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Displaying items by tag: Island News

#AranIslands - Further negotiations are planned after "positive" early discussions between the Government and Aer Arann over the proposed continuation of the Aran Islands plane service, according to RTÉ News.

The airline has put its staff of 40 on protective notice, as The Irish Times also reports, but jobs and flights after tomorrow (Wednesday 30 September) are not guaranteed until an agreement has been reached.

It is understood that the State has asked the airline to extend its Public Service Obligation contract for air services to the Aran Islands, following last Friday's about-face over its tender for the route.

That new contract, had it gone ahead, would have seen plane flights to the Galway Bay islands replaced with a helicopter service that faced opposition from local residents.

Published in Island News

#StarWars - "Incidents" requiring "repairs" by stonemasons following the recent Star Wars film shoot on Skellig Michael have been confirmed by the Office of Public Works (OPW).

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the week-long film shoot on the Unesco World Heritage site – which includes a monastic site dating to the 6th century, and a sensitive habitat for a number of seabird species – prompted concerns among environmentalists ahead of the production's arrival.

Those worries were dismissed by Arts Minister Heather Humphries, despite mounting criticism from a number of people in the arts connected with the Kerry coastal island, taking her to task for not consulting with the OPW before giving the go-ahead to the Disney-backed film shoot.

Now The Irish Times reports that the minister did not approve the film shoot under section 14 of the National Monuments Act, according to An Taisce - which said it has photographic evidence of fresh repairs to the entrance of the island's monetary and a number of stone steps on the site.

Repairs to the steps were confirmed by the OPW, which said the work was "an entirely normal procedure" at the end of the visitor season.

It has also emerged that Disney Lucasfilm was not charged a facility fee for the recent shoot nor last year's filming on the island for the upcoming release Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#AranIslands - The Government last night cancelled the tender process for flights to the Aran Islands amid weeks of concern over changes to the Galway Bay islands' air service.

As RTÉ News reports, Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs Joe McHugh said the European Commission would be notified before beginning a new tender process, and his department would enter talks with the existing provider Aer Arann about continuing their service after their current contract expires next week.

The decision means that the decades-long airplane service will now not be replaced by helicopter flights out of Carnmore, which were to be provided by the State's preferred tenderer Executive Helicopters.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, residents had expressed worry and anger over the change, with dismay over the distance between Carnmore and the ferry link at Rossaveal, and concerns over the reliability of helicopter service in often severe weather around the islands.

Only last week public meetings has been held on Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oirr to address the uncertainty over the future of the air service.

It since emerged that the Department of the Gaeltacht itself had no confirmation that Galway Airport could be used as a hub for the helicopter service - until Galway councillors passed a motion against it.

As of yesterday (Friday 25 September), Aer Arann had issued no statement over the situation under legal advice after mounting a High Court challenge to the original tender.

And Galway Bay FM adds that helicopters are expected to be eliminated as an option from any new tender contract for Aran Islands flights.

Published in Island News

#StarWars - Criticism of the Arts Minister mounts over the latest Star Wars filming project on Skellig Michael, which began filming yesterday (Tuesday 15 September) after poor weather delayed the shoot.

Following a previous lambasting by Fintan O'Toole in the wake of environmentalists' concerns, 12 writers and a photographer associated with the Co Kerry island have signed a letter to The Irish Times taking Minister Heather Humphreys to task for not consulting the Office of Public Works (OPW), which manages the Unesco World Heritage site, before giving the go-ahead to the Disney-backed film shoot.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#StarWars - Poor weather today (Monday 14 September) has postponed the start of filming on Skellig Michael for a future Star Wars movie project.

According to The Irish Times, high winds and rough seas off the Iveragh Peninsula meant the film crew's boats stayed in their moorings.

But it's only a temporary delay, despite environmentalists' concerns over the impact of the film shoot on the island's vulnerable colonies of protected bird species.

Arts Minister Heather Humphries recently dismissed such concerns, saying that during the shoot "peak activity levels" will see around 100 people on the island "under strict supervision" with an ecologist and departmental staff on hand to halt proceedings in the event of any threat to wildlife.

"Those attempting to turn this into a negative story seem to be completely overlooking the fact that up to 180 people visit the island on any given day," she added.

However, writing in The Irish Times recently, Fintan O'Toole decried the Government's acquiescence to Star Wars owners Disney over filming privileges at the Unesco World Heritage Site, and the notion that the State has sold out an integreal part of Ireland's national heritage.

"Once Skellig Michael becomes (as film gossip suggests) Luke Skywalker’s refuge," he writes, "it ceases to be our refuge from the endless, voracious insistence on knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing."

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#CastawayWanted- A castaway is wanted to take over the running of a remote island off the coast of the Llŷn Peninsula, Wales according to the Daily News.

Bardsey Island Trust wants a new manager who will spend 11 months a year living on the scenic island of Bardsey (Ynys Enlli in Welsh), which lies two miles off Aberdaron.

The job comes with some of the best views in Wales, a two bedroom cottage, peace to escape the mainland rat race and a £16,000 pay package.

But it is not all wilderness walks and glorious isolation as among the many duties with the role is office administration and emptying the island's public composting toilet.

Caroline Williams, from the Bardsey Island Trust, said: "This is a unique opportunity to work on a remote and beautiful island.

"There are really two parts to the job".

So what are they?... to find out more click here.

Published in Island News

#IslandNews - Aran Islanders have expressed concern over a new tender for the air link to the Galway Bay islands that could see a significant reduction in services.

As The Irish Times reports, the new tender for the public service obligation air connection has been capped at €900,000, representing a 30% cut.

And this "major downgrading" will inevitably result in restricted airport opening hours and a rise in fares, according to an Coiste leis an Seirbhís Aeir a Chosaint (the Save our Air Service committee).

The news comes a year after ferry visits to the Aran Islands were shown to have fallen by 20% – and just a few months after nine offshore island communities spoke out over Government plans to stop core funding for development.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#IslandNews - A hillwalker in the Aran Islands was lucky to survive a 45-foot fall from a cliff top with only a broken leg, as The Irish Times reports.

The 21-year-old woman had been walking near the Wormhole on Inis Mór yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 8 April) when she was seen falling into the water.

A member of the local Irish Coast Guard unit said she was "very lucky" that whatever broke her fall meant she was spared more serious injury, or even death.

Local people walking in the area also went to her aid till she was airlifted to Galway for treatment.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#IslandNews - A glass-floored viewing platform jutting out over the Atlantic Ocean on Achill Island has got officials excited about its potential to attract tourism.

But locals are concerned that the project could mar the area's special views with an eyesore.

As the Mayo News reported last month, funding has been secured to develop the so-called 'Signature Discovery Point' at Keem Beach on Ireland's largest coastal island.

Keem Beach is one of 35 locations along the Wild Atlantic Way in Co Mayo that will share in the €257 million funding pot.

And the ambitious plans for the area – that also features as part of the new Galway-Mayo Blueway – include a viewing platform over the waves and rocky shore near the old coastguard station, along the lines of the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

But the reaction among the Achill community has been mixed, with support for the initiative by development company Comhlacht Forbartha Áitiúil Acla tempered by comments from local sculptor Ronan Halpin, who expressed concerns over the "visual intrusion" and "sustainability" of such a unique engineering project.

“Keem Bay is one the most beautiful and unspoilt places in our country. Its isolation and seclusion are a major part of its inherent charm," he added. "The proposal to build a glass walkway at the top of Moiteóg would seem to fly in the face of all this natural beauty and majesty."

The Mayo News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#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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