The French Market came to Donegal once again last Thursday and, despite a big lack of pre-publicity, it drew large crowds to town. Indeed Saturday saw hordes of people and traffic not visible since the pre-Christmas rush. The centre of town was alive, the Diamond a bustling, busy island of colourful tents, gallic produce, cheery music and happy customers. This is the way it should be. Originally the Diamond was the market place in town. Every Saturday it was thronged with carts, from which country goods were sold and, once a month, it hosted the fair day.
Now it sits empty for most of the year. Recently Donegal Times suggested a Farmers Market once or twice a month and indeed certain agri-producers went about organising one. Then came an edict from the powers-that-be. This could not happen if the centre of town was designated a market area, then anyone could set up and sell from there at any time and, according to their line of thought, this would not be good news for existing traders.
But why need this be? Surely, as it used to be, Saturday only could be appointed Market Day. The Diamond is ideal for this and the town needs an attraction to draw people in. If the council does not want something to happen, it has the power to block it but this is not in the interest of Donegal. Very few urban areas have a centre comparable to that of our town. It should be used. It ought to be alive and vibrant not just cold concrete, dismal flower pots - a large open space devoid of atmosphere. Come on you people who make the rules and regulations designate the Diamond a market place one day a week.
Recent reports suggest a rift of sorts between the executive board of the waterbus company and some of the people who actually work the vessel. If true, this is a pity. Certainly one of the best assets the town possesses, a lot of its success is due to its operators. While both camps feel right is on their side, this is no time for harsh words. A dollop of diplomacy is called for - and a compromise reached.
Now that a new boat is being built, capable of carrying twice as many passengers in state-of-the-art comfort, everybody needs to be pulling together. Rules, disciplines and firm management have to be in place now that a large sum has been granted from the International Fund for Ireland. This is just good company practice. But the personality, knowledge, and humour of the existing operators should not be lost. Let everybody involved get together and sort out this dispute, small as it is in the scale of things. Donegal Town needs the waterbus. Executive and crew must operate in harmony to keep this important attraction sailing as usual from Easter on.
NEW MAYOR ELECTED
Ciaran Twomey becomes
Donegal Towns First Citizen
Outgoing Mayor, Ernan, hands over the Mayors chain to Ciaran Twomey
Photo: Jason McGarrigle
By Margaret Gallagher
The result of the mayoral election was announced last Monday night, prior to the Annual General Meeting of the Donegal Town Community Chamber. Mairín McCartney, solicitor for the chamber, announced the outcome to an expectant audience. With a total electorate of 81, there was a poll of 78 votes, of which 9 were deemed invalid. Each candidate received the following number of votes: Ernan Mc Gettigan - 20; Mary McGowan - 8; Ciaran Twomey - 41. Ernan now automatically becomes deputy mayor.
In his victory speech, Ciaran sincerely thanked everybody who voted for him and entrusted him to lead the town for the next two years. It is vital for the town to have strong leadership. I know Ernan has done a lot of work in his tenure but I am looking forward to this task and intend to give it all my energy. I want to say a warm thanks to Mary McGowan and also a very special word to outgoing mayor, Ernan, who has done a very good job and was very active as deputy mayor in previous years. Ernan and I have one thing in common, which has a special place in our hearts, the progression of the town. I intend to work 150% with the chamber and every director, and I know that I will do whats best for the town. I stand over everything I have said over the past number of weeks. My three priorities will be: 1. To set up a task force within the Chamber to tackle unemployment. 2. The forward development of the town. 3. Speeding up the arrival of decentralisation.
I want everybody to get involved - its easy to stand on the outside and criticise, but if you want to see changes, get inside and get involved, Ciaran said.
Ciaran Twomey, son of Timothy and the late Annie Twomey, was born in Malin, Co Donegal, on the 12th June 1972 and moved to Shannon when he was six months old. He returned to Donegal at the age of 12 when his parents set up the business, Mr Ts in town. He attended St Peters NS Mountcharles and the AVS. At the age of 16, he joined the family business. At the age of 18, he opened his own bar on the Diamond, Roxys, formerly owned by John Griffin. Two and a half years later he bought the Village Tavern in Mountcharles. In 1996, he sold up and took over the family business which has since gone from strength to strength.
Ciaran married Annamarie Hayes from Glencolmcille in March 99 and four years later son Columb arrived. They set up home on the Old Road, Mountcharles. Ciaran is managing director of Abrakebabras north-west franchise, with outlets in Donegal, Ballyshannon and Sligo.
This successful businessman opened Irelands first ever bagel factory in Sligo a year ago, in which Annamarie works three days a week. Ciaran has three sisters, Anita, Arlene and Sharon and one brother, Timothy (Tim).