Friday, 1 April 2011

Everybody needs good neighbours

At last, a good news story from Rathcoole!

For years and years all the press associated with the great estate of Rathcoole has been negative and the main culprit for that have been paramilitary groups who are keen to establish a power base for themselves built on drugs and money.  That has been an ugly reality for a long time but it is not the whole story.  The estate has a great sense of community and a kind streak running through the middle of it.

'The present sight is unacceptable'
This week it was reported in the local press that Rathcoole is to have a new group of residents.  Deputy Mayor of Newtownabbey, Tommy Kirkham, has been  instrumental in donating a piece of land in Rathcoole known as 'The Diamond' over to a group of Irish Travellers who have been evicted from numerous sites in the area recently. (Read the full story here.)

The Diamond football pitches are still used regularly but the Deputy Mayor said, 'There is enough capacity at the Diamond to accommodate both the existing football commitments and our homeless friends from across the divide'.  He goes on to say that recent television programmes like, 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' raised his awareness of this 'great sub-culture and religion' and believes the encampment in Rathcoole will be a welcome addition to the community there.

This is a surprising but exciting development in Rathcoole, bringing two diverse people-groups together.  Mr Kirkham played down the £3 million of government funding for the scheme which will be channelled through his office.  I for one am looking forward to meeting  and interacting with our new neighbours.

I'll leave you with a quote from the head of this particular group of Travellers, Mr. B. O'Boyle, 'We wish to thank Mr Kirkham and the people of Rathcoole for their very kind invitation.  We would like to invite them to visit us in our 'vans, get to know us and enjoy a drink together.'  And why not?

 ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Matthew 25:34:36

And now a video from the home of good news stories.


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