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Displaying items by tag: Inishturk

Over four years ago, the Mayo island of Inishturk was inundated with inquiries after the word went out that it was offering a safe haven for North Americans who had not voted for Donald Trump. 

Now, even Mr Trump himself might find it hard to find refuge on the island, as all its available rented property is booked out.

US citizens did not take up the island’s reported offer in 2016, which had prompted visits from an American network film crew and calls from The New York Times and CNN.

German families

However, several German families have moved there over the past year, ensuring the one island-born child on the primary school roll has company. 

The “Trump refuge” torch was lit back in Spring 2016 when the island campaigned for more pupils for its primary school. 

It advertised its “excellent broadband”, and a mixed fishing and farming economy – along with 12 weekly ferry crossings on the 14.5km transit between it and Roonagh, Co Mayo. 

Inishturk community development co-ordinator Mary Helena O’Toole says the island has “moved on from all that now”, and there is no available rented property anyway. 

Good tourist season

The island had a very good tourist season this year, in spite of guesthouses being closed due to Covid-19. she says 

"I think a lot of people discovered our island for the first time during day trips, and loved the environment, "she says.

One of the new German residents, Irena Meilick, is delighted with the move that she and her husband Bruno made to the island from Bavaria.

Her husband is a web designer, and can work remotely, and the eldest of their four boys is at the primary school. A second German family has three children at the school.

“I think what the island needs is children, and I hope more islanders who have left move back and rear their families here,” she says. 

Joe Biden connections

While Inishturk’s mainland county of Mayo has welcomed the election of Joe Biden – great-great-great-grandson of Famine emigrant Edward Blewitt - south Connemara has also issued its own good wishes to his campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon (44). 

Ms O’Malley Dillon has connections with Tír an Fhia in Co Galway, where her great grandparents John O’Malley and Bríd Ní Chonghaile came from.

John Bhaba Jeaic Ó Conghaile, director of Ionad Oidhreachta Leitir Mealláin – the Lettermullen Heritage Centre, with a strong maritime dimension – has congratulated her on the success of her campaign.

Published in Island News
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Islanders on Inishturk, Co Mayo, say they cannot risk essential repairs being carried out to a storm-damaged mobile phone transmitter for the west coast due to the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.

Inishturk development manager Mary Helena O’Toole said that some 60 per cent of the population on Inishturk is over 65 years of age, and cannot be exposed to any risk.

"Islanders are also affected by the loss of mobile phone coverage, but we believe our health has to be the priority, at least while these current measures are in place,” she said.

However, a former Fine Gael councillor Austin Francis O’Malley says many residents on the south Mayo and Connemara mainlands have limited or no phone cover, and fear not being able to call a doctor if the mast is not repaired.

The transmitter on Inishturk, 15 km west of Mayo, was damaged during Storm Dennis in mid-February, which has been classified as one of the most intense extratropical cyclones ever recorded.

Both islanders and mainland residents extending from the little Killary in north Connemara up to an area close to Louisburgh, Co Mayo, lost mobile phone cover in some instances.

Mr O’Malley said that he first became aware of the problem when he encountered difficulties in alerting members of the group water scheme he manages.

“We appreciate the position of the islanders on Inishturk, and we have to credit them for refusing access, but Vodafone did have time to fix this before the COVID-19 restrictions came in,” he said.

Mr O’Malley said he had contacted acting rural affairs minister Michael Ring about the issue.

“I am in the middle of lambing sheep, and I wasn’t able to contact my son by mobile phone when he was close by,” he said. “However, it is elderly and vulnerable residents I am most concerned about, as many don’t have landlines anymore.”

It is understood that initial technical work on the mast was underway, but had not been completed when restrictions were introduced to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Vodafone was informed by Inishturk residents that they could not permit a technician travelling by ferry from Roonagh Pier in Mayo to land, due to risks of infection.

The technician was refused on two attempts to travel.

The ferry service has cut back to three sailings a week, with only once a week return trips, and is not taking any visitors.

Vodafone Ireland said it was “aware of a network issue currently affecting some of our customers in parts Galway and Mayo, due to storm damage on Inishturk”.

“We are working hard to resolve this issue and our network repairs crew are standing by to carry out works and will abide by all COVID-19 health and safety measures,” it said.

“Discussions are ongoing with third parties on the island in relation to access,” it said. It said it “sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused”, and thanked people for their patience.

Published in Island News
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Two islands off Galway and Mayo face the prospect of no local doctor with the pending retirement of a mainland-based GP.

As the Connacht Tribune reports, Dr Ciarán McLoughlin will end his services to the community on Inishbofin and Inishturk next week after retiring from his Clifden practice earlier this year.

But as of a week ago, the HSE had not found a replacement full-time GP, and it continues to advertise for the position.

Published in Island News
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#FishFarm - Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has spent over €200,000 on its application for a proposed salmon farm off Inishturk in Co Mayo, as the Irish Examiner reports.

The planned project, much like the withdrawn proposal for Galway Bay for an even larger-scale fish farm, has faced opposition from local anglers and conservationists, who have lambasted the €216,000 spend — on an environmental study, legal advice and communications consultancy — as a ‘waste’ of taxpayers’ money.

“It is appalling that BIM has wasted more than €216,000 on a salmon farm licence application for Inishturk when it should be the salmon farm operator who is required to apply,” said Billy Smyth of lobby group Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages.

BIM, the State agency for Ireland's sea fisheries and aquaculture, says the Inishturk project could produce 4,000 tonnes of farmed salmon annually, and create as many as 75 direct and indirect jobs.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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#RNLI - An island medical evacuation was carried out yesterday (Monday 26 September) by the volunteer crew of Clifden RNLI on the Mersey class all-weather lifeboat Fisherman's Friend.

In calm seagoing conditions, the lifeboat was launched at 1.15pm to attend to a man who had experienced a fall at the north end of Inishturk off the Mayo coast.

On arrival at the pier in Inishturk, the casualty was taken aboard the lifeboat and transferred to Cleggan pier, where he was moved to a waiting ambulance with the assistance of the Cleggan Coast Guard Unit.

Speaking following the callout, Clifden RNLI coxswain Alan Pryce said: “We were glad to be able to transfer this man safely to shore and we wish him a speedy recovery.

“The capability of the all-weather lifeboat in carrying out long-range shouts such as this one is reassuring, both for us as volunteers and all those who live on and visit our offshore islands.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#IslandNews - Some 58 people on an island off west Mayo face their first Christmas in decades without medical cover, as The Irish Times reports.

The residents of Inishturk have been left in the lurch as the HSE West has not filled the vacant nursing post on the island, following the retirement of the community's previous nurse after 30 years in September.

Since then the island has only had two days of medical cover, according to local community worker Mary Heanue – who blamed the wider issue of cutbacks in services to Ireland's offshore island communities.

And last night Clifden RNLI was tasked to provide "urgent and immediate" medical attention to an elderly resident on the island, some 14km off the Mayo coast.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
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