Seals hold up dangerous pier

Seals hold up dangerous pier

Cape Clear Harbour

Cape Clear Harbour

RESIDENTS of Cape Clear Island say they are outraged that a planning application for remedial works to a dangerous pier are being held up due to concerns that pile driving for the project may have an adverse affect on seal colonies in the vicinity.

Séamus Ó Drisceoil from the Cape Clear ferry said, “The Carthys and Calf Island are over two miles from North Harbour; even more ridiculous is the fact the pile driving was recently completed at the other end of the same pier.”

Last February the dangerous condition of the pier was noted together with photographs on the ferry blog at with hopes the planning permission would be expedited quickly which now seems unlikely.

Séamus Ó Drisceoil said, “Islanders are outraged at the fact that something which poses a real risk to human beings will be allowed to exist for longer than necessary because of a near mythical risk to seals over two miles away. On behalf of our crew and the community we serve we find this to be a pure outrage and hold whoever caused this personally responsible for anything that happens in the meantime. It’s almost beyond belief that something so far-fetched was actually issued by a planning authority”.

“The problem with these esoteric concerns is that they are very difficult to resolve, as many people know, it’s often much harder to resolve a stupid question than a legitimate one”.

Mr Ó Drisceoil said that the ferry company acknowledged the ongoing efforts of the Department of Marine to reconstruct the harbour and the Management and Crew of L & M Keatings who are the main contractors on site.

New exhibition at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre

New exhibition at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre

Uillinn. Pic: David O'Sullivan

Uillinn. Pic: David O’Sullivan

FOURTH Space exhibition is now in its final week at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre, running until 14th March.

The next exhibition will open on 21st March with Daphne Wright and a group exhibition Disconnect.

Sculpture and video installation work by Daphne Wright will feature in the James O’Driscoll Gallery. Daphne has created new works of sculpture for this exhibition showing with two video works, If you broke me and I am the beginning. Both videos show a solitary boy speaking in riddles to the camera.  Popular riddles are made strange and take on a different significance beyond that of simple childhood rhymes and logic puzzles.

A group exhibition Disconnect in Gallery II consists of work by Bernadette Cotter, John Doherty and Sue Crellin McCarthy.

Bernadette Cotter is a Cork based artist known for her visually beautiful and deeply moving work. Her installation Skin to Air is concerned with thoughts about the one and the many, the individual connected to others, while at the same time remaining separate from them.

John Doherty, an Irish Realism painter, paints familiar views in small provincial towns, of shops, garages, and pubs, which have become redundant in a changing environment. Working from photographic images he explores the original scene, painting layers upon layer investigating beneath superficial surfaces the hidden nuances that underline each image.

Sue Crellin McCarthy is an emerging artist who explores being, meaning, thought, emotion, essence and ethereal reality. In Apocalypse of Thought she examines a personal realization that we only find true freedom through abandoning everything we hold as truth.

The official opening will take place at Uillinn on Friday 20th March at 7 pm.

New figures show Live Register down for 31 months in a row

New figures show Live Register down for 31 months in a row

Noel Harrington TD

Noel Harrington TD

THE Latest Central Statistics Office figures show that unemployment has dropped for 31 months in a row and that in Cork County, there has been a fall of 23.44% over that period.

In Cork the number of people on the Live Register has fallen from 43,941 to 33,641 while nationally the percentage signing on has dropped from 15.2% in 2012 to 10.5% today.

Local Fine Gael TD Noel Harrington said, “Things are moving in the right direction and these figures give us confidence that the policies pursued by this government are working. Through hard work and dedication a strong, sustainable recovery can be delivered right throughout the country and in particular here in West Cork.

“I want to ensure that we are able to compete with Dublin and Cork in attracting foreign direct investment to West Cork. According to the IDA, 37% of investments in 2014 were made outside the main centres and the Government will work to continue this trend,” he said.

Labour TD Michael McCarthy said the target should now be to drive the unemployment into single percentage figures.

“A breakdown of local figures reveals that things are moving in the right direction as Bandon recorded a decrease of 17%, Clonakilty 12.3% and Skibbereen 11.3%.

“The continuing fall in unemployment demonstrates that Labour’s policies to create jobs are delivering. Ireland will soon reach single digit unemployment figures which is in stark contrast to the Fianna Fail/ Independent/ Green Government crisis peak unemployment figure of 15.1%. We are committed to getting unemployment down further, and continuing to support local communities and employers to create jobs in Cork,” he said.

West Cork employees honoured at national Centra awards ceremony

West Cork employees honoured at national Centra awards ceremony

Brid O' Driscoll, Bernie O'Regan, Finalist, and Noel Fuller, Store owner.

Brid O’ Driscoll, Bernie O’Regan, Finalist, and Noel Fuller, Store owner.

TWO Centra employees from West Cork were recently honoured at the inaugural Pride of Centra Awards 2015. Eoin Hurley (Kevin O’Leary’s Centra Bandon) and Bernadette O’Regan (Fuller’s Centra Union Hall) attended the special awards ceremony in Croke Park.

The Pride of Centra Awards were developed to recognise Centra employees for their commitment and dedication shown in the workplace. The awards were established to acknowledge the Centra employees who consistently live and demonstrate the Centra brand values each and every day. The Cork employees are just two of the 10 Centra employees selected as finalists out of a total of over 10,000 demonstrating the significance of her achievement.

Eoin picked up his all-important finalist spot after nominations from Carol O’Leary the store owner and Basil Blennerhassett the store manager. Eoin was nominated for excelling in the workplace through his community involvement, dedicated attitude and outstanding contribution.

Meanwhile Bernadette, who was nominated by store owners, Ingrid and Noel Fuller, has become an integral part of the store through her ongoing  work with the local community where she has become a well-known face for her generousity and charity work as well as her excellent customer service.

Eoin Hurley, Finalist, with Matt O' Callaghan, MRPI HR Director.

Eoin Hurley, Finalist, with Matt O’ Callaghan, MRPI HR Director.

The other eight finalists represented seven additional counties: Clare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Laois, Leitrim, Tipperary and Wicklow. These finalists were also recognised for their ongoing commitment to their work through community initiatives, charity organisations, customer service and imaginative in-store ideas. Brenda Donagher from Daniel’s Centra Portarlington, Co Laois, was named as the overall winner.

Centra is extremely proud of all its employees and the strength they bring to the business, constantly ensuring that Centra delivers a very high standard in everything it does. It is the retailers, store managers and floor staff that have driven Centra’s business throughout Ireland over the past 36 years.

Matt O’Callaghan, Human Resource Director, Centra, said, “Throughout our stores we have fantastic people who are all dedicated to delivering ‘Service Excellence’, a very high standard of customer service and local community engagement. We are very grateful to all our employees but in particular the finalists who made it to the inaugural Pride of Centra Awards. These finalists have really shown that they go the extra mile every day for the customers and communities in which they work and live. I would like to congratulate all our finalists on this fantastic achievement and I hope they will all continue to bring their enthusiasm to their Centra stores for many years to come.”

Volunteers needed as Cycle Against Suicide visits West Cork this May

Volunteers needed as Cycle Against Suicide visits West Cork this May

cycle-suicideTHIS May, one of Ireland’s biggest charity cycle events, the 2015 Cycle Against Suicide will pass view West Cork and organisers are seeking local volunteers to help out with the event which will see up to 1,000 cyclists travel from Kenmare to Cork city via Bantry, Mizen Head, Skibbereen and Clonakilty from May 4th to 6th.

The cycle will afternoon stop in Kenmare on Monday, March 4th before overnighting in Bantry, the next day the cycle will continue to Mizen Head before stopping for the night in Skibbereen and will stop the next afternoon in Clonakilty before heading east to Cork city.

For the overnight stops Mercy Heights school in Skibbereen and Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai have been chosen as “anchor schools” to act as cordination centres for the cycle as it passes through.

Mercy Heights will organise a mental health event comprising of presentations, videos, music, celebrity speakers and an exhibition of local mental health services the following morning.

Anton O’ Mahony, the link teacher for Mercy Heights said, “Our school is delighted to host this important event and welcome the cyclists to Skibbereen. The impact of this type of activity is powerful and far reaching, not just in our schools, but also in the community at large. It gets the conversation around mental health going in the community and shows the support services that are available to those that need them.”

Promoting positive mental health practices in our school and the community is an important task to Mercy Heights Secondary. By becoming an anchor school, and partnering with Cycle Against Suicide, we can continue to raise awareness of the issues around mental health and suicide. It’s about encouraging people to know it’s absolutely ok to ask for help.”

Cycle Against Suicide founder, Jim Breen said, “This is the third year of the Cycle Against Suicide and we’re blown away with the phenomenal response from the schools involved in the Cycle. These schools are critical to helping us spread the message that it’s ok not to feel ok; and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help. Each year over the two weeks of our annual Cycle, we give presentations in schools and communities all around the island of Ireland and we witness how hugely responsive students are to that message. We also see the value students place on their own mental wellbeing and that of their friends and families.”

CAS Route 2014.09.07Cycle Against Suicide offers a Homestay programme, which sees homeowners across the island providing a bed and hot meal to participants in the Cycle. Cycle Against Suicide Homestay Coordinator, Dudley Farrell said “There is still time for people to offer accommodation to participants for a night when the cycle passes through. People who opened up their homes to cyclists in the last two years have said overwhelmingly that the Homestay experience was just as rewarding for them as it was for their guests,” said Farrell.

The number of cyclists registering for Cycle Against Suicide is increasing year on year. As a result, we need more accommodation for cyclists and crew. We are more than happy to avail of as many spare beds as possible. Of course we’ll also need many volunteers to help make our time in Cork memorable. Whether it’s sandwich-makers, road marshals or just people standing at the side of the road to cheer on the cycle, we can all play our part in breaking the cycle of suicide on the island of Ireland.”

If you would like to provide Homestay accommodation when Cycle Against Suicide visits Skibbereen, send an email to or The local co-ordinator for home stays is Ritchie Keating who can be contacted through St Fachtna’s DLS.

If you would like to help out in Bantry contact Marie Spillane on 086 232 8150 or email

If you would like to volunteer with Cycle Against Suicide email For more information on see, where you can also register for some or all of the 14 days of the Cycle Against Suicide 2015.

Wild Atlantic theme for Skibb St Patrick’s Festival 2015

Wild Atlantic theme for Skibb St Patrick’s Festival 2015

Skibbereen. Pic: West Cork Times

Skibbereen. Pic: West Cork Times

This year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade in Skibbereen is themed – “The Wild Atlantic Way” and schools, clubs and businesses throughout the community are encouraged to participate in this ever popular family event.  Businesses can get involved straight away by dressing their windows and turning Skibbereen “green” for the festival of events.

Festivities in Skibbereen get underway with the Comhaltas Féile Cheoil weekend from Friday March 13-15 in the lead-up to St Patricks Day with a programme of Irish traditional music and cultural events to suit all.  On Friday, March 13th at 8pm a Concert/Irish Night takes place in the West Cork Hotel and on the next day, Saturday, March 14th workshops will be held in the GAA Pavilion in brush dancing, whistling and lilting, with an Aifreann Tradisiúnta in the Cathedral at 6.30pm that evening.  Sunday, March 15th sees Féile Cheoil day of competitions in Rossa College.

The annual parade in Skibbereen kicks off on St Patrick’s Day at 2:30pm, starting as usual from the playground in Skibbereen and following its traditional route before finishing at the Old Mart Car Park on Bridge St.  The Julia Hickey Memorial Shield will once again be presented to the overall winner on the day and there will be runner up prizes too as well as a special prize for the best little leprechaun!

The fun doesn’t stop there as between 4 and 6pm in Abbeystrewery Hall the Gaelscoil are holding a fundraiser with teas and coffees, face painting and many more fun activities for all.

Finally, if you are available to help out or steward on the day please contact Micheal Hurley on 086 8158786, help is always very welcome and greatly appreciated.

So don’t miss out, join us with family fun for all in Skibbereen as we celebrate our national festival.

€30,000 funding approved for West Cork summer festivals and events

€30,000 funding approved for West Cork summer festivals and events

kinsale-arts-festivalFPTEN events and fesivals in West Cork are set to benefit from €30,000 in funding as part of a national allocation of €564,000 made through Failte Ireland.

The local events set to benefit are, A Taste of West Cork Food Festival (€5,000), West Cork Literary Festival (€ 4,000), Masters of Tradition (€3,000), Jim Dowling Uileann Pipe Trad Festival (€3,000), Fastnet Short Film Festival (€3,000), Cape Clear Island Storytelling Festival (€3,000), West Cork Rally (€3,000), Summer on the West Cork Islands (€2,000), Schull Regatta (€2,000) and Calves Week (€2,000).

Local Labour TD Michael McCarthy welcomed the allocation saying, “I am delighted that this support is going to a range of popular festivals in Cork. These events will provide the backbone to the tourism calendar in many local and rural communities.”

Finr Gael TD Noel Harrington said, “Supporting festivals and events, along the Wild Atlantic Way in West Cork will not only boost tourism in the area, but will assist local communities to broaden their appeal to overseas visitors. These festivals and events, held annually and over many decades in some cases, are the lifeblood of tourism for many communities, and give tourists compelling reasons to explore rural Ireland, and very often with return visits. Tourists experience everything from culture and sport, to festivals and fun together with the locals”.

Future funding for non-Gaeltacht islands secured says TD

Future funding for non-Gaeltacht islands secured says TD

Pic: Google

Pic: Google

FINE Gael West Cork TD Noel Harrington, has says that funding for the Development Offices on non-Gaeltacht islands has been secured for the future.

The news will allay fears that funding for the islands, which include six of West Cork’s inhabited islands, could have been permanently cut. There was an outcry from islanders late last year when it was announced that funding was due to be cut off this year with many claiming it could spell the end for viable communities on the islands in question.

Deputy Harrington said, “The Minister for the Gaeltacht, Joe McHugh, has informed me that funding for the non-Gaeltacht islands is secure for the future. This is great news for the communities of Bere, Sherkin, Heir, Whiddy, Long and Dursey.

I commend Minister McHugh for his commitment on this matter. Last year he came with me to visit both Sherkin and Bere islands and gained an appreciation of the challenges faced by island communities and the particular community development needs they have.

The Minister conducted important negotiations with Ministers Alan Kelly and Ann Phelan at the Department of Environment and Local Government and we were all relieved when an interim solution was found to protect funding for 2015.

Now the long term future is bright with a new approach which will see these islands, and relevant supports, becoming a key function of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The Local and Community Development Programme funding for these community groups will continue until the end of March 2015, pending the roll out of a revised new system which will be led by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Minister Kelly has confirmed that his Department is contributing significant funding to the new scheme.

This is just an example of the Government’s commitment to Rural Ireland including the protection of small schools and the Regional Enterprise strategy which seeks to spread the economic recovery to all parts of the country. I will continue to work with Minister McHugh on the details of the new scheme for the non-Gaeltacht islands and ensure that the voices of the island communities are heard in the process,” he said.


Major planning application lodged for Baltimore Harbour Hotel

Major planning application lodged for Baltimore Harbour Hotel

baltimore-harbour-hotelA MAJOR planning application has been lodged with Cork County Council seeking to transform the Baltimore Harbour Hotel and Leisure Centre in Baltimore into a residential development with a community leisure centre.

The application from Zontide Ltd seeks the partial demolishing of the former hotel buildings and a change of use of three buildings from “hotel leisure centre” and “hotel accommodation” to “community leisure facility” and “residential” respectively.

The application seeks various changes including the change of use of the existing three-storey building from hotel leisure centre to community leisure facility and associated access improvements and the change of use from hotel accommodation to residential of 12 apartments including the upgrading and extension of the apartments.

The application also seeks a change of use from hotel accomadation to residential of two semi-detached houses which includes their partial demolition, upgrading and extension. The third element of the plan seeks a change of use from hotel accommodation to residential of four terraced houses including their artial demolition, upgrading and extension and the reconfiguration of car parking arrangements.

Kilcoe National School notes

Kilcoe National School notes

Kilcoe NS U11s quiz team represented Skibbereen Credit Union in the Credit Union Quiz county final in the Rochestown Park hotel last Sunday.

Kilcoe NS were the winners on the day and go on to compete in the All-Irelands in Dublin during April.

The school are busily preparing for the Discovery Primary Science and Maths award and were recently visited by the Lifetime Lab’s mobile maths workshop to complete activities based on the award.

There was great delight in Kilcoe on the 18th of February as the school were notified that due to government changes in the retention for teacher’s numbers and the school’s large enrolment for September 2015 Kilcoe NS would retain their third mainstream teacher.