Athlone Hospice to host coffee morning as President afford full support to our Defence Forces

I’m sure so many of you looked at the Dublin versus Kerry replay on Saturday evening. I was hugely disappointed, as were so many other people. But well done to Dublin; you have to acknowledge that they were good.

The only favourable outcome of it all is that in Kerry we have a young, vibrant team and behind them, it seems, a huge amount more of young Kerry players. So in the future, they will be the conquerors of Dublin, I feel. Then to crown it all, we had the women’s All-Ireland final on Sunday and the Dublin women won again. So now they’re going around saying “Five in a row and three in a row”. What do we make of it all!!

I really thought the tin hat was put on it when the Mayor of Dublin, Cllr. Paul McAuliffe, said on the radio that they were having the delayed celebration next week for the two wins. So not alone are we hearing about it in all the papers and TV and radio at the weekend, and again this week, but we will have it all replayed next week when the crowds come out to celebrate. I know it’s mean to be begrudging about the victory, but I feel I speak for a lot of Ireland when we look at the all-conquering Dublin teams.

Anyway, enough of that. Next weekend we have our first rugby match in the World Cup, Ireland versus Scotland. The news of Robbie Henshaw’s injury hit us all over the weekend – none more, I am sure, than the Henshaw family as well as Robbie himself.

As the week goes on, the news appears better, so I hope he will be in full health for the coming weekend.

Feargal and Maeve and the two children, Jennifer and Sam, were down on Sunday, and as always it was lovely to see them. We had a lovely meal together and great chat about all sorts of things, and of course Brexit featured heavily in all our talks. I noticed great crowds around Athlone still, well past mid-September, so that’s a good omen.

I am sure many of the readers picked up on what the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins said about the Army in a recent speech he made. I fully agree with his sentiments. He is, after all, the Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, and to my mind he had every right to say what he did, bearing in mind the ongoing ills of the Army and the Navy in their quest for decent pay. When I read what President Higgins had said, I telephoned my friendly contact in Áras an Uachtaráin and asked him to relay to the President my belief that he was absolutely correct in his views, and that his words were being silently applauded throughout the land. I had voted for him, and I feel therefore I have every right to comment on what he has said.

Next Saturday in Athlone there is a giant coffee morning in the Athlone GAA premises for the Athlone Hospice. It is hoped there will be a huge attendance, proving that the people of Athlone and surrounding areas are, as they have been all along, fully in support of the Athlone Hospice. Yes, I know that the Minister for Health was affirmative when the hospice committee had a recent meeting with him, but the danger is not all gone; it is still lurking around the corner with the HSE waiting to pounce upon it again. I hope there will be a massive turnout next Saturday, with everyone pledging their support.

The Dáil is back, so there will be lots more talk about Brexit, as if we didn’t have enough already. Yes, I know there appears to be movement. But is it all just gab, gab, gab by Boris Johnson, or is there something really taking place? I hope so; we are all counting the days down until October 31.

Did you know that the national president of the Soroptomists of Ireland is Darina Dolan of Athlone? Many will know her as the principal for many years of St. Peter’s National School, a much-loved person and to whose guidance so many owe their good early education.

Darina has been serving out her role as national president, and there is a dinner to honour her next Saturday night in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, where there will be members attending from all the Soroptomist clubs in Ireland. The guest speaker is Dr Renata Dwan, the director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research.

I am very much looking forward to Darina’s major event, and to listening to Renata, who is the daughter of Liam and Anne Dwan who have lived in Athlone for many years. She is a hugely recognised authoritative figure in the world of disarmament research.

Going back to the hospice theme, I was a guest speaker at a very fine event in Dublin last Thursday night, which was the Hospice open lecture on ‘Dignity in Death – Living in Life’. There was Marian Finucane, myself, and a medical professional, Dr Ursula Bates from the board of the Hospice.

The whole event was really well run and the audience participation was terrific in it as well. I always like to go to an event where there is a chance of questions from the attendants, and hopefully answers from those like ourselves on the panel.

We are promised a fine week of weather this week, and it is surely to be enjoyed in these mellow September days.

So, RTÉ is in the financial doldrums. Be that as it may, Prime Time is back, as are The Late Late Show and The Ray D’Arcy Show, so life goes on as normal while RTÉ makes its case to the Government and hopefully outlines its plans as to how it can become viable.

That’s my lot for this week. Hope to talk with you all next week.

In the meantime, go safely.

Slán go fóill.

Mary O’Rourke

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