Scéal Dún-na-nGall ar an Idirlíon /Donegal on the Net News
Vol.1 No.3 February, 1999

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

The recently formed Gweebarra Bay Conservation Group has contacted the Site looking for help in their appeal against the Dept. of the Marine and Natural Resources granting licences for aquaculture developments such as oyster farming in the Bay. Trouble is they have only until the 10th of February to get in their appeal.
Can you contribute your knowledge to save the Bay? Can you direct the Group to other people who know the environmental effects this type of farming will produce?
Email .
The Gweebarra Bay is home to a 500 strong common seal population; is an important salmon estuary and has significant Mesolithic and Medieval sites on the shores of the Bay as well as being an area of immense beauty.

Blowing our own Trumpet!
On January 1st the hits to Dún-na-nGall ar an Idirlíon / Donegal on the Net tripled and have continued to average 150 people a day due to having been voted No.1 Site in Ireland for the month of January by Ireland Online subscribers!
Not a bad start to the New Year! The Site has now had 11, 000 visitors since its launch last June.
Subsequent to our last Newsletter going out the Donegal newspaper The Tirconaill Tribune published the Newsletter on and offline and North West Radio featured the Site on their weekly arts show. In general the response to the Newsletter, which now has 3000 subscribers world-wide, was very positive.

Killybegs Celebrates the Wee Folk
On January 9th the 150th anniversary of the composition of the poem "The Fairies" by Ballyshannon poet, William Allingham, was celebrated in the Sail Inn, Killybegs which is opposite the house on Main Street where the poet composed his world famous poem.
There isn't a person in Ireland who can't recite the quatrain:
"Up the airy mountain,
Down the rusy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;"
Poets, musicians and singers gathered for the party which was sponsored by Donegal County Council Arts.
Among the poets who read their own works were Janice and James Simmons of the Poets House, Falcarragh, Noelle Vial of the Killybegs Writers' Group and Liam McGinley from Glencolmcille.
There were renowned exponents of the Donegal fiddling style among the musicians including, Martin McGinley; James Byrne; Connie Drost; Caoimhin MacAoidh; Peter Campbell; Brian McGill and Seamus O'Dowd.

Minister Serves Up Tourism Placebo
On January 11th there was more bad news for the textile industry in the County with the announcement of 136 job losses in Lifford at Donegal Shirts, part of the Austin Reed Group.
On the same day Minister for Sport and Recreation, Dr. James McDaid, who hails from Donegal, announced that 500,000 IRL pounds was being allocated for training the 800 ex- Fruit of the Loom workers who lost their jobs in December last. However this training is for work in the "hospitality" and tourism sectors rather than sustainable year round work.
Perhaps there will come a day when tourism is a year round industry in Donegal, in spite of the incessant rain, but is that how the Government sees the economic future of the County?
Is tourism to be the placebo whereby Donegal, in common with other peripherial regions of the EU, is turned into a holiday resort for rich Europeans, making a few Donegal people rich while others are forced to migrate from the County thus freeing up properties which, in turn, become second homes for the self same Europeans?

Life's a lottery for Killybegs Fishermen
On the 19th of January the 17 strong crew of the Sheanne trawler from Killybegs went to Dublin to collect their 750,000 IRL pounds lottery winning which amounted to 43,000 IRL pounds each.
When asked what he would do with his winnings one of the crew joked on national television that he was going to "spend half of it on drink, gambling and women and I'll probably squander the rest!"
A joke with a jag, as they'd say in Donegal, for on the same day fishermen from the Killybegs Fishermens Organisation met Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources, Dr. Michael Woods, to seek compensation for the bad weather which has kept boats ashore for much of the last 3 months. Most white fish boats in the County, save the very large super trawlers, have had no more than six or seven days at sea since October.
According to the Marine Times there is widespread hardship among the Irish white fish crews and their families while the "ongoing effects are being felt by the shore back up industries with the processing sector laying off hundreds of workers due to a [fish] supply shortage".
These onshore job losses are also extending to electronic, engineering and oil supply firms while fishing co-ops are loosing their markets to foreign competitors.
The Killybegs Fishermens Organisation called on the Minister to propose a compensation package for fishermen affected by the bad weather similar to the Government package drawn up for farmers. However the Minister's response was less than favourable, calling the bad weather of the past few months "normal".

Not for Sale
The Site has received emails about locating *ocean view* property for sale in Donegal. There will never be property advertised for sale on this Site - as long as there are people living in Donegal who can't afford housing.
Intensive tourism in much of South-West Ireland has led to local people not being able to compete with the money offered by holidaymakers buying second homes.
In light of this it makes you wonder what is the Government's long term thinking behind making tourism the largest industry in Donegal. Surely they should be helping indiginous industries by creating a better infastructure or expanding the technology sector beyond the Pale and keeping the 1000 plus college graduates the County produces each year in the County.
Daniel Browne, writing in the Donegal Democrat 28/1/99 (still not online!), pointed out that the recent job losses at Fruit of the Loom in Donegal masked the fact that indiginous textile companies with a strong design reputation such as Magee's (not online!) and Clubman Omega are flourishing. This fact would tend to add weight to another article in the Democrat in which the Western Development Commission's Chief Executive Liam Scollan advocated a self-help approach to creating jobs and warned against relying on outside investment to boost the County's economy:
" We all know that mainstream farming is on the decline and that smaller farms face particular difficulty. In Donegal there are 9,000 farms with an average size of 22 hectares. Yet there are market led solutions such as organic farming which in Europe will be worth over 3 Billion IRL pounds by the year 2002."
The Western Development Commission is a "task force" established to tackle the economic difficulties in the west of Ireland. The Donegal Task Force is chaired by , the County Manager.

Donegal Women under attack
The Gardai in Donegal have announced an alarming increase of 238% in rape attacks in the County in the past year. Twenty-seven cases of rape were reported to the Gardai in 1998 as opposed to seven in 1997. Both Gardai and the Rape Crisis Centre in Letterkenny agree that the number of rapes reported to them only represents a fraction of the rapes that are actually taking place.

Some Good News!
Udara/s na Gaeltachta has announced that there were 73 new jobs created in the Donegal Gaeltacht last year bringing the total number of Udara/s created jobs in the County to 2,912.
The new jobs were created in Gaoth Dobhair, An Falcarragh, Cill Chartaigh and Baile na Finne.

Members of The North West Historical Fieldwalking Society recently found a stone Holy Water stoup on the shores of Lough Swilly which is believed to date from the medieval period and could have come from the nearby ruins of Killydonnell Abbey. The stoup will be exhibited in the Donegal County Museum at Letterkenny.

Cá Bhfuil Gleann Ceo?
TnaG (Télifis na Gaelige) is currently broadcasting Gleann Ceo, a wry and hilarious sitcom situated in a fictitious Donegal village. The comedy follows the antics of the local Garda Sergeant Joe O'Donnell and his subordinate Paddy who have little to do as Gleann Ceo is so quiet. However the enterprising duo turn the Garda Station into a youth hostel for passing backpackers and the Garda car into a taxi!
The series is written by Niall MacEamharcaigh and was filmed in Doochary.
TnaG, who have facilities in Bunbeg, is a great station. When is TnaG going to get on the Internet and broadcast this and their other excellent Irish language programmes to the world?
If the number of Irish language speakers who email this Site is anything to go by there is a very large audience for Irish language programming on the Internet - watch this space!

Patricia Sharkey, administrator, Dún-na-nGall ar an Idirlíon
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