From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
The Western People - 2 Oct 2003
By The Jaundiced Eye
4, Oct 2003 - 13:04

Fears of new landslides prevent families returning to their homes

Mr Meenaghan lost 40 sheep during the floods and landslides that hit the Pullathomas, Glengad and Gortbrack areas. The fall-out from the Erris landslides continues, threatening the very survival of an entire community. More movement in the earth on Dooncarton Hill means that the residents living in its shadow have been unable to return to their homes. Thirty-three families have been moved to other accommodation as expert groups working on the mountainside refuse to rule out the possibility of further slippage.

The article shows a photo of Mr Meenaghan standing next to a scene of hillside devastation. On Friday some two thirds of the families affected were allowed to return to their homes but 14 are still at high risk. It probably won’t be possible to tell what is going to happen until the next heavy rainfall in the area. Later in the week too the EU said it would not be providing disaster relief as the damage did not reach a 3 Billion euro threshold necessary to trigger the release of funds. The question is now will the Government cough up? If overgrazing is the ultimate reason for the sheer scale of the landslide will the government be willing to pay compensation? By implication the Government is responsible by dint of paying out headage and premia payments. The IFA have been a thorn in the side of the Government over the past year in particular such that even the Minister for Agriculture has become thoroughly fed up of their antics. If I lived in Dooncarton the last person I would want to see is John Dillon.


Student nurses boost for Castlebar

Mayo Mental Health Services and the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology at Castlebar have received an excellent endorsement of the service they provide with a one hundred per cent increase in students undertaking the B.Sc. Degree in Psychiatric Nursing. This programme is delivered at the GMIT at Castlebar Campus in partnership with the Western Health Board. In 1999, the Junior Minister for Health, Dr. Tom Moffatt announced the establishment of the Institute of Nursing and Health Science at the GMIT with 15 places for psychiatric nurse training and 40 places for general nurse training. The first nursing graduates from GMIT will graduate on November 22 2003, following their three years intensive academic studies and clinical experience in the Mayo Health Services. Since the establishment of GMIT at Castlebar, the overall student numbers have grown from 100 in 1994 to in excess of 2,000 students in 2003, 850 of whom are availing of flexible and part-time delivery of third level accredited educational programmes.

Great credit is due to the GMIT team in Castlebar and particularly to Dr Katie Sweeney and her staff who have guided this project to fruition. What was regarded in some areas as a sop to the campaigners for a regional tech at the time was fully expected to fail. It would fade away and that would be that – an election promise filled. But it has been a roaring success with 2000 students on campus now. Paddy McGuinness and his team deserve great credit for the original campaign and Dr. Richard Thorn, former principal, who guided the campus from nothing to a major enterprise also deserve huge plaudits.

Castlebar kids to get 100,000 euro playground

A budget of 100,000 euro has been made available for Castlebar Town Council for the provision of a new children's playground. Acting Town Manager, Mr Padraig Flanagan said the monies were available following compensation received by the Council for the illegal demolition of the old convent building. The issue of a playground has been raised on several occasions as one of the few amenities Castlebar is desperately in need of. Mr Flanagan told the Council an estimated 80,000 euro would go towards the playground with 10,000 euro toward the provision of adequate car parking and a further 10,000 euro for the provision of palisade fencing. He also said it was anticipated the contract would go for public advertisement before the end of September.

Those with young children in Castlebar will undoubtedly welcome this. The litigious nature of Irish society has resulted in closure of playgrounds to the extent that a whole generation has grown up without having played on public swings and slides, climbing frames and the like. So it's great to see a playground in Castlebar again. There is a delicious irony in the source of the money – legal compensation received from the vandals who knocked down the listed convent building without permission. Hopefully the Town Council will not be sued by the parents of the first kid to break a tooth or stub their toe at the new playground!



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