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City Voice the

Friday, December 3, 2010

Vol: III, No: I

The Voice of Limerick City

Features: Funny men of Limerick Page 12

focus: Gormley runs with Brosnan Pages 8 & 9

THE BIG FREEZE: Temperatures set to drop to -10o C across city.

Sport: Sport Blues Rugbycome or to Munster hurling link Page16 15 Page

Gaybo: Speed cameras save lives Muireann Ní Chadhain

THE number of deaths on Limerick and national roads has fallen since the introduction of new mobile speed cameras, the City Voice has learned.

A frozen tree by the Shannon at O’Brien’s Bridge. Pic: Eugene Ryan.

Brosnan plan will go to Cabinet says Gormley Exclusive Fionnuala Corbett

the highly controversial Brosnan Plan will be brought to Cabinet before the end of the current Dáil, Environment Minister John Gormley has confirmed.

In an exclusive interview with the City Voice, the Minister said it was his intention to bring the plan to Cabinet before the general election in the Ne Year. “It would be my ambition to do this before the Government dissolves. I hope certainly that we can implement it. I have every confidence in Mr Brosnan,” he said. Passing the entire plan would mean the amalgamation of Limerick City and County Councils and a boundary extension for Limerick City and the

county boundary would be extended into Co Clare. The new council would be known as Limerick City and County Council. Doing so will require primary legislation and approval by Cabinet. The boundary extension requires a ministerial order. While Mr Gormley can sign the ministerial order, he will need Fianna Fáil support to pass the plan at Cabinet and the required legislation. “There are different views within the Government about it. It is quite controversial,” he acknowledged. Limerick City Council has opposed the plan from the beginning as it proposes to cut up to one third of councillors’ positions. Mayor Maria Byrne called on the Minister to grant a boundary extension immediately. Other changes would take time as legislation is needed, she added. Councillors have publicly protested

against the report and Ms Byrne and City Manager Tom Mackey have written to the Minster asking for it to be scrapped. Meanwhile, Mr Gormley said the Government was fully committed to funding the Limerick Regeneration Agency in 2011, despite Budget cutbacks. Mr Gormley said he would not preempt what might be in the Budget, but he confirmed that €160m would be available to the Agency to continue to build housing projects in Limerick during the next four years as part of the master plan for the City agreed by Government earlier in the year. The current financial situation means there will be less money available but the projects would continue, he added.  More: Page 8 & 9

Limerick City Mayor Cllr Maria Byrne.

Gardaí have identified 53 stretches of road in Limerick concentrating on accident blackspots where the cameras will be deployed on a rolling basis as part of a nationwide initiative. The cameras, housed in privatelyowned high visibility vans, began operating on Monday, November 15 last. They will be operated by trained GoSafe personnel. Gay Byrne, Chairman of the Road Safety Authority, has said that it is no accident that the number of road fatalities had been reduced this month following the cameras’ introduction. “We have found in the past that one of the great deterrents of bad behaviour on our roads is the risk of getting caught, getting penalty points and being fined. “That is why I believe that the speed cameras will make a major contribution towards cutting down on the culture of speed that we have in this country and therefore on the number of fatalities,” he said. Since the introduction of the new cameras one motorcyclist and an 80year-old man were killed in separate accidents. The 80-year-old man was killed at Ballyfroota, Ballylanders, Co Limerick. This brings the number of people killed on Limerick roads to 15 so far this year, and 201 fatalities overall in the country. Seventeen people were killed on Limerick roads in 2009 and there were 239 fatalities nationally. Gardaí are concentrating on accident blackspots and in areas where people have lost their lives because of excessive speeding. The majority of the areas prioritised in Limerick are rural roads and primary roads such as the N20 to Cork, N21 to Tralee and N69 to Listowel and the N18 to Clare and Galway.


2 | NEWS

City Voice December 3, 2010

inside Agency to break ground on first houses Emily Maree Busines Editor

Page 6

The long awaited beginning of construction of up to 150 new houses in regeneration areas will start in 2011, the City Voice has learned.

Regeneration Agency chief Brendan Kenny has confirmed he hopes to spend up to €35m next year building new houses, and more than €65m in 2012 and 2013 on new housing stock for the city. The first project in Moyross, which includes 20 apartments for the elderly and 15 family homes, has recently received planning permission. Other projects earmarked for 2011

shannon: Airport future lies in cargo Page 10

St MARY’S: A treasure of hidden secrets Page 16

Newsroom, University of Limerick Co Limerick Tel: (061) 20 2315 www.ul.ie/journalism

Editor Kathryn Doyle Deputy Editors Roisin Healy Fionnuala Corbett News Editor Niamh Drohan Features editor Caitriona Ni Chadhain Chief Sub Editor Liam Corcoran Sports Editor Enda Dowling Deputy Sports Editor Liam McDermott Design editors Melissa Jennings Liam Gleeson Pictures Editor Eugene Ryan

to completely rebuild Moyross, Southill, St Mary’s Park and Ballinacurra Weston. However their plans have been significantly refocused and will now take up to 15 years to complete. Phase One, which has a budget of €337m and will last for four and a half years, “If you divide the overall cost which we originally had set at €1.6 billion over 10 years, take into account the 30 to 40 per cent reduction costs and we’ve estimated it to be down to €927m,” Mr Kenny added. Meanwhile, Environment Minister John Gormley said the Government were fully committed to the project. “The government is committed to the regeneration projects, not just in Limerick but elsewhere as well.”

TDs gearing up for early 2011 election Boundary changes since 2007 will force five sitting TDs to fight for four seats in new Limerick City constituency Niamh Drohan & Francis Dunne

RACing: Top rider jockeys for success City Voice

include developments in Lord Edward St and accommodation for the elderly in Southill. Mr Kenny acknowledged the public may have concerns regarding proposed Government cutbacks but said he was confident the Limerick projects were safe. “Whatever money is required in 2011, we’re confident that anything we need will be there and probably more if we actually could deliver.” Up until now the Agency has been working on social regeneration and planning. The City Council has also been involved in teh demolition of a large number of houses in target areas. Inititaly the Regeneration Agency planned to spend close to €1.6bn in a mix of public and private investment

LAST WEEK’S announcement by Brian Cowen that there will be a General Election after Christmas means that the battle to become Limerick City’s future TDs has now officially begun.

With a number of political heavyweights aiming for re-election, and hungry prospective TDs vying to take their places, this is one battle that may turn ugly, with the five seats being reduced to four. Fianna Fáil’s frontrunner, former Defence Minister Willie O’Dea created controversy following his resignation after a high-profile libel case last year, which heavily dented the politician’s credibility. However, during the 2007 General Election, he romped home to victory securing 19,082 votes in his Constituency, and the second highest voting percentage in the country at

38.65 per cent. Fellow party member Peter Power received the lowest percentage of the vote in 2007, securing just 7 per cent of the vote. “I welcome the election. I am confident that Fianna Fail can hold on to the two seats. No one has worked harder than myself and Willie O’Dea over the past few years,” he said. Among the Opposition parties, Fine Gael’s Michael Noonan is another big-name player that received a large percentage of votes in the previous election. Obtaining 15.2 per cent of the Constituency’s vote, he was second only to Willie O’Dea. Given the anti-Fianna Fáil feeling that currently exists among voters, and the fact that Mr Noonan is Fine Gael’s most recognisable figure running in the Constituency, his seat looks to be assured. Fine Gael’s other candidate, TD Kieran O’Donnell, received the fifth seat in the last General Election with

The new Limerick City constituency as redrawn by the Boundary Commission. All five sitting TDs will be battling for four seats in the smaller four seater constituency.

10.32 per cent of the vote. The General Election of 2007 showed a 0.1 per cent difference between the Fine Gael TD and the Labour Party’s Jan O’Sullivan. “I would be very shocked if I lost my seat. I think I have worked hard and don’t think I will lose my seat,” Deputy O’Sullivan said. With only 4 seats left, the two could be left fighting a tight battle for their seats. Deputy O’Sullivan’s running mate, City Councillor Joe Leddin also has his sights set on securing another seat

for the party. Sinn Féin’s popularity in Limerick has increased, with the party setting up another office in the City recently. Councillor Maurice Quinlivan is making a bid for a second time, having failed in the last election, receiving 4.21 per cent of the vote. “I believe there are two left-wing seats in Limerick, and I am confident that we can take one of them,” he said. There is no way to predict which way the public will lean, however it is certain that the candidates for Limerick City are facing a close battle.

Church shrine vandal caught Calls to tackle smuggling Niall O’Sullivan

Gardai have arrested a man in connection with the break-in last Thursday at the Redemptorist church in Mount St Alphonsus.

The break-in happened at approximately 9pm on the Thursday, November 25. Two suspects broke through a stained glass window near the church’s side alter and proceeded to ransack the premises, destroying a November remembrance shrine to the dead in the process. Fr Adrian Egan, Rector of the Redemptorist church in Limerick, said

that the incident was “deeply upsetting for the community” as “the shrine was covered with pictures of dead relatives which were just trampled on”. However, Fr Egan said that the men in question “ended up with two cash boxes, both of which were empty”. CCTV footage of the burglars was captured as they carried out the robbery, with both men easily identifiable. Superintendent John O’Reilly of Henry St Garda station said that a suspect has already been arrested and a file is currently being prepared for the DPP. However, Gardai say that they are not looking for any other suspect at this time.

Roisin Healy

Tackling illegal cigarette smuggling could create €500m in government revenue according to the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA).

Increasing tax on cigarettes is not a viable option for creating revenue while one in four cigarettes is still bought illegally according to CSNA Chief Executive Vincent Jennings. The Irish Heart Foundation and the Irish Cancer Society have both called for tax on cigarettes to be raised by 50c in their pre-budget submissions.

The tax increase would generate €85m in revenue for the exchequer. Mr Jennings commended the Government’s aim to eliminate tobacco usage but said that smoking will continue while cigarettes are still on the black market. “Increased tax on cigarettes just drives people further into smuggling,” he said. Mr Jennings is currently based in Limerick and prior to becoming chief executive of CSNA he owned two Limerick city filling stations. In Limerick,160 retailers are members of the CSNA, almost 80 of which are based in the city.


NEWS | 3

City Voice December 3, 2010

Applicants double for post Leaving Cert courses Mary Sweeney

A POST-LEAVING certificate programme encouraging those under 35 to enter third level education has seen applications double in the last year. The Downtown centre, located in the city, is running a Certificate in General Studies for the fourth consecutive year. The centre offers students the chance to study in a third level environment while acquiring learning skills and attending lectures in colleges such as the University of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College and Limerick Institute of Technology. Classes in information technology are part of the course and students divide their time between two campuses every week. There is a choice of two directions the course can then take, Science or Humanities. After successful completion of the Certificate in General Studies, students are awarded a FETAC Level 5 Certificate. Funding is being provided by the Labour Market Activation Fund which is an initiative launched by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The Department’s funding caused some changes to the criteria required to gain entry to the course. It prioritises programmes which offer former employees of the construction and manufacturing industry the opportunity to increase their skills

Rhona Sherry, director of the Downtown centre said that this year has seen an increase in younger applicants. In rules laid down by the Department of Enterprise and Skills this year, applicants for the course had to be in receipt of a job-seekers’ payment. This effectively eliminated people on other types of welfare payment. “However, some of those on the course who did not meet the criteria initially were admitted after as they were eligible based on the terms of the Back to Education Initiative, a contributor to the funding of the programme,” Ms Sherry said. The initiative prioritises those who are un-skilled or who have not achieved a FETAC Level 5 in Education. Support is also provided to people in receipt of social welfare payments. When advertising the course this year, the Downtown centre made it clear that priority will be given to those who fulfil the criteria in regards gaining entry to the course. Funding for the first three years of the course came from the Strategic Innovation Fund .This helped the Downtown centre get the course started and rent the premises on Denmark Street. “That funding was available for three years and now we are in our fourth year our partners have had to mainstream the project and LIT have provided us with new premises.” The Downtown centre is affiliated with the Shannon Consortium which is a dynamic partnership comprised of the participating colleges, aiming to co-ordinate and develop teaching practices.

the Milk Market hosts first Christmas festival

Shoppers at the Country Choice stall in the Milk Market in Limerick City. Pic: Eugene Ryan.

Melissa Jennings

The refurbished Limerick Milk Market celebrates its first Christmas this year.

The Christmas Market will feature up to 60 stalls and shops – all packed with artisan foods, crafts and gifts. Project Manager of the Market, Tony Scott looks forward to the coming month saying, “This is the first year that the Christmas market will be held in the Milk Market. The previous markets that we have held at Christmas time have been in Bedford Row and have usually suffered in terms of weather so we’re looking forward to utilising the redeveloped structure and canopy covering.” The Christmas Market opened at the all-weather Milk Market last Thursday, November 25 and will run through to Christmas Eve. Additional arts and crafts markets will take place on December 7, 8 and 9. Choirs singing Christmas favourites, as well as Jazz sessions every Sunday, will add to the festive atmosphere.

There will also be lots of tasty treats for you to enjoy at the market so it’s a great place to meet for coffee or a lunchtime catch-up. David McCaffery who runs permanent market stall, Sallymills Bakery, is hopeful for the festive season, “It’s going to be a hard December anyway because of the recession and the budget coming but at least if the Christmas markets are good, it should take the sting out of the New Year.” The market has a lot to offer its customers at Christmas time, such as ingredients for the traditional Christmas Dinner, not to mention the bonus of supporting local Irish producers. For delectable starters, Rene Cusack’s fishmongers offer fresh fishcakes, which can be served with the Sweet Chilli Sauce from the Country Choice stall. Rene Cusack’s stall has operated at the Milk Market for the last three years and is run by Paul Cusack. The business was established 100 years ago by Mr. Cusack’s greatgrandfather Rene. Country Choice are new to the market this year and offer organic and speciality produce.

Turkeys and hams are availale from Adare Farm Shop would form the basis for a tasty main course. To keep it traditional and to add extra flavour, the meats can be served with the cranberry sauce offered by The Green Apron stall. The awardwinning stall sells artisan preserves, chutneys, jellies and mustards which are traditionally-made with no artificial preservatives. Ensure your main contains vegetables to meet your five-a-day by visiting Quinn’s Fruit and Vegetables. Potatoes, parsnips, carrots and brussell sprouts available at the stall are seasonal and locally produced. For dessert The Gourmet Tart Company, run by Michelle and Fintan Hyland, offers handmade mince pies. Festive beverages include mulled wine with mixed spice ingredients offered by Green Saffron or Killowen Orchard sell an Apple and Raspberry Juice which is a tasty non-alcoholic option. Get ready to impress the relatives this Christmas with the finest produce Ireland has to offer.

What toys will be found under your tree this year? Sean Russell

Christmas time is almost upon us once more for another season of festive fun, and there’s no shortage in toys this year to please children nationwide.

It should come as no surprise that Toy Story and Harry Potter toys are at the top of most kids’ wish lists; along with the usual gang of remote controlled cars, train tracks and baby dolls. Lego remains strong as ever, refusing to relinquish its authority in children’s hearts since 1932. Despite the on-going presence of the recession, the €149 LEGO Cargo Train set is sold out across Ireland. Popular franchises such as Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Harry Potter are all available in LEGO making it a widely accessible platform. Dora the Explorer continues to be a firm favourite for girls under the age of ten, while Barbie remains a

staple figure in the girls’ toy hierarchy. However, these front-runners face some stiff competition from the cute woodland critters of the Sylvanian Families. The figurines are also top sellers in stores across Limerick and are plentiful in stock. Manager of Smyths in Coonagh, Katrina Kuzmina, told of a special offer Smyths ran for two weeks, where by bringing in old, unused toys, you received coupons for new toys. The scheme was a large success, bringing in a huge amount of old toys for recycling and donation. Smyths stores are also running many special offers which are seeing toys fly offY the shelves according to Ms Kuzmina. Turbo Twist, a very popular remote control car is back in stock and being sold at half-price, for €20. Family games are as popular as ever for consoles, with the Playstation and Xbox now introducing their own

motion-sensing game play to rival that of the Wii’s. The Xbox Kinect is so far selling the most and looking likely to be number one Christmas console app. Call of Duty: Black Ops and Fifa 11 are tipped to be the best-sellers this Christmas across all consoles, as they have both recorded monumentally successful launch day sales. Three-wheeled vehicles also seem to be the rage this year for boys and girls of all ages. The Flicker scooter and Rocker Kart in very high demand and at reasonable prices. The Flicker is selling particularly well, two-wheeled scooters seemingly a thing of the past. Limerick also played host this year to its first ever charity toy show held in late November. The show ran for a week and will be a yearly event from now on. The money raised was donated to the Limerick Youth Service, St. Munchin’s Community Centre and other local charities.


4 | NEWS

IN BRIEF HSE warning

THE HSE has warned public to be vigilant for con-artists posing as members. Three incidents have been reported in the wider Clare area where thieves posed as community welfare officers to gain access to personal information and cash. One scam artist attempted to get cash off a victim, while in another incident a man posed as a community welfare officer to gain personal information. A HSE spokesman said businesses and members of the public are reminded that they should never hand money or goods over i give personal information without checking with the local HSE office.” All incidents have been reported to the Gardaí, who are now conducting their own investigation.

Santa run THE RUN, which will start at 10am, it will begin at Limerick Institute of Technology and pass by Thomond Park. It will proceed to the city centre, past the Strand Hotel and then back to Limerick IT for some much needed hot chocolate and some ‘festive fun’. Entry is €20 per adult and €15 for children under 14. Each entrant receives a full Santa suit, a medal, hot chocolate and a fundraising pack from Barnardos. Barnardos work with community based organisations, and strive to help children in need all over the country, They will receive 40 per cent of the proceeds from the event. To registervisit visit www.santafunrun.ie.

Airline dispute AIR LINGUS pilots have undertaken a work to rule regime from Saturday, November 27, after a dispute with the airline over roster hours. Pilots will not report for duty on their days off or while on annual leave. Officials for the airline are confident this will not affect flights. However, they are unsure as the industrial action is unpredictable in nature and the duration of the strike is still unknown.

Iarnród Éireann

TRACK improvement works on the Limerick Junction line will cause disruption to passengers between Heuston and Cork from Friday, December 3, to Sunday, December 5. According to AA Ireland train services between Heuston and Cork, Limerick and Tralee will operate between Heuston and Thurles stations only during this period. Onward services will be substituted by bus connections.

City Voice December 3, 2010

Are ice-baths all pain and no gain? Owen Hickey & Caitríona Ní Chadhain

AN effective warm down may be more beneficial than the use of ice baths as a recovery aid for muscles. In a recent study by University of Limerick Professor of Exercise Physiology, Alan Donnelly, he found that ice baths, also known as cryotherapy treatment, had no advantage over standing in warm water. The study, called a randomised crossover trial, involves treating an individual in a water tank at a warm temperature. The same individual would then be treated a second time, at a cold temperature. Dr Donnelly said “In studies, we

see no difference between the cryotherapy treatment and the control. Basically, standing in warm water has no less effect than standing in ice cold water.” According to Dr Donnelly, high intensity training sessions are not suitable in the first place. “You shouldn’t be doing training sessions that damage the muscles. If players are doing those in the first place, that is the problem. The cryotherapy isn’t a quick fix.” Former Wexford hurler Liam Dunne, now a coach for Oulart the Ballagh, disagrees with Dr Donnelly and thinks players will agree. In a recent interview on Today FM’s Off The Ball programme, Mr Dunne said: “it wouldn’t stop me or

the players from getting into the ice baths after training. It’s definitely benefited myself and I can only go by that.” “I think a good warm down and stretching is standard practice. To stick your whole team into cold water isn’t good, because they aren’t injured and they don’t need the cryotherapy.” Cryotherapy centres were introduced to Ireland in 2006, Temperatures can plunge to minus 110 degress Celsius and the treatment is based on the same principles that suggest ice is good for injuries. Dr Donnelly was also keen to point out that there is no evidence to suggest that these chambers are effective in treating medical conditions such as arthritis.

Soccer club helps charity teach basic skills to kids Donal Halligan

LIMERICK FC and Dyspraxia Ireland have teamed up on a project to help children with the condition to learn basic soccer skills.

The Soccer Skills with Limerick FC pilot programme has just completed its first year and a new programme for 2011 is currently being organised. As part of the project senior players and coaches from Limerick FC took training sessions where the children got a chance to play and learn the game in a fun and relaxed environment. Learning the fundamentals of soccer helps those with dyspraxia to improve their coordination skills. The programme took place in The Factory Southside Youth Facility on Sunday mornings, and over 25 children from the Limerick area participated. Catherine Ruiz, a mother of two children involved in the programme believed it was very beneficial to the children. Speaking about the sessions she said: “It means so much as a parent to see my son, who never showed an interest in games, now looking forward to getting up on Sunday mornings and going training.” In Dublin, Lourdes Celtic FC are running a similar programme and are hoping to organise a friendly match between the two groups. Limerick

FARMING TEAGASC is warning that freezing weather will cause problems for farm water supplies.

Eric Donald, spokesperson for Teagasc said that water pipes potentially freezing over could cause problems. “Frozen water pipes may be an issue for farmers. It’s important to defrost them and ensure that stock in sheds have drinking water.” Cathal Maher suggested that a constant stream of water should run through the pipes preventing them from freezing over, adding that pipe insulation is another option.

Soccer skills: A Dyspraxia sufferer and Limerick FC chairman, Pat O’Sullivan

Pic: Dyspraxia Association

FC’s Anne Mullen said that the match is definately “on the cards”, so we hope to see it soon. Former Limerick FC player, Nigel Stanley got involved with underage training last year for the Dyspraxia programme. “At the start I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but when I saw how enthusiastic the children were

and their improvement over the course of the scheme this made it all worthwhile.” Catherine Ruiz also added that: “It is a very well-ran program and it would be great to see this match happen, but the most important thing is that our children can now get to take part where before they wouldn’t have had the chance,”

As well as the soccer programme Dyspraxia Ireland have set up a support programme for parents of children with the condition. Dyspraxia results in messages from the brain being misinterpreted by the body, causing uncoordinated movements and speech difficulties. The life-long condition can cause difficulties in learning.

Food for livestock is the next issue facing farmers. However, Teagasc believes that the good summer will stand to the farming population. “The good summer means that most farmers have lots of high quality fodder in the sheds and in their yards. It’s just a question of getting it out to the stock if they are outside, or in front of cattle in sheds,” said Mr Donald. As frozen roads create obstructions to other markets, Kilmallock Farmer’s Market continued on Monday without any problems. A spokesperson for the Market said the weather had “no effect on services.”

SOCIAL AFFAIRS

said Dr Amanda Haynes, one of the report’s writers. The document, entitled ‘How Irish Politicians Construct Transnational EU Migrants’ was co-written with Dr Martin J Power and Dr Eoin Devereux to highlight misrepresentation towards immigrants. The report was launched in the City Council Chamber in Limerick and it was campaigned for by Doras Luimni. Doras Luimni is a Non Government Organisation based in Limerick that supports the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and migrant workers. They hope to make equality and respect for the human rights of migrants social norms.

IMMIGRANTS have suffered most during the economic downturn according to a sociology lecturer in the at the University of Limerick. The report claims that immigrants are in increased danger of being seen as competitors for jobs during the recession and highlights the important role that politicians can play in shaping public perceptions of migrants. “The mass media is the key means of learning about these groups of people and they are being underrepresented in empirical research,”


NEWS | 5

City Voice December 3, 2010

Limerick City clamping in spotlight

Current Legislation S.I 247 of 1998

Immobilisation of vehicles regulations empower local authorities and An Garda Siochana to immobilize vehicles found to be parked on a public road in contravention of a prohibition or restriction imposed by section 35 & 36 of the road traffic act 1994

Despite councillors’ demands, a ban on clamping in private areas remains impossible without changes in legislation says Council. Sean Russell

Limerick City Manager and City Council are powerless to ban clamping in private areas as it would require an overhaul of national legislation to legally implement.

The opportunistic nature of the clampers and large removal fee has led certain council members to question the legality behind clamping and to believe the city would be better off without it. However, Traffic Engineer Rory McDermott thinks the introduction of a by-law to ban clamping in private areas is an unlikely option. “Clamping is not carried out by Limerick City Council as a roads authority, but is carried out on private property by entities that the council have no control of. The City Manager would have no power to do that on private property”, he said, insisting it is out of the council and city manager’s hands. The original idea to discontinue

clamping in Limerick City was initially proposed by Councillor Kieran O’ Hanlon, with Cllr John Gilligan in agreement, at a City Council meeting in September. He described clamping as a very “punitive measure” for people who illegally park and something he finds little justification in. Clamping is enforced in the cities of Dublin, Cork and Galway. It comes under Section 35 and 36 of the Road Traffic Act 1994. The matter is rather ambiguous, as banning an action performed by private property owners is not legal. A change in legislation would be required to discontinue private clamping in Limerick City. “It would require a law to be put into the Oireachtas, or for the power to be given to the council,” explained Cllr O’Hanlon. The council do not enforce clamping in public areas, the clamping is issued by a host of private companies for private property owners. Galway City Council banned clamping in public areas back in January, but Limerick City Council wants to go one further and introduce by-laws to ban

Home losses are inevitable Amy Grimes

Struggling mortgage-holders in Limerick face losing their homes should their mortgages be deemed no longer viable. The official minimum level of payment is 66 percent of the monthly interest, as decided by the Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt Group last month.

Nationally, over 36,000 Irish homeowners are in arrears with their mortgage, according to the Group. This includes 10,000 people that have been in debt for over a year. University of Limerick econonomics lecturer Dr Stephen Kinsella said: “This report is a perfect example of the Irish Government’s motto: never do anything for the first time, and never do today what can be done tomorrow.” The group was set up in February to deal with the growing issue of residential debt. At the same time a one year mortgage moratorium was introduced as part of the Financial Regulator’s Code of Conduct for Mortgage Arrears. This breathing space gave some mortgage-holders a chance to avoid repossession, delaying any legal action by the lenders. However, for Limerick residents who have been in debt over

a year, this period of grace is almost at an end. Dr Kinsella says that while this may have benefited homeowners who could find another job, it has done little for those likely to never be able to afford repayments. “There must be a realisation that, at some point, homeowners will never repay. That realisation must come from the state, who will end up footing the bill for any reorganisation of the debt burden”, he said. The Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt group proposed the Deferred Interest Scheme, following ten months of consultation and research, intended to help those who cannot fully afford their mortgage. A number of banks have agreed to implement this scheme and allow those in debt to pay 66 percent of what is due. While this policy may delay the repossession process for some, Dr Kinsella says: “It will simply kick the can down the road. The negative impact will be felt by the wider economy.” Dr Kinsella is also an economic advisor to New Beginning, an innovative organisation launched last month consisting of lawyers, economists and business people. Their aim is to provide legal representation to home-owners facing repossession.

Section 35 of the Road Safety Act, 1994 provides for the regulation and control of traffic including the parking of vehicles in public places.

Section 36 empowers local

authorities and road authorities to make bye laws in respect of parking places on public roads including the means of parking control and the fees applicable i.e. Disc parking, pay and display etc.

Going nowhere: Clampers can strike at any time. Pic: Sean Russell.

clamping in the city outright. “It is affecting the business and attractiveness of the city. If I had my way, there would be a lot more free parking. I intend to pursue this to the bitter end,” said Cllr O’Hanlon. The Potato Market, under the ownership of Limerick Market Trustees, discontinued clamping for the month of November after several complaints were made by people who were clamped while at work in the Courthouse and City Hall.

Cllr O’Hanlon, a member of the Market Trustees, was in favour of the move. They have since not reenforced clamping after examining other enforcement methods in the market and Cllr O’Hanlon sees this as a step forward. He insisted that clamping does not solve the issue of a car being parked illegally or dangerously, and is nothing more than a means of extortion for people have nothing to contribute to the prosperity of Limerick. “In the unlikely event that we ever

agree to clamping in Limerick City, then it should at least be licensed, and there should be some control. Who gives them the right to set a fee of €120 or €150? They’re there to make money for themselves and should be run out of the city.” The council operate a disc parking system, as well as a tow away system imposed by the gardaí at night. It is a general feeling among council members that these measures are more than enough and that clamping has little to offer other than frustration.

Limerick Samaritans calls linked to jobless figures Niamh Drohan

LIMERICK’S unemployment crisis has led to an increased numbers of distressed callers to the Samaritans branch in the city.

A volunteer for the centre, who does not wish to be named, has said that there has been a significant increase in callers who have recently become unemployed and do not know what to do. “It’s become a vicious circle for these people - they have no job and can’t afford to get proper help”, she stated. “Some really crave routine, they ring everyday just to talk to somebody because they are lonely and feel like they have nothing left to live for anymore.” The most frequent callers are more elderly people, according to the woman. Many of the callers are suicidal and have no family to help them because “they had made their life their work, and now that’s gone.” “We get a number of calls during the night from people who can’t sleep

because they say they have no reason to get up”, they added. The centre received 33,022 calls during the year, along with 163 faceto-face contacts and 231 contacts by e-mail, according to the branch statistics for 2009. Limerick’s unemployment rate is among the worst in the country, with 23 percent of the county signing on, Worse still, the city’s unemployment rate stands at 48 percent.

However, October saw the first drop in the counties Live Register figures this year. A senior official at the social welfare office in Limerick has said he believes the figures dropped due to emigration and people making the transition from jobseeker’s benefit to social welfare. Local office manager Vincent Drohan said the welfare office has three schemes to offer incentives for those receiving social welfare to get back into employment. These incentives are designed to encourage those receiving social welfare to get back into employment by providing various types of training courses and the opportunity to return to college whilst receiving funding from the Department of Social Welfare. Former construction workers are prominent on Limerick’s Live Register. If building for the regeneration project was to go ahead as promised, this could make Limerick’s social welfare bill much lighter. 

See editorial page seven


6 | BUSINESS

City Voice December 3, 2010

Shannon’s future lies in cargo says traffic chief Owen Hickey Business Correspondent

The development of cargo traffic in Shannon will generate jobs and increase business in the airport.

According to Cargo and Technical Traffic Development Manager Joe Buckley cargo is to become as important as passengers for the future development of Shannon. “From the point of view of the region cargo could be extremely important for logistics and creating jobs,” the manager said. Mr Buckley and his colleagues are working towards making Shannon Ireland’s leading cargo airport and to position it as an international transhipment hub. Plans are ongoing for cargo preclearance, cargo security and to have Food and Drug Administration officials from the U.S. based in Shannon to fast track pharmaceutical products into America. The announcement of a new Aer Lingus route from Shannon to Charles de Gaulle in Paris is a significant boost for the airport and its business. Charles de Gaulle is one of the world’s most important aviation hubs, and Mr Buckley said connections with areas like this would generate further business. “Whether it’s Amsterdam, Heathrow or Paris, they’re the places we need to

An Aer Lingus plane loading at Shannon Airport. The airport will move increasingly move to cargo operations in the coming years according to Mr Buckely. Pic: Courtesy Michael Sweeney / www.michaelsweeneyphotography.com

aim our services for, so that business people can travel in and out between those hubs.” Mr Buckley said the airport is very focused on cargo, and it will have equal priority with passengers as Shannon advances. Mr Buckley also moved to allay fears that the Lynx Cargo hub will not be built.

“As the person that has been involved in cargo development here, I’m very positive about the project at this stage.” “Discussions have taken place in the last couple of weeks at a high level and matters are progressing on a positive basis in relation to the project.” he added. With Aer Lingus set to suspend trans-

Property prices still falling across city say auctioneers Eugene Ryan

Limerick auctioneers expect business to fall dramatically this month when the city and county council’s social housing budget is spent.

Currently councils are the main buyers in the Limerick housing market as they have a budget to spend by December 10, 2010, according to Nora Murphy of Rooney’s Auctioneers. Ms Rooney also said that some people on the councils’ waiting lists are telling the council where they want to live and are expecting the relevant council to purchase a home in this area. Banks now require buyers to have at least one third of the purchase price due to the reduced availability of residential housing loans auctioneer Richard de Courcey said. With the slow-down in bank’s lending and the financial constraints Limericks auctioneers are feeling the effects of Ireland’s recession first hand. Mr de Courcy appeared despondent about the slowdown in the market but was hopeful things would recover soon in Limerick. Houses are still available in the settled residential areas of Limerick such as Mayorstone on the north-side.

House prices have fallen by almost a third since 2009 but only housing in more settled areas such as Raheen on the south-side and Mayorstone on the north-side are being sold. Until recently apartments were also being bought as ‘investments,’ but this too has completely stopped. Commercial properties such as disused factories and apartments are just not selling at present. Patrick St

in Limerick, which was to become a major shopping centre known as The Opera Centre is a complete standstill. Despite this Limerick city council has demanded rates from the vacant premises. Limerick house prices averaged at €205,989 in the first quarter of 2010 and this fell further to €193,370 in the second quarter.

atlantic flights from January to March next year, Mr Buckley was keen to stress that Shannon’s connections with the U.S. remain strong. “Both Continental and Delta still are operating year round services with 757’s and they’re doing exceptionally well. We’re very fortunate that we have good sevices from the American cargos as well.”

future plans Owen Hickey Business Correspondent

Developing business aviation is another key area, and the Shannon Aviation website was recently launched to promote the airport and the Shannon region. In December, Mr Buckley will be travelling to the Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) conference to promote the airport and services in the Shannon region. The airport is the first in the world to offer full U.S. preclearance for business jets and commercial airlines. As a result of this, direct flights are available to over 200 airports in America. This has proved successful with movements of corporate jets through Shannon up 12 per cent in the past year. The Shannon Airport Authority unveiled its five-year strategy on November 24, when chairman Brian O’Connell confirmed that the airport would be seeking to increase passenger numbers to 2.5 million by 2015. There is also a strong focus on building relationships with business publications, as these magazines are then sent to key members of aviation entities. While commercial terminal traffic at the airport continues to decline against comparable figures in 2009, the rate of decline during 2010 has receded. For January to October 2010, commercial terminal flights at Shannon were down 34 per cent compared to 2009. In October itself flights fell by 26 per cent in comparison to 2009.

Galway rail line meets target Kathryn Doyle

Everything IS going to plan according to Iarnród Eireann as they project 100,000 passengers will have used the recently reopened Limerick to Galway line by late March.

The route, costing the state €106.5 million, reopened on March 30, 2010 as the first phase of the Western Rail Corridor Project under the Transport 21 Programme. According to Iarnród Eireann Spokesperson, Jane Cregan, the main users of the line are commuters and students. Passenger reaction has been mixed with the majority of complaints concerning travel time. Iarnród Eireann are putting this down to the fact that they are serving a number of stations and are now competing with significant road improvements. “The customers want a faster journey time. On one hand we are serving more people, but on the other hand it is increasing their journey time,” Ms Cregan said. One of the aims of the project was to promote balanced regional development in line with National Spatial Strategy objectives by linking two Gateways, Limerick and Galway, and serving the hub of Ennis. According to the spokesperson the company has been successful in achieving this aim. “It has provided a rail service for half the country who did not have a railway

line before,” Ms Cregan added. Under the Transport 21 Programme, upon completion Ireland will have the most modern rail service in Europe. According to Ms Cregan Ireland already has the most modern railway system in Western Europe and the reopening of the line has added to Ireland’s position at European level. Ireland’s modernisation depends on its fleet and the new line has been successful in adding to its rolling stock. The initial project, entailed the renewal of almost 58 kilometres of track and the repair and improvement of bridges and signalling systems. The route origionally closed in 1976 due to poor passenger usage and a decrease in freight transportation.


OPINION | 7

City Voice December 3, 2010

City Voice the

Newsroom, University of Limerick, Co Limerick Tel: (061) 20 2315 / Web: www.ul.ie/journalism

Budget cuts will hurt

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s Brian Cowen hands over the Republic of Ireland to Ajai Chopra, the current ruler of the Republic of IMF, the country’s most vulnerable are attacked and forced to foot the bill for the Government’s €149bn overdraft. Between bailouts, budgets and fouryear-plans the nation is left wondering whether or not we will get the bailout should the budget not be passed. The budget, with the four-year-plan in mind, is set to reduce the minimum wage by €1 to €7.65. Considering that a mere 4 percent of the population is earning the minimum wage will it really

have a drastic effect on our economy? The 21,459 people in Limerick unlucky enough to be on the live register will now receive €30 less in their dole payment each week as social welfare is cut by five per cent on December 7. Education will be hit. Politicians try to refrain from discussing the area but speculation has been made that hundreds out of the 10,000 positions for special needs assistants will be cut as well as increases in teacher to pupil ratios. Also, additional costs for school transport are being considered. Pensions up to €12,000 will remain untouched. Up to now tax relief on top rate pensions was €50 for every €100. However, the budget will see this decrease to €20. There is no way to describe it

other than sheer robbery. These budget cuts are not the answer to the recession. We are not going to save the economy by making savings on paperclips.

Health services in crisis

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review carried out by the Health Service Executive (HSE) has revealed that more than 25 per cent of children and adolescents in the south are waiting more than a year to be seen by a mental health professional. According to the review HSE South has one of the longest waiting lists in the country. The review outlines the need for sig-

nificant additional resources to meet the targets set by the Government in A Vision for Change in 2006. However, with the onset of one of the most ruthless budgets the country has seen we will be lucky to maintain the resources already in place. Up to €1bn is set to be cut from the HSE budget and approximately 1,300 jobs will have to go in HSE South alone. This, unfortunately, is the bleak reality for many young people who are left to suffer for extensive periods of time due to long waiting lists, limited treatment options and poor facilities. No one needs to suffer in silence, there are people in the community who want to help.

Job loss worry has hit young men hardest

The Government must recognise and respond to the level of self-harm among Irish people, which requires an emergency response, writes Dan Neville.

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he provisional suicide figures for 2009 show that the number of deaths by suicide has increased by 25 per cent, from 424 in 2008 to 527 last year. I suggest the real figure is much higher because there is a serious under-reporting of suicide. Experts estimate that the true figure is as high as 650. It is worth noting that 239 people died in road accidents last year. In 2008, the level of HSE funding to the National Office for Suicide Prevention was €5.1m. By comparison the State grant to the Road Safety Authority was €40.4m. Last year, 11,966 people presented to hospital having attempted suicide or engaged in self-harm. For every person who presents at hospital, at least six more people are thought to engage in self-harm. Therefore, the true figure for self-harm is approximately 70,000. The Government must recognise and respond to the level of suicidal behaviour, which requires an emergency response. During recessionary times, there is a sudden gap between material needs and resources. In economic downturns, frustration increases as an increasing proportion of people fail to meet their financial goals. There is clear evidence that suicide is linked to financial difficulties. The World Health Organisation has identified that the potential psychological impact of economic recession on mental health is severe. Job loss, job insecurity, job uncertainty, economic strain, loss of income, home repossession and restricted access to credit lead to a reduction in mental well-being, an increase in mental health problems, increased substance misuse and relationship breakdown and divorce.

There is a perceived loss of social worth, purpose and daily structure, a reduction in social contact, an increase in social isolation, and an increased risk of suicidal behaviour, non-fatal self-harm and suicides. A protracted period of unemployment, especially at a young age, seems to have a particularly deleterious effect on the mental health of young men, regardless of their social background. Rates of suicide are three to four times higher among those who are unemployed. The Minister for Health and Children as well as the HSE must respond to the changes in society that are leading to higher rates of suicide and problems associated with mental illness. The failure of the Government to invest resources in mental health services, including suicide prevention, is one of the main contributory factors. The stigma surrounding mental health issues and suicide is a barrier to the Government meeting the demands of society. Each government responds to the expressed demands of the electorate. The demand for the Government to deal with suicide and mental health problems is not expressed due to the stigma associated with such matters. We hear about many problems when we knock on doors, but hear little about mental health. As we wish to protect ourselves and others from this stigma, we do not demand the services that we or our family members badly need. True political leadership must respond to the politically unexpressed needs of society. The Government is not doing this because there are no votes in it. The Christmas period can be an extremely stressful time of the year. There are so many

things that can trigger depression around the holidays. While the holiday season brings sentiments of joy for some, for others it is a time of isolation and an increase in feelings of depression and negative thoughts. There is an increase in the numbers and severity of calls to helplines such as the Samaritans by depressed and suicidal individuals at Christmas and New Year season. This is also a time for reflection, as the year nears its end. A time when others look back and see the losses they incurred, the loss of a loved one through death, divorce or separation, loss of a job, or even the loss of a familiar social environment. Feelings of depression can become extreme –sometimes leading to thoughts of suicide especially among those who are socially isolated. Also so-called “festive cheer” is synonymous with alcohol these days. However while one or two drinks may help to relax and cheer up, we must

If you are concerned by issues raised in this article you

Samaritans at 1850 60 90 90 can contact the

remember that alcohol is a depressant and can worsen the symptoms of depression. For those who enjoy the excitement and energy of the holidays, be aware of those who may have gone through some difficult changes in the past year and invite them to celebrate with you and remind them that there is hope. - Dan Neville is President of the Irish Association of Suicidology and Fine Gael TD for Limerick.


8 | FOCUS

City Voice December 3, 2010

In 1691 Cromwell sacked the City, but now the City Fathers say they are But what does the Plan actually propose? And is it really all that bad?

SIEGE LIMERICK

the of

I

t is possibly the most controversial political issue in Limerick. The Brosnan Plan proposes a radical overhaul of local government that will see a new directly elected mayor, the abolition of the city and county councils, a boundary extension into Clare, the creation of a new super authority - and a reduction in the number of councillors. And John Gormley says he is determined to put it to Cabinet before the end of January.

by Fionnuala Corbett, Liam Corcoran, Francis Dunne, Emily Maree and Caitríona Ní Chadhain

J

ohn Gormley has more pressing issues on his mind right now. The country is in the middle of its worst ever economic crisis and the Government is preparing for a New Year general election. However, he says that the Brosnan Plan is still an important topic for him and he intends to bring the report before Cabinet as soon as possible. Personally, he wants the plan implemented before the dissolution of the Dáil and he confirmed to the City Voice this week that it was his aim to bring proposals to Cabinet before January. The plan, officially known as ‘Renewing Local Government in Limerick: The Report of the Limerick Local Government Committee’, has been nicknamed after its chief author, Kerry chairman Denis Brosnan. And on the face of it, it seems like a perfectly reasonable set of proposals. The statistics for Limerick are truely shocking - parts of the city are among the most deprived in the country; almost one in two houses (44 percent) are owned by the State; the population of the city actually fell during the boom years while the population of the country grew almost 10 percent. The current city boundaries in no way reflect the city area - robbing the City Council of middle class housing estates to provide mixed development, and an all-important revenue base from which to draw rates from industrial estates surrounding the city, but controlled by the county. Businesses in the city centre are squeezed for rates while out of town shopping centres are booming.

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t a local government level 45 councillors sit on both local authorities - one for every 4,000 people - and are responsible for different parts of the city inside and outside the city boundaries. Clare County Council is responsible for the

Shannon Banks area. Mayors are nominal titles only, are not directly elected, and sit for just one year. Under the plan, all that will change. A new directly elected Mayor would be elected from 2014 by the people with executive powers (not unlike the London Mayor); a new super authority with significantly increased powers would replace the current city and county councils; the number of councillors would be reduced; the city boundary would be extended to include the current urban area of the city, and into Clare; and up to €20m a year would be saved through reduced duplication and staff reductions. According to the report, the structures of local government in Limerick are not suitable to meet the challenges faced by the region. The report states that effective leadership capable of overcoming local agendas is not provided for at the local or regional level. Limerick would become the third largest city in the State if the current boundary is extended. Until 2014, the current number of councillors would continue, and one member of Clare County Council would be invited to sit on the new authority. If it works, it could - along with the Regeneration Agency - save the city. The report will need primary legislation, and that will require a Cabinet decision, while the boundary extension can be done via Ministerial order. Minister Gormley says he is fully supportive of the plan and wants to legislate for it, but will it actually be pushed through?

L

imerick city councillors certainly hope not. They are strongly opposed to the plan and have publicly protested against it. Labour councillor Tom Shortt believes that the years it would take to implement would be wasted. He argues that money will not be saved, citing the merging of regional health boards into the current Health Service Executive (HSE) as a prime example and

says that at an administrative and structural level, savings were not made. According to Cllr Shortt, Limerick City Council is a “very lean council” and provides value for money in terms of the services it provides. He wants the city to be strengthened and to be made into a “stronger urban unit”, claiming that a boundary extension is a better option because it can be done immediately and would deal with immediate problems. And he is not alone; the overriding view of the city and county councils is that the plan should be torn up. Clare County Councillor Cathal Crowe, who represents the Shannonbanks region of the city, dismisses claims that the plan would bring about economic benefits to the region. “There is no clear cut economic argument as I see it. Redrawing maps won’t make jobs and it will do nothing to stimulate the local economy,” he says. Many people in the Clare part of the city fear higher rates and insurance premiums should they be officially incorporated into Limerick, he added.

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peaking to the City Voice this week, City Mayor Maria Byrne said a boundary extension was needed immediately, but other issues would take a long time to implement. “Limerick city needs a boundary extension now and this can be done with the stroke of a pen. Anything else would require legislative changes and would take a long time,” she said. However in a recent letter to Minister John Gormley sent by the Mayor Maria Byrne, and seen by the City Voice, Ms Byrne was much more forthright. The Mayor argued that merging the two councils would be detrimental to the welfare

of Limerick city, as it would lead to “a complete lack of focus on the city’s problems and constant squabbling…on the dissipation of resources to the rural parts of Limerick county.” The letter is also signed by the City Council Manager Tom Mackey. A submission made with the letter dismisses the idea of savings being made, saying


FOCUS | 9

City Voice December 3, 2010

under threat from John

Gormley and his Brosnan Plan.

Urban areas of Co Limerick including Castletroy in the East and Raheen and Dooradoyle in the South would be included within the new city of some 100,000 residents.

Parts of Co Clare from Shannon Banks to Garraun, the north campus of the University of Limerick and the Technology Park will be moved into Co Limerick.

Theinplan Numbers

1

new mayor with executive authority will be elected for a five-year term from 2014. There has been

2.7%

sion would ensure rates savings of up to 15 percent straight away. In fact, nobody seems to know where exactly any savings will come from whether the plan is implemented or not. The report says that merging the two councils will “eliminate duplication [and] free up financial and human resources”, but this is vague at best.

Limerick Chamber of Commerce Maria Kelly called on the Minister to act.

46

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“as no evidence was presented for examination, no prudent decision could be based on such vague assertions.” It argues that implementing a boundary exten-

ot all politicians are opposing the report however. One of those in favour is Limerick County Councillor and owner of Collins’ Bar, James Collins. Based just outside the current city boundary, he stands to lose the benefit of lower county commercial rates should a boundary extension be granted to the city council. “I don’t think there is a need for two councils. We don’t need one for the city and the county, both in terms of money but also in terms of providing a more efficient service. “Make no mistake; we need a thriving city at the centre of our region that would push for growth for the county as a whole, but I don’t think a boundary extension for the city [alone] is the solution. It might suit the city and it might be to the city’s benefit, but it would be to the detriment of the hinterland of the county.” Businesses in Limerick city are fully behind the plan, saying it is vital for Limerick’s economic recovery. Chief Executive of the

a drop in the population of Limerick city between 2002 and 2006. The current number of councillors in Limerick City and County Council is but that number would drop in a new authority, possibly to 30. The population of the new Co Limerick will be

“We’ve been urging the Minister to make a decision on this. There’s been enough consultation and a decision needs to be made so we can all move on and work on developing a strong city.” “The councillors are completely out of touch with reality”, argued Michael Ryan, owner of Ryan’s Menswear on Thomas St. “At the moment, there’s nothing as important for Limerick city, the plan makes complete sense. All that the councillors want is their jobs.”

187,000with

100,000 people in a redrawn Limerick city.

44%

of housing in Limerick city is social housing. Limerick has had its own local government

800

for years. €20m a year could be saved if the report is implemented.


10 | FEATURES

SVP continue to provide for the needy and destitute of Limerick

Out in the cold: the SVP drop-in centre has been providing services to Limerick’s needy for eight years. Fionnuala Corbett

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non-descript building down a laneway in Limerick City. There is nothing luxurious to be seen and there is no air of glamour in the rooms. For eight years, the St Vincent de Paul drop-in centre on Hartstonge Street has been a haven for those on the margins of society - the homeless, vulnerable, and destitute. It’s the place they come to receive what many take for granted; a hot cup of tea, maybe some soup and a sandwich. It’s the place they are treated with a smile, a kind word

and shown the respect that they don’t get on the streets. The focus of this article was on the drop-in centre at Christmas and problems they face in the run up to the big day trying to attract donations, volunteers and so on. But centre manager, Tom Flynn dismisses this, stating that the problems the SVP face are year round and not suddenly magnified by sparkling lights that adorn family homes or the sound of Christmas carols spilling from overcrowded shops. “We’re here all year round. We provide this service every day”, says Mr Flynn. However, he admits that the

Christmas season is a particularly hard time for some visitors to the centre. Many have lost contact with families and have no one to come and visit them. To help soften this harsh reality, the centre opens on Christmas Day, offering dinner and creating a welcoming, festive atmosphere. December also means the release of the Budget, a worrying time for any charity. Funding was cut for 2010, so what does Tom expect for the year ahead? “We expect a decrease in funding but we hope it won’t be too much as a significant decrease would affect our ability to continue services.”

What exactly are the services offered here? The provision of hot drinks, nourishing meals and laundry, the basic things needed by a person living on the street. “We offer basic services that are fundamental to people’s lives and to their dignity”, says Tom. He adds that the services are directly accessible. “They are person centred, nonjudgemental, non-bureaucratic”. Visitors also receive information on welfare entitlements and are given access to numerous counselling services. The centre works as a precounselling facility putting people in touch with the relevant support groups. Approximately 20 volunteers work there at present and most have been with the SVP since the beginning. According to Tom, the attraction is down to the work being personally rewarding and enjoyable. The volunteers offer a meaningful service to those less well off than themselves. For Tom himself, it is challenging but fulfilling work. “Personally, seeing people move on and move forward from the service is very rewarding”, he reveals. Who are the main users of the centre? “When we opened first it was older men and women who accessed the service but increasingly we’re seeing younger people coming in”, says Tom. A certain amount, but not all of the younger visitors have addiction problems and the centre works with them to overcome these. St Vincent de Paul is an Irish institution and their work is lauded by all. But words of praise don’t fill empty stomachs or build solid homes. What this drop-in centre and indeed the charity as a whole need is a steadfast financial commitment from the Government, as well as a whole lot of monetary goodwill from the rest of the public. Only then will the invisible members of the community be seen and inequality banished.

Oxfam still flourishing after two decades Mary Sweeney

C

harity shops are great places to buy vintage clothes, books and unusual items recovered from someone’s attic. Since 1990 the Oxfam charity shop on William St, has been raising money and passing on donations to countries in the developing world. Anne McGlynn, part-time manager of the shop and some of her volunteers are preparing for Christmas. Anne began volunteering in the shop over 15 years ago and has been a parttime manager for six years. In the back of the shop there are shelves of books, mounds of children’s toys, cushions and clothes waiting to be steam-cleaned before being sold and a corner with unsorted bags of donations. “The economic downturn has definitely had its effects” said Anne, “We are certainly down on donations since the recession hit”. However the economic down-

turn has had a positive effect on the numbers volunteering their time to do some charity work. “We have a team of around 30 volunteers who come to work on a rota basis and there’s always room for more, People drop in and give their names and numbers and we take it from there”. Oxfam has had a presence in Limerick city for twenty years and recently celebrated with a party at their premises on 57 William St, hosted by former rugby player Anthony Foley. During the celebrations the charity launched its ‘Unwrapped’ Christmas appeal. ‘Unwrapped’ is a concept whereby people buy a gift voucher or present for people in developing countries. Oxfam has worked in tandem with people in the developing world, who contributed to the catalogue by choosing gifts that will greatly benefit those who receive them. “We are flat out with the ‘Unwrapped’ appeal and we have

lovely Christmas cards on sale,” said Anne. There is a great selection of toys, books and gifts available. There is always room for more donations and all you have to do is pull up to the shop and someone will come and help you with the bags. “No one has ever been clamped bringing donations into us. Traffic wardens know you’re dropping off a donation for Oxfam.” Since 2004, Oxfam have raised over €50 million and sold over 3 million gifts from the catalogue, including goats, trees, seeds and money. The charity has contributed hugely to teacher training; to date they have donated over €1 million to the cause of education. Like all charities Oxfam faces uncertainty with regards to funding. Hopefully our Government will see sense and allow them to continue the stellar work they have done in Limerick and throughout the country for many years.

City Voice December 3, 2010

Oxfam’s Limerick branch on William Street. Pic: Mary Sweeney.

Residents fear floods and ice throughout Christmas Robyn Gleeson

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esidents of King’s Island in Limerick City fear the worst as the horror of last winter’s flooding damage still looms over them. Last year over 20 evacuations were made in the area due to severe flooding and even more houses were left damaged. According to St. Mary’s Park Community Centre worker Marie McGrath, flooding barriers have not been put in place around the King’s Island area to prevent possible flooding this winter. “It’s ridiculous, last year everyone was afraid to leave their houses and this year it will probably be no different. It’s especially difficult for the elderly in the bad weather conditions and they’re not being looked after.” Paul O’Grady from the Environment Department of Limerick City Council said that they recently put up metal flooding barriers around Shannonbanks and King John’s Castle and plans are now underway to ensure other low-land areas are safe from flooding this year. Mrs McGrath, whose own house was severely damaged in the floods last year was one of the lucky ones who was not forced to leave their home. She told the City Voice: “I’d no insurance so it cost me an arm and a leg. Two new ceilings, floorboards had to be taken up, new computer, new bedding...the list goes on.” The water slowly creeped up Oliver Plunkett Street and St Munchins’ Street and affected the entire area soon after. Mr O’Grady said they’ve learned from past mistakes and changed their procedures with Met Éireann and the ESB. “It’s better to be overly cautious. Preparing is three-quarters of the battle and when a warning sign shows, systems kick into place.” Thirty-three per cent of the water in Ireland flows through Limerick City and it is lowland areas such as King’s Island that get the brunt of the flooding. King’s Island residents also had to put up with heavy snowfall around Christmas time last year. According to Mrs McGrath, City Hall took quite some time to salt the roads and they never salted footpaths to prevent slipping. The Environment Department is hoping for a milder Christmas this year and so far have not received any alarming emails from the other agencies. They can normally predict when heavy rain is expected and a major emergency plan is always at hand in case of any severe weather conditions.


FEATURES | 11

City Voice December 3, 2010

City traders need to lift moods to increase sales Limerick shoppers will have no problems keeping business local in return for value and good service this Christmas.

Emily Maree Business Editor

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HRISTMAS IS coming and excitement is brewing like mulled wine. Santa lists are written and shopping has to be done. But what are Limerick businesses doing to attract customers in these hard times over Christmas? Consumers want real bargains, but are businesses willing to give them? Do the City’s businesses have any secrets to keep shops bustling with customers, even through this economic uncertainty? Louis Fine’s Jewellers in the heart of Limerick City celebrates its centenary this year and business is as good as ever. The third generation jewellers counts providing more than their competitors as one of the main reasons their shop is still successful. “It’s a family business and we do everything in house, from repairs to giftware to clocks. We have a little something for everyone and that’s

what keeps the customers coming in. It’s our variety”, says Louis. Stores like P O’Connell’s Butchers also enjoy increased trade at Christmas and this year is no different. The award winning butchers has been taking Christmas orders for weeks and the festive season is their busiest times of the year. Their employees feel that it is the quality of their produce, and a friendly face, that keeps their business going. “We have lots of regular customers who come in all the time but we get even more customers at Christmas.” Walking through the streets of Limerick City can be a beautiful sight from November on, with Christmas lights and festive shop windows on display. A veteran of the decorative window display is Daly’s Store on William Street. They stock all things festive, from trees to decorations to light-up Santas. The staff really feel this is a major factor in pulling in customers. “We’re all having a hard time of it, there is no easy way around it. But we’ve been doing our Christmas window for years. All the traditional colours are back and the brightness of the windows really picks up people’s moods. That’s what we need at this moment in time.” Unfortunately other traders aren’t

so lucky in keeping the customers. Kristian Schnittger of King’s Footwear had to cease trading mid-November due to rising business costs. “Businesses are not being run badly. It’s the fact that costs of doing business have stayed at Celtic Tiger levels, yet market reality has greatly changed since then”, he said. Mr Schnittger thinks that some simple measures like reducing VAT would help to stimulate retail business and support the economy. He also felt the City Council didn’t do as much as they could to help retailers. The Brosnan Plan discussed rate harmonisation between city and county to keep costs down and stimulate investment in the city. However, even this is too little too late for companies like King’s Footwear. Empty shops signal that traders have given up on Limerick City. However, Christmas is still a celebration, the lights are on, the tree is up and customers are still flocking to the small, reliable businesses in our city. So take a walk around Limerick and rejoice in the fact that even in times of economic uncertainty, shops that have stood for years are still serving the people of Limerick and will value your support over the festive season.

Daly’s festive window display brings Christmas cheer to Limerick City.

Ag Coinneáil Lasair an Teanga ag Lonrú

Cathedral reveals its wonders Barbara Ross

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T MARY’S Cathedral, the oldest building in the City is undergoing a restoration programme aimed at keeping this wonderful place of worship firmly on the map. It is being achieved in phases, according to Dean Sirr. He emphasises that “worship continues throughout restoration”. Dean Sirr is adamant that it is not a museum but a living Cathedral that serves the community. The Cathedral is in daily use, but it is far from a typical church. It has a rich history. The impressive stain glass windows were once used to teach the illiterate about the Christian faith. The last King of Munster, Donal Mór O’Brien, founded the cathedral in 1168. Parts of the original structure can still be seen including the West Door, which was the main entrance to the palace. The door is only used now on ceremonial occasions. Bishops of Limerick have for centuries entered through the door as part of their installation ceremony. Since restorations began, hidden stairwells have been found within the walls. Dean Sirr believes that we are seeing what was never intended to be seen, and some concealed truths within the build-

Caitríona Ní Chadhain

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History on our doorstep: St Mary’s Cathedral undergoes restoration.

ing may forever lie undiscovered. The most noteworthy reminders of the past are carved misericords in the choir. These are wooden shelves on the underside of folding chairs, used to lean on during long periods of prayer.

Pic: Eugene Ryan

They are the only complete set of misericords left in Ireland. The people of Limerick continue to worship today in its ancient confines and no trip to the City is complete without a visit to this historic building.

Pic: Eugene Ryan

unaíodh Conradh na Gaeilge in 1893 leis an aidhm Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn i measc phobal na hÉireann. Osclaíodh craobh i Luimneach go gairid ina ndiaidh sin agus tá sé ag dul ó neart go neart ó shin i leith. Bhí siad i cúpla ionad difriúil sular cheannaigh siad Halla Íde ag uimhir 18 Sráid Thomáis sa bhlian 1961. Is as sin atá an Conradh ag fadú lasair an teanga sa Chontae go fóill. Na laethanta seo cuireann an Conradh siopa leabhair, naíonra, ranganna Gaeilge agus oícheanta siamsaíochta ar siúl i Halla Íde i measc seirbhísí eile. Tá an-chuid daoine i Luimneach a bhí bainteach le Conradh na Gaeilge trí na blianta. Sna blianta atá imithe tharainn bhíodh céilí seachtainiúil i Halla Íde, áit ar chasadh Gaeilgeoirí an Chontae agus níos faide i gcéin ar a chéile i gcomhar comhrá, craic agus ceol. Chomh maith le seo bhíodh, agus tá go fóill, drámaí á chur ar stáitse taobh istigh go doirse uimhir 18 Sráid Thomáis. Bhí Oíche Ghaeltachta acu le déanaí

sa Chistin le hAisteoirí Chorr na Mona ina raibh drámaí, agallaimh, ceol agus amhráin. Bíonn Naíonra á reáchtáil ag an gConradh i Halla Íde cúig lá sa tseachtain, le dhá sheisiún sa lá, bíonn suas go 20 páiste ag aon seisiún amháin. Cuireann an Conradh cúpla rang Gaeilge éagsúil ar siúl i gcomhair an phobail chomh maith. Tá trí rang difriúil, ceann i gcomhair tosaitheoirí, rang i gcomhair daltaí ag iarraidh dul isteach i gColáiste Mhuire Gan Smál, agus ciorcal comhrá gach Domhnach. Oibríonn foireann an Conradh go deonach don mhórchuid. Dár le Seán Ó Morónaigh, Leas Cathaoirleach Conradh na Gaeilge i Luimneach, bíonn rath an Conradh “ag brath ar fuinneamh agus samhlaíocht na ndaoine.” Cé nach mbíonn láithreacht an teanga sofheicthe sa chathair i gcónaí, tugann sé sólás a fhios a bheith againn go bhfuil sé ann, buail isteach ag oifigí an Conradh agus feicfidh tú é sin chomh maith le deis a fháil an cúpla focal a úsáid. Fad is a mhaireann eagraíochtaí cosúil le Conradh na Gaeilge agus spiorad na ndaoine i leith an Ghaeilge, ní mhúchtar splanc an teanga go deo.


12 | ENTERTAINMENT

City Voice December 3, 2010

Banter with the Bandits

The Rubberbandits are quickly establishing themselves as the new heroes of Irish comedy. But what are they like in person? Just the same, as Mikey Griffin discovered.

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he candlelit dressing room where the interview was conducted created a rather subdued atmosphere. Calm before the storm came to mind. Then I copped on, there were two girls in the corner! I started by thanking the lads. “Notta bother Mike” was the response. Some of you reading this article may not know who my interviewees are. Shame on you. They are Ireland’s new kids on the block, and we haven’t said that since we first saw D’unbelieveables. Ever since they left our screens there has been a void in Ireland for someone to poke fun at the temperament of the Irish, someone who isn’t afraid to say what needs to be said. Enter “The Rubberbandits”, two Limerick lads who perform under the names Blindboy Boat Club and Mr Chrome. The Bandits rose to prominence as YouTube hits with prank phone calls to make your sides split. Then they moved on to music, creating such hits as Up the Ra, which is a hilarious attack on armchair

What’s

on?

I’d often get a fur coat and throw it at a bin man

>> Dolans 3 Dec: The Coronas. 8pm. €19 9 Dec: Jason Byrne & Karl Spain. 7.30pm. €15 10 Dec: Fight Like Apes. 8pm. €14.

republicanism. Bags of Glue and Song for Willie O’Dea also are very popular among the masses. Where did it all start for the Bandits? “Limerick City, in a bowling alley. We lost a bet about darts at a greyhound stadium so now we’re gangster rappers.” Although they’ve been around for a decade, it’s only now that they’re becoming one of Ireland’s most successful comedy acts. All their answers are dripping with sarcasm. For example, when asked their opinion on the recession, they reply “I think he’s sound. When he scored that try, y’know normally I’d support Munster in the rugby because I’m from Limerick, but then recession scored that try against Gerry “rustly” Earls. And where is he now? Spinning in his grave in Mount St Lawrence!” Classic Bandits. When quizzed on their typical weekend they answer, “Saturday and Sunday and if there’s a bank holiday a Monday, that’s a long one isn’t it?” Sharp as a knife. Do the Bandits find the music business tough? “Well no, like its all dollars and women like. And fur

>> The Belltable Until 11 Dec: Anything But Love. 8pm. Tickets €22. 13 Dec: Fíbín - An Cearrbhach Mac Cába & Fiche Bliain ag Fás. 10:30am & 1:30pm. €15

The Dublin outift are back stronger than ever after a turbulent year which saw them split, reform and release their second album.

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itting down with Delorentos bass player Níal Conlan and singer/guitarist Kieran McGuinness from the band, it is clear that no topic of conversation is taboo, including the departure of front-man Rónan Yourell. “When Ró left we had trouble coming to terms with the fact that something we spent the best part of our twenties working on was over,” Nial said. “We would have continued on in some shape or form but were under no illusions that it wouldn’t have been the same,” Kieran adds. Soon after making the decision to leave, Yourell changed his mind and the band hurriedly recorded their second album You Can Make Sound which was followed by an Irish and European tour. On the subject of the second record Kieran is quick to point out its flaws. “It’s more a collection of songs than an album, a mixed bag of songs,

some good, some not so good”, he says. “Some of our best work is on the album, the manner of which we rushed to get it out is what we were trying to avoid on the new record”, Níal says on the subject of You Can Make Sound. Delorentos are certain that they intend to make the second album on their own terms. “We’re writing with a view to pleasing ourselves, we’re not recording something just for the sake of it, it’s gonna be different and if they don’t like it we don’t care.” The tour schedule of the band has seen them support some of the biggest acts in the Irish music industry, including Sinead O’Connor. “She basically ignored us”, laughs Nial. “She certainly didn’t try and impart any Rastafarian wisdom on us!” Playing all over Europe has led to some odd incidents. “One guy smashed a mic in my face, another time a girl poured a whole pint over my head in the middle of the set”, Kieran recalls. “Denmark was

City,” the second Bandit chipped in (this is the Rubberbandits’ defining catchphrase). The Rubberbandits are currently touring Ireland for the RTE show “The Republic of Telly”, When asked about the tour they replied, “I don’t have to find it usually, they tell us where to go. We’ve never once had to find it. Like, they sent us to Kilkenny and we didn’t have to find it!”

Unfortunately that’s where the interview had to end as the lads were rushing to get on stage. These guys are the next big thing in Irish comedy. They are coming and there is nothing you can do about it. They’ve worked their way into the hearts of the nation and they are set to stay there. Expect to see a lot more of this hilarious duo. That’s Limerick Citaay!

>> University Concert Hall

>> Hunt Museum

4 Dec: University of Limerick Orchestra - A Christmas Festival. 8pm. €15. 12 Dec: Ballet Ireland presents Romeo & Juliet. 8pm. €25.

19 Dec: The Snowman. 3pm. Children: €5. Adults: €7.50

Delorentos come of age Brian Anglim

coats. Like I’d often get a fur coat and throw it at a bin man. That why you see bin men wearing fur coats around Limerick City.” “That’s Limerick

pretty weird too, one guy kept spinning around like Homer Simpson in front of the stage.” With twenty five dates alone in December, it’s clear that Delorentos are a hard working band. Nial explains that the work schedule has brought the band closer together. “We’re like a family now, we can have disagreements but at the end of the day we’re still all in the same ship”, he says. Talking about the band’s future, the two don’t seem worried. “There are no jobs out there for anyone, so if things went belly up we’d have no option but to keep playing music. We’re musicians and that’s what we will be for the rest of our lives whether it be with the Delorentos or somewhere else.” Whatever the future does hold for Delorentos it cannot be denied that they are one of Ireland’s most talented and hard working bands. - Delorentos play Barcode, Tipperary Town on December 10.

Until 7 Jan: Crafts Council of Ireland Exhibition.

>> LIT Millenium Theatre 27 Dec: Centrestage Panto presents Beauty and The Beast. 2.30pm. Adult: €18.50. Children: €16.50. Family: €65.

Roots reggae culture raises roofs in Limerick Mary Sweeney

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oots Factory have promoted reggae music nights in various venues across Limerick since 2007. There are five people involved in Roots Factory: Cian Frawley, Eva Keyes, Frankie O’Mahony, Ronan Mc Mullen and Brigadier Jc. Brigadier Jc explained what drew him to reggae music and culture. “It’s hard to explain really, I think it needs to be experienced the right way to be fully understood, with a big sound system, a good singer and heavy tunes. I think it’s the fascinating historical and cultural background behind reggae music and the sound system movement in Jamaica but also in England.” Reggae wasn’t played on the radio in Jamaica so people built their own speakers to spread the sound. When Caribbean people moved to London in the 60s, they brought the sound system culture with them. “Fifty years later, we’re still not happy with what’s on the radio, so we put on our own

parties with music we Jamaicans love.” To build up local interest, a series of movie club nights are run where reggae related documentaries are shown, These are well attended and great fun. Many major Irish and European sound systems have visited Limerick in the last three years and Roots Factory have curated most of these gigs. “All these people we brought to Limerick are all passionate about reggae music so this is something we have in common. We have mutual respect and emulation, especially in Ireland.” Roots Factory had a busy summer bringing their legendary sound system to venues across Limerick. They also attended Electric Picnic, Life Festival, and their usual ‘Summer Jam’ in Dolan’s. Jc’s favourite reggae quote comes from Bob Marley: “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Stay tuned to facebook. com/rootsfactory for more, where you will find details of a very special gig on New Year’s Eve.


SPORT | 13

City Voice December 3, 2010

Darragh Hurley trys to escape the attention of Connacht’s Brendan O’Connor in December 2006. The prop forward is looking to secure a place on the Irish squad. Pic courtesy Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

Hurley hungry for glory Ravaged by injuries, Munster’s Darragh Hurley has long seen his rugby career suffer. Now back to full strength, he wants to make his mark on the international stage.

Brian Anglim Chief Sports Writer

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T would be easy for Munster prop Darragh Hurley to become disheartened. A hamstring tear has left him sidelined for much of the season and he currently occupies the most widely criticized position in Irish rugby. The life of a prop forward is never glamorous but Hurley was never one for the glamorous side of the game. A return against the Cardiff Blues in Thomond Park is the first objective for a man with a long term goal of getting into the Irish fold. Growing up Hurley idolised fellow front row and Irish rugby legend Keith Wood. Wood was another Munster man who knew all about the hard graft of life in the pack. Wood’s passion and energy for the game was something that really rubbed off on the young man. “Watching Keith Wood made my mind up for me. I was never destined for the backs, all I wanted was the rough and tumble of the pack”. The Kinsale native first considered the possibility of rugby as a realistic career path during his time playing Senior Cup for Christian Brothers College Cork. Here he

played alongside fellow Munster squad members Billy Holland and Duncan Williams for the first time. Hurley cites his time with Christians and the Irish schools team as crucial in his transition from amateur to professional rugby. “Playing game in, game out, at such a high level gave me a huge appetite for taking my game further. Even at that young age there was massive emphasis placed on professionalism.” After representing Ireland in the U-21 World Cup in France, Hurley set about trying to establish himself in the Munster senior panel. So far he has amassed 32 appearances for the province, has represented Ireland A and was part of the 2008 Churchill Cup winning squad. With several injury problems throughout the last few years, Hurley has had to rely on game time in the AIL for competitive rugby. While some contracted players make the mistake of anticipating an easy ride in Ireland‘s premier amateur league, Hurley knows that in reality the opposite is true. AIL rugby is generally characterised by the hard-fought grind for yards against pride obsessed local clubs. “Turning up on a wet Saturday morning in Coonagh you’re in for a dog fight. You’re going to be coming up against guys who are looking to give you a rough time because of

your status as a contracted player.” It’s a turbulent time to be a prop in Irish rugby. The demolition of the Munster scrum in last year’s Heineken Cup was the catalyst for a reformation in the way Darragh and his fellow front rowers approached the game. Hurley sums this up without making excuses. “We had a lot of issues in the scrum we had to address at the start of the year. At the end of the day Munster are traditionally a scrummaging team and were working hard on that part of our game.” Having represented Ireland at A level it seems strange that he was never afforded an opportunity with the senior squad. “I really did feel that I deserved a shot, being riddled with injury probably stopped me earning my first cap.” Given the shortage of quality props in Irish rugby, Hurley is putting his hand up for selection ahead of next year’s World Cup. A versatility that allows him to play at either side of the scrum means that the 25-year-old is a real option for Declan Kidney in the front-row. Given the tough group Ireland face in New Zealand, strength, depth and versatility in the front row should be paramount to Declan Kidney’s squad selection. “It’s every player’s aim to play for Ireland and it’s a serious ambition of

mine. If you didn’t have aspirations of representing your country as a professional athlete you’d have to wonder about your own ambition.” After a crushing defeat to Biarritz in the south of France in last year’s Heineken Cup semi-final, many pundits questioned whether Munster had the desire and the squad to challenge for another European Cup. Hurley explains that this criticism was the reason for their strong performances in this year’s group stages. “It’s a bit of a cliché but after the Biarritz game we all sat down as a group and asked ourselves did we still have the hunger for it. The criticism in certain areas of the media made us rally together; we wanted to prove the pundits wrong.” A career blighted by injury hasn’t deflated the ambition of the Cork man who still has the best part of his career ahead of him. Mid to late twenties is when a prop comes of age and with the peak of his career approaching, getting back to fitness means that Darragh Hurley can once again contemplate European glory with Munster and a chance to prove his international credentials with Ireland. “The next few years are going to be important. My main goal for the season ahead is to stay fit and injury free, to play a big part in the Heineken cup and Magners’ League for Munster.”

Factfile

Name: Darragh Hurley Postion: Prop Age: 25 Height: 1.82m Weight: 106kg Club: Cork Con Caps (Ireland A): 6 Caps (Munster): 32


14 | SPORT

Sport BRIEFS Culhane for Croker LIMERICK City Hurling Development administrator Pat Culhane is to be among the guest speakers at Saturday’s GAA Development Conference in Croke Park. It is the largest conference of its kind, attracting well in excess of 500 delegates from all over Ireland, Europe and North America in 2009. Apart from Mr Culhane, guest speakers include GAA Hurling Development Coordinator Paudie Butler and Dublin senior football coach Mickey Whelan. Tickets are on sale at €50. For more information email gamesdevelopment@gaa.ie.

Handball decider IRELAND’S top handballers will battle for honours in Abbeylara, Co Longford this Sunday. Limerick are well represented on the Munster team for this interprovincial tournament with six Shannonside players taking part. Tom O’Brien will represent Limerick in one of over fifty one wall doubles matches. CJ Fitzpatrick will compete in the senior hardball singles while Seamus O’Carroll is set to play senior doubles. Padraig O’Carroll is Limerick’s only U-19 representative while Martina McMahon is playing in the U-17 girls.

Tough bout for Lee ANDY Lee is set to end 2010 with a tough battle against an as yet unnamed opponent on December 11th in Mannheim, Germany. The middleweight fighter is currently ranked 9th in the WBA world rankings and 15th in the WBC rankings. Lee will get the chance to avenge his sole professional defeat to Bryan Vera in the New Year should he win. In March 2008, Vera scored the biggest win of his professional career with a 7th round TKO over the Castleconnell man.

Bronze for Murphy Castletroy College student Grainne Murphy’s gilded run continues as she claimed two bronze medals in the space of 24 hours at the European ShortCourse championship in Eindhoven. The 17-year-old Wexford native finished third in the 800 metre freestyle event last Saturday, making her the first Irish person to win a medal at these championships since Andrew Bree claimed silver seven years ago. The 2009 Texaco Young Sportsperson Of The Year followed this up by again finishing third in the 400 metre freestyle event on Sunday.

City Voice December 3, 2010

Champion Casey “more than ready” for next fight Enda Dowling Sports Editor

newly crowned European Super Bantamweight champion Willie Casey has been unveiled on the December 10 card in Tallaght’s National Basketball Arena. Hours after Dolphin Promotions secured his name on the bill, the “Big Bang” dropped into the gym where his professional boxing talents were moulded and honed, Our Lady’s of St Lourdes St Saviours. Here he presented a framed and signed boxing shirt to the club, and cast an eye over his next encounter. “I’m delighted with the announcement, its perfect for all my Dublin fans. I’ve been keeping myself in great condition, tipping away, so when I get word of a fight like this, I’ll be more than ready” said Casey. Casey is scheduled to fight six rounds against an unnamed boxer in a non-title fight. he captured the title in a fascinating encounter with much fancied Paul Hyland just three weeks ago in a bout which Hyland stopped in the fourth round. The first defence of his title will come against Spaniard Kiko Martinez in early March. ‘La Sensácion’ Matinez is a former Super Bantamweight Champion who vacated the European title due to a rib injury, allowing Paul Hyland the chance to contest the belt in the University Arena. However, Casey points out that his December 10th bout should not be seen as a warm up for Kiko. He insists, “I absolutely hate the term ‘warm up’, because I would never take anyone so lightly. It will be a six round non title fight, to keep me ticking over, and hopefully I’ll have another one on January 22nd, maybe eight rounds… then we’ll look to Kiko.” Casey will have to become used to the frenzies akin to what greeted him at Our Lady’s of St. Lourdes St Saviours

club. Silence fell over the gym for the split second he entered the room, every member stood in awe. All were eager for a glimpse of the man who has undeniably become Southill’s most famous sporting hero. The mood changed quickly as the youngest members of the boxing club thronged around to speak to their idol, with Casey more than willing to help ensure the kids were wearing protective gear. In capturing European gold, Casey joins a rare group of athletes. Out of just 13 Irishmen to capture titles at European level, he is the solitary Munster man on the list. A month on, he still struggles to come to terms with his success. “I really don’t think it’s sunk in properly with me yet, it hasn’t got the chance to, and I’ve been just so busy. I received free Munster tickets, a mayor’s reception, visited schools. And all the while I have started back training”, he said. Casey’s rise from the obscurity that accompanies life in Southill to sporting superstardom is a story that resonates deeply with everyone in Limerick. Casey is more than aware of what his recent achievement means to the people of Limerick. “I have seen the effect it has already had on the city. At the Mayor’s reception, all the councillors were talking about my win, putting it into context with all the different sporting achievements ever in this city and Munster. I couldn’t believe it, I’m a huge Munster rugby fan, and hearing this sort of thing spurs me on” said the 29-year-old. “It really sank in there and then what it meant to some people. Hopefully, it can inspire any young person with an interest and a good work ethic in whatever sport.” Reflecting on the title fight that made Willie a hero one month ago, Kiko Martinez was surprised at the outcome. He insisted Paul Hyland fought the wrong fight, and should never have stood

European Super Bantamweight champion Willie Casey poses with young Limerick boxers boxers from the Our Lady’s of St. Lourdes St Saviours gym. Pic: Eugene Ryan.

toe to toe with Casey. The champion does not give this theory any credence whatsoever. “I think Paulie boxed exceptionally well on the night, we knew beforehand how technically gifted he was. But it’s not a case of Paul fighting the wrong fight, he fought that way because he had no other option, I made him do it. There’s a big difference.” Although Martinez will be the bigger of the two men when they meet in March, the Spaniard will have learned that Casey’s ring moniker “Big Bang” is far from an idle threat. The diminutive southpaw packs a punch, with seven of his eleven victories to date finishing by way of KO. The Limerick man credits his coaches for unlocking this power.

All eyes on Limerick hurlers for next season From backpage Surely after signing just a one year agreement with Limerick, sights are set on reaching the summit of the division two league. However, Carey refrains from revealing concrete goals. “Our priority is to ensure Limerick hurlers play to the very peak of what they are capable of doing next year. Division two will be far from a walk in the park, with the likes of Clare who are very strong, as well as Antrim who have put in some great results over the last couple of years” he said. The stance of exiled players in the 2010 season will have meant a radical lifestyle change for the past twelve months. But the former Limerick U-21 manager and senior camogie manager has no reservations about returning these players to the fitness levels needed to be a top intercounty hurler. “No worries whatsoever, they have had a couple of trial matches already and we were very impressed with the fitness levels shown. Now the players

will have weights sessions in the gym over the winter months to build and maintain upper body strength.” Kilmallock’s progression to the semifinal was seen by many as proof that the fire still burns in Limerick hurling, and that there is plenty to be hopeful for. Carey believes Kilmallock were very unfortunate not to defeat Thurles in the semi-final, citing their home pitch as a hindering factor. “I was very impressed with their performance throughout this year’s championship, they were definitely the most consistent team overall. But playing at home (against Thurles) might not have done them too many favours. Kilmallock is a tight pitch. It’s well used to holding colleges and club games and while it has also staged many inter-county fixtures, it’s compact and doesn’t allow for the fast wide play that might have caught Thurles”, says Carey. Possibly one of the most interesting aspects of the new managerial composition and the year ahead is that all three selectors were considered for the job

“I wouldn’t be where I am now without them, Phill Sutcliff, Joe Clifford all the men in Our Lourdes St Saviours out there, training the young lads as we speak, Shane Daley especially. They’re your trainers, your physios, and your best friends all rolled into one” he said. With a European title and the Prizefighter trophy that launched him into the limelight after just 11 professional fights, one wonders what he can possibly achieve after 20 fights. Casey remains typically grounded regarding such questions, taking each individual fight as it approaches him. “I don’t like aiming too high yet, if I could get a couple of defences of my European belt, then we’ll start to think big. I’m still learning for the moment.”

Bull for Barbarians Liam McDermott

Munster prop John Hayes will line out for the Barbarians team which plays South Africa this Saturday.

Limerick selector Ciarán Carey. Pic: courtesy Limerick Leader.

of manager. One wonders how these strong characters interact with each other. One thing is for sure however, all eyes will certaintly be on Limerick’s hurlers in 2011.

This is a huge honour for the Limerick man who joins the prestigious list of players who have played for the invitational side. It’s recognition of the progress Hayes has made from picking up the game as an 18-year-old to becoming one of Ireland’s most capped players and one of the country’s representatives for the Barbarians. Selection for the “Baabaas” has been an indicator of a player’s talent for around 100 years. Hayes will be playing alongside the likes of Joe Rokocoko from New Zealand and Adam AshleyCooper from Australia this year. A closing curtain for international rugby in 2010, the match will be played in England’s Twickenham Stadium against the current world champions South Africa.


SPORT | 15

City Voice December 3, 2010

Horan sets targets for both codes

Neigh let-up for McNamara

From backpage

Manager confident as he takes control of both senior and U-21 football squads. Donal Halligan

New Limerick senior football manager Maurice Horan has set his side the aim of achieving league success as well as fulfilling their championship potential this year. Horan is managing both the senior and U-21 panels. “Of course our main aims are on the Munster title but before that it is every manager’s aim to get promoted in the league” he said. Horan isn’t new to the set up however, as he played a big part in last year’s staff as a selector for this team. After a disappointing defeat in the Munster final, Limerick will be hoping to set things straight this year and hopefully bring back some silverware to the county. As Horan is in charge of both squads he has a wide knowledge of the players who should be coming through from the U-21s to senior. U-21s players from last year such as Brian Scanlan, Eoghan O’ Connor and Seamus O Carroll have been named as those to watch for the future after making very impressive debuts for the seniors last year. Scanlan’s debut last year saw him score a 45 against Waterford in the Munster Senior Football Final, despite playing between the sticks himself. 19-year-old O’Connor will also not be easily overlooked for this year. His debut last year saw him dubbed “The Express” by Sunday Game commentators because of his obvious bursts of pace and direct routes to the goal. O’Carroll, who is already famed

soccer report Sean Russell

Carew Park: 3 Corbally United: 1 Jackman Park was the venue for the quarter-final tie between Carew Park and Corbally United on Thursday night. Though missing three players through suspension, Corbally did not lie down for their opponents. Carew Park opened the scoring in the first half with a fine individual goal from Jamie O’Sullivan. However, their lead did not last long as Pat Ranahan struck back for Corbally just before half-time. The second half started brightly, Carew getting a rub of the green as a scrappy goal was turned in to his own net by a Corbally defender. Carew Park remained on the front

as one of the best young handballers around, will make a return to the senior squad after appearing last year and making a lasting impression on Horan in both the senior and U-21 campaigns. Horan has similar plans for this year’s U-21s and feels there are some there who could make appearances on both panels. “Hopefully there will be a good overlap between the two squads. It will be great for the U-21s to be able to train with the big players and see their progress.” The team will not be without experience, with John Galvin ready to go, which will be his 12th year as the driving force of Limerick football. Galvin narrowly missed out on an All-Star this year but was later acknowledged for his efforts with a place on the GPA team of the year. On winning the award, he said “I would give up as many as I could get to win a Munster or All-Ireland title. The best way to win something is with all your team mates.” Galvin also expressed that he has great faith in Maurice Horan as a manager because of his good relationships with the players. Galvin also praised Horan for his knowledge of the club scene in Limerick. Horan’s first challenge with this crop of players will be against Tipperary on February 6th. Fans will hope for a strong league campaign from the Treaty men before the Championship commences on the 4th of June. The seniors have been drawn at home either Kerry or Tipperary.

foot after going ahead, constantly probing their opposition’s defence. Their third goal came around the 70 minute mark from Stephen Grant; another scrappy goalmouth scramble turned in. Corbally then enjoyed a long spell of good play, surging forward but repeatedly failing to find an end product. They proved unable to take the chances to get back into the game. The win put Carew Park through to the semi-finals of the Tuohy Cup, where they will face Regional United. Corbally currently sit in eighth place in the Junior Premier League, one point behind sixth placed Park. Carew Park:G Stewart, M Slattery, D Whelan, G Griffin, A Slattery, S Grant, P Boyle, C Maher, D Finnan, J O’Sullivan, G Coleman. Corbally United:, M Healy, D Hanty, J Ryan, C Costelloe, D Connolly, J O’Brien,K Hartnett, B Hartnett, Pat Ranahan, David O’Gorman, Mike Crowley.

Cardiff Munster clash

Limerick jockey Andrew McNamara in the yard. Pic courtesy Limerick Leader.

Limerick jockey right on top Michael Griffin

Limerick jockey Andrew J McNamara is heading into the Christmas season level with Paul Carberry on 43 points in the Irish Jump Jockey’s Championship.

When asked about his chances of winning, he said “It’s definitely very competitive at the top this year. I’d be hopeful of staying around the top three but it’s been a good season so far so I’d like to be near the top come the end of the championship”, Andrew should be set to stay there with an interesting book of rides coming over the Christmas season. The fight at the top of the Jockey’s Championship will no doubt continue in this tit-for-tat nature with Geraghty and Carberry both having an interesting

Transfer Deals Owen Hickey

Limerick FC have moved quickly in the transfer market as the club aims to push on from its fifth place finish last year.

Having finished the season strongly and just missed out on a play off spot, promotion is the word on everyone’s lips at the moment. The signings of Garry Sheahan from Wexford Youths, Brian Murphy and Padraic Quinn from Tralee Dynamos and Brian McCarthy from Athlone Town will provide optimism among fans for the coming season. Senior manager Pat Scully is confident Sheahan will prove his worth, and said the club had already tried to bring him back to the club on a number of occasions. “I feel we have signed one of the best forwards in the First Division. He will bring real speed to our front

book of rides also. However McNamara has been through it all. In a jockey career which has spanned well over a decade, he began humbly as a teenager on the pony racing circuit in Munster to riding Beef or Salmon to win the Hennessy Gold Cup. Coping with the pressure will not be new to him. When asked about his favourite ride of his career he said just that: “I’d have to say Beef or Salmon in the Hennessy Gold Cup. It’s always nice to ride a crowd favourite with the crowd cheering you on and taking pictures. I’d have to say I really enjoyed that ride alright”. McNamara is now stable jockey to Edward O’Grady’s stables, who has exciting prospects in his yard such as Catch Me and Osana.

line and he is a great finisher. He is the right age to be part of our success for years to come.” Club captain Pat ‘Trigger’ Purcell has also agreed terms with the club for next season. Departing the club are Sean Kelly, Timothy Kiely, Dave Rogers and Thomas Heary. Last summer saw a strong focus on the club’s academy and recruiting talented youth players for the future. After a busy start to the transfer window, with several new signings, Scully revealed the club would now be turning their attention to the development of academy players. “We won’t be signing many players as everyone at the club has worked very hard on our underage system and we have some excellent young players who will be part of next season’s squad.” Limerick fans will be looking forward to seeing these new players next year.

Meanwhile, Cardiff are four points behind Munster and are starting to stabilise. Combining a dynamic back three with a reliable kicker and a strong pack they cause trouble for most. Kicking four penalties and three conversions with a try thrown in as well, Ceri Sweeney was the most impressive in their win over Glasgow. The Munster back row will have to suppress his influence on the game as much as possible. Wingers Mustoe and Czekaj and fullback Dan Fish will also need watching as all three had a strong influence in Cardiff’s last game. Pairing this with a powerful pack, the Blues will be difficult to dominate at the set-pieces. Munster need the discipline to be stricter than it was against the Dragons as well as a better start to the game. Cardiff can be a powerful team going forward as they throw the ball around well, have pace out wide and a fly-half who can kick the difficult penalties. Munster need to focus on getting Paul Warwick to hit the corners and then to win their own line-outs and steal the rest. While Cardiff are a strong team, the score-line against Glasgow flatters them somewhat. Glasgow had many chances to score tries but lacked the class to unlock Cardiff’s defence. Munster won’t have this problem. Doug Howlett, Sam Tuitupou, Lifeimi Mafi and Barry Murphy are all able to finish the chances that Paul Warwick will create. Munster’s pack should keep discipline in the final third when the game gets tight to provide these players with try scoring chances and taking chances of their own. Despite last week’s poor showing against the Dragons, Munster have been having a good year. Expect two different teams to come to Thomond Park this weekend, with Munster to come out on top.

Limerick FC captain Pat Purcell. Pic courtesy Limerick Leader.


City Sport

The Voice of Limerick Sport

inside: ‘Big Bang’ Willie talks tough

BLUES BLITZ: Munster gear up for Cardiff clash

Selector seeks end to hurling famine Enda Dowling Sports Editor

Limerick senior hurling selector Ciarán Carey is prepared to make wholesale changes to the team’s playing style and philosophy in order to get the Treaty County back to the upper tiers of hurling’s elite. Speaking to City Voice Sport, Carey emphasised the need for Limerick to revert to a different style in order to ensure stability for the forthcoming season. “It is essential that we return and focus on the basics of the game, building a good foundation from there so that we can play good fast, fluid hurling, typical Limerick hurling. If we can do this, we will hold our own”. Stability is the link between all the various pieces of dialogue that have been echoed by Limerick’s management since their appointment. The side urgently need to move on from the chaos that marred Justin McCarthy’s reign at the helm. It would have upset Carey seeing how Limerick lost credibility as a result of last years controversy, but the three time All-Star winner has no interest in digging up the past. The poisonous season that divided supporters across Limerick will be consigned to history. “From now on, the only loyalty should be to the progression of Limerick hurling. At the time it was just mind

boggling. But now it’s water under the bridge and we will be working from a clean slate”, he insists. Carey has been drafted in as part of an all-star management team which includes Donal O’Grady as manager and former Limerick greats T.J Ryan and Pat Heffernan as selectors. On paper this looks a very impressive line up, but can they deliver the success that the long suffering treaty fans so desperately crave? Right now, Cork are in decline, some of Waterford’s stalwarts are pushing on and Clare are reliant on inexperienced youngsters. Limerick can challenge in Munster, providing everyone sings from the same hymn sheet. So far, they are doing just that, with Carey delighted to report the return of the 2010 absentees. “The trials are well under way. The panel will not be finalised until the middle of January. Until then, we have had a look at over 90 players in trial games, it is wide open for every single person who wants to play for the county, every Limerick jersey is up for grabs” he revealed. After signing just a one year agreement with Limerick, sights are set on topping the division two league. However, Carey refrains from revealing concrete goals. “Our priority is to ensure Limerick hurlers play to their very peak next year. Division two will be far from a walk in the park.”

Liam McDermott Deputy Sports Editor

Munster face tough opposition this Saturday as they play second placed Cardiff Blues for poll position in the Magners’ League. Munster currently sit on top of both the Magners’ League and their Heineken Cup group, pair this with wins over Australia and a tough victory against the second placed Llanelli Scarlets, this

match would seem to be a foregone conclusion. However, Friday’s 20 - 6 defeat to the Newport Gwent Dragons has exposed their weaknesses. Munster remain top of the League but it must be asked how they played so poorly, only managing two scores, both penalties courtesy of Paul Warwick. Compare this to Cardiff’s bonus point win over Glasgow, to bring them to second in the table and the importance of victory for both teams on Saturday becomes clear. Munster have been overly reli-

ant on Paul Warwick during the November period and when he isn’t on form they struggle. Yet, indiscipline was the real reason for Friday’s loss. Conceding six penalties in the first quarter as well as two first half yellow-cards is no way to win a match. CONTINUED ON PAGE 15 Our picture shows Munster’s Alan Quinlan and Deinial Jones of Cardiff Blues contesting a lineout. The sides meet again this Saturday. Pic: Courtesy Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

INSIDE: Maurice Horan Munster’s Darragh Hurley Limerick FC transfers

The City Voice  

Hard hitting local newspaper for Limerick City produced by journalism students from the University of Limerick