Sunday, 29 March 2009


Noeline Haylett sent another trailer load of goods over to Ghana today. Here are some of the images of the day.

Saturday, 28 March 2009



The Meditation on Loving Kindness

A young female disciple undertook to develop the meditation on loving kindness. Sitting in her room, she would fill her heart with loving kindness for all people, animals and plants.

However, each day when she went to the market for her messages, she found her loving kindness practice sorely tested by one shopkeeper who would subject her to unwelcome caresses.

One day she could stand no more and began to chase the shopkeeper down the road with her upraised umbrella.

To her horror she passed her meditation teacher standing on the side of the road watching in amazement as his pupil gave chase.

She felt ashamed as she went up to him expecting to be told off for her anger.

“What you should do,” her teacher kindly advised her, “is to fill your heart with loving kindness, and with as much mindfulness as you can, hit this pest over the head with your umbrella.”



Here in Inishowen, there are some great deals and bargains to be had particularly on turnkey homes.

Potential buyers see that prices are more affordable and the lower mortgage interest rates are making the idea of buying your own home more attractive.

Ready To Buy: Young Still Keen to have a Home
Falling prices are attracting potential first time buyers to the property market, research has shown. Bank of Ireland carried out the survey with 500 non-mortgage holders aged between 20 and 35 and it revealed that 38% were considering buying a home in the next eighteen months.

Even with the feelings of uncertainty out there 70% of those surveyed still believe that buying a home is one of the basic goals of life. Other European countries, such as Germany, may have a culture of renting but it looks like we won’t be turning into a nation of renters any time soon.

Better Value
Here in Inishowen, there are some great deals and bargains to be had particularly on turnkey homes. Potential buyers see that prices are more affordable and the lower mortgage interest rates are making the idea of buying your own home more attractive.

Aside from falling interest rates, first-time buyers also benefited from an increase in mortgage interest relief announced in the budget. From January 1, the relief for first time buyers was increased from 20 to 25 per cent in the first two years of their mortgage, and up to 22.5 per cent in years three to five.The increased tax relief, which is deducted automatically by lenders, is available for new first-time buyers and first time buyers who bought a house in the past four years. Tax relief at 20 per cent still applies to first-time buyers in the sixth and seventh year of their mortgages.

Cheaper Than Renting
As property prices become cheaper and interest rates stay low, it may be cheaper to pay a mortgage than to pay rent. Financial institutions seem to be happy to lend to owner-occupiers, particularly if their credit rating is good. The AIB and Bank of Ireland have been at pains recently to convince the public they are open for mortgage business with each of them offering a €1bn fund for first time mortgages. The banks are also offering competitive rates to first time buyers.

Greater Choice
First time buyers also have a greater choice of properties on the market at the moment. Given that buying a home is for most of us, a mid to long term purchase/investment and that you are likely to live there for between 5 and 30 plus years, then if you can get credit and can afford it, it makes sense to buy now while prices and interest rates are competitive.

Top Ten Tips when Buying a Home
1. Start Saving for Your Deposit - Banks and building socieites do not give 100% mortgages any more so get a lump sum saved for a downpayment. E.g. If the maximum you can borrow is 92% then you will need a deposit of €16,000 for a €200,000 property.

2. Find out how much you can borrow - Lending criteria are based on a number of different things and take into account the earnings of those who are applying for the mortgage, the ability to repay the loan both now and in the event of increased interest rates applying to your loan in the future. As a general guide, a multiple of two and a half times the basic income of the applicants may be borrowed. There are variations, however. For example: a single person may have lower financial commitments in addition to his/her mortgage repayments and this may increase the amount of money that they can borrow.

3. Understand Your Loan - There are various types of mortgages, 30 year fixed, 15 years fixed, repayment mortgages, endowment mortgages. It’s a jungle of jargon so see make sure you get your provider to explain to you so that you can understand exactly what your mortgage means and what your repayments will be and how they might change. Remember, if you are credit worthy the instituions will want to sell to you so make sure you ask around, try and get independent advice so you don’t need to worry about fluctuating costs from month to month and changing interest rates. Go with a reputable provider.

4. Preparing Your Credit - While everyone knows that their credit score will be an important element in determining their mortgage payments, most do not follow a few simple tips for improving their score in the months leading up to the closing. First, make sure you keep the balance on your credit cards under a quarter of the total line of credit. Also, avoid large purchases or transfers that might appear out of the ordinary. And finally, pay off debts such as student loans that may be keeping your score down.

5. Gather your paperwork - Your lender will generally require 2 years of tax returns or wage slips, a year of bank statements, P- 60’s from the past 2 years, and a list of your current debts such as car and student loans. With strictor lending criterial, the blenders may ask for other information too. Find out what they need and have these prepared before they ask for them. This can save you a lot of time and avoid unnecessary stress.

6. Study The Local Property Market – Check websites such as and estate agents on line to see what prices houses are going for. Estate Agents might give you details of recently sold homes and if you have information of the asking price of properties, what they sold for, and the price per square foot, this information will help you put in a more competitive first offer and come across as a serious buyer. Make sure you can afford all the extras. There will be insurance and solicitors fees, so find out what these cost and factor them in to your budget.

7. Compare Lenders - After your offer is accepted, check out other providers to make sure you are getting the best rate possible. Be wary of offers that will only last a year or so, check out what they will mean further down the line. Once you have a lender, you will have bargaining power to determine who really wants your business, get the best possible interest rate, and save the most money in the long run. Make sure they are well-known with a solid reputation.

8. Go visit properties - Visit properties, take pictures both inside and out, make notes of pros and cons, Make sure it suits your living needs. Choosing a home where you may be living for a long time is an important mile stone in your life so don’t rush into it.

9. Get an Inspection - When your offer is accepted and it seems that the process is almost over, do not get too attached and believe that the home is already yours. Although it can be a major stumbling block in the negotiations, you absolutely need to have a qualified inspector look for foundation problems, damp and numerous other things that cannot be seen when you stroll through a home. Sometimes the inspector will only find minor problems, but other times there are extremely expensive issues that may make your purchase impossible. Under any circumstances, don’t skip this step.

10. RELAX - It can be expected that this buyiong a home is going to be somewhat stressful considering the major investment and lifestyle change you are making. But it is a positive step and hopefully an exciting experience and once you have bought a house, you can enjoy turning it into a home.

Good luck and happy house hunting!

The Jargon Busting Guide to Getting a Mortgage
Understanding terms that are thrown about when applying for a mortgage can be confusing. Here is the Independent’s guide to what it all means.
Advance: the mortgage loan.
Annuity Mortgage: (or Repayment Mortgage) a mortgage loan where interest and some of the debt is repaid, usually in monthly installments.
APR: stands for Annual Percentage Rate; more accurate measure of interest rate costs for comparison purposes.
Collateral: property that is given as security against the loan.
Contract: written legal agreement between the seller and the buyer.
Conveyancing: the legal work connected with the transfer of property.
Deeds: the documents that evidence the owner's legal entitlement to a property.
Deposit: part of the purchase price - usually 10% - that the buyer has to pay when contracts are exchanged.
Endowment Mortgage: interest on the mortgage is paid, usually each month, and the mortgage itself is repaid from the proceeds of an assigned Endowment policy.
Endowment Policy: this is a special life assurance/savings policy.
First-time Buyer's Grant: a government grant available to first-time buyers who purchase a house as their own residence.
Freehold: ownership of both the property and the land it sits on. In the case of a block of flats, for instance, you may at a later date sell off all the flats and retain the land, in which case you will charge ground rent to the new lease-holders.
Gazumping: when the seller of a property cancels the agreement on an offer from one buyer, in order to accept the offer of a higher price from another.
Ground Rent: annual rent (usually low) paid on a long lease.
Home Owner Payment Protection (HOPP): if you should find yourself unable to work through accident, illness or even redundancy, Payments Protection insurance will pay all or part of your mortgage repayment depending on the cover you choose.
Indemnity Bond: In certain circumstances, lending institutions may insist on an indemnity bond being taken out where the amount of the loan exceeds 75% of the value or purchase price of the property, whichever is lower. The indemnity bond is a "once-off" and not an annual payment.
Interest: interest is the price that you pay for a loan
Leasehold: property that is leased by the owner to a leaseholder or tenant for a fixed number of years. Unless the unexpired period of the lease is at least 50 years, it will be difficult to obtain a mortgage on the property.
Mortgage Protection Plan: life assurance policy assigned to the lender to clear your borrowings in the event of your death.
Mortgagee: a lender, such as a bank or building society, who grants someone a mortgage.
Mortgagor: the person who borrows money to buy a home against the security of the property.
Stamp Duty: a tax charged by the government.
Term: the period of years over which a mortgage is repaid.
Title: the ownership of the property.
Title Deeds: the documents that evidence the owner's legal entitlement to a property.
Valuation: inspection of a property, to check its market value. (This is not a full structural survey, which we advise you to have completed by a qualified architect/engineer).NOTE: The above are very general explanations of what is often quite complex legal terminology. We are giving them here in this format to help your understanding of this guide. If in doubt, contact your solicitor.



St Columba’s Church, Drung re-opened its doors this Sunday after being closed for a year for refurbishment, with a rededication of the church celebrated by Bishop Seamus Hegarty.

“We are absolutely delighted to get back into the church again,” said Father John Farren who has been Parish Priest at St Columba’s since 2002. “It is a good day for the Parish and people are very glad to be getting back again after being out for a year.”

For the last year parishioners have been using the community centre at Quigley’s Point and Fr Farren is very grateful that they were able to use the centre. “The management committee were very accommodating at the centre and it was great to have a home while the work was going on, but it is lovely to have the restoration finished,” he said.

Fr Farren feels the beautiful refurbishment and repairs is a reflection of the generosity of the people of the Parish who have been so supportive with raising the funds for the work.

“All parishes including churches in Muff, Iskaheen and Drung have been giving money through local church collections as well as running functions and having a draw. The Greenbank Presbyterian Church in Moville ran a function to raise funds for the refurbishment so it was great to have cross community support as well.”

The main source of donations, the church collections will continue to ease the €1.2 million costs of the refurbishment.

“It was an extensive renovation,” said Fr Farren, “Everything was refurbished from the roof to the floor including new marble sanctuary furnishings and replacing timber beams that had dry rot or woodworm. It is a protected historic building and all the work had to be in keeping with the original style as possible. The project was managed by James Doherty, a contractor from Straboe in Buncrana and Michael Hegarty from Derry, was the architect,” he added.

The church is an attractive building and has one of the most beautiful settings locally. Now that it has re-opened Fr Farren reports that there will be a run of weddings. Every Saturday is booked for the next few months, with 24 marriages already booked in for the rest of the year, ” he smiles. “Some people did postpone their weddings until we got back into the church.”


Charity Fashion Show in aid of Scoil Iosagain


Denise Gallanagh Wood was born in Subiaco in Perth, Western Australia. Her father, Joseph Gallanagh was originally from Buncrana and her mother, Anne is from Wexford and lives in Buncrana near her daughter. Denise’s travels took her to New Zealand, where she met her husband James. Denise worked in Human Services specialising in Community Development and on returning to Buncrana in 2003 she trained as a Life Coach. Her business STARRS focuses on Life Coaching (Business and Personal), Facilitation, (Workshops and Team Building) and Training (Personal Training, Conflict Management, Sustainable Development and Community Development).

You can contact Denise on 086 401 9987 (NI: 078 95612894 or by e-mail:

What music are you listening to at the moment?

I have eclectic tastes. I love music from the soul singers of the 1950’s and 60’s. Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, Nancy Sinatra, they are all fabulous. I also enjoy also songs by The Cure, Smiths, Madness. There’s a band called Midnight Oil from Australia that have done some classic songs, let’s not forget the Dubliners too.

What book are you reading?
I have four books on the go. My mother in law sent me over a copy of The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie for my birthday. The book has a succession of interweaving stories by a variety of storytellers, travellers and adventurers. I have also nearly finished Carbon Detox by George Marshall, which is a is a provocative and entertaining approach to climate change. It challenges conventional thinking and offers fresh ways to understand and respond to thisglobal crisis. I am also looking though John Seymour’s book Complete Self Sufficiency. I have got Tony Kearney’s book on the go too called “Who Owns the Future?” and always have a reference book lying around to look at; at the moment it’s Edward de Bono.

What was your favourite childhood game?
I grew up with no TV or radio and lived in an isolated town with few facilities. It was very hot so we would go swimming a lot and get hooked on the latest fads, like tennis balls fixed to bats with bits of elastic. I would draw and read a lot too.

Have you been to the cinema recently, what did you see and was it any good?
I went to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, about a man who starts to age backwards. It was a happy movie.

What section of the newspaper do you turn to first?
I tend to look at the classifieds for tendering opportunities.

What would you never throw away?
Family photo’s, they are irreplaceable.

Most embarrassing moment of your life?
I have enough self-confidence to not get bothered about getting embarrassed. To be embarrassed means that you have taken a risk, so I think that is a good thing and shouldn’t be avoided.

Favourite TV programme?
I usually watch things that are pretty mindless to switch off. And to think I grew up without a telly.

What job did you want to do when you were a child?
At high school I wanted to be a lawyer. I think it was about fighting for the underdog though and am glad I went down the road of Community Development. Being there when people wanted something was very important to me and I like working on things that makes things better.

Where was your best holiday and what made it special?
Four years ago the family and I went on a fabulous trip to France. We took the car and travelled around for a month. There were no plans and it was the first time we were away in a country with a foreign language so we all worked really well together to cope.

What famous people would you invite around for dinner and why?
Peter Garrett from Midnight Oil . In 2003 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to environment and the music industry. Rosa Parks would also be welcome. Rosa was the "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement." On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama she refused to obey bus driver James Blake’s order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Parks became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation.

What do you do for a special treat?
Chocolate, wine, movies, time with James, friends, meals, I do them all and cherish every one.

Favourite animal?
Bella, our four-month-old puppy.

Biggest thrill?
Meeting up with family and friends.

Biggest Challenge?
I moved away from the disability sector of my work and set up on my own working in training and development. I also published a book called Bona Fide -True Kiwi Stories about Life as a Teen, which was a collection of short stories about growing up in New Zealand.

What was the best present you ever got?
James and the children are so good at giving me presents. My last one was a home made spice rack.

What were the last things you bought just for yourself?
A dress from a charity shop in Derry and a twill basket.

Favourite past-time?
Painting in acrylics. I used to work in a picture framers so I can mount them too.

Which period in history would you most like to have lived through?
The Rococo period in the 18th century. The art and interior design was fantastic.

What do you have for breakfast?
Today I had two bits of toast with honey and a cup of coffee.

What was your first paid job?
That was the picture framing. I used to work late nights on Thursday and Saturday mornings at a supermarket when I was at high school

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
I have had lots of good advice. “Just trust yourself.” is one that an old boss in New Zealand told me. It was great for my self-confidence.

Personal belief?

If it’s going to be – it’s up to me…….

CELEBRATION - 25 years

The retirement committee and board of governors at the time.

The teachers 25 years ago...

St Orans Celebrate 25 Year Anniversary

St Orans National School in Cockhill are celebrating their twenty-five year anniversary with a mass on Thursday 2nd April at Cockhill Chapel at 7.30 followed by a get together in the community hall. All are welcome, particularly past pupils and parents and it will be a great opportunity for a trip down memory lane. There will be a display of old memorabilia and photos as well as refreshments on offer and no doubt plenty of stories and craic.

St Orans National School opened its doors on the 4th April 1984 and Master Michael McNelis, who was the principal at the time, remembers the excitement of the big move from St Mary’s School (now the Youth Club).

“Jim Sheridan was down at the old school with a tractor and trailer, supervising getting all the old stuff out, while I was up at the new school, supervising everything in the new class rooms.” Master McNelis is in fine reminiscing form.

“The children were very excited about moving into this big new building, though some of the wee ones were a bit nervous. I remember a couple of days after the big move, I found some infants in the hall crying. When I asked them what was the matter, they just looked up at me with trembling bottom lips…’We’re lost’ they cried.”

Master McNelis, originally from Glencolmcille had come from St Orans School in Sleadrin to St Mary’s in Cockhill in 1971 bringing 28 children with him. It was a time when the Government policy was to amalgamate schools, closing down the smaller ones. It wasn’t long before St Mary’s was also too small and there was talk of building a new school, but the planning process was long and drawn out.

At this stage St Mary’s School was bursting at the seams. It was a 4-room school with 160 pupils, so they were using 3 pre-fabs and the upstairs room in the chapel for classrooms.

Meanwhile the school was fundraising like crazy and they bought land from one of the teacher’s, Mary McKinny’s, father. By October 1982, they finally had the go ahead from the government and in the end Mr Hanson, the contractor, put up the school, very quickly.

It was decided to call the new school St Orans’ after the school that had been closed at Sleadrin and to make a distinction from St Marys. (Saint Oran was from Donegal and a companion of St Columba).

One of the features of the new school was the community hall. “We decided to make the general purpose room bigger so it could be used as a community hall” Michael explains “and it was well used. There were great plays put on there in its day.”

Plays were not the only entertainment that centred around the school; sport particularly football and gaelic were popular, there was an annual sports day, cycle tours all over Inishowen and of course preparations for the St Patrick’s day parade.

The pupil numbers continued to expand, with probably the biggest influx being when 50 new children started with the new Crana View estate being built.

Margaret Keller, the acting vice principal, has been connected to the school for a long time. Originally a pupil at St Mary’s, she came back there as a teacher not long after finishing her college teacher training. She is one of the original teachers who moved to St Oran’s and is still happy to be teaching at the school.

“There was great excitement when we moved in,” she explains “It was a lovely bright building, the classrooms were big with running water and toilets and we had great space outside too with the new playground.”

Margaret, who is now teaching the children of parents she had taught in the past, really appreciates the wonderful community spirit that is part of the tradition of the school.

“There is a great feeling of warmth here. It really is lovely. Every-one helps out. There is great involvement from children, parents and grandparents too. They help out in all sorts of ways, from serving on the parents committee, to fundraising, making teas and baking for events such as the mass on Thursday and confirmations and attending school trips.”

One change that Margaret, who teaches senior infants, has seen over the years is the increase in different cultures attending the school. “We are seeing pupils from various countries coming here and it adds to the richness of our community. We have had pupils from Ghana, Poland and Romania and it is great to learn about each others traditions, for example at Christmas.”

St Oran’s National School is proud to have strong roots in educating the local youth and will no doubt continue to be a vibrant focus for the local community in years to come.

Saturday, 21 March 2009


Is Sustainable Farming the Future for Inishowen?
Farmers in Inishowen are looking at new ways of earning income and are exploring different options. With this weeks visit by Trevor Sargant, the Minister for Food and Horticulture, who is promoting getting Ireland growing, there is an interest in whether Inishowen’s farming future could lie in sustainable growing.

Growing Food
In the recent months there has been an increase in farmers starting to put in a few vegetables, with seed potatoes flying out of the co-ops. This trend of growing food for the family and maybe keeping a few hens is partly a response to harder times when it might make sense to save a bit of money by growing your own, but there is also an interest for people in growing food as a hobby or for profit.

Organic Farming

Mary Reilly who runs an organic farm in Malin, with her husband John says that the local demand they have for their vegetables far outstrips supply. “We could sell ten times more than we grow. There is a real market for locally grown and organic vegetables.”

Trevor Sargant visited their farm - the most northerly organic farm in Ireland, last night. “A lot of people think that organic growing is really labour intensive”, Mary says “But really, it is no harder than other growing, it just requires a different outlook and approach. It is about cultivating the land, keeping it healthy.”

Direct Selling

People are more interested in where their food is coming from and are happy to support local businesses when they can. Fresh vegetables also taste a lot better. There is a lot of emphasis on quality as well. With supermarkets and processors setting prices for cattle and milk, local food sold from the farm means the farmer gets the profit directly rather than having to pay processors, packaging, transport and supermarkets.

National Organic Training Skillnet
The National Organic Training Skillnet (NOTS) provides high quality, low cost training for the expanding organic sector throughout the Republic of Ireland to farmers, growers, processors, food businesses, and consultants. They have courses in converting to organic and commercial organic horticulture as well as networking events and conferences. They can be contacted on 071 9640688 or through their website

Cereal and other Options
Another possibility is to grow more cereal locally. Local varieties of corn (oats) were grown in Inishowen for years and sustained the population up until the sixties. It is necessary to see what crops and animals are the most suitable for growing locally.

Some farmers have been exploring energy crops such as biomass, but the reality is that the climate and land here in Inishowen is not suited to these crops. There is a good potential here for wind farming though. There are possibilities for forestry as well, and though it is slow growing will be beneficial for future generations.

Increasing Numbers at Agricultural Colleges
Agricultural Colleges are seeing an increase in the numbers of students applying for courses. During the boom years many young people from farming backgrounds found it more profitable to work off farm in the construction industry, however with the recession hitting jobs hard, many young people are returning to the farm and exploring what possibilities it might have to offer.

The latest Cao figures show that a 50% increase in students choosing farming related courses. Damien Dempsey, the Marketing Manager of Agricultural Science at UCD says, “There is a realisation that agriculture and food make up our largest and most important indigenous industries.” Damien has noticed shifts in emphasis in the study of agriculture over the recent years, including more women going to college. “There is more of an emphasis on protection of the environment, how we can feed a growing population and the importance of biofuels.”

Mairead McGuiness Fine Gael MEP who studied agricultural science and economics at UCD said, “More people are realising that farming is a business on our doorstep that needs to be developed. There are difficulties in farming at the moment, but in the long term there will be a growing demand for food.”

SFP Applications On-Line
The Department of Agriculture is hoping to double the amount of farmers who apply for their Single Farm Payment online this year. Last year around 20,000 applications (about 15% of farmers in Ireland) were completed on line. These were submitted by Teagasc advisors, private planners and by farmers themselves. Overall Donegal’s on-line applications were above average, and were the highest in the country for the most applications being submitted by private agents. The number of farmers filling the form in on-line was lower than average.

The biggest advantage of the on-line system is there are less mistakes made due to checks that are built in which means the form cannot be submitted. The on-line service started on Monday (a full week ahead of getting the papers in the post). The department has made the form simpler and the farmer can just tick a box if nothing has changed in their farming system from last year. This applies to a lot of farmers who make no change in the SFP form from one year to the next. If you haven’t registered on-line you can go to or talk to your advisor.

Decline in Sheep Numbers Spark Fire Fears
Inishowen has seen a steep decline in sheep numbers over the last few years. The weather and land here in the peninsula have meant that we have one of the best climates in Europe for grass growing and hill and sheep farming. However, with the price of lamb dropping there is very little profit in sheep these days. With the introduction of the Single Farm Payment in 2005, the amount of animals that farmers kept made no difference to the subsidy, so there was no incentive to keep the livestock. Another factor, was when the economy was booming, it was more profitable to work off farm.

With the numbers falling, especially on the hills where there are fewer farmers working, there is a worry that the hillsides will become overgrown. Farmers have expressed concerns that in dry weather, this may lead to more hill fires like the ones that we saw in Buncrana a couple of years ago. This could have a devastating impact on the local flora and fauna.

Inishowen Sees Large Increase in Wild Deer
Farmers have noticed a large increase in wild deer throughout the county in the last year. Deer have been spotted in West Inishowen around the Linsfort area and can be a nuisance to farmers. These deer have expanded out from places like Glenveagh National Park and are taking advantage of the increase in forestry for which there have been grants available.

Inishowen’s hills are suitable for planting trees and it is a good long term investment for our future. The wild deer are using the forestry as cover and are causing damage to fences and worrying cattle. They are also a threat to crops and trees.

“They are not a major problem as it would not be difficult to cull them,” says a spokesperson from Teagasc.

Agricultural Gas Emissions Falling
New research from Teagasc shows that Greenhouse Gas emissions from agriculture are falling but further reductions are necessary. The Irish government have signed up to an EU commitment to reduce Ireland’s total emissions by between 20 and 30% by 2020.

The agricultural Greenhouse Gases in Ireland are much higher than in other countries as we are highly export focussed here which means they are larger than if we were simply supplying the domestic market.

Teagasc has warned that if significant reductions are demanded it may only be possible if the Irish cattle population were to go into steep decline over the next ten years.

Scientific research is exploring changes to farming methods but it will take time for this process to happen. Because of this, it is certain that there will have to be adjustments in agriculture as well as all other sectors of the economy.

Nitrates top SFP penalties
Over €300,000 in penalties will be taken off the 2008 Single Farm Payment to Irish farmers, during inspections.
The issue of Nitrates tops the penalties, with nearly one in five farmers in Ireland not being compliant in some way.
This increas was partly due to a tightening in the level of tolerances before getting a penalty. The biggest jump in penalties was during sheep inspections.
There was also a slight increase in the number of farmers penalised under most categories such as GAEC, Welfare, Food Hygiene and Feed. The majority of penalties imposed on farmers in breach were 1%.
The Department is due to meet farm organisations in the coming weeks to discuss how penalties under Nitrates Regulations are imposed.

Plant and Machinery, Ramelton
Plant & Machinery Moorefield Ramelton are the only Zetor tractor dealers in Donegal. Plant and Machinery is a family owned business run by Peter McConigley and is situated on the main Letterkenny to Ramelton Road.

They exclusively stock the brand new 2008 and 2009 Zetor range, the Proxima, Proxima plus and the Forterra. They also stock a large range of second hand tractors and farm machinery as well as new and used plant machinery. In stock they have Zetor drum mowers, Malone Toppers, Malone standard and tilt post Drivers and new Link Boxes. They also have second hand dumpers and diggers. Why not check out their website or call on 074 9151775 0r 086 8724621

Not published in the paper...

Outlook Poor for Inishowen Farming
Prospects for local farming are very depressing with farming under retreat in Inishowen. The basic profitability for food production is very poor and farmers are feeling the cost/price squeeze more and more these days. The farmers feel bitter as food processors are setting low prices. Some farmers have held on to cattle over the winter, paying for the feed and now find prices are cut right back and they are losing €200 per animal. The industry is in talks about the price of cattle with the processors but the processors are being squeezed by the supermarkets.

Low Food Prices
Customers expect cheap food these days and in real terms food is cheaper today, then it was thirty years ago. In this age of supply and demand the customer is king and the farmers are paying the price for the food we eat. The new cheap supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl keep their prices down through labour and shelving policies and shoppers come to expect cheaper prices. Supermarkets, seeing customers vote with their feet, then put pressure on the food processors that end up setting low prices for food such as beef, milk, cereals and potatoes. The farmer has no choice but to take the price but with no profits is there any reason to continue?

Costs Rising
Even though the prices are being kept low and farmers aren’t getting much return for their labours, the costs of farming are continually rising. Labour has been more expensive as in the boom it made more economic sense to work off farm in jobs such as construction. Although labour is coming back down now, the high cost of oil has influenced so many factors in food production such as food bills, fertilizer, and transport.

Number of Farms Dropping
The number of farms in Inishowen is dropping every year, with about 90% of farmers working part time. Because farming in Inishowen was traditionally small time subsistence farming, there is no way to compete with bigger farms in the EU like in Poland. Farmers don’t sell the land as they can let it sit and don’t have to pay rates so the land is, in a way wasted, as it is not put to any use.

With more unemployment about young people who may have left the farm to work in other industries are returning and seeing what possibilities exist. There has been an upsurge in young people going back to college to study agriculture with places being filled.

Kitchen Gardening
There also has been an increase in farmers growing their own food for the family, particularly spuds, and keeping a few hens as well. This trend is partly a response to harder times when it might make sense to save a bit of money by growing your own, but there is also an interest for people in growing food as a hobby.

The farming community is considering what the future holds here. Some farmers have been exploring energy crops such as biomass, but the reality is that the climate and land here in Inishowen is not suited to these crops. There is a good potential here for wind farming though. Forestry as well, though slow growing will be beneficial for future generations.


The Atheist and the Bear

A committed atheist (who steadfastly did not believe in a god of any sort) was on a trekking holiday when he became lost in some dense woods.
A large angry bear, with ten starving cubs back home and claws like kitchen knives, suddenly emerged from the undergrowth.

The atheist screamed in terror, turned and ran. The bear was quicker however, and after a long and desperate chase eventually cornered the atheist in a gully.
The exhausted atheist sank to his knees, shaking.
The bear, seeing that its prey was trapped, moved slowly towards the petrified man, drooling.
The atheist lifted his head, with tears in his eyes, and uttered the words he thought he would never say in all his life: "God help me..."

With these simple three words, a blinding flash of lightning lit up the sky. There was a deafening crash of thunder. The clouds parted. A brilliant light shone down. The forest fell silent. The bear froze still, in a trance. The atheist stood gaping, transfixed.

A voice came loud from above. Louder than twenty AC/DC concerts all happening at the same time. We can safely assume this voice to have been the voice of a God of some sort.
"You atheists make me seriously mad," boomed the god, "You deny me all your life. You tell others to deny me too. You put your faith in all that bloody Darwinian airy-fairy scientific nonsense, and then what a surprise - you get lost because you can't read your stupid map, and now you're about to get eaten by an angry bear all of a sudden you're on your knees snivelling and begging for my help?......... You must be joking..."

The atheist looked down, realising that he was not arguing from a position of strength.
"Okay, I take your point," said the atheist, thinking on his feet, while he still had them, "I can see it's a bit late for me to convert, but what about the bear?... Maybe you could convert the bear instead?"

"Hmmn... interesting idea..." said the voice, thinking hard, "...Okay. It shall be done." At which the brilliant light dimmed and vanished; the clouds closed; and the noises of the forest resumed.
The bear awoke and shook its head, a completely different expression on its face. Calm, at peace.

The bear closed its eyes, bowed its head, and said, "For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful, Amen."


Dawn Flanagan is nineteen and is originally from Dublin. She now lives in Buncrana with her mum and has two sisters Sarah and Emma and a brother, Michael who is busy working in Dublin. Dawn has spent the last year and a half working in the Town Clock Café on the Main Street in the town, which was taken over by Amanda Gill (Doherty) in January.

Dawn recently took part in, and won, the iCare charity fundraiser to find the “Face of Inishowen.” Her prizes included a hamper from Loreal, a night away in the Slieve Russel Hotel in County Cavan and a years contract with Converse Modelling Agency based in Derry. Dawn is always on the go and loves travelling so the contract will help her get to new and exciting places.

What music are you listening to at the moment?
Bits of everything. Kings of Leon are really good and I am also enjoying Beyoncé. I also listen to a bit of R+B.

What book are you reading?
I used to do quite a lot of reading, especially when I was at school. I don’t really have much time now and just tend to look through the magazines like New Mag in the café at break times.

What was your favourite childhood game?
If I were outside it would be games where you ran around like 40-40. Indoors I was competitive and although I didn’t win very often, I enjoyed Monopoly. My favourite piece to be was the dog….

Have you rented a DVD recently and was it any good?
I watched Tropical Thunder directed by Ben Stiller and starring loads of well-known actors. It’s about a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie who are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying. I enjoyed it but it’s not the type of film you want to see again.

What section of the newspaper do you turn to first?
I go to the style and fashion sections, as I like to see what people are wearing.

What would you never throw away?
Photos of friends and nights out. I like to look back on them to see the changing fashions. My mum still has my first school photo…

Favourite TV programme?
I enjoy American comedy dramas. Desperate Housewives, Greys Anatomy and of course the old favourite sit com…Friends.

What job did you want to do when you were younger?
I had very high expectations for myself when I was younger. I realise now that it takes hard work and determination to get a professional job. I did always want to travel, and that is still high on the list.

Where was your best holiday and what made it special?
Two years ago I went to Santa Ponza, Mallorca in Spain. There were 20 of us go over when we finished 5th year. It was a real adventure with lots of activities like rafting and snorkelling.

What do you do for a special treat?
Well, one of my favourite treat is to go out shopping….for clothes of course. I also enjoy organising girly nights in with a bottle of wine and a DVD. We will go out for a meal sometimes too.

Favourite animal?
I have had loads of animals and they were all my favourites. My sister Sarah and I have had dogs, hamsters and budgies, not all at the same time of course…

Biggest thrill?
When I was eight we went to Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire. It’s a massive play park and had fantastic water rides and roller coasters. I still like fast rides.

Biggest Challenge?
I found the leaving cert hard. You have to be very disciplined and I was always just enjoying the craic.

What was the best present you ever got?
I have got a lot of use of an iPod touch that I got last Christmas. It’s definitely the most useful present I have had.

What was the last thing you bought just for yourself?
I went shopping in Dublin and bought clothes.

What charity would you support?
I was involved in the iCare fashion show recently and raised money for them. It’s a great project.

The world’s most irritating invention?
The phone can be really irritating, especially when you want to be left alone.

Best/ worst birthday present?
I always love to get money, clothes or handy things like a camera. I haven’t really had any bad presents although I don’t really care much for bath stuff.

Favourite past-time?
Going out and socialising is top of the list. I go out to Liberty’s nightclub and O’Flaherty’s bar in Buncrana.

What do you have for breakfast?
Cereal this morning, Special K, I also have a cup of tea or coffee most mornings to wake me up.

Do you have a favourite cartoon character?
Stewie from Family Guy. He has such a hilarious accent, I could listen to him moan on all day.

What was your first paid job?
Babysitting. I often did it for my cousins and friends of my mums. My aunties were very generous and would often give me up to €20-30 euro for the night.

Best/worst household chore?
I am pretty used to household chores working in the Town Clock and like things to be tidy in my own kitchen, I can’t relax otherwise. The two things in the house I could do without would be getting the coal in and vacuuming.

What are the best words of encouragement you have been given?
Follow your own instincts and do what you feel is the right thing.

Personal philosophy?
To keep positive, enjoy your freedom and travel.

Sunday, 15 March 2009


Transition Inishowen

Transition Inishowen have been raising awareness of what life will be like for us here in Inishowen when the demand for oil exceeds the supply. The group have been showing films in Carndonagh, Moville and Buncrana, which have been introducing the concept of peak oil. This shows that the supply of oil is running out and will be much more expensive to extract in the future. The twin issues of peak oil and climate change are now being realised as a reality and the transition town movement aims to explore how we might reduce our energy needs yet still maintain a rewarding life style. Climate change makes reducing our carbon footprint essential, peak oil makes it inevitable and Transition initiatives gives us practical ways to go about it.

So how will Inishowen feed itself beyond peak oil? Transition Inishowen member Claire Gilmour says, “Inishowen needs to be able to meet its own needs. This movement is about people working together, re-localising everything, supporting local cottage industries and growing our own food.”

The Transition Town movement started in Kinsale, Co Cork in 2005 (where the Town Council took the historic step of adopting the plan to work toward energy independence), and has since spread like wildfire across the world with participating towns in many countries including the UK, Australia, Chile, Japan and the USA. It plans to be a positive and hopeful movement where people use the same creativity, ingenuity and adaptability that was used when oil became more plentiful now that energy resources are depleting.

Local Community
Here in Inishowen, with the recession biting, we are already seeing local people and businesses becoming more aware of keeping as much of their spending power in the community as possible and Claire sees this as a positive step.

“Every-one can make a difference,” she explains with passion. “We need to work together. If we wait for the government, it will be too little, too late. If we act as individuals, it will be too little, but if we act as communities, it might be just enough, just in time.”

Transition Inishowen sees connecting with local groups as a vital step in the process. “There are some great community groups out there, ” she explains but Transition Inishowen is not just another group. “It is not something you join, but will involve every-one. It is about increasing resilience in the community, strengthening existing groups and working together.”
The new group are following the transition town process of raising awareness (through the film screenings), creating forums for discussion on all relevant topics such as economics, energy uses and food production. Transition Towns also put on all sorts of events such as tree planting, how to forage for food, growing vegetables etc in order to increase skills and networks within the community.

Claire feels very optimistic about the Transition in Inishowen. “We are in a good spot for alternative energies such as wind and waves,” she begins “ and we have people within the community who can still remember the old ways so that their memories and skills are still with us.” She pauses for a moment, thinking. “We have cottage industries such as tweed-making, basket weaving and carpentry and there is a wealth of art and music here, so we will never be short of craic,” she smiles.

The next two events run by Transition Inishowen will be The End of Suburbia, which will be screened on Sat 21st March in the IDP offices in Pound Street from 2pm –4pm. Then on Saturday 4th April (2pm –4pm), there will be a showing of the film Peak Oil –Imposed by Nature, followed by a talk by charismatic speaker Dr John Barry who is a Professor of Environmental Politics and Sustainability at Queens University, Belfast as well as a member of the Transition Town in Holywood Co. Down.

If you are interested in the Transition Town movement you can check out the website or phone Claire 074 9378577 or Bev and Mike Doherty on 074 9374581.


The Lion and the Sheep

A Zen Story

A herd of sheep lived by the side of a mountain. One day, the herd came across a small copper-coloured lump of fur. A ewe bent down sniffing carefully watching its small chest rise with each breath. She lay down beside it to give it warmth and see if it would wake up. At last the small furry bundle began to stir and the ewe licked its face as it nuzzled closer finding warm milk to drink.

Time went on and the ewe continued to take care of the foundling as part of the herd. She looked different but went along with the herd up the mountain paths, drank out of the streams and nibbled the grasses like all good sheep.

She was a lion, but lived among sheep. She became very good at spotting dangerous animals, so she guarded the herd at night and moved in front of the herd during the day.

One day, on the meadow, a roar rang out and the herd ran together for safety, except the lion. She stopped and turned toward the noise. Around the tree, came another lion. “Come with me” the stranger said. The lion saw her reflection in the drinking water and could see her true self, reflected there and in the eyes of the lion. For the first time in her life, she was not different but part of another family, one that she had yet to discover. She knew what she had to do. Saying goodbye to her adopted family she left the safety of the herd and headed into the mountains with her new friend to honour and discover her true self.



Taking care of your health and well being makes you feel good about yourself in many ways

We are living in a fantastic place to keep ourselves healthy in body and mind with all sorts of resources available locally -many of them free.

Youth and community centres are great local resources for all sorts of activities that can keep you physically and mentally active and healthy

In today’s current economic climate, people are quickly realizing that they have to be part of the solution, to take action, and gain more control of their lives. Keeping healthy in body, mind and spirit is a personal decision and can be less work than you think. Here are some top tips.

· Feel good about your decisions. Bin the guilt.

· Choose exercises you will enjoy and start off in small steps. If you are sociable, try a dance class, if you are spiritual what about yoga and tai chi. If you like a bit of peace and quiet try running (you only have to go around the block at a very slow jog the first day).

· Remember when you felt when you were at you fittest. Get out a photo from that time and pin it up. It will help you keep your goal in mind.

· Get active. Put dance music on when doing housework, play football with the kids. Get the bikes out again for the spring.


“You are what you eat”

Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruit and veg and less fatty and junk food will increase your energy levels and your immune system. Make small changes such as cutting out snacking on biscuits and have some raw carrots instead. Cut down on tea and coffee and try herbal tea or even hot water.

If you have the occasional treat or binge, don’t feel bad, enjoy it and start again the next day.


We are living in a fantastic place to keep ourselves healthy in body and mind with all sorts of resources available locally -many of them free. Our landscape and natural environment is a real asset to our local community. There are fantastic walks, beaches and hills that tourists from all over the world pay a fortune to come over and enjoy. Spending time outside, walking, cycling, gardening is such a great way to keep healthy, physically and mentally. Get wrapped up and get out there. You will get fitter and feel better.

Golf is a great way to keep fit and healthy on so many levels. Meeting up with others to play, network and have a bit of craic gets you out of the house for a wee break (that’s bound to be good for you). It can help with mental performance as when you are playing well and are in ‘the zone’ your mind is perfectly quiet and of course you are moving your body walking and taking your shot.

(Don’t forget your warming up exercises if you haven’t played for a while).

North West Golf Club Suspends Entry Fee
North West Golf Club has suspended their First Time Members’ Levy for a limited time so first time members just pay the annual subscription for the season. They have also held their green fees at last season’s prices so if you are playing Monday to Friday it is €30 (or €20 if you are playing with a member) and €35 on Saturday and Sunday (€25 if playing with a member).

They also have special Green Fee rates for players who prefer their golf in the late afternoon. These ‘Twilight’ Green fees will begin in June and cost €15 after 7pm (Mondays to Fridays), €18 after 6pm at the weekend).

Crazy Fit Massage
This power vibration machine is hitting Inishowen by storm. You can hire a machine to use in the comfort of your own home for only €25 per month. It is a great machine for toning and losing weight without having to put any effort in yourself. You simply plug it in, stand on the plate, switch it on and away you go. A ten-minute workout is the same as an hour in the gym. Contact John McLaughlin on 087 2074527

Youth and Community Centres
Youth and community centres are great local resources for all sorts of activities that can keep you physically and mentally active and healthy.

Clonmany Youth and Community Centre
In Clonmany they have a special offer for March with gym membership only €250. There are all sorts of activities on for children and young people (from under 9’s to under 18’s) including indoor football, badminton, uni-hoc, martial arts, disco dancing and boxing. Linda Brady teaches gymnastics on Wednesdays.

Helping out in your local community is also a great way of keeping your body and mind active especially if you have more time on your hands then you are used to. Clonmany Youth and Community Centre are always looking for volunteers for basketball, art, drama, indoor athletics, table tennis or for their games room. If you have an hour or two to spare during the week, or are interested in any of the classes and offers, please contact the centre on 074 9376772

Buncrana Youth Club
Buncrana Youth Club also has great activities on that can help you get fit for summer. Kathy’s Irish dancing for adults is a fun and popular way to get fit and have a bit of craic. Classes are held on Mondays and Thursdays at 8pm.

If you prefer your dancing less traditional the check out the dimensions dance club on Saturday at 6.30pm All ages are welcome and the qualified dance instructors are Linda Brady and Danielle Duddy. Boxing is always popular locally for men and women. Training is on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays between 6.30 and 8pm.


Kernans in Newtowncunnigham is celebrating this Friday with an open day. The day is to publicly introduce its move to Eurospar, giving greater value to you the customer, as well as to show off the new diner.

The fun kicks off about 11am with give-aways, spot prizes, free coffee and food and of course tremendous value in store. Highland Radio’s Lee Gouch and Steven Lynch will be joining in the festivities broadcasting live throughout the afternoon.

Situated in the heart of the community, the new, recently revamped, store is many things to many people. Having moved from a convenience store, the supermarket is now bigger, brighter and better value. Having global buying power, Eurospar, means that prices in the store are 20% less this year – just what customers need these days.

Natural Meeting Place
The 100-seater diner has been expanded (from 60) which means that there is plenty of room to eat and meet. Because of the location on the main Derry to Letterkenny route (or the Belfast to Galway road as one commuter noted), it has become a natural meeting place for business folk and locals alike. People can relax with a coffee or catch up with some work using the wireless broadband connection.

Speaking of coffee, Kernans is the only shop outside Dublin with a Barista Insomnia Coffee Dispenser. This coffee has become extremely popular with locals as well as the ‘dashboard diners’. The specially imported, roasted beans are very fresh and could certainly spoil you for other coffees.

Buying locally
Although Kernans now have global buying power, they still like to source as much produce as possible locally. Most of their fresh goods come from local suppliers and they used local builders for the new revamp.

Fresh Meat
The new butchery department has two local butchers who previously worked at McGees butchers in Letterkenny. The meat is all sourced locally, bought on the bone and butchered properly. It is not bought in ready prepared so you can be sure of quality meat at Kernans.

Biggest Local Employer

Anthony Kernan who runs the shop originally played football in England for Wolverhamton Wanderers. After he hurt his knee he came back home and went to Jordanstown to study business and finance. He decided to help his family set up Kernans for six months back in 1990 and has been there ever since. Anthony is proud to be one of the largest employers in the area with the shop employing 80 people locally. He also has a shop in Ramelton and is opening another in Stranorlar soon.

“Others may be downsizing, but I feel that spending the money on the expansion will help to safeguard future employment in these uncertain times,” Anthony explains.

New Appointment
Anthony has seen the shop reinvent itself four times over the years and there are always changes happening. “We are lucky to have just appointed a new manager, Liam Igoe who is coming to us from Buncrana Supervalu” Anthony, says “He has loads of skills and experience.”

Value Value Value
Anthony understands that it is all about value for money these days and Kernans is happy to provide this. Special offers at the moment include three easter eggs for €3.50. Now that is eggciting!


Mary Doherty will be busy today keeping her St Patrick’s Day customers satisfied with top quality food from Mary D’s take-away in Quigleys Point. Mary has recently taken over the business (formerly McCreadies) and has been busy expanding the menu, sourcing first class ingredients as well as starting an outside catering service offering great grub for birthday parties, confirmations and special events.

“I love what I do,” Mary explains. “I really enjoy working with the food and having the craic with the customers.” It is not just about fun for Mary though. She aims to set very high standards in the food she offers.

“I buy the best quality ingredients available. The potatoes are chipped fresh every day and I buy the highest graded spud you can get. The burgers are made from minced steak. It is 100% Irish beef and all the meat is supplied by local butchers,” she says with pride.

Buying locally to support the community is important to Mary. “I think in the times that’s in it we need to shop locally and give every-one a wee bit of a chance,” she explains.

Low Prices
Mary has the same supportive attitude toward her customers. “Although I have been improving the quality of food, I am keeping the prices the same as I want to suit the customers pockets in these days,” she says.

She has also been expanding her menu and offering the customers a wider range of options adding chicken breasts and spicy beef amongst others to her usual fare of take away, pizzas and kebabs.


Mary, originally from Burnfoot, now lives in Ture. She had been working in the take-away before she took it over and had previously been in hotels for about twelve years. She started off washing dishes in the Inishowen Gateway and then moved on to working with the chef in the kitchen and managing the accommodation. In her spare time Mary went to the North West Regional College in Derry where she got her qualifications in catering. As if she wasn’t busy enough with her new business, Mary is planning to return to college. “I am planning to go back and complete my higher levels,” she says.

So how was it for Mary taking over the business? “I felt very nervous at the beginning,” she confides. “You know, taking on a new project and all. But I have to say it is really working out well.” She pauses for a moment, thinking.

“I have to say that I have had great support from my family and I am really lucky with Emer, who works with me –she is not just an employee, she is a friend too and is always there. The customers have been great too.”

If you would like to contact Mary for her outside catering service you can call her on 0874187530


As the economy tightens its belt we all have to make some changes to the way we live. The best way to get through the recession is to manage and clear your debts and cut your costs.

Managing Your Debts

MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting services) is funded by the Government and is a free, confidential, independent and non-profit making service for people in debt or at risk of getting into debt. The service can also help low-income families develop the knowledge and skills they need to avoid getting into debt and deal with situations as they arise. MABS also identifies sources of credit that best meets people’s needs and helps them access these sources. There are four important steps that MABS uses to help people get to grips with their finances:

1.Assessing the situation,

2.Working on your budget,

3.Dealing with debts and

4. Managing payments.MABS also provides information and advice through their website or you can call the MABS help line on: 1890 283438

Cutting Your Costs

There are two main ways to cut your costs:

1) Buy things cheaper

2) Don’t buy things at all

It can be worth keeping a spending diary to see exactly where your money goes and see where you can cut costs.

· Do you need that item or do you want it?

· Can you bring a sandwich with you instead of buying lunch out?

Check out other providers for your household services to cut down monthly bills.

Check reduced to clear rails and shelves in the shops.

Use the library

Swap services with friends and family (I’ll cut your grass if you baby-sit for me on Saturday night).

Get into green living; darn and mend, switch off light bulbs, use up leftovers, grow your own veggies, use energy saving bulbs etc

You can also take advantage of the good side of a recession. “There’s a good side to a recession!" we hear you exclaim suspiciously. Actually there is, namely that there will be bargains to be had.

As consumers become more hesitant to spend, many shops and businesses are finding it harder to survive. This means you can find some great deals locally on needed necessities and services. Check these out….

Jeffrey McLaughlin, Optician

Jeffrey McLaughlin is offering free eye tests and glasses for approved medical card holders and PRSI payers (terms and conditions apply). He also has great deals on designer specs like 2 pairs of fcukTM glasses for €199. You will find Jeffrey McLaughlin optician shops in Chapel Street Carndonagh and Lower Main Street Buncrana.

Inishowen Blinds

Inishowen Blinds are offering 25% off selected vertical and roller blinds. With free estimates, free fittings and a five-year guarantee, getting your quality blinds could be cheaper than you think. With the daylight saving coming in at the end of the month, blinds can help keep the light out when you want the children to spend an extra hour in bed. Inishowen Blinds are in Milltown Business Park, Buncrana and you can call them on 074 9361708 or 0862231817

A & N Fuels

With a budget looming in April and a possible hike on fuel prices it makes sense to fill up now.
A & N Fuels have the cheapest fuel in Ireland (as seen in the News of the World). We all need to keep warm and making our money go further is especially important these days. To keep your heating and diesel costs low call the A & N Fuels hot line on 07493 61542 / 20795.
The fuel isn’t just cheap. A & N Fuels have a reputation for providing top quality fuels, great service and they also guarantee next day delivery if you call them before 4pm.
Locally based, why not call in to their depot in Aghilly Buncrana to see their comprehensive range of oil tanks, coal-bunkers, emergency oil drums (20litres), wood pellets, coal, lube oils, greases, tank gauges. While you are there you can fill up with diesel.
A & N Fuels, providing best value, top quality and quick delivery. Keeping you and your family warm for less.

Caratra Bar, Restaurant & Guesthouse Culdaff

Caratra Bar, Restaurant & Guesthouse Culdaff is just recently under new management with Brian & Loretta Bonner. They are currently promoting excellent home cooked meals using fresh local produce ensuring that eating out has never been more affordable. With a complimentary bottle of wine with your 3 course meal for only €30 per couple, the Thursday special is a real recession buster. The couple want to bring the value back to eating out in a warm cosy, friendly environment where you can get value for money & your custom is really appreciated. As if that wasn’t enough they are also offering a local radius curtsey car to drop you home so you can leave the car behind & have a few drinks with your meal. With wonderful surroundings and a relaxed pleasant atmosphere it is also the perfect venue choice for birthday parties, family gatherings, communion & confirmation outings. So whether you want great value food at affordable prices or just a good pint by a snug open fire why not come along to Caratra where your money goes further!!!

Building and Joinery Work
There are plenty of bargains to be had for building and joinery work. If you are considering an extension, like a garage, sunroom or conservatory then give Damien McLaughlin a call on 0749134852 or 0044 7714300034. Damien has slashed his prices offering low, low rates. His prices may be low, but he does a great job. So for unbeatable value and top quality building and joinery work throughout Inishowen and the North West, give Damien a call.

Plant Hire
Hiring out plant equipment can keep costs down especially when the prices are competitive. If you need a JCB Fastrac with loader and dump trailers or 120 Hitachi call Damien McLaughlin on 0749134852 or 0044 7714300034.

Mangan Tours
For a coach holiday that you can afford and you will remember, Mangan Tours provide great value for money. They have a tour for every-one from the Highlights of Holland, to the London and Chelsea Flower Show, From Lake Garda to Alton Towers and Cadbury World, from the Festival of Quilts to the Burren and Cliffs of Moher.

O’Donnells Premier Meats
O’Donnells Premier Meats in Buncrana always provide excellent meat at good prices. For a credit crunching recession busting deal check out their week planner meat pack which will satisfy the whole family. For €22 you can get one large chicken, 4 pork chops, 500g of steak pieces, 500g of pork pieces, 500g of minced steak and eight pork sausages. Now that’s a bargain.

Saturday, 14 March 2009


Jackie Cartin lives on the border of Muff and Derry and is originally from the Brandywell in the heart of Derry. She is a specialist in Natural Nutritional Education and Consultancy. Her company Pure Products and Services, is an umbrella for her many different activities. Jackie designs and delivers cookery classes and workshops on healthy living and lifestyles for local community groups and schools. Jackie enjoys introducing practical, user-friendly alternatives to junk food to people. One of the classes is a Natural Approach to Weight Loss where one satisfied client lost eleven stone over the course of one year. Jackie finds the classes in the schools have a positive impact on the children and she hopes that her natural approach will help in the long term with diabetes, obesity and mental health. Also under the umbrella group is her fresh and frozen ready meals catering for vegetarians and vegans. Check out the full menu on her website or you can contact her on (0044) 7742922543 or on

Jacqueline lives with Martin McDaid and their children Sam, Leah and Seosamh. You can also get a chance to see Jacqueline at Natural Health Fair on the 21st March at the Inishowen Gateway Hotel, which is on between 10am and 4:30 pm.

What music are you listening to at the moment?
The new remastered Astral Weeks by Van Morrison, which was originally recorded in 1968. I am also enjoying Grainne Duffy (from Castleblaney in County Monaghan). It is bluesy soul music and I am also listening to some classic jazz from Imelda May.

What books are you reading?
I read anything on nutrition and have a lot of reference books from when I was studying for my Nutritional Therapy exams. I use them a lot. I have a cook book by Nomi Shannon called The Raw Gourmet, which I dip in and out of. I also have a book called End the Struggle and Dance with Life by Susan Jeffers, which is always floating around the house somewhere. I like to browse through it as it keeps me focussed.

What was your favourite childhood game?
I loved being out of doors and cycled a lot. I come from a very large family of 11 children and I shared a bedroom with 5 sisters. We could always rustle up a rounders team.

What was the last film that you saw at the cinema?
Perfume – It’s a story of a man with a superior sense of smell who attempts to create the ultimate perfume and how his world takes a dark turn in his quest.

What would you never throw away?
I don’t have anything left from my childhood… everything was worn out. It would have to be the memory of my first pair of Wrangler Dungarees with their wide flares. The dungarees have gone but the memory remains…

Most embarrassing moment of your life?
Coming from a large family, we had lots of embarrassing moments so I was well seasoned to them from a young age. Things like that tend to wash over me.

Favourite TV programme?
This could fall under the heading of “Embarrassing moments” I like Desperate Housewives, the X Factor and a bit of reality TV like Big Brother. I can’t believe I have just admitted to that…..

What job did you want to do when you were a child?
I wanted to be a nurse and I suppose I am still going down the caring route with my training as a nutritionalist.

Any holiday memories?
Martin and I decided to go away for a week to the Island of Rhodes. It was a total chill out on a hired a motorbike. I was riddled with guilt afterwards though and I still remember the look on my children’s faces as we left them behind with family for the week. We have taken them with us ever since.

What famous people would you invite around for dinner and why?
Barbara Wayne, the founder of the College of Natural Nutrition in Bristol, Bob Marley, the Dalai Lama and Van Morrison could give us a song.

What do you do for a special treat?
More than I realise when I think about it… 15 friends and I had a pampering spa weekend in Enniskillen recently. We love to go out and about in the campervan and as we have to test new food for our vegetarian takeaway business, it’s a good excuse to have a lot of friends around to sample the food. That is a real treat as we love cooking.

Favourite animal?
I love animals but couldn’t keep one, as I would feel guilty keeping it enclosed.

Biggest thrill?
The Dragon Khan in the Port Adventura Park, in Salou in Spain. The ride is the longest in Europe and the name is based on Chinese mythology. The Dragon Khan was the reincarnated spirit of the evil Prince Hu of Beijing. His fury was unleashed each time a human dared to climb onto his back….scary stuff…

Biggest Challenge?
Going back to school. I started from scratch seventeen years ago.

What charity would you support?
I give to charities that have holistic approaches to overcome problems. I give to Aware Defeat Depression.

The world’s most irritating/most useful invention?
Although I love the juicer, it does tend to be very difficult to clean. I have some great seed sprouters that are my favourite at the moment. They are glass jars with metal lids that sit on their side so the sprouted seeds don’t sit in water… they are very easy to wash…

Best birthday present?
I had a wonderful surprise 40th birthday trip to Paris.

Favourite past-time?
My daughter is really interested in baking at the moment so I spend a lot of time with her in the kitchen. We enjoy coming up with tasty new recipes for our take away business. If I get a chance I like to get on the bike and go for a cycle too.

Which period in history would you most like to have lived through?
For the music and the fashion, it has to be the 1960’s

What do you have for breakfast?
I have a fresh slice of lemon with inishOh! Water followed by porridge and green juice made from celery and cucumber.

Do you have a favourite cartoon character?
I love puppets…When I was young I watched Andy Pandy and the flower pot men.

What was your first paid job?
I worked in a chip shop called Wheelers in Derry when I was 15 years old. I worked until 1.30 in the morning and got paid 96p and hour.

Worst household chore?
All of them… I am not very domestic.

What is the best/worst piece of advice you have been given?

The worst is “Take these tablets.” The best advice was “Listen to your first instincts.”

Personal philosophy?
Live not to eat but eat to live… Natural nutrition fuels your body….

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