From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
The Mayo News - 28 May 2003
By The Jaundiced Eye
2, Jun 2003 - 20:10

Ballinrobe Olympic Plans in Doubt

The Mayo News says that the devastating earthquake which hit Algeria last week has thrown doubt over Algeria’s participation in the June Special Olympics. A contingent from the North African country was due to arrive in Ballinrobe and plans were at an advanced stage to ensure an enjoyable stay for the 38 competing athletes and eleven coaches. But with up on 3,000 people feared dead and over 7,000 injured after the quake which measured 6.7 on the Richter scale, fears are growing that the group who had planned to travel will be adversely affected by last week’s tragic events. Monsignor Tom Shannon, Parish Priest of Ballinrobe Parish, said concerted efforts were being made by the town’s organising committee to make contact with the delegation in Algeria.

The deaths of 3000 people in a faraway country doesn’t usually impinge on us here in Mayo directly. One earthquake and 3000 people are dead. Almost as many civilians as were killed in Iraq recently but not receiving the same kind of TV coverage. Did anyone in Mayo send a few bob to help them out? A few years back the huge Turkish earthquake was followed by a quick collection on a Saturday afternoon outside the main Castlebar supermarkets. This raised something like 4000 punts to help out. The sympathy for our fellow human beings can be tapped if someone puts a collection can in front of us while the memory is still fresh. There seem to be fewer and fewer people actually getting off their backsides to shake those cans though. And that is the great thing about the Special Olympics – a lot of people have actually get up off their bums and done something really positive.

Work to start on Westport Cineplex

The Mayo news welcomes the fact that Westport is to have a cinema once again. The Cineplex is being built on a site, owned by Westport Town Council, adjacent to Westport Leisure Park in the heart of historic Westport. The project is expected to take approximately eight months to complete and it is intended to have the facility fully operational early in 2004.

Remember all the fuss when the County Cinema closed in Castlebar? The two rival groups fighting it out with one planning objection after another? There were those who said Castlebar could not support any more than the existing 3 screens of the County. Then there were five and now there are seven screens and the Matrix is Reloading at the moment….

Six Westport hotels now hold Ireland’s Best Award

The Westport based Mayo News is obviously proud when a local hotel wins an important service excellence award. The Ireland’s Best Award and Programme, operated by CERT and audited independently, is designed to promote and recognise establishments that have demonstrated a high level of service excellence and a strong commitment to the customer. This year the Castlecourt was added to the list. Westport now boasts six establishments that have qualified for the Ireland’s Best Award - the Atlantic Coast Hotel, Castlecourt Hotel, Hotel Westport, Knockranny House Hotel, Westport Woods Hotel and the Wyatt Hotel.

The importance of service in our tourism industry cannot be underestimated. People come to Ireland for the friendly people and for our beautiful environment. In recent years there has been a feeling that our greeting is not what it used to be. A fleecing rather than a greeting might be the feeling. Ever get the feeling that you’ve just been mugged when the nice girl with the tray of drinks asks you for an amount that was a down-payment on a mortgage only a few short years ago? At least if it’s done in a pleasant and friendly manner you don’t feel too bad. As for the environment side well.. sin sceal eile….



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