Several Tidy Towns Committees around the country are involved pilots schemes at present that could save million gallons of water in their areas each year. The committees have seized on an idea by inventor Tom O’Toole which once featured in the television programme, ‘Dragons’ Den’. Mr O’Toole’s device is called an ‘Uisce Bagga’ and it is a plastic container filled with water that is placed in toilet cisterns.

The average number of daily toilet flushes in a family home is fourteen. Most homes have two toilets and, as the Uisce Bagga saves a litre of water on every flush, each home could save 5,000 litres each year. Apart from the conservation aspect, people are being reminded that water charges are imminent so the process could also save a considerable amount of money in utility bills.

Always money for the right property

In this column some months ago, I wrote about the last, privately-owned, working lighthouse in Ireland. It was up for sale at the time and it has now been sold for €300,000.

The Duncannon North Lighthouse has an interesting history because it was built in 1834 and originally stood at the entrance to Cork Harbour before being dismantled, stone by stone, and reassembled at Duncannon in County Wexford. The seller was a Londoner who purchased the property from the Commissioners of Lights twenty years ago for £100,000.

Auctioneer, Ann Carton of PN O’Gorman in New Ross, revealed that there were genuine enquiries from all over the world before the property was sold at auction last week. The new owner of the protected structure is an Irish national living abroad who intends to use it as a holiday home. It just goes to show that there is always money out there for the right property.

Getting tough on illegal waste sites

The European Commission is putting increased pressure on the authorities in this country to stamp out illegal and unlicensed sites that deal in scrap/waste. Consequently there was a major dawn raid on a large, 5-acres site on the outskirts of Limerick city last week.

Senior officers from the gardai, customs, revenue and officials from the city and county councils, backed up by a large force of gardai, descended on the site on the Ballysimon Road at 6.30am. They took away scrap metal worth tens of thousands of euro and also seized trucks, cars, engine parts and unlicensed horses and dogs. About 30 people live on the site and one man was arrested for the non payment of fines imposed by the courts.

County Director of Services, Gerry Behan, said a lucrative international trade in metal, engines and car-parts existed and there were many legitimate facilities that complied with planning conditions and met strict criteria at great expense but that was not the case regarding the site in question.

Rows on land and sea

All is not sweetness and light on several fronts in County Kerry at present where there are a couple of disputes that would surely have caught the attention of the late, great John B Keane.

Dispute No 1 involves a row between two landowners on Fenit Island that ended up in Tralee Circuit Court. The court heard that, at the heart of the bitter row, is a ‘Fort Knox’ style fence erected by the landowners around their properties. However, one of the owners claims the fence has blocked him from accessing a neighbour’s farm through a right of way.

On a wider front, hundreds of people have protested about the entire question of fencing on the island. Locals and visitors say they now have limited access for walking on the island while the owners insist they are entitled to put fences around their property. According to local reports, Kerry county manager, Tom Curran, is currently facilitating negotiations between the protestors and the landowners.

Meanwhile, in West Kerry, a price-war has broken out between two ferry companies operating between Dun Chaoin and the Great Blasket Island. Apparently, there was an agreement between the two companies to operate their businesses on a fair-share basis but that went by the wayside when one of the operators reduced his return fare to the island to €5 from €20. His competitor says he cannot match that price and therefore will be forced out of business. A third ferry company which also began operating out of Dun Chaoin this year is not involved in the so-called price war.

The wrong approach

Two friends were drinking at the Golf Club one night last week when one sighed loudly and said he had better go home. Why so sad, asked his friend noticing his glum expression. “Well,” said his pal, “things are not going too well at home at present. No matter how quiet I am, the wife always wakes up any night I’m late and gives out stink about the time I spend playing golf and the fact that I go for a few drinks afterwards.”

“That’s because you’re doing it all wrong,” said his friend. “What I do is rev the car in the driveway, bang the doors as hard as I can and whistle loudly as I climb the stairs. Then I climb into bed, cheerfully tap the wife on the shoulder and ask her if she’s awake. You know what? She never is.”