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If you don’t like Good Friday drinking, don’t drink on Good Friday

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The passing of the new intoxicating liquor bill, which will allow bars to sell alcohol on Good Friday for the first time since 1927, has (perhaps unsurprisingly) been met with fierce opposition in certain circles.

Some see it as yet another example of modern society carelessly discarding a long-standing tradition. There’s an element of truth to that, but just because a custom has been there forever doesn’t make it right. Ireland in 2018 is a very different place to the Ireland of 1927 so surely it makes sense that the laws governing its people should evolve at a similar pace.

This was a devoutly Catholic country 90 years ago so banning the sale of alcohol on the day of Jesus’ death, as well as on the day of his birth and St Patrick’s Day, may well have been an appropriate measure at the time. But times change. Even by 1960, people had successfully campaigned for the St Patrick’s Day ban to be lifted. Similar rules, such as not being allowed to eat meat on Friday, have also largely disappeared.

Religion simply isn’t as relevant to Irish people’s lives as it once was. Why should non-believers, or those of a different faith, or even Catholics who simply don’t agree with this particular tradition, be forced to live with a law that is explicitly Catholic in its nature?

Personally I’d be of the opinion that religion should have no influence whatsoever on our legal system. Thankfully most Irish people, certainly amongst my generation, seem to agree, as evidenced by the outcome of the marriage equality referendum in 2015. Although this current debate is more trivial, I can see very distinct parallels between the two.

Then as now those of a religious persuasion saw the law change as an attack on their personal beliefs. But the laws in question don’t actually affect them on a personal level. At the time of the marriage referendum, gay rights activists said, “If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married”. The same logic can be applied to the removal of the drinking ban. If you don’t like drinking on Good Friday, don’t drink on Good Friday.

The new bill doesn’t state that every Irish citizen is now required to go on the lash on Good Friday, just as the legalisation of gay marriage hasn’t forced people unwillingly into gay marriages.

We’re talking about personal choices that affect the people making them on a strictly personal level. Let’s treat them as such.

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Muckross Rowing Club members on Irish teams for two major regattas

  Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events. Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse […]

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Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events.

Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta.

Daniel Fleming and Ian Coffey have both been selected for the Under 19 Irish squad to race at the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta for European junior rowers. The Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta, involving 16 European countries, will be held over from over three days, August 9-11 in Racice, Czechia.

Four Under 23 university rowers from the Muckross club have also been selected as part of the Senior Irish squad for the Home International Regatta this month.

Niamh Coffey (University of Limerick), Patrick Buckley (University of Limerick), Finn O’Sullivan (University of Limerick) and Ethan O’Neill (University College Cork Rowing Club) will take on the ‘Triple Crown’ event of rowing, competing for Ireland against crews from England, Scotland and Wales.

The Home International Regatta will be held on Saturday, July 27 in Strathclyde, Scotland.

All six Muckross rowers have earned their green jerseys following a lengthy and testing trial series on land and water which began in Autumn 2023 and culminated in final water trials at the end of June.

“Muckross Rowing Club sends its best wishes to the very talented Muckross oarsmen and women and all their crewmates as they fly the flag for Ireland this summer. The talented group build on a successful record in the sport,” said club PRO Tim O’Shea.

Niamh Coffey is a multiple Irish and University Championship winner and has previously represented Ireland in the Under 23 European Championships.

In 2022, O’Neill rowed at Junior level at the Home International event and won a gold medal as part of the Irish quadruple scull crew in the 500m sprint event.

Both Buckley and O’Sullivan continue to compete at the highest level nationally with the University of Limerick Rowing Club,  and join the Irish squad for the first time this year.

The international selections come at an exciting time before the Olympic Regatta in Paris, where Zoe Hyde (Tralee Rowing Club) will be among the largest Irish rowing contingent of 16 rowers to contest an Olympic Games.

Killorglin native Zoe has previously rowed for both Killorglin and Muckross rowing clubs and will race the Women’s Double event for Ireland with Alison Bergin (Fermoy Rowing Club) in Paris.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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