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December 11th 2002

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Shooting ourselves in the foot

Do we want development in Donegal Town? It would seem from our recent record of objecting to every proposal that comes up, that the answer to this question is NO! The instance last month of An Taisce objecting to the Keeney development at Revlin is just the latest in a series of objections to every major plan for this area that is submitted to the Council for approval.

When Pat Doherty and a consortium posted plans to build an hotel, holiday homes, marina etc. at Lough Eske, the natives went ballistic, objecting to many facets of the proposal. Today this site lies empty, the woodland decimated, buildings vandalized and plundered. Nobody is sure who now owns the property.

Last year the retail element of the Drimlonagher scheme was objected to by Tesco and this was upheld on appeal to An Bord Pleanala. Now this project is going ahead with just the Council offices on the massive site.

At the same time, the plans for the Keeney development at Revlin were carefully clearing each hurdle as they slowly progressed through the rezoning and planning stages. Then, just when all seemed in the clear, An Taisce lobbed in a last minute objection to the scheme, stalling, once again, a project that could lift this town out of the economic doldrums in which it is languishing.

Could it be that there are people out there who want the town to stagnate, who are happy that shoppers are passing us by to go on to Sligo, Letterkenny and Derry, who are determined to prevent us getting our foot on the first rung of the ladder that could start our climb back to mainstream economic growth.

Who are these people - could they identify themselves and explain to the rest of us why they have lodged this objection? They owe it to the people of Donegal Town to do this. Our people are fed-up with division, back-biting and obstruction and, on their behalf, Donegal Times now calls on An Taisce to withdraw this objection and let us get back on route to the commercial success that has eluded us down through the years.

Grants Notified to Community Chamber

Enterprise Officer welcomes monies

Back: Jillian McAndrew, Owen Howells, John Curran (Architect Allen Associates), Mary McGowan, Malachy Sweeney, Connell Breslin, Mary McGettigan, Paul Duncan, Sally Bonner, Joe Murray, Joanne Quinn, Mayor Alex Reid, Ernan McGettigan, Minister Mary Coughlan, Sian Breslin.

Sian Breslin, Community Development and Enterprise Officer, Donegal Town Community Chamber, expressed her delight at the news that St. John Bosco Club will receive 58,000 towards a junior playground and that Donegal Town Community Chamber is to receive 36,000, which will be their contribution towards the development plan partnership initiative with Donegal County Council.

The playground has been a priority project for DTCC - a playground sub-committee was set up earlier this year to progress this project. It is now great news that money for the 1-6 year olds has been allocated. The local development plan/partnership initiative is also great news for Donegal Town and area. This partnership with D.C.C. will have a huge community impact. It is probably the most important money this community will receive as the plan, when completed, will form the blueprint for economic, tourism, social, art and culture developments in the area. This plan, which will be devised by the community, directors of DTCC, CDEO, social partners, planning officers DCC, local authority and elected members, will include a strategy to deliver the projects identified in the plan.

Sian added that this plan which will take up to a year to complete has come at an opportune time, with the publication of the National Spatial Strategy.

The funding for the Development Plan is the result of months of negotiating. The working arrangements for the plan have yet to be decided, but the community of Donegal Town and area can expect to be busy next year.

Speaking to Donegal Times Sian said “We are very fortunate that Peter Kennedy, our local elected member, is Chairman of the County Development Board and, more recently, became chairman of the BMW Region. Both agencies will be accessed for funding once we priortise projects that have been identified through our Development Plan.”

Sian concluded “Many people need to be thanked, including Peter Kennedy, Donegal County Council, Community Enterprise and Cultural Unit; Planning Department, DCC; Ernan McGettigan, Chairman Community Chamber; Alex Reid, Mayor; Directors DTCC; Playground Sub-committee, subscribers DTCC and CDE office.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

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