Office opening

RTAI Head Office has now reopened after the Christmas and New Year break. Telephone queries may be made on 01-245 4130 preferably in the mornings. Email queries to

Are you subbing?

There have been welcome changes to the abatement rules. Because of a shortage of substitutes teachers in 2021 retired teachers returning to the classrooms did not have their pensions reduced or abated. Arrangements for 2022 have not been address yet.

You should probably consider substitute memberships of INTO

Just retired?

Welcome and happy active retirement.


Athbhliain faoi shéan is faoi mhaise daoibh uilig

I looked for some wise words to get the new year going positively (plenty of negative media out there) and found a few Maeve Binchey quotes among my WhatsApp posts that I’ll share:

  1. “I don’t have ugly ducklings turning into swans in my stories. I have ugly ducklings turning into confident ducks.”
  2. “The great thing about getting older is that you become more mellow. Things aren’t as black and white, and you become much more tolerant.”
  3. “Nobody is ordinary if you know where to look.”
  4. “We are all the heroes and heroines of our own lives. Our love stories are amazingly romantic; our losses and betrayals and disappointments are gigantic in our own minds.”
  5. “If you don’t go to a dance you can never be rejected, but you’ll never get to dance either.”
  6. “The whole art of life is knowing the right time to say things.”
  7. “We’re nothing if we’re not loved. When you meet somebody who is more important to you than yourself, that has to be the most important thing in life, really. And I think we are all striving for it in different ways.”
  8. “I think you’ve got to play the hand that you’re dealt and stop wishing for another hand.”
  9. “We get courage from other people’s stories. We get consolation from the way they tell about failures, disappointments and crises. It means that we are not alone.”
  10. “Learn to type. Learn to drive. Have fun. Write postcards. (Letters take too long and you won’t do it; a postcard takes two minutes.) Be punctual. Don’t worry about what other people are thinking. They are not thinking about you. Write quickly. (Taking longer doesn’t usually make it better.) Get up early. See the world. Call everybody by their first name, from doctors to presidents. Have parties. Don’t agonise. Don’t regret. Don’t fuss. Never brood. Move on. Don’t wait for permission to be happy. Don’t wait for permission to do anything. Make your own life.”


Cárta Nollag 2021 Le gach dea-ghuí ó Cumann Múinteoirí Scortha na hÉirinn

Everyone was disappointed that we had to cancel our annual Christmas get-together. Many thanks to the many of you who replied making the committee decision on action so much easier. Hopefully, we will all meet in 2022.

I’ve done some googling to find a blog entry for Christmas 2021. My favourite Dán Nollag is Máire Mhac an tSaoi’s Le Coinnle na nAngeal … but think that may have featured in a previous blog

So here are a few different writings I found. I’ve also included some photos I took in Russborough yesterday:

(9th century Irish Poem)

I have news for you:

The stag bells, winter snows, summer has gone

Wind high and cold, the sun low, short its course

The sea running high.

Deep red the bracken; its shape is lost;

The wild goose has raised its accustomed cry,

cold has seized the birds’ wings;

season of ice, this is my news


By Tommy Makem

WINTER, a sharp bitter day

the robin turns plump against the cold

the sun is week silver faded from gold

he is late in his coming and short in his stay

Man, beast, bird and air all purging, all cleansing,

earth already purified awaits the rite of spring

Her bridal gown a virgin snow and frosts in her hair

A snowdrop by the road today bowed gracefully

and high upon the wing up in the sparkling nothingness,

a lone bird began to sing

Can gentle spring be far away?


To Know the Dark

by Wendell Berry

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light,

To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,

and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,

and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.



by Janet Morley (adapted)

For the darkness of waiting, of not knowing what is to come,

of staying ready and quiet and attentive, we give thanks,

for the darkness and the light are both gifts of the Spirit

For the darkness of staying silent,

for the emptiness of having nothing to say,

for the quiet recognition of needing to say nothing, we give thanks,

for the darkness and the light are both gifts of the Spirit

For the darkness of choosing to speak, to act, and to change,

even when we cannot know what we have set in motion,

but know we have to take the risk, we give thanks,

for the darkness and the light are both gifts of the Spirit.

For the darkness of hoping, wrestling, and laboring

for wholeness and justice and freedom, we give thanks,

for the darkness and the light are both gifts of the Spirit.

For the darkness of loving, in which it is safe to surrender,

to let go of our self-protection, to stop holding back our desire,

we give thanks,

for the darkness and the light are both gifts of the Spirit

2021 AGM and Annual Christmas Dinner

Hallelujah…. there might be light!!!!

As you know, all face to face RTAI activities have been suspended since the start of the pandemic.

However, we are now in a position to announce the resumption of RTAI OUTDOOR activities with immediate effect, restricted to 15 participants until 20 September, but no limit on participants numbers after that.

Although indoor meetings are permitted by Gov from 20 Sep, the National Executive Committee is delaying resumption of INDOOR meetings and activities until 22 Oct when (fingers crossed) all restrictions will be lifted.

Local branch officers/committees will meet over next few weeks to make plans for the resumption of branch activities.




Comhnasc (issue 32) arrived this morning, as usual packed with interesting articles. My particular favourites are Nóirín Breathnach’s article on Lackan, Dermot Toomey’s look at the transformation of Blackpitts NS over the years, Máire McCabe’s story of her family’s move to Meath as part of the Land Commission reallocation and most particularly a selection of Anne Cousins’ poems. As you can see o cover there’s also a bit about the fair deal, bone health, some advise on scam calls, texts and emails…..and lots more.

Having extended my breakfast …. its now almost noon…. I have my Comhnasc almost completely read.

No news yet on resuming our meetings.


Once again we are deferring our Summer Lunch and Monster Raffle.

With the widespread vaccination programme progressing, let’s keep our fingers crossed that we’ll all meet up later in the year.

My new hobby – visiting Gardens. My first excursion was Sunday last to Patthana Gardens in Kiltegan. I took the scenic route with Google Maps prompting, through Talbotstown.

Keep well and enjoy the Summer


RTAI publishes its newsletter, “Comhnasc” three times a year.  It contains the most up-to-date information on issues of immediate interest to retired teachers, including, pensions, salary, social welfare, health and changes in taxation and budgetary matters. Articles written by our members are also included.

An archive of previously published magazines (back as far as 2015) is available on

HAPPY 2021

Want to start the New Year creatively? Poemathon with Older People hopes to brings a spotlight to our voices, imagination and creativity. You only have to compose ONE LINE.

The contributions will be combined to form a longer poem that captures the thoughts and imaginings of older people right now in society. John Sheahan, one of Ireland’s best known musicians and member of The Dubliners, has penned the opening line of the poem: “Intrepid intruder, stalker of unwashed hands”.  

Follow this link for furthervinformation: