Thursday, July 31, 2014

Gaza: When will we ever learn?

Des Travers examines an unexploded bomb in South Lebanon in 2006.
With what can only be described as the inhuman atrocity of the current situation in Gaza, we should remember that we have been here before, writes Brian Byrne. Israel has previously conducted obscene warfare in the region, as this story published on the Diary in 2006 records.

Des Travers investigating for Amnesty in South Lebanon in 2006.
It's from an interview with our own Des Travers, after his investigations in South Lebanon on behalf of Amnesty, where he found 'abundant evidence of the targeting of undefended civilians by all available military means'.

And in 2009 he was part of a UN Human Rights Council investigation sent to interview people affected by the three week war in Gaza, which took place at the beginning of that year, after which Israeli, Palestinian, and international human rights groups reported that more than 1,400 Palestinians had been killed, including more than 700 civilians.

The UN team was led by former South African judge Richard Goldstone. He said they had found that there was strong evidence to establish that numerous serious violations of international law, both humanitarian law and human rights law, were committed by Israel during the military operations in Gaza.

As it goes in a line of the anti-war song Where have all the Flowers gone?, 'when will we ever learn?'

Free tickets for Great War Concert

With preparations for the 'Our Unfortunate Sons' Concert organised by the Kilcullen Great War Commemoration Group now well under way, it has been decided to make it a ticket affair, writes Brian Byrne.

The event on Saturday 23 August is free, thanks to heritage grant support from Kildare County Council, but the organisers are concerned that more people will turn up than there's capacity for in the 110-seat Town Hall Theatre. Those with tickets will have priority access into the Concert.

The latest meeting of the Group also finalised the lineup for the concert, which will feature a rehearsed reading of John Martin's original play set in WW1, 'Over the Top', as well as contemporary songs from Philomena Breslin, Francie O'Brien, Danny Carthy and Phillip Scott, and readings from Brian Byrne, Charlie Talbot and Annmarie Miles.

The names of Kilcullen's WW1 dead, now numbering 36, will be ceremoniously read out during the evening.There will also be a display of WW1 equipment and memorabilia in the Heritage Centre prior to the start of the Concert.

The free tickets for 'Our Unfortunate Sons' are available, in limited numbers, from John and Monica Martin, Frank Mitchell, Gerry and Julie O'Donoghue, Iseult O'Donoghue, Geraldine Gahan, Brian Byrne, Liam Walker, Vincent Nolan, Jim Collins, Brendan O'Connell, Des Travers, Kieran Behan, and Monica Martin.

Previous events organised by the KGWCG included a presentation and field trip on Life in the Trenches and a Memories Night for families of people who served in the Great War.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Text Alert on van in Killinane

Kilcullen Community Text Alert has issued a warning about a grey/silver Transit van with an 08 D registration parked for 20 minutes in the Killinane area.

The van moved off when it was approached by local people.

Kilcullen Community Text Alert is operated in conjunction with An Garda. Suspicious activity should be reported to An Garda who will then decide to have an Alert issued.

Keatley calls for halt to Halverstown services work, on 'flawed policy' grounds

The proposed online motorway service station on the M9 at Halverstown has been criticised as representing a 'flawed' policy of the National Roads Authority, writes Brian Byrne.

The claim was made by FG councillor Ivan Keatley following revelation in the Dail that the projected outturn cost for the construction of the overbridge and ancillary roads, including merge and diverge lanes, for the service area is €4.88m plus VAT.

“This is money is being incurred as a result of NRA policy to construct online service stations, that are only accessible from the motorways," Cllr Keating said today. "If this service station was being constructed at a location that already had a bridge across the motorway such as Tinryland Co Carlow a large amount of these costs could be avoided."

Cllr Keatley cites the privately-built and very successful service station at Junction 14 on the M7 which also allows access to non-motorway traffic. "Alternative options such as these would open this project up to private investment without the need for such state funding."

The NRA has recently concluded a public consultation process on their policy in the area of service stations and Cllr Keatley believes they should await the outcome of that consultation before proceeding to spend state funds on further online service stations such as that proposed at Kilcullen.

Before that section of the M9 was opened, the matter was the subject of a strong representation from local businesses that an offline link be made at the point of the motorway bridge at Kilgowan. The representations failed to change the policy, even after Transport Minister Leo Varadker met a delegation from the business interests.

The cost of the project was revealed in an answer to a Parliamentary Question by Deputy Martin Heydon.

Road surfacing begins Friday

The road surfacing in Kilcullen will begin at 5pm on Friday 1 August, and is scheduled to be completed by 15 August, writes Brian Byrne. Kildare County Council has been doing preparatory work for the last two weeks.

The work, from Avondale Drive to the bridge, will be carried out by Roadstone at night, between 5pm and 6.30am, with no work done on Saturday or Sunday nights.

Roadstone has asked that all vehicles be parked off the road involved between those hours. The company says the road will remain open during the work using a stop and go system. A Traffic Management person will be in the working area each evening to make sure the areas are clear.

Further information can be had by emailing Padraig Byrne at or phone 087 26224579.

Music for a summer Sunday this weekend

Oboist David Agnew will headline an afternoon event next Sunday 3 August in Kilcullen Town Hall Theatre, 'Music for a Summer's Day', writes Brian Byrne. The event also stars mezzo soprano Maria Fitzgerald, and Desmond Earley on keyboard, and the programme includes 'Music of the Night', 'The Swan', 'Bring Him Home', 'Gabriel's Oboe' and more.

It's 25 years since David Agnew recorded and released his first CD, and he has released 10 albums since. His solo shows over the next year will bring him all over Ireland and tour dates will be announced for June/July 2015 shortly. The Kilcullen event is one of a series of programmes the musician is carrying out in a variety of venues from churches to theatres in advance of that tour.

The artist's work with the RTE Concert orchestra keeps him busy with up to 120 performances a year nationwide, and in August sees them play lunchtime and evening concerts in the National Concert Hall ranging from 'Hello Dolly' to the music of John Williams, Martin Hayes and Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition'. The combination will also feature at the Clifden Arts Festival on 26 September.

The Kilcullen event next weekend starts at 2pm, and entry is €12 and €10 concessions. Family rates will also be available on the door. Bookings at or phone 01 5059582.