This week I would like to pay a special tribute to the ladies who administer the Home Help Scheme to the elderly in the north Longford area. No words of mine could serve justice on those dedicated ladies who carried out their duties in an exemplary manner throughout the biggest freeze up ever encountered in this county in living memory. These ladies were on foot endeavouring to attend to the sick and infirm - many of whom are living alone - and depending on the Home Help service. In the conditions that prevailed, these brave ladies risked their lives travelling on untreated roads and often depending on family members or neighbours to take them to work. If it were not for the great work that these ladies do, many people would have to be accommodated in nursing homes. In conclusion I must say that the elderly here in north Longford are safe and it is because of these ladies, so well done and thank you!
Philip (Phil) Hourican
There was deep regret when Phil Hourican passed away last Wednesday. His pleasant disposition made him a popular figure with everyone not just in the locality, but throughout the entire region. Phil held a great love for the land and was extremely kind to the livestock in his care. The peace and quiet of the countryside appealed to Phil, it was where is heart was and where he was always contented. A devout Christian gentleman, he attended to Mass, the sacraments and to other religious duties. His remains were removed from St Joseph's Hospital Chapel, where hundreds gathered to pay their last respects to the much loved gentleman and taken to St Colmcille's Church where he was laid to rest on Sunday, December 18 last following requiem Mass. Deepest sympathy is extended to his brothers Tom (Pennsylvania, USA), John (Birmingham); sisters Elizabeth Lavin (New Jersey, USA), Mary Mulligan; brother in law; sister in law; relatives and friends many of whom travelled from the USA and England. May he rest in peace.
The following are some extracts from a notice written by the late John Carty, Ballinalee and native of Colmcille: "There was something of Camelot about Ballinalee when General San MacEoin was Minister of Defence and living in Arva. The hosting and the bonfire on the night his appointment was celebrated were spontaneous enough and all those there held the conviction that this was good for Ballinalee. The evening's platform was shared with with Ballahadreen man James Dillon TD, Minister for Agriculture. It was easy to admire Dillon for his obvious accomplishments. He had an easy assured urbanity that came from breeding and background without the uberalism that sometimes accompany it. He was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernianin was a Knight of St Colambanus, each in his own way asserting a certain orthodoxy of itself tended to draw them together. Dillon was a delightful speaker but that was not the only reason he was on the hill that evening. There was a special warmth in the afternoon and it was clear that Dillon had a great admiration for MacEoin. This was not because MacEoin mirrored the qualities that made the essential James Dillon, he didn't, but because Dillon recognised and valued that MacEoin had been asked to exemplify to a higher degree that himself. Chivalry was one; physical courage another and the pragmatism of the man of action that seemed to achieve as effectively as his won reasoned methodical planning. In the warm tribute after MacEoin's death, James Dillon said of the friend that he had known very well for a long time: ‘He was quintessentially one of that small company of men with whom it was safe to go tiger hunting with - no matter how large or formidable the tiger - Sean MacEoin and he would always see the tiger before the tiger saw him'.
One of the anecdotes that MacEoin got a kick out of telling was about Dillon and Dr Noel Brown on food Hygiene. It seems Brown was horrified by the lack of it, much to Dillon's surprise and he was too courteous to be offensive but he had a point to make. ‘But look at MacEoin and myself, Noel when we were boys we often georged ourselves on pink and yellow buns that has flies of fair fornicating and defecating on them and look at us to this day, we are nothing the worse for it'.
Thomas MacEoin unveiled the monument at Clonfin in 1971 and he had some reservations about the commemorating such events. He didn't say so but his reservations were probably dictated by the six county troubles at the time. He said that the Orangemen would invade the Republic and get as far as Lanesboro. That sounded preposterous at the time but although they invaded, they only got as far as Clontibret in Co Monaghan. Despite his reservations Sean MacEoin was a proud and happy man on February 2, 1971. About half of the ambush party were still alive and most of them were present. As MacEoin inspected the Guard of Honour on the spot where he had taken the surrender of the Auxiliaries, two main themes could be seen in his thinking - an invincible belief in the legitimacy and morality of taking up arms in 1919/1920 and the importance of the campaign in Longford, particularly the Clonfin Ambush - in bringing about truce the following June."
The annual Married v Singles Match with funday for all ages has been rescheduled and will now take place at Fr McGee Park on January 1 next at 1pm. Proceeds from the day will benefit St Colmcille's NS and the Colmcille GAA Club. Your support on the day would be very much appreciated.
The postponed Annual General Meeting will now take place at the Community Centre in Aughnacliffe on Sunday, January 2 next at 4pm. All members are asked to attend.