Join some of Portlaoise’s finest bands for a rock night in Sally Gardens this Sunday night (April 29) for a night of entertainment and to help raise much needed funds for The Ellen Barron McGee Fund. Ellen’s family are trying to raise enough money to send Ellen back to America for a second round of life saving stem cell treatment. On Friday night, May 4 some of the stars of RTE’s The Voice will be live in Club 23. Confirmed so far are: Pat Byrne, Conor Quinn, Sinead Fox, Gary Deegen, Gavin Kenny, Keira Byrne and Nikita Rowe. Tickets priced €15 are available from Trax Portlaoise, Trax Carlow, and O’Loughlin’s Hotel. There will also be the chance to win signed goodie bags. Doors open at 9pm.


The Portlaoise St Patricks Day Parade awards night will be held this Friday, April 27 in the Parish Centre commencing at 7pm. Each group, club or business that participated in this years parade is invited to send along representatives to accept their award for taking part while the winners of the various categories and the overall best floats will receive special prizes.


Grow is a uniquely structured community mental health movement. Meetings take place in the Community Mental Health Centre, Bridge Street, Portlaoise at 7.30pm every Wednesday. For further information please contact the office at 057 9351124 or John on 086 8033126. Website www.grow.ie. Info line 1890 474 474.


Portlaoise Toastmasters had a very entertaining evening last Monday. Chairperson, Mary Heaney brought her usual colour, exuberance and drama to the occasion. She spoke of the virtue of persistence, and in light of today’s tough times, recited a very apt poem called ‘Don’t Quit’.

The first speaker of the evening was Orlagh Mc Crory. With a speech entitled ‘A drop in the Ocean’, Orlagh gave a very emotional description of her time in Haiti and all the difficulties experienced by the people who live there. She supported her presentation with photographic evidence and there wasn’t a stir in the room as everyone stared in awe at the dwelling tents and the complete misery of this broken people.

Next to speak was Meree O Sullivan. This presentation was a true story of a family and the damage that can be passed on from one generation to the next. Meree held the attention of the audience with her storytelling ability, and again the emotion in the room was palpable.

Mark Bastow gave an excellent speech, ‘A Toast to Frank’. His was a historic description of the life and times of Lord Frank Longford. Mark amazed the audience with the depth of his knowledge and his analytical skill. Blessed by a sharp wit, Mark has a way with words. He represents the club and the area in the divisional evaluation final next Sunday. This man is one to watch.

The speeches were ably evaluated by Bryan Holland, Mark Bastow and Kevin Langan. The topic session was chaired by Aengus Burke. This was a first for Aengus. a relatively new member and a great asset to the club. His topics were carefully selected. With a wide range of subjects, form the Titanic to The Grand National, there was something for everyone. Next meeting April 30 in the Killeshin Hotel. All welcome.


Midlands support group for adults who stammer meets Tuesday, May 1, in the Maldron Hotel, Portlaoise at 8pm. The ISA Caint Gan Eagla/Speak Without Fear day is Saturday, April 28, Hilton Hotel, Dublin 8 from 11am-3pm. More information from Irish Stammering Association, www.stammeringireland.ie.


Medjugorje trip Wednesday May 30 - June 6. £649 per person. A few seats remaining. Contact Joe Conroy at 0871464062.


No activities week commencing April 30. Group on holiday. April 30 bus departs 10.30am sharp. French trip, we require passport or copy to Trudy or Andy, one seat available. Contact 057 8621571 or 057 8621913.


Saturday, April 28 from 11am - 2.30pm at the Parochial Hall, Station Road, Portlaoise. Toys, games, bric-a-brac, books, good quality second-hand clothes and baking to browse and buy, tea/coffee and homemade goodies to enjoy, plus good company and conversation to enjoy. All welcome. Proceeds to the restoration fund of St Peter’s Church, Market Square, Portlaoise. For further information, contact Sarah on 087 094 6868.


Portlaoise Rugby Club family cycle fundraiser stars at RFC clubhouse Togher at 10am on Sunday, April 29. Three distances: 110 kms for experienced, 50 km for intermediated or 16 km for beginners/children/families. Adults €20 family €25.


The Portlaoise Free Legal Advice Centre (FLAC ) is seeking fully qualified solicitors and barristers to volunteer to become advisors. Please get in touch and volunteer with FLAC - contact Zsé Varga, FLAC volunteer and centres manager on (01) 8873600 or email volunteers (at) flac.ie or Oliver Phelan, Portlaoise CIC development manager at 076 107 5590.


Portlaoise parish Lourdes committee would like to advise that a box will be placed on the counter in the parish centre for the month of April for anyone who wishes to apply for sponsorship to the committee to travel on our 2012 pilgrimage. If your application is for medical reasons please include a doctor’s letter confirming your ability to travel. If you are nominating someone please advise them of what you are doing. All applications must include an address and contact number.


A special word of thanks to all who supported the Trocarie Lenten Campaign. The total collected to date is €16,835. Please bring any remaining Trócaire boxes to mass next Sunday or you can leave them into the parish centre. Do not leave boxes in the church at any time.


There was no winner when the numbers were drawn on April 19. The 12 match 3s receive €84 each. Numbers drawn 5, 16, 21, 22. This week’s jackpot is €15,000.


Merchant Quay Ireland Midlands Project family support group supporting people living with addiction in Laois. Meetings held every Wednesday night from 7.30pm to 9.30pn in 1 Grattan Court, Mountrath Rd, Portlaoise. For information contact Bernie on 087 2925727. This is a free and confidential service.


In aid of the St Peter’s Church Restoration takes place on Saturday, April 28 11am - 1.30pm at the Parochial Hall, Portlaoise.


The Campaign Against Household & Water Taxes is holding a rally in Portlaoise GAA centre on Thursday April 26 at 8pm. The meeting will be addressed by Luke Flanagan TD and Ray Fitzpatrick the Laois/Offaly campaign facilitator.


Laois School of Music 10th birthday celebration at the Dunamaise Arts Centre on Friday April 27 from 7pm. Tickets from box office. The concert will feature past and present pupils and tutors. A wonderful night is promised.


Evening of music in support of Laois Offaly Families for Autism and Portlaoise Educate Together NS takes place on Thursday, May 3 at 8pm in the Dunamaise Arts Centre. Features performers who work with children and hosted by Declan Kelly from Telly Bingo. Produced by Alex Cathcart, director Niall Mulpeter. Tickets from the Dunamaise box office.


Clinics take place at St Mary’s Hall on Wednesday, April 25 from 4.30pm - 8pm.


Laois Rally sport club are proud to announce the 2nd annual Heartlands Rally which will take place around Portlaoise on June 10 in association with Laois County Council and O’Loughlin’s Hotel, Portlaoise. The club will provide a marshall’s training night on Wednesday, May 23 in the Outback, Grellan Delaney’s Bar. The club will launch this year’s rally on Saturday, May 19 in Rally HQ, O’Loughlin’s Hotel, at 7.30pm. There will be a sponsored beard shave on the night in association with the Irish Kidney Association. All are welcome.


Table quiz on Thursday May 3 at 8.30pm in Grellan Delaneys pub. Table of 4 entry fee €40, a great night assured, lots of prizes to be won. All procedes go directly to the school for the benefit of all students. Your support greatly appreciated.


If any wheelchair users or children with walking disability under 16 would like to try table tennis as a sport please contact Jimmy at 0868684693 for further details.


The Midlands half marathon is back to Portlaoise for a second year, with a new 5K race on the same day. Registration is now open for the race on August 12. For more details visit www.midlandshalfmarathon.com


Condolences to the family of the late Sr Mary Bernadette Burke, of the Incarnate Word Order, who passed away peacefully after a long illness recently in the USA. Daughter of the late Edward and Margaret Burke, Burnwood, Clonad, Sr Mary died in San Antonio, Texas. Sr Mary’s remains were laid to rest in the convent grounds in San Antonio on April 5. She was predeceased by her brothers Patrick and Michael. Her passing was deeply regretted by her sisters Sr Marlyn, of the same religious order, Theresa, Bridget, Patricia and her brother Eamonn, her sisters-in-law Dolores, Breda, Elizabeth and brother-in-law William. May she rest in peace.


Condolences to the family of the late Ann Aird of Cladybeg Cottage, Kilminchy, Portlaoise who passed away on April 20. Beloved wife of the late Tom and much loved mother of Kevin, Frank, Mary, Barbara and Aideen, Ann is deeply regretted by extended family, relatives and friends. Reposed at the Chapel of Rest in the Regional Hospital, Portlaoise with removal last Saturday, April 21 to arrive at SS Peter and Pauls Church. Requiem mass Sunday in SS Peter and Pauls Cemetery with burial afterwards.


Condolences to the family of the late Michael ‘Spike’ Donoghue of Beladd who passed away on April 17. Husband of the late Ellen and partner of the late Pauline; Michael is deeply regretted by daughters Elaine, Sandra, Joy, sons Michael and Raymond, brothers John, Dan and Denis, sisters Patty, Claire, extended family, relatives, neighbours and friends. Reposed at his residence with removal last Friday to SS Peter and Pauls Church for requiem mass. Interment afterwards in SS Peter and Pauls Cemetery. Donations if desired to the Intensive Care Unit, Portlaoise Hospital.