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Oireachtas members seek answers from ESB after shutdown

 

 

Fears remain over Lough Ree Power jobs

 

 

Bord na Móna management met with workers’ union SIPTU yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) following talks with local public representatives earlier this week. No resolution had been reached at the time of going to press.

  Oireachtas members had met with ESB and Bord na Móna officials earlier this week to discuss the recent shutdown of the ESB’s Lough Ree power station in Lanesboro and the subsequent fall-out which led to Bord na Móna announcing that almost 150 workers, 70 permanent and 78 seasonal employees, were to be laid off or placed on unpaid leave. 

  The plant has been offline since earlier this month due to concerns over hot water discharges from the facility into the River Shannon nearby. The ESB confirmed it had suspended operations at the plant. It was subsequently revealed the company had breached their license with the EPA four times previously and felt they were at risk of doing so again if the plant continued in operation.

  The ESB released a statement to say that it had “sought an amendment to its environmental licence in relation to its cooling water discharge temperature in the river Shannon, which in this regard is of particular relevance during the summer months”. The company added that it would not resume operations until the amendment was improved.

  Deputy Denis Naughten said that Oireachtas members had asked SIPTU officials to meet with management at Bord na Móna with the intention of exploring the temporary redeployment of staff until a decision on the amendment was made.

  Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy said he and Oireachtas members Deputy Denis Naughten, Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice, and Deputy Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran had met with ESB officials on Tuesday, who were unable to confirm whether or not the amendment would be approved or if operations at the plant would resume.

  Deputy Murphy said the ESB claimed the hot water being pumped into the Shannon at the plant was not an issue until last year when drought conditions resulted in a drop in water levels at Lough Ree.

  He added that the company seemed unable to answer certain questions around the resumption of operations at the plant and that Oireachtas members are yet to receive all the information they had been looking for from the ESB.

  Deputy Murphy said: “There are a lot of ‘what if?’ questions here such as the changeover to biomass, the Bord na Móna supply of peat. Some of the answers were satisfactory while some were not”.

  He added that Oireachtas members also met with Bord na Móna officials yesterday (Wednesday) “to push the case for the retention of permanent employees” after the company had rowed back on previous plans to lay off around 70 permanent staff at its Mount Dillon facility in Co. Longford due to the Lough Ree Power Plant shutdown.

  “Employees and the local community are angry. They feel let down by Bord na Móna and ESB. They feel there are underhanded tactics to speed up the closure of parts of the plant.

  “The purpose of Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s meetings was to push the case for the retention of the permanent employees. We also raised the difficulties faced by those temporary employees, often students in summer jobs, who have been left with nothing.

  “Workers in the midlands are looking for support. They feel they have been treated poorly by the ESB and Bord na Móna. Both organisations should meet with employees and at the very least treat them with decency and respect during this process. Hopefully the board of management will see sense,” he said.

  While it was announced that 78 seasonal employees were to be laid off, Bord na Móna’s decision to lay off permanent staff had been suspended following discussions between workers’ union SIPTU and management last Friday night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roscommon All-Ireland heroes remembered

 

 

 

Last Saturday morning, prior to the All-Ireland SFC Super 8s match between Roscommon and Tyrone at Dr. Hyde Park, St. Dominic’s GAA hosted a memorial Mass in honour of the late Liam Gilmartin and his All-Ireland winning teammates of 1943 and 1944.

  Canon Liam Devine celebrated the Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Knockcroghery and spoke glowingly about the players on that great team.

  Canon Devine told the congregation how Owensie Hoare had become the first player in the history of the GAA to win All-Ireland medals both outfield and as a goalkeeper. He also shared an anecdote about how the legendary Kerry journalist, Con Houlihan, had written off Frankie Kinlough having seen him play a club match in Kerry. Kinlough would go on to score two goals against Kerry later on.

  “I had a letter recently from a man from Tyrone who said one of the greatest he ever saw was Bill Carlos. ‘The Lion with the velvet paw’ he called him.

  “Today we gather to thank God for them and to celebrate their memories and to ensure them and to ensure their families that they will never be forgotten,” Canon Devine said.

  Last Saturday’s Mass was attended by the family of the late Liam Gilmartin, formerly of Ballymurray, Knockcroghery, who passed away in March of this year.

  The Mass ended with a rousing rendition of ‘Land of the O’Conor’ by Johnny Johnson and was followed by refreshments in Murray’s Pub in what Canon Devine referred to as “the spiritual home of Roscommon football”, Knockcroghery.

  Liam Gilmartin’s son, John, said it was a wonderful occasion and a “great tribute” and the family were delighted to attend.

  John and his three sisters Ann, Pauline and Edel are based in Dublin but John visits Roscommon regularly to play golf as an honorary member of St. Dominic’s Golf Society. He said the family are always very well received in the county.

  “Brian Carroll and the board are great. Family members were given a great welcome at the Roscommon v Dublin match earlier in the year and Brian and Kevin McStay brought the Connacht trophy and Division Two title up to dad in Raheny a couple of years ago.

  “One of the most emotional parts of dad’s funeral this year was seeing the amount of Roscommon people on each side of the church. It was absolutely incredible.

  “The Mass on Saturday was a great tribute and it was lovely to go back to Murray’s too – it was really top class,” he said.

  John said that Roscommon GAA had brought them close to a number of wonderful people both near and far, and that generations on from the All-Ireland wins of 1943 and 1944, descendants of the famous Gilmartin/Boland midfield partnership met on the other side of the world.

  “Liam’s grandson Joe was at a concert in Sydney and he heard a country accent behind him at the bar. It turned out it was Eamon Boland’s grandson and the two talked for a while!”

  John added that local GAA historian Tony Conboy had become a family friend and that family members of other former Roscommon players had been very kind to the Gilmartins over the years. He added that former Roscommon County Board Secretaries Brian Carroll and Michael Fahy were always there for his father and the rest of the family and thanked St. Dominic’s GAA and Murray’s for hosting Saturday’s memorial.

Fitzmaurice calls for ‘rural revival’

 

 

 

 

 

A protest in Dublin which was organised by the Beef Plan movement needs to be the beginning of a “rural revival” Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice says.

  The TD said that it’s time to fight back against bureaucrats and “so-called experts”.

Fitzmaurice said: “It is now time for people to come together and present a united front. It was heartening to see the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) and the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) supporting the Beef Plan protest. We need everyone singing from the one hymnsheet if we are to overcome the many challenges currently facing us, particularly: Brexit; Mercosur; the climate agenda that is being pushed by bureaucrats; and Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform”.

  The Independent TD said it was regrettable that no Government representative felt the need to come out to talk to the people of rural Ireland who gathered outside the gates of Leinster House. “It just shows the contempt that this Government has for the farming sector”.

On the Mercosur deal, the Independent TD said: “To think that the EU and the Irish Government would support the area the size of a football field being cut down every minute in the rainforest is unfathomable, while at the same time proposing to increase the carbon tax – which would cripple rural dwellers. Something doesn’t add up in all of this. Is there an agenda to try and drive meat production out of Europe because it is perceived as being carbon intensive?

  “One would have to wonder if this is the agenda being pursued by our own Government and Europe. Do they not realise that almost 100,000 families are involved in beef and suckler farming in Ireland?

  “These farm families support schools, shops, feed merchants, hardware stores, GPs, vets…as well as a variety of other businesses in rural communities”.

 

 

Creggs prepares for Pride of Place judging

 

 

 

The community of Creggs is buzzing this week as the village prepares for adjudication in the Pride of Place Awards.

  Creggs Village was nominated in County Galway in the 0-300 population category. Adjudicators will visit the village on Tuesday next, July 23rd at 2.30 pm, where they will see a presentation on the village and take a walking tour with members of the local committee through the village and on to local sites of interest.

  In recent weeks local groups got together and formed a Pride of Place Committee which has met every Tuesday night and village clean-ups have taken place on Wednesday evenings, with young and old alike rolling up their sleeves and getting to work.

  The nomination has caused a flurry of activity in the area and great enthusiasm for the project is evident. Ja and Conor Ryan of Galway Agri Videos got involved with the local committee in the creation of a 20-minute video on the area and have been regularly spotted around the village with their cameras in recent days. Everyone is very much looking forward to the fruits of their labour, which will be unveiled at the Tuesday afternoon adjudication event.

  Pictures from the locality, along with reports on the voluntary work being done by local committees have been compiled into a booklet for the adjudicators. Organisers have been pleasantly surprised by the volume of community work going on within the area, with over 40 organisations contributing to community life in a variety of ways.

  All of these organisations will be represented with stands at the adjudication event on Tuesday 23rd.

  Everyone is invited along to the adjudication event in Creggs NS on Tuesday, 23rd of July at 2 pm as the village greets the adjudicators of Pride of Place 2019.

Roscommon Hospital waiting lists slammed

 

There are 975 people on the outpatient waiting lists for ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) services in Roscommon University Hospital.

  That’s according to Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy, who says he is “massively concerned” at the figures.

  645 of these outpatients are classed as ‘routine’ appointments. Those in this ‘routine’ classification have been waiting as far back as November 2015, the TD says.

  Separately, outpatients categorised as ‘soon’ have been waiting since November 2016.

  Deputy Murphy: “Needing a medical procedure ‘soon’ should not involve a three-year wait”.

  He added: “It is very disappointing that there is no funding for additional clinics. This has to be looked at. The Minister should do all possible to address the waiting times”.

 

 

Guess who’s back? Frank gets nod

 

 

 

Yes, a week – or so – is indeed a long time in politics!

  Earlier this month, the affable former TD Gerry Reynolds surprised us all by withdrawing as a Fine Gael candidate for the next General Election in Sligo/Leitrim. He had been selected at convention this time last year (along with Cllr. Sinead Maguire).

  Fine Gael were suddenly in emergency mode, seeking a replacement candidate. And guess who has emerged? One Frank Feighan!

  Some background: Bruised by the Roscommon A&E controversy, Frank Feighan decided not to contest the 2016 General Election (in Roscommon/Galway). Instead, he turned his sights to Sligo/Leitrim. At that 2018 convention, Feighan withdrew his name, and Gerry Reynolds and Sinead Maguire were selected. Feighan’s request to be added as a third candidate went nowhere.

  Fast-forward a year to Gerry Reynolds’ surprise recent decision to withdraw. Fine Gael moved quickly.

  The line-up of wannabees dispensed with thoughts of beach holidays and made themselves available. The wannabees included former junior minister John Perry, who had a high profile falling out with party chiefs.

  The calls duly came. Fine Gael would hold interviews. They were conducted by

party top brass in Carrick-on-Shannon last Monday.

  On Tuesday, Senator Feighan told the Roscommon People that the interviews had been “robust”.

  On Wednesday came the white smoke. Feighan has been added to the Fine Gael Sligo/Leitrim party ticket. 

  On Wednesday he said: “I am delighted and honoured that Fine Gael has placed its trust in me by adding me to the ticket alongside Cllr. Sinead Maguire, who is an excellent candidate.

  “I believe I have the experience and track record to win a seat for the party and thankfully I have been successful at every election I have contested to date.

  “With a strong support base in North Roscommon and South Leitrim, I believe I am well placed to secure a seat for Fine Gael at the next election”.

 

 

Could this rapid response save 30 lives a year in Roscommon?

 

 

Thanks to great voluntary work and fundraising support, there are a lot of defibrillators in County Roscommon. That’s good. But do we know where they are? Do we know if they are working? Do we know who has the skills to use them? Are we aware and availing of the latest technological aids?

  The above questions, most will agree, give pause for thought. That’s why an initiative by a voluntary group –Roscommon Rapid Response – is extremely welcome.

  Roscommon Rapid Response says that the current survival rate for a person who suffers cardiac arrest is just 3-5%. They claim they can dramatically increase these survival rates to 25%.

  Roscommon Rapid Response, supported by grant aid from Roscommon Integrated Development Company (through the LEADER Programme), has a three-part strategy, the Roscommon People can reveal. Firstly, the group will host information meetings (see below) aimed at clarifying what’s out there – and recruiting volunteers. Secondly, the group will conduct a survey of existing defibrillators in Co. Roscommon, essentially an information gathering exercise. Thirdly, the introduction of a website/App which will provide a 112/999 caller with the nearest defibrillator to incident location and also notify nearest trained responders so they can attempt to provide life-saving interventions. 

  Roscommon Rapid Response says that the project will provide life-saving interventions to a person suffering a cardiac arrest: e.g. CPR, administered within 3-5 minutes, and defibrillator, administered within 7 minutes.

 Partnering with local communities is key. The public information meetings will outline how the project will operate and will recruit volunteers in each electoral area to manage the community survey of defibrillators and register of trained CPR responders.

  This sounds like a terrific project to me, an opportunity to at last approach the defibrillators’ issue on a community-wide coordinated basis. Roscommon Rapid Response says that if it achieves its goal, it will mean saving the lives of an additional 30 Roscommon residents each year.

  The information meetings will be held as follows (all at 9 pm): Hannon’s Hotel, Roscommon on Monday, July 22nd; Enterprise Hub, The Demesne, Castlerea on Tuesday, July 23rd; Shearwater Hotel, Ballinasloe on Wednesday, July 24th; Athlone Springs Hotel on Thursday, July 25th; St. Joseph’s Hall, Boyle on Wednesday, July 31st and Durkin’s Hotel, Ballaghaderreen on Thursday, August 1st.

* If you or your organisation are providing defibrillators, Roscommon Rapid Response would appreciate if you could register and provide details on database link: http://townapps.ie/roscommon-defib-survey/ or access through Town Apps Website. You can contact Roscommon Rapid Response on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./087-3197610.

 

New grant scheme to support older people in community

 

A new scheme for community and voluntary groups who support older people in our communities has opened for applications, Senator Maura Hopkins has said. 

  Senator Hopkins stated: “This scheme, which is being administered by the HSE, aims to support older people to remain rooted in their local communities for as long as possible. It will be made available to community and voluntary groups in our communities who run initiatives such as day care centres to support older people.

  “There is €1 million in funding available under this scheme with €250,000 aimed specifically at dementia supports. This funding recognises the vital role that these groups continue to play in our communities.

  “Projects accepted under the scheme must be in line with National Positive Ageing Strategy, the Irish National Dementia Strategy, the Carers’ Strategy and the Task Force on Loneliness.

  “Projects must meet a clearly identified new or increasing need in a community. Applications will be accepted from groups that are run entirely on a voluntary basis, or groups that have a service level agreement with the HSE”.

News…at a glance - July 19th

 

 

Special publication for Heritage Week

Next month will see the launch of a special booklet, ‘The Workhouses of County Roscommon’, at 12.30 on Sunday, August 25th in Cootehall Community House.

  There will be a lecture (free admission) and the launch of a booklet (priced at €5) on the workhouses of Roscommon with the full proceeds going to the Cootehall Community Development Group.

Oran Parish Cemetery committee established

A meeting of Cloverhill Community Council took place in Sonas Nursing Home recently and was attended by local Cllr. Marty McDermott and members of the Cloonycolgan Church District.

  It was decided at the meeting that an Ardkieran and Oran Parish Cemetery committee would be established and that there would be a meeting of representatives from Cloverhill, Cloonycolgan and Ballinaheglish church districts in early September. This new committee will oversee the development and maintenance of both cemeteries. It will also avail of Roscommon County Council grants as funds for such works are badly needed.

  A special collection will also take place at the end of annual Mass on Sunday, July 28th at 9.30 am at Oran Holy Well.

  As every family in the parish of Oran has relatives buried in either Ardkieran or Oran cemeteries, it is hoped that the collection will receive generous support.

  The committee is looking forward to carrying out all necessary development and maintenance in both cemeteries in the coming years.

 

Castlerea Agricultural Trade & Craft Show

The Castlerea Agricultural Trade & Craft Show takes place at Castlerea Co-operative Mart on Monday, August 5th. All are welcome.

  For more information, contact show secretaries Sara Sharkey (083-8087917) or Elaine Quinn (086-3010409), email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or check out the Castlerea Show Facebook page.

 

Annual Duck Race in Castlecoote

The annual Castlecoote Duck Race will take place on Sunday, August 11th at 4 pm. This is a fun evening for all the family so come along and cheer on your duck as they sail up the river at Castlecoote.

  Ducks are five euro each and are on sale locally. Burgers and sausages available on the day – all in aid of Tidy Towns. Thanks to all for supporting Castlecoote Tidy Towns.

 

River Lung dumping branded a disgrace

 

 

Spokesman for Ballaghaderreen Town Team and current chairman of Roscommon Leader Partnership, Micheál Frain, has slammed those responsible for the dumping of refuse bags into the River Lung recently.

  “I’m lost for words to be honest. The River Lung is an area steeped in fishing and history and to see rubbish bags flung over the bridge just beggars belief.

  “To think that Roscommon County Council had an amnesty recently on rubbish too and this is just one of a number of incidents. For example, at ‘The Plots’ area recently a number of mattresses were dumped. That incident is being investigated by the Gardaí and the litter warden and they are following a definite line of enquiry.

  “As for the incident at Aughalustia Bridge, that will cause safety problems in terms of getting to the rubbish. I also believe that the wildlife has ripped open bags and that makes the clean-up even more difficult.

  “I can only hope that the perpetrators are caught and that severest sanctions possible are issued. A message needs to be sent to these people,” he said.

  Mr. Frain said the incident was “a disgrace” especially considering the fact that the River Lung was part of the Beara Breifne Way, a walk which was being developed by stakeholders such as Leader and Roscommon County Council in attempts to boost local tourism.  

 

 

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