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May 10th 2006

David v Goliath

Nearly every issue of this paper carries an ‘Opinion’ piece - a lofty editorial in which we give our take on pressing issues that affect the community. We deliver in solemn, measured tone our assessment of current affairs - and sign-off satisfied that we have made a significant contribution to local thinking on whatever matter we have been pontificating.
And what happens? As the feedback comes in, the majestic ‘Opinion’ is never mentioned - if it is, it’s at the bottom of the list - what captures the imagination of the great public is the little item at the bottom of page 18, to which you hadn’t given a second thought.
Take the last issue! Throughout its pages we wrote of tourism in South Donegal, the events of 1916, the development saga in town - and the courtin’ of Ernan. But what was the predominant topic on the streets the day after publication? The two line assertion at the end of a letter that women should stay on their own side of St. Patrick’s Church and not be taking up room on the men’s seats.
All in good fun! When you print a letter or throw out a subject for debate, it’s interesting to note what people pick up on. But that’s what a small community paper should do - provide a forum, a medium that causes discussion and, sometimes, feedback. I heard local press once described as ‘an extension of the conversation two people would have after mass on Sunday’.
It’s as simple as that - the news doesn’t have to be earth-shattering - the smallest event, celebration, achievement in the locality is our content - or it should be. Local contributions e.g. village and townland notes are our mainstay and we thank sincerely the people who write these for us - for very little reward other than goodwill towards their community. Donegal Times is here for you, our people - it’s your paper and we need your input - we are only viable because you support us. Our advertisers recognise the Times as a successful conduit to carry their message - or some simply support us because they recognise the importance of the paper to the community and want it to remain in print.
The near future brings further challenges. However, Donegal Times will remain the independent voice of this town and its environs. Despite requests, we will form no alliances - but continue to report fairly and constructively on local issues. We may be up against the big boys, but you know what they say about a good little ‘un!

St Catherine’s Well

St. Catherine’s Well in Killybegs and surrounding historic site must be the best kept secret in Co. Donegal. The well itself, path and gates leading to it and peripheral terrain, is well tended and, if you can make it to the top of the hill, the view over Killybegs and its harbour is breathtaking.
Now I’m not sure if the ruins on the summit are of Kits Castle - but there is another location alongside that I stumbled on by accident which also contains a derilict building surrounded by old graves. Well not all old, I found one headstone that read 1963 - but most are early 1800s and some from the late 1700s. But it is the state of this sacred site that is shameful. The gates leading to it are rusted and falling off and debris litters the path. The cemetry is overgrown and neglected and the lettering on most of the tombstones indecipherable. Surely the good people of the port town could do something to tidy up this area as a mark of respect to their forefathers.
Indeed this whole area containing the well, castle and probably ancient church, with car park and other land capable of development, strikes me as a site capable of tremendous development as a religious and historic pilgrimage destination. The infrastructure is there, but the whole area around the graveyard and path leading to it needs to be cleaned up and maintained, signage erected and tombstones restored so the names and dates can be read. At present, very few people seem to visit the shrine - a bit of work in developing the area in totality and this could change. It certainly opened my eyes to see just how comprehensive the visual, religious and historic aspects of this corner of Killybegs is. Its future development is something that the Parish Council should look at.

Zack and Nuala finally tie the knot!

Nuala Toland, Ballintra, and Zack Gallagher, Donegal Town, who were married in St Brigid’s, Ballintra, with reception in the Central Hotel. Photo: Jason McGarrigle

Claim that Public Services Centre lacks sewerage treatment plant refuted by council

New offices hooked up to NBA scheme says spokesman

At the public meeting held recently in the Abbey Hotel called by Cllr Jonathan Kennedy to push for an end to commercial planning objections in town, a statement from Keeney Construction was read out. One of the points raised in this caused a lot of public concern. It asked “Why did Donegal County Council not require Christopher Bennett & Son (Construction) Limited to install a waste-water treatment plant on the Drumlonagher site, as a consequence of which untreated raw sewerage continues to be dumped into Donegal Bay from the Donegal Public Services Centre?”
To find out the actual state-of-play as regard sewerage disposal at the Centre, we sent a question to the water services department of the council in Lifford asking “Could you inform if the PSC in Donegal Town has its own treatment plant - and, if not, could you explain why?”
We also added the query “Could you please let us know what is happening in regard to the Donegal Town Sewerage Scheme - and why the long delay?”
To these questions, we received the following reply from Peter Donaghy, Senior Executive Engineer based in County House, Lifford. “The PSC in Donegal Town is connected into the existing treatment system serving the NBA houses. This arrangement will remain in place until the Donegal Town Wastewater Treatment Plant is completed in approximately two years time. At this time, the sewer from the PSC will be redirected into the existing town sewer. The treatment plant located behind the NBA houses will be decommissioned at that time.
If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to call me.
Regards, Peter Donaghy, Senior Executive Engineer, Water Services”
The treatment plant for the NBA houses is situated behind the estate, accessible by a rough stone road. It appears in good working order and well capable of handling all waste flowing into it. So while the Public Services Centre does not have a treatment plant of its own, the question of raw sewerage from the Centre flowing straight into the River Eske does not arise.
In answer to our second question in regard to the town sewerage scheme, Mr Donaghy replied on April 6th “Please note that the contracts were signed last week”.

Mr John White, Project Manager of Bennett Construction, was contacted for comment on this matter but no answer was received. This was similarly the case on the retention notice printed in our last issue.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

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


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