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.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.