From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Connaught Telegraph - 12 May 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
16, May 2004 - 19:35

Bungee jump for People in Need
IN the final weeks of fundraising for the Telethon People in Need campaign a bungee jump has been organised on the Mall in Castlebar on Saturday afternoon next. A family day out is promised for all with a Red Bull barbeque, bouncy castle and face painting among the main attractions and Coastal Beats music providing background music. The first jump is scheduled for 2p.m. and Castlebar DJ Mad Mick has lent his body for a big push off the crane. If you would like to partake in the bungee jump contact Bridie in the Telethon office, Main Street, Castlebar on 094 9021754 or John Shaughnessy on 087 2890533. Other forthcoming events include a Telethon Hair and Fashion show in the TF Royal Hotel and Theatre on May 21st. Tickets are available from the Telethon office and local representatives for €10, a battle of the DJs will take place in The Welcome Inn this Friday night and a head shaving and slave auction in Maximo’s tonight, Wednesday night.

A brave young girl takes the plunge over Castlebar Mall, Saturday 15 May 2004

Well I watched the Bungee Jumpers on Saturday afternoon and it has to be said that they were extremely brave. I was especially impressed by the number of gutsy young teenage girls who took the high dive. One after the other they jumped from a height that to me looked like there was enough time for a parachute to open - if they had been wearing one. But all they had was a rope attached to a bit of bouncy rubber which jerked them up and down like puppets once they reachd the elastic limit. Over the whole time that I watched not one - boy or girl - funked out and I must have seen 10 to 15 taking the plunge onto the Mall opposite the Courthouse. The crane was high – very high up there indeed. So a big round of applause for the youngsters who took the high dive in aid of People in Need. (I didn't envy Ken Wright his job either as he photographed the divers plunging into mid-air. I’m sure he was feeling a bit queasy with the number of times he travelled up and down in the cage accompanying every new bungee jumper.

Duffy reveals personal attack on him forced his hand
IARLA Duffy, the Castlebar member of the Fianna Fail national executive, has revealed he was left with no option but to vote against Beverley Flynn in last Friday’s party expulsion motion because of a personal attack made on him by the now Independent Deputy. Duffy, who is a candidate in the forthcoming local elections, said he listened attentively to the arguments put forward by An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, Foreign Affairs Minister, Brian Cowen, Communications Minister, Dermot Ahern and Deputy Flynn. He explained: "The arguments put forward on both sides were sound and reasonable until the closing stage of Deputy Flynn's remarks when she launched a bitter personal attack on me." Duffy said the full extent of her attack on him is not contained in her drafted speech to Friday’s meeting which is published on page nine of today’s Connaught Telegraph. He stated: "It helped me to make up my mind on the way I should vote on the motion to expel her. "I voted for her expulsion as it seemed to me Deputy Flynn was still not accepting that she played any role in her own downfall and that it was time for a reality check. "Deputy Flynn must appreciate that she brought this on herself. The party could not ignore the fact that the High Court and the Supreme Court had ruled against her." Duffy said he had come under fierce pressure before and after the vote. "I would have been hypocritical if I did not vote the way I did and I genuinely feel sorry of Deputy Flynn’s plight." Duffy stated there has been much speculation and uninformed comment in the media about the decision of the national executive to expel Deputy Beverley Flynn.

Tis sad indeed to see such internecine strife between party colleagues eh? The precise detail of who was mandated to vote for what and by whom will fuel many an evening’s debate. Devalera and Collins, Dessie and Charlie, Cain and Abel come to mind. Gan dabht ar bith the fighting within party is much worse and more vicious than any between parties.

Way being cleared for 2m euro Achill facility
MAYO County Council has agreed to dispose of a four acres site at Keel Sandybanks in Achill to the Western Health Board for the establishment of a 2m euro day care centre for the elderly. The decision, subject to the confirmation of land title, was made following a prolonged debate at Monday’s meeting of the authority. A group representing the 557 commonage landowners from Keel attended the session to highlight their concerns over the ownership of the entire Sandybanks site which consists of over 400 acres. The main fear of the Achill group was that, while they welcomed the provision of the health facility, they may be disenfranchised by the council insisting they owned land on which sheep farmers have been claiming headage payments for many years.

This is a complicated one – The Field isn’t in it. I saw the crowds protesting outside the Aras last Monday when the debate was going on. I don’t pretend for one minute to understand what the rights and wrongs are but it would appear that a large number of farmers who grazed commonage were under the impression, mistaken or otherwise, that they were shareholders. Will they have to repay headage payments? I suspect not as I think many farmers claim headage even when they rent land. Commonage farmers in general are notoriously secretive about who actually holds shares and grazing rights in any case. It maybe that in this case this tendency has backfired. In a weird way it mirrors the Jackson Way compensation claim in Dublin. When it came down to it the putative ‘owners’ could not produce legal title to the infamous bit of land widely assumed to be ‘owned’ by one of those crooked Fianna Fail politicians found to have been guilty of accepting corrupt payments or jailed for obstructing a tribunal’s business.

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