Donegal 2014 Roadwork’s Programme

Vincent Callaghan Roads Services Supervisor for Donegal County Council

Vincent Callaghan Roads Services Supervisor for Donegal County Council

A number of roadwork’s programmes have been approved by Donegal County Council and are currently underway for our roads network but how does the council decide which roads need maintained?

Vincent Callaghan Roads Services Supervisor for Donegal County Council gives us an overview of the process and describes the practice as nothing short of a team effort.

“My duties as roads supervisor are to gather information on the roads that are giving us the most difficulty in consultation with the engineer area manager and then write up a priority list of roads that take precedent. For this we factor in many things such as how many houses are on the road, the condition of the road and the traffic volume.”

“Not a lot of people know that our elected members then look over this list and agree on a programme of work, so essentially they get the final say and decide on which roads will be repaired,” Vincent explains.

The roadwork’s programme is broken into three categories maintenance, restoration and surface dressing; Vincent talks about how some of his allocated budget will be spent this year.

“This year my budget allocation is €500,000 for regional and national roads .  On top of this I have €120,000 which will will go towards regional & local roads surface dressing.€35,000 will go towards surface dressing for N56.  €30,000 for footpath repairs in towns & villages.  Local road maintenance we will be spending €140,000.  Regional road maintenance €60,000 and national secondary €30,000.

Talking about the controversial subject of potholes Vincent explains how the public can report the dreaded pothole.

“The first thing people can do if they discover a pothole is ring the Contact centre and report it through a staff member or alternatively people can go online to our website and report it there, we have a lot of avenues to do this and me and my team members take it seriously as our number one priority is the roads network in Donegal.”

Talking about the best and most challenging parts of his job Vincent says that achieving a high standard and not being able to maintain every road make it to the top of the list.

“I always try to achieve a high standard of work and in return I get a lot of satisfaction with the work I’m doing and of course getting work done within budget is always a bonus.”

“I also love working in the local community helping any way I possibly can it gives me great job satisfaction.”

“The biggest challenge for me and I think for a lot of my team members is not being able to do as many roads as we would like to. Meeting deadlines can also be quite challenging as a lot of people are counting on the roads we are working on to be completed with minimal disruption.”

Vincent says that the short term pain of roadwork’swill lead to long term gains when they are complete, asking road users to slow down and be patient when works are ongoing.

“The message we want to get across to people when work is ongoing is to be more alert when they see that there is roadwork’s. Our main concern is for the safety of the public and our workers as speed is a big problem; people need to slow down as they don’t see the road work signs, and of course to be patience, I know sometimes that’s easier said than done,” laughed Vincent.

 

Roadwork’s facts

 

  • There is approximately €4million spent on the roadwork’s programme in Donegal electoral are alone.
  • There is over 6000km of road network in County Donegal – that’s the same distance from Donegal to New York City – that’s a lot of road.

 

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all your information updates

 

 

Advertisements

Féile Ealaíne an Earagail ar na bacáin!

An bhfuil tú réidh fá choinne coicís de cheol, drámaíocht, ealaíona súl, scannáin, litríocht agus go leor leor eile ar do thairseach féin?

Is é atá i bhféile ealaíne an Earagail i nDún na nGall ná féile ealaíne ildisciplíneach dhátheangach (Gaeilge agus Béarla) a bhíonn ar siúl i mí Iúil gach bliain ar fud thuaisceart agus iarthar Chontae Dhún na nGall ar bhord farraige iarthuaisceartach an Atlantaigh in Éirinn.

Image

Chonaic Traolach Ó Fionnáin, Oifigeach Ealaíne le Comhairle Contae Dhún na nGall, Féile Ealaíne an Earagail ag fás ó bhí sí ina bunsmaoineadh go dtí an lá inniu nuair atá sí ar cheann de na féilte ealaíne is faide bunaithe in Éirinn.

“Bhunaigh Comhairle Contae Dhún na nGall Féile Ealaíne an Earagail in 1989 mar phríomhfhócas agus mar thaispeántas le haghaidh gníomhaíochtaí ealaíne sa chontae. Rinneadh an fhéile a ionchorparú mar chomhlacht teoranta in 2004, agus san am i láthair déanann Comhlacht Bainistíochta Fhéile Ealaíne an Eargail Teoranta an fhéile a bhainistiú agus a riar ar son Chomhairle Contae Dhún na nGall” a dúirt Traolach.

Is í 2014 an 26ú bliain den fhéile. Agus í i gcomórtas leis na 25 cinn eile d’fhéilte ealaíne an Earagail roimhe seo, bíonn siad san iomaíocht leanúnach i gcoinne a chéile. Agus níl aon athrú air sin i mbliana, i ndiaidh gur eisíodh clár imeachtaí den chéad scoth a d’fhéadfadh, gan stró ar bith, a bheith inchurtha le féile ar bith in aon chathair mhór.

Agus é ag caint faoi fhéile na bliana seo, gríosaíonn Traolach daoine le teacht chuig an fhéile, féile mar a deir sé féin ‘ina bhfuil rud éigin ann do gach duine.’

Image

Tá seóanna ar dóigh ann ar nós ‘I Do’, dráma a thugann deis do dhaoine a bheith mar a bheadh cuileog ag cúléisteacht ar an bhalla sa tréimhse sin go díreach roimh phósadh, agus ‘Fiesta’ a bhfuil an-tóir air. Bhí An Fiesta ar cheann de na hallaí damhsa ba bhreátha in Éirinn, áit a seinneadh an Clipper Carlton, Seó-Bhanna Miami agus na Mighty Avons seiteanna gasta agus seiteanna malla ar feadh na mblianta, agus tá sé i gceist ag Féile Ealaíne an Earagail é a athbheochan le go mbeimis in ann spléachadh a fháil ar na blianta spleodracha sin de dhamhsa.’ Tá pointe ag Traolach.

‘Is é seo an obair is fearr a dhéanann an fhéile – comhthéacs a chruthú ina dtig leis an fhéile, Amharclann an Ghrianáin agus Comhairle Contae Dhún na nGall teacht le chéile le saothar úr ealaíne a choimisiúnú agus a chur i láthair, ó thús deireadh’.

“Tá mé ag súil go mór leis an dráma ‘I Do’. Is smaointiú iontach é, dráma a bheith ag tarlú ar mhaidin bainise, in sé cinn de sheomraí éagsúla in óstán, áit a dtugtar an lucht féachana fríd gach ceann acu ina gceann is ina gceann. Duine ar bith a bhí riamh sa chomhthéacs sin, beidh a fhios acu cad é a tharlaíonn ina seomra féin, ach is deis gan

Image

sárú é féachaint cad é atá ag dul ar aghaidh sna háiteanna eile. An chíor thuathail sin sa 20 bomaite roimh an phósadh’, a deir sé le haoibh an gháire.

“I mbliana, tá muid ag nascadh le roinnt féilte éagsúla, ina measc Féile Cheoil agus Ealaíne an ‘Swell’ in Árainn Mhór, An Festifál ar an Fhál Carrach agus Féile Soilse Thoraí.

“Is cuid mhór d’obair forbartha ealaíne na Comhairle í an tacaíocht leanúnach seo a thabhairt d’Fhéile Ealaíne an Earagail, agus í a thoiseacht’. Tá tábhacht mhór leis na comhpháirtíochtaí atá tógtha againn ar feadh na mblianta le grúpaí ealaíne eile agus le féilte beaga eile a bhíonn ar siúl san am chéanna le Féile an Earagail, agus cuireann seo borradh faoin turasóireacht sa chontae bliain i ndiaidh bliana.”

“Tá súil agam gurb é an cinneadh is crua atá le déanamh againn i mbliana ná cén imeacht ar chóir dúinn freastal air,” a dúirt Traolach agus meangadh gáire air.

Fíricí Éadroma fá dtaobh d’Fhéile Ealaíne an Earagail.

Beidh Féile Ealaíne an Earagail ar siúl i mbliana idir 12 – 26 Iúil.

Beidh 55 imeacht ar siúl.

Tiocfaidh Féile Ealaíne an Earagail chuig 16 cinn de bhailte móra agus beidh sé ar siúl in 25 cinn d’ionaid ar fud an chontae.

 

Earagail Arts Festival – That’s 2 Weeks of Summer Sorted

Are you ready for two weeks of music theatre, visual arts, film, literature and much more right on your doorstep?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Donegal’s largest arts festival the Earagail Arts is a bilingual (Irish and English language), multidisciplinary arts festival which takes place every July throughout North and West County Donegal on the North West Atlantic seaboard of Ireland.

Image

Traolach ó Fionnáin, Arts Officer for Donegal County Council has seen the Earagail Arts Festival grow from an idea into what is now one of the longest established arts festivals in Ireland.

“Donegal County Council established the Earagail Arts Festival in 1989 as a primary focus and showcase, for arts activities in the county. The festival was incorporated as a limited company in 2004 and the event is now managed and administered on behalf of Donegal County Council by Earagail Arts Festival Management Company Limited,” said Traolach.

2014 marks the 26th year of the festival. And in yearly competition with the previous 25 other Earagail art festivals they are in constant competition with themselves. And this year is no different after releasing a spectacular programme that could quite easily rival a festival in any big city.

Talking about this year’s event, Traolach urges people to come along to the festival, which in his own words he describes as having ‘something for everyone.’

With impressive shows such as ‘I Do’ a play giving audiences the chance to be a fly on the wall in the build up to a wedding, and the much anticipated ‘Fiesta’. The Fiesta was one of the finest dancehalls in Ireland, where the Clipper Carlton, the Miami Showband and the Mighty Avons played fast and slow sets through the years and the Earagail Arts Festival is set to reincarnate it so we can get a look at those roller disco years, Traolach has a point.

‘This is what the festival does best – creating a context where it, An Grianán Theatre and Donegal County Council can come together to commission and present new artistic work, start to finish’.

“I’m really looking forward to the play ‘I Do’. The notion of a play happening on a wedding morning in six different rooms in a hotel, where the audience is guided through each one in turn, is quite amazing. Anyone who has been in that situation will know precisely what goes on in their own room, but the chance to see what’s happening everywhere else is too good to pass up. The chaos of the last 20 minutes before a wedding, he laughed.

“This year we are linking in with a number of different festivals, including the new Swell Festival of Music and Arts in Aranmore, Festifál in Falcarragh and The Tory Lights Festival.

“Initiating and continuing to provide support to Earagail Arts Festival is a big part of the Council’s arts development work. The partnerships that have been built up over the years with other arts groups and other smaller festivals that happen at the same time as Earagail have been invaluable to us and have boosted our county’s tourism year after year.”

“Here’s hoping this year’s hardest decision is what event we should attend,” smiled Traolach.

Programme web

 

Earagail Arts Fun Festival Facts

This years Earagail Arts Festival takes place from 12-26 July.

There are 55 events taking place

The Earagail Arts Festival will visit 16 towns and play in 25 venues all across the county.

For more information on the festival and for a full programme of events go to – www.eaf.ie/

 

Tip O’Neill’s Legacy Lives On

Image

Thomas P. O’Neill III talks about his father and what the Irish Diaspora Award means to him

Thomas P. O’Neill III a truly humble and sincere man talks about his father the celebrated Tip O’Neill and about what the Irish Diaspora award named after his father really means to him and his family.

The O’Neill roots run deep here in Donegal and all over Ireland, with generations of friends and family and it is really no surprise that Thomas feels so at home when he comes back to visit.

“My links to Donegal and Ireland are very family orientated, I have friends in Ireland who I’ve known for decades and my family and I go back and fourth a few times a year. I love visiting Donegal, every time I come here I feel like I’m coming home.”

Donegal County Council have been involved in a range of initiatives over the past number of years making initial contacts and discussing areas of potential collaboration and highlighting the importance of keeping the Irish Diaspora on the frontline. The Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora award is a prestigious award that recognizes achievements of members of the Irish Diaspora and the global impact of Irish people everywhere.

Thomas talks about poignant memories of Donegal and taking long walks along the waterfront with his father.

“I have great memories of Donegal and my father walking with me by the lake at the parkway in Buncrana ands it’s just great to see how far Ireland and the North of Ireland have come since then.”

The recipient of the third annual 2014 Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award has been announced as senator Therese Murray President of the Massachusetts State Senate.

Talking about this year’s recipient of the award, Thomas says that the award couldn’t have gone to a better person who’s doing great things for Donegal and Massachusetts links.

“She comes from a very similar background as the O’Neills and it’s great to see her recognised for her Irish links. She has done wonderful things for Massachusetts and Ireland in terms of making links with the Irish Diaspora.

It’s a great achievement not only for her but for all Irish Americans, giving her this award was definitely the right thing to do.”

Image

(Plaque dedicated to Thomas’s father the late Tip O’Neil)

Thomas the oldest son of the late U.S. Speaker Tip O’Neill, began in politics by running his father’s campaigns and later on his own.

With family history and big shoes to fill Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and a master’s degree in public administration at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government. Following his father down the rabbit hole of politics in 1972 he ran for a seat in the legislature, the same district his father had once represented, but only stayed for one term.

Today Thomas P. O’Neill III is the founder and chief executive officer of O’Neill and Associates, New England’s leading public relations and government affairs consulting firm. O’Neill and Associates integrates federal, state and local government relations with strategic communications, media relations and marketing to provide custom public affairs campaigns to clients in a diverse range of industries.

Tip O’ Neill was renowned for helping to change Ireland with his influence and wisdom, and while most remember him as an influential politician, Thomas remembers him just simply as Dad.

 

Cé a fhreagraíonn do scairteanna gutháin?

Tá Eibhlín Ó Ceallaigh ag obair le Comhairle Contae Dhún na nGall le 13 bliana anuas, agus tá sí lonnaithe i Lár-Ionad Teagmhála na Comhairle ó bunaíodh é in 2012. Tá sé ag obair i gcomhar le baill foirne eile arb iad an chéad phointe teagmhála iad nuair a chuireann tú scairt ar an Chomhairle, agus insíonn Eibhlín níos mó dúinn fá dtaobh di féin agus fána post, agus ligeann sí dúinn aghaidh a chur leis an duine a fhreagraíonn ár gcuid scairteanna.

Bunaíodh an t-ionad teagmhála custaiméara de bharr gur mhaith linn go mbeadh eispéireas den chéad scoth ag custaiméirí nuair a dhéanann siad teagmháil le Comhairle Contae Dhún na nGall.   Leis seo a dhéanamh, agus ós rud é go raibh Toghcheantar Bhaile na nGallóglach agus Toghcheantar Leitir Ceanainn á chomhnascadh san am céanna, socraíodh go ndéanfaí scairteanna gutháin a lárnú san aon áit amháin agus roghnaíodh Baile na nGallóglach mar áit, agus tá an an t-ionad ag feidhmiú leis ó shin.

Eileen Kelly

Eileen Kelly

 

Eibhlín Ó Ceallaigh agus aoibh uirthi, agus í ag glacadh le scairt ar an Chomhairle. Mar eolas do chainteoirí Gaeilge, tá Gaeilge réasúnta maith ag Eibhlín fosta.

Labhraíonn Eibhlín faoi cé chomh maith is atá ag éirí leis an ionad teagmhála agus faoin dóigh a bhfuil siad ag iarraidh plé le gach scairt, gach lá, ar bhonn fíorthábhachtach.

“Tá sé d’aidhm againn 50% de na daoine a scairteann orainn a fhreagairt laistigh de 20 soicind, agus ar an dara dul síos, tá sé d’aidhm againn réiteach a fháil ar an cheist ar an toirt le gur féidir linn an t-eolas atá de dhíth ar an chustaiméir a fháil dóibh gan iad a chur ar aghaidh chuig ball foirne eile nó chuig rannóg eile de chuid Chomhairle Contae Dhún na nGall.

“Má iarrann custaiméir ball foirne ar leith, déanfaidh muid iarracht iad a chur i dteagmháil go díreach leis an bhall foirne sin.   Mura bhfuil muid in ann an ball foirne a fháil, cuirfear teachtaireacht chucu chun dul i dteagmháil leis an ghlaoiteoir.   Aon fhiosrúchán nach bhfuil muid féin in ann plé leis, agus nach bhfuil muid in ann ball foirne eile a fháil le plé leis ag an am áirithe sin, cuirfidh muid sin ar aghaidh.  Coinnímid taifead de gach scairt agus déanaimid an scéal a uasdátú nuair a chuireann ball foirne in iúl dúinn gur phléigh siad leis an chás.

“Ó thosaigh mé, creidim go bhfuil feabhas ar eispéireas an chustaiméara le haghaidh ár gcuid glaoiteoirí.  I dtús ama, nuair a thosaigh muid, bhí roinnt fadhbanna tosaigh againn ach i ndiaidh gur cuireadh isteach córas úr gutháin ar na mallaibh déantar gach scairt a chur i scuaine agus nuair a bhíonn oibritheoir saor, glacann siad leis an chéad scairt eile.”

Ag amharc san am atá romhainn, tá pleananna ann leis na cumasáidí lena bpléann an t-ionad teagmhála leo a leathnú amach go dtí ríomhphostanna a chuirtear chuig Comhairle Contae Dhún na nGall agus tuairiscí a dhéantar fríd chóras tuairiscithe idirlín na Comhairle.

Labhraíonn Eibhlínn faoi na scairteanna is minice a fhaigheann an t-ionad, agus labhair sí faoin lá a tugadh ‘glao-chailín’ uirthi (go measúil, ar ndóigh!).

“Féadann ábhar na scairteanna is minice a athrú ó shéasúr go séasúr. San earrach, bíonn cuid mhór scairteanna faoi fálta atá le gearradh, nó ar mhaidin shleamhain gheimhridh is féidir go mbeadh glaoiteoirí ar lorg grean ar a gcuid bóithre.  Go hiondúil, san am i láthair, áfach, tá muid ag plé le cuid mhór fiosrúchán tithíochta.  Tá deacrachtaí ag cuid mhór daoine agus bíonn siad ar lorg comhairle agus cuidiú i dtaca leis an tacaíocht atá ar fáil ón údarás tithíochta nó cuidiú le deontais chun cuidiú leo le fadhbanna leighis in am seo an chruacháis.

“Tugadh glao-chailíní orainn lá den tsaol, an gcreidfeá é?” a deir Eibhlín agus miongháire ar a haghaidh. “Mar sin féin, sílim gur botún gan dímheas a bhí ann mar gur mná uilig a bhí ar an fhoireann ach ón am sin tá fear ar bord againn anseo anois agus tá cothromaíocht éigin ann.”

 

Fíricí fá dtaobh den ionad teagmhála

  • Tá an t-ionad teagmhála suite in Ionad Seirbhísí Poiblí Bhaile na nGallóglach agus is é seo an chéad phointe teagmhala d’éinne a chuireann scairt ar Chomhairle Contae Dhún na nGall.
  • Pléann Comhairle Contae Dhún na nGall le thart fá 400 scairt in aghaidh an lae.
  • Ar lá gnoitheach, d’fhéadfadh ball foirne amháin a bheith ag plé le suas le 100 scairt.
  • Tá muid i gcónaí ag féachaint le seirbhís chustaiméara den chéad scoth a sholáthar do mhuintir Dhún na nGall.
  • Cuir scairt ar 074 91 53900 le haghaidh gach seirbhís de chuid na Comhairle.

 

Calling the Council – Who Answers Your Call?

Eileen Kelly has been working in Donegal County Council for the last 13 years and in the Council’s Contact Centre since it was set up in 2012. She is one of a team of people who are the first point of contact when you call the Council and Eileen tells us more about herself and her job and helps us put a face to the person who answers our calls.

The customer contact centre was born out of a desire to ensure that customers have an excellent experience when they contact Donegal County Council.   In order to do this and coinciding with the amalgamation of the Milford and Letterkenny Electoral Areas, it was decided to centralise telephone calls to one location and Milford was chosen as that location and the centre has been striving ever since.

Eileen Kelly

Eileen Kelly looking cheerful as she takes a call

Eileen talks about the success of the contact centre and how they are striving everyday to make every call a priority.

“We aim to get to 50% of our callers within 20 seconds and secondly we aim to provide a first call resolution in that we can provide the caller with the information that they require without referral to another staff member or section of Donegal County Council.

“If a caller requires a particular member of staff, we will try to get them in touch with that staff member directly.   If we are unable to get the staff member, a message will be sent to them to get in touch with the caller.   Any queries we are unable to deal with and unable to get another staff member to deal with at a particular time, we will also refer on.  We keep a record of our calls and update any referrals then once staff let us know the matter has been dealt with.

“Since starting, I feel the customer experience has improved for our callers.  Initially when we began, we had a few teething problems but with the recent introduction of a new telephone system, all our calls are queued and once an operator is free, they take up the next caller.”

Looking to the future, plans are in place to expand the communications the contact centre deals with to include e-mails sent to Donegal County Council and reports made through the Councils on-line reporting system.

Eileen talks about the most frequent calls the centre receives and how she was once memorably dubbed (a respectful of course) ‘call girl’.

“Topics for frequent calls can vary with the seasons, in springtime lots of calls about hedges needing to be cut or on a slippery winter morning, callers may want their roads gritted.  Typically though at present, we are dealing with a lot of housing queries.  Many people are experiencing difficulties and looking for advice and help in relation to what help is available from the housing authority or help with grants to assist in times of difficulty with medical problems.

“We were dubbed call girls at a stage would you believe,” laughed Eileen. “However, I do think it was an innocent mistake as it was an all female team but since then we have got a man on board the team and this has balanced things out.”

 

Facts about the contact centre

  • The contact centre is located in Milford Public Service Centre and is the first point of contact for anyone calling Donegal County Council.
  • The Customer Contact Centre deals with approximately 400 calls on a daily basis.
  • A single staff member could on a busy day take in excess of 100 calls.
  • We are continually striving to provide excellent customer service to the people of Donegal.
  • Call 074 91 53900 for all your Council services.