The race is on!
ANYBODY who thinks that All-Ireland Final tickets are expensive at €60 should take a look at the price of going to a Madonna concert, Connacht Council Secretary, John Prenty told The Mayo News last night. "They’re much better value than a Madonna concert," he said. "For €60 you get to go watch the biggest day in the Irish sporting year whereas it was €88.50 to see Madonna in Slane." An unprecedented scramble for All-Ireland tickets is set to kick off in the county later this month as Mayo prepare for a clash with Kerry at Croke Park on September 26th. The precious pieces of paper will not be arriving in the county until after the All-Ireland Hurling Final on September 12th but initial estimates suggest that Mayo will receive between 5,000 and 6,000 tickets for the big day out.
Which would you prefer to watch in the pouring rain of a Sunday? Madonna with her blonde died hair and curls – or perhaps Conor Mortimer or Rasta Mack himself going through their paces in front of the packed crowd? Madonna tickets were easy to get – but All-Ireland tickets are a different kettle of fish. Material girl or not money ain’t enough to buy you an All-Ireland ticket. You have to have that rare combination of know-how, cunning, bargaining power and just sheer determination and luck if you want to be in the Cusack stand come the 26th of September to see Mayo grind Kerry to a pulp! Unless of course you already have a corporate ticket – (which by the way you can sell at a premium in case you don’t know).
Castlebar cleans up its act
CASTLEBAR Town Council has been urged to enforce the law where litter louts are touting the rules. Dr Tom Cavanagh of IBAL (Irish Business Against Litter) was commenting in the wake of Castlebar’s leap from the nether regions of IBAL’s anti-litter league into its top six, where it is regarded as ‘clean to European norms’. Dr Cavanagh placed the litter spotlight on Moneen Industrial Estate which remains a black spot with fast food wrappers, plastic bottles, over-flowing skips, untended weeds, poorly maintained shrubbery and a derelict site defacing the area between Keencost Cash and Carry and an empty unit opposite Heaton Buckley. "Somebody is responsible for that industrial estate and Castlebar Town Council should be able to get that cleaned up at no cost to themselves because they should be able to issue a fine to the owner or the occupier and he has to do it by law. That’s how you go about getting the job done cheaply. You insist that the law is enforced and that people in business and people who own property keep the area clean," said Dr Cavanagh. Reacting to Monday’s announcement, the chairman of Castlebar Tidy Towns, Ronan Warde, has welcomed the improvement in the town’s litter rating, following the dark days of June when Castlebar was consigned to the Serious Litter Problem category.
I heard this debate on the radio too - where Cork was cited as Ireland’s dirtiest city and the City Manager of Cork was defending his local authority’s record. It’s certainly good news that Castlebar has gone up the league. But at the same time I wonder is the whole thing a little bit random and without any real rigour? What if they surveyed at 3am on a Sunday morning after the discos had emptied out into the town’s fast food joints and people were just staggering home having eaten their chips and burgers. What then? But having said that I did actually see local Castlebar volunteers our there spiking crisp bags, vacuuming cigarette buts and generally getting the town in order. In the national school I was taught that littering was a real mortal sin and that was neither today nor yesterday. I wonder will today’s campaigns be any more successful as I think the message missed a few of my fellow classmates and their descendants?
Gas supply still uncertain
THERE is still no commitment on whether gas will be supplied to towns in Mayo, ahead of An Bord Pleanala’s ruling later this month on planning permission for the Corrib gas terminal. The contract for the construction of the Mayo-Galway gas pipeline has gone out to tender and construction is expected to commence in Spring 2005, subject to planning approval for the gas reception terminal at Bellanaboy. An Bord Gais has confirmed to The Mayo News this week that while towns in Mayo will not be connected to the gas supply initially, if there is enough demand to justify the cost of extending the pipeline to outlying towns, the Commission for Energy Regulation will then examine the feasibility of extending the pipeline from a technical and economic point of view. However, there is no indication of a timeframe within which this decision could be taken. The deadline for the receipt of tenders for the construction of the pipeline from the Bellanaboy terminal to the ring main at Craughwell, Co. Galway is September 21st, the date on which An Bord Pleanala is due to give its decision on the planning application for the Shell terminal.
I see they have started exploratory engineering works at the landing point much to the annoyance of the Green Party. They are obviously confident that they will finally have somewhere to bed down all those thousands of pipe sections that are stored there next to the roundabout in Claremorris? Nonetheless I think that the pipeline is just that – a pipeline – designed to pipe the Mayo gas a long distance to the real consumers in Dublin, Cork, etc., where there is a real population critical mass.
It’s actually quite hilarious to think that An Bord Gas will ever connect up spurs to provide gas to Mayo’s current crop of low-density one-off houses evenly spread and scattered along all our national routes and county roads wherever there is a farmer and an auctioneer with a 'one-off' to sell. Just as these one-off houses will never receive real broadband Internet or cable TV or sewage treatment services, neither will they receive a natural gas connection. It’s just not economic folks. And you know who to blame? You, - yourselves. You, the people of Mayo elected the auctioneer councillors whose main statutory function was to determine the County One-off Housing Development Plan. Now you don’t even have footpaths, never mind proper sewage treatment, cycle paths, broadband, decent electricity, public transport or decent telephone connections. Low density means no gas, no broadband, no public transport, etc. And, because the total population of Mayo is now so low density as a result, no one will get gas because not even the ‘towns’ can achieve any kind of decent critical mass as a result of the shambolic state of our planning process that was riven by conflict of interest. But oh!, I am so delighted that I, as a taxpayer, do not have to pay for Ray Bourke's 'legal fees' - i.e. those incurred as a result of 'corrupt' planning payments made to him.