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Large turnout to railway demonstration

MONASTEREVIN, 30 January 1999: by Trish Whelan and Brian Byrne. Some 400 people turned out in Monasterevin yesterday afternoon for a march aimed at showing local support for the reopening of the local railway station. The event was organised by the Monasterevin Railway Action Committee (MRAC) and was attended by area county councillors Jim Keane and Francis Browne, and Fine Gael TD for Kildare South Alan Dukes (pictured above centre). A rally held subsequently in the Hazel Hotel was addressed by regional MEPs and a report on the railway transport situation was presented.

The report, which is published by MRAC and Action South Kildare Ltd, includes a background history of the station which was built in 1847 and closed in 1976. There is also a professionally-executed survey of potential passenger use, which concludes that at least 315 people would use the station daily if it was reopened. Despite strong representations to Iarnroid Eireann, the railway company has refused to reopen the facility, saying that a survey it conducted among commuters at Heuston station didn't indicate any need for the station.

The minister for public enterprise, Mary O'Rourke TD, declined to attend the rally. According to MRAC chairman Ned O'Rourke (pictured above right), Iarnroid Eireann cannot now refute the results of the report when they see it. "I'm very hopeful that they won't turn us down this time," he told KNN. "It will cost them some £500,000 to reopen the facility, but when it is open it will be making money. Besides, the Government is telling us all to get our cars off the roads ... well, without a station, we can't do that in Monasterevin." MRAC PRO Paddy Whelan said yesterday's demonstration showed the 'decision of the people' of the area. "They said this evening to Iarnroid Eireann: 'Get the station open now'." Mr Whelan welcomed the recent commitment by the Progressive Democrats to support the reopening of the station.

The full conclusions of the report can be read here.


Labour TD slams minister for defence's claims strategy

KILDARE SOUTH, 30 January 1999: Kildare South Labour TD and party spokesman on defence Jack Wall has called on the minister for defence to stop 'sniping' at soldiers claiming compensation for deafness and to set up a compensation tribunal. Deputy Wall said the minister's current strategy is undermining the morale of the defence forces and is also a matter of concern to the judiciary. He also said that with he likelihood of another 'raft of claims' for post-traumatic stress disorder it is high time the minister realised his current strategy is having no effect on the level of claims.


Naas group targets 'pro-rezoning' councillors

NAAS, 29 January 1999: by Trish Whelan. An anonymous lobby against 'uncontrolled development' in Naas has fired the first shot in the upcoming local elections for the town's Urban District Council. It is in the form a a circular to residents in the Kingsfurze and other estates urging them not to re-elect councillors 'who do not represent' their views, and gives the names of UDC members who have voted in favour of rezoning for large housing developments in the current draft town development plan.

Under the name of a 'Public Awareness Group' the lobby has also circulated a sample letter to the office of the minister for the environment calling for changes in the legislation on land use rezoning. The group says there should be a 'town planning unit' comprised of professional planners to assess and implement future planning for Naas, and that councillors alone should not have the final say on such plans ... they claim that the present situation in this regard is 'unfair and open to corruption'. The lobby also wants a declaration of vested interests by UDC members.


KNN goes 'nationwide'

NAAS, 29 January 1999: KildareNet News went 'nationwide', so to speak, this week when a team from the very popular RTE 1 TV programme Nationwide came down to film the unique Kildare internet news service in action. The TV crew followed Trish Whelan as she covered a story in Newbridge relating to the Newbridge Access Group and afterwards interviewed Trish and KNN partner Brian Byrne about the KNN concept and how they actually put it on the internet so it can be accessed by Kildare people at home and worldwide.

Nationwide reporter Alistair Jackson also interviewed Kildare county librarian Breda Gleeson (pictured) in Naas library about the County Kildare Community Newtork and the public internet access faciliies which are being introduced throughout the county's library system. The KNN piece will be screened on Nationwide in two or three weeks' time.


Evelyn bows out after decade of Youthreach

ATHY, 29 January 1999: by Brian Byrne. Athy Youthreach coordinator Evelyn Lane is leaving the organisation after 10 years' service, in order to take up a position running a Local Employment Service Network in Inchicore, Dublin. She made the announcement at the presentation this week of certificates to the latest group of young trainees in The Model Centre, Athy. Evelyn recently completed her Masters degree which related to the effects of educational disadvantage.

Over the decade she has supervised the training of more than 400 young people. "I loved working with them, and found that success in the programmes was mainly a matter of helping them reach their potential," she said. Educational certificates were presented by Kildare county adult education officer Noel Dalton, while chief superintendent Sean Feely presented certificates of merit to those who had taken part in the 'Copping On' crime prevention programme. Special presentations were made by the garda juvenile liaison office for a special exhibition and talks series organised by the Youthreach group in connection with the European Drugs Prevention Week held last November.

Those who received certificates were Melissa Murkay, Avril Doyle, Cecelia Doyle, Yvonne Kane, Majella Pekse, Michael McCarthy, Philip Ging, Carol Murphy, Marie Hutchinson, Marie Kane, Tina Ging, Suzy Houlihan, Mary Doyle, Sabrina Brennan, Charlene Hickey, Michael Brennan, Sandra Fennell, Trisha Keogh, Lucy O'Keefe, Adrian Comerford, Louise Webb, Daniel Delahunt, Tanya Scally, Niamh Robinson, Gemma Roycroft, Roseanne Brennan, John Lynch, Declan O'Brien and Mark Craughwell.


Travellers' accommodation plan to be devised

COUNTY HALL, 29 January 1999: Kildare County Council has agreed to set up a local traveller accommodation consultative committee to help solve the issue of traveller accommodation in the county. This follows Government legislation compelling councils to prepare and adopt before 31 March 2000 a five-year plan to meet the needs of travellers. A draft programme will have to be under way by June/July if this deadline is to be met.

At this month's council meeting members agreed to set up a 17-person committee to prepare the Kildare plan, comprised of five elected members of Kildare County Council representing each electoral area, one each from Naas and Athy UDCs, together with assistant county manager Terry O Niadh and a council housing officer, and representatives of local travellers and related bodies - Newbridge Travellers Support Group, Athy Travellers Club, Naas Equality for Travellers and the North Kildare Travellers Education Group.

In the discussion on the matter Cllr Paddy Power (pictured) pointed out that 'two managers ago' he had sought to have something done about the halting site at Tankardsgarden outside Newbridge to no avail. "I'm glad we're talking to traveller families instead of talking about them," said Cllr Sean O Fearghail who went on to say that transient traveller families who 'came here too often' should 'stay at home to talk to their own local councils' while Cllr Michael McWey believed the provision of one or two camps in the county for such families was necessary. "If this is not done, the whole thing is futile," he said.


Car parking, shower pressure, affordable housing are key issue at Naas UDC

NAAS, 29 January 1999: by Trish Whelan. Temporary and permanent additional car parking facilities are being sought to ease the parking situation in Naas when construction work begins on two multi-storey car parks in the town. The centre-of-town UDC car park is to accommodate a new hotel, multi-storey car park and retail units, bringing free parking there to an end. Town manager Terry O Niadh has asked property owners with space available to contact Naas UDC. Disc parking is to be introduced to Naas during the year.

The difficulties posed by lowered water pressure in Naas were highlighted at this month's meeting of Naas UDC by Cllr Teresa Scanlon (pictured), who said the situation in Lakelands Estate may necessitate the use of new shower systems to those presently installed in houses in the area. She said pressure had fallen dramatically over the last two years. Town clerk Declan Kirrane said he believed the council will have to advise people to check the type of showers in use. He revealed that pressure has been reduced deliberately and the increased demand throughn population expansion is also partly responsible for the situation.

Cllr Timmy Conway believes affordable housing to be made available by the council on its site at Caragh Road - to incorporate private sites and local authority housing - should be reserved for those born in Naas. "It's important for us as a community to be able to hold those families within the community of Naas," he said, adding that the high cost of property in Naas is now beyond the reach of first time buyers and many have been forced to move out of town to buy a house.

The problems which residents of Caragh Road were experiencing through lack of a footpath were raised by Cllr Willie Callaghan ... he said it was time Naas UDC provided such a footpath and that Kildare County Council should realise that Naas 'is part of Co Kildare.' He has long been campaigning for a footpath from Caragh Court to nearby Corbally Court.


Newbridge band will put on special show to get to St Patrick's Day in the Big Apple

NEWBRIDGE, 28 January 1999: by Trish Whelan and Brian Byrne. The Patrician Primary Pipe and Brass Reed Band in Newbridge is putting on a unique show in mid-February to raise the balance of a £50,000 cost for travelling to New York and taking part in the St Patrick's Day Parade down Fifth Avenue. They have already gone more than halfway towards the financial goal thanks to a number of sponsors from the commercial world in County Kildare and several individual donations.

The show is 'Aidan', which has been written and produced by bandmaster Frank Kirke, and it will be presented in Newbridge College Theatre between 18-21 February. The New York 'gig' is very apt because the band was officially launched on 17 March 1995. From that date the band's complement has expanded from just 18 to 90, some 42 of whom are already in uniform and the balance in training. Six of the original members are still members. Frank Kirke tutors the children in drum and pipe and Brian Brady teaches brass. The formal invitation for the band to participate in the 1999 St Patrick's Day Parade came after representations made on the band's behalf by US ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to the New York St Patrick's Day Committee.

In all, 71 people will be travelling, including band members, adult 'minders' and parents. The venture is being being supported in the US by John Dunleavy of the Kildaremen's Association in New York, and Aidan and Veronica Ryan of Orangburg NY who have organised their accommodation ... Aidan taught for several years in St Joseph's Academy in Kildare Town and he and Veronica now run a pub close to the Holiday Inn where the band will be staying. Frank Kirke's 'Aidan' show has 21 songs in its score and an original pipe, drum and brass piece. Pictured above are Eamonn O'Connor (Aidan), Orla Colleton (Dorothy), Frank Kirke, Brother Michael Broderick, and one of the pipers in full blow.


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Orchestra needs sponsorship funding so it can receive welcome grant

DUNLAVIN & KILDARE EAST, 27 January 1999: by Brian Byrne. The Dunlavin Youth Orchestra is looking for sponsors to help them raise £4,700 in the next three months, so they can gain an equivalent amount from the Wicklow Rural Partnership. The LEADER-funded company has offered the orchestra, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, the grant if it can raise a matching amount. "We thought at first that we could spend the money in small amounts over a period and call on the funding," says orchestra founder Dorly O'Sullivan (pictured left helping a student), "but we now find that we have to raise and spend the money in three months or we don't qualify."

The orchestra came into being when Dorly was asked to arrange the musical 'Oliver!' from the Dunlavin Drama Group, and local young players who provided the music became the nucleus of the present group. In addition to playing locally, the DYO has performed at the Youth Orchestra Festival in the National Concert Hall, and is appearing there again on 20 February. "We're the only youth orchestra who has been invited back to play again at the festival."

Two concerts have also been arranged for a proposed trip to Wales in March. Dorly O'Sullivan says the orchestra is as much a Kildare group as Wicklow, with a least half of its members coming from County Kildare, many of them from such schools as Cross and Passion College in Kilcullen and Newbridge College.

RealAudio : Dorly O'Sullivan talks to Brian Byrne.


OAK approves environmental grants

WEST KILDARE, 27 January 1999: The OAK Partnership has approved a total of £19,605 in grants for community groups in North West Kildare to carry out environmental works. This follows a large entry of projects for the Environmental Grants Scheme launched last year in conjunction with Kildare County Council. According to OAK manager Pat Leogue, the grants will, in conjunction with the voluntary effort of local communities, make a 'significant impact' on the general appearance of the area.

The grants approved were to Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park (£3,000), St Patrick's Park Women's Group (£1,010), Trinity Crescent Residents' Association (£1,065), Prosperous Tidy Towns Association (£2,600), Rathangan Trade & Industrial Association (£3,000), St Mochua Historical Society (£3,000), Donadea Development Group (£2,500) and Robertstown Development Association (£3,000).


Newbridge Access Group finds there are still problems for people with disabilities

NEWBRIDGE, 26 January 1999: by Trish Whelan. Members of the Newbridge Access Group today highlighted certain problems which face visually impaired people and wheelchair users in the town. NAG secretary Mick Power and wheelchair user Niall O'Hanlon told KNN that since the publication of the organisation's report late last year, certain difficulties still remained. Niall highlighted dangers he faced today when trying to cross a busy street with a parked car blocking the 'dish' onto the pavement and problems encountered when attempting to take out money from one of the ATM machines in the town.

Another problem was attempting to make a phone call from a telephone kiosk, when he was unable to put a coin into the slot .... or lift the receiver .... because they were out of reach. However both Mick and Niall said some improvements had been made following the issuing of the report and praised those involved in bringing these about.

RealAudio : Trish Whelan talks to Niall O'Hanlon.


Tourist village promoters to mailshot homes against claimed 'false propaganda'

KILL, 26 January 1999: by Brian Byrne. Irish International Tourist Outlets Limited (IITO) will this week circulate every home in Naas, Kill and Newbridge with an information document outlining what it calls ' the full facts' about its proposed development of the Kildare Tourist Outlet Village adjacent to the Goffs bloodstock complex in Kill. The company took the decision in the face of what it says is 'false propaganda and misleading statements' circulating in recent weeks from opponents of the scheme.

Project director Malcolm Hockaday said the general public were entitled to know the full facts about the project, rather than have it misrepresented in public by 'opponents acting on the basis of various vested interests', whom he claimed are actually 'a small number of people'. "It was a similar small group of vested interested that opposed the Naas bypass, spreading unfounded rumours and distorted facts suggesting that Naas would be destroyed. In fact the bypass has been the saviour of Naas which is now trading very successfully."

Kildare county manager Niall Bradley recently decided to recommend the development for further consideration by councillors for planning permission to be granted. The company says it would result in 400 new and permanent jobs for local people in Co Kildare and estimates that 1.3 million additional visitors will visit the local area if the Village is built - visitors who currently 'pass through the county on the way to other destinations'. IITO also says that the economic benefits to the local area will be significant with an additional £8 million per annum injected into the local economy through wages, tourist spend and associated spin-off in ancillary services provided by business and individuals in the local community.


Spike back on Fine Gael election trail

NEWBRIDGE, 26 January 1999: Veteran councillor Spike Nolan (pictured) was selected to run again on a panel of three at a Fine Gael selection convention in Naas last night. Also selected were Fionnula Dukes, wife of Kildare South TD Alan Dukes, and Gerry Fox from Monasterevin. Leo Conway from Rathangan failed to gain nomination.



More than 160 acres recommended for industrial use in Naas area

COUNTY HALL, 26 January 1999: by Trish Whelan. Kildare County Council has agreed to consider 'in principle' the inclusion of over 160 acres of land at Newhall, Naas, for industrial use, in its draft County Development Plan. Many councillors hailed the event as 'a great day for Naas' with Cllr Paddy Power claiming he could not see anything wrong in rezoning too much land for industry. "I have waited four years for this day. The next generation will not have to drive to Dublin for jobs," he said. Cllr Timmy Conway also welcomed 'this unique opportunity to enhance Naas and to send word down to Athy that there are jobs in this area'.

County planner Philip Jones had recommended the zoning of 156 acres - which he said had the advantage of direct access to the motorway. He also recommended rejection of some other submissions in the Newhall area. Cllr Mary French Coughlan proposed the adoption of the planner's recommendations, but with the inclusion of 9.5 acres of the land not favoured by the planner, which already accommodated a warehouse-type business. This was carried following a majority decision. A number of the submissions included offers of land to the Council.


Great display of young talent at Sceala

NAAS, 26 January 1999: by Trish Whelan. Students from secondary schools in Kilcullen, The Curragh, Newbridge, Kildare and Naas took to the stage in St Mary's College, Naas, for Sceala '99 and provided an action-packed evening of artistic endeavour. The budding actors, dancers, playwrights, musicians and artists of tomorrow all displayed their talents to a capacity crowd which included Finance Minister and local TD Charlie McCreevy.

"There is nothing like this in Ireland ... with original talent on display," coordinator Doreen Phelan from Naas (pictured here with Irish dancer Leah Moran, a student of Holy Family School) told KNN, adding that the response to the concert had been 'overwhelming.' Last year's pilot programme had been coordinated by well known Co Kildare composer Pearse O'Donnell, and Doreen - who has stepped into his shoes - hopes to have even more schools involved next year. Sceala was part of the Kildare County Council Arts programme of events.


PDs support reopening of Monasterevin Station

MONASTEREVIN, 26 January 1999: The reopening of Monasterevin railway station is advocated in a new Progressive Democrats policy document dealing with transport in the greater Dublin area. The policy, which was endorsed by a meeting of the party's National Council meeting in Limerick at the weekend, states that commuter rail services should be as accessible as possible to the travelling public. "It makes no sense that more than 40 trains a day pass through Monasterevin, a growing town within easy commuting distance of Dublin, without stopping", says the PD document.

Local senator John Dardis said he was 'very pleased' that the party had given a national commitment to support the campaign for reopening the station. He said the aim must be to provide a fast, frequent and reliable service running from Portlaoise to Heuston in Dublin with a stop at Monasterevin. "It is crazy to put more and more cars onto an overcrowded road into Dublin when many people would use the rail service if one was available," said Senator Dardis, adding that the success of the Arrow was such that there were now parking problems at Kildare and Newbridge. This demonstrated the potential for a service from Monasterevin.

Senator Dardis said it made no sense to have a new station in Kilcock while at the same time destroying Monasterevin. "CIE can spend millions building new lines in suburban Dublin so it reasonable to ask it to make proper use of its existing facilities and to give Monasterevon the service it deserves," he said.

There's to be a major protest rally in Monasterevin on 29 January as local people try and have the station reopened.


Seven villages may lose their 'special' status

NAAS, 25 January 1999: by Trish Whelan & Brian Byrne. Seven out of 23 County Kildare communities currently designated Special Villages will lose their status if the County Kildare Draft Development Plan currently under consideration is passed. They are Kilcullen, Sallins, Ballymore Eustace, Kill, Johnstown, Prosperous and Castledermot ... according to county planner Philip Jones, these are now realistically 'towns' given their population growth.

Cllr Tony Lawlor took exception to having Johnstown included in the list, saying he had a serious problem in that its population 'didn't come anwhere near' other villages which would retain their 'special' status. Cllr John Dardis said the designation was meant to preserve a special character or quality, 'things that we would want for places like Ballymore and Johnstown'. "It is very important to maintain their special village character," he said. Cllr Catherine Murphy asked what category they could now go into and the planner suggested they could be called 'towns of heritage character', and he noted that the council had recognised such character in Ballymore by spending £200,000 there.

Under the current designation, Special Villages would not be allowed to grow more than twice the population levels which they had when thus designated. Meanwhile, on the question of the recent controversial granting of planning permission for more than 400 houses in Ballymore, which would bring the population there well above that considered ideal, the county planner said it was a situation the council had inherited, as the area involved had already been zoned residential.


Colourful unit mass for Naas scouts, beavers and ventures

NAAS, 25 January 1999: by Trish Whelan. A unit Mass for the 4th Kildare Scout Unit was held in the Church of the Irish Martyrs in Ballycane yesterday. Over 200 beavers, cubs, scouts and ventures took part in the event, which was attended by the chief scout for CSI Ireland, Peter Dixon (pictured left, making a presentation to unit leader & beaver leader Jo Coy) and the regional commissioner for the Kildare & Leighlin Region, Simon Dwyer. Scout chaplain Fr Ruari O'Domhnaill celebrated the Mass and three scouts received the national scout award - Gail O'Donoghue, Sheila Murphy and Laura Pierce. The three had undertaken certain projects to complete and this is recognition of their achievement.

Long service and meritorious awards were made to leaders Paula Burrowes, (Monread Heights), Frank and Annette Jennings, Brannockstown, Miriam Reid (Woodlands), Martina and Donal Prendergast, (Lakelands), Peter Collins, (Roseville), John Leamy (The Paddocks) and Jo Coy (Lakeside Park), who received the bronze star medals for over 10 years service. Betty O'Sullivan (St Corban's Place) was awarded a Silver Star for 25 years service.

Scouts formed a guard of honour for the Chief Scout and his ADC, Joseph Pierce, a venture scout for Lacken View, Naas, and took part in the various readings while cubs took part in the prayers of the faithful, which they composed themselves. Beavers brought up the Offertary gifts.

Unit leader Joy Coy would welcome any enquiries from scout groups around the world with a view to exchange visits for Venturers (14-19) scouts (11-14) and cubs (8-11). (Other pictures from the event can be seen here.)

Helping hands at Naas seniors' party

 NAAS, 24 January 1999: Pictured giving a hand at the recent Naas Care of the Aged party in the Town House Hotel are helpers Joe O'Connor, Marie Kelly and Andy Kelly.

Naas motif goes back to Moses?

NAAS, 24 January 1999: A new theory on the origin of the rod and snake in the Naas coat of arms has been developed by local historian Enda Bracken of Arconagh. Through his research, he now believes it was the result of Moses curing the son of Niul, one of the royal family of Scythia, from the effects of a snake bite on the day before Moses led the Children of Israel across the Red Sea while escaping from the Pharaoh.

That child's name was Gaedheal, and his descendants were the Milesians (how that happened can be read in detail here) who as an invading race became the current 'Gaelic' inhabitants of Ireland, fulfilling a promise made by Moses that Gaedhal's descendants would settle in a place where 'no serpent would have venom'.

Enda Bracken has unearthed a picture of Gaedhal's mother, Queen Scota (pictured), with a sacred banner on which can be seen the snake she adopted as her emblem in memory of the incident with Moses. Enda would be quite happy to enjoin in further research, discussion, enlightenment or even argument on the matter!


Janet's jigsaw novel to be launched this week

NAAS, 24 January 1999: by Trish Whelan. Jigsaw is the title of a new book by Janet Sahafi of Blessington Road, an American writer who has lived locally for the last three years. She says the novel, her second book, is aimed at those who enjoy a good read and the response so far has been very positive.

"People find they are very moved after reading the book - but it's not something for those looking for an easy read to while away the time. It's the story of a woman putting the pieces of her life together and is set in the US. There are lots of different cultures colliding. As the reader progresses, each chapter is another piece of the jigsaw." Jigsaw is published by Poolbeg Press who describe it as a litery novel because it is a straightforward read. The late Kate Cruise O'Brien of Poolbeg Press had worked closely with Janet on her book and had offered great encouragement. "We were at a crucial point in the book when she died" explained the author who then went on to complete the novel which is on sale at £6.99 in book stores.

The official launch takes place at the Writers' Centre in Parnell Square, Dublin, on January 28. Janet will be also hosting an informal get-together for local writers and those interested in writing or finding out more about her book at Naas Library on Thursday, February 11 at 8pm. All are welcome.



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Stories for week ending 23 January 1999 are here

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Stories for week ending 2 January 1999 are here

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Stories for week ending 28 November 1998 are here

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