Fermoy based John Hogan , National President of Muintir na Tire paid a two day visit to Inishowen on Monday and Tuesday
Mr Hogan was here to launch the Inishowen Civic Forum’s Regeneration Programme and his own organisation’s “Muintir na Tire Community Text Alert” to fight isolation and crime.
Starting with a Foyleside tour of Derry/Londonderry U.K. City of Culture 2013, Mr Hogan travelled to the Grianan of Aileach on one of the most magnificent sunny days of the year from where he was able to make his first assessment of the rich farmlands of south Inishowen , the Foyle valley to the south and the hilly highlands of the north peninsula.
At Linsfort he met with the veteran Inishowen farm leader, George O Hagan and his family, travelled on through Mamore Gap which, when improved, perhaps as a one-way system, will become a most stunning introduction for visitors to the beauties of the peninsula.
He then visited the Glenevin Waterfall to see for himself a good example of the work of a vigorous enterprising community.
During a series of personal and group meetings the Muintir na Tire leader pointed out that Inishowen had one of the best unbranded organic product in the country despite its close proximity to the island’s fourth largest city.
With its clean air, clear water, unpolluted landscapes and minimal use of chemicals in all aspects of activity, Mr. Hogan said that Inishowen was superbly advantaged to exploit this lucrative niche market.
He said that, at all levels , the peninsula should be branding a “Green Inishowen” product for its livestock, tourism, business and as a place to live an active healthy life.
To achieve this aim, the national leader advised the adoption by Inishowen of the community development structure now being put in place in other parts of the country where local community associations grouped townlands into what he described as “local Dails”.
Voluntary elected community activists develop programmes based on community input and bring these before a wider regional community forum for action and implementation.
The Muintir na Tire leader pointed out that the national reform of local administration is resulting is the dissolution of local community and municipal councils and unless the people act to fill the gap their voice simply will not be heard.
To be heard the people must regroup to achieve “critical mass”.
In community matters, a government Minister will politely listen to a single voice and likely do nothing where if the delegation is representative of a consolidated group of communities it can not be ignored.
Before his final meeting of his visit in the Strand Hotel Ballyliffin, John visited “Banba’s Crown”.
The packed meeting in Ballyliffin heard a short history of Muintir na Tire and how the objectives of the national institution were reflected here.