From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Mayo News 4 Feb 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
7, Feb 2004 - 11:09

Quarry quandary

RESIDENTS of the famous tourist village of Ballintubber turned out in force last Thursday night at the local community centre to voice serious concerns over the proposed development of a quarry in the heart of the their village. A crowd of 140 people attended the public information meeting with many public representatives from across the political divide also present to hear both sides of a complex situation that appears to have no quick fix solution. Developer Sean Corcoran and his consultant Pat O’Donnell were at pains to point out that the quarry proposed for Creevagh, just off the main Ballinrobe to Castlebar road, will be of the highest standards but locals remain to be convinced. Ronan Mulvey and his family live within 220 metres of the site proposed for the quarry and he is seriously worried his quality of life will be adversely affected.

Living next or near to a quarry is not pleasant. Blasting sends shock waves through the bedrock beneath and if you are close by it’s like a major earthquake every time. You can set your watch almost by the Moneen quarry blast which can be felt all over the centre of town and that’s perhaps a mile away. I can only imagine the horror of living 200 metres from a quarry. Then you have the trucks rumbling up and down grinding your local road surface to pulp. And then there’s the stone crushers and separators rattling away all day long. I sympathise with the objectors wholeheartedly.

Train strike

AS the unofficial strike action by six train drivers at Westport rail station continued on Friday last, the local town council issued a statement calling on the drivers to suspend their action. The statement was issued by Ms Ann Moore, Town Clerk, on behalf of the Cathaoirleach, Cllr Margaret Adams and members of the Council, and Council management led by Pr Peter Hynes, Town Manager. The statement said the lack of a full train service was very regrettable and a source of much inconvenience to some members of the travelling public. ‘Westport Town Council calls on the small number of people who are on unofficial strike to suspend their action and allow the Labour Court to take steps to resolve the matter once and for all’ the statement said.

I know quite a few people who were inconvenienced yet again by the Westport line train. When the track works finished we thought we had finished with the bussing – but no we’re not. I’m afraid this is the kind of thing that really makes people lose confidence in the rail system and move to private car. I’m afraid too that the striking train drivers did themselves no favours when they hung up on the RTE Morning Ireland presenter when she asked them a hard question about how many hours they actually worked – was it really only 28 hours in the week?


Radio station takes legal action

A LEGAL challenge has been brought by North West Radio (NWR) against the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland’s (BCI) decision to award the licence for its former broadcasting area to North West Broadcasting Ltd. (NWBL), trading as Ocean FM. NWR, of Market Yard, Sligo, had broadcast in the Sligo, south Donegal and north Leitrim area for the past 13 years. It claims the BCI failed to adopt fair procedures when granting the renewal of the licence to Ocean FM. The commission denies the claims. In the High Court on Thursday last, Mr. James O’Reilly, S.C. for NWR, said it was the most successful radio station in the country when the decision was made to award the contract to NWBL on April 29th, 2003. NWBL had next to no experience, and was established solely for the purpose of unseating his client.

I’m a real radio fan – I listen to an awful lot more radio each week than I watch TV. But I’m afraid I can’t stand MWR. If I listen to it for a full hour in the course of the year that is it. It is incredibly popular though and it has presumably made its owners incredibly wealthy. So obviously they are fighting to hold on to their cash cow. I loved the insults that the Ocean FM consortium dished out to the listeners of NWR during the campaign for the licence – it was funny because you could see the grain of truth in them - all that 'country' music has to be bad for you and we are going to cure you kinda thing? But it will be really interesting to see how many people listen to Ocean FM assuming that NWR don’t overturn the award of the licence before the hand over.

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