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May 26th 2004

Gael Scoil First Holy Communions

Left: Pupils from Gael Scoil na Ceithre Maistiri who made their first communion - Back: Marcus Burke, Caolán Loughney, Bowie Donagher, Kevin Breslin, Róisín Ní Chumhaill, Principal. Front: Cliodhne Dunne, teacher; Shane Mahon, Fergal Gavigan, Niall McGroarty Photo: Jason McGarrigle

Greg to Leave NWR

Reports are circulating that Greg Hughes is to leave North West Radio to join Highland. In a move reminiscient of brother Jerome’s climb to the dizzy heights of Sky (Ireland), Greg is due to take over a news slot at the Letterkenny station next month.
Meanwhile, with a judgement still awaited from the Judicial Review that will determine North West’s fate, the beleaguered C.E.O., Paul Claffey, must be wondering what calamity will strike next.

'Wedding Bells'

Edel Corley, Donegal Town, and Martin Murchar, Killybegs, who were married in Killymard with reception in Harvey’s Point Photo: Jason McGarrigle

Official opening of new fire station

Unveiling the plaque to officially open the new fire station: Sean Campbell, Frank Kerrane, Chief Fire Officer; Peter Kennedy, Kevin Muldoon, Station Officer; Minister Pat the Cope, David Alcorn, Council Chairman and Michael McLoone, County Manager. Photo by Michael O’Donnell

Mr Pat the Cope Gallagher, TD, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government yesterday (Monday) officially opened the new €825,000 Donegal Town Fire Station in the presence of a large crowd and announced details of approvals under the Fire Services Capital Programme.
Cllr Peter Kennedy got fulsome praise from the county manager for his dogged persistance in securing the new ‘state of the art’ fire station.
This praise for Kennedy was repeated by all the speakers at the opening ceremony. Peter’s insistence on standing on his record is proven not to be an idle boast, and experience is shown to be a vital element in council elections. BG

Historical graphic display board unveilled

Pat the Cope cuts the tape to unveil the new historical graphic board in the company of Town Mayor, Ernan McGettigan and community chamber president, John Durcan Photo: Margaret Gallagher

Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Pat the Cope Gallagher unveiled the new Historical Graphic Display Board in Donegal Town yesterday, Monday May 24th.
This project is a co-operation between local men, Bob Wilson, Neville Stack and Vincent O’Donnell, also Donegal Town Community Chamber, The Heritage Council, Donegal County Council and local business, Donegal Graphics.
Community Development and Enterprise Officer, Sian Breslin, expressed her delight on the completion of the project stating “this is a prime example of how individuals, groups, public and private sectors can work together and achieve a worthwhile project for the town.”
Bob Wilson’s career was spent designing sets in Hollywood. He now resides in Donegal Town and his talent is evident through his design and graphics on the board.
Captions for Bob’s drawings are skillfully told through the words of Neville Stack, with the help of local historian Vincent O’Donnell.
This graphic presentation traces events from the construction of the Old Abbey to its destruction in 1601. 150 years of history are outlined in the story board, artistically documented with appropriate text. As an historical town, this graphic board is of great importance and it is envisaged adopting the same style of display boards on other historical sites within the town and surrounding areas. The community and tourists will enjoy reading the storyboard and learning about the history of the Old Abbey. It was there that originated one of the most significant and valuable contributions made to Irish history – The Annals of the Four Masters.
The Community Chamber thanked Sian who sourced funding for the project and who was successful in obtaining a grant from The Heritage Council. They also expressed their thanks to Bob Wilson and his project team for their expertise and commitment to the project.
The Graphic display board is temporarily located beside the Anchor on Quay Street but will eventually be relocated closer to the Old Abbey.

Cross Bencher

Local elections hard to call

Local Elections
There are a number of certainties.
•Sean Mc Eniff will top the poll.
•Paul Coughlan will come second ahead of John Boyle.
•Billy Grimes should win the Ballyshannon seat.
This leaves two questions to be answered.
Will Thomas Pringle spearhead a Sinn Fein breakthrough in the Donegal Electoral Area? Simply winning the seat he already holds will not be enough – he will have to win well to substantiate a credible Sinn Fein thrust for a Dail seat at the next general election.
There is an election myth that Joe O’Neill once topped the poll for Sinn Fein in this area and then failed to get elected through lack of transfers. Joe was close to being elected once or twice, but was never at the top of the poll. His nephew Barry is now standing for Fine Gael, hoping to win back the seat that Mick Melly held for so many years.
Pringle is now being subjected to some sniper fire from his own home base in Killybegs. The spin is that some people are unhappy at his move to Sinn Fein; the truth is that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael supporters on the Parish Council and other bodies are delighted at the opportunity to now disassociate themselves from the town’s once Independent voice.
The other big question is - who will win the Donegal Town seat? It is over thirty years since Donegal Town elected a Fine Gael councillor in ‘Big’ Christie Gallagher. Can Joyce McMullin win back the seat? He has a couple of things going for him – the All Ireland medal and the proud Fine Gael name of McMullin. But he has had to face some totally undeserved dissention from within his own party.
Damaging internal jealousies are rife throughout the entire Fine Gael party. They cannot get their act together - and it may be getting too late for them to avoid total political eclipse.
Peter Kennedy is putting up a great fight to retain his seat, considering his recent illness. Peter has held the seat for twenty years and this is his fourth election. He has a track record to fall back on, along with many favours done, which may now be reciprocated.
Last time out Peter held off the challenges of Manus Brennan, Julie Mundy and Keith Anderson. Can he hold on again over Joyce and Ernan McGettigan?
Ernan is running as an Independent on his record of involvement in the Community Chamber over the past five years. There is a perception that he is the Chamber candidate. His vote will therefore be read as a sort of referendum on the Chamber itself. This is a brave move, as all the main Chambers successes seem to be ahead of them. A good vote for Ernan would be reassuring, victory would grant democratic authority of a sort. A poor vote will be misread – Fine Gael voters, Fiannan Fail voters and Sinn Fein voters are as interested as anyone else in the town’s development.
Whoever wins the seat - it is good that Donegal Town has a Democratic choice, from a trio of good and serious candidates.

European Elections
The Donegal candidate, Jim McDaid, is very much up against it. And the anti-O’Neachtain machinations of F.F. party headquarters is boosting the Galway incumbent.
Maybe now that McDaid is really the underdog in the polls, the tide might change. O’Neachtain is determined to have sixty per cent of voting territory for his personal canvass. This ignores the fact that McDaid has to contend with Marian Harkin and Pearse Doherty of Sinn Fein in the remaining forty per cent.
Donegal, in its North West isolation, needs to retain its MEP and Mary Coughlan should be pulling out all the stops on McDaid’s behalf. She is a very influential personage, being national secretary of the FF party and, as minister for Social Welfare, she is, in reality, the minister for North and West. A strong campaign by Mary on McDaid’s behalf could put him back in with a fighting chance. There is just enough time to do it.
Nationally, the European result won’t matter too much for the government. Apart from Marian Harkin, the established parties are in the ascendancy, so there will no seismic shift in the political world.
George W. Bush, on the other hand, is going south in the opinion polls across the Atlantic. The anti-Bush campaign of the ‘Times’ is at last paying dividends.
A word of caution – there is no end to Bush’s campaign money, There is no villification too low to stoop to, there is no lie that can’t be told, if it furthers the fundamentalist campaign of the republican plight.
‘God Bless America’.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

Tel: +353-74-9722860 Fax: +353-74-9722937