supermarkets in Ireland record massive profits every year.  The prices for goods over the counter here are far higher than in the North or in the UK so it is no wonder these supermarket chains refer to Ireland as “treasure island”.

Then there is the housing situation that we hear about day after day.  This is all the government’s fault. In the last century, when money was really scarce, local authorities, aided by the government of the day, built thousands of house each year. These were rented out at a reasonable rent to people who had the option of purchasing the properties after a number of years. It was a great system and ensured everyone who needed housing got it. Then there was a change of emphasis and the government got the notion that privatisation was the way forward so, instead of building houses they gave good sites to private developers, saving money in the process. Private developers are not in the business of housing people, they are there for profit so they were able to charge whatever the market could afford so the cost of housing started to rise and soon “affordable” houses were a thing of the past. The banking collapse did not help matters but saving money by not building houses was false economy and we are now paying the price. Along with the actual building costs, there are a whole load of extra charges by local governments that make it almost impossible for anyone trying to build a house today. Planning permission is another problem and is in need of overhaul. If I want to build a house on my own land at the moment, an objection to my planning permission can be lodged by somebody in Dublin or Galway or anywhere else in the country who has no knowledge of the area or situation. This is patently wrong. Local planning laws are stringently observed, maybe too much so. It is very seldom that the first plans submitted are accepted and several changes have to be made involving new drawings and extra expense. I had a situation where improvements were necessary to a listed building. I invite the conservation officer to meet the architect and myself at the site and he told us what we could and could not do. The architect submitted the plans accordingly and you can imagine my surprise when the document came back with no fewer than 17 changes. This should not happen but, unfortunately there are many out there who have similar experiences. We have to get back to common  sense. Forget about mansions; young married couples only need a couple of rooms to start off with. These should be rented or affordable to buy and could be sold on when bigger premises are required. This would help those on lower incomes to get on the property ladder and give them a chance to put a bit of savings together for the future. There is another section of our society that is in real need at the moment. They are what we might describe as the middle class. They are usually professional couples who have big mortgages and both have to work to make repayments. This means they need to pay for child care and between that and travelling costs they are struggling to make ends meet every month. The lower income groups can avail of government help in many forms but the middle class are entitled to nothing because their wages are above the threshold. As children grow up they are hit by education costs which are huge in this country. I have personal experience of this myself. I had two of the lads in third level education at the same time. Because I was self employed I did not qualify for any grants so I had to fork out for college fees, digs and books. During that time I worked day and night. One year I was working in Rathvilly in Carlow by day and playing music in Dublin every night. I managed on  6 hours sleep and then on  Friday drove down home after work in time to play at some local venue that night and somewhere else on Saturday. On Sunday afternoon it was back to Dublin and the week started all over again. I was one of the lucky ones who had the option of earning the extra money required due to the accordian but it was hard going and I have every sympathy for those who are struggling now to give their children a decent education.  One of those lads, Danjoe, has lived and raised a family in Copenhagen since he graduated from Trinity. His two daughters, now grown up, came through the Danish education system and what  a difference it is there to what we have here. The system is completely free from pre-school right up to and including university. Workers pay a bit more tax than we do but they don’t mind because they get the services for it. There is no reason why that system could not be adopted here.

I remember when the late Donagh O’Malley made secondary education free a few decades ago. The profits of doom said it would break the country but it was one of the best pieces of legislation ever passed and opened the door to all who wanted to avail of an education. Investment in education is an investment in the future of the country and it would help parents who are squeezed enough as it is. Third level institutions should also be obliged to provide purpose built college apartments for students so that they are not caught up in the annual race for flats at exorbitant fees. It will take a lot of changes in government thinking and individual bravery but it can and should be done. I am sure those who could afford it would not mind a little bit of extra tax to cover the cost because the rewards of having an available to all education far outweigh any monetary worries.

The cast of “Dancing at Lughnasa”
receiving a standing
ovation for their
performance at the
Matinee on Sunday last.