GENERAL Michael Collins would be "shocked" and "ashamed" that the spouses and partners of soldiers in the army that he founded are being forced to sleep outside Dail Eireann to protest over poor pay, according to the former chairman of the Beal na Blath Commemoration Committee.
Long-time Fine Gael member and former Mayor of Kinsale Town Council, Dermot Collins said he had no doubt that Collins, as founder of the National Army, would be appalled at the way the State is treating members of the Defence Forces toady.
"The army was established and led by Michael Collins and it continues to serve our country in a manner that he would be very proud of, but I believe that he would be shocked, ashamed and very much saddened to witness the poor pay conditions and hardship that they are currently enduring," said Mr Collins.
"The fact that decent and honourable family members of serving Devence Forces personnel feel forced to protest and sleep outside Dail Eireann is something that I find deeply disappointing and hurtful as they are the most loyal servants of the State," he added.
Mr Collins, who was chairman of the Beal na Blath Commemoration Committee for over a decade, said he was disappointed at the lack of progress in addressing outstanding
pay issues for members of the Defence Forces who "have been and continue to be treated very badly by the State."
He said members of the Defence Forces were held in high regard for their dedicated work on UN peacekeeping missions where they represented Ireland with distinction and, only last year people were reminded yet again of their professionalism during the 1916 centenary commemorations.
Mr Collins said that members of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps have been the real victims of the recession that closed barracks and reduced units in a number of locations, which resulted in personnel have to travel long distances in their own cars due to reassignment to other barracks.
"These very loyal committed and disciplined serving personnel in our Army, Navy and Air Corps represent us with courage and distinction on peace keeping duties abroad and yet here at home, they end up experiencing undue financial difficulty and hardship," he said.
"And that financial difficulty and hardship is not just affecting the men and women themselves but also their spouses and partners and their children," he added. And he urged Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to show "compassion and leadership" by urgently addressing their pay grievances.
Durrus Bowling Club ran a very successful fundraiser for Cancer Connect in Kilcrohane last weekend. In conjunction with the annual visit of Beal na Blath Bowling Club, they raised €700 for this very worthy cause.
The partnership of Joe McCarthy and Donal O'Mahony were the only local winners on the day. James O'Donovan of Kilcrohane also took part. The €700 which was raised, included a very generous donation of €150 from the Beal na Blath Club bowlers and supporters and €90 from Durrus Bowling Club and supporters.
Meanwhile, in the U21 championship, Ronan O'Mahony had a great lastshot win over Seamus O'Regan in Drinagh on Sunday last and he now advances to the semi-final. Grace Hickey also had a good day at the underage trials on the same day in Bantry.