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August 11th 2005

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Happy Birthday, Stephen!!!

Happy 40th birthday to Stephen Sinclair pictured here with the staff of Cill Aoibhinn group home. Stephen celebrated the big event with a large party in the Bluestack Centre, Drimarone, attended by family and friends Front: Angela Bridget Brogan, Steven Sinclair, Serena Cassidy. Back: Mary Bede, Mary O’Brien, Jacinta Lyons, Ann McGarrigle, Emer McGinty, Carol Dorrian, Ann Edel Ward. Photo: Jason McGarrigle

New furniture store

Myra and Martina McMonagle are opening a new furniture store on the Mountcharles Road in the premises previously occupied by S&R Motors. A middle/upmarket outlet it will also stock accessories such as ‘Top Drawer’ bed linen and Tyrone Crystal.

Donegal Town Youth Band

Final Update
A committee meeting was held in the Central Hotel, Donegal Town, on Monday 18th July 2005. Present were Ernie Skelly, Patricia Callaghan and Annette Mulroe.
The meeting opened with a minute’s silence for former band chairman, the late Peter Kennedy. The main item on the agenda was the distribution of some money in the band’s bank account.
It was noted that the band is now in demise for over six years and, during 2000/2001, two meetings for parents were called with the intentions of restarting the band. Only three parents attended the first meeting and seven attended the second. Then in October 2001, application forms to join the band were circulated to the two town schools, plus Killymard, Barnesmore, The Glebe, and the Gael Scoil, with a return of only 30 interested children.
It was decided that the current band committee would determine on the money distribution, as to call in all former members would be too many to achieve a fairly unanimous decision as the amount of money involved is quite small.
As the band was a youth band, it was decided to donate the money to three children’s charities – Donegal Chernobyl Children’s Project, The Make a Wish Foundation, and St. Agnes’ School & Day Centre. Each receives €1100.
We, the remaining committee, on behalf of former committees, wish to thank all the boys and girls, their parents and tutors for the many proud moments we all had from success in competitions and local performances.
Ernie, Patricia & Annette

Teenage sweethearts, reunited at Drimarone School reunion, wed 45 years after first date
Nuptials celebrated at party in Bluestack Centre last Sunday

Once Upon a time………
Last Sunday night saw a very happy ending to a fairy-story that began at the Drimarone Schools Reunion two years ago.
Margaret McGroary and Patsy Meehan were teenage sweethearts who dated, or as they say out in Drimarone ‘courted’, back in the early 60s when they were around 14 or 15 years of age.
This ended when Patsy went to New York for work. Margaret ramained back in Letterbarrow, nursing a broken heart.
In 1964 she herself went to Philadelphia and they both kept in touch. The distance between New York and Philadelphia is much greater than Drumboarty to Letterbarrow and, as time passed, they drifted apart. Having gone their separate ways, through time both married, with each having a family of five children.
The next chapter of the story began when the Drimarone Schools Reunion was held in August 2003. With Margaret a Drimnaherk pupil and Patsy an Ardbane scholar, they both made arrangements to attend. Through time both marriages had ended so they were each returning home single. On the first night in the Bluestack Centre, Patsy asked Margaret to dance and it was ‘love at second sight’. They spoke about old times and tried to catch up on the forty years that had passed.
With Patsy having three sisters and one brother and Margaret having five brothers and three sisters, they tried to keep the rekindled romance hush hush “We were like children” they told me. Patsy’s sister confided in me, how over the week, when Patsy was coming home late at night, she was wondering where he was.
Then on the final night of the reunion Patsy asked Margaret if she would take a tour next day with him. “We headed for Rossnowlagh, then Bundoran, and ended up back in Donegal” remembers Margaret. “We were so happy together and spent hours reminiscing”.
When the week was over, and the couple returned to their homes in the States they met regularly. By now they knew they wanted to be together for all time. And so it turned out!
On the 7th May 2005, they wed in Our Lady of Perpetual Health church in New Jersey. Bridesmaids were three daughters of Margaret and one of Patsy and bestmen four sons of Patsy, with Margaret’s two sons giving her away. Margaret’s sister Bella and Patsy’s sister Peggy participated in the ceremony, lighting the united candle. Family members of the bride and groom travelled out for the wedding.
Fast forward three months - and Patsy and Margaret have returned to Drimarone to throw a party of celebration. “We owe a very big thank you to the Drimarone Reunion for bringing us together again and we wanted to return to celebrate with our family and friends in the Bluestack Centre” Margaret told me.
And they lived happy ...ever after……..

Sewerage leaks infuriate Castle Street residents

By Margaret Gallagher

Under the watchful eyes of residents a council engineer surveys the overflowing manholes Photo: Margaret Gallagher
The article in our last issue entitled ‘Endangered Wildlife Species in River Eske’ raised the hackles of long time resident of Castle Street, Bridie McCauley. It was not the content of the article that annoyed the lady – rather the fact that on the same day as the paper came out raw sewerage was flowing over into the river from a leaking manhole. “How good would this be for the fresh water pearl mussel?” asked Bridie. She was very upset as she had endlessly tried to contact somebody with regard the overflow from the previous Monday with no luck. “The peak of the tourist season, with a lot of visitors staying and we can’t open our windows with the smell. Most other towns that have a river flowing through have made a feature of their natural asset and are proud of it. The most upsetting part of this is that some of the people in charge, including top council officials, don’t even have the manners to return my call” Bridie asserted.
While I was there taking a photo, Gerry Gallagher, a technician with Donegal County Council, arrived and said that there was a problem with the pump at the pier – instead of sewerage being pumped out into the bay it was flowing from the manholes. “When the water subsides, I will have the manholes bolted down and put concrete around them.” Gerry declared. And true to his word the following morning this was done.
One of the other questions Bridie is asking concerns the work ongoing at the pier area. She wants to see the plan that is being followed and wonders if there was planning permission sought and granted.
She fears that infilling between the piers will cause flooding further up the river. “On occasions I have seen four inches of water in my home and, when I wrote to the Council, they replied telling me to raise the level of my house”.

€23.6 million contract awarded for wastewater plants

Marine Minister, Pat the Cope Gallagher T.D., last week confirmed that Donegal County Council has received approval to award a €23.6 million contract for the construction and operation of three new wastewater treatment plants for Donegal Town, Ballyshannon and Rossnowlagh to the Vcolia/Bowen Consortium. This project was originally approved by Minister Gallagher during his tenure as Minister for State in the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government.
“I am very pleased with this development as these schemes will greatly benefit Donegal, Ballyshannon and Rossnowlagh through the provision of a modern wastewater treatment infrastructure. This will be of enormous benefit to the local environment and, in particular, the water quality in Donegal Bay as when commissioned the new scheme will eliminate all current wastewater discharges. It will also ensure that any future developments in the towns are supported by the necessary infrastructure,” said Minister Gallagher.
The overall project has an estimated cost of €29 million and is being financed by the Exchequer under the Water Services Investment Programme 2004-2006. EU funding was also provided for the project under the Cohesion Fund.
“The new sewer network in Donegal Town is already substantially complete and I will be urging Donegal County Council to commence construction of the new facilities at the earliest possible date,” concluded Minister Gallagher.

Garda Report

Last Sunday night there was an attempted robbery of a vintage Jaguar on the Old Golf Course road - Gardai are investigating. A large seizure of ecstasy tablets took place in Killybegs on Sunday night and a number of people were arrested, including one local. There was a minor road accident in the Letterbarrow area on early Sunday morning. Just one arrest was made for a public order offence on the Friday night, despite a busy weekend in town. The garda would like to point out that the car on the Tullyearl roundabout is being removed this week after investigations are complete. It is up to Donegal County Council to remove the vehicle.

Franciscian Friary saved from closure


The Franciscan Friary at Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal, recently faced with closure due to declining vocations, has been given a reprieve and is to increase its number of clerics.
Friars at their recent conference voted to remain at Rossnowlagh and their other centre in Multyfarnham, Co. Westmeath. The U-turn on Rossnowlagh was prompted by arguments highlighting its vital cross-border role. Thousands of people from the North attend the friary and its peace and reconciliation centre.
Two more clerics, due to arrive at the end of August, will now be added to the present staff of three priests and a brother.
Fr. Seán Collins, vicar provincial, said yesterday: “The chapter moved very much in the direction of maintaining a presence in the northern part of Ireland. Friars considered that Rossnowlagh is very important for that reason.
When the Franciscans revealed their cutback plan last year they insisted there would be efforts to retain links to centres from which they would withdraw. There was local speculation that a hotel syndicate might attempt to buy the 53 year old friary.
But its oldest resident. Br. Paschal Williamson (84) said he was convinced it would always be a place of worship and he prayed daily that something would save it. One worshipper at the church said yesterday “It seems Br. Paschal’s prayers have been answered.”

End of an era as oldest publican in country
dies in Mountcharles

In her 98th year, Rene Mulhern died last week at Donegal Town Community Hospital where she had been lovingly cared for by all the staff during her final year long illness. Her funeral Mass and service at the Community Centre, Mountcharles, conducted by Fr Martin Collum, assisted by Rev Raymond Murray, Dublin, was one of most joyous and uplifting celebration of a very long life. Her nephews and nieces - the Murray family sang appropriate hymns beautifully, accompanied by a lifelong family friend, Eamon Monaghan, on the organ.
The cortege was preceded by a lone piper, Patrick Dorrian of the Ardaghey Pipe Band, to the cemetery beside the Church of the Sacred Heart which is temporarily closed for major renovations.
Fr Collum, in his very well delivered homily, referred to Rene’s life-long membership of the Fine Gael party and her friendship with all its leading lights. Every Fine Gael Taoiseach and party leader visited her home during her lifetime. She was a very personal friend of the late Deputy Pa O’Donnell and was very proud that he was Donegal’s first cabinet minister. His son, Circuit Court Judge, Frank O’Donnell and his wife, Maeve, attended the funeral. Also present were: the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan; Deputy Dinny McGinley; former deputies Paddy Harte, accompanied by his wife Rosaleen; Jim White; her long time friend and next door neighbour Colm Gallagher; Dr Mary T Cooney, former County Medical Officer accompanied by her brother Cllr Fintain Cooney (Mullingar); very dear friends, the nephew and nieces of Lt General Sean MacEoin, former cabinet Ministers and close friends of Rene’s.
Cllrs John Boyle, Terence Slowey, Barry O’Neill and Jonathan Kennedy were also in attendance.
Rene is deeply mourned by her sister-in-law Mrs Edna Murray, who, with great devotion, cared for her in her final years. Also Edna’s family, Derek, Shauneen, Timmy, Teresa, Jean, Cora and Deirdre - the Jordan family, John (Australia), Bob, Brendan, Martin, Teresa and Rene (Dublin) all family of Rene’s late sister, Mrs May Jordan, Tallaght, and cousins the Mulherns, Eniskillen and Donegal.
The funeral was a very fitting tribute to a well known, popular and respected personality. Rene was known the length and breadth of the country. The local and constituency offices of Fine Gael provided a guard of honour under the direction of the Chairman of the Constituency Executive and Mayor of Donegal Town, Mr Ciaran Twomey, and included very long time personal friends: Jim Breslin (Upper End), Charlie McNern, Peter Boyle, Jim Conaghan. Seamus MacShane, Jim Conaghan, William Jervis, Colm Gallagher, and Jim Kennedy, leader of the Ardaghey Pipe Band of which Rene was a great supporter from its formation many years ago.


Inver Notes

Happy birthdays to Mark Ward, Elaine Ward, Kathleen Mohan, Patricia Boyle, Connie McGroarty, Paul Prendiville, Donagh McBrearty, Bronagh McBrearty, Gary Kennedy, Joseph Rose and Caroline Breslin, Selacis. Happy 21st birthday to Alicia Tierney who will be celebrating on the 20th of August.
Congratulations to James and Claire McDaid on the birth of their new son. Good luck and best wishes to Ann Campbell and Conor McArdle who were married recently in Ardaghey. Happy wedding anniversary to Martin and Brenda Furey. Welcome home to Nora and Noreen McBrearty who were visiting last week from London.
St Nauls seniors defeated St Michaels at the weekend with one point to spare. The reserves came away with a hard fought draw. The minors played Four Masters last Monday night in the second leg of the championship. If they won they will meet Ardara in the semi final. The under 14s defeated Ardara in the quarter finals of the championship they now play Killybegs on the 16th.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

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