From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Western People 14 April 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
17, Apr 2004 - 09:54

Illegal fishing in Erris

Two illegal fishing operations were discovered in the Bangor District in the past month. Fishery protection staff employed by the North Western Regional Fisheries Board caught a local man using a net on the Munhin river while, in a separate incident, a net containing eleven salmon was found submerged below the surface of Carrowmore Lake. Mr Vincent Roche CEO, told a meeting of the Board in Ballina that in addition to Carrowmore Lake and the Munhin river, staff in the District carried out patrols on the Owenduff and Newport Rivers and on Tullaghan Bay. As well, a joint patrol of the Clew Bay oyster fishery was carried out in conjunction with staff in the Western Regional Fisheries Board.

The fisheries boys have their hands full it seems chasing after those who like to stick a net across a river or into a lake. It’s illegal for a restaurant or fish shop to buy a salmon that does not have a tag issued by the fisheries board so it would be interesting to know where the salmon go. Are they just for the table of the poacher? You can only eat so much salmon though - nice and all as it is with a little bit of hollandaise sauce and all that. So there must still be a thriving black market in salmon with people prepared to take the risk of being caught with a salmon on the premises that does not have a tag. The board is obviously active in its anti-poaching activities so presumably they do pay the occasional visit to check on the contents of freezers for illegal fish too?

Mayo’s luckiest Lotto Shop strikes gold once again

The gold rush continues at Newstand, Castlebar! Carmel Tully from Windsor, Castlebar, is the latest in a line of lucky lotto winners who purchased their tickets from Michael and Helen MacHale, at Newstand, Market Square Castlebar. Carmel bought a three star winning ticket at the Castlebar premises and won 265,500 euro in the Winning Streak programme last Saturday night on RTE. Her win is the latest in quite an amazing ‘winning streak’ at Michael and Helen MacHale’s Newstand in Castlebar. In recent years, they have had five Lotto jackpot winners and six Spin the Wheel winners with a total prize winning fund of 7,437,712 euro! Newstand had a recent four syndicate winner that shared 4,139,115 euro jackpot.

That Newstand shop certainly has the golden touch alright. Stories like this get me thinking about what I would do if I won the lotto. Of course I have never bought a scratch card so I’m not going to end up on winning streak but what would I do with 7,437,712 euro – in the unlikely event that I am the winner of all the prizes won at Newstand? I know family disputes have broken out over the distribution of imaginary lotto wins. "We were going to give you 100,000 of our win but you were only going to give us 10,000 ya mean things ya!" Anyway in my case I think to avoid this kind of family dispute I won’t give any of it away plus I intend to stay anonymous. That way no begging letters from relatives or poor people. The main thing is the big house so I will build a REALLY BIG one-off house with the prize-money! I will talk to some of my local auctioneers and wave a brown envelope full of cash and say I want the best site that money can buy. Up there on the cliff near the Ceide Fields looking across to Dun Briste perhaps? Or on the beach at somewhere like Murrisk, Old Head, Uggool looking out over Clew Bay or on the top of Atlantic Drive on Achill or maybe on the shores of Lough Conn? Then I will get a builder who does a nice line in houses that have big turrets. A man’s home is his castle so you gotta have turrets – one on either side to show you are the boss. Of course I will also invest some of the prize money in a business venture. I will build a slightly smaller house on the N5 National Route on the approach into Castlebar from Ballyvary with just 10 bedrooms and set this up as a B&B which will trap the approaching tourists before they actually discover that Castlebar isn’t a tourist town! I will import a few Romanian workers to run the B&B and just live on the profits. Ah! it could be me!

Permission refused for Crossmolina windfarm

A decision to refuse planning permission for a windfarm in Crossmolina has been upheld by An Bord Pleanala. Contract Renewables Limited, C/o Brian Meehan and Associates of 44 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin appealed the decision made by Mayo County Council on November 6 last to refuse permission for the construction of a windfarm, consisting of 30 wind turbines, a substation building/compound and associated works, including two temporary borrow-pits, access tracks and upgrading of existing public road access to the site at Inagh, Crossmolina. The proposed site is located in the elevated Inagh valley on the southern slopes of Benmore and Maumakeogh mountains in north County Mayo. It is approx 6.5km south-west of the village of Ballycastle and 22km west of Dooncarton Radar Station near Pollatomish and 6km south of the Ceide Fields and Interpretive Centre which lies north of Maumakeogh. Bellacorick power station and wind farm are 15km to the south-west.

Everytime you drive up or down the West of Ireland there’s a new windfarm it seems. Driving over the hill at Ballyvary the other day for example there was another one that seemed to have just sprung up overnight. Windfarms do have definite environmental benefits of course, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and making our energy supply more secure for the day when the oil runs out. But we also need to hold on to our landscape which underpins tourism, which is the largest industry in Ireland providing sustainable jobs and income. Careful planning is essential and it was interesting that An Bord Pleanala cited the Mayo County Deveopment Plan as the reason for upholding the appeal against the windfarm.

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