From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Connaught Telegraph 11 Aug 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
14, Aug 2004 - 16:30

The end of an era at the Connaught Telegraph

It’s not often I have the opportunity to publicly pay tribute to an outstanding member of the staff at the Connaught Telegraph. The occasion has presented itself with the official retirement last week of our longest serving member in Johnny Mee. For the past fifty-six years Johnny has been an integral part of what makes the Connaught Telegraph tick. Having joined the company at the tender age of fifteen years Johnny witnessed the transformation of the newspaper from an era when all of the type had to be hand-picked through to the most sophisticated use of computer technology. It that time Johnny was a loyal, dedicated and hard working employee who had the honour in June of being elected Mayor of Castlebar for an historic sixth time. Johnny never forgot his roots in McHale Road and rightly considered himself an ‘auld stock’ of the town.

This week's editorial from the Connaught's Editor, Tom Gillespie, goes on to outline Johnny Mee’s career and in particular his charitable work and his voluntary editing of the ever-popular Castlebar Parish Magazine. It’s nice to see someone like Johnny Mee being appreciated and publicly acknowledged while they are still hale and hearty. One of nature’s true gentlemen is Johnny - so congrats to Johnny Mee on his retirement – although I suspect that he will not really retire in any real sense and will be busier than ever.

Mayo actress becomes national celebrity

A YOUNG Mayo actress has made a major career breakthrough, writes TOM KELLY. Vickie Burke, the Curragh, Castlebar, is the latest star of the hit RTÉ television drama series, ‘Fair City.’ The 22-years-old blonde-haired performer secured the role of Kylie Kavanagh in the frequently-controversial soap opera. A daughter of Joey and Michelle Burke, she made her debut screen appearance on the evening of August 3rd last.

A second item of congratulations – it’s great to see a young Castlebar person 'making it', so to speak, and breaking through into the big time. Fair City is Ireland’s most popular TV programme – up there with the nine o’clock news even so she's in a very high profile role.

Mayo gas line stability fears are allayed

CLAIMS that the pipeline route selected for the Corrib Gas Field industry in North Mayo is unstable have been dismissed. Dail Deputy Eamon Ryan expressed fears that the international design codes being used in the proposed onshore pipeline leading to a gas terminal building in Bellanaboy, Belmullet, do not cater for threats to ground stability for such a pipeline. He quoted the Environmental Impact Assessment which revealed that the recent bog slides that occurred in nearby Pullathomas were unique to Ireland. The Dublin-based Green Party T.D. asked for a report on the proximity which the bog slides that occurred in the land surrounding Stuwaddaccon Bay last year were to the proposed onshore gas pipeline leading from the Corrib gas field to the proposed onshore pipeline at Bellanaboy.

I can’t imagine an international firm of gas pipeline layers not considering ground stability. The explosion in Belgium the other week when a mechanical digger punctured a major gas pipeline demonstrates how important the laying of secure pipelines is. The manner in which pipelines have being targeted in Nigeria over the years and now in Iraq suggests that anyone laying a pipeline has to consider a whole gamut of safety issues from earthquakes to terrorist attacks. Pipelines are laid all over the world in earthquake zones - California comes to mind. And as for landslides being unique to Ireland – that’s patent rubbish. No matter how unique we like to think we are we can’t lay claim to landslides as a uniquely Irish phenomenon - whether they involve peat or not - and it’s idiotic to think that no one else ever thought about ground stability when laying pipelines. Californian mudslides are famous for washing homes away. South America, China, India – anywhere with heavy rain and slopes that have been deforested or had their vegetative protection damaged so that the soil cracks open to allow the rain in are prone to landslides. Soil loss from erosion due to bad agricultural practices is a huge worldwide problem. I dislike politicians jumping onto local bandwagons like this backed up by nothing more than a causal press statement that has some seemingly plausible ‘sound bites’ (if you can have a sound bite in a newspaper that is) and which on inspection turn out to be just so much nonsense.


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