Diocese accounts in the black in ‘06

The Diocese of Killaloe was in the black at the end of last year showing a healthy profit margin of €105,160.

Publishing the 2006 diocesan ac- counts this week the Bishop of Kil- laloe, Dr Willie Walsh, thanked the people for their generosity.

The largest income for the diocese – more than half – came from parish- ioners through parish contribution.

The €459,968 gathered in this way was approximately 12.5 per cent of the parishes’ yearly income.

Investments totalled €290,324 in 2006, up more than €130,000 on the previous year.

Bequests and donations were down on 2005 with the diocese recording €41,400 in donations in 2006.

A diocesan payment totalling €191,400 to victims of abuse was made in 2006, with €23,218 going towards the child protection scheme.

“The ongoing fallout from the tragedy of sexual abuse by a small number of clergy in the distant past

continues to demand time and re- sources for healing and reconcili- ation. €191,401 have been paid in 2006 for this purpose,” said Bishop Walsh.

“This payment was funded princi- pally from part of the proceeds raised by sale of land at Bishop’s House in 2001 and the Stewardship Trust set up by the Irish Episcopal Confer- ence,’ Bishop Walsh added.

“In relation to child protection the figure of €23,218 reflects the com- mitment of the diocese to ensure best practice by all people in our parish communities who work with chil- dren and young people.

“Our specially trained child pro- tection workers visit every parish to assist with the continued implemen- tation of our child protection guide- lines “Keeping Children Safe” pub- lished in 2004,” he said.

Salaries and state insurance was the largest expense to the local diocese, costing €141,793.

Charitable contributions made up €105,450 of the expenditure.


OPO CKroleaeunie

CLARE GAA’s campaign to entice more people to take up refereeing is being lost, Saturday’s annual con- vention heard in a report delivered by Clare Referees Administration Com- mittee chairman, Kevin Walsh.

“We are on the verge of a crisis in relation to refereeing numbers in Clare,’ said Walsh. Since the incep- tion of the national recruitment drive in 1999 we are gradually losing the battle of recruiting referees. There are a number of reasons for this, but the main reason continues to be a complete lack of interest shown by some clubs in the county and they are the same year on year.

“Again this year we still have 21 clubs in the county who do not have a referee and have shown little inter- est in addressing this situation. De- spite the efforts of the county chair- man, we still did not get a positive response from any of these clubs.

“When it comes to moaning and suggesting what should be done with refereeing in Clare in order to 1m- prove it, the clubs with no referees make the most noise and always ex- pect to have a referee for the games in which they play, but are doing lit- tle to help the cause of refereeing.

“It is very easy to talk about and suggest what should be done. I be- lieve actions speak louder than words and if club are serious about doing something positive in this important area of our games, then the time is now,’ added Walsh in his hard-hit- ting report.

And, he didn’t leave it there. In revealing that there are only 48 ref- erees active in the county, Walsh said that numbers could dwindle further because the abuse some referees are subjected to.

“The real sad area and the one which I am most concerned over is the referees lost because of abuse. Everyone wants a referee for their

game but no one gives the beginner a chance to develop.

“This abuse factor has an even deeper knock on effect because as referees administrator for the county and charged with responsibility for recruitment of foundation referees, it has become increasingly difficult to convince someone to become a knight of the whistle.

‘The amount of abuse being direct- ed at new referees in these games 1s seriously damaging our effectiveness in recruiting referees and is turning them away from refereeing. This is a sad state of affairs.

‘The abuse of referees has to be severely dealt with each and every time and all our referees have to be protected and get the support they Caer


New full-time Secretary hops aboard the Railway

CALLS for the abolition of the In- terprovincial Championships in hurling and football are never to far away, but another Clare loyalist has emerged in the shape of Pat Fitzger- ald. The new full-time secretary, Pat Fitzgerald, added his voice to those supporting the competition that dates from 1927.

At this Saturday’s convention, Fit- zgerald, lauded the efforts of Coora- clare man Martin Donnelly at reviv-

ing interest in a competition in recent years through sponsorship to the tune of €500,000.

“The enduring appeal of the Rail- way Cup, or the Martin Donnelly sponsored inter-provincial champion- ships as it’s now known, was placed very much in the spotlight this year with the decision of the GAA hierar- chy to stage the finals under lights at Croke Park,’ Fitzgerald told the an- nual convention.

“The finals were back in a changed environment of GAA headquarters

for the first time

since 1995 and as one who has been particularly sceptical of the Associa- tion’s direction in trying to revive interest in the competition, I have to admit that this year they almost got Lime reanle

“Almost, I say, because with a more orchestrated and better market- ing campaign, the attendance could have been appreciably more that the 10,000 spectators who went through the turnstiles. At that, it was signifi- cant in that it represented the larg-

est attendance at the finals in some thirty years.

That was the encouraging aspect, a heartening indication of a potential resurgence in interest 1n a competi- tion which provides us with a rich sporting legacy. Gone was the public apathy. Had the GAA more time than a mere five days to engage in a sus- tained public relations exercise, the attendance could have been swelled ehKerorm ene) AYA

“Sponsor Martin Donnelly, who has bank rolled the competition for the

past five years, deserves that at least. He said that this year was a missed Opportunity in that he had planned on marketing the event through Cu- mann na mBunscoil, filling the sta- dium with enthusiastic children and donating the proceeds to charity,” added Fitzgerald.


Meeting marks 25 years of Clare ladies football

CLARE ladies football celebrates 25 years in existence in 2008 and with new Chairman of the Clare ladies football county board, Johnny Hayes at the helm, the board hopes to pro- pel the sport forward significantly in the coming year. Hayes, who took temporary charge of the board after the resignation of James Lafferty in October, was ratified to the chair af- ter The Banner’s Paul McKenna and Fergus Rovers’ Mary Keane with- drew their nominations leaving the position open for the Fergus Rovers’ delegate Hayes.

In his speech following the ap- pointment, Hayes placed the provi- sion of a county field for Clare ladies

football as top of his priority list for the coming year. The new chairman also spoke out against the increas- ing threat of drink and drugs in Irish society and felt that everyone must work to eliminate that ‘evil threat’ before it causes serious long term problems for the clubs and games as a whole, stressing the need to support the headquarters promoted drug and alcohol prevention programme.

Mr Hayes also paid tribute to his predecessor James Lafferty who held the position for two years until his resignation in October.

Outgoing county secretary, Michael Fitzpatrick in his report to the delegates outlined the past year’s achievements in Clare ladies football. He praised the Clare U16

team on winning the All-Ireland B championship as well as the West Clare Gaels on their impressive and historic run to the All-Ireland Junior championship final, only losing out to Foxrock/Cabinteely a few weeks ago. He dwelt on the heartache suf- fered by the Clare Intermediate team in their second successive one point defeat in the All-Ireland semi-final and wished them better luck for the year ahead. Finally, he saved spe- cial praise for the work of everyone involved in the sport in Clare from team management, players, match officials, organisers, county board officers from all codes, sponsors and anyone who assisted and promoted the game in the past year.

The finances for 2007 were dealt

with by outgoing treasurer Christy O’Connor who gave a detailed report and of all the board’s funds during the year. At the beginning of the year, the board had an opening balance of €12,169.50. The income for 2007 was €98,626.68 while the overall ex- penditure came to €82,523.55, leav- ing a surplus including the opening balance of €28,272.63.

The income was broken down fur- ther by O’Connor who revealed the main source of revenue was from church gate collections (€9,193.78), race night (€14,088), Flag day (€2,360) and a bucket collection (€2,480) while the main expenses were the central council registration costs (€31,278), Clare Intermediate team (€18,273.55) and the Under 16

B team (€6,898,55).


Pat’s lodge series of complaints

THE Clare Schoolboys Soccer League, the Munster Football Asso- ciation and the FAI have been writ- ten to this week by the St Pat’s club in Kilmihil, who have lodged a series of complaints over Saturday under 11 Clare Cup semi-final against Money- point.

In a hard-hitting letter, St Pat’s of- ficials Tom Egan, Derek Dolan and Tony Quinn have said when they travelled to Kilrush for the match they “had no idea of the horror which was to unfold”.

‘“Moneypoint managers and a large number of their fans invaded the pitch and verbally abused the referee in front of both sets of teams.

‘Foul and abusive language flowed

unchecked and disregarding the children listening. We gathered our children together to shield them from deh

‘“Moneypoint’s team seeing their parents managers etc abuse the ref- eree themselves began aiming foul language at him to cheers of encour- agement.

“Was this supposed to be a game for kids to enjoy or was it as Money- point’s supporters seemed to think it was life or death,” the letter adds.

Moneypoint won the game 4-3, but according to St Pats’ correspondence, the game descended into a farce in the second half.

“What followed was disgraceful. Our children some as young as eight were being threatened from the side- nase

“Two of our supporters who had children on the team were assaulted by a woman and were told to stand on the opposite side of the pitch.

‘The referee had to stop the game to try and restore order. Some of our boys were now in terror and had tears in their eyes.

“We had to bring any of our players playing on Moneypoint’s supporters side into the middle for their own safety which effectively meant that channel was now fully exposed.

“Having little regard of what was happening on the pitch and listening to foul threatening language from the sideline our team fell apart to howls of derision from Moneypoint Supporters.

“Trailing 4-3 and with ten min- utes remaining the referee told me

he would support us if we wanted to abandon the game. Under normal circumstances I would have said yes but my primary concern was to get our kids off the pitch safely and un- injured and abandoning the game would not have been well received and could have led to even more seri- ous scenarios.

“I agreed that at the games end we would gather our children over to our side straight away and wait for the supporters from Moneypoint to leave. At the final whistle we gath- ered our children and tried our best to comfort them. Losing is a part of growing up but losing like this is nothing short of disgraceful.

“One of Moneypoint’s club officials apologised for the terrible behaviour of their supporters to our lads. Did

he not have a duty to stop this type of behaviour?

Did he not realise that the Code of conduct for players, managers and supporters had all been broken. Were these Codes ever issued and if so were they not understood?

“Soccer at underage level is all about teaching kid’s basic skills and encouraging them to enjoy the game while maintaining good discipline and respecting their fellow players and opponents. When did that change to a win at all costs attitude regard- less of who you hurt in the process? Soccer suffered a terrible blow on Saturday,” the letter added.

The Clare Schoolboys Soccer League are awaiting the referees re- port on the game.


Sel eye re etip. for Clare FM staff

CALLS were made yesterday by a number of shareholders set to benefit in the €7.2 million from the pro- posed sale of Clare FM that the sta- tion’s 30 staff should also profit from the sale.

Yesterday was ‘D-Day’ for the sta- tion’s shareholders to decide on the acceptance of the Radio Kerry offer for the station.

The offer values individual shares at €20 each — almost 20 times what shareholders paid for the shares in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

A cross-section of the Clare public is set to benefit following a success- ful share drive in the early 1990s and three of those who opted for minor shareholdings, Cllr Christy Cur- tin (Ind), Cllr Pat Keane (FF) and Cllr Frankie Neylon (Ind) yesterday called on the Clare FM Board to en- sure that the station’s staff share in the anticipated windfall.

The station’s only two employees set to profit from the sale are chief executive, Liam O’Shea and the station’s Head of Operation, Susan Murphy.

Mr O’Shea set to receive €407,300 through his 20,365 shares and

Ms Murphy is set to receive over €200,000.

Details of the sale circulated to shareholders show no indication of a bonus scheme for the station’s 30 employees.

Cllr Curtin is to receive €2,000 through his 100 shares and he said yesterday, “I believe that the station’s staff should share in the money from the sale and their interests should be protected.

‘This must be done to ensure that there is continuity and stability in the station’s staff so there must be a mechanism in place to allow the staff access a share of the money.”

Cllr Frankie Neylon is set to receive €4,000 and he said: “I would hope that the staff will profit from the sale and there jobs would be secured.”

Kilkee-based Cllr Pat Keane said: “IT would be disappointed if there wasn’t in place a scheme for staff to purchase shares. They should have been given that opportunity. Staff play an important role and if they were given an opportunity to pur- chase, they would take additional interest in the station.”

Other politicians set to benefit from the sale are Cllr Madeleine Taylor Quinn (€4,000), Cllr PJ

Kelly (€2,000), Cllr Martin Laft- ferty (€1,000), while retired Fine Gael TD, Donal Carey is to receive €2,000.

Cllr PJ Kelly quipped yesterday,*! thought it was a subscription I was buying back then. It was done with a sense of patriotism. It 1s a fairly good return on the investment made and better than some of the other invest- ments I’ve made.”

The figures show that the Ennis Chamber of Commerce Is set to re- ceive €50,000 from its 2,500 share- holding, while prominent Ennis busi- ness man, Oliver Moylan is to receive €10,000 from his 500 shares.

Cllr Keane said that is glad that he did not take up on the €2 buy-back offer from the Clare FM Board two years.

The share-offer was not widely tak- en up after founding chief executive, Caimin Jones dismissed the offer as “much too low”’.

The move comes against the back- eround of growing profits and listen- ership for Clare FM.

The annual returns for 2006 show that the company increased its annu- al profits to €240,000 on a turnover of €1.9 million.


HSE warning after measles outbreak

AN OUTBREAK of measles in the county has led the Health Service Ex- ecutive to issue a warning to parents to have their children immunised.

There has been one confirmed case of measles in Ennis and two other suspected measles cases in Clare in the past few weeks.

According to the HSE the parents of children in contact with the con- firmed case of measles have been advised to ensure that their children have two doses of MMR, which offers 99 per cent protection against measles.

The MMR vaccine is part of the routine immunisation from GPs. It is usually given when a baby is 12 months old and again when the child is four to five years of age.

The HSE is now asking all parents in Clare to ensure their children have oreo eMDOSDOSIUNOD ILO D

“Tf your child has not had the MMR vaccine and is over 12 months of age, please contact your GP. If you have public health queries in rela-

tion to measles, please contact the Department of Public Health on 061- 483337 and one of the doctors will be able to help you,” a spokesman said.

According to the VHI website, measles is an acute, highly infectious viral disease that attacks the respira- tory system, eyes, gut and skin.

It mainly affects children between two and five years of age, although it can occur at any age. In Ireland, the number of cases tends to rise in win- ter and spring.

In recent years some _ parents have delayed having their children vaccinated against measles due to reports suggesting a possible link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism and bowel disease.

Uptake levels have remained low in parts of the country. In the year 2000 over 1,500 new cases of the disease and two deaths due to complications associated with measles were report- ed to the National Disease Surveil- lance Centre. This compares to 147 cases the previous year.


Pills issued after teen’s death

THE University of Limerick has issued a statement revealing that antibiotics have been issued follow- ing a suspected case of meningitis which resulted in the death of a Clare student.

Tuamgreaney teenager Stephen McGuire was found dead on Friday morning last.

Health experts believe that the young sports enthusiast died from bacterial meningitis although the final results of his post-mortem have not yet been completed.

The popular 18-year-old was a second year business student and the son of Scariff GPs Drs Manus and Genevieve (Jenny) McGuire.

Manus McGuire is also well-known in traditional music circles.

The tragic death of the Clare teen just weeks before Christmas has left an air of tragedy over his home and college community.

More than a thousand people attended the funeral Mass on Monday at St Joseph’s Church, Tuamgreaney, of the former captain of the Bodyke/ Whitegate GAA minor A team.

He also played hurling with Bod- yke’s junior and intermediate team.

His team-mates and GAA col- leagues were present at both his re- moval and funeral Mass with two guards of honour.

As well as wearing his beloved Bodyke jersey, Stephen also played underage soccer with Mountshannon Celtic.

This year the sporting teen ran the Dublin City Marathon for Milford Hospice with a number of his friends.

Stephen is survived by his parents and two younger brothers, Danny and Manus.

In sending its condolences to Stephen’s family, the University of Limerick said that the appropriate medical, chaplaincy and counselling support services have been made available to its students.

“In accordance with national euldelines for dealing with such cir- cumstances, all household and very close contacts of this student have been given antibiotic treatment as a preventive measure.

“The Department of Public Health in the Health Service Executive have advised that no further preventive measures are indicated for any other students or staff,’ a spokesperson for the university said.

“As normal, any students or staff members should contact their own GP or the HSE if acutely unwell. Any public health queries may be addressed to the Department of Public Health at 061 483337.”

The spokesperson said that a brief- ing of the case has been issued to the campus community. “This notifica- tion is being issued for the informa- tion of those students and staff who may have left the campus since Fri- day, December 14,” she said.

Meningitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the lining covering the brain and spinal cord (called the ‘meninges’). It can be caused by a bacterial infection or a virus, or more rarely, by a fungal infection.

Viral meningitis is the more com- mon form of the disease and is also much milder — people with viral meningitis rarely die from the dis- ease. Bacterial meningitis however, while relatively uncommon, is usu- ally a much more severe disease and oF TN lem rele


Airline’s unsporting behaviour

THE decision by Aer Lingus to re-route its Heathrow flights from Shannon to Belfast will significantly inconvenience a Gort couple who are due to spend Christmas in Australia.

Former Clare FM _ sports editor Mike McCartney and his Australian

wife Fiona flew out from Shannon to Australia via Heathrow yesterday. The couple will spend Christmas with Fiona’s family in Melbourne. However, the decision by Aer Lingus to move its Heathrow flights from Shannon to Belfast from January | means that they will not be able to fly back to Shannon when they return

from their three-week holiday.

The couple are angered that they were only told of the change to their return flights just a fortnight ago, having booked their trip sev- en months ago. They have been informed by their tour operator, Aus- tralian Holidays, that they could fly back from Heathrow to either Dublin

or Cork, as Shannon was no longer an option. Reluctantly, they chose Dublin.

Given that Fiona is from Australia, the couple have flown over and back several times over the years. The Shannon option was practical for them as they only had to travel for an hour to the airport.

However, given that the changeo- ver from Shannon to Belfast occurs while they are on holiday, it means that they have to rely on _ public transport to get home from Dublin when they return on January 11.

The couple have no issue with the tour operator but with Aer Lingus. “We are not blaming the travel agent as they have been good to us down the years,’ said Mr McCartney.

““T heard all the stories about Heath- row, but we didn’t hear anything. We only got notified a couple of weeks ago. They should have notified us a lot earlier. We can’t leave the car at Shannon if we are coming back to Dublin. Our choice of airport is Shannon,’ added Fiona.

McCartney, who became a familiar figure on the airwaves in Clare as head of sport with Clare FM for four- and-a-half years, is disappointed with Aer Lingus’ decision on Heathrow.

“People living in south Galway now have to go to Dublin, the other end of the country, which is a huge inconvenience. The way Shannon has been downgraded is disgusting. It is our local airport,’ he added.


Cityjet eyes-up Shannon-London route

CITYJET boss Geoff White has moved to allay fears that the Shan- non-Paris route could be withdrawn NMDA BUDS ToR

He has also revealed that the airline is also looking at setting up a route between Shannon and London City airport.

While many welcomed last week’s announcement that the airline will be flying twice daily between Shannon and Paris they were cautious about the longevity of the route, the airline says it’s here to stay.

“This airline plans its routes

meticulously and we are rarely out by more than one or two per cent,” said Mr White.

“In my eight years in Cityjet we’ve never closed a route,” he said.

The airline’s focus 1s on feeding passengers to European _ business hubs and into the Air France/KLM network.

The company’s research for the route included meeting with business interests in the region although Mr White denied demanding that busi- nesses sign on the dotted line to sup- port the new route.

In looking at the proposed new route between Shannon and London

City — which Mr White describes as “quite promising” — Cityjet will also be taking account of figures showing that just one third of the 330,000 an- nual Shannon-Heathrow passengers who travelled with Aer Lingus were connecting on to the wider world.

The remaining 222,000 listed Lon- don as their final destination.

While Cityjet’s meticulous pre- planning of routes is in contrast to the low-fares speculative approach, White stresses that there is no such thing in business terms as a marriage for life.

“It [the route] needs to be showing a good trend in the first six months.

No company is going to effectively subsidise a service for any region,” he said.

Cityjet became the darling of Shannon supporters last week when it announced the new Paris Charles de Gaulle route, effectively recon- necting Shannon with a major Euro- pean hub. The new route will start in February just weeks after Aer Lingus closes its Shannon-Heathrow route.

Business and social interests in the region have warmly welcomed the Cityjet move and a further an- nouncement on a London route would copper-fasten the airline’s OE leom ttm ON EDK