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Paul Healy

Paul Healy

This is not Rooskey…



As the text messages whizzed around with the news, you could almost hear a collective and weary sigh from the community in Rooskey. Not again …

  More madness, silliness, call it what you like. But not, surely not, in the name of the people of Rooskey. A second attempted arson attack at the local hotel, where 80 or so asylum seekers are reportedly due to arrive soon.

  This is sad now…demoralising, worrying.

  And this isn’t Rooskey. This certainly isn’t Rooskey. There are strong indications of ‘outside influence’ – but even if there is a local or two involved (and there is no suggestion that there is), this isn’t Rooskey.

  The people of Rooskey are dismayed by this silliness, this crime, this madness. Angry too. It serves no good purpose. It is creating negative headlines, connecting those headlines to a great village.

  This is a mess which should never have been landed on this beautiful village, with its great history and heritage, its close-knit sense of community.

  This mess should never have happened …

  This week, national politicians who were barely aware of the existence of the village a few months ago, returned with their self-important statements. Amongst them, David Stanton, the Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration.

  Minister Stanton had the gall to say: “We are committed to working with the community and offering whatever support and reassurances we can”.

  Eh, post the arson attacks? Is this the same Government which failed utterly to communicate adequately with the people of Rooskey on the asylum seekers’ issue over recent months?

  Negative headlines, rumour and suspicion, uncertainty and confusion. All created by a flawed Direct Provision policy and a shocking lack of communication. Meanwhile, a village that actually needs constructive support from Government, not apathy or patronising words, finds itself in a no-man’s land.

  … receiving no meaningful support as it bids to recover from various economic setbacks…and unfairly laden down with the fall-out from the ugly scent of these stupid arson attacks.

  This is not Rooskey.




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Murphy condemns online abuse





Deputy Eugene Murphy has condemned recent online abuse which was directed at him.

  He told the Roscommon People: “This whole incident began when a constituent left abusive and unacceptable messages on the voicemail of my Strokestown office in relation to various national issues…I telephoned this man back to engage with him as I always do with people, no matter what their viewpoint”.

  Deputy Murphy says that his conversation with this person was recorded without his knowledge and consent.

  “Following this, the recording appeared on another Facebook page and threats were made through a post. Threats were made to me and my family and there was an incitement to violence as reference was made to tampering with my car”.

  Deputy Murphy said that it is “totally outrageous and unacceptable” behaviour.

  “I will not tolerate this type of unfounded abuse and it particularly angers me when the fall-out upsets my teenage children”.

  He continued: “This online abuse follows on from recent incidents in Strokestown where I was subjected to abuse and physically threatened at another unrelated incident. In fact in other separate incidents in the past there have been online references to spreading my house with slurry.

  “While I accept that public figures are fit subjects for public scrutiny, this does not give people the right to make threats or hurl sustained online abuse. These type of keyboard warriors are very brave when they are behind their laptop or phone – and in most cases would never say these things to your face – but yet they think they can say what they like online.

  “This of course opens up a wider debate about cyber bullying and trolling and the appointment of a digital safety officer is imperative to tackle this issue and also make the social media giants more accountable for this type of activity”.




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‘Disastrous policies fuel racism’


The Leitrim and Roscommon United Against Racism group has said the most recent attempted arson attack at the Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey comes just weeks before asylum seekers were due to arrive in the village.

  The group released a statement earlier this week which said that its members had visited the scene of the incident last Monday night and understood asylum seekers “were due to move into the hotel in the next week or two”.

  Part of the statement read: ‘Leitrim and Roscommon United Against Racism would like to take the opportunity to condemn what appears to be a second racist attempted arson attack on the hotel.

  ‘We are shocked and saddened yet again by this incident. We want to send a clear message that the tiny minority of people who were involved in these attacks on the hotel and those who support them by no means reflect the vast majority of the people living in Leitrim or Roscommon.

  ‘We ask that all public representatives throughout the country come out, stand united with us and publicly condemn and work to end all forms of racism, whether it be online or in our communities.

  ‘We believe our government’s disastrous policies, including the housing crisis and Direct Provision are fueling racism in our communities, as are far-right political groups.

  ‘We demand an end to the government’s inhumane Direct Provision policy”.

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Imagine pledges investment in rural broadband



Deputy Denis Naughten has welcomed the announcement by Imagine that it is to invest €300m in rolling out Ireland’s first 5G wireless broadband service, specifically focusing on rural Ireland.

  The former Communications Minister said that between now and next June the new 5G broadband service with speeds of 150mbps will be available on masts including sites in Ballaghaderreen, Sliabh Bán, Sliabh O’Flynn, Mount Mary, Scrine, Kilbegley, Athlone, Mountbellew and Tuam.

  “This service by Imagine will be available to 300/400 customers at each location with an installation cost of €150 and a monthly charge of €60. Those wishing to avail of the service can register at imagine.ie.

  “The roll-out of this network, the first of its type in Europe, is as a direct result of my work as Minister for Communications to release the wireless spectrum and the actions of the mobile phone and broadband taskforce, which I established”.

  Deputy Naughten said that while this service does not suit everybody, it will help many of those in rural Ireland who can access it, to operate from home and shows that progress is being made in rolling out broadband services across Ireland.



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