Former Mayor’s Book in 2nd Print

Austin Berry and Mary O'Rourke
Austin Berry and Mary O’Rourke

Last year’s best-selling Athlone book, ‘Stepping Back in Time’ by Austin Berry, sold out, and has gone into a second print run in the past few weeks.

The autobiography is the culmination of former Athlone Mayor Austin Berry’s life to date.  The former Independent politician first came to live in Athlone in 1965, from his native Clonshanny, Ballycumber in Co. Offaly.

‘Stepping Back in Time’ was launched by former Minister, Mary O’Rourke, in May 2012, and the book then started selling steadily.

Politics came late in life for him, and he won a tough local election to join Athlone Town Council as an Independent in 1999, when he was 69 years old.  Five years later, he beat off competition from political party members to retain his seat for another term.  In 2004, he became Mayor of Athlone following a tight vote, when Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein members voted for him.

Following his retirement from the council in 2009, Austin toyed with the idea of writing a book, and recounting the many anecdotes of his interesting life at home and abroad.  His granddaughter, Lisa Nicell-Treanor co-wrote the book with Austin throughout the snow filled winter of 2010 up to early last year, and they are both very proud of  ‘Stepping Back in Time’ – Austin’s Autobiography.

Austin’s story has it all laughter, joy, sadness and nostalgia and the limited edition book is available in some local shops, and on

Mary Lou – Wealth Tax Still On

Sinn Fein’s Deputy Leader and spokesperson on public expenditure has said that the party haven’t wavered from suggesting a Wealth Tax, but that they don’t suggest it should be used to reduce the budget deficit.  It was commented last week that the party had left their long standing proposal of a wealth tax off their budget proposal, which was announced earlier in the week.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald was speaking to before Athlone Sinn Fein’s annual dinner dance at the weekend, and said that the party’s budget proposals have been costed from the Dept of Finance.

“Others have not costed, but that is their lookout,” she said.  “We believe the wealth tax could raise €800 million, according to our estimate.  We don’t suggest using that money to reduce the deficit, but any money that would come from it could be ring-fenced for a jobs stimulus package.”

The Sinn Fein Dublin Central TD said that as and from next year, the Central Statistics Office will have the data to cost what a wealth tax will bring in.

“We do cost a third rate of tax of 48% for individual earnings over €100,000 and that’s for individuals who earn in excess of that, and we want a capital gains tax percentage to go back up to 40%.  In the 1990’s, we had a capital gains tax of 40%,” said Deputy McDonald.  “In a time of crisis you have to make difficult choices, but also fair choices, and where additional revenues have to be paid, you have to go to those whose pockets are that bit deeper, and those whose shoulders are that bit broader.”

Mary Lou – Would Consider SF Leadership

Cllr. Paul Hogan, Deputy Mary Lou McDonald and Cllr. Matt Carty, before the Sinn Fein dinner dance in Athlone.
Cllr. Paul Hogan, Deputy Mary Lou McDonald and Cllr. Matt Carty, before the Sinn Fein dinner dance in Athlone.

“If and when there is an issue around the leadership, I would consider that seriously at that point, but it is an extremely tough job, and there are very big shoes in that scenario to be filled,” said Mary Lou McDonald smiling, while being interviewed by

Obviously, “the very big shoes,” she is talking about, belong to her leader, Gerry Adams.

“It would be difficult for anyone. Gerry came out of the assembly, and now he is in the Dail, and has immersed himself in that, that’s not an easy thing to do, and people who criticise him and slag him off often, I’m not sure how well they would fare, if they make a similar type of journey,” said the Sinn Fein deputy leader, in Athlone at the weekend.

Deputy McDonald said she will be running again in Dublin Central at the next General Election, and that will be a much bigger task for her, because of the constituency being cut from four seats to three.  However all the pundits would see her retaining that seat.

“I’ve won elections, and lost elections, and I can’t take anything for granted,” said the Deputy Leader.

She appeared at a dinner dance in Athlone alongside Cllr. Paul Hogan, who is a town councillor.  Hogan got 4,339 first preference votes at the 2011 General Election, and missed out on being the party’s first ever seat in Longford/Westmeath, since Ruairi O’Bradaigh in 1957.  Deputy McDonald also appeared alongside Monaghan councillor, Matt Carty, who is the party’s candidate in Midlands-North West in next year’s European elections.