Date Published: 29-Jun-2011
Michael Noonan might be better off giving the IMF a wide berth and negotiating a loan to lift our economy with a delegation of First Communicants instead.
Because making your First Holy Communion is not just a massive day in a ten or eleven year old’s life – it’s also a massively lucrative business.
Ulster Bank has even put a figure on it – they said with almost 60,000 children making their Communion this year, nine and ten year olds had €27.9 million to spend and saved €13.3 million.
That means the make about €460 on average for their big day and they save around half of it – although our Communicants are the poor relations. Or they have the poor relations, to be more precise because children here pocket an average of €369 compared to those in Dublin who make an average of €533.
The other side of this equation is the cost of your typical First Holy Communion Day with all the trappings and trimmings – because it runs to almost €1,000 on the day, making the religious industry worth €57 million, according to a recent survey.
That’s not including those who trouser up for stretch limos – or even helicopters – to take their little darling to the Church, but research published by Millward Brown Lansdowne did reveal that the recession is hitting this lucrative business as well.
Spending on the day is down 17 per cent, from €1,165 to €967 over the past two years, while the amount of cash children collected was down 18 per cent, from €574 over the same period.
The survey found children’s outfits for the day cost about €213, down a third on the previous two years. Other big spending habits have also been trimmed back, with 25 per cent less now spent on make-up, fake tan and hair for girls.
And all of this would be funny if it didn’t put some families under enormous strain – because, long before someone shot the Celtic Tiger, there parents who ended up in massive debt to moneylenders just so they could keep up with the rest of them for their child’s Holy Communion Day.
Of course nobody can stop parents spending money they don’t have on things they don’t need, but schools and the Church could play their part in decreasing the pressure.
Some already do – they insist on pupils making their Communion in school uniforms or in cloaks that are used by the Communion class every year.
The Church should make that compulsory and the Department of Education should help to fund it because it would benefit so many people in the long run and save more from taking the first steps into a spiral of debt.
And instead of getting the caterers in or hiring restaurants as though this was a wedding instead of a child’s communion, parents should come together and organise a function at the school which in turn would serve three functions.
It would be cheaper for a start, it would allow all of the pupils to socialise together on their big day instead of watching adults quaff wine and beer into the evening – and it might also raise a few quid for the school at a time when every cent counts.
Ditto for Confirmations where at least parents are spared the cost of a suit or a dress that will never be worn again in anger – but these too have turned into mini-weddings with expectations of a good dinner and a few glasses of wine to toast the happy teenager.
But as to generous presents from uncles and aunts, who are we to spoil the party; if people want to part with money for their nieces and nephews, it would be churlish to suggest they do otherwise.
After all, we might be cash-conscious – but we’re not cheapskates!
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Judge adjourns Connemara assault case
Date Published: 08-May-2013
A date will be set next October for the trial of a 52-year old Connemara man, who is charged with assaulting traditional Irish musician Noel Hill five years ago.
Michael Folan from Teach Mór, Lettermullen, is charged with intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Noel Hill at Tí Padraig Mairtín Beag in Leitir Mór, on St Stephen’s Day, 2008.
The matter had been listed for trial on several occasions before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in the intervening period.
It was referred to the High Court in Dublin last year for judicial review after Michael Folan said he wanted his trial heard ‘as Gaeilge’and that a bi-lingual jury be made available to hear the case.
At Galway Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Rory McCabe adjourned the case for mention to October when it’s expected a date will be set for trial.
Bank of Ireland Galway Shopping Centre branch to close
Date Published: 10-May-2013
Bank of Ireland’s branch at Galway Shopping Centre on the Headford Road is to close in July.
The branch is to merge into the BOI outlet at Galway Industrial Estate in Mervue.
Galway Bay fm news reports the 14 staff impacted are to be offered redeployment and there will be no job losses.
Galway RNLI rescues three people stranded on Hare Island
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway RNLI Lifeboat has come to the rescue of three students who got stranded on Hare Island after getting caught in the tide off Ballyloughan Beach.
The two girls and boy, in their late teens had gone for a walk and were spotted waving from the island by a local resident who contacted the emergency Services and Galway Lifeboat.
Conditions at the time (4pm) were very changeable with heavy showers.
Three members of the Lifeboat shore crew were working in the vicinity of the station at the time and launched the boat in six minutes.
The three students were picked up safely and brought back to the Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks where they were warmed up and given tea and did not require medical attention.