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Monday 7th January 2008

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Bro Paul in Eldoret Wednesday 9th January 2008
To all our dear Friends and Family around the world . . . Just a brief update on the situation here in the Eldoret region.  I am happy to say that things are peaceful again but at times I feel it is an uneasy peace. People are still very wary and noises at night can be scary.

The humanitarian situation has not gotten any better and even this morning I spent a number of hours distributing food to just over 300 people. That number includes about 130 children. We were given a consignment of food from the Red Cross (after a good deal of haggling etc!) and we apportioned it as best we could. It is very basic and everybody was given the same amount, namely about a half kilo of maize, a few millilitres of cooking oil, some porridge for the children and some high protein biscuits also for the children. At least, they will eat something today and again tomorrow. I have no idea when we may get relief from dishing out the stuff but there are political moves being done in Nairobi that may signal the end of the very serious dispute that happened because of alleged electoral malpractice on December 30.

We at Kabongo are hoping to open the school next Monday and we are trying to move some of the displaced people to a general camp about 3 miles from here. How many children will be missing is anybody's guess and we still don't know if we lost any children in the arson attack on a nearby Church.

The men folk are basically sleeping in the open air as watchmen and this applies to the Kabongo area. This is unfortunate. The women I have seen and dealt with today have reconfirmed my faith in the female gender! It is truly amazing what they can put up with. This is one basic reason why at Kabongo, in our Patrician Primary School, we ‘favour’ the girl-child. No apology for that!

Another thing that has amazed me and greatly pleased me is the number of our Friends around the world who are phoning and emailing me with expressions of interest in helping us get over this catastrophe. Please be assured that it is all very much appreciated.

May God Bless you all. We will keep in touch . . . even after this crisis is history. Unfortunately, it will have cast a very long dark shadow over Kenya. But what can we do except what we can under the circumstances. We must remain positive and hopeful that we can recover our national unity sooner rather than later.

Again, may God bless you all . . . Paul D. Brennan (Bro.)

Bro Paul in Eldoret Monday 7th January 2008
It is Monday January 7th and it has not been a good week for Kenya. The Newspapers here have described the week as the 'darkest ever' for Kenya and it’s hard to disagree with that.

An unprecedented number of journalists have descended upon our country and many graphic descriptions and pictures have been shot across the Globe. They may have given some idea of the problem but the real picture remains behind in the number of dead (now put at 486) and of internal refugees, now nearly 300,000, both Government figures.

The people here in Eldoret and its environs have borne the brunt of the mayhem and it will take some real time to heal the scars.  Broken bones will heal and houses can be rebuilt, but how do you fix people's hearts and minds! The political leaders are taking advantage of the relative calm now to embark on a reconciliation process, at least on the political front.  Parliament will be sworn in on Jan 15 and the schools are expected to open the day before that.

At our school in Kabongo, an area which suffered grievously, there are still many displaced people, mainly women and children, and we have been occupied in trying to get food to them.  I suppose that existence of our school turned out to be a godsend for them and our Dispensary and Mobile Clinic have been very busy as well. In real terms, we will not know the extent of the impact there has been on our school until some time after we get the school open again.  We were expecting to receive about 455 children on this very day (Jan 7) and were also to open for the first time our new Nursery . . . that has all changed!  The Red Cross/Crescent is doing its best and is to be commended for that.

How long the healing process will take is anybody's guess.  Other countries which have gone thru something similar have bounced back and we are sure Kenya will follow that line.

Kenya had been a haven of peace and stability in East Africa since Independence in 1963 and has had general elections on schedule every five years since then. It is a great shame that that reputation may be shattered forever.

I firmly believe that we will bounce back and that the country will grow even stronger once the lessons generated by the past week have been absorbed. It is obviously incumbent on all leaders to ensure that such a week may never be repeated in our beautiful country.  We pray for that.

And we thank most sincerely all of you who sent messages of support to us here during the past awful week.  It has been very difficult to keep track of all who sent emails, sms's, phone calls, etc.  Let's keep each other in our prayers.

PDB and all at the Patrician Primary School and Dispensary, Kabongo.

Died Recently
The death has occurred on Sunday 6th January 2008, of Mrs Mary Grant, Killerk, Fethard, aged 87.

Remains left McCarthy's Funeral Parlour, Main Street, Fethard, at 7pm on Monday 7th January for Holy Trinity Parish Church, Fethard.

Requiem Mass took place at 12 noon on Tuesday 8th January, followed by interment at Lisronagh Cemetery. Mrs Grant is survived by her daughters, Breda and Siobhán, and sons, Pat, Roger, Peter, Seamus, Gerry and Tom.

Bro Paul's Message from Kenya (5th January)

Bro Paul Brennan taught in the Patrician Brothers Secondary School Fethard for many years and was instrumental in the school team winning the Kinane Cup back in 1963.  Bro Paul left Ireland in 1978 when he volunteered for the Kenyan Patrician apostolate.  He went on to be involved very actively with the very first Patrician Primary School in Africa and is now the Coordinator of the new Patrician Primary School and Dispensary at Kabongo, Eldoret.

Many thanks for the good wishes from all of you . . . It is very encouraging at this traumatic time here. We ourselves as 'visitors' to this beautiful country are largely by-passed in the turmoil but is very painful to see what is happening to people who are our friends and being done to them by our friends also! That is the tragedy. If it were a matter of a foreign invasion causing all this, it could be somewhat understandable but it is being caused by our own people who are living side by side with each other. That is probably a bit baffling to people outside Kenya but it is like that.

It is most unlikely that we can open school on the 14th . . . we will have to do something about the displaced people who are camping in all our classrooms and I don't know if the teachers will show up. Today we Brothers here are meeting to draw up a plan with a view to helping these people somehow. We will get assistance from the Irish Government in this effort as soon as we have a workable plan of action. The Red Cross/Red Crescent are doing their best to alleviate the harshness of the situation.

Today the situation is a bit calmer but I can't really say or be sure that the political leaders any nearer an amicable or realistic coming together. We pray for that to happen with speed.

In the meantime, may God Bless all of you and may He also bless our beautiful country and her people.

Bro Paul's Message from Kenya (4th January)

Bro (Paulinus) Paul photographed at a reunion of the Patrician Brothers 1963 Kinane Cup winning team held in Fethard in October 2006. Back L to R: Pierce Coady, Ger Casey, Tony Fitzgerald, Ger Leahy, Willie Harrington, Mick Ryan, Willie Frewen. Front L to R: Danny Ryan, Bro Paulinus, Dinny Burke (captain), Joe McNamara and Pat 'Pop' Barrett. Also present on the night was Davy Fitzgerald.

Hello to all my family, Confreres, and Friends around the world. I am writing a 'common' letter to you all because it would be virtually impossible to reply to all the messages of good wishes that are coming our way after or during the tragic events that are unfolding here in Kenya and around us here in Eldoret in particular. We all appreciate very much the solidarity shown by you all and others with us and I would like to assure all that we (Europeans) are safe and well. Many of the tourists are leaving Kenya and many are leaving Eldoret for Nairobi and possible departure from the country.

As for myself . . . the violence was pretty awful in our Kabongo area where our school is (and around Kapsoya here in town where I happen to live) and it was a neighbouring church that was gutted with the loss of about 28 innocent lives, including about 13 children. It is not easy to find words to express the horror of all that but I know that you have been seeing graphic pictures on your TV screens. Some of you have even seen or heard myself trying to paint the picture for various media outlets . . . BBC, RTE, NPR, Washington Post, Reuters, Radio na Gaeltachta, the Guardian, among others. Yesterday the police found up to 40 bodies in a section of Eldoret into which they had not been able to go for the previous four days. And the Dean of the†very large hospital here, a friend of mine, told me that they had at least 110 bodies in the mortuary, including some of the remains of the children burnt in the church inferno. We don't know yet if any of our school children were among those who perished senselessly in the blaze.

You will realise that not everything can be said as the spoken word cannot easily be withdrawn! The political scene here is very tense and there may be signs of a breakthrough before the end of the week. As the Proverb says: Hope is the poor man's bread.

Speaking of bread . . . there is practically none available and we have about 20 to 25 thousands of refugees camping out in various churches and police stations all around Eldoret . . . and the Red Cross is trying desperately to get them water and bread and maize.

As you also know, we have been involved in developing our school and dispensary at Kabongo. Our 12 classrooms there are full of local refugees trying to escape the nightly mayhem. The school or health facility have not been targeted thank God and the Mobile Clinic has been busy ferrying injured people to the main hospital in Eldoret. However, our school was to reopen next Tuesday but that is now impractical and really impossible. We may have to wait for a government directive about how and when to reopen.

Today, Friday 4th January 2007, the scene seems to have changed for the better around here. However, in Nairobi it is far from abating as the rally which was called off yesterday is rescheduled for today. In truth, there could be up to one million people at such a rally and there are plans to march on State House. That's a lot of people, especially when they are angry!

We trust in God to bring us through this but the wounds will take ages to heal, if ever! We will continue to do what we can to alleviate the misery of those suffering around us here.

Thanks again to you all for the moral support you are giving us at this time and when things are better we will talk more . . . OK?

May God Bless you all and may God bless Kenya.
Bro. Paul D. Brennan, Box 5064, Eldoret.

Fethard Wedding

The wedding of Therese O'Brien and Warren Beatty, which took place on the 29th December in Holy Trinity Church, Main Street, Fethard. Photography by Janneke van Dommelen.

Fethard Bridge Club
We played for Christmas Prizes on 12th December and the prizes were presented at our party in McCarthy's Restaurant on 19th December. The winners were:

1st Gross: Anna Cooke and Bernie O'Meara;
1st Nett: Berney Myles and Alice Quinn;
2nd Gross: Frances Burke and Breda Walsh;
2nd Nett: Noreen Evans and Tony Hanrahan;
3rd Gross: Gemma Burke and Kathleen Kenny;
3rd Nett: Nell Broderick and David O'Meara;
4th Gross: Kay St. John and Rita Kane;
4th Nett: Kay Walsh and Rose Lonergan;
5th Gross: Annie O'Brien and Marie Delaney;
5th Nett: Nora Lawrence and Madeleine O'Donnell;
6th Gross: Suzanne Opray and Ellen Rochford;
6th Nett: Mgt. Mary McCormack and Philly Kenny.

Gross Turkey Prize Winners: Kay St. John and Rita Kane.
Nett Turkey Prize Winners: Berney Myles and Alice Quinn.
Change of Partner Turkey Prize Winners: Gross, Kay St. John and David Abell; Nett, Nell Broderick and Rose Lonergan.

Bridge resumes on Wednesday, 2nd January. Anyone looking for a partner contact Berney Myles at Tel: (052) 32038.

Goal Mile on Christmas Day

The Fethard Goal Mile 2007 took place at noon on Christmas Day. A very large group from Fethard and the surrounding areas gathered at outside the Town Hall to take part which was officially started by Tipperary Hurling All-Star, Declan Fanning. The local organisers include, Colm McGrath, Catherine Kearney, Waltie Moloney and Miceál McCormack.

Photographed at the start of the Goal Mile in Fethard on Christmas morning are L to R: Catherine Kearney, Declan Fanning, Paul Fitzgerald, Colm McGrath and Pat Carroll.

The first GOAL mile, which was the brainchild of former GOAL chairperson and international athlete, Noel Carroll, took place in the Phoenix Park, Dublin in 1982. It is now an integral part of Christmas Day in over 55 venues throughout Ireland for people to help those less fortunate than themselves.

GOAL is an international humanitarian agency dedicated to the alleviation of the suffering of the poorest of the poor. It was founded by its Chief Executive, John O’Shea in 1977. GOAL works towards ensuring that the most vulnerable in our world and those affected by humanitarian crises have access to the fundamental needs and rights of life, i.e. food, water, shelter, medical attention and primary education. It is non-denominational, non-governmental and non-political.

Fethard ICA Guild
Wishing all our members a very happy New Year. May the coming year be kind to all. As the Senior Citizens meeting takes place on next Tuesday 8th January, there will be no ICA meeting this month. We will resume our monthly meetings in February.

Fethard GAA Club AGM
The Annual General Meeting of the club takes place in the Abymill Theatre at 2pm on Sunday 6th January 2008.

Unislim Classes
Unislim classes will commence in the Tirry Centre on Monday 7th January at 7.30pm. Individual plans are set to whether you want to loose stones or pounds. All are welcome.


Aaron Kelly, son of John and Caroline Kelly, Jossestown, Fethard, who graduated recently from Dublin City University with a B. Eng (Mechatronics) Honours Degree.

Fethard Childcare Committee
The next meeting of Fethard Childcare Committee will take place on Wednesday 9th January at 8pm in the Tirry Community Centre. This meeting is open to the public so if you would like to become involved or feel that you have something to contribute you will be very welcome on the night.

Fethard & Killusty Community Lotto

The next draw will take place on 9th January when the Jackpot continues at €10,000 and the Jackpot sellers prize is €1000.  The Community office will re-open on 2nd January and the Day Care Centre will re-open on 7th January.

Group Fitness Classes
For those of you who may want to get out of the house for an hour on these long January nights and work off a bit of the holiday excess, there are group fitness classes starting on Monday 7th January in Fethard Ballroom from 9.15pm to 10.15pm with interval training on Wednesdays from 8pm to 9pm. The NCEF Level 1 instructor is Bobbi Holohan, who can be contacted for more information and to book your place at telephone: 087-2130414. Mixed classes and all levels catered for. Over 18s only.

Hunting News
The childrens’ meet of the Tipperary Foxhounds at Grove on Christmas Eve could not have been more successful if it had been scripted. Almost 100 mounted juveniles of all ages, some on lead ponies long enough to pull Cinderella’s coach in a Christmas panto, turned out on a beautiful day. Grove Avenue was lined with horseboxes and trailers right out to the roadway and halfway up Knockbordan hill. There seemed to be as many people on foot as was at the point-to-point.

The hunting and hound work was also out of the top drawer. Finding in Knockbordan they ran by the sewage treatment plant across the river to Crean’s bridge. Turning here the fox re-crossed the river and ran through the Abbey Rocks almost to Fethard Co-op. Doing a u-turn here, hounds raced back to Knockbordan. From here Charlie scaled the bounding wall, crossed the road, where they were stopped as their fox ran to Grove Wood which was not being hunted on the day.

The long grove from the Muileannbawn across Grove back avenue to the old Kennels proved blank as did the Kilmaclugh and the Deerpark. Finding again in the small covert near Carrick Cross, hounds simply flew back across the main avenue to Knockbordan hunting through here to the lodge and back to Knockbordan. Giving their pilot no respite here they hunted strongly, proving, if proof was needed, that,

“The fairest music is to hear the hounds,
rend the air with a glorious cry.
Awake the lusty echo,
and compound their perfect language in a mingled voice.”

Out at the far end of Knockbordan they hunted back to where they found. Through here they ran down to the bounding wall at Kiltinan. Clearing this they ran to Kiltinan Castle and doing a u-turn here they ran back to Grove where they checked. The fox had probably crossed the Kilsheelan road here as a couple and half feathered across the road where they opened briefly at Drumdeel. Derry, however, decided to call it a day here at 3.15pm as the young riders remaining and their ponies had more than enough.

Thus ended a great day for the juvenile riders for Tipperary Foxhounds and for the future of hunting.

The Tipperary Foxhounds also had a great run from their meet at Ballydine on Thursday. Finding in Slatefield they ran from here to Mr Joe Ryan’s and on to Clonmochane. Turning here they hunted back to Slatefield and on to Bawnmore. Hunting around Bawnmore for thirty minutes they finally marked this very good fox to ground after a top class run of one hour and forty-five minutes.

As a mark of respect to the Lalor family, the childrens’ meet at Kilcooley on Saturday was cancelled as was the Ballylusky White Heather Harriers’ meet at Loughcopple on Sunday.

With the White Heathers
The Ballyluskey White Heather Harriers meet on Sunday 6th January at Coolbawn at 11am.

Annual Emigrants’ Newsletter on sale

This year’s Fethard & Killusty Emigrants’ Newsletter is now on sale in local shops this weekend. The price is still €10 and the money received will help towards the cost of posting 1,000 copies worldwide free of cost to our emigrants. We take this opportunity to thank sincerely all our very generous supporters who enable us to publish the Newsletter every year, which is very much appreciated away and at home.

Cllr. O'Brien Clinic

Cllr. Jimmy O'Brien wishes to inform that he will hold a clinic every second Tuesday, commencing on Tuesday 15th January, in the Tirry Community Centre from 2pm to 3pm. For further information contact 087 6914648. Cllr. O'Brien would like to take this opportunity to wish readers a very Happy Christmas and to say that he looks forward to continuing to represent the people of Fethard and surrounding areas in 2008.

Fethard Childcare Committee
The next meeting of Fethard Childcare Committee will take place on Wednesday 9th January at 8pm in the Tirry Community Centre. This meeting is open to the public so if you would like to become involved or feel that you have something to contribute you will be very welcome on the night.

Carol Singing for Homeless
A large group of children and adults took part in the carol singing in Fethard on Tuesday 20th December. The group started at 7.45pm from the Parish Church following the Youth Christmas Liturgy. The children were treated to a special treat while singing 'Let it Snow' at Lonergan's Bar when they were showered with snow in the pub’s 'Winter Wonderland'. Later all were treated to sweets in the Abymill Theatre after singing for the attendance at the weekly bingo. Over €700 was raised for the homeless, proceeds from both the Youth Christmas Liturgy and the Carol Singing.

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