Scéal Dún-na-nGall ar an Idirlíon / County Donegal on the Net News
Vol.2 No.3 May, 2000

(This page is archived as it initially appeared online - any broken links are subsequent to publication)

The Alternatives to Poles & Pylons Group are Appealing to An Bord Pleanala to overturn Donegal County Council's decision to allow the Electricity Suppy Board to erect 110kv Pylons over 100km of West Donegal from Binbane to Letterkenny via Glenties, Gweebarra, Dungloe, Gweedore, Falcarragh, Gortahork and Churchill with a new substation at Arduns. See Map of Proposed Route.
The Alternatives to Pylons Group and An Taisc are lodging Appeals with An Bord Pleanala who are expected to take six months to decide if they will allow an oral hearing at which these groups can voice their objections. The Alternatives to Pylons Group want the ESB to route their cables underground to minimise the health and environmental impact of the project but the ESB (a semi-state company) cite expense as the reason for putting the lines over instead of underground.
The ATP recognise the need for a better electricity supply but argue that the visual, health and environmental impact is too great with overland power lines and that underground alternatives should be sought even though it is more expensive - what price the environment?
Donegal has 650km of coast, it rains 300 days a year and the wind, well, you know about the wind - so why, oh why are we stringing big ugly electric cables overland instead of utilising the elements to create electricity?
Rumour has it that the power lines are not to improve the supply in Donegal but to facilitate taking electricity from the West Coast to feed the grid in Northern Ireland if and when explorations in the Atlantic yeild gas or oil which in turn will be made into electricity. The mind boggles.
The ATP state that they have indications that the 110kv poles and pylons will be obsolete in a few years, making it necessary for the ESB to erect even more dangerous and unsightly 220kv poles and pylons along the same route and that now is the time to find alternatives and not when the proposed poles are in place and the damage is already done.
We must put a halt to the destruction of Donegal's lanscape and put these cables underground whatever the economic cost.The proposed route will affect over 500 landowners and their families directly and over 30% per cent of the population of West Donegal in that people will either have poles and pylons on their land or will be able to see them from their land.
The proposed route takes in some of the most spectacular scenery in West Donegal. This includes beautiful panoramic views and vistas over mountain, rivers and streams, the essence of the Donegal landscape.
The erection of these overhead power lines will lower land and property values; tourist revenue; reduce development potential and amenity value and are a potential risk to health.
The ATP say that it is time that Donegal County Council started to heed local opinion and that local TD’s and Councillors think before they agree willy-nilly to every scheme which so affects our environmental heritage. We have undertaken a survey of TDs and Ministers as well as European representatives to hear their opinion and will keep you informed of developments in what will surely transpire as the biggest environmental protest in Donegal since uranium mining was halted in the County in the 1970's.
The ATP would like you to email your letters of objection to the scheme to before the 4th of June, 2000.

Bealach na Gaeltachta / Walk Donegal Four new walks, each 40-50kms long, have been officially opened in the Donegal Gaeltacht under the auspices of Údaras na Gaeltachta, Bord Fáilte and Donegal County Council. The walks encompass Gaoith Dobhair, the Gweebarra Bay, Baile na Finne and Glencolmcille and are expected to be very popular with walkers throughout the year.

Summer Exhibitions Cavanacor Gallery's Summer Show opens on June 8th and runs until August 20th. The painting, sculpture and print exhibition will include work by the resident artists Eamon, Eddie and Joanna O'Kane along with works by Sean Fingleton, Philip Moss, Michael Kane, Mick O'Dea RHA and the NY conceptual artist April Kinser. See Cavanacor Gallery

Taipeis Gael, the Gaeltacht based hand woven tapestry group, have launched a website and are open to the public during the Summer when they are running weekly courses in Tapestry making which cost £100.00 Accommodation can be arranged. The 1st course starts 5th - 9th June. Taipeis Gael are exhibitiing in the Allied Irish Bank, 405 Park Ave, New York during September.

Daniel in the News Donegal's favourite County & Irish singer, Daniel O'Donnell, has been hitting the headlines again - this time for his fundraising for Romanian orphans. Daniel and local business woman, Eileen Oglesby, have raised almost a million pounds to fund 2 new homes for young adults in Romania - one is a permanent home for young adults with learning and physical disabilities and the other is a half-way house to enable young people to recover from the trauma of their experiences in orphanages in Romania which are notoriously ill-equipped and over-crowded with no stimuli for the children who inhabit them. RTE recently featured Daniel and Eileen's work in a documentary which was truely harrowing and Daniel subsequently appeared on ITV's 'This is Your Life'.

New SACs listed for Donegal The Minister for Arts, Heritage, the Gaeltacht and the Islands has announced eight new Special Areas of Conservation in Donegal. This list is largely marine habitats - namely Rutland Island & Sound, Mulroy Bay, Rathlin O'Beirne Island, Inishtrahull, Lough Swilly, Donegal Bay and Croaghonagh Bog.

Donegal Children not being vaccinated A recent report by the North Western Health Board has highlighted the lack of uptake on MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccinations in Donegal with only 80% of children receiving these vaccinations which, the health authority predicts, will lead to outbreaks of these diseases. The vaccination is available free throughout Donegal from General Practitioners and at local health centres.

New Guides to Donegal Ardnamona House on Lough Eske, Croaghcross in Letterkenny, the Fleet Inn, Killybegs and the Corncrake in Carndonagh have all gained a place in this year's Bridgestone Guide to the 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland by John & Sally McKenna.
Readers interested in locating a particular townland or Barony in Donegal should consult these recently republished volumes edited by Angelique Day & Patrick McWilliams - Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland Vol 38: North-East Donegal 1833-5 and Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland Vol 39: Mid, West and South Donegal 1835-6. The Ordnance Survey of Donegal was one of the first in Ireland and the editors have made these early 19th century texts accessible to the modern reader.
You can buy these and other new books & CDs about Donegal in the Donegal on the Net Bookshop

The Braade/ Carrickfin Conservation Group have won the right to have a judicial review against An Bord Pleanala's decision to allow a controversial aircraft painting factory to be built beside the small Carrickfin airport. Planning permission was granted to the Swedish firm, Avipaint, by Donegal County Council, in April, 1999 in spite of widespread local and national opposition to the proposal.
The decision was then appealed to An Bord Pleanala and a four day hearing was held in Gweedore last November afterwhich the Bord decided to to uphold the Council's planning permission. The Group described the High Court's decision as a 'major victory' and now await the date of the Judicial Review.

Journalists in the News Raidió na Gaeltachta journalist Mairead Nic Seaghain was awarded the Radio News Journalist of the Year at the Celtic Film and Radio Festival which was held in Aberystwyth, Wales. Mairead, who hails from Teelin, has worked with Raidió na Gaeltachta for 21 years.
A former colleague of Mairead's, Pól Gallagher has been appointed Head of TG4, the Irish language Television Station. Pól is from Gweedore and formally worked for RTE before joining RnaG. You can now hear RnaG live on the Internet - Check out the trendiest DJ's in Ireland - 9.00pm GMT!
Pat Loughery from Rathmullan has been appointed Director of Nations & Regions at the BBC and will be responsible for all local radio in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales with a staff of over 4000. Pat has also been appointed to the BBC's new executive body.

Burt Church wins Award St. Aengus Church in Burt, which was designed by the late Liam McCormack from Greencastle, has won another design award 30 years after it was first opened. Members of the Royal Insititute of Architects and the public voted the Church No.1 in a recent poll of the most appealing 20th century buildings in Ireland and England. The Church is situated at the bottom of the hill on which Grianán of Aileach sits and is designed in the same circular fashion as the pre-christian ring fort.

Asylum Seekers arrive in Donegal During May it was announced that refugees and asylum-seekers would be housed in accommodation at 6 centres in Donegal - Letterkenny (72); Falcarragh (10); Moville (12); Bunbeg (26) and Glencolmcille (60). Fifty-five asylum seekers, speaking 14 different languages, were housed in hostel accommodation in Donegal Town during May.
A 1000 asylum seekers are arriving in Ireland each month but there are no adequate measures to process their applications and most refugees have to wait 2 years before their applications are heard. Unlike other rural areas of Ireland there has been no opposition to the arrival of the asylum seekers in Donegal but I fail to see the wisdom of putting people who do not speak Irish to live in Gaeltacht areas where locals will be forced to speak more English or does it just go to prove the point that central government is not interested in maintaining the Gaeltacht as a living entity?

Cathal ó Searcaigh conferred at Maynooth An Honorary Doctorate of Celtic Studies was conferred on Donegal poet Cathal ó Searcaigh by the National University of Ireland at Maynooth. ó Searcaigh's reputation has grown steadily since the early 1980's and his work has been translated into many languages.

Regards, Patricia Sharkey, Administrator, County Donegal on the Net

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