From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Western People - 19 May 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
22, May 2004 - 10:56

Castlebar to battle back after ‘blackspot’ shame

Castlebar Tidy Towns Committee has high hopes of rectifying the litter situation in the area in light of the town’s poor performance in the Irish Business Against Litter Campaign. Following last week’s results the committee have appealed to everyone to get involved in the campaign against litter in the town. The league saw Castlebar start in 28th position out of 30 towns making it a ‘litter blackspot’ or ‘seriously littered’, with eight out of 10 areas judged to be Grade D, or ‘very poor indeed.’ The league published the results of the first of three assessments to be held this year and is based on surveys by An Taisce. Also, the excuse that the smoking ban has created litter problems in the town cannot be used as the town was judged before the ban came into effect. Maryland and Market Square were the only two locations designated Grade A.

Oh the shame of it alright – being an official litter blackspot can’t be good. For forty years now in our schools we have encouraged children not to throw litter on the ground. It doesn’t work. The carrot doesn’t work. The stupid signs around the town telling us not to litter only add to the problem. We have so many carrots that we must all have 20:20 vision by now. It’s time for a bit of stick rather than carrot. Litter wardens – we need some that actually do something around the town. Have you ever seen a litter warden? What about contracting the job out a la the clampers in Dublin? Give the litter police a financial incentive – allow them to pocket 33% of every on-the-spot fine levied. Employ someone to take photographs of litter bugs in action on Main Street and publish the photos in the local papers and here online. Have a litter bug of the week competition. Let people phone in and vote for the best photo of someone littering or blackspot. Chewing gum spitters, Ice-cream wrapper disposers, sweet paper discarders, car ashtray emptiers, spit spitters, burger bailers, pub door smokers - they could all feature each week and you can vote for them and win a prize for the best caption to accompany one of these lowlife litter people!

Calls for probe into abandoning of peat

"The remaining reserves of peat as declared by Bord na Mona in Oweninney would not justify investment in an economically sized unit as is the case in Lanesboro and Shannonbridge.’’ Pressure is mounting in the political arena and at a community level in North Mayo for an expert investigation into a proposal for a new peat electricity generation station and a peat briquette project in the area. The twin projects would complement each other and would provide employment to about 300 persons compared with a total of less than thirty for a major wind farm project and a gas powered electricity generation plant. Recently two new peat generating stations were built at Lanesboro and in Shannonbridge. The peat buring station at Bellacorick is to close later this year. A new station is not to be built because ESB/Bord na Mona say there are not sufficient peat reserves in NW Mayo. These claims are hotly disputed. Figures given by ESB/Bord na Mona for bog reserves in north Mayo have been very strongly contested by the man promoting the plan for the continued use of the peat resource available in North West Mayo. And Mr Myles Staunton, who has put his ideas to politicians and community groups in the area, adds that time is of the essence because any tapping into the national grid by wind energy and or a gas fired electricity generating station will block any future use of peat for electricity generation.

Frankly I don’t care how much peat is there – it should not be used because

  1. it’s a form of ecological violence to simply burn up such a rare and unusual landscape as the North Mayo raised bogs
  2. it just adds to our greenhouse gas charges which the economy is going to have to bear in the near future
  3. short term seasonal jobs can be replaced by long-term sustainable eco-tourism if the area is conserved and developed properly in conjunction with the National Park – which we hear very little about these days?

Cowley supports Dana...but what about Marian?

Mayo Independent TD Dr Jerry Cowley has agreed to be First Sub for Dana Rosemary Scallon as she seeks re-election to the European Parliament. The Mulranny-based TD confirmed yesterday (Monday) that he was "very honoured and privileged" to have been asked by Dana and that he had agreed to the offer. Dr. Cowley said that he did not see his decision in accepting Dana’s offer as being in conflict with his support for other Independent candidates and especially Marian Harkin. "I am supporting independents ... full stop. I want to see an independent elected in the North-West Constituency and it would be great if we could elect two. I am supporting Dana and Marian Harkin. "Dana kindly asked me to be her substitute and I said I would. I am very honoured and privileged to have been asked and I do respect her greatly . If other independents ask me, I may do the same for them. I want to stress that I am backing independent candidates and that’s the bottom line." Each candidate is allowed to nominate a few substitutes in the event that they should step down or retire from office during the five year term. In Fianna Fail circles, Sean O Neachtain was ‘first sub’ for Fianna Fail and when Pat The Cope Gallagher was elected to Dail Eireann two years ago, O Neachtain was automatically co-opted to take his seat in the European Parliament. The decision of Dr Cowley to put his considerable political weight behindDana’s campaign will come as a shock to Marian Harkin who was counting on his support. Only a few weeks ago Dr Cowley attended the launch of Ms Harkin’s campaign in Castlebar

Is the correct word two-faced or is it fence-sitter? ‘Oh yes I support Dana and Marian.’ It’s like saying ‘I support Fine Gael and Fianna Fail and Labour all together’. The only others who support such a wide range of parties are the big business brown-envelope giver-outers – they support everyone who supports them.

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