A Dog is a Friend For Life If You Treat Them Right!

Dogs have been dubbed mans best friend since the beginning of time, but what happens when we do the unthinkable and neglect to look after our furry companions?


Dog Warden Sammy Parke with Roxy who is getting re-homed on Friday

Dog Warden Sammy Parke with Roxy who is getting re-homed on Friday


Sammy Parke and his colleague Jackie Murphy, dog wardens for Donegal explain why it’s important to be a responsible dog owner.

“With approximately 8,000 dog licences issued in the county last year most dog owners act responsibly and are good to their pets. Unfortunately the people who do not look after their dogs can cause a lot of problems in the community and it is our job to respond to these complaints within the framework of the Control of Dogs Act, 1986.”

Sammy and Jackie are employed by the ISPCA and are contracted by Donegal County Council. Between them they have been working for over forty years in dealing with dogs that come into the pound.

Last year 515 dogs were either reclaimed or re-homed Jackie says that they couldn’t have done this without the help of the local animal welfare organisations, Donegal Pet Rescue and Animals in Need.

“We couldn’t do our job without the good work of the animal welfare organisations they really make this job worth while as it’s the best feeling when you see a dog go to a good home.”

The dog wardens respond to complaints from members of the public throughout Donegal.

“It’s a big area for the two of us to cover. All dogs must have a dog licence and part of our duties involves checking for dog licences. We generally check for dog licences in areas where we have received complaints about dogs from members of the public. We also focus on particular areas of the county for more intensive dog licence inspections throughout the year,” said Sammy.

To date this year the dog warden service has responded to over 200 complaints from the public which is a significant rise since this time last year.  Sammy says the worst part of the job is responding to cases of sheep worrying.

“This is lambing season and sheep and lambs are at their most vulnerable at this time of the year.  So complaints are usually about aggressive dogs that are roaming freely and farmers are increasingly concerned as we have seen the destruction a dog can cause a to  sheep if they attack.  If people could see the horrific damage a dog attack can inflict on sheep and lambs then they might be more careful about letting their dogs roam unattended.  Even the most docile family pet can attack when they are not under control,” said Sammy.

“We have also seen the introduction of new regulations to stop illegal puppy farming which is a big national problem but in Donegal there is cause for concern as there have been growing cases of people breeding dogs that are living in horrendous conditions. Now with this legislation they will need to meet certain criteria such as regular vet checks and inspections to make sure that they are doing it in an environment that is safe for the dogs.”

If you think you can give a dog a loving home contact Donegal Pet rescue on – 0868566626 or the dog shelter on 074912159.

Tips for responsible dog ownership

Choose a type of dog that is suitable for your circumstances

Did you know that the dog shelter at Glencar, Letterkenny is both run and staffed directly by Donegal County Council.

Make proper arrangements for the care of your dog if you are going to be away for prolonged periods.

Always keep your dog on a lead and keep it muzzled if it is one of the listed breeds –

•           American Pit Bull Terrier

•           English Bull Terrier

•           Staffordshire Bull Terrier

•           Bull Mastiff

•           Doberman Pinscher

•           German Shepherd

•           Rottweiler

•           Japanese Akita

•           Japanese Tosa

•           Alsatian


Obtain an annual licence for your dog once it is more than four months old. Licences can be purchased at your local Post Office for €20.

To report a stray or violent dog contact the Dog wardens on – 0749125159

Opening hours for the Dog Shelter are – Monday – Saturday, 10.30am to 1.30pm

Dog Shelter sign

Dog Shelter sign


Everything you need to know about your H20.

Everything you need to know about how your drinking water is produced

Hugh Alexander the Senior Service Supervisor with Donegal County Council for the Lough Mourne water network explains the science behind our fresh water supply.


Hugh Alexander at the Lough Mourne Water Treatment Plant


“The treatment process is more technical than people think, a lot of people just take for granted that water runs freely but there is a lot of work involved to get it to a drinkable state. The treatment plant takes a raw water source from a lake or a river and it produces water that meets the strict regulations set down by the EU and is safe for human consumption,” says Hugh.

The water treatment process explained

Screening process

Large debris and sticks are removed from the water at this early stage.

Coagulation process

At this stage a coagulant aluminium sulphate is added to the water to bind small particles together that is still present in the water they then clump together and this is called flocculation.

Settlement process

Small particles are then removed after being allowed to settle at the bottom of the tank and are then passed through a filter.

Filtration process

Any remaining particles are then removed by passing them through a sand filter.

Disinfection process

During this stage all harmful bacteria present in the water is destroyed by using a chemical application and process treatment. After the final process the clean water is then stored in a reservoir and made available for use as needed.


Before water Is treated on the left and after water is is ready to drink on the right.

Hugh agrees that it all sounds very scientific and stresses that it’s important to realise that water is not limitless and that there is a lot of processes involved in producing water to a consumable standard.

“Many factors can affect our water source and warm weather causes the lakes and rivers to dry up causing the water source to be temporarily effected this is particularly relevant to the Lough Mourne source that serves the Stranorlar electoral area and networks. I would advise people to be mindful of how much water they use during dry spells to conserve water through making small changes like not leaving the tap running while brushing your teeth and having a shower instead of a bath. Even these small changes can make a difference.”


Hugh talks us through the process of the water treatment.


Hugh commends the staff working in the Stranorlar electoral water network saying that it’s a hectic seven day a week job.

“There are 16 people working in this area so I have to give them credit as it can be a 24/7 job and as it is such a big area, the guys can be called out in the middle of the night to deal with problems that arise such as burst pipes.”

Facts about Lough Mourne’s water treatment plant

  • Lough Mourne’s network which covers the Finn valley area and has around 480 km of water mains alone.
  • Lough Mourne Water treatment plants network area has a consumption of 8 Million Litres of water a day.
  • The network supplies fresh drinking water to just over 25,000 people
  • Lough Mourne Network test their water on a daily basis at the plant and this is in addition to further regular testing by the HSE and the EPA.

Official Oppening of N56 Bruckless Bridge

Official opening of N56 Bruckless Bridge by Minister Leo Varadkar TD on 28 March 2014. Photos of the event:

The Mayor of Donegal Cllr. Ian McGarvey along with Minister Leo Varadker, special guest Ita Barry and politicians from across the political spectrum at the opening of Bruckless Bridge. (Matt Britton)

The Mayor of Donegal Cllr. Ian McGarvey along with Minister Leo Varadker, special guest Ita Barry and politicians from across the political spectrum at the opening of Bruckless Bridge. (Matt Britton)


3003 INDP 9 Varadker MVB 3003 INDP 11 Varadker MVB 3003 INDP 12 Varadker MVB

Europe Direct – A Step in the Right Direction

But what is Europe Direct and what do they do? 

Executive Librarian and manager of the Europe Direct Information Centre for Donegal & Gaeltacht, Helen Mc Nutt tells us everything we need to know and more.

Helen Mc Nutt

Helen Mc Nutt

The EU has a huge impact on our lives as EU citizens, says Helen.

“In almost all aspects of our lives, we are affected by EU decisions & directives to national governments. These decisions influence many aspects of our lives, including what is in our toothpaste when we brush our teeth, what we eat & drink, the quality of our roads as we drive to work, how equally we are treated as citizens, our access to employment and mobility and our rights to work anywhere in the EU. It is important that we understand the structures within the EU, what their functions are, their budgets and how we as citizens can influence their decisions. Right now the most important issue on the immediate horizon is the EU Parliament elections on May 23rd”.

The Europe Direct Information Centre (EDIC) is based in Central Library, Letterkenny and in Gweedore Library and is part of a network of accessible, local information centres in all EU member states.

“The basic aim of EDIC is to provide as much information as possible to EU citizens locally and organise activities that stimulate debate and allow people to feedback to the European Commission on issues that affect them.

This year the Centre will focus on the aims and objectives of Europe 2020 in areas of employment, education, climate change and social inclusion. Events and information will also be provided on the rights of the EU citizen, active citizenship, CAP and CFP reform and of course the EU Parliamentary elections in May 2014.”

“Recent changes in the EU have given more power to the EU parliament. EU expansion has meant a reduction in the number of Irish MEPs and the subsequent changes to our constituencies. The EDIC has a raft of information on all these issues and we are trying to get it to as many members of the public as possible,” stressed Helen.

Europe Direct Info Centre logo

Europe Direct Info Centre logo

In 2013 the centre hosted 67 events to just under 5000 members of the public, from pre-school children to older age groups. These included diverse sections of the community from farmers & fishermen to schools & community groups.

Helen says the events are a great way of getting information to the public in a light-hearted and fun way.

“Each year we also put on an extensive programme of events. These events reflect EU priorities such as active citizenship, research & innovation, fishing and agricultural reforms, environmental issues etc. We try to make our events as accessible as possible in venues throughout the county. A sample of our events include the annual ‘Have your Say’ Soapbox competition, talks on current EU issues such as agriculture and fishing reforms, debates on EU policy and even European Fairytales.

Cross border consumer rights seminar - One of the many events held at EDIC

Cross border consumer rights seminar – One of the many events held at EDIC

Our events are fun and informative and for those who think the two can’t go together, think again! Come along to one of our events and find out how fun meets information,” she laughed.




  • There are 505 EDICs across the 28 European member states.
  • The EDIC is located at the Central Library, Oliver Plunkett Road, Letterkenny: Telephone 074 9124950; Email eudirect@donegallibrary.ie and at Leabharlann Phobail Gaoth Dobhair, Na Doire Beaga, Gaoth Dobhair: Telephone 074 9560862
  • The EU’s 28 member states have a total population of over 508 million people


Farewell to Marie Gutherie

Farewell to Marie Gutherie

Our friend and colleague Marie Gutherie has retired from Donegal County Council after 34 years of service and we would like to wish her and her family all the best in her retirement. Marie worked in the Councils Finance Section and she will be missed by all her colleagues in the Council. Don’t be a stranger Marie, keep in touch.

Wishing you every success and happiness in your retirement.

Farewell to Marie GutherieFarewell to Marie GutherieFarewell to Marie GutherieFarewell to Marie GutherieFarewell to Marie GutherieFarewell to Marie GutherieFarewell to Marie Gutherie

We wish you the best!

Putting out fires in Donegal


Joseph Mc Taggart

Acting Chief Fire Officer for Donegal Joseph Mc Taggart, talks about life in the Fire Service and the dangers of gorse fire season.

“I joined the Fire Service in 1986, my job as Chief Fire Officer varies from day to day, with no two days being the same. I can be involved in activities ranging from dealing with incidents to the overall management and running of the fire service.

“I can’t come in, in each morning with the intention of  having a planned day as it may not work out like that, my main responsibility is ensuring that the brigades are operationally ready to respond to incidents and that the public safety measures implemented by the fire prevention section of the fire service are effected. That means ensuring that fire service personnel are provided with equipment, training and other resources necessary to respond to incidents and that the fire prevention section is in position to discharge its many and varied functions”

Joseph talks about the best and worst parts of the job, and how contrary to popular belief Halloween may not always be the fire services busiest time of the year.

“The most difficult part of my job is when you see lives lost in fires, in road traffic collisions or in other incidents and when  people’s homes and property are destroyed by fire. Those are the worst parts of the job, and the best parts of the job are the times that the fire service can make a difference to the public by saving lives and property.”


A Gorse fire in Donegal

Last year within a two week period from the end of March to early to mid April the fire service attended 153 gorse fires and 8 forest fires, Joseph explains that this is often one of the fire services busiest times of the year.

“The busiest time of the year for the fire service can vary, the fire service would have what is called a gorse fire season. Depending on weather and growth conditions the gorse fire season can start around early to late January and last to April or May. The season depends very much on the weather conditions, for example if there is a long spell of frost and low growth then the undergrowth may be very dry and will burn easily.

“The majority of gorse fires are caused by people carrying out activities such as burning, discarding lit cigarettes and similar activities. Gorse and forest fires once lit can be very difficult to extinguish and can spread rapidly putting people’s lives, homes and other property at risk. I can’t stress enough how easy it is to cause a fire, even something as simple as discarding a cigarette butt can cause a major fire,” said Joseph.

Remember fire fighting is a high risk occupation; don’t put yourself at risk, if you come across a fire dial 999 or 112 and request the fire service.

Fire Safety tips and facts

Make sure you have an evacuation plan and that you practice what is in the plan. It may save your life and that of your family.

Have at least one smoke alarm on each storey in your home.

A routine “fire safety check” only takes a few minutes and could mean the difference between life and death.

All escape routes should be kept clear.

Ensure that your door keys are readily accessible. In the event of a fire you will not have time to search for them

In a fire, time is critical. Don’t waste time getting dressed, don’t search for pets or valuables. Get out and stay out.

Call the fire brigade by dialing 999 or 112.

On average 46 people die each year in fires in Ireland.

There are approximately 150 fire-fighters in the fire service in Donegal and the brigades attended 867 incidents in 2012 that include 533 fires and 135 road traffic collisions. Many of these incidents would have required the attendance of more than one brigade.


Best of luck Geoffrey Browne

Our friend and colleague Geoffrey Browne left the employment of Donegal County Council on Monday.  Geoffrey will be greatly missed by everyone who had the pleasure of working with him throughout his time in the Council.  Best of luck Geoffrey.

See photos of the event:



















We wish you the best Geoffrey Browne!