Saturday, October 03, 2015

Garda warning on 'Vishing'

A warning about 'Vishing' has been sent out this evening by An Garda, via the Kilcullen Garda District Text Alert system.

The scam, which has been prevalent in recent times, involves potential victims receiving a phone call from someone purporting to be a garda or bank person seeking bank details 'to help with an investigation'.

This would never be requested by An Garda, or a legitimate financial institution,

The bottom line is, never give your bank details to any caller over the phone. Also, do not respond to  to a suggestion that you should 'ring your bank, or An Garda back'. The scam involves the criminals holding the call and responding as if they were the bank or the Garda.

'Vishing' can also be attempted by email.

Details of typical Vishing scam.
The scammer uses the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) tool with a modem to call phone numbers in a given region. When the consumer answers, an automated recording states that the consumer’s credit card is showing fraudulent activity. The consumer is directed to call a specific toll free or local phone number immediately. 
The number dialled may show a spoofed caller ID for the financial company the scammer is pretending to represent. (Internet-telephone services do not require some of the verification checks used by traditional telephone companies; they provide telephone numbers with a choice of area codes that bear no relevance to the scammer’s actual location.) 
In some cases, the thief already has the consumer’s credit card number and will only ask for the three-digit code on the back of the credit card. This makes the call seem even more legitimate to the victim. 
Usually within three days of the call, the telephone line is disconnected. This, of course, makes it almost impossible to track the offender.

Viewpoint: Join Text Alert

A woman walking her dog mugged by a man looking for cigarettes. Cars stolen and broken into in town estates. Mowing equipment taken, for the second time, from a secure storage facility of the Pitch & Putt Club.

These are just a few of the recent crimes that should be making us not just concerned, but angry, writes Brian Byrne. And more aware of potential for trouble in our town.

Without painting a too-rosy picture, Kilcullen has always been a place where it is safe to walk, alone or with company. Where crime mostly is of the anti-social variety, and perpetrators generally known both to the community and the Garda. Where burglary and other thefts, while the most frequent criminal incidents, had Kilcullen well down the league compared to other towns in Kildare.

But, and not to be alarmist about it, there's a sense that things are getting a bit more difficult. A bit more hard. Maybe we're being looked at as something of a soft target by outside criminals and thieves. It's time to do something to counter this.

We're fortunate here that we still have a fully-staffed Garda Station, albeit only open on a part-time basis. And we have been and are fortunate with the calibre of gardai working out of that station. Quite apart from dealing with crime and keeping the peace, they get involved at community level in many areas.

But dealing with crime is not a one-way street. The gardai have a job to do, but need help and cooperation from the community they serve. I was in a college the other day and on the wall was a big sign 'This is the Person responsible for your Safety'. Instead of a picture of that Person, there was a mirror.

So, let us all keep our eyes open and our minds active about our own security and the security of our neighbours and friends, on a daily and even hourly basis. Especially in the town areas. The Text Alert Scheme established two years ago in Kilcullen's rural hinterlands has been quite successful. Not least by simply encouraging people to keep watch for unusual or suspicious goings-on.

But it shouldn't be confined to the rural areas. With the dark season now getting much closer, it's a good time for individual householders and residents groups in the town itself to join Text Alert. It literally gives the community a direct line to the Garda when something odd is observed. And the knowledge that we have observant people in the community does discourage criminals and crime.

If you're in town today, pick up a Text Alert application form from the Garda Station or Kilcullen Credit Union. Find out more about how you can help keep Kilcullen a relatively crime-free community.

Look in that mirror and remind yourself again who is responsible for your safety, and the security of your friends and neighbours ...

It's a long way to go for a pint ...

Kilcullen's own Noel O'Connell finished off his September by rowing with five friends from Ireland to Scotland, to raise funds for the Crumlin Medical Research Fund, writes Brian Byrne.

The journey, in their boat called 'The Mistress', was undertaken on 26 September and took the crew a mere five hours and 40 minutes. After which they repaired to a pub for some well-deserved pints.

The picture above is a screen grab from a number of videos produced by team member Ivan Powell, and you can see the rest of this one here.

Well done Noel, and all.

Kildare Relay for Life cheque presentation

Some of the Kilcullen Relay for Life Team with the cheque for €85,786 that was raised in the Kildare event at the Curragh Racecourse.

Conor Williams, Susan Archbold, Dermot Mitchell, Sabina Reddy, Trevor Howard and Pat Kelly were at the presentation night in Moorefield GAA Club.

The cheque was presented to John McCormack, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society by the Kildare Relay for Life committee.

Credit Union Art Competition

The annual Credit Union Art Competition 2015 is now under way, and forms for entry can be had at Kilcullen CU office.

The Competition has two categories, General and Special, with the following age groups in each category —

• 7 years and under;
• 8-10 years inclusive;
• 11-13 years inclusive;
• 14-17 years inclusive;
• Adult – 18 years and over.

Fishing closed

Kilcullen Trout & Salmon Anglers Association informs all members and non members that the Association's waters are closed as of midnight on September 30.

The club's waters will re-open on the 1st of march 2016. Please note that there is no coarse fishing, including pike fishing, on the club's waters during the closed season.

Anyone found fishing during the closed season will be reported to the Inland Fisheries.

Are you registered to vote?

Kildare County Council is reminding the people of the county that it is their responsibility to ensure they are on the Register of Electors.

The 2015/16 Register of Electors came into force on 15 February 2015 and will be used at any poll that may be called in the period to 14 February 2016.

A draft of the 2015/16 Register was published on 1 November 2014 and, as part of our public information campaign, was made available for examination in post offices, community libraries and Garda stations as well as online at until 25 November.

If your name is not entered on the 2015/2016 Register, you can apply to have your name entered on the supplement to the Register up to approximately 17 days before a poll (Specifically, more than 14 days before polling day, excluding Sundays, public holidays and certain other excluded days). A Form for this purpose is available at your local post office, community library or Garda Station. You can also obtain one by phoning Kildare County Council on 045-980201 or by email at:

If you have any query concerning the register, please either ring 045-980201 or e-mail and a member of staff the franchise section will be happy to assist you.

Friday, October 02, 2015

GAA lighting under way

The next stage of Kilcullen GAA's €160,000 Development Plan got liftoff today with the start of the erection of the lighting standards, writes Brian Byrne.

The Diary was there to record the first of them, a quite fascinating piece of work by two men and a red machine.

Reckon they'll soon be able to see Kilcullen GAA pitch from the International Space Station ...

More pictures here.

Mowers stolen from Pitch & Putt Club

Thieves broke into the storage facility at St Bridget's Pitch & Putt Club last night and stole two John Deere greens mowers similar to the above, writes Brian Byrne. A hedge trimmer was also taken.

It's the second time for this to happen this year, and the club is asking for anyone who might have seen something suspicious to contact them and An Garda.

The Club only took delivery of the second mower recently. To replace the stolen items with new machines would cost €7,500 each, but the Club's machines were second-hand, and valued at around €5,000.

The club is hosting a major competition over the weekend, and this latest theft doesn't make having the top-class facilities in best order for this.

It's a club that gives a lot to the community, and no doubt there's going to be serious anger over the crime. The last theft was in April. This time the thieves cut through a very secure external bar, then used a vehicle to pull the steel doors open, bending them in the process. After that the stolen machines would have had to be lifted over internal barriers, and taken away in something like a medium-sized van.

Pictured at the Club this morning are Liam Sherry, Christy Hannon and Christy Sweeney. Below is the remains of a towing rope which may have been used by the vehicle to pull the doors of the storage facility.

Mac & Norman, get sponsor cards in

A call for anyone with outstanding sponsor cards for the Mac & Norman Vintage Rally 2015 has been made by Ann Sully, writes Brian Byrne.

If you have any, please get them back to her, as the cheque is being presented to the Irish Cancer Society on 10 October in The Priory, Kilgowan.

Ann also reminds anyone who bought items at auction and have not collected before 10 October, these items will be raffled off on the night.

Canoe Club Table Quiz upcoming

It's a sure sign of the closing in winter when the notes about Table Quizzes begin floating across the Diary's desk, writes Brian Byrne.

The latest one brought to our notice is for the Kilcullen Canoe Club, upcoming on the auspicious date of Friday 13 November.

The venue is O'Connell's Bar on Main Street, questioning off at 8pm and the fee is the usual €40 per table of four.

You can pre-book and pay for your tickets by contacting Rose Barry on 087 2787150, and that'll get you a discount to €32 per table if you do so by 31 October.

In addition to the three main prizes, there'll be a raffle on the night, with great spot prizes on offer.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

TDs to meet Minister on secondary places

Kildare South TDs will be meeting with Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan next week to discuss future secondary school needs in the area, writes Brian Byrne.

The meeting will be in advance of the finalisation of the school building programme which is due to be published in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Deputy Martin Heydon raised the matter of secondary school needs in Newbridge with the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, today.

"The availability of school places at secondary level have been a cause of concern for parents in the Newbridge area for some time," Deputy Heydon said, "and the situation is getting worse as enrolment numbers continue to increase. I highlighted the distress that was being caused to families as the uncertainty over secondary school places continues in Newbridge."

The Taoiseach confirmed to Deputy Heydon that under the Capital Plan announced this week an additional 43,000 post primary spaces are to be made available by 2022, details of which will be confirmed by Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan shortly.

Advance note — John Spillane coming to the BAG in December

John Spillane returns to the BAG at Mick Murphy's, Ballymore Eustace, Monday, December, 7th, 2015, writes Roy Thompson. Doors open 8:30pm; Gig 9pm sharp.

At this stage, John Spillane hardly needs any introduction to Irish music fans. But, in case you're recently returned from Mars, I can tell you that this October this acclaimed Singer and Songwriter, celebrates 33 years of an ever-consistent, vastly illuminating and exciting career within the world of music. Having sold over 100,000 albums in Ireland, John Spillane has also been awarded with two Meteor Irish Music Awards for ‘Best Act Folk’ and ‘Traditional’ act. His songs have been covered by many Irish folk luminaries such as Christy Moore, Sean Keane, Karan Casey, Pauline Scanlon, Solas, Mary Black, Méav, Sinéad Lohan and Sharon Shannon.

Live, John Spillane is at his best; in one show the listener is treated to all the joy, sorrow, magic, love, poetry, madness and humour needed to sustain one, and to tide one over, until the next time you meet John - in some other place, to do it all again, and re-charge your batteries, once more. A John Spillane show is a tonic for all that may ail you; it is a slice of true living. You'll think you're just listening to music, but you're not, you know!!

This will be the last BAG gig before the Christmas break. It will be a ticketed affair, and is expected to sell out. So, book early. Tickets, priced €15, will be available direct from me at the door on Monday nights from October 5th onwards. Tickets can be reserved by emailing but must be paid for by Monday November 30th, or they will be released for general sale on the night of the gig.

Generous response to SVP painting raffle

More than €1,660 was raised in the raffle for an original Ray Ryan watercolour donated to the Kilcullen Society of St Vincent de Paul, writes Brian Byrne.

Pictured at the draw, where the winning ticket was picked out by Fr Niall Mackey, are Henk van Zegveld, Tom O'Donoghue of the Garda Siochana, Josephine Larkin, President of Kilcullen SVP, Charlie Talbot and Joe Dooley.

The winner was Amy Sully, who will be presented with the painting at the weekend.

EvE is bringing Shirley Valentine to Kilcullen

Kilcullen people will be very familiar with the drama teaching activities of Evelyn O'Sullivan over the past decade, with her Drama Dynamics operation providing an outlet for, and developing the talents of, many youngsters, writes Brian Byrne.

But now they'll get a chance to see Evelyn acting herself, when she performs the original one-woman version of 'Shirley Valentine' on the stage of Kilcullen's Town Hall Theatre on 29/30 October.

"It's been a while since I trod the boards myself, with time not always being on my side," says Evelyn. "But I've decided to take the jump with my friend Eunice Lavelle, who will be directing the show."

Evelyn and Eunice have formed EvE Productions to put on the famous Willy Russell play, which is about one Shirley Bradshaw, née Valentine, an average Liverpool housewife. Her children have grown yet she is still tied to having her husband Joe’s tea on the table at the same time every night with only the wall to talk to.

"The key line from the show is ‘Most of us die long before we are dead’," Evelyn notes. "But the story of her journey from resigned fatalism to falling in love with the idea of living is brave, poignant and uplifting."

Is she excited? "Yes." Is she scared? "Yes." So why is she doing it? "Well, acting is my first love, and I needed to get back to it. Besides, for the last number of years I've been telling my students to learn their lines, and I guess I want to prove that I can still do it myself."

Evelyn has been acting ever since as a child she attended Maura Currivan's Speech & Drama classes in her native Cork. When she later moved to Dublin, she continued her drama studies, culminating in the achievement of a teaching diploma with the famous Betty Ann Norton school. She didn't go on to teach then, but became very involved with amateur drama, with AIB and the Temple Players.

Three years after moving to Kilcullen, busy at being a full-time mother to her and husband Peter's five children, Evelyn set up Drama Dynamics. Her particular interest is giving youngsters confidence in themselves through drama. "As a child I never had a problem performing in front of people, but I did have a younger sister with whom I was very close, and she was incredibly shy. So I'm always aware of the shy little ones. It's like the kid in school who knows the answer to a question but is afraid to put up a hand. That's the child I want to help, to give them that little bit of confidence."

Now she'll be out front stage again, testing her own confidence with 'Shirley Valentine'. It's the first of many projects Evelyn and Eunice would like to undertake. Tickets are now on sale at €12 from Evelyn at 087 6441504 or Eunice 087 2750418.