As the new year begins, the ‘Journal’ took a look back into our archives to see what was happening in Inishowen in times gone by - 30 years ago, in January 1986, to be exact.
As 1986 began, a proposal by the then chairperson of Buncrana Urban District Council that it should have its own coat of arms and chain of office was unanimously supported by all.
The Council also agreed to a request from local clothing firm WP McCarter and Co for a two thirds reduction in their rates on its premises in Ballymacarry.
In the courts, District Jusitce John Neilan warned that jail sentences were on the way for drink drivers in Donegal. He added that drivers found without insurance would lose their licence for a year or more.
Also this year, there was severe flooding in the area due to some heavy rain and snow. Buncrana Fire Brigade was called upon to pumps out water from houses in the Bridgend area and in Causeway Road, Buncrana. The Council was also tasked to divert flood water from the main roads but a road at Pillar Park still suffered severe damage. There was also ‘several thousand pounds’ worth of damage to the fairways and greens at North West Golf Club and electricity was knocked out around the area due to the weather.
Meanwhile, warm tributes were paid to Fr PJ McKenna on his retirement as Parish Priest of Malin and ‘fierce lobbying’ was reported at Donegal County Council as it discussed a motion calling for the banning of gaming machines.
There were calls for more work to be done on the road to the new miltary museum in Fort Dunree so that it could accommodate coaches.
Councillor Seamus Gill urged the Council to provide £30,000 to widen the road, stating the venture was an important boost to tourism in the area. Councillor Gill said that £125,000 had been spent on the project but the roadway into the museum was not adequate to take coaches. Deputy Hugh Conaghan said the road was the key to the success of the project, for which Bord Failte had provided money.
This year, Inishowen also got £62,000 of the Council money spent on main and county roads maintenance in 1985, compared to £170,000 for the Stranorlar area and £122,000 for the Dungloe area.
A Buncrana man “exceeded himself” in the construction industry. PJ McLaughlin, originally from St Jospeh’s Park, won the Coventry Evening Telegraph’s Time for Design Award. His company, PJ McLaughlin Construction Limited, founded in 1961 restored and converted a near derelict former weaver’s workshop into rented homes. nd while retaining their Victorian exterior the 32 houses and 33 flats all boasted modern interiors.
Donegal County Councillor Eddie Fullerton described the Irish Budget as an “exercise in robbing Peter to pay Paul” and said it would drive thousands more people on to the dole or the emigrant ship. He said it gave no new hope to the jobless or for a move to a more healthy economy. Buncrana Urban District Council had sent a telegram to Finance Minister Alan Dukes, urging him not to increase taxation on beer, spirits, cigarettes or petrol in the Budget. It had been proposed by Councillor Anne Gill, who said any increase would add to closures in the local licensed trade.
Donegal County Councillor Bernard McGuinness also asked the Council to consider ways to off-set the damage done to Donegal’s development by the “Northen troubles.” He said the county had suffered seriously since 1969 because of its border link and although tourism had been the industry most affected, other areas had not escaped unscathed.
A local doctor said the health board offices in Manorcunningham looked so dilapidated that people were abandoning cars on its grounds. Dr JW Wray urged the Donegal Heath Advisory Committee to put pressure on the North West Health Board to have the prefab building restored to a good condition.
Donegal Deputy Hugh Conaghan also pressed the Minister for Labour, Ruairi Quinn for an early starting date for drainage works on rivers at Clonmany, Leenan and Tullagh and 1986 was declared the ‘year of the pothole’ after Donegal County Council admitted many potholes on roads wouldn’t be filled as they simply did not have the money.