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Our TDs on the 8th: Yes, No or sitting on the fence?




The world’s media has descended on Co. Roscommon in the run-up to the Abortion Referendum on Friday, May 25th due to the county’s rejection of the Marriage Equality Referendum three years ago and its subsequent status as Ireland’s most conservative county.

  The Roscommon People this week asked the county’s three elected TDs how they would be voting on Friday, May 25th.


Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Denis Naughten once again refused to be drawn on how he would vote in the upcoming election but did say that the upcoming vote should not be influenced by politicians.

  “I agree with facilitating the Referendum as the people of Ireland are absolutely entitled to have their say on this issue. That was my view in 2013, regarding the suicide provision in the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill, and it remains my view today.

  “I have concerns regarding unrestricted access to terminations within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. I will be engaging with the Minister for Health on these issues in advance of any legislation being enacted, should the Irish people vote to repeal the 8th Amendment.

  “With regard to the Referendum, I believe people should be free to make up their own mind by listening to all aspects of the issues.

  “I am firmly of the view that any decision on this topic is a deeply personal one and people should not be influenced one way or the other by politicians”.

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice says he will be voting No due to what he described as the “flawed” wording in proposed legislation. He added that he believe a Yes vote would be a step towards a “totally different Ireland” and questioned whether trusting politicians with legislation was wise in the wake of recent controversies in Dáil Éireann.

  “I am voting no and that’s been my position since I first ran for office. I believe the wording that has been put in front of the people is basically flawed and it means abortion on demand up to 12 weeks. I get that there are a few difficult cases but we have to look at what we are being asked.

  “It is taking protection for the unborn and for babies out of the constitution and giving trust to politicians.

  “I’m a politician myself but I know that a lot of politicians would do anything for power and this is just the beginning (of politicians introducing changes in legislation).

  “In my view, (this is) a move towards a more liberal Government. It’s the first step to a totally different Ireland”.

Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy has once again reiterated that he will be voting No on May 25th. Deputy Murphy said that his resolve has grown even stronger in recent weeks.

  “I am voting No and I would’ve been one of the first out of the blocks in indicating which way I was voting. If anything I am even stronger in my view after speaking to numerous experts and doctors.

  “I respect everyone’s point of view and I have received a phenomenal amount of emails and phone calls. The majority of these have been from the ‘No’ side but there have been a few from the ‘Yes’ side too.

  “I believe that there is a big body of politicians across the political divide who will vote no. It looks very tight. The majority of Fianna Fáil TDs want to retain the 8th amendment”.























Hopkins meets with Daly on Rosalie Unit



Senator Maura Hopkins yesterday (Wednesday) met with Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly, in relation to the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea. She said that the Minister is keeping an open mind with regard to the future of the unit.

  “Minister Daly informs me that he very much has an open mind in relation to the Rosalie Unit. He advised me that he would be speaking directly this week with Dr. Ann Gallagher, Consultant Psychiatrist of Later Life (Roscommon) in relation to the clinical assessments. I understand that a number of clinical assessments took place last week with the involvement of family members.

  “My strong opinion is that there are many individuals who need specialist residential care and this unit should be used to provide a service for them. I am deeply frustrated, like many residents and family members, that the HSE are not listening to our concerns. 

  “Following our last delegation meeting (on May 2nd) I had no sense from HSE Managers Tony Canavan and Charlie Meehan that there would be genuine efforts to explore every option to keep the unit open. The responses we got were totally unsatisfactory. 

  “I made the point on several occasions that there are and will be many people in our region with enduring mental health difficulties who cannot cope at home and need residential care. Therefore, an expanded service at the Rosalie Unit is essential to meet these needs,” she said.

  Senator Hopkins said she is in very regular contact with Minister Jim Daly, Minister Simon Harris and HSE Chief Health Officer Tony Canavan in order to strongly emphasise the need for this unit to remain open.


Minister talks refurbishment rather than reopening



Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, on a brief visit to Co. Roscommon on Monday, paid tribute to the work of Gardaí in the community but ruled out the reopening of Garda stations in the county. The Minister spoke to the media at The Hub in Castlerea following a visit to Castlerea Garda Station.

  While ruling out the possibility of reopening a number of Garda stations, Minister Flanagan did moot the refurbishment of Ballinlough Garda Station and Roscommon Courthouse.

  “I’m very pleased to see state-of-the-art and modern facilities in Castlerea. I would like to see the refurbishment of Ballinlough at the earliest opportunity.

  “I understand there’s the issue of Tarmonbarry that has been raised by Senator Maura Hopkins and Senator Frank Feighan and we are exploring possibilities to see how best that part of the county can be served. It’s a busy road through Tarmonbarry, I know the station has been closed.

  “I am not in a position to make any firm announcement but I’m conscious of the need as are the Gardaí to ensure that every area of Co. Roscommon is policed to the full”.

  Regarding the facilities at Roscommon Courthouse, Minister Flanagan said it would be considered under the next phase of spending.

  “We are currently at the end of a spending phase where €100 million has been spent on courts. I will be inaugurating the next phase towards the end of this year and, in conjunction with the court services, we will be carefully looking at the matter of Roscommon.

  “I agree that it’s totally unacceptable to have lack of privacy, to have people who are oftentimes fearful and even sometimes intimated going to court in the first place. We owe it to the general public to have court facilities which are user friendly, cater for vulnerable witnesses; cater for children, and which have technological advances introduced.

  “I would be happy to engage further locally with Senator Hopkins ensuring that Roscommon Court is among those for consideration”.

  The Minister added that visibility and availability were two key issues when it came to deployment of Gardaí in the Roscommon Longford district.

  “I’m pleased to note that there has been a doubling of Gardaí from 46 in 2011 to 94 in 2018. I’m keen to ensure that these numbers increase further.

  “This is a large rural area with unique circumstances having a prison in a rural setting. I’m conscious that the prison plays a role here in terms of Garda attention”.

  The Justice Minister also highlighted the “national problem” of criminal gangs using the motorway network to perpetrate crime but said that measures would be rolled out to tackle this issue.

  “I’m told by the Gardaí here that many of those who perpetrate crime here are not from the area. This is a national problem where our rapid motorway network has at times facilitated visiting criminals who are up to no good.

  “I’m anxious to assist with the roll-out of cameras and detection facilities and also having checkpoints nearer the major urban centres where these criminals are coming from”.
















News…at a glance - May 18th



Fundraiser for Portrun Development Association

Portrun Development Association will hold their annual fundraiser night in Paddy Finn’s Bar, Kilteevan on Saturday, May 19th.

  This promises to be a great evening of entertainment including music, finger food and a raffle. Tickets are priced at €10 and can be purchased from the association.

  Funds raised will go towards supporting the efforts of the community group in developing Portrunny and surrounding areas. The new Portrunny Heritage & Nature Trail, Townland Markers, Tidy Towns and plans for a new slipway and an amenity and recreation centre are just a few of the community group’s projects and initiatives that require public support. 

  To find out more, visit www.portrun.ie, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or check out Facebook page.

Dawn chorus with Roscommon Birdwatch

The Roscommon Birdwatch ‘dawn chorus’ will take place this Sunday (20th) in Mote Park. Those wishing to take part are asked to meet in the carpark at 5 am.

  Birdwatch will also host a talk in Hannon’s Hotel, Roscommon town on Thursday, 24th. For more information please contact Padraig on 087-9078849.

Family Fun Walk with Lisaniskey NS

Lisaniskey NS Parents’ Association (Oran) is hosting a Family Fun Walk at 12 noon on Sunday, May 20th.

            Entry fee is €5 per individual or €10 per family. The route starts at the school and finishes at the hall where refreshments will be provided.

  This event is organised in conjunction with Lisaniskey NS ‘Active School’ week and Oran GAA ‘Healthy Clubs’ committee. Please come out and support. All welcome!

Táin March this Friday from Ratcroghan!

The Táin March was established in 2011 as a community walking festival to celebrate and promote the epic tale of Táin Bó Cúailnge (The Cattle Raid of Cooley). 

  This story of envy, honour and military prowess is reputed to have taken place about the time of Christ and involved the armies of Connacht and Ulster in a titanic struggle over a prize bull called Donn Cúailnge.

  The march began in Rathcroghan in Co. Roscommon, where Queen Medb began her quest for the Brown Bull of Cooley. The 260km walk retraces the route of the epic cattle raid Táin Bó Cúailnge undertaken by Queen Medb of Connacht to the Cooley Peninsula in north Louth some 2,000 years ago.

  This Friday the march sets out from royal site of Rathcroghan at 10 am where children from local primary schools will greet Queen Medb and her marchers and help to send them on their way via Lissonnuffy at the western foot of Slieve Bawn.

  All are welcome to come along to Rathcroghan Mound at 10 am see this spectacle. Further details of the march can be found at the Táin March website (www.tainmarch.ie).

Thank you from Lisacul Tidy Towns

The committee of Lisacul Tidy Towns would like to thank all those who supported the recent cake sale to raise funds for the Tidy Towns. €355 was raised and will go towards the purchase of materials to help the committee make Lisacul look as well as possible.

  The Wednesday Warriors continue to meet every Wednesday at the crossroads at 7.30 pm. All are welcome! 






Justice Minister calls for Yes vote during visit to county



During his recent visit to Co. Roscommon, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan discussed his advocacy of a Yes vote, claiming that the issue would not be revisited for “many years” if the referendum was rejected by the Irish people.

  “I’m advocating a repeal on the 25th of May. We have seen over the last 35 years a number of very serious and adverse consequences that were not intended when the referendum campaign was underway in 1983. This is about the protection of women, however while it’s primarily a women’s issue it’s not exclusively a women’s issue.

  “Over the next two weeks I would be encouraging people to reflect on what’s at stake here. As a referendum this is entirely a matter for the voters themselves in the privacy of the polling booth.

  “Should the people of Ireland decide to keep the 8th amendment by voting No, this is not something that will be revisited at an early date again.

  “If the vote is Yes then we will proceed to the consequent legislation in the autumn. During the course of that debate we will have an opportunity of a line-by-line engagement on the form of legislation, which of course will have to be published. If the vote is No I would foresee that this matter will not be revisited for many years.

  “Nobody under the age of 50 has had the opportunity to vote on this and of course we will respect the Yes or No as voted”.

Creggs Rugby Club says thank you!



Work has started on 4G pitch



The Creggs Rugby Pitches Development Draw took place last Saturday night in Creggs. The draw was a huge success with projected targets achieved, thanks to the wonderful support of thousands of ticket buyers. A great night was had by all, with 26 prize winners on the night.

  A club spokesperson confirmed to the Roscommon People that the draw was a tremendous success.

  “It exceeded even our most optimistic predictions. It was a phenomenal effort across the community. It was a tremendous effort from all concerned”.

  The spokesperson said that work has just commenced on the new 4G pitch, which is expected to be open by September.

  “The new pitch will be the first International Rugby Board approved artificial surface West of the Shannon. The surface will be the same as is used at Saracens and Exeter Rugby clubs and is also similar to the surface used for the Super Bowl in the USA”.

  The spokesperson added: “The new facilities will help greatly to serve the growth of the game in County Roscommon and East Galway and particularly in our local primary and secondary schools for boys and girls”.

  This project and indeed all of the work going on behind the scenes at Creggs Rugby Club is further evidence of the tremendous drive and determination that is propelling the club to great success.

            Most importantly of all, the development ensures the provision of state-of-the-art facilities for generations of players long into the future.

* The club wishes to sincerely thank everyone that bought tickets for their great support. A special thanks also to the many ticket sellers, from the parents of Mini Rugby players, to youth players and their families, right up to all adult players, committee members, sponsors and friends of Creggs Rugby in the west, throughout Ireland and abroad.

  Details of the 26 winners are on the Creggs RFC website at: www.CreggsRugby.ie.


Hopkins wants more station upgrades



Senator Maura Hopkins welcomed the visit to Castlerea Garda Station of Minister Flanagan which she said was at her invitation.

  She said: “On many occasions I have raised the need for further investment in policing across Roscommon and it is very positive that Minister Flanagan was able to visit the Castlerea district to meet with Gardaí and learn more about policing challenges within the district.

  “It is very positive that we have seen an increase in Garda numbers across the district with five new Gardaí arriving in recent months. Additionally, the Garda fleet in the district has received significant investment in recent years and is made up of 18 vehicles at present.

  “There has also been significant investment in stations across the district. In Castlerea, over €265,000 was invested in station upgrades in 2016. Significant works have also taken place in Tulsk and Ballaghaderreen to bring the facilities in each station up to standard”.

  Senator Hopkins added: “However, we need to see further station upgrades across the district and I have emphasised strongly to the Minister, the need for works to take place at Ballinlough and Boyle to improve facilities at both locations”.


Portiuncula Report - 'Serious errors in management'




Last Thursday, the Saolta University Health Care Group published the report of the External Independent Clinical Review of Maternity Services at Portiuncula University Hospital (PUH).

  This review followed a preliminary review which was undertaken by the Saolta Group into the care provided to six women whose babies were referred from PUH for Therapeutic Hypothermia (head cooling) in 2014.

  An additional 12 cases involving 10 families relating to a number of different perinatal events at PUH dating from 2008 to 2014 were later added to the external review.

  A total of 18 cases, involving 16 families from 2008 to 2014, form part of the review published last week. 

  In their report, the Clinical Review Team state that of the 18 cases reviewed, serious errors in management occurred in ten cases that would have probably made a difference to the outcome for those babies. Of the 18 cases reviewed, six involved cases where the baby had died. In four of these cases there were significant failings in the care provided to those babies. The Clinical Review Team also identified contributory factors and/or incidental findings in each of the 18 cases reviewed.

  The review report highlighted a number of key issues relating to the service provided in PUH between 2008 and 2014. These include delays in escalation of concerns to more senior decision makers, deficits in staff numbers across both medical and nursing, poor CTG (trace) interpretation, and concerns relating to the administration of oxytocin during labour.

  The review report raised concerns around the way many families were communicated with during or after their time in hospital.

  The HSE said that since the concerns were identified in late 2014, the Saolta Group and PUH have put in place a significant number of measures to improve patient safety.



‘Children held hostage during bank robbery’



Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy has claimed that two young people, one of whom has disabilities, were held hostage during the bank robbery in Strokestown last month. Deputy Murphy raised the matter with the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan during Questions on Promised Legislation in the Dáil on Tuesday while calling on the Government to provide more Gardaí for rural areas.

  “In a Programme for a Partnership Government, it was announced that there would be an extra 1,100 members of the Gardaí. I welcome that this is happening throughout the country and in my own constituency. However, counties like Roscommon are far below where they were. We have lost five Garda stations and we still have a major issue with policing.

  “About two weeks ago in Strokestown, a daring robbery took place at the Bank of Ireland. It has now emerged that two young people, one of them with disabilities, were held hostage for quite some time. This is shocking.

  “While the efforts of local Gardaí were outstanding, these culprits got away. There is no sign of them and nothing has happened. I ask the Minister to look into exactly what happened and the full facts of the robbery. I ask him also to ensure we get more Gardaí on the beat in all of our counties and towns, in particular Roscommon and Strokestown,” said Deputy Murphy.

  Deputy Murphy went to state that only 15 new Garda recruits had been assigned to the Roscommon/Longford division since 2015.


A Rapid Response – with support of Consultants




For years he was widely recognised as one of the most passionate campaigners for Roscommon’s often embattled health services – and now he’s at the heart of a new initiative which looks certain to save lives across the region.

  John McDermott, the former chairperson of the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee, was a vocal campaigner for many years – including in the tumultuous period before, during and after the closure of Roscommon Accident & Emergency Unit. 

  Recently, arising directly from his experience as a health services’ campaigner, John became involved with Cork-based Irish Community Rapid Response. ICRR is a voluntary network which delivers professional pre-hospital A&E care directly to the location of emergencies throughout the country.

  John McDermott has now set up a Roscommon branch of the Irish Community Rapid Response and in the coming weeks he will oversee the launch of the project locally.

  John outlined details of this initiative to the Roscommon People.

  “What we are launching is essentially a Roscommon branch of Irish Community Rapid Response” John said, explaining that a new rapid response vehicle will be a support for the ambulance service and that it will be staffed by volunteer doctors.

  “This medical jeep will provide medical back-up to paramedic ambulance crews who are dealing with medical emergencies. Currently the National Ambulance Service dispatches ambulances. If we (Rapid Response) can get there quicker – due, for example, to an ambulance not being available – it could save a life or lives”.

  The new service will provide support in cases of medical emergencies and actually have a ‘first responder’ role where an ambulance is unavailable or delayed.

  There are already six such Rapid Response vehicles in use around the country, all due to this community initiative. The Roscommon-based vehicle will be directly supported by two medical Consultants who are based at Roscommon Hospital, namely Dr. Gerry O’Mara and Dr. Tariq Khan.

  These Consultants will accompany the Rapid Response jeep to the scene of an emergency. Further support is being provided by local GPs.

  The new service is expected to be rolled out in County Roscommon next month.

  John McDermott wished to thank Ministers Michael Ring and Denis Naughten for grant-aid; the HSE and Roscommon Hospital; the medical personnel who are providing support, and also Sean White (Renault, Athlone) for sponsoring the vehicle.



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