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November 2015
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“Darkest Hour”- Observations On Christmas – Ger Cullen

With eyelids red and heavy from bending o’er the smold’ring peat, hill poet Mr Ger (Gerry) Cullen, armed with the stub of a pencil  and the back of a discarded cigarette packet, shares his observations on Christmas.

Warning to Readers: Having read this poem twice, if you are not emotionally moved by the concord of its content, you may need to get in touch with us; with regard to searching out the help of a medical professional.  (Note: Readers resident in the Bansha, Cappawhite and Glengoole areas of Tipperary need not apply at this time, since they have no GP services.).

“Darkest Hour”

(Latest poem courtesy of resident Tipperary bard, Mr Gerry Cullen. © )

When your ould lad drinks the ‘Double-Week’, then there’s nothing left for you
And you’d love to put his lights out, but there’s nothing you can do.
Just take your head and bury it, the world might disappear.
Text the boys and know right well they’re on for drinkin’ beer.

CullenIt’s the cause of all my sorrow and the start of all my pain
And there to ruin the good times, just as sure as Irish rain.
Stole away my childhood and ripped my world apart,
Yet it’s hard cold hands, my comfort in the darkest hour of dark.

When your ould wan’s face is black and blue, ‘cos she slipped and fell again,
Or the door hangs off the hinges, ‘cos the ould lad kicked it in.
You’d never say on our estate that Christmas time is near,
There’s always tension, always rows and Christ, there’s always beer.

It’s the cause of all my sorrow and the start of all my pain
And there to ruin the good times, just as sure as Irish rain.
Stole away my childhood and ripped my world apart,
Yet it’s hard cold hands, my comfort in the darkest hour of dark.

When banging doors are constant, when fighting fills the air,
It breaks through walls and pillows, it finds you everywhere.
She scraped us through the birthdays, yet Christmas touched us all.
Our Santy’s name was Vincent, his helper’s name was Paul.

It’s the cause of all my sorrow and the start of all my pain
And there to ruin the good times, just as sure as Irish rain.
Stole away my childhood and ripped my world apart,
Yet it’s hard cold hands, my comfort in the darkest hour of dark.

“Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (St. Matthew 25:40)

Speaking of that wonderful local organisation St. Vincent de Paul; local VDP member Mary Mac Donagh has asked us to point out that they are keen to support endeavours at making a small gesture, to help make Christmas 2015 more enjoyable for deserving children.
To this end those attending churches this week end, and next, are invited to place a new unwrapped toy in a collection box provided discreetly at the back of appointed churches.  (Thanks Mary.)

Some suggestions if you need help in choosing your gift:

  • Infants & Toddlers: Activity toys, pre-school toys, board books.
  • 3-6 years: Soft toys, action toys, character toys such as Peppa Pig and SpongeBob SquarePants.
  • 7-9 years: Board games, dressing up outfits, books, cars.
  • 10-12 years: Books, jewellery, games, music, toiletries, DVD’s.

Now back to Mr Ger Cullen with a question; “Where is the book of poetry you promised?”  We’re waiting!

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Bansha, Cappawhite & Glengoole Co. Tipp Unable To Attract GP Services

m-lowryThe community of Bansha, Co Tipperary and those residing in the surrounding hinterland are expected to converge on their local GAA village hall in large numbers tonight, to discuss serious concerns over the imminent departure of their local General Practitioner (GP).

The current GP presiding over the health clinic at Bansha, which has over 2,500 patients, is due to retire in the New Year; however to-date no replacement applications, to take over the duties of this rural vacant practice, have been received by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The reason for lack of interest by GP’s in applying for this post, is the removal of a ‘Rural Practice Allowance’ by the former failed TD and Health Minister, Mr James O’Reilly.  This ‘Rural Practice Allowance’ prior to the ascendency of this government was paid to offset the high costs naturally incurred in attempting to run a rural surgery situated outside of larger urban areas.

We understand that those organising this emergency meeting have been criticised by local TD Mr Tom Hayes, who claimed that the meeting was unnecessary and who also stated that the issue was resolved. We understand this matter in fact, to-date, has not been resolved as per Mr Hayes’ own Facebook, uploaded by him on Nov. 25th 2015 and which states “I will be meeting with the Health Minister Leo Varadkar later today to discuss the current situation in Bansha. I understand there are fears regarding the future of the service, but I am confident that the situation can be resolved.”  One cannot help but wonder what kept him from approaching Mr Varadkar prior to Nov. 25th.. Was he not aware of the plight of his local constituents or perhaps he was ill himself and had been forced out of the area and thus out of earshot, while in search of a resident GP in Dublin’s Blackrock Clinic?

However we now understand from locals that Independent TD Mr Michael Lowry has intervened in this most serious of health-care issues and has placed a common sense plan of approach on the table which is currently being carefully examined. While no details of the ‘Lowry Plan’ were forthcoming from his office today, we understand that if his proposals are agreed the ‘Rural Practice Allowance’ may be returned to the areas of not just Bansha, but also to Cappawhite and Glengoole, Co. Tipperary, where similar serious rural GP replacement problems also currently exist.

One must ask the question “What has Co. Tipperary done, to so offend this present Fine Gael / Labour government, which over the last 5 years has done absolutely nothing to support our ailing rural communities, except in the last few days to attempt to steal our ‘Shannon waters’ for an over inflated Dublin economy?”

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Blood Donation Clinic – The Dome – Thursday 3rd Dec. 2015

Please Give Blood

Please Give Blood

There will be a final opportunity to donate blood before Christmas, when the Irish Blood Donation Clinic visits Thurles, Co. Tipperary; attending at The Dome, Semple Stadium, here in the town.

This opportunity will take the form of an evening clinic to be held on Thursday 3rd December, 2015 next,  operating from 6:00pm – 9:00pm. It is also important to note that Clinics are also operating from Nenagh, Co Tipperary from December 7th, to 10th, inclusive and details of the timing of these clinics will be posted in advance around the Nenagh area.

For further details do check the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) website www. giveblood.ie or contact them directly via Tel: 061 306980.

In considering your attendance for the first time at one of these clinics; please do remember:-

  • One in four people will need a blood transfusion at some point in their lives.
  • Only 5% of the population are regular blood donors.
  • Over 1,000 Irish people receive transfusions every week here in the Republic of Ireland.
  • One car accident victim may require up to 30 units of blood, a bleeding ulcer could require anything between 3-30 units of blood and a coronary artery bypass may use between 1-5 units of blood.
  • Approximately 70,000 patients will have transfusions in Irish hospitals this year.
  • 3,000 blood donors are needed each week in Ireland.
  • A unit of blood lasts for just 35 days.
  • Some blood packs for new born babies or cancer treatment only lasts for 5 days.
  • There is no substitute for human blood.

The IBTS supplies 71 hospitals in Ireland with blood and blood products 365 days a year; so if possible help save a life by donating blood.

A massive thank you to all those unselfish individuals who turn out regularly supporting clinics around the country.

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Michael Lowry – Special Educational Needs ‘Bureaucratic Purgatory’

In one of his strongest statements yet, when speaking in relation to children with special needs, Independent Tipperary TD Mr Michael Lowry has accused the present government of ‘muddled policies’, ‘crisis to crisis’ management, with teachers and parents nationally being left in ‘bureaucratic purgatory’.

In his statement to Dáil Éireann, on Wednesday last, 25th November 2015, the Deputy asserted:- [Video shown here.]  (Note: Please move video time-line to 0.36.00 to view and hear Mr Lowry’s strong Dáil Éireann statement in full.)

North Tipperary Independent TD Michael Lowry

Co. Tipperary Independent TD Michael Lowry.

“The refusal by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to approve services at Scoil Aonghusa Cashel is causing unwarranted hardship and inconvenience.

The experience of parents and their teachers regarding children with special educational needs over the lifetime of this government has become a national disgrace. Continuous muddled government policies over how to provide for such children, together with the shortage of resources and the non-availability of facilities, consign many to what can only be described as ‘bureaucratic purgatory’.

These problems are further exacerbated by parents being forced to lurch from ‘crisis to crisis’ trying to ensure that their children receive a basic education appropriate to their needs, while also endeavouring to locate a continuous and safe environment. All too often, parents with children of special needs, spend a large proportion of their earnings, not to mention months of precious time, to find that there are insufficient services or they have to wait weeks, months, even years before they can get therapy and support for their child.

Last Monday night, I attended a meeting in ‘Scoil Aonghusa’ school in Cashel. This co-educational school which facilitates 85 individuals with multiple physical, emotional and other learning difficulties. These pupils need immediate specialist services and are receiving very little support or funding from the Health Service Executive. I am aware that this is a national issue but similarly another school ‘Scoil Cormaic’, based too in Cashel, who assist upto 223 children and young adults, also see the constant re-occurrence of minimal services being provided.

The introduction of the Progressive Disability Services for Children and Young Children established by the Health Service Executive to change the way services are provided, is a haphazard, unpredictable, ‘billy- to- jack’, delivery of service and therapy. This project is not going to alleviate any problem. We need services delivered consistently and cohesively and in collaboration with parents and teachers. We need to start listening to parents and teachers who care for these children every day. Both are acutely aware of what needs to be undertaken and how efficient delivery of such services can be fully achieved.

Children with special needs should have access to all the specialist therapy and supports they require not out of luxury, but out of necessity. Lack of funding for services is the current governments daily recited turn of phrase that parents and teachers hear repeatedly, but shouldn’t we find that funding, and shouldn’t funding for children with special needs be a first priority? We need to ensure that everything is in place for them to be enabled to reach their full potential. Instead, without funding and adequate numbers of therapists the government is guilty of preventing these children from reaching their potential, when life has already put enough obstacles in their way.

Yes, we have moved on in terms of assessing and diagnosing children, but support and services for children with special needs has not. Children with special needs are still not receiving the support they need and deserve, in this country. What good is an assessment or a diagnosis, without follow up therapy and support from specialists? It just gives parents and teachers a keyword to research on ‘Google’.

It is evident that this continued chaos of care and services is not at fault with psychologists or therapists, their case-loads are simply too big to meet the needs of so many children. In the absence of services, our teachers are to be applauded for the incredible work they are undertaking to meet the requirements of these children and the after school support they are also providing to parents.

In our last budget we heard that there are more resource and learning support teaching positions being sanctioned. It is obvious that these posts are vital and should continue to increase, however what you don’t hear and what these announcements hide is the fighting, pleading and justification that schools and parents have to make to get these posts. What you don’t hear is how overwhelmed teachers and parents are, to meet the needs of children when there are little or no therapists or services. We need more specialist therapists and psychologists and we need them available to schools, to parents and ultimately to the children with additional needs, who deserve them. We need this as a matter of priority,” stated Michael Lowry

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Death Of Eileen Flynn, Beakstown, Thurles, Tipperary

With-sincere-sympathyIt was with sadness we learned of the death yesterday,Tuesday 24th November 2015, of Mrs Eileen Flynn (née O’Keeffe), Beakstown, Thurles, and formerly of Glenough, Rossmore, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Mrs Flynn passed away peacefully at the South Tipperary General Hospital, Clonmel, Co.Tipperary after a short illness. Her passing is most deeply regretted by her loving husband Bart, sons Patrick, Barty and Aaron, brothers, sisters, daughter-in-law Siobhan, Barty’s girlfriend Karen, brother-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunt Jilly McHugh, nieces, nephews, relatives and a large circle of friends.

Funeral Arrangements
The earthly remains of Mrs Flynn will repose at Egan’s Funeral Home, Dublin Road, Thurles, on Thursday evening from 5:30pm until 8:00pm. Her body will arrive to the church of Jesus Christ Our Saviour, Rossmore, Thurles on Friday morning for Requiem Mass at 11.30am. Burial will take place immediately afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.

Note: Family flowers only please, donations if desired to the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA).

Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.

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