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Fitzmaurice fears for jobs due to broadband crisis


As a new survey out this week reveals that Ireland’s broadband speeds are among the slowest in Europe, Independent TD for Roscommon-Galway Michael Fitzmaurice has said that jobs will be lost if the National Broadband Plan is not stepped up and delivered upon much quicker.

  “The survey reveals that 21 EU countries including Estonia, Slovakia and Slovenia have average broadband speeds faster than those available here. It is clear that the non-availability of a proper broadband service is affecting the competitiveness of many small firms based in rural areas and jobs will be lost unless this is addressed immediately.”

  Deputy Fitzmaurice added: “ISME and IBEC have indicated their concern at the figures and I agree with them that the red tape and unnecessary planning and administrative processes associated with this plan should be removed to allow it to be delivered upon more promptly.

  “Eir have been given the job to make 350,000 connections by 2020 but there is still concern at how long it will take to make the remaining connections after that, and the timeline for that contract to be completed. A reliable and efficient broadband service is now one of the essentials for doing business of any kind and it is imperative and the Broadband Plan is speeded up so that businesses do not lose out and that no jobs are lost as a result of the poor broadband service which exists in many areas at present,” he concluded.

Hopkins presses Minister to re-open leisure centre in Ballaghaderreen


Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins has called for the reopening of the leisure centre, including gym and pool facilities, at the former Abbeyfield Hotel in Ballaghaderreen. 

  Senator Hopkins stated: “I have put a proposal to the Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, David Stanton TD regarding the reopening of this leisure facility and have emphasised to him the positive benefit for the community that such a reopening would have.

  “Following numerous discussions with both Minister David Stanton and Department officials, I have been informed that consideration is being given at present to the proposals I have put forward.”

  Senator Hopkins added: “The reopening of this facility would be of major benefit for the Ballaghaderreen community as well as the refugees living within the Emergency Response and Orientation Centre at the Abbeyfield site.”


47 SHOWS…and still going strong!


There was a sizeable turnout last Thursday night in Hannon’s Hotel for the launch of the 47th Annual Roscommon Agricultural Show, which will take place on Hannon’s grounds on the Athlone Road on Saturday, August 19th.

  This year’s show has a prize fund of €30,000 on offer across an array of sections including: Horses, Ponies, Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Dogs, Poultry, Pets, Farm and Garden Produce, Arts and Crafts, Photography and more.

  Roscommon Show Chairman, James Gleeson, welcomed all those in attendance to the launch before describing some of the hard work involved in bringing the Roscommon Show together each year.

  “It is a yearly event and it does take the year to bring everything together.

  “Roscommon Show showcases the best of Irish farming and exhibits in garden produce, cookery, art and crafts, flowers, cattle, horses, ponies and sheep.

  “The show has free entry to all children and free entertainment for children all day.

  “We have a very high standard in all sections including All-Ireland qualifiers,” he said.

  Mr. Gleeson was addressing an audience which included sponsors, volunteers, local representatives and officials from the local marts as well as Strokestown and Elphin Shows. He highlighted the importance of the show’s many sponsors.

  “I would like to thank our sponsors, without whom we would have no show. We have a prize fund of €30,000 together with overheads and expenses.

  “Our main sponsor in the cattle and dog sections is John O’Rourke from the All Creatures Veterinary Clinic. John also provides an on-call service throughout the day.

  “The Hannon family and Horse Sport Ireland are behind the Horse section and all of our other sponsors have been loyal throughout the years.

  “I would also like to thank the Hannon family for the use of their field and hotel throughout the year,” he said.

  The chairman also paid tribute to the all those who help the Roscommon Show to run so smoothly each year before inviting new members with new ideas ahead of this year’s show.

  “I wish to thank our committee members for all their hard work during the year including secretary Ursula Hannon, Christy Tully our PRO, and also the voluntary organisations who help us out on the day.

  “I’d also like to thank the Department of Agriculture and the Gardaí who provide traffic control.

  “New (committee) members are always welcome and of course new ideas. We are looking forward to seeing you all on August 19th,” he concluded.

Naughten angling for funding applications



Denis Naughten TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment is urging angling clubs, community groups and local authorities in Roscommon and the broader Midlands region to apply for funding under a new €2 million investment programme announced by Inland Fisheries Ireland for angling projects and conservation initiatives.

  The funding call, which is open to communities nationwide, consists of three separate funding streams which will help ensure that Ireland’s fish stocks and angling infrastructure are protected and enhanced into the future.

  The Inland Fisheries Ireland Funding Call 2017 is made up of the following funds: Salmon Conservation Fund to a maximum of €500,000; Midland Fisheries Fund of €50,000; National Strategy for Angling Development (NSAD) Fund of €1,500,000.

  Minister Naughten said: “This is a community led initiative and I am encouraging angling clubs, community groups and local authorities to apply to Inland Fisheries Ireland for funding across a range of areas from fisheries habitat enhancement and sustainable development works to marketing and promotional projects for angling.”


Progress on N5 Ballagh to Scramogue Road project – Feighan


 Senator Frank Feighan has said that Government work on progressing the N5 Ballaghaderreen to Scramogue Road project has taken another step forward.

  “Earlier this year, Roscommon County Council submitted the business case for this vital road project to the Department of Transport.

  “The Department has completed its review of the business case and has now issued it to the Central Expenditure Evaluation Unit in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) for separate approval.

  “I am also very encouraged to learn that both the N5 and N4 upgrade are top priorities in the capital expenditure report published recently by the Budgetary Oversight Committee. The work of the Committee is a key element in how next October’s budgets will be considered by the Dail and Seanad. The Ballaghaderreen to Scramogue project has been in the pipeline for a very long time and hundreds of thousands of euro have already been spent on the pre-construction stages of the project.”

  Senator Feighan said that funds of more than €100m are required to complete this project and he pledged to keep the pressure on the Government and Transport Minister Shane Ross to ensure this badly-needed road scheme is delivered as soon as possible.

  Senator Feighan concluded: “For anyone who is familiar with this dangerous stretch of road, it’s very evident from a safety perspective how urgent this road project is for residents and motorists alike.”


News...at a glance - August 11th


Cloontuskert Sunday Cemetery Mass

Cemetery Sunday will be celebrated in Cloontuskert Cemetery on Sunday, 13th of August at 6 pm.

  This year Mass will be celebrated in the new cemetery to facilitate the blessing and dedication of the new monument of the scene from the Garden of Gethsemane to the memory of all interred in both cemeteries. All are welcome.

Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes

Bishop Kevin Doran will lead the annual Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes from 28th of August-2nd of September this year.

  To book, phone Joe Walsh Tours on 01-2410810. For information for assisted pilgrims, contact Fr. Ray Milton on 090-6661115.

First Aid course at Boyle Family Centre

A basic First Aid course incorporating CPR will take place in the Boyle Family Resource Centre on Tuesday, 15th of August from 9.30 am to 5 pm. The cost is €60 per person. The trainer will be James McLoughlin.

  You will learn the necessary skills to give immediate treatment to an adult who has been injured or taken ill suddenly, prior the arrival of the medical services; how to provide treatment where no further medical treatment is required; and how to preserve life, prevent further injury and promote recovery.

  On successful completion of courses, each participant will receive a certificate issued by Absolute Safety.

Trinity Arts Centre Race Night

Trinity Arts Centre is holding a fundraising Race Night on Saturday, 19th of August in Hester’s Golden Eagle, Castlerea. Horses and jockeys on sale now from the committee. Winners double their money! Great prizes on the night for the following titles: Most Inappropriately Dressed Couple, Most Outrageous Lady and Spectacular Hat.

  Get you imagination into overdrive and join us for a great fun night. For further enquiries or to offer your support, please contact 087-9310827.

Meet Roscommon team at RSG Family Fun Day

County Roscommon Disability Support Group are holding a Family Fun Day at the Resource Centre, Derrane, Roscommon on Friday, 18th of August from 12 pm-3 pm.

  Activities include a meet and greet with the Connacht Championship winning Roscommon team with the Club Rossie Bus!

  Family fun and games for all the family. Refreshments served. Raffle on the day. All are welcome. For further enquiries call 090-6625852.

Interactive Dry Stone Wall Demo in Kilmovee

An interactive dry stonewall demonstration with Master Stonemason Dominic Keogh will take place as part of Heritage Week in Kilmovee’s Thatch Cottage on Saturday, 26th of August from 12 noon-4 pm. This event is free. Refreshments will be provided. All ages are welcome.

Archive papers on display at Roscommon Library

Roscommon Library has recently been presented with the valuable archive papers of the Digby family, formerly of Drumdaff, Kilbride. 

  The collection, dating from 1707, will be on display in Roscommon town library on Friday, 25th of August from 3 pm, as part of Heritage Week.

  Local historian, Jim Ganly, will give a talk on the Digby family and their place in the social history of the area.

  Among the large number of documents are tenants’ rent books, maps, letters, etc. This is a valuable resource for people interested in the history of their local area. This is a free event and everyone is welcome.

Trocáire Emergency Appeal: a thank you

Thank you to all who generously donated to the recent Trocáire Emergency Appeal for the East Africa hunger crisis. A total of €6,720 was raised. Your support is greatly appreciated.





Lisacul man dies in Mayo car accident

The young man tragically killed in a road accident near Charlestown in Co. Mayo on Saturday afternoon was named as 25-year-old Alan O’Dowd, who was a father-of-one from Lisacul, Castlerea.

  Mr. O’Dowd was the sole occupant of a car which left the road some time between 3 and 4 pm and hit a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

  He was a member of a well-known and popular family who live in the townland of Currasallagh, Lisacul.


Local communities ‘are embracing Heritage Week’


Fine Gael Senator and Seanad Spokesperson on Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Maura Hopkins attended the launch of National Heritage Week 2017 recently.

  Senator Hopkins stated: “National Heritage Week 2017 takes place from 19-27 August, this year’s focus is on our natural environment and how it can be preserved for future generations. Communities right across Co. Roscommon have embraced this year’s Heritage Week.

  “46 events are planned across the county from Kiltoom to Tulsk, Strokestown and Ballaghaderreen among others. There is a great variety of events ranging from walks, lectures, tours, music and scavenger hunts. These events will give our communities a great opportunity to explore, share and celebrate their heritage in a way they may not have done previously.

  “This year there is a focus on showing people how we can preserve our natural heritage and protect our endangered species. One example locally is an event taking place in Taughamconnell on the bog restoration work that has been done by Bord Na Mona locally.”

  Senator Hopkins concluded: “National Heritage Week is an important opportunity for us locally to celebrate the rich tapestry of heritage which exists in our area. I would encourage people to get involved and attend events throughout the week. For more see www.heritageweek.ie.”


Community’s moving tribute to Gardai who were shot dead in 1980



Over 500 people attended the unveiling of a memorial last Friday to John Morley and Henry Byrne, the two Gardaí who were shot dead at Shannon’s Cross outside Loughglynn after a robbery at the Bank of Ireland in Ballaghaderreen on Monday, 7th of July 1980. Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan TD unveiled the stone memorial. A commemorative book was also launched.

  The monument is a large block of Irish limestone. The stonecutter was Michael Carney and the stonemason was Frank McNulty.

  The ceremony was attended by the Byrne and Morley families, TDs, Senators, senior Council officials and county councillors from Roscommon and Mayo, senior Gardai from all over the country, members of the clergy, officials of the GAA from Roscommon and Mayo, and representatives from Kiltimagh GAA Club, with whom both men had an association.

  Guests were treated to refreshments in the Loughglynn Community Centre and transported the short distance to Shannon’s Cross where the official ceremony took place. The Army Band was on hand to provide entertainment and even the rain stayed away!

  The Mayor of Roscommon County Council, Cllr.  Orla Leyden, said that she was very moved by the ceremony. On behalf of the entire community Cllr. Leyden paid tribute to the work of An Garda Siochana.

  Mr. Eugene Cummins, the Chief Executive of Roscommon County Council, said that despite the fact that it was a very sad day for the families and for the members of the Gardaí, it was a privilege for him to be able to pay tribute to the Garda Siochana and the work they do in public.  

  “These public servants lost their lives in the line of duty on the 7th of July, 1980, and they are an example to all for their unselfish contribution to society and what it means to serve the public,” he said.

  Shane Gilmartin, the Chairperson of Kiltimagh GAA Club, said that the two men would never be forgotten and that they were an example to all young people in their club, even years after the tragedy.

  Shane Morley (son of John Morley), told the attendance that the Morley family were so thankful to everyone involved with the memorial project. He thanked the local organising committee and reminded people of the huge amount of hard work that was required to bring the project to fruition, and he paid a special tribute to Martin Duggan for his input and friendship.

  Mr. Morley recalled memories of his late dad, saying that he was a great community man. He spoke of his fond memories of their time in Ballaghaderreen, Roscommon and Castlerea, and his love of all sports, and especially his work with Community Games. On behalf of his mother Frances, and the rest of the Morley family, he thanked everyone involved for honouring their late father.

  Paul Byrne (son of Henry Byrne) said that the memorial was a “beautiful and fitting tribute” to the two men and that the Byrne family were so thankful for the efforts of everyone involved. He said that the memorial would always be a reminder to people of the high esteem that John and Henry were held in.

  He welcomed retired Garda Derek Kelly and the son of the late Garda Michael O’Malley, both of whom were with John Morley and Henry Byrne on the day of the murders at Shannon’s Cross. He paid tribute to his mother Anne who he said had raised the family “without any animosity or bitterness” despite her huge loss.

  The local organising committee were Brendan Gordon, Michael Creighton, Martin Freeman, and Kevin Murtagh and Martin Duggan also played a huge role in terms of the organisation.

  Congratulations to everyone involved with the launch. It was superbly organised and those responsible should be very proud of their efforts on the day.





Naughten hails expected jobs boost for area


A Cabinet Minister has welcomed a new commercial project which will create jobs in the heart of Ireland.

  Denis Naughten, Minister of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, has been working closely with the developer behind PriMe6, a new property development for the life sciences sector near Athlone, to ensure the project attracts international interest that will create hundreds of local jobs.

  The modern design positions a seven-wing facility around a central core – a total area of 78,340 sq. ft., with potential to increase to more than 138,000 sq. ft. Partially built, the facility has full planning permission.

  It is hoped agreement will be reached within 12 months for one or more companies to be based at the strategic Monksland site, creating more than 300 jobs. In addition, at least 80 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase. Work on the former Pharmaplaz Technology Park site – bought by Bobmar Ltd. in 2015 – will start once contracts have been agreed with companies, with units built to client specifications and requirements.

  Minister Naughten said: “It is a very attractive and unique investment opportunity which will bring more than 300 jobs across the Lakelands region into the heart of Co. Roscommon and Athlone. There has been keen interest shown already from US and international operators but I also see an opportunity here for UK operators in light of Brexit. The site is a key strategic site just off the M6. With all the utilities in place combined with a skilled and willing workforce in the heart of the biapharma life sciences sectors in Ireland, it is ideally located. 

  “I have been working closely with the developer Robert Keane as well as Enterprise Ireland and the IDA on this project. PriMe6 will copperfasten Monksland and Roscommon as the home of the biapharma life sciences sectors in Ireland and the local workforce as leaders in this field. What is unusual about the cluster of pharmaceutical companies that already exists in this area of the Midlands is that they all work collaboratively with each other and they encourage other companies to come in. I am looking forward to PriMe6 being one of these companies.”


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