DONEGAL TIMES

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March 22nd 2006

Let’s Get it Right!

Everyone should calm down! Since the announcement of the Bord Pleanala decision on Atlantic Homecare at Drumlonagher, the town has been hyper. Rumour, innuendo and accusations are the order of the day - and some of the things said on sound media could certainly have been more temperate.
But despite majority opinion in the locality, Donegal Town is not unique in having planning difficulties. Problems with competing developers, objectors, An Taisce, and An Bord Pleanala, are the rule rather than the exception all over the country. A Tesco store was refused in Cashel, Co. Tipperary, last week because the Bord ruled it was too far out and ‘would adversly impact on the town centre’. Also it is reported that the Tesco store in Ballybofey has been appealed to An Bord Pleanala. But, as in all walks of life, when a problem occurs, everyone thinks it only happens to them.
Not the case! There is so much money to be made by developing land in the centre and periphery of every middle-sized and large town around Ireland, that each inch is being competed for, raising prices to multi-million levels. With so much at stake, competition is intense!
So let us slow down and reflect. What is created now is what we will hand on to our descendents. Your children, grandchildren and right down the line will have to live with decisions made on our watch. All right, disappointingly, the proposed development at Drumlonagher has been shot down. This moves the action closer to town and brings the Mullans, Mart and Magees into play - not to forget Millers Hill. Maybe, in the long run, this could be beneficial.
The whole scenario should not be about short-term gain - we have been without major commercial development up ‘till now - if it takes a while longer to get the thing right - then so be it! In our opinion, the nearer to the centre initial development takes place - the better for the old town.
We back Bennetts getting planning at Drimlonagher but would like to see their site at Mullans developed first. The same with Keeney - Magees before Revlin. The mart and Bosco are valuable sites - either would make an ideal base for Atlantic - but nobody knows what way they’ll fall - if the mart had gone with the Keeney plan, construction may have commenced already.
Older people looking back over their lives can see how things that did, or didn’t, transpire often had an advantageous effect on subsequent events. “It was meant to happen” they will say. Maybe this is also the case with current perceived setbacks and adverse decisions.
Let us be patient - Donegal will develop - but it could take time. We have a magnificiently planned and naturally endowed town - whatever happens in the coming years can either add to, or, God forbid, take away from its attractions. The one thing we don’t need is a split in our community. Together we have strength - divided we lose our voice and ability to influence the direction in which our town progresses.

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Abbott Announces return to Donegal with 155 jobs

Huge boost for area as diabetes unit is assigned to town

The announcement that Abbott Ireland has bought the Hospira factory at Lurganboy which was due to close at the end of this year with the loss of 600 jobs, is a great boost for the area.
Following a tendering process from which there were a number of interested parties, the management at Hospira made a decision to sell the plant to the former owner, Abbott Ireland.
The new Abbott operation will manufacture diabetes care products and initially create 155 jobs. These will be high quality and high-spec positions – Abbott Diabetes Care develops and manufactures innovative blood glucose monitoring products for people with this disease. The test strips to be produced in the new facility in Donegal Town are a key component of the FreeStyle blood glucose monitoring system which will supply the global market in order to meet rapid growth in demand due to the increased incidence and detection of diabetes in the population.
With an investment of €36 million, assisted by IDA, this will be a massive boost to the local economy.
Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan, who made the announcement, has welcomed the news that the Abbott group will create 155 high quality jobs in Donegal Town. The minister said “the news represents a tremendous boost for a region that has suffered an undue number of job losses in its manufacturing base. The arrival of a well recognised world-leader in the provision of health-care products is particularly reassuring in light of Abbott’s already strong connection with the North West.”

Continued in the Print Edition of Donegal Times

Dunnes Stores Gets Planning at Mullans

Enthusiastic reaction from locals but will decision be appealed?

The news Donegal Town had been eagerly awaiting finally arrived last Monday with the announcement that permission has been granted by council planners for the Dunnes Stores development at the Mullans, on which 150 could be employed in the construction phase, with 350 jobs when the project is complete.
All last week, the main topic on the streets was the refusal by An Bord Pleanala to allow the building of an Atlantic Homecare store at Drumlonagher - with the finger of accusation pointing firmly at the Keeney camp. The announcement that the council planners were to allow the Christopher Bennett development at the Mullans lifted the mood.
The story led Ocean FM news bulletins all day Monday - our Chamber chairman and local councillor providing the back-up comments.
So has the long awaited day when Donegal Town has its very own multiple and ancillary facilities finally arrived? There is now a four week consultation period which gives the opportunity for observations and objections on the proposal.

Continued in Print Edition of Donegal Times

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