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Rooskey asylum seeker centre will not go ahead

 

 

 

 

The Department of Justice today confirmed that it would now not go ahead with plans to open an accommodation centre for asylum seekers at the Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey. The department issued a statement to the Roscommon People this morning citing “difficulties with the lease agreement” as the reason for its change of heart.

  The statement read: ‘The Department of Justice and Equality regrets that it is not in a position to proceed with plans to open an accommodation centre in the Shannon Key West Hotel, Rooskey.

  ‘The decision was taken following legal advice sought from the Chief State Solicitors Office which found difficulties with the lease agreement between the owners of the hotel, and the operator renting it, which made proceeding with the proposed centre unviable.

The Department is not party to these lease arrangements and these matters are outside our control.

  ‘We remain committed to sourcing suitable premises to meet the accommodation needs of people in the international protection process. A regional procurement process is underway and will continue throughout the year.

  ‘The decision not to proceed was taken solely in relation to the difficulties with the lease.’

 

Castlerea family appeal for support on organ transplants

 

 

Kidney disease has struck many members of family, but they are resilient and upbeat…

 

Members of a family from Castlerea, Co. Roscommon are this week highlighting the importance of organ donor awareness. Five members of the Mulligan family have been diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), which is a progressive illness which can remain dormant for decades. 

  Now, in conjunction with Organ Donor Awareness Week, the family are telling their story in order to help highlight how vitally important organ donation is.

  Michael Mulligan (70) and his wife Breege live in their native Castlerea. Michael received a kidney transplant 14 years ago, after the death of an organ donor. The transplant was a success and Michael is enjoying retirement with his wife Breege.

  Over the years, four of the couple’s six children have been diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).

  Three of the sisters – Pamela, Julie and Paula – live within fifteen minutes’ drive of one another in Co. Wicklow, having married three men who were actually friends before those weddings! A fourth sister, Susan, lives in Islandbridge in Dublin. The oldest sister, Lydna, lives in Rahan, Co. Offaly. All five sisters have received a PKD diagnosis. The youngest member of the family and only son, Mikki, lives in Canada and has not been tested yet for PKD.

  Susan Mulligan was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) when she was in college after she sustained a sports injury. For over two and a half years she has been undergoing haemodialysis treatment at the Beacon in Tallaght.  

  Following Susan’s diagnosis, she managed to stave off dialysis treatment for over a decade as her condition was carefully monitored and treated through medication as well as lifestyle and dietary changes. 

  Three of Susan’s sisters, Pamela, Julie and Paula, live in Wicklow (in Aughrim, Avoca and Arklow) with their husbands.

  Julie went into end stage kidney failure following the birth of her son two years ago. Julie’s declining kidney function is being carefully monitored and she may need to commence dialysis treatment soon. She is currently awaiting her appointment to visit the renal team at Beaumont Hospital for referral onto the transplant waiting pool.

  Pamela and Julie had completed their PKD tests for a medical report which was required for their mortgage applications. Fortunately for Pamela, who lives in Arklow with her husband Neil and three sons, her tests came back negative for PKD. However, another sister, Paula, who lives in Avoca and was diagnosed with the disease, had experienced a temporary dip in kidney function after the birth of her twin boys last year, but her kidney function has since improved and her condition hasn’t progressed.

  The oldest sister in the Mulligan family, Lynda, has also  received a PKD diagnosis, but she continues to enjoy good health while living in Rahan, Co. Offaly with her husband Nicky. 

  Susan and her family are grateful to the family of their father’s deceased donor transplant and are sharing their story in order to publicly support the annual Organ Donor Awareness Week. Organ Donor Awareness Week aims to raise awareness about organ failure and encourage the public to support organ donation for transplantation and tell their next-of-kind their wishes.

  Susan said: “My family are truly grateful to the donor family who gave my father a new lease of life. For the other members of our family who will need organ transplants in the future and for all those other people on transplant waiting lists, we are sharing our story to help raise awareness about how vitally important organ donation is”.

Padraig’s discovery: An unwelcome visitor from New Zealand…

 

 

A local man who was cleaning a water gully at his house recently made a fascinating discovery!

  “I came across a creature that I had never seen before…I thought I had discovered a new Irish species” Padraig Harlow of Convent Road, Roscommon quipped this week.

  Padraig contacted Teagasc in Roscommon to show them what he had found. He was referred on to a Mr. Gaffney in the Teagasc Research Centre in Ashtown, Dublin.

  “I sent him the specimen and researched other images on the Internet myself. We agreed it was the New Zealand flatworm, an invasive species, brought in through Britain via Belfast to Ireland and which is making its way south towards Sligo.

  “They are hermaphrodites (meaning all ‘individuals’ can reproduce) so they could self-fertilise, but would normally pair up…they are predators and feed on earthworms which are important to our ecosystem and fertility of the soil, among other aspects”.

  Padraig said that while he doesn’t want to be alarmist, they are a threat for gardeners, farmers, etc. He advised that all garden centres should be on the look-out.

  “They should be destroyed and not mistaken for the earthworms which are native and very beneficial” he concluded.

Ger Grehan promises to be ‘a voice for every community’

 

 

Fine Gael candidate, Ger Grehan (Taughmaconnell), has said that he will work hard for every parish in South Roscommon if he is elected to Roscommon County Council next May.

  Ger Grehan is a farmer and a former agricultural contractor, who is married to Breeda. The couple have four children.

  Speaking to the Roscommon People, Ger Grehan said: “The South Roscommon electoral area is huge, it runs from Shannonbridge to Donamon. I live in the middle of the electoral area in Taughmaconnell, near Dysart. If I’m elected, I will work hard for every community in the electoral area. Every parish deserves a fair chance.

  “For many years I have sought better living standards and better prices for farmers – as an activist for farming organisations and as a regular contributor to farming programmes on Shannonside FM. If people decide to vote for me, I will be a very hard-working advocate for local communities and families”.

  Ger Grehan and Cllr. John Naughten (Drum) are Fine Gael’s two candidates in the South Roscommon electoral area. The party is aiming to secure two seats. Ger Grehan was nominated as a candidate at the recent Fine Gael convention by former South Roscommon Councillor, Ollie Moore (Taughmaconnell) and by Luke Kelly (Castlesampson). Ollie Moore is Ger Grehan’s Director of Elections.

Once more into the fray…

 

 

Crosby launches campaign, says he  puts his money where his mouth is

 

Former county councillor Tom Crosby has officially launched his campaign for re-election in May 2019. The independent candidate is seeking election to Roscommon County Council in the Boyle Electoral Area.

  Mr. Crosby said that he is standing on his track record in politics which he said “speaks for itself”.

  “I have been elected many times in the past and have vast experience in politics, business and indeed in voluntary community circles” he said.

  Native of Tarmonbarry/Scramogue parish, he is married to Pauline (McDermott) and the couple reside in Tarmonbarry.

  In a press statement, Mr. Crosby said: “I have a deep affection and passion for my area and for Co. Roscommon. I have always believed that politicians should put their money where their mouth is when it comes down to developing in their area and county. That is why, throughout my business and political career, I have always done just that”.

  Asking for voters to “judge me on what I have actually done and not what I have talked about doing,” Mr. Crosby said that he can stand over his “proud record” in this region.

  He pointed to the fact that he had built and developed the renowned and award-winning residential marina known as ‘Tarmon Harbour’, where there are 98 tourist and residential homes and 98 dockings points for pleasure craft on the River Shannon.

  “This development is recognised as one of the best tourist destinations on the River Shannon and in turn has made Tarmonbarry Village one of the most prosperous villages in the West of Ireland, coming from having little or no employment to currently having well over 100 local people employed in its thriving businesses.

  “I recently purchased and began developing the cornerstone building in the centre of Strokestown. A relic of the Celtic Tiger years, it was a blight on the face of an otherwise beautiful townscape. But that’s all changing now, as I am currently upgrading the building and at an advanced stage in talks with a large anchor tenant for one of the four floors on the very large 12,000 sq. ft. property”.

  In terms of political achievements, Mr. Crosby said that when he was a county councillor he was the individual responsible for the establishment of a DNA database for Ireland, his original idea having been followed up by various Justice Ministers.

  He continued: “Now, many politicians will try to garner your support by saying that they’ll be honest with you, and won’t make any promises they can’t keep…well, I put it to them that the real reason they won’t make the promises is because they don’t believe they can deliver!

   “I’m not afraid to make promises, because I know I can deliver as an elected representative. I’m a worker, and have been a worker my whole life. One thing you can be sure of is this, if you put your trust in me, I won’t let you down”.

  Mr. Crosby said that his campaign team will be canvassing all areas over the coming weeks and that he will do his very best to meet everyone personally. He appealed to the people to give him their No. 1 vote.

  “I have a plan for this area, a plan to return it to prosperity…but to do that I need your support. I need you to once again put your trust in me”.

 

 

 

Council duo visit Tourism Ireland in New York

 

Representatives of Roscommon County Council, in New York for the St. Patrick’s Day period, met with senior executives from Tourism Ireland on Friday. They were briefed on Tourism Ireland’s extensive promotional programme in the United States for 2019.

  Tourism Ireland has prioritised North America, as a market which offers a strong return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure. In 2019, Tourism Ireland aims to surpass the record-breaking performance of 2018 and to grow revenue from North American visitors by +8% i.e. €1.99 billion generated by 2.17 million visitors (+6%).

  Tourism Ireland said: “Our important ‘culturally curious’ and ‘social energiser’ audiences are being targeted with distinctive vacation experiences, events and special offers tailored to their interests. Tourism Ireland is creating ‘stand out’ for the island of Ireland in the US, highlighting experiences in Roscommon, along the Wild Atlantic Way and in Ireland’s Ancient East. Promotions aim to grow travel to the regions of Ireland, during the shoulder and off-peak seasons”.

  “We were delighted to meet with the representatives of Roscommon County Council and to have the opportunity to brief them about the extensive promotional programme we are undertaking in the United States this year,” said Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America and Australia.

 

 

News…at a glance - March 22nd

 

 

A Healthy Greener You …course commences soon

A little horticulture, a little cookery, shopping tips, reducing waste tips, a little nature walking and learning, a lot of fun and more…learn how and why small changes ordinary people can make in our everyday routines can help ourselves, nature and our world be healthier and happier. 

  This part-time community education course starts in Ballaghaderreen (venue to be confirmed) on Wednesday, 3rd April from 10.30 am to 1.30 pm and runs for the following six Wednesday mornings. There is no charge. 

  Please contact Roscommon Women’s Network (RWN) on 094-9621690, text Nora on 086-8099154, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. This is a GRETB funded course in association with RWN, Roscommon Environment Network, Local Agenda 21 Environmental partnership Fund 2018 and the Department of Communications, Action & Environment.  

Heritage Audit to be launched in Creggs

Creggs Rural Development and Tidy Towns committee will launch its heritage audit of ‘Creggs and District’ in Creggs Historical Centre on this Thursday, March 21st at 7.30 pm. Cllr. Peter Keaveney, Leas-Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council, will launch the project. 

  Dr. Christy Cunniffe and Zena Hoctor will attend the launch and give a presentation. Light refreshments will be served.

  It promises to be an entertaining night of historical studies. All welcome.

Brain talk at Ardcarne Garden Centre

Are you interested in learning more about reducing your risk of developing cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s? Due to popular demand, Dr. Wilma Lourens, a recently-retired consultant endocrinologist, is repeating her first talk on this important topic at Ardcarne Garden Centre, Roscommon this Sunday (March 24th) from 2 pm to 3.30 pm and in Ardcarne Garden Centre, Boyle on Saturday, March 30th from 11 am to 2.30 pm.

  This talk gives an overview of the topic and Dr. Lourens hopes to follow up with more talks and video presentations. To book a place, please call Ardcarne Garden Centre on 071-9667091.

Holiday with Active Retirement

The Roscommon Town Active Retirement Association invite you to join them on a 5-day coach holiday based at the Station House Hotel, Clifden, Connemara from Monday, May 13th to Friday, May 17th. The cost of the trip, based on half-board accommodation and including three day trips, is €330 per person sharing. Booking now on 086-1925411.

Strokestown Women’s Shed table quiz

A table quiz fundraiser hosted by Eugene Murphy TD in aid of Strokestown Women’s Shed is being held this Friday night (22nd) in The Hayloft Pub, Bridge Street, Strokestown at 9 pm. There will be a raffle on the night and all support is greatly appreciated. For more, contact Ruth (089-9725741).

Roscommon Harriers Race Series back for month of April

The Roscommon Harriers AC 5k Race Series is back! We invite you to challenge yourself each Friday for the month of April. Races starts at 7.30pm from entrance gate to Hannon’s Hotel, Roscommon. Register on the evening of each race from 6.30pm. Open to walkers and runners of all abilities.

            For further information   Roscommon Harriers AC Race Series & Roscommon Harriers 10 mile Road Race or www.RunIreland.ie

 

 

The search will go on…

 

Fine Gael is continuing its search for a second candidate to contest the key Roscommon Municipal District in this May’s local elections.

  The party has been making approaches to prospective candidates in the Roscommon town area over recent months. A concerted effort was made to persuade former Roscommon footballer Seamus Hayden to sign up as a candidate, but, after giving the matter careful consideration, the well-known publican opted not to run.

  Last Thursday evening at a convention held in Gleeson’s in Roscommon Fine Gael selected Gerry Coffey to run for the party. Mr. Coffey, from Granlahan, is well-known in auctioneering, farming, community and GAA circles.

  Mr. Coffey, a first-time candidate, said that he intends to run a positive campaign during which he will highlight a range of rural issues. He said he has the energy, passion, honesty and sense of fairness required to be an effective county councillor.    

  As to Fine Gael’s ongoing search for another candidate, Mr. Coffey said that he will welcome the addition of a ‘second runner’ “in a geographically suitable area”.

  At the convention, tributes were paid to outgoing councillor Michael Creaton, who is stepping away from the political arena. Cllr. Creaton was praised for his hard work ethic, modest and loyalty.

Hand to host Brexit Breakfast Briefing at Hodson Bay Hotel

 

Malachy Hand, Fianna Fáil Local Election candidate for the Athlone LEA, will be hosting a Breakfast Gathering at the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone on Wednesday, 27th March at 7.45 am.   In a statement, Malachy said: “I am a new voice with new ideas, addressing issues of concern to all generations, young and old. I bring a strong work ethic, vision, enthusiasm and optimism to local politics at this critical time as I strive to open discussions and to find solutions for the local constituents among whom I live, work and socialise”.

  Mr. Hand said that his passion lies in key areas of agriculture and the agri-food sector, SMEs, roads and flooding, education, rural crime, restoration of the 4th Western Brigade and the provision of amenities for our youth.

  He said that guest speakers at the upcoming Breakfast Gathering complement these local interests and offer the public a unique opportunity to network, to be brought up to date and to ask key questions as an aid to future planning for businesses and families. Mr. Hand’s breakfast gathering coincides with UK’s scheduled departure from the European Union and its unknown fall-out for South Roscommon and Ireland as a whole.

  Michael McGrath, TD, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance, will provide an update on Brexit, its expected impact on Ireland and strategies which need to be put in place to counter or minimise the ill-effects of a no-deal Brexit on agriculture and trade in particular, at local, regional and national level.

  Mary Butler, TD, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Older People and Public Health Promotion, and Chairperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Oireachtas Committee, will complement Malachy’s proposals on behalf of older people, healthcare, employment, jobs and innovation.

  Local Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy, Spokesperson on Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, will offer an update on his work locally while highlighting the concerns of the electorate in Roscommon and Galway.

  Mr. Hand concluded by saying: “I hope that the people of South Roscommon and Athlone as well as local businesses will avail of this once-off opportunity to sit down and to discuss key issues with representatives who can bring them up to date on the current situation in relation to Brexit and its threat to our economy, trade, employment and in particular the agri-food sector”. Those wishing to attend the Breakfast Gathering can reserve their ticket by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by ‘phoning 086-3184165.

The last hero: Remembering Liam Gilmartin

 



‘I found the real reason for living
WAS football’ – Liam Gilmartin 

 

Liam Gilmartin, the last member of the great double All-Ireland winning Roscommon team of the 1940s, passed away on Saturday last, 2nd of March, 2019. He was in his 98th year (his birthday being June the 1st).

  While I did not see him play, like a boy, I imagined him playing as Brian Fenton does now for the Dublin team. Infused with elegance, gliding over the surface of Croke Park, stretching those long arms to pluck the high ball from the sky. Majestic in all that he does.

   As that boy from Fuerty a few miles out from Roscommon town, I was brought up in a GAA house of the 1950s. It was less than a decade removed from Roscommon’s Golden Age of Gaelic Football.

  Every country, county and parish needs its heroes. The great Roscommon team members of the ‘40s were OUR heroes then. They were a team of all talents with names which still echo in our county 75 years on. 

  Isn’t it remarkable to think that Liam Gilmartin captained Roscommon’s first All-Ireland winning team of any colour in 1939 – with the minors – which will be 80 years ago later this year? He went on to win back-to-back senior All-Irelands in ’43 and ’44 as a young man. Roscommon in that short period won five All-Ireland titles between minor, junior and senior, with other near-misses in ’46 and ’47.

   What a time it must have been to be a Roscommon footballer and what a time it must also have been to be a Roscommon supporter. This was in the time of ‘The Emergency’ as it was called in Ireland then, World War Two globally. It was a time of rationing, deprivation, uncertainty and fear. Through it all, Roscommon football shone through like a beacon, a new team with names that were to echo not just in the county but throughout the 32 counties of Gaelic Football. Roscommon people could and did walk taller in the glow of their achievements. Liam, with his midfield partner Eamon Boland, was central to all that. Gilmartin and Boland are always mentioned together.  

   In 2008 I brought the football used in the 1943 final to Liam in his Raheny home for him to sign as someone who had played with that ball. We talked of football of course and I lamented the fact that I did not have a tape recorder to help remember the conversation. He promised to do one for me and so he did. After I heard it I realised I had a gem and I will repeat some of his observations here. In it he talked of growing up in Ballymurray: ‘Ballymurrray was a great place. I had a great childhood. There you would cast your boots from you after school and that put wings on your feet’.

  He spoke of his introduction to football and hurling and of his first real ‘structured’ football in the schools. Of its progression in Roscommon CBS and with the ‘39 minors. “It was great fun and I was hooked. I found the real reason for living WAS football. To play in Croke Park for the first time was special. Roscommon were All-Ireland champions, the first time ever. It was absolutely brilliant”. 

  He talked of joining the army as so many did then…and later the Gardai.

  In ’43 he became a member of the Roscommon senior team who finally won in Connacht and played a gallant Louth team in the semi-final. It was a game he often referenced, fondly. He had such regard for Louth as sporting opponents. Roscommon went on to beat Cavan in a replay to win the first All-Ireland senior title. The following year they were up against a great Kerry team in the final. “I savoured the coming contest” he related. He detailed the use of two different football boots. One of his own and the second one of his brother, Charlie. It fitted him just that little bit better. He describes being in the parade: “I looked up to the area where my dad was sitting in the Cusack Stand. I don’t see him of course but I know he is there, quiet and hoping”.

  The game ends in victory and the crowd invade the field. He describes what it meant and felt.

  “The field was filled with a mass of cheering, excited, happy people. I suddenly realise what victory means to them. We savour with pride one of the fruits of victory, walking amongst your own, now victorious people. An old man with a tear in his eye clasped my hand in both of his, not speaking. So much emotion and there was no place I would rather be then, than just there, at that particular time”.

  Later that evening he got to thinking: “Could we make it three? Though the next championship is a long way off…. June ’45”. He could not have known that this, his finest hour, would not, and could not be repeated. Early in ’45 he was diagnosed with the tragic illness of the time, TB. When he told his superior officer that he was sick the man responded ‘…ill, how could that be and you one of the fittest men in Ireland?”. That was in Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station, a few hundred yards from Croke Park, where, just a few months earlier, he had been invincible.  

  His next contest was to survive. It was a struggle, but he finally triumphed. It is ironic that for a man so ill in ’45, he was to survive to the age of 97, nearing 98. Many times I had been asked in the last twenty years the question ‘How many of them left?” Well that question is redundant now. As a character in a Synge play declares, “They are all gone now”.

  In more recent decades Liam has emerged to carry the mantle of those times and to represent ‘the lads’, as he called his former playing colleagues. Since then he has enjoyed being asked occasionally “Are you the footballer?” (He remembers some occasion being asked the same question decades ago by another footballer, the poet Patrick Kavanagh).

  Liam was not at all a one-dimensional man. He had poetry running through his veins and the mind of a philosopher. He loved cricket and golf and enriched the lives of those he met and conversed with. I was privileged to have known him in recent decades.      

  Gerry O’Malley, at the funeral of Jimmy Murray, used the simple phrase “I’m not so much sad as lonely”. I understand that these days.

  So hopefully we will remember that ‘Band of Brothers’ as they came to be and especially Liam Gilmartin at this time as we reflect on the long life and legacy of not just a great Roscommon footballer, but a great Roscommon man.

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