From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Mayo News - 22 Dec 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
30, Dec 2004 - 19:31

High contamination levels in Mayo water supplies

THE quality of drinking water in Mayo has fallen below the national standard, according to a report from the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement, which has revealed that 106 of the 150 private group water schemes in Mayo were contaminated with faecal material at some stage during 2003. While the standard of public water supplies was also below average, the level of non-compliance in private group water schemes in Mayo was ‘most unacceptable’, the report stated. Compliance with faecal coliform standards dropped from 61% in 2002 to 51% in 2003. The EPA was critical of Mayo County Council for not submitting the complete set of monitoring results for the group water schemes in time for inclusion in the report ‘despite numerous request’ by the Agency to the Council.

I wonder does the poor quality of rural group schemes in Mayo have anything to do with the fact that our beloved county councillors do not want to face up to the fact that building houses more or less anywhere and everywhere in the rural areas of our county is a bit of a disaster – an environmental disaster? Slopping your sewage into a hole in the ground (aka SEPTIC tank) is a great way to contaminate the water beneath – uisce faoi thalamh, uisce salach truailliú faoi thalamh. FAECAL matter in your drinking water source – a nice euphemism for faeces which in turn is a nice euphemism for shit in your drinking water. Taking water from lakes and rivers that just happen to have cattle defecating in them is a great way to contaminate your water supply too – cattle shit or human shit you builds your house and takes your choice it seems. It’s a shitty story – literally.

Council plans to improve quality of life in Mayo

A NEW five-year corporate plan for the four local authorities in Mayo, entitled ‘Leading the Way Ahead, 2005-2009’ has been approved by the members of Mayo County Council. The plan, which has resulted from extensive consultation over a number of months, aims to improve the quality of life for people living in Mayo and enhance the attractiveness of the county as a place to live, work, enjoy, invest and visit. The plan notes that County Mayo is disadvantaged due to its location and distance from central Government and Europe and stresses that Mayo local authorities must therefore address this major disadvantage. The four local authorites in Mayo (the County Council, Castlebar Town Council, Ballina Town Council and Westport Town Council), have an annual budget in excess of €200 million, the vast majority of which is reinvested back in the county, in the discharging of statutory duties and in the provision of essential services. The local authorities are the single biggest employers in the county with a staff of 1,300 and 350 pensioners.

I’m sure a lot of this is to do with being able to live in the idyllic country. I wonder will they have made the connection between the attractiveness of Mayo as a place to visit and the need to have proper planning. In the last council – a councillor on Castlebar’s community radio declared his satisfaction in having succeeded in ‘mutilating’ the proposed county development plan prepared by the professional planners trained in the art and science of planning. Councillors who just happen to be large land owners and property dealers know better of course. So now we have a document that says ‘Leading the Way Ahead’ – I wonder where we are being led – up the garden path I suspect? Of course there are plenty of very sensible-sounding stuff like good electricity, maintaining GMIT, broadband – but then how many of these councillors have ever sent or answered an email?

‘Bonfires over Bohola’

TRYING to find a window of thirty minutes during all the hustle and bustle of Christmas week isn’t easy sometimes. Your routine is fractured, one day rolls seamlessly into the next and everything becomes one big blur of late mornings and even later nights. Planning something is often futile. But if Colm O’Callaghan, an award-winning film-maker from Cork, is to be believed then every man, woman and child with an ounce of Mayo blood in their body must pencil Monday, December 27th at 8.30pm into their diary. That is the time that ‘Bonfires Over Bohola’ is broadcast next week, a programme that revisits the surviving members of the last Mayo team to win an All-Ireland Senior Final and finds a core of remarkable men who say they have lived with the burden far too long. They are waiting for somebody else to take their place on the pedestal. Speaking to The Mayo News about his film last week, O’Callaghan sounded as excited as he did impatient. He cannot wait for people to see what he has uncovered and firmly believes that he has produced one of the great sports films of recent times.

Unfortunately I missed the programme but I'll be looking out for the repeats. In the absence of a win in the 2004 All-Ireland Final, I guess Mayo has to look back to the middle of the last century for the ultimate days of GAA glory – 1951. What a different country Ireland was back then. The Mayo team had among others five medical students, three solicitors, engineers, a detective, a couple of fitters playing on it – quite an academic team by the standards of the time.

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