A winter storm badly damaged the pier at Inis Meáin and the islanders are still waiting for it to be rebuilt.
Braitheann fás agus forbairt Inis Meáin ar an bhfarraige. Scrios stoirm an cé an bhliain seo chaite, ach tá muintir an oileáin fós ag fanacht le cúnamh ón mórthir.
Last winter a storm destroyed the Galway island’s pier, and it has not yet been rebuilt. This means that there is no suitable place for boats from the mainland to dock or moor when they reach the island. Tourists can travel in and out via light aircraft, as the island does have an airstrip, but this mode of transport is not economically viable for most islanders.
As long as the pier is not in operation, everything has to be brought ashore in currachs, and at the end of each day, the currachs must be carried over the rocky beach and secured. This might have been the norm in JM Synge’s time, but in the twentieth century this is not a way of life that people want.
This lack of infrastructure on Inis Meáin means that any potential economic progress is seriously hampered. One man who returned home from America with his wife and family to live on the island had worked for eight months with the local co-operative, but is now on the dole.
The Inis Meáin Knitwear factory employs twelve people and produces sweaters in the traditional Aran style. They export their garments, but the arduous transport process means that the boxes can be damaged en route to their destination, as Mairín Ní Choincheannáin explains,
Caithfidh siad dul amach sa gcurrach. Dá mbeach céibh nua againn ‘s muid in ann iad a chur isteach sa mbád ón gcéibh ní bheadh rogha an tada mar sin a dhéanamh...
Fisherman Ruairí Ó Fatharta explains his predicament to reporter Doireann Ní Bhriain. As he sees it, a proper harbour on the island would mean that islanders now working on other peoples’ trawlers could invest in trawlers of their own, securing livelihoods for themselves and for their families,
Ní bheadh an imirce go dona is atá. Tá cúpla leaid as an oileáin anois...b’fhéidir seisear nó seachtar ag iascaireacht ó thrálaerí, agus do mbeadh céibh maith ar an oileáin, tá mé cinnte go mbeadh bád beag acu sin dóibh fhéin, ag iascaireacht gliomachaigh.
This episode of ‘P.M.’ was broadcast on 11 May 1978. The reporter is Doireann Ní Bhriain.
PM was a magazine series reporting on aspects of Irish life with interludes for music from Irish performers.
PM first began on Tuesday, 20 September, 1977 and was initially aired three nights a week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7.00pm on RTÉ 1.
The original presenters John O'Donoghue, Áine O'Connor, Nicholas Coffey and Doireann Ní Bhriain were later joined by Pat Kenny.
"As editor Noel Smyth sees it, the Tuesday programme will consist mainly of film reports on topical events anywhere in Ireland, the Wednesday edition will concentrate on studio discussions, and the Thursday programme will be in Irish, with just as wide a brief as the other two."
(RTÉ Guide, 16 September 1977, Vol.1, No.37, p.18)
PM ran until Thursday, 12 April 1979.