The residents of the islands in Clew Bay off the Mayo coast talk about the challenges they face and their hopes for some state support.

Inhabitants of Inishlyre and Inishgort, two of the smallest of the islands off the Mayo coast are hoping government investment in offshore islands will provide them with a better way of life.

According to Comhdháil Oileán na hÉireann, the Irish Islands Federation, the representative body for the inhabited offshore islands off the Irish coast, there are over 3,000 people living on Ireland’s 28 offshore islands.

Most of the English speaking islands in Clew Bay off the County Mayo coast have only a few families living on them. Postman John Gibbons lives on Inishlyre and is leading a campaign seeking a better deal for island people. The inhabitants of the sparsely populated Inishlyre depend on generators for power, but John is hopeful the island will have electricity before the end of 1999.

Joachim Gibbons and his partner Rhoda Twombly run a freight shipping company from Inishlyre, and they are building the first new house on the island in 100 years. Rhoda believes a small monetary contribution from the government could transform their quality of life.

We need small jobs done that would help our lives immensely.

Joachim knows it is difficult to convince the government to spend money on keeping people on tiny islands, but he believes it is of the utmost importance to do so as

It’s a way of life and its part of the heritage to keep the small islands.

The sole inhabitant of Inishgort Island, Sean Jeffers keeps himself busy by tending his livestock and painting Inishgort lighthouse.

On behalf of Sean and himself, John Gibbons makes a request.

If there's any young ladies out there who are interested in moving out to an island, two eligible bachelors here now, no problem.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 29 April 1999. The reporter is Jim Fahy.