Log in
Paul Healy

Paul Healy

HSE ‘spending millions on private ambulances’

The Saolta Hospital Group, which includes Roscommon Hospital, spent over €2 million on private ambulances last year, and is set to break the €3 million mark this year, the Health Service Executive have revealed.

  This information was disclosed following a parliamentary question from Independent TD Denis Naughten.

  In 2013, €44,168 was spent by Roscommon Hospital, €38,155 last year and €30,155 in the first five month of this year.

  This is despite the establishment of Saolta’s own hospital transport service for patients two years ago.

  The patient transport service uses Intermediate Care Vehicles (ICVs), manned by Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), to transport patients between hospitals, like those within Saolta Group.

  “The reason for establishing this service was to assist the Saolta Hospital Group in transporting patients between hospitals,” said Deputy Naughten.

  “But despite this the hospitals have forked out €2.2m in 2014 and have already spent in excess of €1.25m in the first five months of 2015.

  “This is on top of the money paid by health insurers for the transport of private patients between these hospitals.

  “The use of the ICVs was to ensure that patients who are already in hospital can be transferred between hospitals without tying up emergency ambulances and paramedics, who would then available to respond to 999/112 calls.

  “What is even more frustrating is the fact the money used over the last two and a half years on private ambulances would have paid for an additional 28 ICVs, which would have a dramatic impact on the delivery of the service.” 

  • Published in News
  • 0

Dear Old Elphin Festival – this weekend

The ‘Dear Old Elphin’ Festival 2015 will take place this Bank Holiday weekend and all events are free for patrons in what is the third instalment of this very popular festival.

This year the festival will start on Friday 31st July with a Crossroads Dance near the Cathedral Green.

Patrons will be transported back to the days of the 1940s when Elphin and surrounding area was a mecca for Dance Halls, Carnivals and crossroads dancing.

As well as ceili dancing there will have waltzing and foxtrots. On Saturday 1st August the Main Street will be closed to traffic.

Stalls selling the best of local produce will be set up and we will be showcasing the traditional crafts of bygone days such as shoemaking, spinning, weaving, wood cutting, threshing, thatching, haymaking, tinsmith and blacksmith (if the weather is poor, many of these demonstrations will take place indoors).

The late Pat Kenny is fondly remembered by everyone who knew him and this year the Pat Kenny Poetry Competition will take place at the ‘Dear Old Elphin’ Festival on Sunday 2nd August in The Tower Bar, Elphin.

Other events over the weekend will include a Junior ‘Junk Kouture’ fashion parade for budding young designers and an art competition.

The theme for the adult art competition 2015 will be ‘a painting/drawing of a gathering’.

The festival will finish with an exciting car treasure hunt on Sunday with all proceeds from entries going to the prizes.

Check out our Facebook page on www.facebook.com/dearoldelphin2015/ and mark your diaries for 31st July to 3rd August and join us in Elphin, where there will be a warm welcome for all.

  • Published in News
  • 0

Family Fun Festival in Tulsk on Sunday

A massive Family Fun Festival will take place in Tulsk on Sunday 2nd of August, where those who attend can expect lots of activities and a fun-filled day!

  Taking place in O’Connor Park in Tulsk, the actions kicks off at 1 pm. There is free entertainment all day including a bouncy castle, face-painting, a magic show, live music, balloon modelling, Irish dancing, a musical wizard and a fire dancer!

  Special guests from the world of Disneyland will also be making an appearance!

  There will be food and refreshments available, with a hot dog stand, ice cream station, a BBQ and market stalls.

  There will be music throughout the day with ‘The Cover Ups’ performing at 5 pm. There will be a Monster BBQ between 5 pm and 8 pm. Later on the night in O’Connor’s Bar music will be provided by Padraic Cryan.

  One event which is sure to attract a lot of attention is the Fun Dog Show at 4 pm. There are eight categories involved including cutest puppie under one year, best handled dog by child, dog judge would most like to take home, best dressed, most obedient, best groomed, most friendly and dog with waggiest tail!

  There is also going to be an extensive market and organisers are urging anyone who would like to book a stall to contact Joely on 086-8763708.

  Entry fee on the day is €5 with free admission for under-5s. Organisers are also running a free competition on Facebook on ‘The Friary’ page granting free entrance to a family for the lucky winner.

  • Published in News
  • 0

Ballintubber Heritage and Eileen Óg Festival Weekend (24-26 July)


Ballintubber Heritage and Eileen Óg Festival weekend activities start on Friday the 24th of July at 7 pm with a Celtic spiritual religious service at St. Bride’s Well in The Old Graveyard. At 7.30 pm Con Connor will give an illustrated demonstration of ancient cobbling techniques in The Old School House. Evening entertainment is provided by traditional music from Claremorris Ceoltas, set dancing with Mildred and storytelling in Garvey’s starting at 9.30 pm.


Saturday’s events start at 11 am with a tour of The Old Graveyard by archaeologist Mary Timoney, where she will share her vast research on the stone masonry and symbolism of historic headstones.

The official opening of the festival weekend by Eileen Óg and McGrath is at 1 pm and traditional farming methods will be demonstrated by scythe cutting of the meadow in the bio-diversity garden at 2 pm.

There will be butter churning and displays of homemade breads in The Old School House from 11 am to 6 pm, and also various craft demonstrations such as St. Bridget’s cross making, with refreshments served.

Throughout the village all day there will be displays of vintage cars and machinery, farm animals and fowl, bouncy castle and pony rides. Traditional music and Irish stew will also be served all day in Garvey’s.


Sunday’s events start at 2 pm with a historic walk of the village and dancing at the crossroads. Horse shoeing will be demonstrated at The Old Forge at 3 pm and traditional hay making will also be demonstrated.

The trail of The Willsgrove Mile will start from The Old School House at 4 pm. There’ll be a cake sale and refreshments served all day in The Old School House.

Guided tours of Ballintober Castle will be given on Saturday and Sunday afternoon and any finds will be displayed in The Old School House. There will also be food and craft stalls throughout.


On Monday morning at 11 am Ballintubber will welcome American ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley. Ambassador O’Malley will be given a tour of Ballintober Castle and he will plant a ceremonial tree in the village.

There will be a medieval workshop for children aged 7-12 at 2.30 pm at The Castle, costumes will be provided.

In the evening there will be a farewell party for the American guests in Kenny’s Lounge, with barbeque and music by Moonlight Serenades and special guest.