News from the 32

Bishop Speaks Out

THE Bishop of Kerry William Murphy has acknowledged the anger and frustration felt by parishioners in the diocese due to the child abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church.

He said he had done his best since he took up office 15 years ago, but he acknowledged that there was anger at the way church authorities had responded to the crisis of child sexual abuse.

"I can say, with my hand on my heart, that I have done my best to respond at all times to allegations of child sexual abuse," Murphy said.

"We’re light years ahead of where we were 20 years ago. We have put in place, in so far as possible, procedures that will ensure that it would be most difficult for what happened in the past to happen in the future. If it does it will be responded to quickly and adequately," he insisted.

Murphy was speaking on the Horizons radio program as part of the ongoing Let’s Listen sessions that are taking place in each of the 12 pastoral areas in the diocese, giving people an opportunity to express feelings and attitudes towards the church at this point in time.

Nine of the Kerry meetings have already taken place with more than 500 people attending, and a further three scheduled for September.

Bishop Murphy told of the anger expressed by the laity to date as part of the process.

"They expressed great frustration, great anger, great confusion, shame, disappointment at the revelations that had come out and the manner in which the church authorities dealt with them," he said.

“I suppose there was also frustration that just when we seem to be getting over the hill, we’re hit by more revelations. It seems to be unending," he added.

On a more positive note, Murphy stressed that many who attended the meetings also spoke of their strong faith and their support for their own priests.

"Quite frankly I was a little surprised that so much of the feedback was positive. People did, of course, express their anger and confusion but that did not surprise me because I knew that people were angry and confused," the bishop remarked.

He acknowledged that some priests find it very difficult to work collaboratively with people and it was proving difficult to change that mindset when it comes to working as part of a team.

Murphy also spoke about the difficulties of rationally arguing against the ordination of women within in the church.

"People find it hard to get their head around the idea of an all-male celibate priesthood. It’s difficult to see intellectually the arguments in favor of that," he accepted.

"But I take the position the magisterium (teaching) of the church is divinely guided and inspired and perhaps may contain more truth that my little head can contain.

"The main argument would be tradition. The church has never ordained women and that’s a strong argument but I’m not a prophet – I don’t know what will happen in the next century," he added.
-The Kingdom
Popular Names

Ryan and Katie were the most popular names for babies born in Sligo last year.

Ryan replaced Matthew, which had been the top name chosen for boys in Sligo in 2008, while the year before more parents in the county had opted for Jack than any other name.

Interestingly, Jack was the top choice nationally in 2009, while Ryan was number six and Matthew was down at number 23.

More Sligo parents also went for something different than the most popular choice nationally when it came to naming their newborn daughters.

For the second year in a row Katie was the name most frequently chosen for girls, having also been the top choice in Sligo in 2008. However, nationally it was only the seventh choice.

Katie also hadn’t featured near the top in Sligo in 2007. In that year there was no clear choice with Ava, Rachael, Sarah and Sophie all being equally popular.

In the neighboring counties, Jack was the first choice for boys in both Mayo and Donegal. In Leitrim it was a toss-up between Sean and Daniel, but Sean won out clearly in Roscommon.

Mayo parents agreed with their Sligo counterparts in the choice of Katie for girls, but Leitrim opted for Ava, which was the second choice nationally.

In Roscommon the most popular name was Sarah and in Donegal, Aoife was the most common name.

Nationally, the names most in favor (in order of choice) were Jack, Sean, Daniel, Conor and James. These names have been in the top five since 1998 with only the order changing. Three first timers to the top 100 last year were Bobby, Shay and Szymon.
The top girls names were Sophie, Ava, Emma, Sarah and Grace.

Newcomers to the top 100 girls names last year were Layla, Olivia, Hollie, Madison, Daisy and Emila.
-Sligo Weekender

Housing Price Drops

House prices in Waterford continued to fall in the second quarter of 2010. This is according to figures released by
According to their research, the average three bedroom house in Waterford now costs €210,000, which represents almost 7% of a drop. It is estimated that the total drop since 2006 stands at 30% nationwide.

Waterford had the biggest drop among counties in the south east and the third highest in Munster. Waterford also registered a bigger decrease than Dublin and Cork.

The figures show this latest fall is the 14th consecutive declining quarter. The study also says there are some signs of the Dublin market beginning to bottom out, but hasn’t made any reference to this being the case in Waterford.
However, Waterford asking prices are still well below the national average of €291,278 compared to €301,449 three months ago and €337,600 12 months ago.

Commenting on the results, independent economist Paul Murgatroyd said that while prices are continuing to fall, further evidence is emerging that some sectors are starting to show signs of price stabilization.

“At the start of the year we forecast that prices would decline by around 10% on average during 2010, with the majority of the decrease coming in the first half of the year, and that appears to be what’s happening. The second half of this year will give us a clear indication of the timeframe for a definitive bottoming of the market,” he said.
-Waterford News & Star
Coping With Graffiti

Graffiti artists in Ballyshannon will be given an opportunity to express themselves and their art thanks to the local town council.

In an effort to curb offensive graffiti that had appeared under the recently built Aodh Ruadh bridge, the council will to look at ways of inviting locals to contribute their art to a specific area.

The idea arose at a meeting of the council where Councilor John Meehan described the graffiti on the bridge as "rude, embarrassing and a disgrace."

Councilor Phonsie Travers said that while he was not condoning the graffiti, some of it he agreed was downright rude and offensive, he felt that some of it was "very artistic" and the council should look at some way of harnessing the talents of those involved and giving them a more regulated forum for their "art.”

Councilor Billy Grimes agreed, stating that it was a well-documented fact from councils across the world that more money is wasted than should ever be spent on trying to wipe out graffiti.

"It's a commonly known fact and there's research on this, that where graffiti is removed by a council, those who put it there in the first place see it as a challenge to put it back there as quickly as they can,” Grimes said.

In view of this, he said they should look to see what funds or support might be available to have work done through arts development.

"Perhaps if we provided a blank hoarding somewhere in the town and invited these artists to express themselves, it might be a more productive way to deal with the problem for all of us," he added.

Town clerk, Mary Daly said the council would look at what avenues were available to them, while the town manager Liam Ward added that he would approach the roads section to see what might be possible in terms of the offending graffiti.

Travers added, "Some of it is very artistic. I'm not condoning it, but whoever did some of that graffiti has a real talent and they should or could be earning a living from it."
-Donegal Democrat

Surgery Shortage

A leading eye surgeon has said the sight of a number of children is at risk because of the cancellation of operations at Temple Street Hospital this week.

Professor Michael O'Keeffe said he would not be able to carry out vital operations on nine children, including a six-week-old baby, because there was no anesthetist available.

The consultant said there was a lot of “silent intimidation” of doctors in the public health system who were afraid to speak out.
O'Keeffe said the public system was a disaster and was not being managed properly.

He said a different mindset operated there than in the private system.

Temple Street Hospital said it was having problems recruiting a pediatric anesthetist, and patients whose operations were cancelled would be prioritized.