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July 11th 2007

Lanigan’s Other Ball
One step in - two steps out again


When I came home in sixty-nine
The town was packed and doing fine
The Shamrock, Talk of Town and Paul’s Palace
More money around than there was in Dallas.

Then came the Troubles and things slowed down
But tourists still flocked to the town.
The hotels expanded and all did well
But the north had become a warring hell.

The eighties arrived - and great joy
Abbott came to Lurganboy
Up at the Glebe a new school grew
Employment and education - goodbye ‘the Brew’.

But inflation was growing - the country was spent
Interest rates rose above twenty per cent
Crooked politicians told us to tighten our belts
All around us our wealth was starting to melt.

The nineties continued - a familiar refrain
I’d heard at all meetings since coming home on the train
Though Ben Dunne was in trouble, we wanted his shop.
The only way, said our chairmen, to come out on top.

In this decade also, our bypass was built.
The work it was hard as the route was pure silt
But traffic was cleared that our streets did once block
A miracle as big as that witnessed at Knock.

The noughties did come and the mart held a meet
The Millpark was packed, bring in more seats
All of us voted, the saint and the sinner
and Keeney came out, the narrowest winner.

The shenanigans then really took hold
Keeney got shafted but refused to fold
His deposit was gone - the mart account grew.
The only ones with him - the Drimarone crew.

More land was then bought and more plans submitted
Objections abounded, no cause omitted
But our people still wait for their long promised store
Angry, frustrated - and sick to the core

In early 2000’s, Mary one day
said ‘Hold the Front page’ I have something to say
Three hundred civil servants in town I will place
Five years on, and still not a trace

Magee announced it was heading Far East
And Abbott departed - the end of the feast
Politicians they moaned and the chairmen did cry
But pity the workers, and the tear in their eye

And so we end up in two thousand and seven
No factory, no store - no gateway to heaven
Our river is ruined, the ‘Tier’ it does soar
And the auxiliaries are still in Dublin Four

The moral - away from development keep
unless your nerve’s steady - and pockets are deep
If you want to see building - and go on a down
Head for the pier, the only show on in town.


Tragic 1999 drownings
at Mountcharles lead to High Court in Dublin

The tragic drowning of a father and son near the big pier at Mountcharles eight years ago had a sequel in the High Court, Dublin, last week. Paul Chapman (34) and his son Shaun (9) lost their lives when their car was swept into the sea on December 8th 1999 - a night of raging tides and 80mph winds.
Last Thursday, a case was due to open in the High Court at which Mrs Peggy Chapman, Paul’s widow, was to make two claims, one against Donegal Co. Council, and the other against the insurance company covering the vehicle. Both defendants joined together to fight the case. The issues against the council concerned road conditions and lack of barriers that would have prevented the car entering the sea.
Peader Thomas, senior executive engineer, and Liam McGroary, area road supervisor, travelled to Dublin as witnesses for the Council. Peader told the Times “we arrived at the Four Courts at 9am on Thursday and were told to wait as discussions were going on. Our solicitor was James Sweeney, instructing junior barrister James O’Donnell and senior counsel Fergal O’Hagan. Solicitor for the plaintiff was Eunan Gallagher - Michael Carson was senior counsel.
“We stayed around the Four Courts all day - not allowed to go anywhere - Jackie Rose, (the man who spotted the vehicles in the sea on the tragic night) was there, as were Gardai Brendan McMonagle and Jim Connolly.
“At 4.30pm we were told we could go home because, as we understood, some sort of settlement had been reached. However this still had to be presented to the court on Friday for the judge to agree. If it turned out the judge was not happy, the case could still proceed.”
At all times the discussions between the lawyers representing the respective sides were strictly confidential and no details of the final agreement are known. The only clue to the amount sought was in a statement Cllr Sean McEniff made at a Bundoran town council meeting early last week when explaining the absence of executive engineer Thomas, “He is preparing to defend a €3 million claim against Donegal County Council at the end of the week.” It is doubtful, however, after all discussions between the legal teams, that the final settlement reached this amount.
Mrs Peggy Chapman did not wish to make any comment on the proceedings, nor did her solicitor, Mr Eunan Gallagher. It is believed a settlement has been reached and, hopefully, some sort of closure achieved for the Chapman and McInaw families, with whom the memory of that fateful night will remain forever.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

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


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