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Paul Healy

Paul Healy

Naughten confirms superfast broadband for local housing estates



Minister Denis Naughten has confirmed that Siro is about to commence the construction of superfast high speed broadband to homes in the housing estates in Monksland, Bealnamullia, Summerhill and Baylough in Athlone.

  The roll-out of up to 1000mbps pure fibre high speed broadband by Siro, the joint venture between ESB and Vodafone, will take approximately five months to complete. This will deliver the world’s fastest broadband speeds to businesses and homes throughout the town of Athlone, Minister Naughten said.

  “This is a significant boost for South Roscommon and I want to thank Siro for its commitment and investment,” stated Minister Naughten.

  “I am determined that every premises in Ireland will be able to access high-speed broadband as quickly as possible through a combination of commercial and State-led investment and this work by Siro will contribute significantly to achieving this.”


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Fitzmaurice to campaign for Group Water Scheme ‘victims’


People who are on Group Water Schemes are still being discriminated against, according to Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.

  Deputy Fitzmaurice has welcomed a Government decision to refund people who paid their water bills, but it’s a reminder, he says, that the many people in rural areas who are on Group Water Schemes “are being forgotten about once again.”

  “It is right that the Government refunds the water charges to those who paid them but the reality is that the many people who are on Group Water Schemes in rural areas are not receiving an adequate subvention to cover the cost of the water that is supplied to their homes.

  “In almost all cases, groups of people in rural areas got together to arrange their own water supply and their action have saved the Government hundreds of millions of euro over the years. In addition, people with their own septic tanks have seen costs of between €10,000 and €15,000 in recent years to upgrade their facilities in order to comply with legislation.”

  Deputy Fitzmaurice says that over the next few weeks he is going to embark on an “intense campaign” to raise awareness of the plight of those on Group Water Schemes and “how they are being treated like second-class citizens.”

  “I will be seeking an extra subvention of at least €100 per house for these people to bring them in line with how everyone else in the system is treated” the TD revealed.

  Deputy Fitzmaurice said there are a lot of Independent TDs from rural areas and he is calling on them to stand up and be counted on this issue.

  “We now have a situation where many people in rural areas on Group Water Schemes – who are paying for their own water supply – are getting up every day and going to work and find that their taxes are paying for water and sewerage services to big towns and cities. It is double taxation and is grossly unfair” he concluded.

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Cabinet to discuss Athlone boundary proposals


Minister Denis Naughten has confirmed that a report on local government, including consideration of the Athlone Boundary Report, will be presented to Cabinet in the coming weeks.

  “I have been working closely with the Minister responsible for this plan, John Paul Phelan TD, and I am confident that this will provide clarity once and for all to the Athlone boundary issue,” stated Minister Naughten.

  In advance of the Cabinet discussion Minister Naughten has sought a meeting with the six local councillors as well as the Cathaoirleach and CEO of Roscommon County Council.

  “While I am a firm supporter of greater co-operation across the River Shannon, I am also utterly opposed to any change whatsoever to the border of County Roscommon,” stated Minister Naughten.

  “I made this view crystal clear to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar before my appointment as Minister and I expect that this position will be respected in the final decision by Cabinet.”

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Concern as some locals waiting up to four months for driving tests



Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has highlighted the fact that people in Roscommon and Athlone are subjected to some of the longest waiting times for driving tests in the country – with waiting times of over four months.

  Deputy Murphy says: “Figures from the Road Safety Authority indicate that people in Athlone have one of the longest waiting times in the country as they are typically waiting 17 weeks or over four months to sit their driving test and 1,892 people in Co. Westmeath have not been scheduled for a test yet.

  “The waiting time for a driving test in Roscommon is 16.8 weeks and over 700 people have not been scheduled for a test while there are over 3,000 people in Co.  Galway who have not been scheduled for a driving test yet.

  “The figures in Longford are also quite high at 15 weeks with over 500 people still not scheduled for a test while in Carrick-on-Shannon in Co. Leitrim people are waiting 13.4 weeks to sit their driving test with 469 people still waiting to be scheduled for a test.”

  Deputy Murphy said such long waiting periods are “simply unacceptable” as many people are left in limbo for up to four months.

  “Many of these people may be waiting for a full licence for employment purposes or a job application may be hinging on them having a full licence while other drivers are paying exorbitant levels of car insurance for provisional licences and they are being left waiting long periods to sit their driving test.”


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