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.


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Hope everyone keeping well. I know there’s lots of anxiety out there, lotsa “fake news”.

But it’s good to be informed. So here are some links to credible websites:

HSE for updated comprehensive advise on protecting yourself, symptoms, self, isolating, etc 

Department of Foreign Affairs for Travel advice related to Corona Virus

World Health Organisation – more pretty regularly updated information – may be of interest if you’ve travel plans

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Some suggestions for putting in the hours, without sport on the telly, without meetings, whatever, – Brendan O’Connor had a number of authors on show this morning with suggestions for reading (I missed the beginning and then couldn’t find a pencil) but eventually got these (more comprehensive list on podcast): 


Turbulance by David Szalay – 12 novel stories about characters whose lives are linked via air travel and their in-flight anxieties (All That Man also by David Szalay was mentioned)


Eggshells by Caitriona Lally 

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies also by Hilary Mantel)

Poetry Pharmacy: Tried-and-True Prescriptions for the Heart, Mind and Soul by William Sieghart (googled it and its described as a marvellous selection!)

100 Poems by Seamus Heaney

Philip Larkin – any of his poetry collections


Notice to Comhair Linn customers

Comhair Linn is communicating with members to advise that they will be introducing some improvements to Online Banking experience over the coming months.

These changes are in preparation for compliance with European banking regulations – Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) – which come into force on September 14th 2019. These regulations bring additional safety and security to your online banking.

These changes are being introduced in order to protect consumers from increased instances of online fraud. This additional security is known as Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) and will be introduced in both the browser-based services and Mobile App.

Mobile App
There will be a new version of the Mobile App to cater for these changes and you might be prompted to update your app.

Mobile phone number
It is imperative that the mobile phone number registered for your Comhair Linn account is correct. To view the number registered to you, log in to Online Banking and click the Personal Settings option. If any details are incorrect please contact the Credit Union.

Strong Customer Authentication (SCA)
The following actions will require SCA from 14th September 2019 however some may be introduced earlier:

  1. Logging in to your Online Banking
  2. Setting up new payees
  3. Viewing transactions older than 90 days
  4. Viewing e-Statements
  5. Viewing Documents older than 90 days

How will your experience change?
As part of these improved security measures you will logon as normal but you may be required to provide additional authentication via your phone.

Security Advice
When Comhair Linn communicate with you they will never ask you for your card number or PIN and will never advise you to transfer money out of your account. Should you encounter any of the above requests you should report it to your Credit Union immediately.

Further Information
This information – and any further updates – can be viewed by logging into your online banking at


Good turn out in Killashee for the Summer meeting of Kildare retirees on Wednesday 26th June.

Fidelma’s ‘Minutes of last meeting’ earned the highest praise from Billy – almost making his report redundant. Well done Fidelma!!!

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Praise to Fidelma again for her careful handling of finances for our 360 members- it meets the new criteria for the increase of €5 per member to €20 established by 2018 review – prudent spending on the membership needs and yet accountable and transparent: raffle and subsidy for today’s lunch form part of the budget.

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Raymond King gave a great account of the Wednesday Dancing Class – which has more than doubled in size: he lauded Maestro /Múinteoir  Brian’s singing as well as dancing talents – “when he can’t get the didgeridoo for music going for a dance he  belts out a song for us to waltz around to”. Good stuff Brian! Classes will resume in September.

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Rena gave a short account of the Slovenian trip – and there’s a reunion of the travelers for a morning coffee/ lunch planned for September.



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The golf outing usually held in May was deferred to September. A SCRAMBLE will be held in Cill Dara Golf Club on the 2nd September – if you know any new retirees who might be desperately seeking an outdoor activity to replace yard duty!!!!! please let them know!!!!!

Billy’s address was of course informative – he emphasised that while our pensions are increasing slightly, they are ACTUALLY only being restored to 2012 rates. If you had retired pre Feb 2012 on the top of the scale with a B post, your pension would have been €34636; in September it will be €34130 rising to €34897 in October 2020. The exemption threshold for Pension Levy is now €39k since January and will go up to €54k in 2020 – so another few disposable bob!!!

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Some other interesting changes: the 35/55 rule is gone since 2004; 65 is now the standard retiring age for all public servants; teachers starting their teaching careers since Jan 2013 will now have a pension based on career average.

Billy was asked about the Alliance of Public Servants – it’s not as strong as it was, as its original objective has been achieved (removal of pension levy), leaving only guards and teachers awaiting full removal – smaller numbers means less clout! However he advised watching “this space” as parity has only been preserved till 2020 and we may need the pressure of an Alliance after that: the Government does not negotiate with Pensioners and so we are dependent on INTO or Alliance-like bodies.


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Finally the Tom Quinlan, founder of ALH (Affordable Live-in Care) addressed the meeting on the provision of care in the home versus Nursing Home care and the difference in prices and service between his agency and other providers. Follow the link to see the service that ALH provide as well as many testimonials by their customers.

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After the raffle, (congrats to the MANY winners) we adjourned to the dining room for Lunch and a catch up chat.

Enjoy the Summer!!!