Tuesday, April 29, 2008

News: Reuse for Killybegs port?

A Government commissioned report aimed at reviving the declining fishing port of Killybegs has been published.

It says the offshore oil and gas sector have the biggest potential for expanding economic development there.

The report by a steering group set up by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said the port could be established as a strategic storage container depot for the northwest and for ports in the south and east coast.

The report also said fishing continued to be an important industry for the port.

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, Mary Coughlan launched the Killybegs Fishery Harbour Centre Marketing Strategy this afternoon.

She said the Government is committed to making the report a reality.

Minister Coughlan said there was ring-fenced funding for the project and she said the key to making it work was for everyone involved to pull together.

Art Kavanagh of Killybegs Chamber of Commerce said it was a good day for Killybegs and he hoped the strategy would return the town to its former vibrancy.

The report focuses on attracting new business to the port where a new €50m pier was opened just four years ago.

It also recommends new auction and landing facilities to reaffirm Killybegs as the country's number one fishing port.

I think this is a great idea; the port's already there, why not reutilise it if companies are going to be prospecting for oil and gas off the North West coast.

And here's a wee pic I took there a few years ago:
Fishing Trawler, Killybegs, Ireland

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fire in the mountains

Looks like there was a fire up in the hills and mountains above Lough Eske:
Fire in the Bluestacks 2

Fire in the Bluestacks 1

Fire in the Bluestacks 3

And some night shots, I'm not sure if these were the night before or after the day shots above. Anyway, it looks like a very serious fire, and I hope no-one's been hurt, or their homes destroyed:

Fire in the Bluestacks 4

Fire in the Bluestacks 5 Harveys Point
Thanks to Pitmatic for the pics.

Update: Pitmatic sent me an update on the fire:

The fire was started near to that jetty thing you see in my photostream (and which the fire brigade pushed over to get the fire engines up there so no more pics of that now).

Its almost certainly arson or carlessness depending on how you look at it, a droped ciggy could have done it..

It burnt all the way to the river that comes down from Belshade and a figure of 8 thousand acres has been quoted as burnt.

And see more of Pitmatic's (Mark Fearon's) pics at his website or on his Flickr page.


Donegal for Petrol, Sligo for Diesel?
The most expensive county in the North West for petrol on average is Sligo while motorists can expect to pay the highest price for diesel in County Donegal, that's according to a sample survey carried out by Ocean FM News.

Fumes in Drumrooske?

Anyone heard (or smell) anything about fumes coming from the sewerage pipes that run through or around Drumrooske and Tirconnal St? I've heard that that there may be smells or fume coming from the sewerage system running through or near Drumrooske estate (and it might have started since a new hotel opened). Anyone know anything about this?

Serial Twin: CD Release Party

Serial Twin, Donegal Town's newest band, will be having a record/CD release party at The Reveller Bar, Donegal Town, on Saturday May 3rd, 2008. You can hear some of their songs bebo.com,myspace.com/serialtwinband, showcaseyourmusic.com/serialtwin, and on their website at www.serialtwin.com

Serial Twin are in the process of recording an album which they plan to release near the end of the year. In the interim they are releasing an EP of the first 4 tracks. A launch party for the EP (which is titled 'Didn't Mean To Wake You...') is in The Reveller, Donegal Town on Saturday 3rd of May.

The band are:
  • Fintan Gallagher
    • Electric Guitars, Acoustic Guitars, & Vocals
  • Damien McGlanaghey
    • Drums & Vocals
  • Ciaran McNamara
    • Bass & Acoustic Guitar
The songs should be available for download on iTunes and the other usual download stores by early May. You can also get it on CD in local (to Donegal) record shops and it will be available by mail order through their website in the near future (you'll be able to pay using PayPal if you use their website).

They have pages on the following sites so add them as a friend!
You hear samples of their music on showcaseyourmusic.com/serialtwin and on their website at:

Friday, April 25, 2008


Licensing laws:
A considerable number of Donegal bars and nightclubs allegedly operating without a valid licence for a number of years, calls into question how licencing laws are being implemented.

That's according to Labour Party representative in Donegal South West, Seamus Rodgers.

Last week, Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore submitted a Dáil question to Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan asking him to make a statement on reports that what he termed as a 'considerable' number of premises in the county that are reportedly running without a valid licence since 2003.

In response, the Minister said he had been informed that Gardai in the county commenced their investigations into the issue in Janaury, are continuing to work with the Revenue Commission on the matter ...

One establishment in Letterkenny had all their alcohol confiscated a few weeks ago:

Bertie will be in Donegal on Friday (April 25th 2008) in his last trip to the county in his offical capacity as Taoiseach:
It's been confirmed that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will carry out a number of engagements in Donegal on Friday during what will be his last official visit to the county ...

Calls for extra Garda after (possibly corss-border) armed robberies:
The first took place in the village of Muff on the Donegal/Derry border on the early hours of Wednesday morning when “ram-raiders” used a lorry to break into a petrol filling station and shop.

An attempt was then made on later the same day to break into a Laghey shop but the raiders fled when the alarm went off.

Then, on Thursday morning, an armed gang forced their way into the Post Office at Killygordon, terrified the Postmaster and a customer, and got away with what was described as an ‘undisclosed sum of money’... In the wake of the latest robberies, Fine Gael TD for Donegal South West, Dinny McGinley, has stated that extra resources are essential for the security services in border areas of the county.


The Donegal Post has coverage of the fire up in the Bluestacks:

Four fire appliances, from stations in Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Donegal Town and Stranorlar, were called to the scene early on Monday morning, and battled with the blaze throughout the day...
Speaking to the Donegal Post yesterday (Tuesday), Mr McTaggart said: “The fire covered a relatively extensive area, but because of the mountainous nature of the terrain and local knowledge we were happy that no properties were in danger by the time we finished last night.”
... Donegal regional manager of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Joe Gethins, described the blaze as the biggest he had seen in the area for over 40 years.
Condemning those responsible for the fire as “irresponsible”, he warned that the incident would have long-term consequences for the local habitat.
He said: “If the fire’s intense enough, not only does it burn the vegetation, but it also burns the root underneath. You can actually see the whole character of the mountain change. For example, the capacity for sheep will be greatly diminished.”
Gardaí in Donegal Town later confirmed they had not received any complaints that the fire may have been started maliciously.

I wonder if it will be a matter of time before they do get some complaints. It seems very unlikely that a fire like that would occur at this time of the year without human intervention.

Some pics of the fire from Pitmatic here:

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Interesting article from David McWilliams about Newry and how they've started on their way to becoming an IT hub, with home-grown companies, and that Ireland needs to promote more home grown intellectual capital that will provide more lasting jobs as opposed to multi-nationals who'll close up shop and move to cheaper labour markets.

A lot of this growth is due to a decent infrastructure; a motorway that connects them to Belfast & Dublin, and great internet connectivity the type modern businesses need.

So why the feck the Government be promoting better infrastructure for the peripheral areas like Donegal? I've said this before, but a decent road to Dublin would aid Donegal businesses (and the rest of the North West) in getting their goods to market, and promote tourism as Donegal would be easy to get too.

Also, better IT infrastructure is needed. I know that many you now have broadband, which is great, but for businesses that need top grade, high speed, reliable internet access, the crap Eircom is peddling is insufficient. To get good top grade internet access you need to go to Derry, which is why a bunch of US businesses have IT infrastructure in Derry.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Originally uploaded by Niall Crotty
A great pic of Errigal by Niall Crotty.

Monday, April 21, 2008

News: Job & employment/unemployment

A very interesting article from the Sunday Business Post about the economoy and unemployment in the border counties including Donegal:
The border counties have been worst affected by the decline in manufacturing jobs and the poorer track record in attracting foreign multinationals ...

Politicians and community groups question whether sustainable long-term employment can be achieved in places such as Donegal, when it failed so badly during the boom years. There have been two task force reviews to tackle employment issues in Donegal, but with little apparent success.

The Donegal Employment Initiative task force was set up in 1998 by Mary Harney, with the aim of creating 9,950 jobs by 2006. It got nowhere near that figure. Outside of tourism and retailing, the largest employer in south west Donegal has just 175 employees.

According to Joe McHugh, the Fine Gael TD for Donegal North East, there are 18 unemployment blackspots in the county. Politicians such as McHugh are looking to state-funded infrastructure projects and decentralisation to help boost job creation.

I wouldn't bet on decentralisation, as many of the senior civial servants aren't going to want to move from the seat of power to (at least to them) the middle of nowhere. Also, many depts need to work with colleagues from other dept and if they're spread all over the country (instead of being in the same building or the same city) it'll be harder for a lot of these people to get work done. I think the whole decentralisation thing won't happen, or if it does it'll cost more that it makes.

On the other hand, they could push to have government contracts pushed out to the provinces, or even things like government printing.

I do agree that infrastructure improvements will help, especially a good road from Donegal to Dublin. Imagine a real dual-carriageway from Donegal Town or even Letterkenny to Dublin, businesses could be assured that their good could reach the biggest internal market or to the biggest port for export in just over 2 hours. That would do more that grants and subsidies to attract businesses.

Speaking of unemployment, where is the dole office now? I remember it used to be down beside the pier (I remember signing on their years back).


The Methodist Church on Waterloo Place celebrated 150 years on April 20th:
Two special services will be given, one at 11am and the other at 6pm at which the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, Rev Roy Cooper, will be a guest speaker and join in the celebration. Rev Henderson will take the service as usual.
Plans have been drawn up to ensure that the church itself has got a spruce-up and a church history is also being written up to mark the very special occasion for local members of the Methodist faith.

Concert in Sligo on April 26th to protest the removal of Cancer treatment services from Sligo Hospital:
The concert in Sligo’s O’Connell Street on Saturday week, April 26th, will feature Dervish, Tommy Fleming, Tabby Callaghan and Charlie McGettigan in what organisers have promised will be “the biggest demonstration that the North West has ever seen.”
Other top entertainers from the region will include the Mairtin O’Connor
Band, Mary McPartland, Seamie O’Dowd & Friends, Dick Gaughan (Scotland), Moonchild, Tucan and many more.
Dervish lead vocalist Cathy Jordan said that the musicians are pleased to participate. She said: “The decision to remove excellent cancer services from Sligo doesn’t sound like progress when we already have a great service. It will impose excessive extra travel on patients with hundreds of miles of misery being endured by thousands of cancer sufferers.”
Cathy, who fronted Ireland’s entry at Eurovision last year added: “So many critical decisions in this country seem to be railroaded without public consultation. It’s cruelty beyond comprehension”.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


€700 million to extend the Western Corridor rail line from Sligo via Donegal Town, and Letterkenny, to Derry?
More Donegal farmers growing grains because less money in livestock, and the price of grains have increased over the past year:

Garda investigating more establishments in Letterkenny that haven't renewed their drinks license:
We have been looking at a total of ten premises in Donegal that have failed to renew their licenses, a lot weren't trading but four were suspected trading. Four in the Letterkenny district were cautioned in total including the Grill. They have been told to close down and we have been given assurances that they have closed already.

Er, how the feck does a hotel/club/pub not renew their license?

And finally a tourist says how much they liked County Donegal:

Friday, April 18, 2008


Sorry been wile busy. Here's some news highlights from the past few days.

Property prices are stable in the county:
Some people annoyed at FF's lack of representation at a Cancer ralley:
Sex trail adjourned:
Donegal County Council back Donegal Farmers with their WTO campaign:
Small Donegal businesses confident about the economy:

And the great Donegal Band Serial Twin will be having a CD release party at The Reveller on Saturday May 3rd. I'll post an announcement about it next week. See their website at:
And also hear some of their songs at these sites:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lough Eske Pics

And one last pic from Siobhan who does take some lovely photographs:

These are great photographs! If you want to use them for any commerical reasons you'll need to get Siobhan's permission.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Donegal Vs Derry

Photos by Fergal McAllister from the Donegal vs Derry league game 13/4/08. Donegal lost 0-15 to 0-10. :(

Originally uploaded by fhergaljohn

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lough Eske

Two great pics from Siobhan McNamara of Lough Eske.

The first is of O'Donnell's Island in Lough Eske (near the Church of Ireland)

And the next if of Lough Eske shore, on the shore road near Harvey's:

If you want to use these for any commercial uses you gotta ask Siobhan.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

DCC, Planning Permission & Youtube

Seems that videos have been popping up on Youtube highlighting alleged planning irregularities, and in some cases providing names and addresses of the people involved:
Video sharing websites are becoming the platform of choice for people to highlight what they perceive as poor planning decisions and planning corruption in Donegal.

Youtube is now carrying a number of videos alleging corruption in the planning system in Donegal and highlighting specific cases with, in many cases, libelous claims made against officials and councillors.

In recent months video's alleging planning irregularities have begun appearing on the internet alleging planning breaches across Donegal from Buncrana to Bundoran and Portnoo to Ballyshannon.

Personal information of the people involved is shown in some cases with serious and libelous claims being made about specific county councillors.

Independent Council Ian McGarvey, who is NOT the subject of any allegations, says such behaviour should be tolerated.

One of the difficulties with the allegations being made on the Internet is that they are anonymous and a lack of proper policing means they videos are hard to get removed.

A video claiming planning corruption in Donegal and naming individuals was posted on youtube a month ago - and despite legal representations being on behalf of one those named, the video is still available to view.

However Donegal County Council says people with concerns should you the channels available to them in highlighting planning concerns or alleged illegal developments.

Senior planner Dennis Kelly says every submission is taken very seriously.

I think this is a great way to highlight issues like this, however, posting something on the Internet does not guarantee that one can be anonymous nor does it or should it allow people to post libelous accusations. (Basically, something that will harm someone's reputation or character and not be true).

Now the DCC claims everything is done above board and there are no irregularities, and I'm sure the planners do their jobs following all the standards and guidelines. However the perception is that people with connections can do what that want (and I've heard many's a wan say this at home and give examples which I won't give here as I don't want to be sued for libel). So perhaps the problem is with a lack of transparency, or advertising or publicity about the process and what goes on? And if there are problems it may not be anything to do with the planners, maybe they're doing their jobs but being overruled in some instances?

If you do a search on YouTube for "Donegal Planning" you'll find some videos. And in my opinion, in a free and open society people should be able to advertise their concerns without fear of lawsuits, and free rebuttal should be allowed and welcomed.

Well, enough about all that blather then, so here's a pic of a sunset over the bay that I took in January:
Sunset over Donegal Bay.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Barnes Pics

And some more pics from Siobhan! This one is of Tawnawilly side of Barnes, near Lough Eske:

And another of Barnes:

If you want to use these for any commercial uses you gotta ask Siobhan.
Wow, Tirchonaill Bridge (the one over to the Post Office) might have to taken out of service for repairs, restoration, or even replaement:
An historic bridge in the centre of Donegal Town could be set to be replaced, after a safety survey carried out by Donegal County Council has found it's in need of vital repair.

As a result, the weight restriction for the Tirchonaill Bridge is set to be lowered over the next number of weeks, with the maximum weight allowed on the bridge at any time now to be seven and a half tonnes.

... Donegal County Councillor Jonathan Kennedy requested the safety audit to be carried out at the bridge.

He said it will take some time yet for the council to decide whether the bridge should be restored or just completely replaced.

Donegal Town: Looking East 2004

I think the current bridge is in-keeping with the appearance of the town, and has a bit of charm to it that a modern concrete one mightn't have. What do you think?

News! Drink Seizure

The Grill in Letterkenny had all its drink seized on Saturday because they've may have been operating without a license since reopening after renovations in 2006:
GARDAI invoked an ancient and rarely-used statute to seize the entire stock of a nightclub that was allegedly operating without a current liquor licence

The raid was carried out on foot of a warrant obtained under Section 24 of the 1874 Licensing Act(Ireland) which empowers gardai to seize liquor which they believe is being sold without licence ... Up to 15 gardai descended on the premises on the Port Road in Letterkenny at around 9pm on Saturday night and commenced the operation which took several hours to complete. ... Between €150,000 and €200,000 of stock was impounded in the raid....

A legal source told the Irish Independent last night that gardai across the country were clamping down on expired licences in respect of nightclubs and public houses but that such raids as happened in Letterkenny at the weekend were "extremely rare".

And from Highland Radio:
... It's understood the Grill does have an application before the court for a licence, however does not at present have a licence to serve intoxicating liqueur.

It's believed the venue has been operating without a licence since 2006.

The Grill nightclub and entertainment complex which is owned by Paul McGlinchey, whose father Bernard - a former Fianna Fail Senator - set up the business over fifty years ago.

The matter will now be brought before the courts where a judge will decide whether the alcohol seized should be destroyed.

According to a Garda source the premises will not be able to reopen in the short term.

The licensee must now bring the matter to the circuit court to obtain a valid liquor licence.

Councillor Gerry McMonagle says many people could unexpectedly lose their jobs as a result of the sudden closure.

So how come they didn't have a licence if they've been in business for 50 years?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Saint Patrick's Day Pics

Some photographs of the Saint Patrick's Day parade as it trundles past the Chapel on Upper Main Street. Taken by Siobhan McNamara.

Barnesmore Monttessori, winners of commnity float:

Super Valu:

Barnesmore Montessori and some cars:
And an overall view of part of the Parade:

Saturday, April 05, 2008


Book about how abuse in West Donegal was uncovered:
The co-author of a new book that looks at the Garda investigation that brought two Donegal serial abusers to justice, has said he feels it is vital that the harrowing story of the victims is told.

What interesting is that one abuser was a priest and the other was a school-teacher. Talk about taking advantage of positions of trust.

Update: A priest who gave a character reference for one of the abusers is worried that he might have be mis-represented in the book:
The author names the Parish Priest of Derrybeg, Fr Michael Sweeney as one of two priests who gave a character reference to abuser Denis McGinley at his trial in 2002.

"If it's the truth that's in the book, then there are lies in it about me and the matter is now in the hands of my solicitor," he stated.

The book quotes from newspaper reports that Father Sweeney described McGinley in a written reference as "a kind, caring person and a good teacher . . . I could not imagine as kind a person as Denis McGinley hurting anyone.

I'm sure Fr. Sweeney was hoodwinked, sure whenever there is an awful murder or something aren't the neighbours seen on the news saying always what a lovely normal fella the accused seemed to be. Us humans are very good at hiding what we are!

And someone exploits hiking around Errigal, some great pics, and some awful weather! :)
We parked at the parking area at the foot of Mount Errigal, and headed up the road, away from it, continuing on the road for some way, turning off the road to the left, onto a track which led us eventually to Altan Lough.

So anyone going to watch Leitrim play in NYC in May?
I'll be in NYC that weekend to meet-up with the cousins. If anyone wants to meet up Saturday afternoon in Manhattan let me know.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Looks like the tide is in!

Nice winterly photograph of the town from jurczakj on Flickr.

Donegal - the town
Originally uploaded by jurczakj


Man burned over 70% of his body in horrific car fire near Malin Head:
A man was today fighting for his life after suffering 70% burns when his car caught fire in Donegal.

At 3.45am last Friday morning, Danny Doherty (24) of Middle Town, Malin Head, was in bed when he was awakened by the man knocking on the door ...

He said: "I could see the man at the door. He had his back to me. I walked over, switched on the light and he turned around. I saw then he was very badly burned, mostly his head. It was the worst sight and the worst smell I have ever experienced. I hope no-one else ever has to experience that" ... "I ran and got a phone. He asked for an ambulance and I got an ambulance and Now Doc, which is a local emergency response group because we are so remote here...

"I had to ask him what had happened and he said the car went on fire with him in it. He didn't know where the car was so I asked him was it near a pier and he said yes - then I knew where it was.

To even be able to walk and talk after such a thing is just incredible, the man must have some courage. I'd guess he must have been sleeping in the car maybe with the engine running when the car went on fire. Just amazing he's still alive, I hope he'll be OK.

And 2 interesting interviews with the poet Matthew Sweeney, I think he's from Malin:
I think the magic and mystery in poetry can be so surprising. When I read poetry I often find it makes me look at this world in a different way, and freshens it up for me. I just think it can make the world a richer place for those who truly like poetry.

Interestingly, he says he never received any encouragment from his teachers, and went on to study Chemical engineering, which he dropped and later studies English and German in London. Reading these interviews, it makes me think that it's never to late for any of us to try what we passionately want to do, instead of trudging along.

Update: The man who suffered the fiercesome burns passed away:

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Want a Chimney sweep at your wedding (it's some auld Georgian Tradation):
A Georgian tradition is being revived by one chimney sweeper from Belfast, Danny Quinn, who will be making guest appearances at weddings throughout the country and possibly Inishowen ... He said he has had lots of interest from couples in Donegal and has one booking for a wedding in September in Donegal Town.

And care levels at some Eldery Nursing Home may be a wee bit subpar. The article sensationalises things somewhat, but any care issues sound more like inexperience or lack of training and not deliberate neglect or abuse.
Overall, the HSE received ten complaints in relation to private nursing homes across Donegal in 2006 and 2007 and were followed-up by an unannounced HSE inspection visit. The complaints relate to seven separate homes in total and two complaints are still under review.

Flup this getting old lark and having to worry about someone else washing your teeth!
In another home, one patient didn't have his teeth cleaned by staff for two weeks.

And a man was arrested over an attempted murder that happened in Churchill last year:


In case you forgot what day today is, here's a reminder from last year:



Donegal has high levels of poverty and unemployment:
Donegal has a higher unemployment rate than the whole of Sligo, Leitrim, Monaghan and Cavan put together, causing an ongoing problem of poverty in the county ... This high number of people out of work is understood to have a direct link to poverty levels in Donegal, and the Saint Vincent De Paul, Letterkenny Branch has reported spending a staggering €210,781.90 in 2007 alone, in direct help for the less well off people in the Letterkenny area ... “There is no doubt that there is a huge amount of unemployment. The jobs are not there and even the part-time jobs have dried up,” Donal commented to the Letterkenny Post.

What we really need is solid investment in the county's infrastructure, and encouragement of local business that will produce goods and services for export, and grants to aid local entrepreneurs (big and small).

“People who find themselves in trouble should contact the Money Advice and Budgeting Service in Letterkenny (MABS) or contact your local Saint Vincent De Paul branch and do so sooner rather than later,” Donal urged ... Cllr Mac Lochlainn is calling for Donegal to be designated as an area of ‘specific economic need’ to avail of urgent investment and fast tracked strategic initiatives.

Eagles flying!

This place in Co. Sligo looks really interesting, you can watch Eagles and other birds of prey fly:

See a photograph from their website here:

And someone has a whole load of pics on flickr: