Runway ructions: why I have empathy with residents affected by new flight paths

Our man Frank on the ‘torture’ experienced by some residents near the North Runway at Dublin Airport; Rocky times behind the scenes at The Late Late Show; Creggs Harvest Festival countdown…

A while back, the North Runway at Dublin Airport opened, and for many residents who live under the new flight path, the noise of the low-flying aircraft has made life unbearable, with people experiencing huge levels of anxiety and stress.

Leona Cantwell, who lives in Kilsallaghan, said flights pass over her home every two minutes, and in her words, it’s “soul destroying and absolute torture”. She is suffering from severe mental health stress. Her little girl, who is seven years old, cries going to bed every night due to the noise of the planes, and everyone in the house has to wear earplugs.

Ms Cantwell says she had made complaints to the Dublin Airport Authority and Fingal County Council every day, but has received no satisfactory response. She says her husband’s parents have farmed there all their lives but never experienced anything like this.

Many residents say they bought their houses in recent years and checked the DAA’s website to make sure they would not be directly under the flight path. As one of them said, they understood they would be in the vicinity of aircraft, but would never dream of buying a house where the noise would be so unbearable.

Funnily enough, our daughter lives in north Dublin and we can see plane after plane come in to land, but the airport is a little bit away from her house, and the noise, although loud, is not unbearable. We stayed with her last weekend and experienced what it was like from her perspective – what it is like for the families who are immediately under the flight path, I can’t imagine.

As it happens, last week we watched a programme on RTÉ about the issues affecting all those people near the North Runway, and the truth is I’d never have thought about it again if we hadn’t heard the loud noise of a plane flying overhead as we sat at our kitchen table in Creggs. It was late in the evening, a bit after 10.30 pm, and the noise was sufficient to make an impact in our very rural home.

Thanks to the magic of flight radar, I could see that the plane, on a journey from Qatar to Chicago, was passing our area at a height of 39,000 feet. The fact that we were impacted at all by an aircraft flying at that huge height made us realise that the noise of planes, as they take off or come in to land, has to be soul destroying for all those unlucky enough to live directly under them.

What, if anything, can be done to alleviate their suffering, I don’t know. For now, I certainly sympathise with the experience of all affected by this. When a plane at 39,000 feet can disturb us in Creggs, what must it be like for those unfortunate enough to have to put up with it all the time?

*In Dublin, we had the pleasure of babysitting our two-and-a-bit-year-old granddaughter, Riley. When she was born, she had many health problems, and we feared that she might never walk. But today – although she may still need corrective surgery in a year or so – she is as active as any toddler of her age, flying round at a hundred miles an hour. For two OAPs, it was a hugely rewarding, but slightly tiring experience!

World Cup thrills

After a drama-free journey back from Dublin last weekend, we got back home in time to tune into one of the best games of the Rugby World Cup.

Our Irish team have already given us a tournament to remember, and the victories over South Africa and Scotland in front of thousands of Irish supporters will live forever in our hearts. But for little Portugal to win a first ever World Cup finals game, with a superb performance to beat a fancied Fijian team, was one of the stand-out moments so far. The absolute joy on the faces of the team, the management and their supporters was a thing to behold, and it’s something I will never forget.

As for us, what a game is coming this Saturday – all I can say is thank God my pacemaker got checked last week, as it will probably be well tested by the All Blacks!

Trouble behind scenes at Late Late Show?

Four weeks ago, the new Late Late Show was launched with massive fanfare and excitement. I didn’t watch it live, but I did record it and caught the James McClean interview – although, as I told you afterwards, I managed to avoid having to see the 2 Johnnies.

Anyway, in the meantime, viewing figures have tumbled quite alarmingly. I couldn’t get the numbers for Friday’s (in my opinion) disappointing Country Music Special, but in general there seems to be a lot of trouble behind the scenes of the new show.

Executive Producer Jane Murphy quit the show last week, allegedly because she found it impossible to continue – amid (alleged) tensions over the selection of guests and how they were interviewed. It seems that for Patrick Kielty’s first show, CNN superstar and Kerry’s own Donie O’Sullivan was booked to appear… only to be dropped two days before the show and replaced by the 2 Johnnies.

However, by that stage hotel rooms had been booked in Dublin for members of O’Sullivan’s family, O’Sullivan had had to get permission from CNN to appear on the Late Late, and his flights from the US were booked – and, at a cost of “more than four figures”, the price was lost.

The Late Late show team were horrified that such a thing would happen, just as the new RTÉ Director General Kevin Bakhurst announced a recruitment freeze, and more importantly, a freeze on discretionary spending.

Then there was the Carl Frampton interview, during which commentators say he got a very soft ride by Kielty over his fall-out with Barry McGuigan, and over his alleged links to MTK, the boxing firm founded by crime boss Daniel Kinahan.

The upshot of it all is that Ms Murphy felt she had little or no say in any of the important decisions and that she couldn’t do her job. Everyone says she was a very highly thought of Executive Producer, but whatever the cause of her departure, there is no doubt that Patrick Kielty has had a rough start to his new job as the host of the Late Late. He might just have to book the 2 Johnnies again for this Friday night to get it all sorted!

Sadly, I will miss it again if he does, as I have to walk the dog, or maybe the cat, but I will have to do something. However, as the LLS has been a flagship programme for RTÉ for so many years, I would like to see it overcome these problems and get back to the revered status it once had with Irish viewers. I won’t be holding my breath though.

Countdown to Creggs Harvest Festival

There is no doubt that the older one gets, the faster time flies, but it is still hard to believe that the Creggs Harvest Festival is almost on us again, with all kinds of activities lined up for the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of the month.

There will be full details in this newspaper over the next couple of weeks, but on Friday, October 27th, the ladies have a very special night out in store, when professional style adviser Maria Carton will hold an exclusive fashion class in the school hall.

When Maria is finished with you, you won’t know yourself and will be in huge demand for the dance floor later on at The Boogiemen in Mikeen’s, such will be the positive transformation. It all kicks off at 8 pm, with a cheese and wine party (with tea/coffee) from 7.30 pm.

As if that wasn’t enough, our own Caroline Canny, manager of Carraig Donn in Westport, has a goodie bag for everyone! Tickets are only €20 and you can get them in O’Rourke’s Spar or if you phone 087 8382944.

Also, Sheila Beirne tells me that Eleanor Shanley and Mike Hanrahan are playing in the Heritage Centre on Sunday night, October 29th, and I don’t have to tell anyone about the wonderful singer Eleanor is, a woman who has sung with some of the top musicians in the country, including De Danann, Sharon Shannon, Ronnie Drew, and Christy Moore.

As I said, all the details will be in next week’s paper. Tickets will be limited, so make sure not to miss out on this chance to see a wonderful musical treat!

And finally…

We ran into a number of the Keelogues’ Kellys at Martin’s birthday party last weekend. I want to wish him well and say hello to John and Kitsy and Raymond, and especially Melissa, all the way from Oughterard! Happy birthday Martin, you are catching up on me!