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Naughten: ‘€68,000 to promote walking in Roscommon’



Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Denis Naughten has confirmed Government investment of €68,000 to develop walking facilities in Castlerea Demesne and a walk for wheelchair users along the Suck Valley Way.

  “These investments will not only improve local facilities to encourage people to become more active but also enhance the tourism amenities for those visiting Castlerea, Cuisle in Donamon and for those using the Suck Valley Way,” said Minister Naughten.

  “An allocation of €21,973 has been allocated to create a walk for wheelchair users along the Suck Valley Way which will build on the funding provided by my Department to the local angling hub to develop wheelchair accessible angling facilities on the River Suck.

  “Funding of €46,374 is being provided to develop hard surface walking trails in Castlerea Demesne and will build on the work of the local committee in improving the facilities and usage of the fabulous Castlerea Demesne. I would actively encourage anybody visiting Castlerea or passing through to stop off and explore this hidden gem in West Roscommon.

  “This investment is part of a far broader project which I have been supporting to develop a walking route from west Cork, through east Galway, west and north Roscommon, connecting up the Glens of Antrim - called the Beara Breifne Way - which has the potential to become Ireland’s ‘Camino route’. This walking and cycling trail is based on the historic march of O’Sullivan Beara in 1603 and links 60 villages and towns along the spine of the country,” added Minister Naughten.

  “The villages and towns in counties Galway and Roscommon through which the walk/cycle route runs are rich in tradition but have seen limited numbers of tourists. The development of this trail will be a major benefit in attracting tourism to these areas.

  “We have already seen the Wild Atlantic Way become a great success for the west coast. The Beara Breifne Way could do the same for the centre of the country if developed fully, and that is why I’ve continued to secure Government support for the project, since my appointment”.

Local politicians react to ‘welcome boost’

Local politicians have welcomed Monday’s announcement that €68,000 will be made available for outdoor recreation in Co. Roscommon.

  Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins believes the funding will provide a welcome boost for the county.

  “The works include hard surface walking trails within the Castlerea Demesne Public Park which will be finished with tarmacadam to ensure safety for users. Furthermore, the planned project involves age friendly signage and seating. The development of this walkway will greatly enhance this wonderful facility on the doorstep of the Castlerea Community.

  “The development of wheelchair accessible walkways on the Suck Valley Way provides a valuable opportunity for the area to become equipped with a facility which will not only benefit all people in our the community but will enhance the tourism and recreational facilities for the area”.

  Fellow Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan said the announcement was great news for local communities.

  “This is great news for local communities. The scheme is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and provides funding for the development of new outdoor recreational infrastructure such as trails, cycle-ways and blueways, as well as the maintenance, enhancement and promotion of existing infrastructure”.

  Cllr Michael Creaton also welcomed the allocation of over €46,000 for the development of hard surface walking tracks in Castlerea Demesne. Cllr Creaton said: “This parkland area is a wonderful amenity in the town and that this funding would ensure the safety of the large numbers of people who use it”.

Funding to develop ‘Walks for Wheelchairs’

Cllr Orla Leyden, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council has warmly welcomed the outdoor recreation funding to Co. Roscommon from the Department of Rural and Community Development to enhance walkways in the Demesne Castlerea and to develop a Walk for Wheelchairs at Stoneham’s Lake (Linn Ban Lake).

  “The Walks for Wheelchairs and for people with lesser mobility will be a great additional accessible amenity in the area,” she said. 

  “It will be developed on the stunning lakeside of Stoneham’s, close to the accessible fishing stand with benches and viewing areas for wheelchairs over the Lake and Crannog at intervals. This will also provide great opportunities for bird watching.  Cllr Leyden said that this accessible recreational and tourism amenity will also benefit Cuisle IWA National Respite Centre.

  “Local groups that supported the development include Kilbegnet Development Association, Castlecoote Tidy Towns, Cuisle IWA National Holiday Centre, The Suck Valley Development Association and The Castlecoote Donamon Creggs Rural Tourism and Environmental Action Group”.

  Cllr Leyden said that the idea for this project was borne from the threat of an industrial wind farm in the Castlecoote Donamon Creggs area which came to light last February.

  “The community when seeking positive sustainable tourism alternatives made a number of suggestions including the development of Walks for Wheelchairs beside Stonehams Lake on Coillte lands,” she said.


Boyle Primary Care Centre welcome addition in North Roscommon – Feighan



Senator Frank Feighan has said that next week’s opening of the new Boyle Primary Care Centre to the public is a welcome addition to health services in North Roscommon.

  “A special open day for the local community took place on Monday last for people to view the state-of-the-art facility. Staff also moved into the new health facility this week with a full service to begin next week.

  “Boyle Primary Care Centre will provide health services to a population of approximately 9,000 people in the town and surrounding areas.

  “As I have said before, the Primary Care Centre is a very positive development for the town and the wider North Roscommon area. It will ensure that the local community has improved access to a greater range of health services on their own doorstep and under the one roof,” he said.

  The centre, which is adjacent to the Plunkett Home, will provide modern facilities for a range of primary care services, delivered by a locally based multi-disciplinary Primary Care team.

  Senator Feighan added: “The Primary Care team will include public health nursing, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. Other services will include speech and language therapy, psychology, counselling services and diabetes podiatry service.

  “Ophthalmology clinics, mental health clinics and other visiting services will use bookable rooms in this modern facility while dental services will also transfer from the health centre to upgraded facilities at the new facility.”


Shanagher slams fly-tipping “scourge”



Cllr Kathleen Shanagher has slammed what she describes as “the scourge of the fly tipper” following yet another incident of illegal dumping on the Athlone road.

  Cllr Shanagher reported the incident to Roscommon County Council staff on Monday and said that prosecutions have been brought following similar offences in the past.

  “It’s ‘dashboard diners’ coming out of Roscommon who have the whole side of the road littered with fast food packaging and drinks cans. Then it seems that there’s someone driving into Roscommon town and dumping a household waste on the opposite side,” Shanagher said.

  Rubbish discovered on Monday included used nappies and other household waste and Cllr Shanagher said that while reports of littering are dealt with swiftly, council staff are forced to carry out their work in dangerous conditions.

  “It’s very difficult to collect rubbish there because it’s such a busy road. That’s the scourge of the fly tipper; they don’t see anything wrong with this behaviour.

  “The county’s litter warden has visited houses in the past and it’s getting to the point where proof of legal waste disposal needs to be provided. If you have waste, you must dispose of it in the right way”.

Roadworks ahead!


Council anxious to carry out repairs


Cllr Paschal Fitzmaurice has urged Roscommon residents to inform Roscommon County Council of any roads in need of urgent repair following recent poor weather. Pot holes have become a common sight on the county’s roads over the past number of weeks and Cllr Fitzmaurice says the county council are “anxious” to carry out repairs as soon as possible.

 “The roads have been under serious pressure with the salting due to cold weather and the recent heavy rain. While most roads across Roscommon are fine, there are some that may need attention.

  “We’re anxious to get those roads repaired so I’d therefore urge residents to inform local councillors of any roads that may have potholes or are in need of attention. The council doesn’t want to see pot holes obviously and we want to get them repaired as soon as possible.

  “The council is trying to do as many roads as possible with Macadam, which is expensive but more cost effective in the long-term and has a 20-year lifespan,” Cllr Fitzmaurice concluded.


Hopkins: ‘Minister to hold meeting on Rosalie’



Senator Maura Hopkins has informed the Roscommon People that the Minister for Mental Health, Jim Daly has agreed to hold a meeting to discuss the long-term future of the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea, which has been closed to new admissions since September 2016.

  “I wish to make it clear that I have been raising concerns in relation to the future of the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea directly with Minister for Simon Harris, Minister for Mental Health, Jim Daly and HSE Chief Health Officer, Tony Canavan.

  “At my request, Minister Daly has confirmed that he will hold a meeting on 24th January regarding the Rosalie Unit involving HSE Management, all Oireachtas Public Representatives and family representatives.

  “I believe it is critical that we all work together in the interests of ensuring a positive outcome in relation to the Rosalie Unit and that is my intention which has been the focus of my work over the past number of months,” Senator Hopkins said.

  Senator Hopkins had raised serious concerns over the future of the unit with Chief Health Officer Tony Canavan and received this reply in November:

  “There are currently fourteen residents at the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea. The intention is to provide care for the residents in the unit as long as this is in the interest of the individual residents.  The unit is currently managed by the Mental Health Service in County Roscommon.  The appropriateness of this arrangement needs to be examined again on the basis of the needs of the residents.

 The Rosalie Unit has been closed to new admissions since September 27th 2016.  It is not proposed to reopen the unit to new admissions currently.

  “Capacity exists within the Creagh Suite in Ballinasloe to accommodate Psychiatry of Later Life Patients who have complex continuing care needs”.

  Senator Hopkins added that a previous meeting which took place with former Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Kathleen Lynch, sought to explore further development of the unit.

  “A number of public representatives including myself along with family representatives met with former Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Kathleen Lynch and senior HSE officials on 1st July 2015. We were informed at that meeting that the Rosalie Unit would remain open and form part of service delivery into the future.  Discussion also took place at that meeting on how the unit would be further developed. This involved potential additional specialism in dementia care.

  “My core questions are will this unit remain open in the long term? When will new residents be accepted? Are the HSE committed to developing the unit to best support the needs of our community? Will HSE management adhere to the outcomes of the meeting held between public representatives, former Minister Kathleen Lynch and senior HSE Officials?” she concluded.


FF nominations process closes tomorrow



The battle for a Fianna Fáil nomination in the Roscommon-Galway constituency for the next general election began last Friday morning (6th) with the nominations process closing tomorrow (Friday).

  Prospective candidates must receive support from five Fianna Fáil party members or one registered cumann.

  So far, four people have expressed an interest in securing a nomination – sitting TD Eugene Murphy, Roscommon County Councillors Orla Leyden and John Keogh and Moylough Councillor Michael Connolly. Former Roscommon footballer Shane Curran, who stood as a candidate for the party in the last general election, has ruled himself out.


No broadband until 2023? Imagine that!



Murphy hits out at NBP timescale

Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy says it “beggars belief” that it will be another five years before the Government can connect 537,587 rural homes and businesses to broadband under the National Broadband Plan.

  Responding to a Parliamentary Question from Fianna Fáil last week, Minister Denis Naughten said that the “network rollout will take 3-5 years following contract award”. With the contract award expected be announced this year, that means it could be 2023 before over half a million homes are connected.

  Deputy Murphy made his displeasure known this week. 

  “It is an absolute disgrace to think that it will be 2023 before some 537,587 rural homes and businesses will be connected to broadband under the National Broadband Plan,” said Deputy Murphy.

Fitzmaurice: ‘Hospital situation a national disgrace!’



Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has taken aim at the Minister for Health Simon Harris, calling the ongoing overcrowding in hospitals a “national disgrace”. Deputy Fitzmaurice released a statement last week as An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar apologised to patients who had experienced long waits on trolleys in emergency departments across the country.

  “The number of people on trolleys is reaching unprecedented levels and the same story keeps coming out from Minister Harris and our Taoiseach that it will get better,” said Deputy Fitzmaurice.

  “The vast majority in Government are in power for seven years now and worse the situation is getting. Hospitals have been downgraded and people were told it would be a better health service, but for the hundreds of people lying on trolleys it is unbearable.

  “We have had a 30% increase in management but frontline staff that have to suffer the brunt of this pressure”.

  Deputy Fitzmaurice added that more frontline staff were needed in order to tackle the problem and called for a new hospital for the west of Ireland, claiming that University College Hospital Galway was overwhelmed by patients due to the downgrading of other hospitals in the region.

  The Independent TD also called for more facilities in Ballinasloe before questioning the Government’s decision making.

  “Ballinasloe needs a new A&E and extra beds. This Government is once again like the previous Government, failing to make the decisions to create a better health system. The Independents in Government seem to have lost their voice when it comes to health and one wonders why”.


Roscommon is Ireland’s third tidiest town!



Roscommon Town was announced by Minister Denis Naughten as the third tidiest town in Ireland in the 2017 Anti-Litter League by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) yesterday at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin.

  The county town, which was classified as ‘Cleaner than European Norms’ finished just behind eventual winner Ennis in Co, Clare and the runner-up, Kildare town.

  Speaking after the announcement, Cllr Kathleen Shanagher said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have maintained our high standard. When we started out over 17 years ago we would have been down near the bottom of the IBAL Anti-Litter League but this just shows what can be done with some hard work”.

  While understandably pleased with yet another top three finish in the anti-litter league, Cllr Shanagher said it was disappointing that the town’s bid for top spot had been let down by one area.

  “Unfortunately, according to the IBAL report it was the clothes bank (near Tesco) which let us down. While people are being civil minded and recycling, we would encourage them to take bottles and clothes home if bins are full. Leaving waste on the ground at the bottle and clothes banks is a littering offence so we would encourage them to call the number provided at the banks if bins are full,” she said.

  Cllr Shanagher paid tribute to the “huge team effort” which has seen the town feature among the top three tidiest towns in Ireland for the past two years.

  “I’d just like to say a huge thank you to everyone who played a part in this wonderful achievement. The outdoor staff and everyone at Roscommon County Council, the litter wardens, TUAS workers and the people of Roscommon have all made this possible. It’s important that we maintain it now as the IBAL judging is ongoing”.


€13.3m puts Roscommon on the right road



Minister Denis Naughten has confirmed that Transport Infrastructure Ireland is to invest €13.3m in national road improvements and maintenance throughout County Roscommon in 2018.

  “Included in the allocation, is funding to go to construction on the new section of the Boyle road from Roscommon Town, and the planning stages for the N5 upgrade between Strokestown and Ballaghaderreen,” said Minister Naughten.

  “Funding of €1.6m has been allocated to resurface the N60 on the approaches to Castlerea and the Town itself. This investment will significantly improve the quality of the roads and streets around the Town of Castlerea and builds on the tremendous work locally by the Town Team.

  “€650,000 has been allocated to updated the N60 road to Castlerea at Oran and a further €650,000 has been allocated for the resurfacing of the N63 at Athleague.

  “Funding of €450,000 has also been provided for resurfacing the Galway Road from Roscommon Town.

  “Transport Infrastructure Ireland has also allocated €500,000 for work at Ballymurray and Clashaganny on the main Boyle to Athlone Road via Roscommon Town, as part of plans to have these sections of road upgraded. This funding will commence this process but significant additional funding will be required to bring both sections of road up to a modern standard,” concluded Minister Naughten.


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