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January 8th 2003

| Front Page | Review of The Year | The Jaundiced Eye | Sport |

Review of 2002
by Paddy Meehan


Since its foundation in 1989, Donegal Times has consistently stated that in order for our Town to grow and prosper, it urgently needed some form of leadership - i.e. a Town Manager - and this first month of the year 2002 this newspaper’s front page editorial reiterated the message ‘Let us leave division behind and move forward in 2002’. Inside pages featured the passing of businessman Joe Kelly, Frosses and Fr. Michael Martin C.C. Drimarone. Donegal Snooker Club celebrated 50 years in existence - also Letterbarrow Celtic Soccer club, 25 years. The opening of Dom’s Pier 1 in Quay Street featured prominently. Young DJ Kelly was pictured spending his first euro in Burkes’ Supermarket Frosses. Co. Donegal GAA held its Hall of Fame Awards in the Abbey Hotel - Communication Award going to local man, Sean Dunnion. Joy in New York at the birth of Madison Meehan, daughter of Joanna and the late Damien who died in the Twin Towers on September 11th.


Mountcharles man Liam Harkin patiently waited 50 years for his FCA sharpshooting award - which, thanks to Donegal Times, was eventually presented to him at a ceremony in Finner Camp. The Bluestack Centre in Drimarone opened its doors - both a community and visitor facility, it represents an excellent model of local initiative and the Drimarone group is to be complimented on bringing this idea to fruition. Paddy Sweeney’s ‘Growing up in Drimarone’ continues to be excellent reading. We ask if the new 10 note really depicts scenes of Donegal Town - the front showing a drawing of the door of St. Patrick’s Church and the back the stone bridge. Donegal Town featured nationally - for all the wrong reasons - as the country waited anxiously while the search for missing teenager Brendan Rushe continued. Tragically, Brendan’s body was found in Donegal Bay on February 27th. Canon Harry Trimble launches his new book ‘Killymard Ancient and Modern’. Donegal Post office holds a 25 year reunion. Following many months of fund raising/negotiations by Matron Marie McGarvey and friends, NWHB CEO Pat Harvey officially opens the new Coffee Dock at Community Hospital providing services for patients, visitors and staff. Well done Marie and friends.


Street Trader fined one shilling at Donegal Court, a depiction of the famous MacGiolla Bhride trial of 1906 which was defended by the young Padraic Pearse. This was held in Donegal Courthouse as part of the successful Heritage Festival. St. Patrick Gala Ball held in Harveys Point. Our foreign correspondent questions - ‘What has Iraq ever done to invoke the wrath of the USA’. 400 Cubs, beavers and scouts gather in Donegal Town to honour the memory of scout founder Baden Powell. PJ McGowan, ex-serviceman, enrolled as honorary member of FCA B Coy. The famous Cisco McGettigan pictured astride motor cycle. Leghowney Drama Group stage ‘Anyone Could Rob a Bank’. Daniel O’Donnell retires - not Daniel the singer, but Daniel from St. Josephs Avenue, from his position in the O’Cleary Centre as instructor/supervisor. The death of 101 year old school-mistress Nora McGinley was the cause of much sadness among her many ex-pupils in the area and abroad.


Page 1 headed ‘Gentleman Jim Retires’. After 40 years working in the mens clothing department of Magee, Jim Wray called it a day. Frosses man Tim Kelly featured in Sunday Times rich list - coming in at No. 874 with a estimated fortune of £40 million sterling. Mountcharles man, Garda Anthony Tighe, tragically killed by a stolen car while manning a roadblock. St. Patricks Pioneers celebrate 60th anniversary. Prestigious Blue Ribbon RAC Award for Harveys Point for the second consecutive year. Charlie McNern, Drum Major, proudly leads St. Nauls Pipe Band, Ardaghey up 5th. Avenue in New York for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.


Times crystal ball used when political editor predicts preliminary results for South Donegal candidates in forthcoming General Election - which prove to be uncannily accurate - Pat the Cope Gallagher predicted at 7800 (actual 7710). Mary Coughlan forecast at 7300 (actual 7257). A new book ‘100 years of Motor sport in Ireland 1902 - 2002’ acknowledges local man Willie McGowan whom the writer first met in the Isle of Man in 1952. Directors of Donegal Waterbus express fears for the future, due to lack of governmental support. Alrick Thompson’s business celebrates 50 years. Wrong caption on picture of ‘Local Teds’ causes controversy. Hugh Dillon claims if date on photo is correct, he should be drawing the pension now. Abbott Ireland Ltd. celebrates 21 years in Donegal. Rev Raymond Fox appointed as Incumbent of the Parish for the Church of Ireland Parochial Group of Donegal, Killymard, Lough Eske and Laghey.


Mary Coughlan appointed as Minster for Social and Family Affairs. Local girl Kathy Faulkner scoops 640,000 in Lotto. Bridgeen Carr, daughter of Thomas and Anna, selected to represent Co. Donegal in Mary from Dungloe. World Cup fever hits the country - pubs and hotels are packed to capacity for each nail-biting Irish match. Bluestack Ramblers stage a gruelling mountain/road walk from Glenties over the Bluestacks, finishing at Biddy’s O’Barnes. The Franciscan Order celebrates 50 years existence in Rossnowlagh.


Local musician/composer Jody Gallagher scoops first prize in song writing competition. ‘My dog Flossie did it’ - says a visibly upset Charlie Doherty commenting on his dog Darkie’s attack at the pier on Flossie the duck, leading to the mallard’s demise. Local men John Deane and Ivan Dinsmore ordained as Church of Ireland Deacons. Inver village comes alive as it hosts its annual seafood night. Mayor welcomes the Hungarian delegation on a fact-finding mission for the forthcoming Special Olympics - Donegal is host town to Hungary. John McBride retires as Administrator at Murvagh. The Golf Club owes a lot to the skills of this popular man who through his hard work and dedication has projected this club to the success it is. Patrick Nugent has now taken over from John.


The Annual Ballintra Races feature with a great front page picture by Conor Sinclair of young Letterkenny jockey Martin Harley dismounting a la Frankie Dettori. Drumlonagher retail proposal refused permission by An Bord Pleanala causing shock and disbelief in the community which had been looking forward with great excitement to the enhancement of existing shopping facilities in the town. Local Solicitor John Ward leads legal team to victory in the controversial Frank Shortt case. Emigrant Hughie Gillen describes his participation in the haulage of the Frenchman’s Anchor from the silt at Donegal Pier to the Diamond. Following nearly thirteen years lobbying by this newspaper, Donegal Community Chamber appointed a Development/Enterprise Officer. Sian Breslin was selected to take up the challenging role with offices in Bridge Street arcade. It is everyone’s hope that Sian’s vision for the future of the town comes to fruition. Death of popular retired publican John Griffin. Special Olympics Golf Classic at Murvagh G.C. was a huge success.


Political correspondent ‘Cross Bencher’ interviews local man Brian Gallagher - who at a famous Fianna Fail meeting in Letterkenny in 1980 is credited with diffusing what could have been a difficult situation for the FF party. NWR launch their state-of-the-art studios at New Row. Mayor’s ball a huge success, with politicians, celebrities etc turning up to honour Alex Reid for his dedication and commitment during his term of office. Donegal Drama stage ‘Juno and the Paycock’ at St. John Bosco centre. ‘And Another Thing’ writer JR pictured with his pony Dusky. Is this man now going to wear out this poor animal as he does his readers? Donegal Bay & Bluestacks festival from Sept 26 - Oct 6, featuring artists, storytellers, musicians etc. proves a great success.


The Revlin Park development finally gets the go-ahead by Donegal Co. Council. Spokesman for the group Danny Keeney said that he and the consortium were absolutely delighted with this decision. Development/Enterprise Officer Sian Breslin outlines her vision for the future of Donegal Town. Donegal Community Chamber holds its AGM with the election of new officers for the coming year. Red Hugh O’Donnell commemorated in Spain - Simancas castle was the setting to re-call the life, times and death of one of the last great gaelic chieftains. Donegal International walking festival draws big crowds from home and abroad. Mountcharles man and former Capitol showband star Eamon Monaghan moves his Elegant John Bathrooms showroom to Dublin’s Quays with many celebrities in attendance. Donegal archers win trophies at international competition. Four Masters are crowned Co. Minor champions.


Photo of the year - Margaret Gallagher’s great picture of Johnny Murphy leaving Donegal Courthouse with legal bigwigs on the first day of the Morris tribunal sitting in Town. This national tribunal was convened to deal with highly explosive McBrearty case and drew national and international media attention to Donegal Town. Singer Daniel O’Donnell marries - Donegal Town couple Paddy and Annette Diver with sons Killian and Owen in attendance. Magee put their Mill Court complex on the market. JR, whilst on holiday in USA, snaps George Bushe snooping on the Iraqis. Fire guts Classic Casuals store on the Diamond. Recent articles and letters to the editor on paedophile priests cause a storm of controversy. Death of Vinnie Britton, Rossnowlagh, was a cause of great sadness and regret amongst the many people who had the honour to know this unique gentleman. Patsy Meehan’s (Coventry) reminisces on Main Street life in the 1930’s-1940’s entertaining and historical. Tommy and Margaret Gallinagh celebrate 50th wedding anniversary. In the 1960’s this couple ran one of the first singing lounges in the area. I am grateful to Tommy as he was the person who drove me over to Letterkenny in 1962 to commence my first job in the Post Office there. Donegal Town Shopping Spree in full swing. New York Police representatives visit town. AIB Bank opens it’s refurbished premises. An Taisce now object to Revlin Park Development.


Donegal switches on it’s Christmas Lights. New York based Donegal Town man Michael Murphy, son of Francie and Nora, runs New York marathon in a creditable time of 3hrs 14 mins. Retirement following 40 years service in the educational sector of teacher Paddy O’Toole. Minister Mary Coughlan moves into new offices above Pier 1, Quay Street. Death of Sean Muldoon - may he rest in peace. MABS (Money Advice Budgeting System) opens its office on Main Street. St. Nauls GAA U13 win Co Final defeating old rivals Four Masters. Donegal Cinema under demolition - bringing to an end an era of entertainment - many stories - full article in the next issue of the Times.

To all Donegal Times readers at home and abroad - a prosperous 2003 and thanks for your continued support for South Donegal’s only community newspaper, produced on a voluntary unpaid basis, which is steadily growing, providing enjoyment and comfort to many. P.M.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

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