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November 24th 2004


Three former telegram messengers attached to Donegal Post Office on a night out in Pier 1. Paddy Meehan, Marty McGarrigle and Joel Meehan

Fraud squad target Killybegs

As Killybegs mourned the tragic loss of another son, upwards of one hundred Gardai raided boats, sales offices, private homes and factory premises in the fishing port last Wednesday. Raids also took place right along the west and southwest coast under the supervision of fraud squad officers investigating recent accusations of irregularities in the fishing industry. Large quantities of documents, including invoices, bank accounts, and even computers, were removed.
Those raided seemed too traumatized to comment, but one factory worker said “This is the death knell for Killybegs. It seems that only the vessels that were landing the bulk of their fish into this port were targeted, so I’m sure they’ll be wise enough in the future to do as the others have done and discharge their fish elsewhere - and then we can go quietly to the Back Street.”

A national Sunday paper published an article in last weekend’s issue stating that Irish trawlers have routinely and systematically exceeded their daily fish quotas by more than 10 times the EU limit. It claimed that “Documents seen by Ireland on Sunday detail the complicated and blatant fraud that investigating Gardai believe has been rampant for years in the Irish fishing industry. They show a level of deception that, if continued, would lead to rapid depletion of Irish fishing stocks, according to experts.
The documents were provided by Killybegs fisherman Pat Cannon and sparked this week’s mass raids along the west coast. The Garda case will be based on discrepancies between official EU logbooks and payment advice slips obtained from the fishing co-ops, which purchased the fish hauls from the trawlers involved.
Evidence compiled will, according to detectives, reveal ‘one of the biggest frauds every perpetrated in the state’. According to the records of one fishing vessel, it caught 100 tonnes of fish over a two-day period last December and this allegedly exceeded its quota by more than 65 tonnes. The alleged fraud was revealed when payment advice slips from certain fishermen’s co-operatives and European logbooks were compared. The fish catches recorded in the European logbooks, which were signed in the presence of fisheries officers, are multiples smaller.
On another date, January 7, 2004, the EU logbook for the same ship shows a catch of 2.3 tonnes of herring – the payment advice slip, received from a co-operative, shows that the catch was in fact, 79 tonnes.”


An Eircom Phonewatch Report released recently places County Donegal in 7th position nationwide in the burglary statistics for the past year.
The survey results come while many people around Donegal Town are still distressed by the aggravated burglary of a pensioner in his mid seventies. Willie Bartley was severely beaten during a robbery on his house some time between 5pm last Tuesday evening and 1.15pm on Wednesday afternoon. Willie, who lives by himself at the back of Clar Chapel, was admitted to Letterkenny General Hospital to recover from the attack. Entry was gained through a back window of the single story house. The Gardai are appealing to anyone who saw anything suspicious in the Clarcam area between these times to contact them on (074) 9721021.

Retirement party for Sgt John Carr

and Garda Kevin Corcoran

The Carr family: John with daughters Avril, Keiva, Laura and wife Isobel

The Corcorans: Kevin with wife Mary and daughters Christine, Jennifer and Laura

Council Refuse Permission for Proposed Retail Development beside Lidl

Donegal County Council has refused planning permission for a proposed retail development incorporating a supermarket and comparison store on a three acre site adjacent to the Lidl supermarket at Drumlonagher. The application for the 4785 sq. metre development, which had been submitted by the Dundalk based Blackthorn File Management Limited, was refused permission in October, even though the Council had received no objections from third parties.
The Council’s decision, which has already been appealed to An Bord Pleanala by the developer, seems to mark the end of the road for so called out-of-town shopping developments in Donegal Town until such time as sites closer to the town centre are developed first. The decision also seems to put the final nail in the coffin for Bennett Construction’s proposed retail development at Drumlonagher, which was reported to have Atlantic Homecare, Elverys and Aldi teed up as tenants, as this site is zoned for exactly the same uses as the site which has been refused permission. With hindsight perhaps the Council weren’t as foolish as the entire County thought they were when they sold the nine acre site at Drumlonagher to Bennett Construction for a cut-down price of €1m earlier in the year.

Farmers Market

By Margaret Gallagher

Planning of a Farmers Market for the Diamond has begun within the last few weeks. But all is not as simple as it seems. Even though Donegal was a market town, it seems that casual trading is not included in our bye-laws. To rectify this, Mr Peadar Thomas, Council Executive Engineer, said there would first have to be a consultation with the business people of the town. Then the Community Chamber would have to decide if it wanted the town centre designated as a marketplace. Finally every producer taking part would have to have a casual trading licence which costs in the region of €250.
Speaking to Donegal Times, Ernan McGettigan of the Community Chamber said the market was a great idea and the Chamber would be fully supporting it. Having a food business himself on the Diamond area does not diminish his enthusiasm “There will be competition, but as established butchers, we don’t see that as a problem, as the market contains locally sourced, home grown, produce. It will bring back the market atmosphere to the town”.

Drimarone Notes

The winners of the Drimarone Development Association weekly draw were Sean Gallagher and Gabriel Meehan.
A Christmas variety concert will be held in the Bluestack Centre on December 12th. This is a night not to be missed!
Congratulations to ‘my other half’ Michael who celebrated a very special birthday during the week.
The Drimarone Foroige club has started on Friday nights from 8pm to 10pm in the Bluestack Centre. The club caters for ages 12-17. Everyone welcome.
Happy Birthday to Emma McGinty who celebrates her 18th birthday this week. Have a good one Emma!
Birthday congratulations also go to Kathleen Malone who celebrated her birthday this week.
There are still places available for the Bluestack Centre Christmas dinner dance on Saturday December 4th. The dance on Saturday the 11th is fully booked.
Brid Curristin

Local skipper saves day

As their little boat meandered down Donegal Bay, legendary skipper, Francie Kennedy and first mate, wife Carmel, were stunned to find a large net in the middle of the channel blocking their progress. The duo grabbed the securing ropes and proceeded to remove the obstruction. Suddenly our Francie felt an enormous tug on the ropes securing the net. ‘Woo hoo’ he hollered, quickly trying to estimate the size of the shoal of salmon caught up in it. The intrepid pair used their 40 horsepower engine, but still they struggled to drag this massive haul to the Ballyweel shore.
An hour later, the exhausted ‘Blonde Bombshell’ Carmel discovered a new bombshell! This one certainly wasn’t blonde though. Standing about 4 foot tall this metallic green giant was adorned with the warning text ‘Nuclear Warhead, Handle with Care, Hi There!, USAF’.
Immediately concerned, the dubious duo decided to call the army, police, coast guards and, of course, Donegal Times. In fact Times photographer, Jason McGarrigle, was first on the scene and, at great danger to all concerned, he got the pair to pose beside the explosive device for an exclusive photo before the army arrived and safely detonated the bomb. All in the locality are lucky that Francie and Carmel were on hand to avert a possible disaster.
The exposure to the nuclear device apparently had no effect on the pair but Carmel has suggested that Francie has now started to glow in the dark - at the time of writing this could not be confirmed and Donegal Times really does not want to find out!

Is Donegal Town finally going to get it’s own Interpretative Centre??

For the past months, Mary Coughlan TD, Minister for Agriculture & Food has been sourcing various Government departments for any grant funding that may be available for such a project.
Donegal, meaning ‘Fort of the Foreigner’, a designation that is generally thought to refer to the presence of a Viking settlement built on the confluence of the River Eske in the 9th century on the site of what now is Donegal Castle. It is believed by some historians that the name Dun na nGall has an older origin given by invading Celts, circa 4th century, who settled in large numbers along the south coast of Donegal. The Viking settlement of Dun na nGall was eventually destroyed by Murtach MacLochlainn, High King of Ireland, in 1185 AD – and it was not until the emergence of the O’Donnell dynasty (1200 –1600AD) that Donegal Town attained its rightful importance.
I have been speaking with quite a number of locals who have in their possession old photographs and writings depicting Donegal’s evolvement over the years and are anxious that a central area be set aside for the display of these artefacts etc.
However, these would only form a small section as the proposed Interpretative Centre. It would also feature: •Donegal’s story of emigration to USA, Canada, and West Indies from the Hassans area in the 1800s •Donegal/Magherabeg Abbeys •the compilation of the most remarkable of all Irish literary works, the renowned ‘Annals of the Four Masters’ •the merchant ships from France/Spain/Scotland/Bristol which plied the waters of Donegal Bay •Historical families, such as the O’Boyles; Brookes; Hamiltons; McManus etc.
The people of Donegal Town are very proud of their ancient history dating back nearly 2000 years – and it is right and proper that this should be documented and displayed .
The plan for this proposed Centre - which it is hoped would be sited in the proximity of the far pier is only at a very preliminary stage. If it is to proceed ownership of same will have to be assumed by one of the community development bodies in town.
It is envisaged that if this plan comes to fruition, coupled with developments such as the Waterbus, Donegal Castle, Railway Heritage Centre, and the Old Abbey, the end result could be of huge educational, financial and tourism benefit to this area.

Inver Notes

Congratulations to my neighbour Gavin Maguire on receiving a call-up during the week to Brian Mc Eniff’s county panel. It’s great to see a local man involved with the county again and there is no better man than Gavin to represent the club at this level.
Congratulations also to Elaine Ward, Inver who graduated from Dublin Business School last Friday, with an honours degree in Business Studies and Accountancy.
Birthday wishes to Patrick Connolly, Inver, who enjoyed his first birthday; Kenny Ward, celebrating on Saturday 27th and also to Martin Griffin who had his birthday at the weekend.
Congratulations to all the local lads who are involved with the St Nauls minor team on their impressive victory over Buncrana recently. They now wait to play the winners of the Ardara vs Glenfin semi-final whom they will meet in the county final. Trials are still going on for the South Donegal Schoolboys U12 team.
Best wishes to Pauric and Elizabeth Carr, Cranny, on the birth of their baby boy Kyle Patrick and to Kevin and Colette Carr on the birth of their boy Liam Barry. Both couples would like to thank all their families and friends for all the cards and gifts they received for these special occasions.
Well done to Kieran Kelly on receiving his papers as a qualified electrician last Friday. I have also heard that the Ardaghey Pipe Band is looking for new members all the time. Last, but not least, Inver Post Office is up for tender so hopefully somebody will take over from the McGrane family who have been in the driving seat it for a very long time. Sean Paul McHugh

Jenni shortlisted in SFA National Small Business Awards

The short list of finalists in the inaugural “SFA National Small Business Awards” were officially announced by Angela Kennedy, Awards Director and Chairperson of the Small Firms Association.
The aim of the awards is to recognise the achievements of Small Medium Enterprises in Ireland and to recognise the vital contribution of the sector to Irish Industry.
Donegal company Doolittles is a finalist in the manufacturing category. Doolittles was established in 2001 and opened a purpose-built manufacturing facility to house the production of the prepacked Doolittles range in 2003.
Jenni Timony, Managing Director of Doolittles, said “We are delighted to have been selected as a finalist in the SFA National Small Business Awards. To have been short-listed for this award is recognition of the skill and dedication of our team of 25 staff who are committed to growing a company that is known for quality and excellence.”
The presentation of the awards will take place in the Berkeley Court Hotel on Thursday 25th February 2005 by the patron of the awards, the Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Ahern T.D.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

Tel: +353-74-9722860 Fax: +353-74-9722937