According to reports, some people in several area of the country, including Waterford, are panicking over rumours that a number of troublesome families are being transplanted from Limerick to their estates.

Alarming rumours have been flying about the community to the effect that a number of families from the Moyross area of Limerick are being relocated to the Dunmore Road area of Waterford city and elsewhere as part of a regeneration project.

However, even though the Limerick families may well have turned out to be valuable assets to whatever community they might have settled in, the rumour is merely one of those urban myths that arise every so often.

The Project Officer at the Limerick Regeneration Agency and Brendan Murphy said this week that his group had purchased no property outside of Moyross and had no intention of doing so. In fact, said Mr. Murphy, his officers were attempting to repatriate families who had left Moyross in recent years as well as attracting new families to the area. So now you know.

Nurses working
‘as gaeilge’

It’s amazing what comes out of the woodwork every so often regarding payments for those proficient in the Irish language. Personally, I have no problem whatsoever with such incentives because I would like to see the language survive and grow but, all the same, many people were surprised to learn that irish speaking nurses in Gaeltacht based hospitals qualify for an additional bonus that their English speaking colleagues do not.

The matter came to the surface when it became known that nurses at Dingle Hospital in County Kerry are in dispute with the HSE over a payment that is being made to qualifying staff in all other Gaeltacht based hospitals.

Apparently, all nurses, proficient in Irish and working in Gaeltacht areas throughout the country, have long been in receipt of a special allowance except for the staff at Dingle Hospital. The allowance, introduced as long ago as 1966 for officer-grade public servants, provides for a payment of up to 7.5 per cent of annual salary and is worth €3,500 per annum at the upper end of the grading scale.

Industrial Relations Officer with the Irish Nurses Organisation, Mr. Michael Dineen, said the lengths the HSE was putting the claimants to was ‘a nonsense’. Mr. Dineen said that 16 of the 22 nurses working in the Dingle hospital were proficient in Irish and they were fully entitled to the allowance they were seeking.

A spokesperson for the HSE said they would be going back into talks with the Dingle nurses over the issue and, if agreement was not reached by June 30th., the matter would be referred to the Labour Court.

However, Mr. Dineen is not impressed with that situation. “The HSE has been getting a free Irish-language service all along from the Dingle staff and it is unfair to say that they are agitating for further money or that they should have to go through industrial negotiations to secure an entitlement that is already being paid all over the country”, he insisted.

The bells of progress

There is a row going on in County Limerick at present following a claim by a local man that the Angelus bell in Kilmallock Church no longer rings out because it would interfere with broadband apparatus that has been placed in the belfry.

John Hannan, said he was disgusted that the once sacred art of bell-ringing had been replaced in the town by a broadband signal. “The church bell is silent but if you want to get on the internet you will do so courtesy of the equipment in the church belfry”, he accused.

Mr. Hannan, whose father was a campanologist in Kilmallock for many years, is so incensed at the situation that he has made a direct complaint to the Pope’s office in Rome asking him to ensure that the bells will ring out again across the town and countryside of Kilmallock.

However, the parish priest, Canon Willie Fitzmaurice, says Mr. Hannan is not correct in his assertions. It was true that a contract was in place with a broadband company to house its equipment in the belfry but that had nothing to do with the Angelus bell not been rung. It was being rung at funerals and the only reason it wasn’t celebrating the Angelus was that there was nobody there to actually perform the task. Canon Fitzmaurice said he hoped to have an automatic system in place soon that would allow the bell to be rung at the touch of a switch but there had been a delay on the part of the people who were due to install the equipment.

The summer is coming (hopefully!) so it’s only a matter of time before the annual, silly season argument erupts over whether or not the Angelus bell should be used on RTE at midday and at 6pm. Somebody once accused me of sitting on the fence about that argument so, in case there is any confusion, my attitude is ‘Yes’ it should most certainly be continued.

Dog thieves

Dog owners, especially owners of small, valuable animals, need to be on the look-out as an organised ring of dog-thieves has been found to be operating down the East coast and it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that they might make a foray into Waterford city and county. The animals are later sold in Dublin street markets as ‘bargains’ at around €150 per dog. Forewarned is forearmed so keep it in mind.

An elderly couple from Passage East

One day last week, a garda on foot patrol along the Quay noticed a car double parked outside the Head Post Office. The car was unlocked, the key was in the ignition and the engine was ticking over so the garda knew it could only have been there a minute or two. He decided not to issue a fine but remained at the car with the intention of warning the driver that, apart from parking illegally, the car was a sitting duck for a thief.

He was waiting less than a minute when a well-dressed, elderly couple came out of the post office and immediately made a beeline for the car. Before the garda could get a word out of his mouth, he was verbally attacked by the pair. “Why don’t you feck off out of here and catch real criminals instead of bothering decent, law abiding people”, shouted the man. “That’s right, why don’t you go after the drug dealers you big, lazy clodhopper”, added the woman in a loud angry voice.

“Right you are, if that’s your attitude, I am summonsing you for parking in a dangerous manner”, said the garda, as he furiously scribbled out a ticket that he tucked under the car’s windscreen wiper. “And you’re lucky, if you weren’t senior citizens, I’d have you up in court for abusing a police officer”, he said, as he stormed off.

The departing garda had barely turned the corner when a young woman with a small child ran out of the post office and, arriving at the car, took the summons out from under the windscreen wiper. “Damn”, she hissed, “we were only gone a couple of minutes.”

Ten minutes later, a man who had witnessed the Post Office episode, spotted the same elderly couple loudly giving out stink to a traffic warden who was considering writing a parking ticket on a car outside the Bank of Ireland further down the Quay. Needless to say, the ticket was written out in double quick time before the traffic warden also stormed off with a hail of abuse from the couple following in his wake. “This is not a police state yet, you think you’re great with your brass buttons and peaked cap”, roared the woman.

The bystander, who had observed the couple ensuring that two motorists got hefty fines, challenged the couple who were grinning and nudging each other at the departing traffic warden’s discomfort. “What do you think you are doing, your interference has made things worse for those motorists”, he said angrily.

“Shag off and mind your own business”, said the couple, both with big smirks on their faces, “we come into town on the bus from Passage every Tuesday and there’s great sport to be had winding up any fecker we meet wearing a uniform.”