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Paul Healy

Paul Healy

Cabinet approval of Fair Deal reform welcomed



…but Fitzmaurice wants clarity


Local politicians Michael Fitzmaurice and Maura Hopkins have welcomed the Cabinet’s approval of proposed reforms to the Fair Deal Scheme. However, Deputy Fitzmaurice said that he is keen for some clauses to be clarified.

  Approval from Cabinet for the proposed Fair Deal Scheme reforms was announced recently by the Minister of Health, Simon Harris, along with the Department’s Minister of State, Jim Daly.

  At the moment, people availing of the scheme have to contribute up to 80% of their income and up to 7.5% of the value of any assets held towards their cost of care.

  The 7.5% only applies to a person’s home for the first three years of their care as part of the Nursing Homes Support – aka Fair Deal – Scheme. Until now, this three-year cap did not apply to farms or businesses. 

  The extension of the cap, should it get the green light, to farms and businesses will only apply where a family successor continues to farm the land – or operate the business – for a period of six years.

  Commenting on the developments, Deputy Fitzmaurice said: “These proposed changes are a welcome boost to the many farm families who are struggling to cover nursing home costs for their loved ones. In some instances, families have had to consider selling off land to cover the costs – which could make the farm unviable for future generations.

  “While it has been disappointing that the Government has dragged its heels over this reform, it is now imperative that the extension of the three-year cap to farms and businesses is formalised as quickly as possible.

  “The fact that the changes will apply retrospectively to those already in care as well as those who may go into care in the coming months is also a huge boost to farm families”.

  However, the Roscommon-Galway TD is keen for the minister to clarify details surrounding clauses to allow the three-year cap to be extended.

  Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins said that proposed changes to the Fair Deal Scheme will have a positive impact on farm families and those in business.

  Senator Hopkins said: “These changes will have a very positive impact for families with farms or who are in business. These changes will ensure the future viability of many farms by allowing them to be passed on to close family members without an unsustainable debt burden.

  “The primary condition is that the successor on the farm must give an undertaking to continue working the land for at least six years. I will continue to lobby on this six-year commitment in order to ensure that it doesn’t place an unfair burden on farm families”.



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‘Our eyes met across a session!’




John and Jacinta for Gatehouse CD launch


Gatehouse musicians John and Jacinta McEvoy live in Navan in Co. Meath, not too far from where they first laid eyes on each other at a Comhaltas festival in Gormanstown College.

  John and his sister Catherine, whose mother and father hail from Strokestown and Kilmore respectively, were over visiting from the family home in Birmingham when they met the McGorman siblings, Tom and Jacinta. It was to prove a very fruitful trip for both families!

  “Our eyes met across a crowded session,” says Jacinta “and to cut a very long story short, I married John and my brother Tom married John’s sister Catherine”.

  John and Jacinta have three children, two of whom, Paddy and Conor, will be performing at the launch of Gatehouse’s new CD ‘Heather Down The Moor’ at Roscommon Arts Centre this Friday night.

  The McEvoys’ involvement with the popular Roscommon musical group was the result of a natural evolution.

  “The two Johns did a lot of gigging and I’d play the guitar with them and I was also a good critical ear!” Jacinta said (referring now to fellow band member John Wynne).

  “We were looking for a guitarist and so it kind of evolved,” added John.

  “We were playing fairly straight trad but we wanted to develop it and we were interested in the singing side of it so then Rachel (Garvey) came on board too,” John said.

  The group, which has enjoyed tours of the UK and Denmark, will perform as part of the launch this Friday night.

  ‘Heather Down The Moor’ follows ‘Tús Nua’, which received favourable reviews including a five-star rating in the Irish Times, and the McEvoys are excited about Gatehouse’s latest offering.

  “We thought it would be nice to launch the CD in Roscommon. We really enjoy playing together and not taking it too seriously. We want audiences to be entertained and to have fun at the gigs,” John said.

  “We interact with the audience and we try to keep a good balance between the singing and the music,” said Jacinta.

  John concluded by highlighting the integral part traditional music plays in Irish culture.

  “We want to broaden the appeal of traditional music and to spread it to new listeners. After all it’s an important part of our heritage”.

  Co-produced by Donal O’Connor, ‘Heather Down The Moor’, is the band’s second album. Band members John and Jacinta McEvoy, Rachel Garvey and John Wynne will be performing alongside some talented guest musicians this Friday evening.

  ‘Heather Down The Moor’ features new tune compositions from the band’s fiddler John McEvoy, which were created especially for this record. Gatehouse have also assembled some of Ireland’s finest musicians to perform on the album including John Joe Kelly, Alan Kelly, Michael McCague and Conor and Paddy McEvoy.

  Gatehouse will launch ‘Heather Down The Moor’ and perform this Friday (21st) at 8 pm in Roscommon Arts Centre. Tickets are €15/€12 and are on sale now from the box office on 090-6625824 and from www.roscommonartscentre.ie




Timothy’s Londis re-launches new-look Londis supermarket



Now serving Bewley’s!


Annie and Vincent Timothy of Timothy’s Londis, Abbeytown, celebrated the relaunch of their magnificent Londis store in the heart of Roscommon recently.

  Celebrity Chef, Joe Shannon of Ireland AM fame and Head Chef at the Radisson Hotel, Sligo was the star attraction as he treated those present to an impressive cooking demonstration that showcased the enhanced offering at Timothy’s Londis following the renovations.

  The refurbished store has been designed to deliver on the Londis core promises of quality service and produce to shoppers. The extended and enhanced fresh foods offering is truly impressive, including extensive fruit and veg, butchery and delicatessen departments, with significant in-store manufactured fresh food ranges introduced throughout.  

  A new, full-service bakery has also been introduced, serving freshly baked breads and confectionery every day, not to mention their pre-prepared meals – ready to pick up and pop in the oven for your evening meal.

  In keeping with the fresh food theme, the Food Fair was a fresh food discovery festival where customers were invited to discover the new food offering at the store along with wine tastings and Chef Shannon spoilt revellers with tasty treats and sumptuous offerings, much to the delight of Annie and Vincent’s loyal customer base.

  The store also now serves the premium coffee brand, Bewley’s. A greatly enhanced grocery and off-licence offering have also been introduced. The inclusion of a new seating area makes Timothy’s Londis a destination for locals to both shop in and also consume the store’s delicious fare and socialise.

  The store is owned by Annie and Vincent Timothy, and they hosted a Food Fair event and a Family Fun afternoon complete with face-painters and balloon modellers on hand to entertain children and adults alike during the day.

  “We love serving the community here in Abbeytown with fantastic offers and have been doing so for the last 19 years. We are very proud to showcase our new store and we were delighted to have the opportunity to offer customers a taste of our food and wine on offer” Annie said. 

'Fantastic supermarket, valuable local asset’


Conor Hayes, Sales Director of Londis: “We want to congratulate Annie and Vincent and the team at Timothy’s Londis. This is a fantastic supermarket that is a valuable asset to the local community.

  “We look forward to working with Annie and Vincent to ensure that the people of Abbeytown, Roscommon have a great shopping resource on their doorstep”.



Midsummer’s Day with the Stars – on Sunday!



Midsummer’s Day with the Stars returns to Roscommon Racecourse this Sunday (23rd) as some of the biggest acts in Irish country music prepare to descend on Roscommon town.

  Gates open to the public from midday with big names including Nathan Carter, Mike Denver, Michael English, Philomena Begley, Robert Mizzell, Cliona Hagan and many more set to perform from 2 pm onwards.

  Tickets cost €27.50 and are available from all the usual outlets including: Shannonside Longford, ETL Roscommon, Mulvey’s in Carrick-on-Shannon, Towey’s in Ballaghaderreen, Golden Discs in Athlone, Joe O’Brien’s in Lanesboro, Corrib Oil in Boyle and Mace, Castlerea. Children U-12 and accompanied by an adult go free.