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Scéal Dún-na-nGall ar an Idirlíon / County Donegal on the Net News
Vol.6 No.9 September, 2005     Holiday In Donegal in 2005    Hire a Guide to Donegal

New Orleans Disaster
The media in Ireland has been dominated by the terrible events in the Southern States of America - people cannot believe that more wasn't done sooner to help the stricken residents of New Orleans, Louisiana and Mississippi - why weren't the marines sent in?
The scenes of depravation were unthinkable and people can't understand why the offers of help from around the world were not taken up by the US Government? Can so many US resources really be in Iraq that a quicker response was impossible? If so there's another reason to pull the troops out.

Massive Job Losses in Donegal
Nearly 630 jobs were lost in County Donegal in the last week of August. The Hospira medical plant in Donegal town has announced that it is moving to Costa Rica with 560 people being made redundant over the next year while the Clubman Omega shirt factory in Buncrana announced its closure resulting in a further 67 job losses.
A recent report by the Combat Poverty Agency indicates that people in Co. Donegal are most at risk of poverty in Ireland, with the percentage of poor in the County being twice the national average while unemployment in the County is now at 16% - four times the national average.
There have been calls for special incentives to attract industry to Inishowen following the job losses in Buncrana. Workers there were told that future production will be carried out in Lithuania. Senator Joe McHugh said there was no doubt that 'rip-off Ireland' and high business costs were the main factors in these job losses.

the view from the Hills...

The Road to Rossport
On a not unrelated note last weekend I drove to Rossport, County Mayo to see the village from which 5 men were imprisoned in June for obstructing Shell from laying a high speed gasline through their farms.
The road to Rossport is an historic one. From Ballina you take the road for Killala where the French landed in 1798 and along the coast past the 5000 year old Céide fields, before turning for Rossport where Shell intend to bring untreated gas ashore from the Corrib field, 60km out to sea.
The scenery on route is spectacular, sea cliffs and vast boglands, interspersed with the occasional old farm house and bungalow.
It reminded me of St John's Point in Donegal but, unlike Donegal's coast, there are no holiday homes here and few inhabitants in this part of Mayo.
The wide sweep of Broadhaven Bay was home to generations of fisher folk, but depleted fish stocks have depopulated the area a hundredfold since Cromwell uttered his infamous cry 'To Hell or Connaught'.
Today colourful banners proclaiming 'To Shell or Connaught' straddle the bog where the pipeline is proposed. Uniformed Gardai stand sentry near the solidarity camp which sprung up following the imprisonment in June of brothers Vincent and Philip McGrath, Willie Corduff, Brendan Philbin and Micheál Ó Seighin, for refusing to obey the High Court order not to interfere with the construction of the Corrib pipeline through their land.
Shell intend to lay 9km of pipeline at only 1.2 metres beneath the bog, even under people's driveways.
In Healy's, an old style spirit grocer's, three Rossport patrons, all former fishermen, spoke fondly of their sea jaunts to Killybegs and their days on English building sites with men from Donegal. Now, in their retirement, they feel they are facing the biggest obstacle of their lives.
'Why isn't the gas being refined at sea, like in Kinsale? We'll have to leave if this pipe goes through.'
A conglomerate of Shell, the Norwegian owned Statoil and Marathon Oil propose building the gas refinery at Bellanboy, a 400 acre Ceoilte (state forestry) site, given to them by the Irish Government. The site is surrounded by sixteen homes. The refinery power supply would come from burning off uncleaned gas dioxides with nine flare chimneys and toxic water being pumped out to sea by day and night.
Could you imagine such a situation along the Gweedore Coast? This could be the scenario if the same gung ho attitude is adopted by government in the event of oil or gas being found off the Donegal coast.
No construction work has taken place at Rossport or Bellanboy since the pickets began back in June and the men vow to stay in prison until the injunction is lifted. So seven days a week, 24 hours a day, locals gather at the refinery site, watched by Detective Gardai drafted in from Galway.
The people in this Mayo Gaeltacht have thrown open their homes to curious visitors. Camp beds fill every room. They are glad of the support but such is their determination one senses that this battle is only just begun. After all, Mayo is where the term 'Boycott' was invented back in 1880 when the Land League ostracised Lord Erne's agent, Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott (1823-97), thus giving a new word to the English language.
One wonders did anybody tell Shell?

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