Islanders sail across the border for meeting

Áine Ryan ISLANDERS from Mayo, as well as from the rosary of outposts around our coastline, are set to sail for Rathlin Island, off the coast of County Antrim, on Saturday next, May 15. It is the first time that Cómhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann – the Irish Islands Federation – will host its AGM, which also includes a seminar, north of the border. According to Cómdháil secretary, Ms Rhoda Twombly, the overall theme of the seminar is the advancement of a cooperative ethos between governments and national and local agencies. Ms Twombly, a resident of Clew Bay island, Inishlyre, told The Mayo News there will also be talks on the Small Ferries Project, as well as on the potential of alternative energy sources on the islands. The busy schedule includes a presentation on the Cork Islands Inter-Agency Strategy, as well as on sustainable energy projects on both the Aran Islands and Rathlin. The Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs will be represented by Seamus Mac Giolla Choil and Aodhán Mac Cormaic, while the corresponding department in northern Ireland will be represented by Minister Gerry Kelly. “The organisation and funding for the AGM and seminar has been a fine example of cross-border cooperation and we hope it will lead to more such projects in the future,” Rhoda Twombly said. Cómdháil Oileáin na hÉireann was originally founded in 1984 when 16 islands came together to highlight socio-economic difficulties facing islanders, not being addressed on either local or national levels. It now represents 33 islands around the entire coast of Ireland, with populations from just one to 824, and with an entire population of approximately 2,900. Mayo News, May 12, 2010