As you may know by now, every so often my long suffering wife, Carol, and I head across to Cabo Roig, a nice little place on the far side of Spain, where we can relax in the sun for a few days and enjoy what is a really friendly seaside village. It is a place that has everything that we would want in a holiday destination; fabulous scenery, great walks, top quality beaches, and any amount of golf clubs, as well as the obligatory selection of good pubs and restaurants, and fine weather.
So what’s the catch I hear you ask? In truth, there is none, and yet, for the last few years, you could hardly fail to notice the ever-increasing numbers of wild cats that seem to have sprung up overnight. Now I freely admit that I am fan of cats, but, while I would remark on the large numbers and indeed on the tourists who feed them, if I had not been contacted by a reader of this column about a similar problem in this country, I would probably never have thought about them again!
Wild or feral cats are now very plentiful here in Ireland, and because the female is such a prolific breeder, who can have three litters a year with an average of five kittens per litter, it doesn’t need Einstein or any other mathematical genius to figure out that, without some intervention, we will soon have a major problem on our hands.
The end result of uncontrolled breeding is large numbers of wild cats roaming the countryside, hungry, possibly disease ridden, and impossible to handle or tame, and many of these will be poisoned or trapped and killed by people who get fed up of their constant fighting, yowling, or just their very presence around a house.
Fortunately however, an organisation called TNR South Roscommon (Trap, Neuter, and Return) is in existence in this area, and its aim is to keep the feral cat population under control, by doing exactly what it says on the tin, and by raising public awareness of the necessity of spaying and neutering stray cats.
TNR is a non-profit registered charitable organisation, formed by Orla Hanley some years ago, and Orla has coordinated the veterinary care, professionally offered at Cloverhill Veterinary Surgery. In simple language, if you want to get a stray cat that you might be feeding, spayed or neutered, you can contact TNR and they will organise everything for the discounted sum of €10. When everything is sorted they will return your feline friend and you will have played your part in keeping the wild cat population under control.
As with a lot of these organistions they rely almost exclusively on public donations to keep them going, and so they have two fundraising efforts coming up - this Saturday (27th), they are having a bucket collection at SuperValu, Roscommon, while the following day (Sunday 28th), there is a Sale of Work in the Courthouse, Ballygar, from 10 am to 2 pm., with all kinds of everything including jewellery, clothes, ornaments, and toys, all generously donated by members of the public, available for purchase.
Orla and her loyal team of volunteers are doing an amazing job in a very important area, so if you happen to be shopping in Supervalu, Roscommon on Saturday or if you can get to Ballygar on Sunday dig deep, and give them any help you can. I’m also told they also have an online shop so you can support them that way as well.
As I said, I am not a cat man but, nonetheless, they don’t deserve to find themselves cold, hungry or homeless and a little kindness and compassion could help to make their lives, and ours, a lot easier. I wonder does Orla know anyone in Cabo Roig, who could sort out the problem over there?
Lyra’s murder casts a dark shadow
Normally at this stage I would be going on to matters of a lighter nature, but events in Derry on Good Friday cast a shadow over the entire country and the murder of journalist, Lyra McKee, by the New IRA has provoked a reaction of horror and outrage not seen since the murder in 1996, of another journalist, Veronica Guerin.
Now I have no intention of moralising on the actions of these so-called ‘activists’, but it was so heartening to see the reaction of people who live in nationalist areas of Northern Ireland, and the total and utter condemnation of the cowardly murder of an innocent woman makes me think that all is not lost.
I have to say that there can be nothing more cowardly than shooting from the shadows at human targets, whether they are police officers, or in this case, ordinary local residents, and if anything good is to come out of this, let us hope it’s that the local communities come together and show the gunmen that their day is long gone.
I am writing this on Tuesday evening and it is highly significant that our President, Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, will both be in attendance at Lyra’s funeral. In doing so, they honour the memory of a young journalist, who, in every way, showed a lot more courage than the shooter who took her life. It is sadly ironic that her murder took place on the day the whole country and indeed the world was celebrating the 21st anniversary of the Good Friday Peace Agreement. The greatest testimony to Lyra’s memory will hopefully be the fact that nothing will be allowed to undermine that peace agreement. May she rest in peace.
Dancing with Odd Sox on Easter Sunday
Finally onto lighter matters, and surprise, surprise on Easter Sunday night I found myself in Mikeen’s where a young band, Odd Sox, were providing the musical entertainment. Even though I had heard a lot of good things about them, this was the first night I had the chance to see them live.
Now I have to tell you they more than lived up to their blossoming reputation, and their lively music, aided by a substantial helping of Mikeen’s porter, had me, as they say, strutting my stuff on the dance floor. I even felt my dancing was good enough to get me a call-up to ‘Dancing with the Stars’ however on the night the award for the ‘Best Dancer’ went to Michael Fleming Jnr, who produced a dance that was impossible to describe but was mostly built around the splits. For content, style and entertainment value he was a worthy winner and walked away with the first cup we could find which was in fact the Tug O’ War Cup!
Young Mike is heading for Canada in the near future so to be going as the Champion Dancer of Creggs is a great boost for him, and we wish him well.
Odd Sox are definitely worth a look and despite my disappointment at not winning the Dancing Competition, I have to say we had a great bit of craic, and thoroughly enjoyed the night.
Before I finish, this Friday night coming I am quizmaster at a table quiz in Mikeen’s to raise funds for St. Ciaran’s boys and girls who are hosting Féile later in the year. My neighbour Mary Keane is organising the event, and I hope everyone makes the effort to be there - it will all kick off at 9.30 pm and there will be a raffle with loads of nice prizes to be won. Hope to see you there!
Till next week, Bye for now!