Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Fishing Club Launch Book
The Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers' Association History 1974 - 2007 compiled by Tommy Deegan was launched on Friday last to a packed hall. Cllr Billy Hillis was in attendance along with Martin Kelly from the Eastern Regional Fisheries Board (E.R.F.B.), Mr Tom Kinirons and Mr Tony Mahon of Dublin City Council, along with local anglers and well-wishers. Tommy Deegan, secretary of Ballymore Eustace T.S.A.A. acknowledged former minister and T.D., Paddy Power; John Dardis as a journalist, county councilor and senator; the Eastern Regional Fisheries Board (E.R.F.B.), the E.S.B. and Paddy Byrne, former secretary of the Federation of Liffey Angling Clubs (F.L.A.C.). Special thanks were made to Phil Murphy and family (Mick's has always been the home of the fishing club) , Cllr Billy Hillis, past and present committee members, family and friends who have supported the association down through the years or assisted Tommy in compiling the history from 1974 to date. Now on sale in MACE The Village Store on Chapel Street @ €15, the book contains one hundred and seventy pages on the local fishing club’s history. The book is as much a history of Ballymore Eustace itself, what with the club having always been to the fore in protecting the village, often representing local concerns regarding possible pollution of the river Liffey, abstraction of water or fighting inappropriate development proposed for Ballymore Eustace.
The book describes in detail the relationship over the years with Dublin City Council and the "Corpo's Water Treatment Plant"; several battles with Kildare County Council over the pollution from the Sewerage Facility and the fight with Wicklow County Council over the discharge of sewage into Golden Falls. It recalls the huge gas pipeline crossing over the river and the trout farm at Whiteleas (almost forgotten now).
Another interesting feature of the book are the many photos and newspaper articles going right back to the seventies, meticulously filed by Tommy Deegan plus references and photographs of previous committees, members and competitions over the past thirty three years.
It would make an ideal Christmas gift for anyone living abroad with a fondness for Ballymore Eustace and every household in the village should have a copy as a reference book or collector’s item. You can contact Tommy directly on 045 864477 to order copies or buy direct from Janet’s Mace on Chapel Street. Well done, Tommy and the members of the local T.S.A.A.!
- Rose

by Amanda Evans

“Dear Daddy,
It seems strange to write to you after all these years, I often wonder if
you can hear my words. Nearly 15 years have now passed since that
dreadful day when my life was changed forever. A carefree girl of
only 13, I was left with my life shattered. I guess you never thought
about the consequences of your actions……….

This letter that I now write is my way of finally letting you go, I never
did get the chance to say goodbye, so Daddy this is it – “Goodbye”.
I hope that you have found peace. After all these years it is now time
for me to find my peace.

If feels very strange to type the word “DADDY”, it is a word that has
long been erased from my vocabulary. A word I have missed saying
but a word I have learned to live without” Amanda.

Amanda Evans was thirteen when her Dad, Jimmy took his own life.
Before that night, you’d have described Jimmy as ‘sound’, ‘likeable’,
‘easygoing’ – a darts player, enjoyed fishing and hunting, had a wife,
lovely home and four young children – all distinctively fair haired. He
was a decent, uncomplicated man with a dry wit and kind nature – not
unlike his father, Albert ‘Boney’ Evans.

His death rocked the village – how had his many friends missed the signs?
And that, sadly, is the dreadful sense of guilt that drags down families after
losing a loved one through suicide.

Sudden death, be it accidental or through illness, is horrendous for a family to bear.
Death by suicide distorts the normal grieving process; instead of intense pain and sense of loss, survivors are left with a mishmash cocktail of shock, “why, why, why?”; “did I not love enough?”; “was I not loved enough?”; “what did I do wrong?”; “what did I miss?”…….self torment is endless and is interrupted by lengthy bouts of anger and frustration directed at the one person who could – but can’t – give you the answers………followed in time by self-doubt, self recrimination and a vicious circle of wavering emotions.

It it painful and sometimes intrusive to talk to grieving relatives about their emotions but for those left after a suicide, even the polite chain of conversation is altered. “Suicide is not something that you talk about that often: it is not a cosy topic. I think my mother didn’t talk about it in case it upset us and we didn’t talk about it in case it upset her.” said Amanda.

For six years after her father’s death, Amanda ‘blocked’ out the tragedy, ignored it as though it had never happened but emotions have a nasty way of catching up and when reality struck, it hit Amanda hard. Writing eased her pain; whilst she could not talk openly about her father, she could take pen and paper and write for hours.

“The power to suppress
The pain and the loss
The tears and the sadness
The grief inside
Lying there
Sleep please, oh sleep
The memories suppressed
No power to deal
With the pain that you caused
The gap no one can fill…”

Symbolically, a teenage Amanda wrote about a young girl who never grew up, about a girl who never moved on…… Years later, Amanda decided to amass her essays and poetry to her Dad, to give herself ‘closure’ on a part of her life that she will never fully understand nor ever stop wondering “what if….”

“I wanted to attack the stigma attached to suicide which affects so many Irish families.
Why should people left behind carry the stigma but we do; sometimes I told people my father died in a car accident or of cancer – because I didn’t want to experience the usual embarrassment and the “em, oh, ok” reaction. I dreaded the question ‘what does your father do……”

For Amanda, the trauma affected other relationships too; she was fearful and panicky about normal occurrences – when her partner Joe is home late, she wonders if he has been killed in a car accident instead of thinking “he is gone to the pub or stuck in traffic!”

Writing helped Amanda erase years of suppressed grief; her book is beautiful, laced with poignant thoughts and ‘conversations’ with her Dad.

“As a teenager I used to dream of you coming back. My dreams were
always so real and vivid but when I would wake, reality struck
and once again I knew that you were gone forever.”

Amanda recalled the smell of tobacco that followed her father; her sister Christine writes of the children scrambling to get onto her father’s knee, fighting for attention, each one seeking prime location on their father’s knee, normal sibling rivalry. Good memories of her father have never left her despite the clouded haze that remains over the days following his death.

“I know that you were with me when I gave birth to my daughter
Emma, I know most people will say that it was the gas and
that I was imagining it but I know you were there. I felt your presence
and a great calmness came over me. She is beautiful, Emma and I feel
sad that she will never get to know you. I wonder what you would
have been like with your grandchildren - Mom says that you probably
would have spoiled them rotten. She says that you were great with all
of us when we were small, always playing games and singing songs…”

For Amanda, writing the book gave her closure; in a strange way, it gave her permission to move on, without the guilt; it allowed Amanda to find Amanda, to live and love without self recrimination and more importantly, to forgive her Dad and let him move on too. It contains lovely pieces from her mother, Yvonne and sister, Christine – raw, untarnished emotions and unless you are made of stone, you couldn’t fail to be moved.

“Life went on without you, as life so often does. Here I am 15 years
later, aged 27 with a wonderful partner and a beautiful daughter, but I
guess you know all this because it is my belief that you are always
here watching over us. Death is not the end and I firmly believe that
one day we will meet again.” – Amanda

This book was written initially by Amanda with additions by Christine and Yvonne to deal with their own tragedy and suffering; it may help other families coping with the aftermath of suicide – copies available from It was not intended to offend or revive painful memories for those close to the late Jimmy Evans, rather to let those who loved him say a final, fond farewell.

In a display box, please:

Suicide Statistics -
Suicide trends over the last 10 years show:
• 9% decrease in the United Kingdom overall
• 9% decrease in England and Wales
• 27% increase in Northern Ireland
• 13% increase in Scotland
• 26% increase in the Republic of Ireland
The male suicide rate is higher than the rate for females in all UK
countries and in the Republic of Ireland.

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