Communities agree to form an Inishowen Rivers Trust

Last Saturday people came together from all parts of Inishowen, representing all walks of life and unanimously agreed to form an Inishowen Rivers Trust. This is a significant decision for the people of Inishowen, for our water and for our environment.

Organised by local voluntary group Celebrate Water, the public meeting held in Carndonagh Community School featured an exhibition, talks, a discussion workshop on common issues and the benefits of forming a Rivers Trust. It is hoped that this new initiative will continue to bring people together to work on many local projects which will enhance the quality of our rivers.

The meeting was opened by Celebrate Waters Kathleen O’Hara Farren who sang her own beautiful composition about the journey of a drop of water and reminded us, “Tá muid ceangailte le chéile leis an uisce”. Dr. Liam Campbell then followed with an inspiring and eloquent talk on our strong connection with water and that water knows no boundaries. We learned that there are seventy eight Gaelic words to describe a body of water and Liam went on to quote the work of renowned Connemara writer and cartographer Tim Robinson. Dr. Campbell also emphasised the significance of the word “trust” and how a truly open and transparent organisation can strengthen bonds in a community. This he said is particularly important because of the increasing trend of companies who want to capitalise or commoditise our natural resources and whose actions can lead to division within communities.
Later Mark Horton, Manager of Ballinderry Rivers Trust, gave an insight into the workings of a trust and explained his role as development officer for Ireland. Mark said, “In the formation of a trust I can provide support and advice, particularly on setting up the Trust as a company with charitable status”. He continued, “It is wonderful to see such commitment and hard work from the people of Inishowen in reaching a broad consensus to move forward. In the coming months I will work with this community to form a Board of Trustees and officially launch the Inishowen Rivers Trust.”

A Rivers Trust is an organisation that drives the interests of groups who work on the ground – improving the rivers, building walkways, encouraging biodiversity – often referred to as people with “wet feet”. There are currently eight Rivers Trusts in Ireland, including one on the River Slaney in Wexford and one the Nore-Suir Rivers in Kilkenny. The Inishowen Rivers Trust will be the third Trust in the Republic of Ireland. Those who attended the public meeting had a chance to talk about the issues that exist on their local rivers – from Buncrana to Clonmany, Malin to Culdaff, Carndonagh to Moville – and to suggest solutions and opportunities for working together. The meeting was rounded off with a chance to socialise over lunch, meet new faces and enjoy the discussions about our rivers.

The organisers of the event, Celebrate Water, would like to sincerely thank Moville Tidy Towns and Donegal County Council Library Service for their continued support and all members of the community who participated in the event or supported the work to reach this point. If you would like to learn more or get involved with the Trust visit www.facebook.com/InishowenRiversTrust or email us at inishowenriverstrust@gmail.com.