Decision on decentralised building due soon
The office of Public Works has this week confirmed it is close to purchasing a property in Donegal Town for the location of decentralised staff in the Department of Social and Family Affairs.
The news will be warmly welcomed by Fianna Fail politicians who have been criticised for the lack of progress in rolling out the decentralisation programme to the county.
A total of 230 staff are due to be located in the Donegal Town office which is believed to be located adjacent to the new county council offices at the Drumlonagher roundabout.
While a number of other interested parties in the town have bid to be the location, the site adjacent to the council office, owned by Bennett Construction, was always understood to be the front runner.
The OPW said the selection of a site in Buncrana was not as advanced as Donegal Town but would see 120 jobs delivered to the town. A number of possible sites have been identified and we will be making decisions soon, said a spokesman.
Congratulations to the oldest man in Inver, Tommy Friel, who celebrated his 98th birthday last Sunday. Also congratulations to Charlene McHugh who will be celebrating her 18th birthday on the 28th of this month. Also happy birthdays to the following: Thomas McHugh senior, John Rose, Shauneen Campbell, Bernice Jordan, Paula Keeney, Fiona Friel, Martina Ward, Heather McDaid and Aidan Meehan, who have all celebrated their birthdays over the past month.
From what I hear the first classes of line dancing in Inver Community Centre were very successful with large numbers of women from the area taking a break from the kitchen to do some dancing. Pilates classes are also starting on the 31st of January in the Inver Community. Hopefully this will be as successful as the Line Dancing.
Good luck and best wishes to Ann Cassidy who is taking over the Post Office from the McGranes who have provided a great service over years.
The South Donegal Schoolboys League is holding a Child Welfare Basis Awareness course that will take place in the Abbey Hotel on Wednesday the 2nd of February from 7pm to 10pm.
Sean Paul McHugh
Pat Ward celebrates her 40th birthday
More Wards than a hospital!: Front: Dinny Gallagher, Gracie Ward, Pat Ward, Peggy Ward, Willie Gallagher, Emer Quinn, Patrick Ward, Elaine Quinn. Back: Jimmy Ward, Michael Ward, Joe Quinn, Martin Quinn.
Photo: Michael Devaney
Pat Ward celebrated her 40th birthday in style. She decided not only to mark the occasion with a huge party in the Central, but also to benefit the Donegal Hospital Patients Comfort Fund at the same time.
Pat is well known in the music business and this was very evident by the talent of her guests on the night. A huge crowd gathered to enjoy the evenings entertainment and a very successful fund-raiser it turned out to be. Congratulations and best wishes Pat.
More accidents at Tullyearl junction
Two accidents took place at the Tullyearl junction on the weekend 14-16th January, one on the Friday and one on the Saturday. However, Donegal Times has learned that replacement of the problem junction is imminent. Council engineer, Peadar Thomas, informed the paper that construction of a new roundabout at the site will commence as soon as weather allows - news that will be a big relief to Gardai, local residents and emergency personnel.
Hanna Hats wins National award
A local company has been honoured in the inaugural O2 Ability Awards, designed to recognise best practice in the employment of people with disabilities. Hanna Hats Ltd of Donegal Town has been awarded in the category Career Development.
The Ability Awards, designed and created by the Aisling Foundation, are about encouraging further development and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. They are not just about physical access to businesses, but about employment policies, procedures and attitudes.
The O2 Ability Awards included several stages of assessment which addressed all aspects of employment. Well done to John Hanna and his staff for winning this prestigious award
Donegal Taxis seek to share parking space with CIE
The Donegal Town taxi-men held a meeting last Thursday with Peadar Thomas, Area Manager for Roads and Transportation with Donegal County Council, seeking more space for their vehicles on the Diamond. At present there are just four parking spaces for 21 taxis. However, Mr Thomas would not agree to this, arguing that the business people in the town centre would not be happy giving up any more customer space.
When asked why the taxi drivers did not make use of the taxi spaces allocated to them at the Quay, Mr Thomas said they would not agree to this location. At the conclusion it was agreed that the taxi men would approach CIE to try and reach agreement on using the spaces allocated to busses when no scheduled services were due.
Keeney Construction defends decision to submit application for livestock mart adjacent to Hospira pharmaceutical plant
Keeney Construction Limited, in response to mounting criticism from Hospira, has defended its decision for submitting an application for the erection of a new livestock mart at Ardelnagh/Lurganboy adjacent to their Pharmaceutical Plant in Donegal Town. Speaking to the Donegal Times, Danny Keeney of Keeney Construction Limited pointed out that the application next to Hospira was one of three which had been submitted to Donegal County Council for the erection of a replacement livestock mart in the area. The other two applications related to sites at Tullymornin/Drumgowan and at Tullyearl/Tullymornin.
Mr Keeney advised that the three applications had been submitted to the Council to maximise his firms chances of obtaining planning permission for a replacement mart which, if granted, would then free up the existing mart site in the centre of the town for a major retail development, creating hundreds of new jobs in the process.
Two of the applications for the livestock mart have now been determined by the Council and both have been referred to An Bord Pleanala. The application at Tullymornin/Drumgowan, which had been objected to by a number of local residents, was refused by the Council and appealed by Keeney Construction Limited. The application at Ardlenagh/Lurganboy which was approved by the Council has since been appealed by four parties Hospira, Seabreeze Oysters Limited, Gerry and Bernie Mulhern and Sam and Audrey Gilchrist. The application at Tullyearl/Tullymornin has yet to be determined by the Council.
Responding to claims made by the IDA in support of the Hospira appeal that juxtaposing a livestock facility would not only compromise Hospiras ability to maintain an appropriate image but also potentially have a deleterious effect on their production process, Mr Keeney advised that one of the countrys leading experts in the field - Dr Fergal Callaghan of AWN Consulting had demonstrated, using published scientific data from the US, UK and European studies that the proposed livestock mart would not have a significant impact on the microbial flora in the vicinity of the pharmaceutical plant. Mr Keeney added that Hospira had provided no scientific evidence in their submissions to the appeal to counter these claims.
In response to claims made by Seabreeze Limited that the proposed mart posed a threat to the Water Quality of Donegal Bay and the operation of their Oyster Farming Business, Mr Keeney advised that leading aquaculture expert, Dr Brendan OConnor of Aquafact International Services Limited had concluded that the water quality in the vicinity of the oyster farm would not be adversely affected as a result of the proposed development. The erection of a new mart with an improved system for dealing with domestic and animal waste can only improve the existing situation of the bay.
Mr Keeney was keen to stress that despite the apparent suitability of the Ardlenagh/Lurganboy site for the proposed mart, the site at Tullyearl/Tullymornin in the ownership of Mr Desmond Graham remains his firms preferred location for the new mart irrespective of the outcome of the other two appeals. Given that there are no third party objections to the erection of a replacement livestock mart on the site at Tullyearl/Tullymornin and in view of the grounds for opposing the marts on the other two sites it must surely be in the public interest for the County Council to grant permission for this proposal. Not only would such a decision increase the pressure on the Hospia Group to remain in Donegal Town, at a time when their production line is coming to an end and they have to compete with other locations in the world for a new production line, but it would also open the way for the creation of hundreds of new jobs through the development of a shopping centre on the existing mart site.
Yes, believe it or not, the Bluestack Ramblers will be ten years old this year. Plans are being put in place to celebrate this event over the weekend of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of April.
Have you been a member in the past or are you interested in joining? Well this anniversary weekend will be ideal for the getting together of old friends and for introducing new ones to the club, walks and events are being planned and full details will be published in future editions of Donegal Times.
Do you have any photographs of walks or rambling events that the club could borrow? If so, please leave into Donegal Times office and they will be returned safely after the event. Happy 10th birthday Ramblers and heres hoping that you can join us in April.
Baby Molly Donaghey, pictured with her parents, Peter and Catriona, after her Christening in Killymard. A large party was held in Doms Pier 1 to celebrate the event.
Photo: Jason McGarrigle
County Manager wins libel case against Donegal Democrat
Donegal County manager, Michael McLoone, has won a libel case against the Donegal Democrat newspaper. The action was taken following a series of articles between September 2002 and January of the following year, which alleged that corrupt planning practices were rife in Donegal. The paper had claimed it had proof of irregularities within the planning department of Donegal County Council and suggested that a Golden Circle was in operation within the authority.
However at last Mondays sitting, on what was the third day of the hearing, the Democrats legal team indicated they were withdrawing their defence. They apologised unreservedly to Mr McLoone and his family. Mr McLoone was awarded full damages of €38,000 as well as costs at Letterkenny Circuit Court. Afterwards Mr McLoone said that he was very satisfied with the judgement. Yes, very pleased with it. It was a libel action I took personally against the Donegal Democrat arising from a whole series of articles over a period of time which made very, very serious allegations. I was pleased to get the judgement this morning that I had been maligned in the most outrageous way indeed the judge expressed surprise that I had sought relief in the Circuit Court but he had rightly assumed that I had done so, not because I was looking for money in this case, but because I was looking for vindication of my good name and vindication in the open court in Donegal of the good name of the planning staff in Donegal County Council. I was pleased to receive that judgement in my own county among the people I serve.
Mr. McLoone continued the judge said that there had been no evidence produced either in law or in fact that provided one shred of evidence to support the allegations that I would remove a planner from the staff of Donegal County Council because he wasnt co-operating in golden circles of corruption and that I was presiding over planning irregularities. It was very good for me to get a judgement in such decisive terms. Mr McLoone also obtained an injunction against the Democrat from publishing further defamatory articles.
County Secretary Eunan Sweeney was also awarded €30,000 and costs against the Democrat. When legal fees are taken into account, the total cost to the newspaper could top €200,000.
SW Chamber Board elected
Elected members to the South West Chamber of Commerce Committee. Back: Noel ODonnell, Francis Brennan, Michael Carr (Vice-Pres.)Eugene MacBrearty, (Secretary); Mark McCarthy, (Ass Sec.); Art Kavanagh (President)., Front: Bill Jones, Conal Gallagher, Stephan Mac Cahill, Gary Anderson (Treasurer) Cllr. Brendan Byrne, Mona Vial, Manus Boyle and Dermott McGuinness (Treasurer). Missing from the photo are the following elected members Michael Gallagher; and Tony OCallaghan (PRO). More than 70 people, representing businesses throughout Donegal South West attended a public meeting in the Tara Hotel, Killybegs, on Thursday last (Jan. 20th., 2005) to progress a plan for the establishment of a Chamber of Commerce for the area.
The proposal to set up a chamber of commerce came from an action committee which met several times in Killybegs towards the end of last year. Contact has already been made with the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland and with the Letterkenny Chamber.
The following were elected: Mr. Art Kavanagh, president; Mr. Michael Carr, vice-president; Mr. Eugene McBrearty, secretary; Mr. Mark McCarthy, ass. sec.; Messrs Dermot McGuinness and Gary Anderson, treasurers; Mr. Tony OCallaghan, PRO; Mr.Francis Brennan; Mr. Noel O&Mac226;Donnell; Ms Mona Vial; Mr. Manus Boyle; Mr. Conal Gallagher; Mr. Stphen McCahill; Mr. Bill Jones and Mr. Michael Gallagher.
Plans well underway for Donegal Heritage Festival
by Paddy Meehan
Over the past months, a small hardworking committee has been busy planning events for what looks likely to be one of the most exciting heritage festivals since their inception in 1995. Thanks to the Office of Public Works, the use of Donegal Castle has again been secured for a unique evening of entertainment, with the Abbey Singers and special guests who will gather to celebrate Irelands unique contribution to the world of music and song. These musical evenings in Donegal Castle have proved very successful, with each year large numbers having to be turned away due to lack of seating. The talent show in the St. John Bosco Centre on the weekend 5th and 6th March brings young local talent to the fore. So all you budding singers and musicians, put in that extra evening rehearsing - it could be you . Other events to watch out for - the ever popular McGarrigle Lectures in Donegal Courthouse; Variety Concert; Ceilidh Mhor; Family Fun Day; and much more. The Heritage Committee is also delighted to announce the return to the Diamond of the Traditional French Market.
Of course, a highlight will be the prestigious grand gala ball in Harveys Point which again looks likely to be a complete sellout, with lots of surprise guests to entertain. The committee is now taking table bookings, so get your name in early. The St. Patricks Day Parade, one of the largest in the Northwest, will round off the celebrations and we ask businesses, clubs and organisations to get working on their float.
Full details and programme of events will be published in Donegal Times at a later date.