Ireland's Eye: What's going on in the old sod


Made in China

Councilors have reacted angrily after it emerged that some of the materials used in the new Castlebar town center development are being imported from China instead of being sourced locally.

Independent Councilor Frank Durcan raised the matter at a meeting of Mayo County Council’s Castlebar electoral committee. He asked council engineers if the project was being delayed because the council was waiting on paving blocks to arrive from China.

Councilor Michael Kilcoyne said he couldn’t believe the council is sourcing materials from China given the vast numbers unemployed in Ireland.

He said that the decision to use granite imported from China for part of the paving and curbing to be used on Main Street was “out of touch with reality.”

“It shows a complete disregard for the state of the economy in this country,” he said.

Senior executive engineer with Mayo County Council Patsy Burke said there could be a number of other local authority developments that used a substantial amount of imported materials.

“I’m sure if I investigated there would be other projects where materials would come from China or elsewhere. We just generally don’t need to ask,” said Burke.

The granite for the Main Street project was ordered by Kilcross Construction Ltd, which was awarded the contract for the Castlebar town center development by Mayo County Council.

Burke said that if the granite was sourced from an Irish quarry it would cost three times more than if it was imported from China.

He said that the cost of the tons of granite from China being used for the town centre project is €200,000, while the entire development runs to €2.1 million.

Burke said that it isn’t just council projects where foreign building materials are being used. He pointed to the use of Chinese granite in townland signage and headstones.

As much as 95% of the county’s headstones are made using granite imported from China or India, according to Ballina-based independent councilor and monumental sculptor Gerry Ginty.

“I can understand where the council is coming from. Irish granite is three or even four times the price and the quality isn’t as good. I can get granite from China and India cheaper and quicker than I can locally,” he added.

Ginty said that in his trade the use of imported materials has meant that he has been able to employ more people and that cheaper foreign imports mean more people can afford headstones.
- Western People

Grave layout slammed

A new layout in the extension of Drum Cemetery has been dubbed a "disgrace" by a local person as the graves will not be facing east/west towards the rising sun as he says has been traditional for hundreds years.

The man, a native of Drum Parish, who didn't wish to be named, said he was extremely annoyed the traditional Christian way of burial had been changed by somebody in an office in Roscommon town without consultation with the local people.

"If I'm going to be buried there like that, I'll change my address and be buried elsewhere in the traditional way," the local man fumed. "It's totally wrong what the council is doing.

“It has a lot of people upset and a lot of people are only finding it out about it because the extension is new and only one burial has taken place there two weeks ago."

He claims this grave is facing north-south, while the graves in the adjacent old graveyard and monastic site are all standing facing the usual east-west trajectory.

The objector said whoever drew up the plan in Roscommon County Council should go back and do it the proper way, accusing the local authority of "terrible cheek" and "a lack of respect" changing the traditional form of burial in a rural area.

However, a spokesperson for Roscommon County Council said the new layout was designed to maximize the number of graves in the extended graveyard in Drum, and the direction which they would be facing was not a consideration or an issue highlighted to the local authority during the planning process.

He said this layout will be replicated in any other new graveyards or extensions in the future.
- Westmeath Independent

Sitting for fun

RESTING his posterior on every seat in Thomond Park in one day proved an insurmountable and rear-numbing challenge for Limerick native Dan Mooney for task 91 on his list of 366 things to do in one year.

But a very worthy attempt saw Mooney succeed in sitting on an impressive 12,000 seats out of the stadium's 15,600, before officials politely asked him to stop before the Sunderland vs. Munster XI clash last week.

"I am in absolute ribbons. I'm in shreds, my knees are sore and so are my ribs for some reason. But I'm okay. I can't believe I left 3,000 seats behind me,” Mooney said.

He agreed his Thomond Park trial was equally as painful as the day he ran the Great Limerick Run for an earlier challenge, which he finished in five hours and 12 minutes.