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August 28th 2002

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Let’s hope that President Bush can be persuaded by his allies to desist from planning any attacks on Iraq. The U.S. leader seems unstoppable in his desire to wipe out Saddam Hussein. But the sheer intensity of conflict that could be unleashed in the Middle East by this action would leave any previous wars in this region in the shade. And not just this region - the threat to world peace is all too evident to most global leaders - but obviously not to Doubleya and his lackey, Tony Blair. Even Secretary of State Colin Powell is trying to talk sense into his boss. And herein lies the danger - could one man, ignoring world and advisors opinions, put world stability at risk in a vainglorious attempt to become a Churchillian figure, hellbent on ensuring that his name is ingrained for posterity.

Forget your Super Pubs - O’Neill’s is the Place

The ‘In’ spot of the Donegal area is no longer one of the bars or places of entertainment in town. It is now situated about 4 miles out in the country - a little pub in the middle of lovely Letterbarrow. If you want the craic - Joe O’Neill’s is the place - word is that on nearly any night of the week, you will find the place packed, with an impromptu musical session in full swing. Part of the reason for this upsurge is the opening of the Bluestack Centre just up the road, catering for people of many nationalities. At night these punters have been traipsing the couple of hundred yards to join in the fun at O’Neills. Although now run by Joe’s son Brendan, the ex-gaffer can still be found in residence, holding forth on a range of subjects - from the weather to the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Communist China. One thing for sure - with Joe holding court, the opinions will be radical - the wit rapid - and the craic mighty. As Folksy Gerry observed in last week’s Democrat - when Joe is in full flow - O’Neill’s is possibly the only pub in Ireland in which the customer is never right.

O’Neill’s of Letterbarrow - it’s worth checking out.

Where are these boys heading and for what purpose? See story.

New Community Development Officer Selected

Sian has clear vision for town’s advancement

Sian Breslin has been appointed Development/Enterprise Officer for Donegal Town. A mother of three children, she is married to Michael, a Council Engineering official.

Sian, a native of Wales, came to Donegal Town some 25 years ago. A teacher, she attained a position in the Abbey Vocational School, where she gave classes in Home Economics. Recently she has been involved with transition year students.

A member of the Community Chamber since its inception in 1999, Sian has been active in sourcing and securing funds for many projects. While she will not take up her new position till September 16th, already she has clear objectives in mind and constructive plans on how to achieve these. However, she wants help in formulating policies and would appreciate people of the town communicating with her as to what are priorities.

The position of Development Officer is being funded by the community and monies are in place to cover the first three years. At present, the Chamber have in an application to assist with the full-time funding of the position.

The Community Chamber has split its long term planning into four headings - Social, Tourism, Economic and Volunteer and Sian will hope to drive the growth of the area from these platforms.

Under social would come a new playground for the town - also a much needed wet-weather facility. “These are very badly needed” says Sian. “Visitors don’t have anywhere to go”.

Donning her economic cap, Sian’s first objective would be to carry out a feasibility study as to whether the town needs an enterprise park. She also has lots of other ideas for attracting business to the area. However she warned that social structures like affordable housing will have to be put in place before any major industry can come to town.

Tourism is close to Sian’s heart. She will work closely with committees already in place. “I will be helping them source money and work towards other priorities like making the town more attractive for visitor and local alike.”

On the voluntary side, Sian observed that a large part of the town’s success has been people giving of their time freely in pursuit of a better life for all. “The number of men and women who give up their time is incredible” she said.

Along with almost the whole community, Sian was shocked when she learned of An Bord Pleanala decision to refuse permission for the retail end of the Drumlonagher scheme. “It saddens everyone in town, that this development has suffered a setback, but it’s just another knock that we will have to get over”. Sian declared “but the people are determined that both the Drumlonagher and Revlin projects will go ahead and I will do all I can to help”.

While Sian, at the moment, has no fixed abode, she hopes to soon source office space. In the meantime she can be contacted through the Chamber Offices on Bridge Street, phone 073-22312.

Sian’s last words “I have a vision for Donegal Town. If someone has an idea, I want to hear it. I want to work with everybody in the community to make Donegal a better place.”

Admirable sentiments and we wish Sian every success as she begins the task of implementing this formidable objective.

Chairman President Ernan McGettigan has asked Donegal Times to emphaise that there was no favouritism shown Sian Breslin. Indeed the two independent interviewers, Pauric O’Grady and Joe Kelly, were told to be more in-depth in her interview. “Sian was the one candidate who came across with the qualities that the Chamber has been looking for and we feel, if given the help and support of the people and businesses of the town, we can achieve our aims and aspirations. I feel she will bring groups together - where there is disagreement she will act as a catalyst for positive progress. There is always solution where Sian is concerned - no negativity” said Mr. McGettigan.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

Tel: +353-73-22860 Fax: +353-73-22937