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January 12th 2005

Lifelong Finn Harps supporter, PJ McGowan, pictured recently with the league trophy which Harps won this season. PJ is in the company of Harps players, Kevin McHugh, Chrissie Breen, Tom Mohan and James Gallagher. The Quay Street man was quick to inform the players that he held a record at Finn Park that none of the players, even the illustrious goal-scoring McHugh, possessed. When queried as to what that was, PJ told the gobsmacked stars that he was barred from the ground!!! Seemingly, a few years back, the bold PJ had an altercation with a linesman after what he considered a series of unfair decisions and was shown the red card! Photo by Jason McGarrigle

Donegal Times wish-list
(and predictions) for 2005

•Inspiration and creativity from our developers and planners •A gag for serial objectors •An alarm clock to wake up the Community Chamber and the Bosco Committee •Priest to say mass at Laghey Barr •Roof for the Manor house of Donegal Castle with Bunratty style banquets to follow .
•The formation of a ‘Millionares Club’ for the farmers selling land around town •A packet of invitation cards for the Four Masters GAA •Johnny Murphy granted his life’s obsession to reopen Fr Mick’s well •The removal of the ugly ESB transformers from the Diamond.
•A modicum of sedation for the mart executive •A 5-star award for the Gysling family for their inspirational new development at Harvey’s Point •Recognition by traders on the Diamond north that there can be no real inner-town development unless they agree to release space for parking behind their premises •The Rucker to pick on someone other than Victor Kearney •A long and happy retirement for Alrick and Valerie •‘Inflation Buster’ awards for Jim Owen’s Shell & Donleavy’s Texaco for keeping the price of petrol the lowest on the west coast.
•Good use made of the money collected by Pay & Display to develop and maintain projects around town •The widening and resurfacing of the N56 from the Mountcharles by-pass to Inver Bridge •The re-generation of Killybegs •The acquisition by Jim White of the bit of Ardara he doesn’t already own (only joking - I think!) •A ‘Bring back Latin as a living language’ movement, headed by Kevin Quinlan.
•Definite time-tables for the construction of the Tullyearl roundabout and the resumption of the town sewerage scheme. •A farmers market for the Diamond •‘Crossbencher’ withdrawn from tipster duties after council election crystal-ball debacle •Thomas Pringle joins PeeDees and starts to lay base for 2006 general elections •A guard to replace Sgt John Carr on foot patrol around town •Frankie Detorri to ride in next August’s Ballintra races.
•Eddie Schooner forms a ‘Community Chamber Appreciation Society’ which holds seminars upstairs in the Desk and Easel •Sinead McGowan and Brian O’Sullivan kiss and make up •The proposal ‘Satire is an acceptable form of humour’ to be debated in Drumholm Parish, once a venue can be agreed •A river walk from far pier to Gorrell’s Bridge •The great work done by the FAS team in the Old Abbey be maintained.
•The Enterprise Group obtain the finance to commence their planned development at the far pier. This would extend right along Pearson’s Bank with recessed seating, planted shrubs, and hanging lights. The group executive purchase a new double-deck waterbus with a changing and rehearsal room for Collie McCrea, storage space for the McDermott’s nets, a casino for the high rollers on the executive, and a galley where Patsy Kelly can prepare his tasty hors d’oeuvres and canapes. •Fr Seamus Daggens lifts his Omerta on the Clar choir. •Success for the Keeney led initiative to create a retail development taking over the mart, Railway Station, CIE garage, Cleary’s School, George Irwin’s yard, McGinty’s old stores, Timony’s Milltown estate and the Magee factory, with possibly some of the principals of these businesses taking a piece of the action.
•A town library, cinema and indoor recreation area. •An exerior facelift for the AVS •Some semblance of cohesive planning on Clar road from Services Centre to hospital •An off-centre, one way system, along Tirchonaill Street, New Row and Water Street •Coillte to start planting trees instead of cutting them down •Local bank to start opening at useful hours again i.e. lunchtime •The county GAA squad, with the help of all our local players, to bring ‘Sam’ back to the Hills of Donegal.
•Long arm of the law to dish out well deserved justice to the cowardly perpetrators of the atrocious crimes against Willie Bartley and John Logue.
•Victor Browne to get special discount on December’s ESB bill. •Martin McAllister’s campaign to restore morality, ethics and righteousness to the town of Donegal to continue in the letters column of Donegal Times.

Nationwide sports outlet buys Thompson’s drapers

“They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse” Alrick

After 53 years in business, Thompson’s drapery shop is to close its doors on Saturday 16th January. Alrick and Valerie have sold their premises to Elverys Sports who move in on the 20th of this month to start preparing for an Easter opening.
“Last Spring we decided to approach Anderson Auctioneers with the intentions of leasing. However there was not much interest in this and, after some consideration, we decided to put the premises on the market. This proved to be a more popular proposition, with a lot of interest, mainly from financial and investment companies. Elverys were the only major retail company attracted.” Alrick told Donegal Times.
On a Saturday morning at the end of October, Elverys Mr Jim Staunton, and his property team, arrived to the Main Street premises. Having thoroughly checked out both floors, they were so impressed that within half an hour they had made Alrick an offer he couldn’t refuse. “One of the deciding factors for them was the two shop exteriors, one fronting the Main Street and the other the carpark”, Alrick asserted.
The building comprises of 2,650 sq ft. downstairs and 2,000 sq. ft. upstairs. Alrick commented that Elverys seemed anxious to set up in Donegal and had carried out a lot of research into the town. “Mr Staunton revealed that he had viewed other premises around town and also considered the Drumlonagher development. However, from past experience in other tourist towns, he had established that there is more passing trade on the high street, and preferred it to out-of-town development”.
The agreement with Elverys allowed Thompson’s trade over the Christmas period to get stock cleared. Elverys were happy as long as they got possession before the end of January in order to open their doors for Easter. The agreement wasn’t signed until Christmas week, but despite the length of time between the agreement and the signing, at no stage was Alrick worried that the deal would fall through.
Thompson’s started their 50% stock clearance sale on the Tuesday after Christmas and, within four days, they had 95% of the shop cleared. Alrick believes getting such a prestigious company into town could be the catalyst to put Donegal on the map.
“I have mixed feelings about the sale, naturally. When you are in business as long as we are, you make a lot of friends. I will miss the banter and the craic. One of our country customers, who is a regular Saturday shopper, shook my hand and said ‘I don’t know what I am going to do - my Saturday will not be the same without a visit to Thompson’s.’ These I will miss, but not the bookwork, the red tape and the hassle. Both Valerie and I look forward to a well deserved rest and intend to sit back and enjoy their freedom for the first six months and see what happens. We will spend more time with our children and grandchild and, hopefully, this summer I will get down the bay more on the boat.”
Alrick is sure of one thing – he still will have his regular cuppa in Jon and Linda’s Krusty Kitchen, and keep in touch with his many friends.
Both Alrick and Valerie wish to thank their staff and customers down through the years for their loyalty, service and custom - indeed the three remaining staff have been employed from 10 to 24 years.
Asked to comment, we received the following statement from Elverys: The company was established in 1847 and is the oldest sports store in Ireland. Following a takeover by Staunton Sports in 1998, Elverys Sports expanded from a single store operation to thirty-five stores nationwide, plus an online store at  This coming together brought a wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge of the sports retail business which is reflected in their shops today. The company employs over four hundred and fifty people and is wholly Irish owned.
The business was built on a high level of customer service, quality sports goods, reliability and, above all, installation of confidence in the public that Elverys Sports is the retail store for those interested in sport.
In addition to stocking the highest quality mainstream sports products, such as soccer, keep-fit, GAA, rugby, golf, clothing and footwear, Elverys Sports also carry items from dart flights to squash rackets to hand-ball gloves. It is this comprehensive product range that has made Elverys Sports the market leader in the ‘authentic sports retail business’.
Elverys pride themselves on state of the art sports stores and their outlet in Donegal Town will be no exception. The sports outlet identified Donegal Town as an ideal location to open a store as it has a strong sporting community. They have five stores in Dublin, two in Galway and two in Limerick. The rest are spread across most of the major provincial towns in Ireland. Elverys are eagerly looking forward to bringing a top class sports retail offering to Donegal Town.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

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