PROLOGUE: "The best way to measure how much you’ve grown isn’t by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average — though those things are important, to be sure. It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you’ve touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success."
DEATH: The news broke at early Mass last Sunday that our beloved, retired PP Canon James Neville had died during the night. Then the penny dropped that he was now with the Lord and who better to intercede for the Limerick Hurlers than himself and sure enough he worked his first miracle that afternoon and now we must all keep after him for the second. Canon Neville was appointed PP in Abbeyfeale in 1988 and retired to an active ministry in 2003 of saying Mass and helping out in the parish and as a comforting presence in many a sick room. During his ministry he built the Blessed Sacrament Chapel – that powerhouse of prayer – to quote Fr. Tim Galvin who broke the news of his death at Mass. A very active Adoration Committee was established by the Canon 27 years ago when the chapel was opened and they plan to hold a special vigil while the Canon’s remains are waked in the chapel this Wednesday. A sheet will be available at the church for all those who wish to contribute an hour of their time. The chapel is well-used with adoration all day Tuesday and Friday and evening adoration Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and 24 hour adoration during Lent. It’s also used for small weddings as it seats up to 60 people comfortably and by families with small children who want to attend Sunday Mass, with prayer groups and reading groups based there too. It’s an oasis of peace in a busy town where people can pop in for a moment of contemplation and peace and for all those years past the Canon could be found there on his knees praying at any hour. Canon Neville was also the man behind the building of the Day Care Centre and 23 sheltered houses which opened in 1996. I remember the first meeting he called to start working on this huge undertaking and the ideas being floated for raising the money needed. The late Ted Mulcahy, a member of the parish pastoral council and a great friend of the Canon’s was invited to shave his fine head of hair for a fundraiser and agreed reluctantly( he was afraid that his hair would grow back grey!) provided the rest of us could raise at least 5,000 pounds for his locks! Anyway a fund raising committee was set up, the enterprise went ahead (without Ted having to shave his head) and has provided a welcome to countless people who have been able to spend their retirement years there in comfort and safety. The Day Care Centre too is a monument to his forethought and provides a social outlet for people from the area and hinterland two days every week with a bus picking up people and bringing them in for a hot meal. I leave it to others to tell the stories of the Canon’s prowess on the hurling pitch, of his passionate support for Limerick GAA, of his fondness for skiing and in later years his trips up the Hill when it snowed in order to ski downhill, but suffice to say Abbeyfeale has lost a man who leaves a legacy that will serve this community well for many years to come. His remains will lie in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel on Wednesday, August 1 from 5-8pm and then be moved to the main church where he will repose overnight before his funeral Mass at 12.30 on Thursday, August 2. He will be buried in the church yard following Mass. May he rest in peace.
CHURCH NOTES: Canon Anthony Mullins fealechurch Limerick Social Services: 061-314111 Accord NCW 069/61000. . Parish Church 068/51915. Limerick Social Services: 061-314111. A.A. 061-311222 Al-Anon 086-8143425 Bereavement Support: 068 / 31203, 068/ 31262, 068/5198. Parish Support Worker 068/31019. St Vincent De Paul 087/1213560. 087 – 2618412. To book a Mass intention telephone the church 068/51915 during Mass times. Counselling Appointment 061/314213. Accord NCW 069/61000. Samaritans: 061 – 412111 or Free phone 1850609090 061-306792. Masses: No morning Mass Monday, evening Mass at 7pm. Saturday Masses 11am and 6.30pm. Sunday 9.15am and 12 noon. Mass Intentions: Thursday 12.30pm Funeral Mass for the late Canon James Neville, retired PP. Saturday 6.30pm Madge Woulfe, Kilconlea Lower. Owen & Eileen Doody, Ballaugh. Sunday 9.15am Thomas Browne, Knocknasna. Mossie (Noble) O’Connor and parents. 12 noon Ellen Healy, Sacred Heart residence Dublin/Ballybehy
Monday 7 pm Tommy, Margaret Helen and Mai Leahy, Cratloe West. Prayers to St Anthony on Mondays during the 7pm Mass. Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Fridays during the 10am Mass. Counselling takes place every week in West Limerick Tel 061/3147213 for appointment. A basket for the collection of stamps for Peru is at the back of the altar. If you know of someone in hospital please notify Fr. Tony.
SIX NATIONS TROPHY IS COMING TO THE GROVE: The Rugby Club have announced that both the Six Nations and the Triple Crown trophies will be coming to the Grove Grounds this Saturday evening, August 4 from 6 – 9pm. Bring the family down this Saturday evening and get a picture.
ELEANOR MC EVOY IN CONCERT AT THE GLÓRACH: Eleanor McEvoy the Irish singer/songwriter who composed the song "Only A Woman’s Heart" will perform at the Glórach on Friday, August 31 at 8.30pm. Tickets €20. Bookings on 087 1383940.
ABBEYFEALE PARISH COMMUNITY GARDEN: A huge thank you to all who supported our recent sale of produce which raised in excess of €900 for Fr. Tim Galvin’s Mission in South Soudan. A special thank you to Tus workers John and Jason who did all the work.
JOURNEY TO CROKER:
John Kiely is the manager
And some man is he
Without him Croke Park
We would not see
Many’s the Quaid had
Number 1 on his back
With Nicky in goals
He launches the attack
Finn, Casey and English
Are young and they’re bold
In the Full back line
They do untold
Richie the Rockie
Is powerful and strong
Throw him into full back
And he’ll do no wrong
Declan Hannon is our
Tall centre back
He comes from Adare
He’s the leader of the pack
So when distance is called for
Diarmuid Byrnes is your man
He’ll throw them over the bar
Simply because he can
We’ve Tom and Dan
Brothers in arms
A great asset to the team
From the mighty Ahane
There’s Cian and Darragh
In the centre of the park
Their work rate is immense
And their scoring is on the mark
With Will and Dempsey
To come into the mix
That gives Kiely a headache
With the team that he picks
With Hegarty and Hayes
In the half forward line
They’ll score when you need them
And their tackling is sublime
There’s Gillane in the corner
A threat with ball in hand
He’ll take the frees
And drive them into the Davin stand
Seamus Flanagan of Feohanagh
A club near my own
On the edge of the square
He’s like a King on his Throne
Mulcahy from Killmallock
A man with some Gears
When he gets on the ball
The whole county cheers
For the Limerick Senior Hurlers
A journey it has been
Many achievements have been earned
By our Heroes in green!
By Naomi Ryan. Tournafulla Gaa
MOLADH GO DEO LE DIA: Much of the past fifty years is captured in a book especially complied to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Church of the Assumption, Abbeyfeale. The book contains many wonderful coloured photographs that show off the splendour of the Church, its stained glass windows and general embellishment. The title of the publication is Moladh go Deo Le Dia. (Praise be to God forever). Price €10. The book is available in O’Donoghue’s, Marguerite’s, Ann Lyons’ Moss Harnett’s and following Mass.
COMMUNITY ALERT: There is a new campaign on staying safe on the Internet. Its http://www.gov.ie go to the search box and write in Be Safe Online. There’s loads of tips available.
SUPPORTING ABBEYFEALE: Please support the small businesses in our town so as to enable them to stay open. Don’t forget that they are the shop owners that support us when we are out looking for sponsorship to keep our sports clubs and youth facilities open. They are the people who are always willing to come up with a voucher or a bottle of wine for a spot prize but if we don’t support them they’ll all be gone. So the next time you want to buy an outfit or something for the house see what’s available in town first before heading for the city. Buying the basics like toilet rolls, milk, bread, newspapers, soap etc. in a small shop means a lot to them and helps keep the money circulating in the area.
BINGO AT THE GLÓRACH: Bingo every Monday night at the Glórach from 8.30pm.
DAN PADDY ANDY CELEBRATES 21: Celebrating a 21st anniversary can sometimes lead to dancing in the streets – but in the case of rural Lyreacrompane it will be a case of dancing in the marquee. The local Dan Paddy Andy Festival is twenty-one this year and an event that has become known as ‘Ireland’s Real Rural Festival’ will be celebrated with the same enthusiasm as was the first one all those years ago according to Kay O’Leary. “For the occasion we have decided to engage two nationally popular Country and Irish Bands. We are really pleased that Pat McKenna and Glenshane Country have agreed to travel down from Derry to help us celebrate”, Kay said. While Pat McKenna, who has a string of hits with songs like ‘The wind on the Hill’, has performed at concerts in Kerry previously this is the first time that people in the Kingdom will have a chance to dance to his music, Kay explained. Paddy O’Brien and his band will need no introduction and Paddy will be sure to sing his big hit, ‘Marion’s Rose’.
The festival kicks off on Friday night, August 3 with a Ceili in the Marquee. The weekend will then be packed with activities such as a Dog Show, Magic and Puppets for the children, Ger’s Animal Farm, a Bog Walk, the humour of Peter and Bob Casey from Clare and the songs of the great Willie Relihan from Cork and as much Marquee dancing as you want. The well-established Dan Paddy Andy Waltzing Competition has been moved to the Sunday afternoon dance with the Eddie Lee Band and there are lovely trophies to be won.
This year the 5K/10K Walk/Run is for the Kerry Branch of Enable Ireland and starts on Sunday morning at 11am from the Marquee. Registration from 9.30. And already there is an eye to next year’s festival. “The next twenty-one years should be easy,” Kay joked, “now that we have the hang of it”. In the meantime, anything else you need to know about this year’s Festival can be found on www.lyreacrompane.com on the Dan Paddy Andy Festival Facebook page or simply call 087 285 357.
ST. ITA’S FAITH CAMP: Annual Faith Camp takes place at St. Mary’s Boys N.S. from Tuesday, August 7 – Friday, August 10 and runs each day from 10 – 3pm. It includes; Sport, Drama, Faith Lessons, Music, Art and plenty of fun. Further information from Martina 087 2788834. Donations of food will be gratefully accepted.
ADVICE FROM COMMUNITY ALERT: Abbeyfeale Garda Station 068 30010 (if station unattended the call will automatically be forwarded to NCW station 069 20650. Helpline for crime victims is 116006. Opening hours are; Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10.00 – 5pm, Tuesday and Thursday 9.30 – 6.30pm, Saturday 2 – 4pm.Sunday- Closed. Never, ever give banking details to anyone on the phone or at the door. Lock windows and doors even if you are only going out for a few minutes. Put handbags in the boot not the passenger seat and lock the door when you’re in the car. Wear sunscreen, have the container beside the Holy Water and apply both on your way out the door! Once you reach the age of 65 and live alone or with a person/s aged over 65 you are entitled to receive a monitored alarm system. But if you have younger people living in the house who are out for long periods of the day then because you are spending hours alone you are also entitled to the system provided that you are over 65. The free equipment is provided by Pobal following an application from Abbeyfeale Community Alert, there will be a monitoring fee to be paid from the second year of installation to the installing company of €66. Should you not have a landline the installing company Task provide a sim card at a rate of €7.50 per month. Please note that this fee is payable in a lump sum each year after year one. Committee members are Sean Broderick, Micheal O’Kelly N.T., Seamus Stack, Mossie Gleeson, Kathleen Collins, Mary McArthur, Buddy and Brenda Barry, John O’Sullivan, Billy Quirke N.T., Cllr. Francis Foley, Mary Jo O’Connell, James Joy, Denis Collins, Marian Harnett.
‘THE PRESIDENT’S GLASSES’ LIBRARY EVENT:An interactive book reading session of Peter Donnelly’s ‘The President’s Glasses’ will take place in Newcastle West Library on Wednesday, August 15. The event is free and suitable for parents and children aged 6-8 years and will run from 11am to 1pm, in connection with the West Limerick Resources SICAP programme, Newcastle West Library and the Desmond Credit Union. The morning will include an interactive story time, an art and craft activity and a surprise activity. Places are limited and registration essential. For more information, and to register for the event, please contact Damien on 087 9042477 or Niamh on 087 4477338 or West Limerick Resources CLG on 069 62222.
PHONE CONNECT SEEKS VOLUNTEERS : The Phone Connect project is a free community based telephone support service offered to older people in the West Limerick Area empowering them to remain independent in their own homes. The weekly service provides a listening ear to the elderly allowing them to share any worries or concerns and to be informed of any local events or services. West Limerick Resources is now seeking volunteers to make these phone-calls from a dedicated space where a mobile phone is available. All volunteers will be Garda Vetted and training will also be made available. If you would be interested in volunteering or require more information, we would be delighted to hear from you so call Damien at West Limerick Resources on 087 9042477 or Stefanie on 087 3663842.
CLASS: A free Adult Sign Language Class will resume on September 18 at the Adult Education Centre in Mountmahon. Beginner’s classes on Tuesday nights with Level 1 on Wednesdays. Anyone interested please contact Breda 087 7715734.
BACK2NEW FURNITURE POP UP SHOP NOW OPEN! Re-designed and re-imagined furniture available. Now open every Wednesday and Thursday from 9.30am-4.30pm at Market Place (previously Citizens Information), Market Yard, Newcastle West.
SEISIÚN: The new season of the Comhaltas Summer Seisiún shows is at the Devon Inn on Thursday nights for the month of August starting at 8.30pm. These shows of traditional entertainment have proved very popular over recent years and are really enjoyed by all who attend, both local and visitor alike. A memorable night of top class song, music, dance and story is guaranteed comprising of a formal show in the first half and an informal second half where members of the audience are welcomed to join the performing group and provide a tune, song or step. Sometimes the night finishes with a set or a céilí dance.
OFFICE MOVE: Please note that the Abbeyfeale Office of West Limerick Resources has relocated to St Ita’s Hall, Convent Street, Abbeyfeale. If you have any enquiries, please call to the office and speak to Nora or you can call Mary on 087 9382883.
BRUACH NA CARRAIGE: The popular Rockchapel Seisiun continues at Bruach Na Carraige each Tuesday night at 9pm. You can hear some of Ireland`s oldest music being played, some of it going back to before 1850 and much of which has vanished over the last hundred years. You will also see some of Ireland`s oldest solo traditional step dances that have also almost vanished being performed. Bruach Na Carraige is the only venue in Ireland where you will hear this music, and see these dances performed. Bring your instrument or dancing shoes as there will be an opportunity for audience participation. Our Sliabh Luachra summer school is on from August 8-10 starting at 10am. The emphasis will be on music from the old manuscripts some dating back to before 1850. At 2.30pm each day there will be solo traditional step dancing workshops with Sarah and Maurice O Keeffe, the dance being taught will be "The King of the Fairies". Further Information from 087 2205566. Email email@example.com
ST PIO 50TH ANNIVERSARY PILGRIMAGE: Fr. Pat Crean-Lynch has organised a pilgrimage to Italy from September 21-28, which will include two nights in Assissi, three nights in San Giovanni Rotondo and two nights in Rome. For more information or to obtain a booking form contact Fr. Pat on 087 6709491.
GRAVEYARD: Clean up at Reilig Ide Naofa on every Tuesday evening for one hour, it is beautiful to see your family grave well maintained. Your help is greatly appreciated.
RURAL SOCIAL SCHEME RECRUITING POTENTIAL PARTICIPANTS: West Limerick Resources is compiling a list of individuals interested in joining the Rural Social Scheme (RSS). Participants on the scheme work 19.5hrs per week and receive a top up payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. To participate on the scheme you must fulfil the following criteria: Be actively farming over 1 hectare of land; Have a valid herd number; Proof of application for the EU Basic Payment Scheme for the current year and be in receipt of Farm Assist, Jobseekers Allowance or other qualifying payments. Spouses, children, brothers and sisters of the herd owner can also join the scheme if they meet relevant criteria. Only one person allowed per herd number. For further details contact Tom or Michelle at West Limerick Resources on 069-61316 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Successful eligible candidates will be placed on a panel from which vacancies will be filled.
TIPS ON CONSERVING WATER: Place a full litre bottle of water in the cistern in the toilet which will reduce the volume of water at each flush. Have shorter showers – an average shower uses 10 litres of water per minute, turn off the tap when washing your teeth. Use a basin to wash the ware and then use the water for watering the flowers. Washing up liquid will do no harm to the plants and vegetable water will add nutrients to the soil. Pour the cold tea out of the pot on the vegetables. Only do a wash when you have a full load. Invest in a water butt under the down pipe.
PARENT AND TODDLER GROUP: 11am – 12.30pm every Tuesday and Thursday, St Ita’s Hall. New people always welcome. Contact Mary on 087 9382883.
TOUR OF WEXFORD: Why not join us for a 4 day tour of Wexford taking place from Monday, September 3, staying in a four star hotel. We will visit New Ross (including the famous Ros Tapestry Exhibition Centre), Johnstown Castle Agri museum, Our Lady’s, Bunclody, Ferns, Loftus Hall, Ballyhack, the Father Murphy, Hook Head, the Kennedy homestead, 1798 rebellion centre, Enniscorthy Castle, Tintern Abbey and Kilmore. For further information contact Pat O’Donovan, Newcastlewest on 087 9977340 (Thomond Archaeological and Historical Society).
VISIT LADY GREGORY COUNTRY: Thomond Archaeological and Historical Society are hosting a full day’s outing taking in Kilmacduagh Round Tower and ancient monastery, Coole Park, the Kiltartan Gregory museum, the Thoor Ballylee Tower and Gorton Sunday, August 12. For further information contact Pat O’Donovan, Newcastlewest on 087 9977340.
TARBERT HOUSE: is now open for visitors and will remain open until August 31. The house is open Monday –Saturday, book with Ursula Leslie at 068-36198.
PARISH OFFICE HOSTS MEETINGS: Narcotics Anonymous meet every Monday night @ 8pm in the parish Office. Al-anon meet on Tuesday evening @ 8pm. A.A. Meet every Wednesday afternoon @ 3pm, Friday night @ 8pm and Sunday mornings @ 10am. These organisations are a great voluntary support to many people and we are happy to host their meetings in our parish office.
HOLY SPIRIT PRAYER MEETING: Janice and Moss Carraig will lead the Holy Spirit Prayer meeting on the second Sunday of each month in the Desmond Complex. Further information on 087 6174639.
BALLYHAHILL SOCIAL DANCING CLASSES: Classes have resumed for the summer months in Ballyhahill Community Centre in social dancing on Monday at 8pm. All are welcome.
SUPPORT GROUP FOR BEREAVEMENT: Abbeyfeale Bereavement Support Group Tel. 068/31230 or 068/51984 or 068/31262.
LIMERICK WRITERS’ CENTRE: Join us on Friday, August 24 for a magical trip around Co Limerick and a guided tour of places associated with the poets of the Gaelic tradition: Michael Hartnett; Daithi O Bruadair; Sean O Tuama and many more, taking in Newcastle West, Broadford; Ardagh/Athea; Bruree and Croom, – home of The Maigue. €15 per person. Contact
Contact Dominic at 087 2996409 or email email@example.com
KNIGHT OF GLIN: The first art gallery built in Britain or Ireland reopened to the public in Dublin in June. The exhibition space at the City Assembly House on South William Street in Dublin was built in 1766 and has been completely renovated to modern art gallery standards. The City Assembly House was once the Dublin Civic Museum and, after lying vacant for ten years became the headquarters of the Irish Georgian Society in 2013. This latest renovation phase involves the unveiling of an octagonal art gallery, built by the Society of Artists in Ireland in 1766, as the first purpose-built exhibition space in Britain and Ireland. It is now known as the Knight of Glin Exhibition Room.
ST PIO PILGRIMAGE TO SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO & ASSISI: on the 50th Anniversary of the death of St. Pio, with the Killarney St Pio Prayer Group September 21-27. For more information visit michaeldgclifford.
VINCENT DE PAUL SHOP: If you have an hour or two to spare why not consider volunteering your time to help the work of St Vincent de Paul. If you are interested contact Fr Tony on 087-2600414. The Abbeyfeale shop will open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday each week between 10-4pm. Further information 087 1213560.
PADRE PIO DEVOTIONS: Devotions on the first Tuesday of the month in Monagae Church at 7pm. Blessing with 1st. class relic. Listowel Friday, August 3. The evening Mass will be the Padre Pio Mass beginning with the Rosary at 6.45 p.m. Mass at 7pm. followed by the Padre Pio prayers & Benediction.
ST JOHN’S LISTOWEL: Donal Clancy, the son of the world renowned singer, Liam, Donal keeps The Clancy Brothers tradition alive with his solo performances – “Folk singing at its best” on Thursday, August 2. Then on Thursday, August 9 Paddy Cullivan of Callan’s Kicks, The Late Late Show, Leviathan and Kilkenomics using satire, imagery, historical insight and song, presents an audio-visual spectacular 220 years after the rebellion that changed Ireland forever. It is entitled ‘The 10 dark secrets of 1798.
LYREACROMPANE RUN/WALK FOR ENABLE IRELAND: In what looks like becoming an annual event, the roads of Lyreacrompane will re-echo to the feet of walkers and runners on August Bank Holiday Sunday, August 5. Last year’s 5/10K Walk/Run, as part of the Dan Paddy Andy Festival, was so successful that the organisers have put it on the calendar of their event again this year. On this occasion, the charity chosen to benefit is Enable Ireland. The Walk/Run will start at ‘the Marquee’ beside the Four Elms Bar at 11am. The route is looped and, apart from helping a good cause, the walkers/runners will get an opportunity of taking part in a real rural Ireland walk/run and see Lyreacrompane at its best.
Participants can register at The Marquee between 9am and 10.45am on the morning. More info from 087 285 3570 or Lyreacrompane.com. Entry Fees are 5k walk/run – €10. 10k walk/run – €15. Children €5. Ask about special family rate. The first woman gets €50 and the first man €50. There will be Trophies for 1st, 2nd & 3rd for both 5K & 10k runners and medals for all walkers and runners.
MEDJUGORJE: 7 nights October 10-17. Contact Annemarie Tydings, 0871013804.
ARDFERT Retreat Centre: Fr. Kilian Byrne, 6 Day Silent Retreat. Monday, August 13 – 19. . Information/booking contact: Helen – 0861678027 firstname.lastname@example.org
COACH TO KNOCK SHRINE: Sr Briege McKenna will be in Knock on Monday, August 6. Coach departs the Square, |Listowel at 8.00am.,. Contact: O’Shea’s @ 066-7180123
KERRY DIOCESAN PILGRIMAGE TO LOURDES led by Bishop Ray Browne will take place from September 2-7 ex Kerry Airport cost €785. To book call Janice O Sullivan on 064-7758219 or email joskdp@eircom.
ARDAGH COMMEMORATIONS: Unveiling of the Bishop Lacy Stone at Ardagh Graveyard Mass at the Millennium Altar and Pattern at St Molua’s Well on Friday August 3 from 6.30pm. This will be followed by a talk by Dr Salvador Michael Ryan of Maynooth in the Community Centre. On Sunday August 5 a 12k walk from Bishop Lacy’s birthplace Dromada, Athea to Ardagh Community Centre will be held. A bus will ferry the people from Ardagh at 12 noon to the start, and the route will take in the Booster Station Rooska, Ballyine, Old Mill Dunganville, and Ardagh. On Thursday August 23 a talk by Dr Bill O’Brien U.C.C. will be held in the Community Centre at 7.30pm. The title is Ballylin Hill Fort the Bronze Age Capital of Limerick and it will be followed by tea and cake. This event is in association with Heritage week.
YOUTH 2000—CATHOLIC SUMMER YOUTH FESTIVAL: Cistercian College, Mount St. Joseph Abbey, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary. August 16 -19. A weekend
of Fun, Faith and Friendship for 16 to 35 year olds. Live music, prayer and reconciliation, inspiring talks, workshops, drama and a chance to meet new friends. Donation only and free buses. To book your place or for more information contact office, phone 01 675 3690 or visit www.youth2000.ie
STUDY THEOLOGY BY DISTANCE LEARNING: Flexible and Accessible Courses. Attend Saturday lectures in Tallaght or online from the comfort of your own home and build modules towards a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theology. Application deadline September 25. Call 01 404 8124 or visit www.prioryinstitute.com.
CATHOLIC YOUNG ADULTS CONFERENCE: Will be held on September ½ in All Hallows, Dublin. It is a weekend event, organised by the Legion of Mary at which large numbers of young adults attend. Last year over 230 attended and enjoyed the event. The programme includes workshops, testimonies, discussion. The young people come together to share and discuss their faith. On the Saturday night, there is music and entertainment. The Legion of Mary in Kerry are sponsoring two young adults between 20 to 40-year-olds to come to Dublin for the conference. Contact: Patricia O’Donoghue 087 9048659.
KILLARNEY LIBRARY will host a workshop (using filmmaking techniques to bring an image of a book to screen) entitled From Page to Green Screen for children age 9-12 on Saturday 11th at 11am. Free admission but prior booking essential on 064-6632655.
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY ABBEYFEALE MAN IN THE IRISH TIMES IN 2016 FOLLOWING BREXIT VOTE IN UK: While the UK has chosen Leave in the EU referendum, voters in Northern Ireland and Scotland bucked the overall trend and voted Remain by a margin of 10 per cent greater than their English compatriots. Ominously, such a stark divergence in opinion between the Celtic countries and England means we may have witnessed the first step in the disintegration of the UK as we have known it for over 400 years.
In contrast, in 1975, it was the English who actually voted for the EC by a margin of 10 per cent greater than the Scottish and Northern Irish, who rejected the authority of the London government to act on their behalf, resented yet another foreign government controlling their lives and rebelled at the prospect of heavily-subsidised foreign farmers undercutting domestic farmers. Incredibly, that vote even registered the rare achievement of uniting most Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland against membership!
So, what has happened in the meantime to cause this dramatic Celtic transformation?
There are several factors.
First, in 1975, the Northern Irish and Scots saw the EC as a threat to British regional development aid. Back then, the EC had no regional development policy of note. Fast forward to 2016 and the EU now runs a comprehensive regional development fund with deep pockets, investing billions of pounds around the entire island of Ireland and in the most deprived parts of Scotland. Before 2020, Northern Ireland alone was due to get over twice the per capita EU regional development funding of England. Over the same period, Scottish and Irish farmers would have received three times and five times, respectively, the per capita compensation of their English counterparts from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Second, since the 1970s, both Scotland and Northern Ireland voters have fought for, and won, limited autonomy, devolution, and their own national parliaments within a more flexible UK structure. Consequently, today, they enjoy a more autonomous and equal relationship with London. Counter intuitively, the EU has actually facilitated this devolution process. Before British membership, devolution provoked fear of disintegration in London. However, within the EU, London recognised that both it and the regions were united within a common European project, making domestic devolution less risky. Moreover, thanks to the EU’s deliberate engagement with regional political parties, both Scottish and Northern Irish parties actually gained political legitimacy and boosted their own local profile. This was an unforeseen positive consequence of membership.
Third, in Northern Ireland, where the Belfast Agreement of 1998 remains the guarantor of the still shaky co-operation between unionist and nationalist communities, shared EU membership of the UK and the Republic played a positive role. As partners in Europe since 1973, the daily and routine contact between Irish and British representatives in a neutral venue helped build the kind of trust lacking for decades and allowed both countries to engage as equal partners. Of course, the massive injection of EU peace-building money into Northern Ireland since 1995, approximately £1.3 billion to date, can only have helped too.
Fourth, the most successful Brexit argument, immigration control, failed to swing the Celtic voters. This is partly because the issue is not as provocative outside of England. Historically, the Scots and Irish have been forced to seek work abroad themselves for so many generations that the word “immigrant” there provokes a much more empathetic response there than it does in England.
Finally, many of the Irish and the Scots voted for the Remain camp on Thursday because, unlike their English counterparts, the present Celtic generation has become fundamentally more comfortable with the notion of belonging to at least two distinguishable cultural or political identities. If you start from the position of willingly accepting that you can be both Scottish and British, then it is not as awkward to add a third tier, European, to this identity mix. Devolution has certainly helped this process. In contrast, English and British identities are often seen as one and the same in England, where the Scottish and Irish notes of the British symphony are often drowned out.
In Northern Ireland, the specific sectarian divide muddies this theory somewhat but dual identity still holds for many there. For the Catholic population, who would reject the British label, this dual identity includes affinity with Catholics in the Irish Republic, a fellow EU member, not to mention the traditional religious link with Rome as an accepted “foreign” authority structure.
Given these transformations in Scotland and Northern Ireland since the 1970s, it is hardly surprising that the Celtic cavalry overturned their 1975 voting deficit with the English on Thursday. However, their ultimate failure to prevent the UK from stumbling over the Brexit cliffs of Dover will make for an awkward and unstable future within the British union.
Peter Moloney is a visiting professor at Boston College history department and a native of St. Ita’s Terrace, Abbeyfeale.