DONEGAL TIMES

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September 13th 2006

Sit-in on Revlin Shore leads
to guards being called
Patsy Kelly stages ‘strike’ over alleged channel incursion by sewerage scheme contractors

A potentially serious stand-off occurred on the shore at Revlin last Saturday when a director of the Waterbus committee, Patsy Kelly, positioned himself at the end of a newly laid pipe in an area known locally as the ‘spring-board’, preventing the contractors, Ascon, from continuing their work, in this area. Patsy claimed to be protesting at how far the pipes were encroaching into the channel, narrowing the flow of water.
At first the boss of the scheme tried negotiations to get Mr Kelly to vacate his position, but, when this failed, physical force took over and our man ended up in the shallow water of low tide, covered from head to foot in slimey glar, and sustaining cuts and bruising to his arms, chest and legs.
The guards arrived on the scene and spoke to both parties “I could have been killed”, Patsy told the Times.
But possibly the Drumrooske man got his point across – next day there was a big influx of Ascon personnel on the site and a lot of discussion taking place.
And there does seem to be an issue here - Patsy drew a sketch for this paper showing how a serious of two foot high diffusers, emanating from the pipe that brings the purified water back from the treatment plant at Drumkeegan, are entering the channel, creating, he claims, a hazard for shipping, big and small.
Speaking to Patsy on Monday he seemed satisfied that his protest had been successful “we met the Council today and they have promised to look into the situation” he said.
And whether his tactics were right or not, one sure thing is, the man is passionate about our bay, as was proved by the action he was prepared to take to protect it.

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MY VISION FOR DONEGAL TOWN

The cultural and historical heart of Donegal Town, and its most important possession, centres around the Old Franciscan Abbey and Donegal Castle so let’s start there. The Castle’s restoration is already a great success but needs completion with the Manor House rebuild. So I would urge the Board of Works to finish a fine job. The Abbey has been static in development for years. Perhaps the very welcome new Tourist Centre which will locate adjacently will contain an interpretive exhibit of what the Abbey was like. Few people appreciate the importance of the work of the Four Masters. Their Annals are the single most important source document for the history of Ireland to the 17th century. One of the original manuscripts of the Annals should be here in Donegal Town, not Trinity College in Dublin. The old excuse that local communities don’t have the security or physical features required to preserve such treasures safely will not wash if a purpose-built facility for this is included in the new Tourist Centre. If it doesn’t, come here we should look to have it in the new eagerly-awaited Library which should also include a Performing Arts Centre and be centrally located. The new Waterbus facility close by and the awaited statue of the most eminent of the O’Donnell Chiefs, Aodh, ‘the First’ will enhance the waterside area. (It’s a pity the public are not being given an opportunity to view the entries for this project which attracts a prize of €40,000 public money – I hope some unwelcome design is not foisted on us – the students at AVS submitted a very worthy design but were not even acknowledged – shades of the triple perfect-circle craters that took over the Diamond in recent years – I call it the ‘Euro-conformist’ style of town-centre design, bland, cold and soul-less) )
Which brings me to this central area of town with its spacious perspectives that are the envy of most Irish towns. Maybe we could revisit those circles and construct instead meaningful, intimate, sheltered, indoor-outdoor ‘ingle-nooks’ using some of our beautiful local stone – pink Barnesmore granite, subtle-toned Mountcharles stone (around the Four Masters monument that needs close-by ‘companions’ to ‘naturalise’ it and give it a more human setting). Water features should dominate with the stone – a really attractive central, or slightly off-centre main fountain and several garden-type random-curve ponds. I know I’m re-visiting an old, sore, controversy here but we need to restore the heart of our Town. And let nobody worry about the added cost – compared to the constant retro-fitting of the M50 or Port Tunnel in Dublin our refit Diamond would be chickenfeed. It was a warmer, more human, place of meeting for young and old, for native and visitor, when the old Fairs were there. A glimpse of that community life surfaces now at the ‘Farmers Market’ - and the bike-acrobats help too! Yes, there is still some local activity on the Diamond but you have to be lucky to find a seat to enjoy it – the seating provided is stingy and uncomfortable. All I would keep of the present lunar-scape Diamond would be the trees - and even these are not the most attractive species.
The centre must be kept vibrant and attractive. Hotels, restaurants (we have many fine examples but I would love to see a dedicated Seafood Restaurant), gift shops, newagencies, bookstore, variety stores are there in abundance. Just one note of caution – quality must be the keynote in arts and crafts and indeed in everything on show in the centre down to shopfronts and signage. Magees play a pivotal – and long respected – role here. Although this article argues for specific usage of given areas in the town – recreational, commercial, housing, outer retail parks and so on, it would be unrealistic – and boring - to have no exceptions as these make for more interest and variety. Even Paris, reputedly Europe’s best planned city, is full of these ‘exception’ that emphasise the planning by contrast. If Magees were to move from the Diamond to some outflung ‘Retail Park’ it would be an irreparable loss in my opinion.
Radiate out from the centre - this is the natural and logical way development should take place - we have, first, recreational areas. Continued in paper.....


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