Monday, March 17, 2008

21st Birthdays
Congratulations to cousins Geoff Guing and Ken Dowling who recently celebrated a joint 21st birthday party in The Thatch….

Birthday wishes to Sheila Byrne, Michael McDonald and Michelle Waters who celebrated a very ‘important’ birthday recently - welcome to the Fab 40s Guys and Gals….
And to Val Murphy who, on reaching his 35th birthday, celebrated for a whole weekend in Ballyknockan – can’t wait to see what he does for his 40th!

Birthday wishes to Louise Foley who celebrated her 18th birthday recently.

Congratulations to Maureen and James Fisher on the arrival of “Abby”, a baby sister for their three chaps.

BABY NEWS FOR LIZ! Congratulations to our local hair designer, face-painter, milliner, tiara maker extraordinaire, Elizabeth and hubbie, Peter to whom son number three, Simon, has just arrived. (Now if Liz follows Maureen above, number four will be a daughter….I can imagine Liz’s retort).

Congratulations to Anne Tipper, nee Deegan, a first time Granny due to the arrival of baby Sean, born to Jonathan and Marie.

Leaping for Joy She may be four years on this earth but for Yasmin Brown, daughter of Katya and Christy, the 29th February next will see her celebrate her first official birthday – happy birthday, Yasmin.

The Ballymore Eustace Community Development Association Ltd (CDA) represents the residents of the village. The CDA is the umbrella organisation for Tidy Towns, Meals on Wheels, Punchestown Festival Committee, Friendship Club, Community Alert, Bingo , Ballymore Bugle and Hall Committee. It is the owner of the River Walk and Resource Centre. It also intends to provide another community resource in the near future on the site of the old council library.
The CDA works to ensure the village grows in a sustainable and attractive manner; we have made submissions on the County Development Plan and will take a primary role in the Local Area Plan.

Pantomime with Jeffers
By the time you read this the Xmas pantomime season will be over, but the main attraction is only warming up: those who hold center stage for the rest of the year. That’s not to say, that there hasn’t been rehearsals going on backstage. The principle actors going over their lines honing them to perfection, “Oh no I’m not”, “Oh yes you are”, with their supporting casts giving them back up. There’re all there, elves, gnomes, fairies, with the Ugly Sisters Enda and Eamon sniping away in the wings, the Wicked Baron Mahon, and Cinderella; she giving coy answers to his questions that start off in one direction then turn about and lead off into the wild blue yonder leaving the Wicked Baron and his henchmen bemused and none the wiser. It’s riveting stuff and packing them in.
But that’s not the only show in town. We have Greenacres led by Brother John; he leads his flock down green leafy pathways ignoring the fact that a big dirty incinerator is about to appear on the other side of the hedge and he in cahoots with that other crowd who brought this about! His is a sort of smoke and mirrors show, now you see it, now you don’t in reverse, but the mantra is the same, “Oh yes you did”, “Oh no I didn’t”. Brother Eamon, present Minster for Energy is also in a spot of bother. When in opposition he was all for underground cables as opposed to overhead pylons; now there’s high voltage interconnector pylons going to run from Co Tyrone to Co Meath and getting a lot of opposition from folk in Meath and Monahan but so far not a squeak of protest from Brother Eamon!
And just in case you’re not interested in the main show there are lots of sideshows to keep you amused. Take benchmarking for example. Set up in 2002 it was considered the real McCoy at the time. Meself, I took a jaundice view of the proceedings at the time, saying that it would only work when times were good. Nobody objects to throwing a few bob around when things are on the up and up, but come the day when a sniff of recession appears and the tune will change. It has taken a long time for my prediction to bear fruit and maybe I’m still at sea, but this year is the first time that a hiccup has appeared in the negotiations. In theory the thinking was good; wage increases in the public sector to more or less keep pace with the private sector, with productivity clauses attached. That last piece was a laugh. Apart from the nurses, guards, and that body of men who provide service the round of the clock in all weathers, the ESB, where is the productivity to come from? Pushing a pen in the civil service is hardly a productive occupation. Way back in 2002 when the first benchmarking report was issued average wage increases were just under 9%; the offer today is 0.3%, and Peter McLoone general secretary of Impact now asks how are thousands of public servants going to be protected from growing inflation? The very same question applies to the private sector employees who down through the years have had to make their own arrangements, and will continue to do so, but wish they had a State backed pension scheme enjoyed by public sector employees!
And here’s another laugh if you have the stomach for such a thing. In answer to a parliamentary question from Bernard Durkan it transpires that the Taoiseach and his Department engaged no less than ten separate consultants over the year gone out to help run the show. One lot were asked to conduct a review of ‘regulatory impact analysis’. I’m sure you’re all aware of what a ‘regulatory impact analysis’ is! No, well cheer up I don’t either. The 0ECD were asked, to the tune of €490,000 for a “comprehensive review of public service”. I’d like to have seen the answer to that one, and so would those in benchmarking negotiations. All of this extra help is in addition to an already expansive department of secretary general, able assisted by assistant secretaries, principle officers, executive officers, special advisors, press officers, and any other office you can think of. Oh, I nearly forgot, one other consulting group was engaged to provide expert support for the work of the ‘Organisational Review Team’. I’ll bet you didn’t know we had one of those working for us, or what exactly is their function. It beats Banagher I tell ye, and that’s only the Taoiseach’s Department, God only knows what goes on in other Departments and the rest of the civil service.
But shed a tear for Little Bo Peep who has lost nearly all her sheep. Herdsman MacKay one of the original Sheppard’s when the flock was first formed has suggested they segregate from the main flock of rag tag and bobble, and regroup in a pen of their own. Brother John from Greenacres take note! The departure of the Brothers Grimm, Michael and Tom for greener pastures was no help. By the bye do you remember the late J B Keane, I think it was on the Late Late Show, telling us all about the different kinds of Hoor we had in Ireland. There were Cavan ones, Cork ones, Kerry ones, Two Ends of one, and last, but not least, the Cute ones!
I should emphasise that Pantomime viewing is not confined to Ireland; it’s worldwide entertainment. As I write stock markets the world over are in free fall and head honchos from some of the worlds biggest financial institutions are getting the bum’s rush out of office for running the company almost into the ground. Proper order you say; but hold a minute, you haven’t heard the half of it. These guys are leaving office with golden handshakes worth millions. I can understand a golden handshake for a job well done, but can also remember the times that should you prove unsatisfactory or unsuitable for the job you got a weeks notice plus holiday pay. I’m out of date and out of touch I’ll admit and inflation enters into the equation big time, but will someone please explain to me the logic of giving someone a golden handshake for doing a bad job?
Enjoy the Pantomimes on offer. Why? Because as a taxpayer you’re worth it! Jeffers.

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