Waterford used to be a hotbed of political animosity but, in recent years, there has been a peace of sorts and one rarely hears of personal recriminations between local politicians, at least not in public! Unfortunately, things are not so placid with some of our friends up the road in Carlow.

Last week, The Carlow Nationalist newspaper carried a report from the local District Court relating to a war of words between a Fine Gael councilor and a fellow party member.

Before the court was Councillor Tommy Bambrick from Bagenalstown and he was accused of using threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour towards Larry Byrne, also of Bagenalstown, on February 27th. last.

Judge William Harnett was told that both men were members of the local branch of Fine Gael. On the date in question, Mr. Byrne was walking his dog at 8am and, when he was passing Mr Bambrick’s house, he shouted out to him that he (Mr. Byrne) was ‘a scabby bastard, a scab who had reneged on his own’. Mr. Byrne said he went home and told his wife about the incident and it was later reported to the gardai. The court also heard of a previous occasion when Councillor Bambrick referred to Mr. Byrne as ‘a Judas and a traitor’.

Defence solicitor, John Foley, told the court the two men knew each other well and, even though they were members of the same branch of Fine Gael, they tended to stay away from each other. Mr. Foley also alleged that, on a previous occasion, Mr. Byrne had called his dog to heel when it got too close to Mr. Bambrick telling the animal to be careful as it would get ‘contaminated’. However, that was denied by Mr. Byrne who had a different version of what happened on that occasion.

In evidence, Councillor Bambrick agreed that he and Mr. Byrne had a history of political jousting and he admitted calling his Fine Gael colleague ‘a fecking scab’ on three occasions. In reply to Superintendent Pat Kavanagh, he said he had no animosity towards the man but he had accused him of being ‘contaminated’.

Binding the Councillor to the peace for twelve months in his own bond of €300, Judge Harnett said the defendant was a man with very strong views that he expressed with rare abandon but he should be careful because that could get him into trouble.

Consequences to HSE changes

Heard an interesting story last week about problems being experienced in a particular hospital that is not in Waterford but which could land at our door sometime in the future. It is to do with the new contracts that some hospital consultants have signed with the HSE.

In this instance, patients with private health insurance are being forced to opt for public treatment because a particular consultant’s new contract bans him from treating private patients. Apparently, the problem arises because the consultant in question works on admissions one night in every three and, on his watch, everybody, whether they have private insurance or not, has to be admitted as a public patient.

Sources at the hospital say the situation is causing all sorts of problems, not least of which is a situation whereby many patients presenting with chest pains are placed on public waiting lists for certain procedures even though they have insurance that can facilitate such procedure being done more quickly as private patients.

An amazing story from World War II

The remaining survivors of World War II are all elderly now but amazing tales are still being uncovered.  Waterford ProLife activists Declan and Carmel Waters were in Poland recently where Declan was invited to address the congregation at the Divine Mercy Basilica in Krakow and, to their surprise, they were also invited to participate in a major documentary movie that is a joint venture between US and Polish producers.

The film is about the life of prominent Polish nun and church activist, Sister Consolata, who was born in a German concentration camp. An old friend of the Waters family, she asked Declan and Carmel to contribute an interview to the movie and they readily agreed to do so. But neither Sister Consolata nor the Waterford couple could have anticipated what emerged when the professional geneologists began delving into the records.

Sister Colsolata never knew that when her pregnant mother was imprisoned in the concentration camp, she was expecting twins.  The twin girls were born in captivity but, in an effort to try and keep them both alive, a close friend of sister Consolata’s mother took one of the girls and claimed it as her own.  Sister Consolata’s mother died in the camp and she grew up in Poland but the other ‘mother’ and child survived and emigrated to the United States after the war. The nun never knew she had a sister but, fortunately, her long lost sibling was found still alive and living in America. Declan and Carmel said the first meeting between the two sisters was a tearful, moving but very joyful occasion.

A Waterford poet
thinks on his feet

The finals of the National Poetry Society Contest took place last week during a summer school at Trinity College Dublin. There was a big entry from all the country’s finest societies and they all listened intently as the chairperson of the adjudicating panel rose to speak.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a tie this year for first place between the representative from Queen’s College Belfast, the Hon Percy O’Reilly, and the nominee of the Comeragh Mountain Poetry Society from Waterford, Mr Paddy John Power. As a tie-breaker, we require both contestants to compose a four-line poem, in one minute or less, and the word ‘Timbuktu’ must be included in the rhyme”, declared the chairperson.

The atmosphere was electric as the pair immediately started scribbling. “Finished”, shouted the Hon Percy triumphantly after 30 seconds. A split second before the buzzer sounded at the end of the minute, Paddy Joe also announced that he was also ready.

“As the Honourable representative from Queen’s College finished first, he shall have the privilege of reading his entry first”, announced the chairperson. Noticeably nervous, Percy stood up, cleared his throat and began: 

‘Slowly across the desert sand

Trekked the dusty caravan

Men on camels, two by two


The crowd went wild with delight. Surely the culchie from the Comeragh Mountains couldn’t beat that. Paddy John beamed broadly and wasn’t the least bit nervous as he stood up to recite his composition. 

‘Tim and me, a-camping went

We met three girls in a pop-up tent

They were three, we were two

So I booked one and Tim booked two’