Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Letters to the Editor

Naughten responds to Kelly claims on hospital 

Dear Sir, 

I wish to correct a factual error in last week’s page 32 article headlined ‘Labour will save the County Hospital – Kelly’. In the article it is claimed by Cllr. John Kelly that Fine Gael supported the implementation of the Hanly Report on the downgrading of local services. 

This is wrong and misleading. On 16th October 2003, I issued a statement on the day that the Hanly Report was published with the headline ‘Hanly – A Major Step Back for Health Service – Naughten’.

This has consistently been the policy of our party, both locally and nationally, as articulated by our spokespersons over that period, namely Olivia Mitchell TD, Dr. Liam Twomey TD and more recently Dr. James Reilly TD. Of course our Party Leader on his numerous visits to Roscommon has also reiterated our opposition to the Hanly Report and the removal of local health services.

As you are aware, Fine Gael has a vast amount of medical expertise within the party and we have drawn on that to develop out detailed reform of the Health Service – FairCare – which would protect existing local health services, including those at Roscommon and Portiuncula Hospitals, and would see health policy decisions regarding the hospitals made locally.

Under our FairCare proposals the specific services offered by local hospitals will then become the responsibility of local hospital boards in line with local needs and demand. 

Under our plan while Roscommon County Hospital and Portiuncula Hospital will continue to be owned by the State, they will be governed and managed by a Local Hospital Trust so that they are managed to best respond to meet the needs of the local community and patients. So instead of the HSE determining the future of a local hospital, its future will be in local hands.

In Government, Fine Gael has no intention of closing small hospitals and is fully committed to genuinely investing in our health services, to give the people in County Roscommon the health services they deserve.

I would like to point out to the local Labour Party representative that the only health policy document on his own party’s website, while a fine document, is one that was agreed between Fine Gael and the Labour Party prior to the 2007 General Election, and one which I worked on in conjunction with his own leadership.

We in Fine Gael have further developed our policy since the last General Election and in fact Dr. James Reilly, our Health Spokesperson, intends to address a public meeting on 27th April next in Roscommon town to go through our plans for local health services in detail. The public can view our plans at www.faircare.ie

Yours sincerely, 

Denis Naughten TD.

€6m cinema project: Will we get what we’re promised? 


Co. Roscommon 

Dear Sir, 

Until the year 1980 the county town of Roscommon had two cinemas across the road from each other and for some reason unknown to myself, both cinemas closed. So for nearly twenty years there has been no cinema at all in Roscommon town.

  On Thursday, 18th of March, I was approached by a county councillor and a member of the Roscommon cinema committee who enquired if I would be interested in reconstructing part of an industrial unit owned by myself into a four-screen cinema. After serious consideration and consultation with my colleague I decided: YES.   

  Robbie Dwyer and Paul Kane from the Roscommon cinema committee were delighted with the news and backed the idea on their facebook campaign. With seemingly no other offer on the table I set about realistic plans to bring Roscommon a cinema and with a very realistic notion that the project would take 12-15 people off the dole and into full-time employment. 

  My intention for planning was published in the Roscommon People 25th of March 2010. All systems appeared to be at go when we received news on 30th March 2010 via the front page of the Roscommon Champion.   Enter the ‘six million dollar man’ at a speed that would make Steve Austin look like he was standing still. It felt like a bionic leap that Lee Majors would have been proud of….plans for a 6 screen cinema and huge leisure centre in the heart of Roscommon. The facility includes quasar laser, children’s play area, paint ball shooting? And an amusement arcade. I must ask: does ‘amusement arcade’ equate to gambling machines, etc? Do the young people of Roscommon really need another premises promoting things of an addictive nature? 

  On one hand no-one will be more delighted than me for Roscommon to get their cinema, on the other hand I would keep an eye on proceedings just to see if the promises are delivered as stated. 

  At the time of writing this, there are no companies in the county of Roscommon with planning permission to build or construct a cinema. Contrary to what was printed in the Champion, there is no mention of the word ‘cinema’ in the planning notice in the window of the premises in Centrepoint. 

 To be continued…..

Yours sincerely, 

John Farrell.

‘No need for sour grapes over cinema’

Dear Sir, 

I read last week’s letter by John Farrell ‘Dismay over twist in cinema saga’ with some dismay of my own. 

  Is Mr. Farrell for real? By his own admission Roscommon is waiting about twenty years for a cinema ‘of its own.’ When one is announced, he carpers about people supporting an ‘outsider’ rather than a local man (whose own project seems to me to have been on a smaller scale, though no doubt worthy). 

  Sour grapes is a term that comes to mind. I say well done to the businessman or woman or people behind the proposed new venture, and I don’t care where they are from. It would be good if they employ locals – they will certainly provide facilities for locals. As for the ‘one man taking all the credit,’ if that’s a reference to local auctioneer John Earley, I say well done to him if he has helped facilitate this arrival. If it was a local politician they wouldn’t be long singing it from the rooftops. 

  Let’s get on with it, let’s get a cinema in place and stop the predictable carping. Oh, and if and when we do get one, let’s support it! 

Yours sincerely, 

Name and address with Editor. 

EU does allow for closure of headshops, minister

Dear Sir,

While I, and the Roscommon Anti Head Shop Group, welcome the banning of ‘legal highs’ by the government in June, many questions arise. In the Senate last month, Mary Harney stated that although her department would ban them immediately, it would take another three months at least for the EU to agree.

This, she said was because an immediate ban would constitute a restriction of trade under EU regulations. Seemingly the minister was not aware that there is a specific exemption for special circumstances in Directive 98/34/EC.

So, to assist the minister and her advisers, here are the details of this exemption: “For urgent reasons, occasioned by serious and unforeseeable circumstances relating to the protection of public health or safety, the protection of animals or the preservation of plants and, for rules on services, also for public policy, notably the protection of minors. A member state is obliged to prepare technical regulations in a very short space of time in order to enact and introduce them immediately without any consultations being possible.”

Moreover, the principle of subsidiarity allows each member state to act in matters pertaining to the health of the citizens of the country. In matters of health, the role of the EU is one of support for member states, not one of policy making.

Surely our health minister and her advisers should be aware of these provisions, and act immediately to close these head shops as the Romanian government has done. The government is collecting VAT from the sales of these highly profitable legal highs.

Grainne Kenny, 

Hon. President, EURAD,

Dun Laoghaire.