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Paul Healy

Paul Healy

Multi-purpose facility needed at Portrunny – report




Portrun Development Association CLG (‘PDA’) is delighted to announce the completion of its feasibility study for Portrun Amenity & Recreation Centre (‘PARC’) at Portrunny Bay, Roscommon. 

  The PARC Feasibility Study was commissioned in 2018 by the local community group who engaged the services of a professional team led by James Chilton of Rethink Tourism & Recreation Planning Consultants to complete the study. 

  The terms of reference for the study provided for a lengthy and detailed consultation period with the public and various stakeholders including various state agencies (including Roscommon County Council, Waterways Ireland, Inland Fisheries Ireland and National Parks & Wildlife Service) along with private enterprise, volunteer groups and other local community groups.   

  The report provides a detailed assessment of the need for a multi-purpose facility to complement the existing amenities at Portrunny Bay such as the marina, slipways, heritage trail, picnic area and playground. The plans are considered fully aligned with the strategic priorities set out under various local, regional and national development plans including Roscommon County Development Plan (2014-2020), Lough Ree Plan (2017) and Failte Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands brand proposition, launched earlier this year.    

  Included in the feasibility study is a creative design concept by well-known architect George Boyle, which draws its design inspiration from the rich local heritage of the area. Also included in the study is a high-level infrastructural appraisal of the site by FDA Consulting Engineers, which includes an assessment of the infrastructural aspects of the site to determine its suitability for future development.

  Gerry Hanlon (Chairperson of Portrunny Development Association CLG) commented: “On behalf of Portrun Development Association CLG I would like to thank all our volunteers and in particular the members of our Development Projects Committee who have worked very hard steering this project through its many stages over past 18 months.

  “The PARC Feasibility Study is one of three main capital projects in our own Local Area Development Plan (2016-2021), which also includes The Portrunny Heritage Trail (completed in 2018) and The New Slipway (Works Commenced in June 2019) so this launch represents another major milestone for our community group”. 

  Mr. O’Hanlon said that the successful delivery of these projects requires a huge volunteer effort in collaboration with state agencies such as Roscommon County Council, Waterways Ireland, Inland Fisheries and National Parks & Wildlife Service.   

  He added: “In relation to this project I would like to acknowledge the support of LEADER Programme 2014-2020; Roscommon LEADER Partnership; Roscommon Local Community Development Committee (Roscommon LCDC) and Roscommon County Council.

  “The launch of the report is timely as Waterways Ireland nears completion of the first stage in their Shannon Masterplan, which is a project that is running in parallel with Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands branding project led by Failte Ireland.

  “I look forward to further collaboration between our community group and these agencies with a view to implementation of the report’s findings and recommendations, which should provide a platform for much-needed investment in both the local and regional economies whilst ensuring that this unique public amenity remains at the heart of our local community”.

  The PARC Feasibility Study will be available to the public in digital format on www.portrun.ie and social media platforms from Friday, 12th of July.



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Murphy welcomes Taoiseach’s apology



Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy has welcomed the apology from Leo Varadkar for controversial remarks made in the Dáil last week.

  During exchanges with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, the Taoiseach said: “I am always amused and bemused that Deputy Martin likes to accuse me of being partisan and personal yet, as evidenced by his name calling today, he is very capable of being partisan and personal himself.

  “The deputy reminds me of one of those parish priests who preaches from the altar telling us to avoid sin while secretly going behind the altar and engaging in any amount of sin himself”.  After a major outcry over the comments, the Taoiseach apologised to offended Catholics the following day.

  Deputy Murphy said the remarks were “appalling”.

  “His comments were deeply hurtful to many including priests, sufferers of child abuse and others.

  “I cannot understand what he was thinking at the time. I expect the Taoiseach may make an apology to all this week, including FF leader Micheál Martin. We as politicians must practice respect for others,” concluded Deputy Murphy.





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Vote for Callum – only Irish finalist in Cadbury Inventor’ competition!





Callum Clogher, a 17-year-old County Roscommon student, has been revealed as one of three finalists in the ‘Cadbury Inventor’ competition, which gave Cadbury fans across Ireland and the UK the chance to create their very own Cadbury Dairy Milk bar. Callum is the only finalist from Ireland.

  Louis Walsh has rowed in to support Callum and is calling on the people of Ireland to vote for Callum’s creation on the competition website – www.CadburyInventor.com – as the three finalist bars hit shelves across the country this week, for a limited time only.

  Speaking about the Cadbury Inventor competition and Callum’s creation, Louis Walsh said: “Cadbury has always been very near and dear to my heart, so I am thrilled to lend my support to Callum and his brilliant creation. It’s a million percent yes from me! I am calling on people across the country to get behind him and log on to vote”.

  Launched last year, the Cadbury Inventor competition gave people the chance to create their very own Cadbury Dairy Milk bar, where entrants were able to add up to three ingredients, then name their bar and explain what inspired their creation, before hitting send on their entry.

  Callum, who is from Dysart, has created the Cadbury Dairy Milk CHOCA-LATTE, based on his love for coffee and chocolate. Callum’s bar consists of a delicious mix of coffee cream and vanilla sandwiched, in between the smooth taste of Cadbury Dairy Milk.

  Speaking about his creation, Callum said: “I love the taste of coffee and I have always loved chocolate, so I knew the chocolate and coffee combination would taste great together, if done just right. The whole Cadbury Inventor experience has been amazing and surreal. I can’t quite believe that I have made it to the final and I’m the only Irish finalist in the competition. It would be great to win, but I just hope that everyone likes my creation and I can’t wait to see something I made on shop shelves”.

  Callum and his fellow finalists, Melanie and Neelam – both based in the UK – will now battle it out for their bar to stay on supermarket shelves.

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Credit unions mounting ‘political campaign’ against levy rise





Roscommon meeting told of potential closures


A meeting held in Roscommon recently was told that some credit unions around the country are in danger of closing if the Central Bank presses ahead with plans to increase the Industry Funding Levy on credit unions from approximately €1.5 million per annum to approx. €7.8 million by the end of 2022.

  Roscommon Credit Union Limited, along with 248 other credit unions around the country, are now mounting a political campaign to “strongly oppose” an increase which would see credit unions pay up to 400pc more to fund the Central Bank.

  A meeting was held recently in the Roscommon Credit Union main office, with invited guests including ILCU President and Roscommon Credit Union Director Gerry Thompson, local credit union representatives from Castlerea, Lanesboro/Ballyleague, Boyle, Ballinasloe and Athenry, and the local TDs and Senators.

  In a statement, Roscommon Credit Union said that the proposed increase is “imposed” with the consent of the Minister of Finance, Paschal Donohoe and “without consultation” with credit unions.

  “Credit Unions currently pay 9% of regulatory costs linked to their operations. The Central Bank wants this to rise to 50% of regulatory costs by 2022. This would see the costs for a small-sized credit union such as Roscommon Credit Union Limited go from €3,514 last year to €17,570 in three years’ time, a significant rise by any measure.

  “This levy is in addition to several substantial annual levies credit unions already pay to the Central Bank. The Industry Funding Levy equates to €1.5 million per year, with €7.5m a year to fund the Credit Institute Resolution Fund Levy, another €2.5m as part of the Stabilisation Scheme Levy, and €12.2m a year as part of the Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

  “There are also other smaller levies, such as the Financial Services Ombudsman Levy and the Data Protection Commissioner Levy. Taken together, the levies mentioned above cost credit unions approximately €24 million per annum, and this is a considerable burden for a credit union”.

  The Roscommon Credit Union statement added that credit unions are not simply an alternative to banks but are a model of community banking with deep roots and widespread affinity.

  Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) chief executive Ed Farrell has written to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe questioning why he granted approval to the Central Bank for the increase. Locally, Roscommon Credit Union Limited has taken positive steps to lobby local politicians (government and opposition) to prevent what they call “this unfair and totally disproportionate increase” being imposed by the Central Bank.

  Gerry Thompson, ILCU President and Director of Roscommon Credit Union Ltd. spoke of the counter-intuitive nature of what he called this “astronomical” hike: “Raising the levy is effectively a tax on social capital. It is a levy on volunteers and the local community, one that is unsustainable and goes against everything the credit union movement is trying to achieve for its members.

  “Our hope is that this meeting will be the first of many credit union meetings across Ireland garnering support from local politicians and Government representatives, empowering them to take a stand for credit unions and the communities they represent and serve”.

  Bernie Moran, Manager of Roscommon Credit Union, said: “We would ask members when speaking to their local political representatives to please reinforce the message of the importance of your local credit union and the flexibility it affords to you. The payment of these levies is taken from the surplus income of all credit unions which should be going back into member services expansions and allow the credit union to offer all the free services to its members that it currently affords”.


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