18th October

News from Bere Island

John Walsh

The West Cork islands’ Interagency Group applied to the West Cork Enterprise Board to fund a consultant to organise and run an islands economic day in Bantry on Thursday October 20th.

Jackie Gowran is the consultant, and she has many years experience working with people who want to start their own business; she also runs mentoring sessions with existing businesses. She will use an ‘island based’ approach and the event is targeting all islanders, not just business people.

The workshop will look at building the brand of the West Cork Islands and ideas for a logo and website will also form part of the workshops.


May Lavelle, Comhar Na nOileain, and a representative from the enterprise board will also attend to answer questions that may arise. The day will be a feeder event for participants as they will have the opportunity to follow up with a start-your-own business course and mentoring advice.

 West Cork Islands website

West Cork Islands successfully applied to Fáilte Ireland for funding to develop a new website.  Tender specifications will shortly be sent to web developers; if you are interested in getting involved or know of a good site that we could look at for ideas, please let us know. (Contact details below).

Energy group
Members from the Bere Island energy group attended a workshop in Denmark as part of the Leader energy project in June, and presented their draft energy plan.

Site visits included a trip to a land-based wind turbine – one of the largest in Europe; a wave energy project which encompasses a windmill and a laboratory that grows algae for energy use, and a hydrogen energy project which produces hydrogen from wind that is then used to heat a housing estate.

Bere Island is the venue for the next gathering which takes place in October. Representatives from three Danish islands, Clare and Aranmore islands will be participating.

Site visits are planned for the wave laboratory in UCC and to a hydro project on the Lee Road in Cork City.

If you would like to take part or would like more information there will be a meeting on October 5th at 8pm in the community centre. All are welcome.


The European Small Islands Network (ESIN) recently held its AGM on the island of Ile De Yeu in western France. Representatives from Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Scotland, Finland, France and Alland attended the event. The work of the intergroup 174 was discussed; this group was set up by MEPs to try to identify ways to help island and mountain communities which was one of the objectives of the Lisbon Treaty.

Also discussed was the EPSON report which was commissioned by the EU to compile detailed statistics on European islands and is nearing completion. ESIN has a secretariat in Brittany and two staff members – Manuela Theraud and Jean Philippe – who lobby for islanders in Brussels.  Further information from www.europeansmallislands.net

Danish IT project
On September 5, three teachers from island schools in Denmark visited Bere Island to establish a European cooperation project with St Michael’s national school. The project will use computers and video conferencing facilities to help students work together on projects and share experiences in each other’s countries. The project is being led by Lotte Brinkman, school principal on Anholt Island, Denmark. Lotte used IT to link schools in the UK and Denmark to great success. The project will also link with island schools on Inis Turk, Aranmore and Inis Mor and will provide a good platform to practice Irish speaking.

Further information, contact 027 75099.

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