From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Connaught Telegraph - 24 March 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
28, Mar 2004 - 17:40

What an embarrassment!

AS THE longest sitting Councillor of over three decades on Castlebar Town Council Frank Durcan certainly has not learned to take as good as he gives. His outlandish display of unwarranted abuse and disruption at this month’s meeting of the authority which was held, briefly as it was, at the Castlebar Campus of the GMIT on the invitation of head of Campus, Dr. Katie Sweeney, was one of the worst examples of local democracy at work. Over the years Councillor Durcan has been bitter in his ferocious attacks on fellow Councillors, officials, members of the Press and particularly local developers who he perceives as, in his own words, ‘armchair generals’. Yet when Town manager Ray Norton prefaced a reply to one of Durcan’s many demanding queries by stating: ‘Seeing that we are in a local election year…’, the ageing Councillor lost his rag. He verbally attacked the Town Mayor, Aidan Crowley when told Mr. Norton would not withdraw the remark, which was indeed a statement of fact. What transpires was an abandonment of the meeting much to the astonishment of those in the public gallery, including Dr., Sweeney and a visiting professor. The totally unacceptable display of arrogance by Councillor Durcan is nothing new. But to act in such a fashion as invited guests to the GMIT shows what little regard Councillor Durcan has for the Campus and those who teach and study there.

The Editorial on Page 2 of the Connaught Telegraph will strike a chord with many Castlebar people. An auctioneer-councillor who continuously takes the Ballymagash approach to local politics is not a pretty sight and makes a laughing stock of local democracy and Castlebar in particular.

OOPs! Wall collapses on shopper’s cars

FOUR cars were damaged by part of wall that collapsed at a car park owned by Tesco in Ballina close to 4 p.m. last Friday evening. The car park, at the Market Square with an entrance off Pearse Street, has been out of circulation since but the owners hoped it would be open again yesterday (Tuesday) morning. A question mark hangs over who actually owns the wall that collapsed. The building has not been used for a number of years. Both Tesco and local builders’ providers Archers are investigating the ownership issue. Three of the cars received damaged to the rear while one car, a 2002 model, was faced in to the wall and consequently sustained extensive damage to the front end. Conduit carrying power to an overhead light fell on one car which had three children in it.

Oops! is right.  Ah blocklayers are not what they used to be. No proper foundations these days. Or is it poor quality mortar? And blocklayers pricing themselves out of the market with housebuilders too.

These kind of accidents are an awful mess when you are trying to sort out the insurance claim. It reminds me of cars in the hold of a ferry following a particularly rough transit to France one summer many moons ago. Luckily our car was missed out by those that shifted during the voyage - owned by people who didn’t put the handbrake on and engage the gear shift or where the chains broke loose?

New student year, new student representative

ON Thursday 10 March all five GMIT Campuses went to the poles to elect new representatives for the next Academic Year. Galway had two positions up for grabs. Two Mayo men were elected to top positions. Mike Durkan from Swinford was deemed elected overall Students' Union President for the five GMIT Campuses. Kieran O'Malley from Ballina was elected Vice President and Welfare Officer for four of the five Campuses, taking in the main campus in Galway, Cluain Mhuire Art College, Letterfrack Furniture College, and Mountbellew Agriculture College. The two lads will work full-time and take up their positions on June 21st 2004. The part-time positions in Galway will be elected in October. In GMIT Castlebar Campus, the position available in the election was for a full-time executive. The following positions were filled: Roma Towey, President, Mary McGrath, Vice President and Welfare Officer, Cillian Crowe, PRO, Eoin McDonagh, Irish Language Officer, Nigel MacCormac, Entertainments Officer and Louise Mulrealy, Societies Officer. Roma will be the only working officer in the Castlebar Campus through the summer months and the rest of her executive will commence work in September at the start of term.

All success to Roma Towey on her upcoming year as GMIT Students Union President in Castlebar. The GMIT students put on a great display at the recent Patrick’s Day Parade in Castlebar – a sign of a vibrant student’s union. Lets hope they go from strength to strength.

Happy landing

ONE-HUNDRED-and-forty civil servants will be re-located from Dublin to new offices at Knock Airport as scheduled in three years time, a Government Minister predicted at the weekend. Mr. Eamon O’Cuiv T.D., Minster for Rural, Community and Gaeltacht Affairs, was upbeat and positive on the question of his Department’s decentralisation to Knock when he opened the ‘Cois Tine’ Heritage Centre in nearby Kilmovee on Saturday night. "We are dead on course to be fully functional at Knock within three years", the Minister stated. Mr. O’Cuiv acknowledged that the question of decentralisation to rural areas was causing some concern to civil servants in other Government Departments. But there were no significant obstacles hindering the Knock transfer. There had been a good response from civil servants particularly in the lower grades, the Minister explained. Mr. O’Cuiv conceded that it had been more difficult to get people in the higher grades - Principal and Assistance Principal - to apply for transfer but these difficulties were "being worked through".

This is the easy one I reckon. Of all Government Departments if they can’t move Gaeltacht and Rural Affairs to the West they haven’t a snowball’s chance of moving other more Dublin-centric departments.

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