ALMOST 100 GAA players from Leitrim clubs have been forced to leave the country last year due to unemployment.
Leitrim lost 99 players overall last year after each club revealed the number of members who have been forced to leave the country in search of work. The number rises to 106, if the players who are only partially available to clubs during the year are taken into account (studying abroad). The inter-county squad was also hit, as 14 of these players were part of the senior set-up.
The GAA transfer archives shows that 18 players officially left the county for clubs outside of Ireland in 2012. These archives are the GAA’s database for tracking the movements of players from club to club, both nationally and internationally.
However, this figure fails to record the number of players who leave the country and fail to register with a club in their new location, meaning that a very significant proportion of GAA members leaving the country go unrecorded.
The current joint manager of the inter-county team, Barney Breen, was keen to outline how emigration in 2012 was one of the most difficult things that he and George Dugdale, have to deal with.
“Eight of the team that beat Sligo in the 2011 championship either emigrated or retired, mostly emigrated due to a lack of work. We found it very hard at the beginning of last year, with the squad being depleted,” he said.
Breen explained how emigration itself isn’t the only issue, and that the time necessary to replace a departed player by developing someone new can take years.
“The biggest thing about today’s game is the aspect of strength and conditioning. A player has to be built up over three of four year period of strength and conditioning. When you invest in a guy for a year or two and then he leaves then you are starting off again from year one,” he said.
The issue of players migrating to different parts of the country is also an issue that had to be managed. With his players dotted all over the country, Breen revealed that the cost of travel to get these players up to training can be has high as €90,000 in a year.
Carrigallen club chairman Eamon Quinn explained how the plight of emigration had affected his club over the past number of years.
“In 2012, we lost eight players. Seven of them would have been senior players and six of them would definitely have been in our starting 15. They were lost to America, Australia and Bulgaria, all of them in search of work,” he said.
“It made the season a very tough one. Every club is losing players to emigration and to other sports. The GAA has an uphill battle to maintain its high profile in every community.”
The countries that are proving to be most common for emigrants from Leitrim are Australia, the U.S., England and Canada.
A RANDALSTOWN man has been stung by thieves after they stole a hive full of honey bees.
Ian Wallace, who has been keeping bees for 30 years, was left stunned after he made the discovery on Wednesday, February 20.
In the winter time bees hibernate and at the beginning of last week Wallace paid a visit to his hive to check things were as they should be.
"I was looking at it and I just thought something wasn't sitting right,” he said.
When Wallace went to take a closer look he realized that the inner box was gone along with the full colony of bees. He was left “flabbergasted” at the fact someone had stolen the hive.
“I just couldn't believe it," he continued. "But it must have been someone who knew what they were doing. I don't see how any Tom, Dick or Harry off the street would have been able to do that.
“I have been keeping bees for 30 years and I've never come across this before. There were some dead bees lying at the bottom of the baseboard and from what I could tell, they hadn't been lying there too long so it must have happened fairly recently."
Wallace confirmed that while he makes the inner frames himself, the bees are worth around £100.
“It's not the money or the value that I have the real issue with," he added. “It's simply the face that someone would do this in the first place."
Drones for Dumping
DRONES could be used as Clare’s newest weapon in the war against litter, one local councilor has suggested. The remote controlled surveillance devices, which have gained notoriety from their use by the U.S. government, have been put forward as a possible solution to fly-tipping or illegal dumping in the county, with a claim that drones are already being used on the continent for this purpose.
At a meeting of the Environmental and Water Services Strategic Policy Committee of Clare County Council, Councilor Johnny Flynn hit out at what he described as the “disgusting” behavior of people who litter the county’s roads.
He believes government grants could be used by the local authority to send a drone into the air to identify the culprits of illegal dumping. Last year, grant funding was used by Clare County Council for the deployment of mobile CCTV to deal with littering, with Flynn urging similar funding be obtained for drones.
“I am delighted that the funding was used for mobile CCTV and I understand they have been very successful. I would suggest that the council consider applying again this year and consider using drones, robotic flying cameras, that could be used to look out for fly-tipping,” he said.
“We have to come down very hard on these people. There are a million bags of rubbish unaccounted for in this county.”
Flynn said the devices are already being used on the continent for this purpose.
“This could be a very effective weapon to deal with these anti-social scoundrels. It would be an inexpensive and effective way to monitor this behavior,” he said.
He added that a tough stance needs to be taken on anybody found illegally dumping.
“Anybody involved in fly-tipping and serious and persistent anti-social behavior should have the benefits of living in an open and modern society restricted. For example, any person whose vehicle is found to be involved in fly-tipping should loose their driving license for 20 years,” he said.
The Clare Champion
The Flying Nun
THIS May, if you look to the sky, it is possible that you just might see the hand of God guiding one of his servants to ground as Presentation nun Sister Patricia Wall, 75, completes her sky dive.
The reasons for her taking such a brave step are close to her heart as she is hoping to raise €150,000 for the charity Aware along with a number of local projects she is involved with.
Sister Patricia, who turns 75 on Saturday, joined the Presentation Sisters in Thurles when she was 17. She traveled the world with her vocation, bringing her to places such as Zimbabwe and New Zealand.
In fact, it was while Sister Patricia was in New Zealand that she experienced a deep depression. She was in her late twenties and very far from home.
In those days, she said, “if you went that far away it usually meant you may not come back.”
However, she sought help from a doctor and through counseling along with a leave of absence from the convent, Sister Patricia returned to full health and was soon back in her habit and religious way of life.
Along with her own experience of depression, Sister Patricia has seen first hand how this illness can affect those living in rural Ireland and that is why she wants to help Aware.
She retired from teaching in 1997 and since then has been very much involved in a number of community projects around Tipperary.
Now with her strong fundraising committee in place, Sister Patricia can focus on preparing herself for the sky dive. She is fit and well as she has always been involved in sports.
When asked what prayer she will be saying as she jumps out she is unsure, but as they switch off the engine for a few minutes to capture the sound of the skydiver’s reaction, Sister Patricia is “hoping a prayer will come out!”