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More than we bargained for? Storm Ali packed a punch…

 

 

 

Maybe it’s the changing climate (presumably that’s a big factor!), or maybe it’s due to increased media coverage playing tricks with our minds, but the last few years certainly seem to have presented us with more major ‘weather events’ than in the past.

  Yet, our experience in Roscommon, and in other parts of the country, has often been that the promised storm is never quite as ferocious as had been expected.

  That was certainly the case with Storm Emma, less so perhaps with Hurricane Ophelia. In general, we have become used to the hype before the ‘event’ not quite being fully lived up to by the actual event, which is of course a good thing.

  That wasn’t the case on Wednesday morning however, when Storm Ali – which I certainly thought we had been less forewarned about than in the case of previous ‘weather events’ – fairly battered the county (and country).  

  8.20 am on Wednesday morning in the Healy household, and the fact that our bins were not upside down in the garden was encouraging, but actually gave a false indication of just what was ‘blowing up’.

  On the school run a half an hour or so later, it was very quickly evident that, whatever about the stubborn resilience of our bins, Storm Ali actually packed quite a punch.

  I think just about everyone in Roscommon was taken by surprise. At the Fuerty Road roundabout in Roscommon town, and where it links with the Lough Road, there were a number of trees felled, leading to real concern for early-morning motorists in this busy area (where so many schools are located).

  It was much the same story throughout the county, with reports of several trees succumbing to the fierce winds.  

  Some smaller roads were blocked and early reports suggest that Roscommon County Council and other services were very quick to respond throughout Wednesday.

  All morning the storm raged to the point where it really wasn’t safe for motorists or pedestrians to be out and about. Tragically, as we go to press, the storm has claimed two lives…one in Galway, one in Newry.

  By late afternoon in Roscommon, the weather had changed to intermittent heavy rain.

  Back at the Healy household, the garden was now strewn with several large branches after the winds caused some carnage. Inside, news too…a power cut. By all accounts, a power cut that has affected hundreds of houses and businesses in the area.

  The bins were still standing – but the house was in darkness. Maybe I’ve been following the wrong media the last few days, but it looks like Storm Ali is one ‘weather event’ that has more than lived up to pre-event warnings.

TD’s personal experience of A&E ‘crisis’

 

 

A local TD says his own mother’s difficult experience in a local A&E Unit last weekend has further brought home to him the extent to which the health service is in “crisis”.

  Deputy Eugene Murphy says his 82-year-old mother was left sitting on a chair in the Emergency Department at Portiuncula Hospital for twelve hours.

  The Fianna Fáil TD says overcrowding and long waiting periods continue to be an issue at the hospital where “the trolley crisis is now a year-round emergency”.

  Deputy Murphy: “There was always an issue with overcrowding during winter months due to seasonal flu, but now the trolley crisis seems to be going on throughout the year.

  “Only last week my own 82-year-old mother had to wait for over 12 hours sitting on a chair in the Emergency Department of Portiuncula Hospital. She was sitting from 6.30 pm on a Friday evening until after 7 am on Saturday morning. Apart from the obvious discomfort, there was no vending or coffee machine working in the Emergency Department waiting area and my mother was also very concerned about a number of children who spent the night in buggies waiting in the ED.

  “I must stress that this isn’t just about my mother but it’s an issue for so many families who find themselves or their loved ones in these situations”.

  Deputy Murphy said that the staff, “who are working under extreme conditions” were excellent.

  Deputy Murphy said the process of discharging patients who are well enough to go home or to a step-down facility must be speeded up. He also called for “idle” wards in Irish hospitals to be opened up. Deputy Murphy called on Health Minister Simon Harris and the HSE to outline their plans for the forthcoming winter.

 

Clock face removed in nick of time!

 

The Roscommon Fire Brigade were called to St. Coman’s Church in Roscommon town on Tuesday in order to remove one of the four clock faces in the church’s steeple which appeared to be damaged and in danger of falling.

  The clock face was removed by members of the Fire Brigade after they closed off Henry Street on Tuesday afternoon.

Peatlands funding to benefit local groups

 

 

 

Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins has said that €73,267 is to be provided to seven community groups across Roscommon and Galway under the Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme 2018.  “In Roscommon, €20,315 is to be provided to Gorthaganny Community Development Ltd for interpretative facilities at the community centre and local road improvement works; Kilteevan Tidy Towns is to receive €17,000 for upgrades to the Cloonlarge Loop Walk; €2,000 is to be provided for a hydrological assessment of Mount Allen Bog; €4,952 is to be provided for road improvement works at Clooncraff Bog.

  “In Galway, €15,000 is to be provided for educational facilities for Carronagappul; €12,500 is to be provided to Glenamaddy Tidy Towns for a feasibility study for looped walks and trails; Ballygar Tidy Towns is to be allocated €1,500 for an information campaign”.

  Minister Denis Naughten said the funding would promote tourism and recreation on local bogs.

  “The funding will support the work of the Community Wetlands Forum, through the development of walking trails and looped walks, visitor information, bog restoration and local amenity improvements.

  “This initiative, funded by Minister Josepha Madigan’s Department, complements the model developed over the last number of years by the Ballydangan Bog Red Grouse Project in South Roscommon which brings turf cutters in the local community and the State agencies together”.

 

Blood Bike fundraiser set to be one ‘groovy’ event!

 

 

 

A shared cause, and indeed, a common quest for change, is usually what motivates people to volunteer for a charitable organisation. However, while Galway-based Blood Bike volunteer Vincent Knight has a clear desire to make a difference, and help his fellow human beings, he told the Roscommon People he first  decided to become involved with Blood Bike West because of his wish to “to give something back,”  following his darling daughter Sophie’s (now 10) premature birth. 

  “My daughter was born premature and we needed breast milk. My wife was unable to feed her at the time and the Blood Bike charity helped us out by transferring breast milk to University College Hospital Galway (UCHG). And, when I got my daughter back on track, being a biker myself, I signed up to become a volunteer,” explained the dad of two, who also has a son Conor (13).

  We were chatting to Vincent, a local postman, in advance of this year’s Groovy Bike Night fundraiser, which will be held in the Railway Bar, Roscommon town on 22nd of September, with organisers promising supporters a great night’s entertainment.

  “This year we’re taking it up a notch with a ‘60s themed night, so get those mod costumes out of the wardrobes, and recreate the golden age of your youth,” laughs local man Tom Rumley, who is one of the organisers of this charity event, along with Farnan Hegarty, Tom Cummins, Slawomir Jurek and Dermot Kiernan.

  Tom adds: “We’ll have a DJ instead of live music, there’ll be our ever-popular signature barbeque to look forward to, and of course, there’ll be spot prizes galore with raffle tickets on sale on the night. We also have a fantastic main bumper prize which is our draw for a €1,000 voucher for the holiday of your choice, with tickets on sale for just €25 each; but hurry up and get yours because, as there’s a limit of 150 tickets on sale for this fantastic prize, interest is high, as you can imagine”. 

  For those who aren’t familiar with the Blood Bike charity’s work in Ireland, this emergency medical transport service, run entirely by dedicated volunteers, was set up in Galway in 2012. The group transports urgent, lifesaving blood, blood products, minor organs, breastmilk, medication such as chemotherapy treatments/drugs, etc., in various vehicles, depending on the need of the hospital making that high-priority call. However, it’s mostly motorbikes that’re used, with Vincent telling us “nobody probably ever sees us because we do this during the night. We operate from 7 pm to 7 am…and people who do see us tend to think we’re the police”. But they’re not the Gardaí. They’re unpaid volunteers, guardian angels of the night, often getting up from their own beds, and in all kinds of treacherous weather, even on Christmas Day, these champions unselfishly leave their own families behind in order to bring lifesaving help to others in need.

  “We operate this service 24/7, 365 days a year. I started off as a controller because I lived 60 miles away from the hospital, which was physically too far away to transport lifesaving meds. I’m now the vice-chair of Blood Bike West and I’d like to say a huge thank you to the boys for all of their help,” says Vincent.

  Blood Bike West, (along with other Blood Bike charities around the country) does not receive any funding from the State or the HSE, which is why they depend entirely on the goodwill of those who donate and attend these fundraising events. This fearless band of brothers and sisters, made up of nurses, firefighters, post men/women, factory workers and people from all walks of life, link up with all Blood Bike charities around the country to provide support to hospitals and other agencies to help save lives, including a local Roscommon mother, who, according to Vincent “needed breastmilk for her new-born twins…we provided the service to this lady for about six weeks. We also did a run from Portiuncula to Roscommon General with meds over three nights”. 

  All funds raised during Saturday’s groovy night will provide vital support, and go towards making a major impact on the lives of those who depend heavily on these volunteer bikers. Besides, don’t we all know it’s far better to give than to receive!

  So, get backcombing now folks, because there’s sure to be Brylcreemed buzz cuts and beehives aplenty on display in support of this fun event happening at The Railway Bar, Roscommon Town, Saturday night, 22nd of September; with Tom (amháin), Farnan, Tom (eile), Slawomir and Dermot promising revellers – a great groovy fun night for all”.

 

News…at a glance - September 21st

 

 

Thank you from Hospice!

Mayo/Roscommon Hospice Foundation sincerely thanks all collectors and those who generously contributed to their recent Church gate collection in Roscommon town. The total amount raised for local hospice/palliative care services was €2,052.38.

 

Sing your heart out with Cór Comáin!

Roscommon Choir Cór Comáin is hosting open auditions for female voices this Thursday (20th) and children’s voices this Friday (21st) at Gleeson’s Townhouse in Roscommon town. Those wishing to apply are asked to contact Derek Mahady on 086-3052204 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Rehearsals are due to take place every Thursday during term time.

 

Bridge Clubs to reopen

Bridge Clubs around the county are set to reopen on the following dates this month: Roscommon Bridge Club, Tuesday, 25th at 7.45 pm in Hannon’s Hotel, Roscommon town; St. Coman’s Bridge Club, Wednesday, 26th at 7.45 pm in Hannon’s Hotel; Happy ‘71 Bridge Club, Thursday, 27th at 7.45 pm in Hannon’s Hotel; Ballymurray Bridge Club, Monday, October 1st at 7.45 pm at the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon town, and Morning Larks Bridge Club, Friday, October 12th at 10 am in Hannon’s Hotel. New members welcome in all clubs.

  Bridge Classes for Beginners commence on Monday, October 8th at 8.30 pm in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon. For further information contact 086-1607913.

 

Duck Race a great success!

The recent Castlecoote Duck Race proved a great success and the results are as follows –1st prize: Gerry Gordon, Mount Prospect; 2nd: Rita McDonagh, Donamon; 3rd: Cathal Crehan, Castlecoote. The prize for last duck home went to Ruairi Mullin, Castlecoote.

  The organisers thank everyone who supported the fundraiser, including ticket sellers and volunteers on the day as well as Castlecoote Stores for sponsoring food.

  The committee also wish to thank Joachim for providing the sound, the local Sub Aqua club for their hard work and for adding to the excitement of the day, and of course PJ’s Bar which hosted a barbecue…and the local community for their continued support.

  The Tidy Towns results will be announced on Monday, September 24th, so here’s hoping for a good result!

 

Knockcroghery Coffee Morning for Hospice

Knockcroghery’s Annual Hospice Coffee Morning in aid of Mayo/Roscommon Hospice takes place this Saturday (22nd) in Knockcroghery Community Centre (old school) between 10.30 am and 2.30 pm. All are welcome.

  As always there will be a selection of the best home bakes available, along with a cake sale. There will also be a raffle on the day with a selection of spot prizes, including a fabulous hamper.

 

Coffee Morning in aid of Hospice

The Strokestown Support Group of Mayo/Roscommon Hospice is hosting a Coffee Morning today (Thursday 20th) from 10 am to 3 pm. Your support would be greatly appreciated.

 

Monthly winners in Lisnamult

The following are the winners of the Lisnamult Residents’ Draw for September: Claire Langan and Donal Kilduff (€100 each), Imelda Stephens (€50), Donncha O’Dwyer, James King and Joan Gordon (€25 each).

 

€173,100 funding for local libraries

 

Funding of €173,100 for public libraries in County Roscommon has been confirmed by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Denis Naughten.

  The funding comes as part of a major investment package for digital services and facilities in public libraries announced by Minister Michael Ring, which includes €6 million from Government and a further €2 million contribution from local authorities.

  The funding is aimed at enhancing ICT infrastructure, creating new meeting spaces with state-of-the-art technology and providing dedicated digital learning suites.

  The funding includes the provision of: iPads/tablets/smart devices for users and for staff to assist users; computers and workstations including image deployment technology; software to support design, gaming and coding; meeting space technology; podcasting equipment and workstations; ‘Dementia Tables’ which facilitate play and learning for people with mild to severe dementia as well as those with intellectual disabilities, learning difficulties and autism; mobile LCD screens with audio; interactive whiteboards and digital training suites.

  Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan said the funding would “transform” library services in County Roscommon.

  “This investment will enhance ICT infrastructure, create new meeting spaces with state-of-the-art technology, and provide dedicated digital learning suites. The new facilities and services will attract new users of all ages to our public libraries. This funding will transform our public library service across Roscommon,” he said.

  Senator Feighan highlighted the “state-of-the-art” resources which would be made available at libraries across the county.

 

Celebrate Culture Night with RWN

 

Roscommon Women’s Network invites you to join them in celebrating culture this Friday (21st) at 5 pm in Roscommon Arts Centre.

  The evening will bring many cultures and nationalities together through drama, dance, song and music as we raise awareness around cultural diversity and understanding. 

  The evening will start with drama directed by Bow Productions, followed by Irish dancing performed by Syrian and Irish children, Capoeira and some story Irish song and chat. It’s an evening of entertainment guaranteed.

  Tickets are free but must be booked at the Roscommon Arts Centre box office (090-662 5824). This project is funded by Roscommon County Council.

‘It’s a good town to do business in’

 

 

Klassic Cleaners’ proprietor, Liam Stephens, is a proud member of Roscommon Chamber having previously served as its PRO and treasurer and believes small, independent businesses are vital to the local economy.

  “In general I’d like to see a little more support for small businesses in rural towns, especially businesses that have a huge labour element and bring people to the town.

  “Roscommon is a good town to do business in and we have huge amounts of people from the likes of Longford, Galway and out the Athlone side coming here to do their shopping. They love the free parking and the fact that it’s safe and of course most of the services and shops they need are here,” he said.

  Free parking is a huge ‘selling point’ for Roscommon town and the introduction of one-hour free parking spaces outside businesses has also helped, according to Liam.

  “The one-hour free parking spaces have been a huge success and everyone seems delighted with them. We’d love a few on Church Street and I know some of the other traders feel the same!”

  In terms of the personal touch, Liam says it’s difficult to beat the relationship smaller businesses can develop with customers.

  “Smaller independent businesses are generally friendlier and have more of a connection with customers and the local community. From a customer’s point of view, these businesses support their local clubs and groups. Most small businesses look to do whatever they can to support their local clubs”.

  Speaking of local business people supporting local causes, the Community Sports Park at Lisnamult continues to go from strength to strength.

  “At the moment we have gone to tender for community rooms and changing rooms at the AstroTurf and we are very hopeful that they will be finished by the end of next year,” he said.

 

 

Roscommon councillors back Gallagher

 

 

Roscommon county councillors have voted to  nominate Independent candidate Sean Gallagher  to contest next month’s Presidential election.

  At a special meeting of Roscommon County Council on Monday, Mr. Gallagher secured the support of ten councillors. Senator Joan Freeman received three votes, Gemma O’Doherty received two, and one councilor abstained. That meant that Roscommon had granted Mr. Gallagher one of the four local authority nominations required.

  A number of aspiring candidates had addressed Roscommon councillors last week in a bid to secure their support for a nomination.

  Having now received the support of at least four local authorities, Mr. Gallagher is now a formal candidate in the Presidential election, which will be held in October. Senator Joan Freeman also secured a Presidential nomination this week.

  At Monday’s meeting, Independent Cllr. Tony Ward proposed Mr. Gallagher. Voting with Cllr. Ward in favour of that proposal were Cllrs. Liam Callaghan, Ivan Connaughton, John Cummins, Nigel Dineen, Rachel Doherty, Laurence Fallon, Paddy Kilduff, Orla Leyden and Kathleen Shanagher. Cllrs. Domnick Connolly, Michael Creaton and John Murphy supported Senator Freeman while Cllrs. Paschal Fitzmaurice and Valerie Byrne voted for Gemma O’Doherty. Cllr. Michael Mulligan abstained. Cllrs. John Keogh and John Naughten were not present on Monday.

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