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October 12th 2005

The old must be ready to greet the new

Martin McAllister certainly took no prisoners in his missive (missile?) carried in our last issue. Every organisation in the locality seemed to be in the firing line - with only a solitary cleric passing muster. And that was the edited version.
But are we as blameworthy as Martin makes us out to be? This has always been a town of individuals and how to bind them together to form a cohesive unit has been the problem down through the years. Strong leadership, with clear long-term vision, has constantly been a scarce commodity - plenty willing to follow - but few to lead the charge.
Donegal is a town of unrivalled natural beauty and resources, but we have always been let down by our inability to complement and add to these in a structured way. When you take our bay, river, surrounding hills, abbey, castle, and town centre, it is evident that we have not enhanced and made use of our natural gifts - and the vision of our forefathers - as we should.
But Martin is wrong to throw up the example of Letterkenny as an illustration of what we should aspire to. Our county capital has done well, with thriving retail industrial and commercial elements, a general hospital and third level institution. But infrastructurally the town is a mess, with chaotic traffic and one-way systems, no true heart and a tenuous connection between old and new. And on the social front, it has inherited all the public order problems associated with a rapidly growing centre of population.
Back at home - if any advantage can be garnered from delays in granting planning permission to developers over the past five years, it has to be that it forced them to move their projects closer to Donegal’s centre. If these had been constructed at Revlin or Drumlonagher, with the by-pass linking both, you could have kissed the town goodbye as a commercial entity. Let us hope that the planners have learned from the Letterkenny experience and the same mistakes will not be repeated here.
Inevitably, wherever major development starts in this town it will create a second centre and the imperitive is that access and movement between both is easy and desirous i.e that there is a magnet to draw people from one to the other. To this end organisations such as the Chamber, Enterprise Group, and the Heritage Society should be planning for this future, to ensure that, whether it’s Milltown or the Mullans (or both), the traditional is able to compete successfully with the new - and that access and aesthics are such that people will want to travel the route between the two - ensuring success and prosperity for the area as a whole. Now is the time for these voluntary groups to meet with the developers to ensure that lines of communication are established and to confirm that dedicated links, both pedestrian and vehicular, are in place to allow people and traffic to flow freely between both centres.


Shelly Morrow, Bridgetown, (centre) celebrating her 21st last Saturday night in Dom’s Pier 1, pictured in the company of: Front: Rachel Corrigan, Lynsey Stinson Back: Michelle Feeley & Julie Montgomery Photo: Jason McGarrigle

Popular Garda retires

Well known Garda Joe Murray retires this week having being stationed in Donegal for the past eight years as a member of the Traffic Corps. The Cavan man, who has been a member of the force for the past thirty years, was stationed in Letterkenny, Mullingar, Pettigo before moving to this town. Much involved in town affairs he chaired the Parents Associations of Scoil Aodh Rua and AVS. Joe has been a director of the Community Chamber for the past four years, working hard on the Christmas light committee and the newly opened playground. Married to Anne, they have two boys Ciaran, David and one girl, Mary. He will be missed for his community involvement and we wish him a long and happy retirement. A farewell party for Joe will be held in the Central Hotel on October 21st and everybody is welcome.

Trial of Ballintra man to begin in Central Criminal Court this month

The trial of Ballintra man, Gary McCrea, will commence in the Central Criminal Court, Dublin, on October 17th. He is charged with the murder of his wife Dolores whose charred remains were discovered in the townland of Ballybulgan, two days after she was declared missing on January 20th 2004 - DNA and forensics were used to determine her identity.

Town Manager

The closing date for the position of the part-time town manager was last Friday. The Community Chamber confirmed that twenty applications were sent out - with seven returned. They are at the moment examining the submissions and hope to call the suitable applicants for interview within the next two weeks.

Bank Changes

Big changes of personnel in Bank of Ireland - Tom Reynolds who was manager here in Donegal Town has gone to Ballybofey to be replaced by Declan Sherlock, previously manager in Killybegs. Local man Colm Campbell, who was manager in Ballybofey has departed to take charge in Killybegs. Down at the AIB, Enda Mulligan is heading on promotion to Letterkenny where he will be one of the managers of their Main Street branch. Joe Garvey, Commercial Manager of Ulster Bank, has moved to Athlone, and will be replaced here by Shane Feeney from Clones.


Watch out for Noelle Ward, Mullinasole, who will be appearing on Winning Streak this weekend.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

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


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