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News…at a glance December 7th

 

 

Kilteevan Tidy Towns hosts Coffee Morning

Kilteevan Tidy Towns is hosting a Coffee Morning on Sunday, December 9th from 10.45 am. The coffee morning is a celebration of our award-winning Cloonlarge Loop Walk.

  Some very special items relating to The Cloonlarge Loop will be on sale on Sunday morning. All a big surprise!

  Don’t miss this very special occasion in Kilteevan. Everyone is invited.

Christmas Market in Hannon’s Hotel

Hannon’s Hotel will host a fundraising Christmas Market this Sunday (9th) from 11 am to 3 pm.

  There will be free face-painting on the day. There will be 20 stalls offering jewellery and accessories, Christmas crafts, decorations and gifts, Forever Aloe, kids’ gifts and much more.

  There will also be a fundraising table for the new Roscommon Hospice building and fundraising stall for the TNR South Roscommon and Roscommon SPCA. All support appreciated.

Curraghboy NS Christmas fundraising concert

The Curraghboy National School Christmas fundraising concert will be held in St. Brigid’s Church, Curraghboy, Athlone on Sunday, 9th of December 2018. Roscommon Solstice Choir and guests will perform. Doors open at 8 pm for an 8.30 pm start. Great night guaranteed. Tickets available locally or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Roscommon Historical Society AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the County Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society will take place on Tuesday, December 11th at 8 pm in The Percy French Hotel, Strokestown.

  All members are requested to attend. A short talk on the theme ‘From Dresser to Fitted Kitchen’ will take place after the meeting and will be given by Albert Siggins. The much sought after publication – the Journal of the Society – is intended to be published in the early part of the New Year.

Table quiz in JJ Cattigan’s

A table quiz will take place in JJ Cattigan’s on Castle Street, Roscommon town at 9 pm on Friday, December 7th. Cost €40 per table and proceeds will go towards the St. Coman’s Church of Ireland Repair Fund. All welcome.

Christmas Concert in Frenchpark Church

Bernadine Casserly, accompanied by Ann Kielty, will perform a Christmas Concert in St. Asicus’ Church, Frenchpark on Thursday, December 13th at 8 pm in aid of Frenchpark & District Childcare.

  Don’t miss out on this magical evening of singing, guaranteed to get you into the Christmas spirit! Tickets cost €10 and are available at www.eventbrite.ie or by ‘phoning 094-9870111.

Family Tree Holy  Mass in Curraghboy

A special Family Tree Holy Mass will take place at Our Lady Star of the Sea Prayer Centre, Curraghboy, Athlone on Thursday, December 13th, commencing at 8 pm.

  The celebrant will be Fr. John Walsh. Confessions will be available from 7 pm, prior to the commencement of Holy Mass. Individual blessings and Benediction will take place afterwards. All are most welcome. Contact 086-4054489 for more information.

Festive appeal for throws and blankets

The “front-line workers and volunteers” in the Irish Wheelchair Charity Shop in Roscommon (beside Norio’s on Circular Road) are appealing for help from Roscommon People readers.

  They say: “In order to give a warm winter hug to our wheelchair users and our elderly pensioners, we have started an appeal to the general public to donate throws/blankets. We will gift-wrap these throws with a kind message – ‘snug as a bug in a rug’ – and distribute them free of charge to these wonderful people”.

 

LEADER boost for local projects

 

LEADER funding has been approved for a number of local projects. The funding was  announced by the Minister for Rural & Community Development, Michael Ring.

  Lisnamult Residents Association in Roscommon town will receive €157,755 to help carry out Phase 2 of its development of Lisnamult Community Sports Park. Phase 2 involves the development of a multi-purpose area to include kitchen, toilets, function room and meeting room.

  Arigna Mining Experience has received €200,000 towards Phase 2 Development works, which will increase the facility’s visitor capacity and includes the design of a building extension.

  Irish Pallet Systems Ltd., Lanesborough have been granted €117,567.47 to carry out external improvement works to the yard to improve workflow, safety and productivity of business. 

  Roscommon Integrated Development Company, Roscommon West Business Park, Golf Links Road, Roscommon, is to receive a grant of €29,644.20 to conduct a study in eight  specific areas in Co. Roscommon of the rural economy and the challenges facing low income rural households in particular. 

  The Shannon-Erne Pilgrim Way Baseline Study, Roscommon LCDC, Áras an Chontae, Church Road, Roscommon, is to receive funding of €5,537.33 towards a feasibility study for developing a new tourism product focusing on monastic sites along Shannon-Erne. 

  St. Brendan’s GAA Club in Ballygar is to receive funding of €17,740 to help towards the provision of a walking/jogging and cycle track.

  News of the funding has been welcomed by Fine Gael Senators Frank Feighan and Maura Hopkins.

 

Frank wants State to buy McDermott’s Castle!

 

 

 

Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan has called on the State to purchase McDermott’s Castle on Lough Key in Boyle.

  He told fellow senators: “The castle is a designated national monument. WB Yeats unsuccessfully tried to buy it in 1899 with a view to turning it into a national heritage site”.

  Noting that the castle and half-acre island it is located on is scheduled to go for auction on December 13th (asking price reportedly €90,000), Senator Feighan proposed that the State buys the castle with a view to preserving this historic national monument into the long-term future.

  “This historic 12th century castle is steeped in history and is located in one of the most scenic places in Ireland”.

  Senator Feighan said that he will write to Josepha Madigan, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and also to OPW Minister, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran to raise this proposal with them.

 

Naughten: ‘My focus now is on my constituency’

 

 

 

 

Naughten ‘not surprised’ by Smyth report

Former Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Denis Naughten has said he wasn’t surprised by the findings of an independent audit report from Peter Smyth which concluded that he (Mr. Naughten) did not influence the tender process of the National Broadband Plan during meetings with sole remaining bidder, David McCourt.

 

  While Mr. Smyth’s report cleared Deputy Naughten of influencing the process in favour of Granahan McCourt, it stated that due to the absence of meeting notes for a number of encounters, Mr. Smyth was reliant on statements from Mr. Naughten and Mr. McCourt and others for verifying the contents of the meetings.

  Mr. Smyth added that he believed Deputy Naughten’s resignation “insulates the process from any apparent bias created by his engagements with Mr. McCourt”.

  Speaking to the Roscommon People following the publication of the report, Deputy Naughten said: “None of it is surprising to me. The reality is that I said this before I was put in a position where I had to resign…that I didn’t have information to disclose because the procurement process was a competitive dialogue, where there’s information going back and forth between the bidders and the procurement team in the Department.

  “As Minister my job required me to meet investors from all sectors under the remit of my former Department whether they were investors from telecoms, renewable energy, environment or natural resources. These investors are the men and women who provide jobs in our country,” he said.

  Deputy Naughten was adamant that he had no information to pass on to Mr. McCourt and claimed to have relayed the contents of two meetings to the secretary general of his Department. He also claimed that a third meeting, which was unrecorded, related to the Syrian refugees currently housed at the former Abbeyfield Hotel in Ballaghaderreen.

  “Just for the record, every single one of the engagements that I had with David McCourt were witnessed by a third party except for three engagements.

  “One was a phone call that I returned to David McCourt and the discussion was relayed to the secretary general of the Department. The other engagement was a cup of coffee I had with him (David McCourt) after eir pulled out of the bidding process and I spoke with the secretary general before that meeting and immediately after that meeting and briefed him on it.

  “Then there was a third engagement in Dublin where there was no third party witness to it. The issues we discussed were in relation to the Syrian refugees in Ballaghaderreen.

  “Of all the engagements, that is the only one Peter Smyth has not got any third party verification of but every other meeting is third party verified and the fact is, I didn’t have any information to give so I couldn’t have given any information at any stage to David McCourt or any other bidder”.

  When asked about the content of the unrecorded meeting concerning the refugees in Ballaghaderreen, Deputy Naughten said:

  “David McCourt has a project in Trinity College Dublin called ‘The Box’. It is used to train refugees in refugee camps in the Middle East. I was looking to see if there was any way that we could assist the refugees in Ballaghaderreen to gain skills that they could use when they returned back to their own country in order to assist in the rebuilding of their country”.

  Deputy Naughten said he was disappointed that he was forced to tender his resignation and believes that the National Broadband Plan process was very near completion.

  “It is disappointing that I felt I was in a position that I had no other choice to resign on the 11th of October. Ultimately the people of Roscommon-Galway will decide at the next General Election whether they want me to represent them or not in Dáil Éireann and then I suppose it’s going to be a numbers game after that as to what happens.

  “The National Broadband Plan was within ten days of being completed so I brought it to the very, very final stage. I expect that in a very short period of time that a recommendation will probably be made to Government and I hope then that we can proceed with that plan. I urge my colleagues not to succumb to those who want to make a political issue of the plan for their own ends and not that of the country as a whole.

  “My focus between now and the next General Election is on my constituency. I am going to use whatever influence I have over that period to ensure we can try and deliver as many aspects of the Programme for Government that will have a direct impact in my constituency and right across the middle of the country,” he concluded.

 

 

 

 

 

Frank steps back in, Maura keeps FG guessing

 

 

Speculation about Carroll resumes

Fine Gael General Secretary Tom Curran held discussions with the party’s Strategy Committee in Roscommon recently amidst ongoing efforts to address the party’s candidate selection dilemma here.

 

  Roscommon-Galway is the only constituency in the country for which Fine Gael has yet to hold a selection convention. Senator Maura Hopkins, the party’s candidate in Roscommon in the last two national elections, has still not committed to running next time around. That’s leading to speculation that Fine Gael may turn to Brian Carroll, Roscommon GAA County Board Secretary, in the event of Senator Hopkins opting not to run.

  Meanwhile, Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan says he will seek a party nomination to contest the next General Election in the Roscommon-Galway constituency. Senator Hopkins says she is “strongly considering” seeking a nomination. The Fine Gael convention is scheduled to be held on Friday, January 25th.

  Senator Feighan had previously decided not to run in Roscommon/Galway and had instead turned his attention to the new Sligo/Leitrim constituency. Now he’s done a u-turn.

  Mindful of his association with the Roscommon Hospital A&E controversy, Senator Feighan said: “In my 20-year political career to date, I have shown leadership on a range of issues such as Roscommon Hospital, the turfcutting issue, water quality and attracting investment into this region”.

  He said that he has “never shirked” his responsibility in tackling “the most difficult of issues” and has a proven track record in delivering for the region.

  He added: “I want to use my extensive political experience as a Government politician to continue to deliver for people living in the Roscommon/Galway constituency”.

  Senator Feighan said that he has already been successful in two General Elections and “looks forward to working towards securing a seat for Fine Gael in the next General Election”.

  It had been widely assumed over recent years that Senator Maura Hopkins would be a Fine Gael candidate at the next General Election, but the Roscommon People exclusively revealed earlier this year that the Ballaghaderreen woman has been having second thoughts.

  Now Senator Hopkins says: “I am strongly considering putting my name forward as a candidate for selection at convention for the next General Election.

  “Since I was first elected to Roscommon County Council in 2014 and subsequently to the Seanad in 2016, I have been working extremely hard to represent the people on many issues in this region. I believe that I have been providing committed and competent representation for people across Roscommon and Galway”.

 

Is Brian waiting in the wings?

 

 

Could well-known GAA activist Brian Carroll be the man to answer Fine Gael’s call if Senator Maura Hopkins decides to abandon her Dáil dream?

  According to the political rumour mill, Carroll is the man Fine Gael is likely to turn to in the event of Senator Hopkins opting not to contest next January’s selection convention.

  Senator Hopkins has been keeping Fine Gael guessing over recent months. It had long been assumed that she would be a candidate for the party in the next General Election – likely to take place next year – but the Ballaghaderreen woman has refused on a number of occasions to definitively commit. Her public position is consistent with the fact that there have been several tense meetings between Senator Hopkins and Fine Gael on the issue of whether or not she will continue to pursue a Dáil seat. This week, Senator Hopkins said that she is “strongly considering” seeking a nomination.

  Fine Gael HQ is greatly exercised by the uncertainty in Roscommon/Galway, where the party would stand a very realistic chance of winning a seat. Fine Gael General Secretary Tom Curran recently travelled to Roscommon to try to make some progress on the party’s candidate selection dilemma.

  A Fine Gael source from North Roscommon told the People: “Maura would be an outstanding candidate, and so would Brian Carroll be an outstanding candidate. But it’s dragging on, and that’s playing into Fianna Fáil’s hands. It’s time now for Maura to make up her mind”.

  Kilmore native Brian Carroll is a serving member of An Garda Síochána. It is understood that he has ambitions to pursue a political career at some point. Fine Gael has already approached Mr. Carroll about the prospect of him being an election candidate for the party. 

  If Senator Hopkins decides to contest January’s convention, it is not expected that Mr. Carroll would challenge her. However, should Senator Hopkins decide against running, Brian Carroll could well emerge as the Fine Gael candidate in Roscommon. While Senator Frank Feighan is already declared for convention, there are many within Fine Gael (and further afield) who do not see the former TD as a credible option in Roscommon, given his association with the controversial Roscommon A&E issue. Senator Feighan, of course, argues otherwise.

  Brian Carroll would have no such baggage and would be seen as a strong candidate. Secretary of the Roscommon GAA County Board, he is from a family with strong Fine Gael links. Well-known in the community, he has family connections in various parts of the county.

  On Wednesday, the Roscommon People rang the Roscommon town based Garda and asked him if he is interested in seeking a nomination at the Fine Gael convention. He refused to comment.

Fitzmaurice wants Shannon Key West decision suspended

 

 

 

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has said that plans to house asylum seekers in the Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey should be suspended in light of ongoing legal proceedings in the High Court.

  The case is back before Justice Leonie Reynolds today (Thursday) after the owner of the hotel, Mr. James Kiernan, submitted an affidavit as requested, earlier this week.

  Last weekend, the hotel was defaced by signs criticising local public representatives, the Department of Justice, and current owner James Kiernan. The signs appeared on Sunday morning but were later removed.

  “The Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan needs to clarify exactly where the situation in Rooskey now stands, given the recent legal proceedings,” said Deputy Fitzmaurice.

  “This is not about being against asylum seekers; but Rooskey is a very small village. The medical, educational and transports services that would be required to house these asylum seekers are just not there.

  “In the local area, medical practitioners are at capacity. Are we going to see what happened in Ballaghaderreen, where people were – through no fault of their own – foisted by the HSE on top of services that were already bursting at the seams?”

  Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy raised the issue with Minister for State David Stanton during topical issues at the Dáil on Tuesday and denounced direct provision as “legalised people trafficking” and said that there has been no communication between the Department of Justice and the people of Rooskey.

  “The term ‘locked away’ might not be appropriate but if I was an asylum seeker waiting ten years for my case to be adjudicated on and I was confined to a small area in a hotel, I would certainly call it being locked away.

  “The Minister of State knows if all our families were put together in a small space, how long we would stay sane in it. That is one part of the argument.

  “He has answered the second part. He has spoken about communications with the Department of Education and Skills and other Departments. My information comes from speaking to the medical and educational people. There certainly was no communication with the people. There was no communication with the community.

  “What is wrong with the Government that it cannot come and talk to people? Does it think people are foolish? They are human beings. I have a significant issue with direct provision. I have said it before and will say again, it is legalised people trafficking,” he said.

 

 

 

Boost for Carrick-on-Shannon

 

Senator Frank Feighan, right, has warmly welcomed a significant funding allocation of €2,899,000 for Carrick-on-Shannon for urban regeneration and development.

  He said: “The proposed project will represent the largest public sector-led regeneration project ever undertaken in the county and involves significant enhancement of the quality and extent of the town centre. I am delighted that Carrick-on-Shannon has been announced among the first funding allocations under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund.

  “As the Taoiseach has said, we want to make sure we have more people living in our city centres and close to the centre of large towns, making better use of existing infrastructure while also benefitting the environment”.

 

Hopkins wants extra evening train service to the west

 

Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins has called for an additional evening service on the Dublin-Westport rail line to provide greater choice for rail users from the west of Ireland.

  Speaking in the Seanad, Senator Hopkins stated: “If a person wants to travel from Dublin to Roscommon or Castlerea by train on the Westport line, the last train leaving Heuston is at 6.15 pm daily. We need an additional service later in the evening to provide a proper level of connectivity with the west of Ireland.

  “When we compare the services to the west with others nationally, there is a clear difference. For example, the last service leaving Heuston Station going south on the Cork line is at 9 pm daily.

  “I know that the working reality for many people right across this region is to commute daily to Dublin for work. The fact that the last train home in the evening is so early can cause particular problems for many people. When we compare the services to the west with others nationally, there is a clear difference.

  “I believe providing a later train service each evening would not have a significant cost implication for Irish Rail as I anticipate high demand for such a service and it would offer flexibility for those who use this service. Recently the Sligo-Boyle-Dublin route has improved with the addition of an extra evening service. We also have an additional later service whereby the Dublin to Sligo service was extended by one hour from 6 pm to 7 pm. We must apply those lessons to other routes, particularly in respect of the Roscommon-Westport route”.

  Senator Hopkins said that she has raised this issue with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the National Transport Association and has written to Jim Meade, CEO, Irish Rail about the need for this additional evening service on the Westport line.

 

 

News...at a glance - November 30th

 

 

Athlone SPCA Craft & Gift Fair

Athlone SPCA are holding a Craft and Gift Fair in Drum Community Hall on this Sunday, 2nd of December from 12 noon to 5 pm.

  There will be a Monster Raffle, a large number of stalls, a DJ, face-painting and other children’s activities – also lots of tempting delicious homemade cakes and tea and coffee on sale. Admission is free.

Tarmonbarry/Clondra & Districts Community & Text Alert meeting

 

An important meeting of Tarmonbarry/Clondra & Districts Community & Text Alert will take place in St. Barry’s Centre, Tarmonbarry on Thursday evening, the 6th of December next at 8 o’clock.

  The meeting will be addressed by senior Garda officers with experience in community and text alert including the newly-appointed Community Garda for our area, Garda Angela Mullooly.

  We would appeal that where possible a member from each household in the Tarmonbarry/Clondra District would attend the meeting as it is becoming more and more essential for as many as possible in the community to be updated in order to affectively work with the Gardaí in the fight against crime in our community.

  For further information, contact Tom Crosby (Tarmonbarry) or Eddie Flynn (Clondra).

Western Alzheimers’ annual Coffee Morning

 

The Roscommon branch of Western Alzheimers is hosting its Annual Coffee Morning on Saturday, 1st of December (from 10.30 am) in Roscommon Golf Club, and extends an open invitation to everyone to come along and meet up with friends in a relaxed, social setting. Christmas cards will be on sale.

  We are delighted to be joined by Anthony Cunningham, the newly-appointed manager of the Roscommon senior football team, who will launch our annual St. Stephen’s Day Charity Walk. 

  All proceeds in support of Western Alzheimers’ range of services for families here in County Roscommon.

  So get your weekend and Christmas off to a good start and arrange to catch up for a Saturday morning coffee and support a worthy cause!

Athlone Choral Society celebrates 25 years 

 

The Athlone Choral Society is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Established in 1993, the choral group has gone from strength to strength. Under the direction of Andrius Kozlovskis, they are tuning up for their 25th annual Christmas Concert in St. Mary’s Church of Ireland, Athlone on December 2nd at 6 pm. They will be performing with special guests the Vilnius School of Early Music and Darren Lane. Tickets are €10, available from choir members and at the door on the night. The organisers hope to see you there!

Athleague Hurling Club Draw

 

The Athleague Hurling Club Hurling Wall Development Draw will take place on Saturday, December 1st in Hamrock’s Bar, Athleague.

  First prize is an in-calf heifer, second prize are two ewe lambs and third prize is a one tonne lamb creep. There are many more prizes on offer and tickets cost €10 each or three for €20. All support greatly appreciated.

Table quiz in JJ Cattigan’s

 

A table quiz will take place in JJ Cattigan’s on Castle Street, Roscommon town at 9 pm on Friday, December 7th. Cost is €40 per table and proceeds will go towards the St. Coman’s Church of Ireland Repair Fund. All welcome.

South Roscommon Singers’ social night

 

The South Roscommon Singers Circle invite all friends, supporters, contributors and sponsors of the recent Singers’ Festival to a special social gathering in Hannon’s Hotel, Roscommon town at 9 pm on Saturday, December 1st. All are welcome, admission is free and finger food will be served.

 

 

 

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