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€15.9m roads boost

 

 

 

 

 

 

A €15.9m investment programme for 2019 has been announced for regional and local roads throughout County Roscommon by Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.

  Local politicians say this funding is a 16% increase on 2018, and includes funding for restoration and improvements works on roads across County Roscommon as well as €300,000 for bridge rehabilitation works and €285,000 for safety improvement works.

  Independent TD Denis Naughten said: “The main priority in allocating this funding to Roscommon County Council has been to maintain the road surface and improve safety of the road network”.  

  Among the bridges that will benefit from rehabilitation works are: Ardass, Castlerea; Leamore, Ballymoe; Clooncoran, Ballinasloe; Carrowbehy, Castlerea and Garrynagowna, Athlone.

  Meanwhile, the following areas are to benefit from safety improvement works: Cloonfad Junction, Oldtown; bend at Ballymartin, Roscommon; junction at Carrownamorheeny, Elphin; Gortnasillagh, Kilmurray; road beside Elphin cemetery; widen section of road at Hillsend/Cloonburren, Oldtown; Sheegeeragh, Tulsk; Ballyroddy, Elphin; Grranlahan, Ballinlough; bend at Gorteencloogh, Athleague; Garryglass, Scramoge; and the footpath at Station Road, Cortober.

  Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan welcomed the news. He said: “Recent extreme weather events have had a major impact on the regional and local road network and this funding will see essential maintenance and improvements carried out”.

  Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins said the announcement is a positive boost for Co. Roscommon.

  She added: “The increase in allocation of roads funding for the county this year is very positive and marks a 16-17% increase. The N5 project has recently been approved by An Bord Peanála. It is critical that we see this project progressed as quickly as possible in order to improve safety along this busy route”.

  Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice welcomed the funding for Roscommon and Galway, but called for funding in both counties to be returned to pre-recession levels.

  “Allocations for the western region as a whole need to increase, as there are a number of roads with substandard surfaces which present a safety risk moving forward.

  “I will continue to campaign for additional monies to be made available to communities under the Community Involvement Scheme, as well as for non-council roads under the Local Improvement Scheme,” Deputy Fitzmaurice concluded.

 

…but Connaughton slams ‘unfair’ treatment of South of county

 

Cllr. Ivan Connaughton has welcomed the news that €15,901,650 will be allocated for roads, bridges and flood relief in Co. Roscommon – but says the Athlone area has been unfairly treated.

  He highlighted an allocation of €30,000 for works on the L7127 at Araghty, Athleague, €30,000 for the removal of trees near Cloonfad, €30,000 for the widening of the L7607 near Moore, €40,000 for bridge works at Garrynagowna, Athlone and €30,000 for works at Clooncoran, Ballinasloe.

  Cllr. Connaughton said: “While the above allocations are very welcome, the overall division of funding for roads in the Athlone Local Electoral Area falls short of what is required yet again this year. Despite an additional €500,000 being received in late 2018, the condition of some roads in south Roscommon are deplorable and this year’s allocation is €5 million short of what is required to tackle the serious problem that exists.

  “Roscommon County Council will receive in the region of €11.5 million for road restoration, surface dressing and road maintenance in 2019. South Roscommon roads will only receive less than 25% of this figure and the remaining 75% will go to the other two municipalities.

  “For years, this is contentious between all of the 18 county councillors during the budget process annually. After the local elections, it is up to all councillors elected in the Athlone LEA not to support any alliance taking control of the council for the five-year term unless the allocation of funds is divided evenly between the three municipalities.

  “Many south Roscommon roads have deteriorated from flooding (2009 and 2015), snow (2018) and other severe weather events together with reductions in road allocations from 2008 to recent times.

  “The slight increase in recent allocations is not sufficient for the upkeep of our roads from Donamon to Shannonbridge. It is totally unfair to those paying their local property tax, commercial rates, vehicle registration tax and road tax in south Roscommon and if re-elected in May, I will only support the equal distribution of funds to municipalities”.

 

Shanagher welcomes ‘litter police’!

 

 

 

 

The Chairperson of Roscommon Tidy Towns, Cllr. Kathleen Shanagher, has welcomed this week’s announcement that households not using authorised bin collection services will be inspected in a clampdown on fly-tipping around the country.

  The new initiative will see local county councils provided with Eircodes for those using licensed bin collection companies and TV Iicence-style inspectors visiting households which aren’t signed up with collectors in order to ascertain how rubbish is disposed of.

  Households who use civic amenity sites to dispose of rubbish will have to provide proof of this by showing documentary evidence. Those suspected of not using authorised services or amenity sites will receive €75 fixed penalty notices and persistent offenders could face fines of up to €2,500.

  Cllr. Shanagher said she hoped the new measures would curb the scourge of fly-tipping in Co. Roscommon.

  “Unfortunately, our countryside is blighted with illegal dumping and the people who do this are very clever and no proof is left behind (linking offenders to the litter).

  “If people dispose of the litter legally then they have nothing to fear and will just need to supply proof that they are using an authorised bin service or one of the county’s four amenity sites”.

  As for bin sharing with other family members or neighbours, Cllr. Shanagher said that this would be acceptable as long as bin owners are willing to agree to any arrangement in writing.

  “Last Christmas we picked up nearly 30 bags of rubbish near Mote Park. Why should Roscommon Tidy Towns or County Council spend time and money doing this? We also found electrical items and other items which can be disposed of free at the council’s amenity sites,” she said.

  Cllr. Shanagher added that it was up to consumers to “stop and think” before making purchases which may contain excess packaging.

  While she said that increased monitoring of litter disposal would result in Roscommon County Council saving money for other projects, she admitted that more could be done to promote the use of civic amenity facilities by the council.

  “Yes, we need to promote the use of Roscommon County Council’s amenity facilities. Maybe the council could be doing more to highlight the availability of blue refuse bags and booklets. They can be purchased at local shops and at the Environmental Office in Aras an Chontae.

  “It’s a good option because it means you can fill up your car for just €3.50 and bring rubbish, recyclables, electrical products and even paint to civic amenity centres”. (Located in Roscommon, Ballaghaderreen, Boyle and Castlerea and open on Monday, Friday and Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm).

 

 

Declan to run, with blessing of Fitz!

 

 

 

Well-known Williamstown businessman Declan Geraghty is to contest this year’s local elections. Mr. Geraghty will run in the Tuam Municipal District, following the decision of sitting councillor Des Joyce not to contest the election.

  Cllr. Joyce was co-opted on to Galway County Council in 2014 after then-councillor Michael Fitzmaurice won the Roscommon/South Leitrim Dáil by-election.

  However, Cllr. Joyce has now announced that due to “work and family commitments” he cannot commit to another five years as a county councillor.

  Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice officially announced news of Cllr. Joyce’s withdrawal and of Mr. Geraghty’s decision to stand.

  Deputy Fitzmaurire said: “I am very happy to endorse Declan and I wish him well. I am sure that he would be an excellent person to represent the people of this community”.

  The Independent TD said that he fully understands and respects Cllr. Joyce’s decision and wishes him well in the future.

  Mr. Geraghty said: “I would like to wish Des Joyce well following his decision to step down from the Council. Once I heard that Des had made this decision, I felt that it would leave a vacuum in this part of the county and I decided to run to give the people of this area a strong independent voice.

  “I believe this part of the county is a great place to live in and a great place to bring up a family, but it has suffered over the past few years and my aim would be to do all that I can to help improve rural infrastructure in the area.

  “We need more jobs and we need to support business in our towns and villages. So many of our youth have gone away since the Celtic Tiger left us and we must do something to attract them back so that we can re-populate the area”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maura steps in, Frank steps out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senator Maura Hopkins has ended months of speculation about her political future by announcing that she will seek a nomination to run for Fine Gael in the next General Election.

  The Ballaghaderreen native has revealed that severe back pain, which greatly restricted her movement in recent months, had been the primary reason why she could not commit to running until now.

  Asked if alleged tensions between her and Fine Gael HQ had also contributed to uncertainty over whether or not she would run, Senator Hopkins said that the focus of her many discussions with the party hierarchy over recent months was the need for local issues to be addressed by the Government.

  Last week the Roscommon People reported that Senator Hopkins had been given a number of deadlines (by which to declare her intentions) by an increasingly impatient Fine Gael HQ, but that these deadlines had all passed. Accordingly, the party’s selection convention in Roscommon/Galway, scheduled for January 25th last, had been called off.

  On Monday, Senator Hopkins brought the ongoing speculation to an end when she contacted Fine Gael HQ and confirmed that she will seek a nomination to run for the party in the next General Election.

  Senator Hopkins says she expects the Fine Gael Selection Convention for Roscommon/Galway – the only constituency in which the party has yet to select its candidate or candidates – to be held in the near future.   

  In a press statement, Senator Hopkins said: “I am working extremely hard on behalf of people in the Roscommon/Galway constituency. There are many issues in which I have invested a huge amount of time, energy and commitment, and I want to continue this work for the benefit of people in this region. I set a very high standard and I have been honest, factual and determined in all of my work.

  “For health reasons following recent surgery after an injury, it was not possible to indicate my ability to commit until now. After a period of rehabilitation, I am fully recovered and fully focussed on my work.

  “I have received a significant amount of encouragement from people to put my name forward. Over the coming weeks, I will be meeting with Fine Gael members in order to ask for their support to represent them and all of the people in the Roscommon/Galway constituency”. 

 

 

Zero Waste Market at Gleeson’s Townhouse

 

 

A Zero Waste Market will take place on Sunday, February 17th from 12 noon to 5 pm in Gleeson’s Townhouse as part of Roscommon’s Explore & Restore Weekend.

  On offer will be a wide range of zero waste, reusable, plastic free and more sustainable alternatives to disposable, overly-packaged, and single-use everyday items. As the market is zero waste, customers will be asked to bring their own reusable bags and containers such as glass jars, paper bags, takeaway containers or anything they have that can be repurposed and filled with purchases.  



  Some of the products for sale will include package-free, loose groceries, soap bars, shampoo bars, children’s clothing, cloth nappies, reusable wipes, slings, knitwear, reusable coffee cups, stainless steel reusable bottles and containers, edible straws and plates, eco crafts and bamboo toothbrushes.



  The market is being organised by Plastic Free Roscommon and is supported by Roscommon County Council, Roscommon Town Team, Gleeson’s Townhouse, Roscommon Tidy Towns and Kilteevan Tidy Towns. 



  Further information is available on Facebook or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

News…at a glance - February 8th

 

 

 

Historical Society lecture on TB

This month’s meeting of the Co. Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society will take place on Tuesday, February 12th in The Percy French Hotel, Strokestown. Following the meeting at 8.30 pm, a talk entitled ‘The White Plague – the silent terror of TB’ will be delivered by Eilish Feeley. 

  TB, or ‘Consumption’, as it was commonly called, wreaked havoc on the Irish population in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Few families emerged unscathed from the epidemic.

  According to the Irish Red Cross, up to 10,000 young Irish adults died of the disease in 1904, with many deaths from TB going unregistered as families attempted to hide the perceived shame of the disease from society.

  Historical Society member, Eilish Feeley, is a certified genealogist and was awarded a Master of Arts in History of Family from the University of Limerick in 2018. As well as being a keen local historian, Eilish is secretary of the Mote Park Conservation Group. Her research interests include emigration and family history, DNA Research, Roscommon Quaker families and tenants of the Crofton Estate in Roscommon. All are welcome on February 9th. Admission for non-members is €5.

Local Forum to meet at REGARI

The next Roscommon Local Forum is being held on Monday, February 11th from 6 pm to 8 pm at Regari Recovery College (the former Lodge building), adjacent to Roscommon University Hospital on the Athlone Road.

  A forum is a regular monthly meeting, the purpose of which is to gather the views and experiences of people using mental health services, their family members and carers to bring about positive change within the mental health service. All are welcome. If interested, please contact Colette Tuohy on 087-4148743 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Saturday Storytelling at Roscommon Library

Saturday Storytelling for children aged 3 to 7 will take place in Roscommon County Library, Roscommon town this Saturday (February 9th) at 11 am.

Rose pruning talk at Ardcarne Garden Centres

There will be a free ten-minute talk on rose pruning at Ardcane Garden Centres in Boyle and Roscommon town this Saturday (9th) at 11.30 am and 3 pm. All are welcome.

March 9th is closing date for Fleadh!

This year’s Fleadh Cheoil Ros Comáin will be held in Ballaghaderreen over the Easter Weekend. This will be the first time the event has been held in the west Roscommon town since 2009.

  The final date for entries is March 9th when all entries should be with your local Comhaltas Branch secretary. Late entries will not be accepted.  Fleadh entry forms may be downloaded from Facebook pages Fleadh Cheoil Ros Comáin 2019 and also from Comhaltas Bhaile Ros Comáin. Newcomers should read forms carefully before filling them in. 

AFK Community Games return for 2019

The Athleague Fuerty Kilbegnet Community Games have returned this year. Draughts and chess practice is taking place in Fuerty Hall at 12.15 pm each Sunday (U-10s to U-16s).

  Meanwhile, the art, model making and handwriting competitions will take place in Athleague Community Centre this Saturday (9th) at 4 pm. Check out the AFK Community Games Facebook page for more information.

Thank you from IWA Charity Shop

The Irish Wheelchair Association Charity Shop on the Circular Road in Roscommon town would like to take this opportunity to thank the Roscommon People newspaper for highlighting their appeal for donations of shrugs and blankets from the general public.  

  48 elderly and wheelchair users in the Roscommon area were given a beautiful shrug or blanket, gift-wrapped and free of charge.

  Special thanks to all the hand knitters who created beautiful blankets and to the kind people who dug deep in their pockets and purchased new blankets as donations.

  The IWA charity shop witnessed great Christmas spirit among Roscommon people and also got to put a smile on the face of many elderly and wheelchair users. Thank you all!

 

 

 

 

Nurses take to picket line

 

 

 

INMO begins six days of industrial action

 

Yesterday (Wednesday) saw the first of six days of industrial action as 37,000 members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation took to the picket lines in a dispute over wage increases and staffing shortages, which they say affect patient care across the country.

  Minister for Health Simon Harris described the action as “extraordinarily regrettable” but local members of INMO called on the government to take action in order to make it more appealing for Irish nurses to stay and work here.

  Those on the picket line outside Roscommon University Hospital yesterday said they have received widespread support from the public as well as local businesses and consultants and other staff within the hospital. In order to maintain patient care, the picket was carefully orchestrated and staff came and went throughout the day.

  Roscommon nurse and INMO spokesperson, Lorraine Young, said working conditions have deteriorated since she first started working in the health service 22 years ago.

  “You’re coming into work to do a twelve hour shift but it’s not a twelve hour shift it’s fourteen really and your day is never really done. It’s the burnout; everyone has it now because you just can’t keep going. You see the patients are suffering, they’re here longer, they are getting sicker. The skill mix isn’t right on the wards, you have a lot of agency nurses coming in and the younger nurses get their education here and off they go out of the country because there’s nothing to appeal to them,” she said.

  Lorraine said that it was a matter of respect and fairness for those on the picket line.

  “As INMO members, financially of course you want to be equal to other disciplines in the hospital but for us it’s about patient safety and it’s about a bit of respect. You’ve got a degree but it’s not recognised; continuing education is not recognised.

  “So you come in and you do the hardest job and you get the least recognition. You’re on the frontline to deal with the public as well and of course families are frustrated, care isn’t given the way you’d like it to be given because they’re just aren’t enough people on the ground.

  “We just can’t do everyone else’s job; we just feel sometimes that our tasks have been increased because we’re taking on everyone else’s workload but nobody’s taking on any of ours. There are not enough HCAs (Health Care Assistants), there are not enough other disciplines in the hospital to take on these roles so everything is left for the nurse.

  “We have loyalty to our patients and it’s in you to continuously give. You can’t walk off. ‘I can’t go for my lunch because he needs pain relief’. We spend time worrying about people’s intakes on wards – do they need fluids or IV fluids – but the nurses themselves don’t know when they last went to the toilet or had a break”.

  Staff outside RUH on Wednesday were adamant that this action is about patient care and also about respect for the work those on the frontline do.

  Lorraine said it was time to act in order to convince Irish nurses to use their training in Ireland and she had this message for Minister for Health Simon Harris:

  “Make something appealing to keep our good Irish nurses here. They get their education here and the first thing they do is book a flight out of the country. They’ve a better quality of life, they are recognised as professionals in other countries. We’ve all seen the global campaign: Bring our nurses home”.

 

FG in disarray as Hopkins waiting game continues

 

 

Just what is Fine Gael at in Roscommon?

 

 

 The party – riding high in Government and more often than not doing likewise in opinion polls – appears to be in some disarray in Roscommon.

  Fine Gael has earmarked this constituency as a serious target for a vital gain in the next General Election – but the party is struggling to get out of the blocks here when it comes to prospective candidate(s) strategy.

  Roscommon/Galway is the only constituency in the country in which Fine Gael has yet to hold a selection convention. The convention scheduled for last Friday night (25th of January) was postponed.

  Fine Gael supporters are growing increasingly frustrated with the impasse that has arisen. Fine Gael’s dilemma is that the party has no idea who its front-runner will be in Roscommon/Galway.

  Senator Maura Hopkins has still not committed to running again, and there are indications that patience may be wearing thin with her within Fine Gael HQ.

  Senator Hopkins, who ran for the party in the 2014 bye-election and in the 2016 General Election, has yet to confirm that she will go before convention.

  Senator Hopkins had a number of discussions – some of them very tense – with party HQ last year. The party gave Senator Hopkins a number of ‘deadlines’ by which she was expected to confirm her intentions, but these deadlines have passed without any clarity on the issue.

  It is understood that Fine Gael HQ and Senator Hopkins have been unable, thus far, to agree on issues to do with the next General Election campaign. Fine Gael supporters locally are deeply worried that the ‘Will she? Won’t she?’ saga could damage the party’s chances of winning a seat.

  Senator Hopkins’ supporters say that she has performed well in national elections for Fine Gael, particularly given the difficult circumstances that prevailed following the departure of Denis Naughten from the party. While she is keeping the party guessing, Senator Hopkins is maintaining a relatively high profile and remaining vocal on local issues.

  Last November, Senator Hopkins was diplomatic on the issue of her intentions when she spoke to the Roscommon People, saying: “I am strongly considering putting my name forward as a candidate for selection at convention for the next General Election”.

  Meanwhile, there is ongoing speculation locally that former Roscommon GAA County Board Secretary Brian Carroll could yet emerge as the Fine Gael front-runner. 

  The Roscommon People revealed last November that Fine Gael HQ has approached Mr. Carroll about the prospect of him being an election candidate for the party.

  Senator Frank Feighan could also be a convention candidate. Ballinasloe-based councillor Michael Finnerty declared in last week’s Connacht Tribune newspaper that he intends to contest the Roscommon/Galway Convention.

  The Roscommon People tried to contact Senator Hopkins earlier this week, but she was unavailable for comment. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Fine Gael HQ told the Roscommon People: “There is no date set for the selection convention in Roscommon/Galway. We plan to hold it in the near future”.

Appeal for enhanced hospital parking

 

 

 

Fianna Fáil local election candidate Marty McDermott had called for enhanced parking facilities to be provided at Roscommon Hospital as a matter of urgency.

  Mr. McDermott, who will run in Roscommon Municipal District, says he is concerned about the lack of parking spaces at the hospital.

  “As a resident of the area – I live right behind the hospital, at Oldwood – I can see on a daily basis how this is inconveniencing and even distressing people. 

  “It is high time that the powers-that-be acted to address the parking crisis at the hospital. The other day I was contacted by an elderly lady who had an upsetting experience.

  “This lady had an appointment at the hospital but could not get parking there. She was accompanied by her daughter…they had to park at Hyde Park. The elderly lady has to use a walking aid…fortunately she had someone with her to help her”.

  Mr. McDermott said that the lady’s experience highlights how the deficit of parking at the hospital is impacting on people.

  “We need to be particularly conscious of how it impacts on elderly people, in fact it can be downright dangerous when road surfaces are icy as is the case this week. I am calling for this carparking issue at the hospital to be urgently addressed”.

 

 

 

FG to add Reynolds?

 

 

Callaghan and Suffin selected

 

Councillor Liam Callaghan and former Boyle town councillor Keith Suffin were selected by Fine Gael to contest May’s local elections in the Boyle Municipal District at the party’s recent selection convention at The Percy French Hotel.

  Local area representative Andrew Reynolds failed to secure a nomination. However, Mr. Reynolds is expected to be added to the ticket in the coming days.

  More than 100 people attended last Friday night’s selection convention where Cllr. Callaghan and Mr. Suffin were chosen after securing 55 and 32 number one votes respectively, with Rooskey businessman Reynolds securing 21 votes.

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