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July 25th 2001

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And Another Thing... by J.R.


On Tuesday July 17th, I was driving into town from my ranch. I switched on the radio to hear the news headlines and the weather forecast on Radio 2. I heard the headlines alright but as far as R.T.E. were concerned Ulster and Connaught didn’t exist in relation to weather. For some unknown reason it seems to gall them when the sun is shining here and it’s pishing down south. Worse than that, they are complaining that they only could get £14.50 of a licence increase. It works out at £15 million of an increase per year, and it’s still not enough.

Gerry Ryan, Mark Lyttle and Joe Duffy complained and whined for days - some of them would threaten to walk they protested. I would not give them the chance to walk, the Gurriers, I would gleefully run them down the road. If they had to exist on Independent radio pay they would surely know the difference. Sile de Valera should have sacked the whole shootin gallery. It would be good riddance.


I sometimes do despair at the unequal way that the law is administered in this country. The local population and in particular the motorist is very often seen as the soft touch. And rightly so! We had the spectacle recently of the entire carpark being commandeered by visitors and, apart from the odd person venting their spleen, nothing else happened. Isn’t it great! Even more recently on what is known as the 12th week, the entire town was taken over by our brothers from across the border. I’ll say one thing for them, they don’t care a fiddlers for our double yellow lines. They parked just where they liked and walked off. At the time of my observation there was not a sign of the traffic warden or indeed any other form of law enforcement. Isn’t that strange!


There is little doubt at this late hour but that the tourist season is banjaxed. This is due to many factors, but especially this year the Foot and Mouth killed off any hope of an upsurge in tourism. But there are other factors as well that this country would do well to bear in mind. In a word it’s greed. Greed like no man’s business.

A young lady of my acquaintance and her fiance went out for an meal right here in this town one evening recently. They had starters and the main course. The bill was a sprightly £48. When I heard this, I immediately made a mental note to remove this place from my list of places to go. To my mind it’s a total shafting match and, by the way, the meal was not something you would be writing home about either. If you applied this cost per day, plus the cost of B & B, plus all the other sundries attached to a holiday you would find yourself spending in excess of £1000 for one week and, of course, guaranteed wet weather.

Quite simply it’s far too much and people are going to where it’s at least as cheap and almost 100% chance of a lot better weather. You can’t fool the people all the time as the tourist trade in this country will find to its cost. When it’s too late, mind you.


You will no doubt know by now that the decision to ban opinion polls has been abandoned. It’s almost laughable to hear the politicians bickering among themselves as to who was to blame. The truth is that they were all to blame and when it backfired they were like the proverbial rats hastening to abandon the sinking ship. Amusing too, the claims by the different sections of the media claiming it was pressure from them that brought about the U-turn. I can now reveal that the decision to ban the opinion polls was standing firm until the day after the last issue of this newspaper hit the streets and I’ m claiming that it was my article in that paper that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I may as well get in on the act like everyone else. I was too modest for too long.


A man I know in Co. Monaghan remarked to me recently that when he was in the car business travelling salesmen often told him that sales for ball-joints, suspensions etc. in Donegal far exceeded anywhere else in the Republic due directly to the appalling state of our road surfaces. It a damnable indictment on an authority that has milked millions of pounds from hard pressed motorists over the years. And it still continues. Take for example the road from Killybegs towards Kilcar. This road at Fintra is an absolute disgrace and no excuse should be accepted for it. People are paying big road tax and deserve better than this. The voices of the local Council representatives are strangely silent and you have to begin to wonder just whose interests do they represent. It’s not unlike buying a suit of clothes only to find there is no ass in the trousers. You didn’t get what you paid for. It’s as simply and as hateful as that.


In the unlikely event of any of our readers having visitors this season may I remind them once again of the old time dancing every Wednesday night in the Mill Park Hotel. It could well turn out to be the highlight of their visit and is a very pleasant way to spend an evening. Music is by Cannon and Ramsey and dancing commences at 10.30pm. local time. Hope to see you there!

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

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