Sunday, November 30, 2008

News!

So how's the form? I've been away most of the week and haven't been able to post or rely to comments. The last few postings are ones I had pre-scheduled to post whilst I was away.

Aways, it's time for the news! But, we'll start with a pic as there's not much good news! Here's a great pic of snow up around Buncrana, taken by Lepper on Flickr.

Buncrana from Sorn


A Donegal company is selling plastic kerb-stones made from recycled milk cartons, which Northern Ireland authorities are interested in using as paint doesn't stick to them and they can be easily cleaned:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/7748005.stm
A new plastic kerbstone could have the age-old problem of tribal pavement painting finally licked ... But an eco-friendly kerb could put paid to the practice. Party colours don't stick to the paint-resistant plastic... so the pavements remain staunchly neutral.

The Roads Service in Northern Ireland organised a trial of the new plastic in Lisburn but there has been no decision as yet about using it. However, 15 councils in the Republic of Ireland have started installing the new kerbs. In Donegal, the stones went down in the village of Falcarragh this week. Buncrana is soon to follow suit.

Durakerb chief David O'Neill who has the licence for all of Ireland said his company offered an eco-friendly alternative to concrete stones.

An interesting article about Letterkenny, that it's now classed as a "Gateway" town, it's future, and the future of the North-West:
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/opinion/northwest-business/letterkenny-needs-a-little-bit-of-help-14077066.html
Over the last 10 years Letterkenny has changed beyond recognition and the town is now regarded as the commercial centre of Donegal and the North West...
The population of Letterkenny is now around 20,000. It has grown at a rate of 22%, completely outstripping the national average of only 7%, and the population figures are predicted to increase even more in the next 10 years ...

However, the developments that take place over the next decade will have to take account of this growing young population to provide services that will take Letterkenny into the future posing great challenges for government, councils and planners...

As the only cross-border gateway it was hoped that further investment would follow and that the region would finally see some of the balanced regional development that ministers tell us is needed.

However, its gone quiet on that front, money that may have been coming has been deferred, and in this serious recession the fear is that Letterkenny and Co Donegal are again left behind in terms of motorways, metro and rail by comparison with the “main” cities.


And shoppers are surging across the border, so many, that some Donegal bank branches are running out of Sterling, and Donegal shopkeepers are worried and scared:
http://www.independent.ie/national-news/stores-hit-as-shoppers-flock-north-1552764.html
The deluge of shoppers crossing the border for cheap food and Christmas gifts has become so intense Irish banks are running out of sterling.

In the border town of Buncrana in Co Donegal, just eight kilometres from Derry, branches of the Bank of Ireland and AIB Bank are struggling to keep up with the increased demand for the British currency in recent weeks ... Donegal town mayor Ernan McGettigan said the best they could do to counteract the trend was to try and get people to think about local jobs.

Across the border, Peter Beckett, the general manager of ASDA in Enniskillen, said his business was experiencing an unprecedented upsurge in customers from the Republic.

And you know what Ernie, your right, a 6.5% VAT difference makes it's much harder to compete with shops in NI.

And local politicians are to meet with the government about the loss and potential loss of council jobs:
http://www.donegalpost.com/2008/11/26/council-to-meet-ministers-over-job-cuts/
Representatives of Donegal Co. Council are to request a meeting with Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan, and Environment Minister, John Gormley, over the threat to 238 Donegal Co. Council jobs.
Almost one fifth of the council’s workforce could be shed as part of the biggest ever cost-saving programme in the history of the local authority.
However, while news of the job cuts provoked outrage last week, the Co. Manager, Mr. Michael McLoone stressed that as far back as last July he had warned council members of impending cut-backs following an announcement by the Department of the Environment that it was seeking a 3% reduction in local authority pay-roll costs.
Mr. McLoone revealed that 71 employees whose contracts expire on or before December 31st, 2008, or in early 2009, will not have their contracts renewed.
A further 49 employees whose contracts end on or before March 31st will be notified that their contracts “are unlikely” to be extended beyond March 2009.
And the remaining 118 employees will be also be told that it is unlikely that their contracts will be extended beyond the expiry date of their contracts in 2009 or 2010.
Mr. McLoone stressed that the council is also having to deal with a short-fall in income on a number of fronts, namely:
  • A 6% reduction in its Local Government Fund allocation from €44.1m in 2008 to €41.5m in 2009.
  • A reduction in income from planning fees, down about 40% in 2008.
  • A fall in development levy income.
But he also stressed, that given certain circumstances, new job contracts could yet be issued in the future to boost staff numbers.

Basically, the council doesn't have enough money because of less government funding, and less building. And they have to balance the books.

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