The age-old crime of rustling has made a serious comeback in this country and there have been several recent reports of heavy losses suffered by farmers. It is a countrywide problem but the worst hit at present would appear to be farmers in Wicklow and Kerry,

A recent incident in Roundwood saw 15 sheep stolen from a hilly area, five miles outside the village. Only last week, 27 sheep were stolen from a farmer in Dunlavin who also lost 40 ewes a little over a month ago. Other thefts in recent months include 27 factory lambs from Donard, 25 sheep from a farm near Hollywood, three hoggets from Blessington and two ewes and three lambs from Lacken.

Meanwhile, eight cows were stolen from a farm at Kilmoyley in County kerry last week. As in Wicklow, the rustlers appeared to know what they were doing because they rounded up the entire herd and picked out the eight best animals before taking them away in a truck. The Chairman of Kerry IFA, James McCarthy, described the theft as a heinous act and pointed out that, in days gone by, rustlers were hanged for such crimes.

Free Christmas parking

There has been much discussion about parking in Waterford in recent weeks but I wonder if the City Council will follow the example of Navan Town Council which has ensured that there will be lots of free parking in the town in the run up to Christmas.

In an effort to boost business, parking charges will be waived from 11am on the three Saturdays prior to Christmas and for the entire period of Christmas Week. It has been estimated that the loss to the local council will be in the region of €14,000 but they still decided to go ahead as a gesture to local businesses.

Be careful when addressing gardai!

People who refer to gardai as ‘pigs’ would want to mind their manners in future because District Court judges all over the country are coming down hard on the name-callers, usually young men full of drink and Dutch courage.

Last week, a young man, who made snorting noises at gardai while being arrested, only escaped a custodial sentence because he had no previous convictions. Judge Sean McBride warned the minority of people who engaged in such behaviour that it would not be tolerated. Referring to such offenders as ‘drunken idiots and quasi-criminals’, he pointed out that gardai were human beings who should be treated with respect. In his opinion, said the Judge, the letters PIG stood for ‘perseverance, intelligence and guts’ as far as the gardai were concerned.

Mass exit of our young

GAA clubs across the county are suffering badly as scores of players emigrate in search of work. Figures compiled by The Kingdom newspaper show that, between January and July of this year, 57 Kerry players moved to America while a further 27 went specifically to New York, 56 went to Britain, 37 travelled to Australia, 4 moved to Canada and 16 players moved to other parts of this country severing their ties with their home clubs in the process. It is believed that those numbers have been seriously added to since July not only in Kerry but in practically every one of the 26 counties.

The Chairman of the Kerry Gaels Club in London, Christy Kissane, said there was a very noticeable rise in the number of young men arriving but most of them only stayed for a few months before moving on to Australia.

Concern over Minister’s security

It would appear that the Ballyfermot incident where Health Minister Mary Harney was doused with red paint by a local councillor has spooked her security team.

There was much anger expressed in Monaghan last week when the Minister officially opened a nursing home and was long gone before local reporters or hospital activists even knew she had been in their midst.

Mind you, all the VIPs and local TDs were present but a public relations consultant, engaged by the nursing home, confirmed that the event had been kept under wraps because it was felt that the residents of the home were at the heart of what it was all about. Hmmmmm, sez you!

Hospital activists were very unhappy that they didn’t know of Ms Harney’s presence because, for the last six years, they have been refused meetings with the Minister over the Monaghan Hospital issue. The public relations person explained that the politicians were aware the Minister was going to attend the ceremony but everybody else thought the VIP guest was going to be either Daniel O’Donnell or Jedward. Apparently, everybody was delighted when the Minister showed up instead of the entertainers. Hmmmmm, sez you, again!

Six little quickies

A three-legged dog walks into a bar on Ballybricken. He slides up to the counter and announces: “I’m looking for the man who shot my paw.”

Two hours later, a sandwich walks into the same bar. The barman says: “Sorry we don’t serve food in here.”

Then a jump-lead walked into the bar. Totally fed up, the barman said: “OK, I’ll serve you, but, I’m telling you now, don’t start anything.”

Two aerials met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony was only fair to middling but the reception was brilliant.

The mother-in-law of one of my friends fell down a wishing well. He was amazed because he didn’t know they really worked.

Gardai arrested two children earlier this week, one was drinking battery acid and the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other one off!