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EirGrid insist Grid West will not be scrapped

EirGrid have insisted that it is not possible to cancel the pylons plan for Grid West, which bypasses Co. Roscommon, like it did for the Cork-Kildare route.

  The semi-State company announced recently that the Grid Link (Cork-Kildare) had been scrapped.

  Instead of a line of 40m high pylons being built to carry 400kV lines 220 km across the country, EirGrid will upgrade the existing network. Using a technology known as ‘series compensation’, this involves fitting devices to the existing network lines to enable more power to flow through existing line.

  This news raised hopes locally that Grid West would also be abandoned. 

  There has been strong oppositition to a plan to build a line of pylons from Flagford, Carrick-on-Shannon, to Moygownagh, Co. Mayo, via rural areas of Boyle, Frenchpark and Ballaghaderreen.

  EirGrid are currently weighing up whether to proceed with the overhead line, an underground option or a combination of both.

  However, they have ruled out adopting the same format as Grid Link.

  An EirGrid spokesperson said: “Series compensation is a technology that can only be used if there are existing high-voltage lines in place.

  “It is applied to these existing lines to maximise their capacity. There are no high-voltage lines (220 or 400kV) in the West of Ireland. Therefore, it is not possible to use it in the west, as we have no infrastructure to use it on.”

  However, some doubt does remain over Grid West due to An Bord Pleanála’s decision earlier this year to refuse planning permission for a large-scale wind farm at Bellacorick in Co. Mayo.

  The decision is being appealed. EirGrid chief executive Fintan Slye said that the case for building the 100km Grid West line would change if the 112-turbine Oweninny wind farm was once again refused permission.

  An Bord Pleanála are due to make a decision on the appeal later this year.

Widespread dumping reported at Taughmaconnell bog

Widespread dumping is taking place at Clooncoran Bog in Taughmaconnell, south Roscommon, residents have told Roscommon County Council.

  The local authority received several complaints about illegal disposal of various material at this location last month. The council’s environment complaints were released under the Freedom of Information Act.

  Dead animals and household and building waste are among the items which the public claimed was being dumped at the bog.

  One report reads: “I’m reporting about the ongoing dumping in Clooncoran Bog. It’s getting out of hand at this stage now.

  “It’s not a waste ground or dumping – it’s a bog. It’s the same person over and over again dumping. There was two more tractor/trailer loads dumped on Saturday, of concrete blocks and other things.

  “Why can’t the council put in place cameras?”

  On September 10, another resident complained that “seven to eight loads of pallets and plastic bags” had been dumped at the bog.

  On September 15, the council received a “confidential complaint concerning allegations of infilling at Clooncoran Bog”.

  Two weeks later, on September 29, a similar report was received. “There is more dumping at Clooncoran,” the complaint reads. “The man responsible also during the spring time disposes of dead animals at the same location.”

  Local councillor John Keogh, of Fianna Fáil, said that he too received reports of dumping at the bog.

  “I raised them with the council and they went out and carried out a clean-up,” he said. “I have requested surveillance be carried out at the bog.”

  While Clooncoran Bog was the location which the public were particularly exercised about last month, there were, in fact, reports of dumping at various locations throughout Co Roscommon.

  Twelve bags of rubbish had been dumped in a drain in Ballaghaderreen, one resident said. “Trailer loads of rubbish” had been disposed at Annagh Bog, Creggancor, on the Williamstown Road, three miles outside Castlerea.

  On September 18, a report was received of a “large dead stag” dumped on the roadside between Athleague and Mount Talbot.

  The same day, it was alleged that in the Athlone area, 40 or 50 scrap cars were located outside a person’s house, with “lots of cats and rats about”.

‘Ming’ believes Ireland should pull out of the EU

MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan believes Ireland should leave the European Union.

  The Castlerea man posted a detailed article on Facebook about the consequences of a ‘Brexit’ – Great Britain pulling out of the EU, a referendum on which will be held next year.

  He discussed the prospects of what Ireland might do as a result of a ‘yes’ vote – and what Ireland “should do”. ‘Ming’ has been a fierce critic of the EU since his election to the European Parliament in May 2014.

  Ming’ wrote: “Think of what was forced on the people of Ireland, of Greece, of Portugal, of Spain, of Italy in the last six years – austerity for the people, bailouts for the failed banks, for their failed creditors.”

  Mr Flanagan said that the enthusiasm he once had for the EU had been “battered out” of him in recent times.

  He said: “I’ve used the analogy many times: if you’re in an abusive relationship, you owe it to yourself and your children to get out of that relationship.

  “This will usually mean having to endure reduced circumstances for a while – poor accommodation, living on the breadline. Ultimately, though, it’s worth it: you’re free; you’re no longer living under oppression; you can grow.”

  ‘Ming’ said that, during the course of the Brexit debate, the prospect had been raised of a newly-independent Scotland leaving Great Britain and then rejoining the EU as an Independent state.

  He said: “I’m totally baffled by this.

  “Why would Scotland want to leave an unbalanced relationship – a minority nation within the UK, 5 million in 65 million – to become an even smaller fish in an even bigger pool, 5 million in 508 million?

  “Which brings me to Ireland, and what we should do if the UK exits. My opinion? We should go with them.”

  He said that, as we approached the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, we needed to ask ourselves a “very relevant question”: whether we want to be “independent” or “dependent.”

  ‘Ming’ described Ireland’s involvement with the EU as an “abusive relationship.”

  He added: “I would have a lot greater fear of staying within that abusive relationship, a dependent, than standing on our own independent feet and forming our own new relationships. There is always an alternative.”

Roscommon Hospital fined €75,000 over waiting list figures

Over 3,000 people on waiting list at Roscommon Hospital

Roscommon Hospital has been fined over €75,000 for having too many patients waiting over 18 months for treatment.

  The Health Service Executive has written to hospital group chief executives who have failed to maintain compliance with the 18-month waiting list target since last June, notifying them of financial penalties to be applied.

  This was following a direction from Health Minister Leo Varadkar, who is eager to have long waiting lists eradicated.

  Roscommon Hospital received a fine of €75,371: €70,293 over its outpatient list, and €5,077 over its inpatient/day case list.

  The fines were levied on the basis of data at the end of August. At that point, the hospital had 109 people on its outpatient list for over 18 months, and nine on its inpatient case list over the same timeframe.

  The HSE have defended the introduction of these fines.

  A spokesperson said: “This measure is part of a focused programme of work being undertaken by the HSE to ensure that all necessary actions are being taken to drive improved performance in hospitals and ensure achievement of the maximum permissible waiting lists for scheduled care.”

  However, the overall waiting lists at Roscommon Hospital actually rose in September, with a total of 3,132 people now awaiting treatment.

  The latest monthly figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) show that the majority of these – 2,215 – are on the outpatient waiting list. A total of 149 of these have been waiting for over 18 months: 75 seeking orthopaedic treatment and 74 awaiting otalaryngology (ENT).

  A further 118 had been waiting between 15-18 months; 140 between 12-15 months; 229 between nine-12 months; and 296 between six-nine months.

  Meanwhile, as of September 30, 917 people were on the waiting list for inpatient or daycase treatment, a rise of 130 from the previous month. Of the 917, 118 had been waiting for more than six months. The rise at Roscommon Hospital last month reflected the national trend.

  More than 13,000 patients across the State have been waiting over 18 months for an outpatient appointment, and more than 2,200 patients are waiting that long for inpatient or daycase treatment.

Endoscopy Unit opening delayed over staffing

The opening of the new endoscopy unit at Roscommon Hospital has been delayed because the staff have not been sanctioned to make it operational, the Impact trade union has said. 

  Construction of the €6 million facility, which commenced in 2014, is now almost complete, but it will not open in the final quarter of this year, as the Health Service Executive had originally intended.

  Padraig Mulligan, the assistant general secretary of the Impact trade union, said that it was agreed that 19 staff members would work in the unit, but that a problem had since arisen.

  Mr Mulligan said: “I would express grave concerns in relation to the opening of the endoscopy unit, based on the fact that the numbers that have been agreed are required to run it, have not been sanctioned at a national level. As long as that’s the case, the unit can’t open.”

  The matter was raised in the Dáil on Wednesday, where it was confirmed that the opening of the unit had been delayed.

  Saolta University Health Care Group, which has responsibility for Roscommon Hospital, confirmed as much.

  “We expect the unit to be operational in early 2016,” a spokesperson said.


County’s Best Young Entrepreneurs win €50,000 investment

Three of the county’s best young entrepreneurs have won a total investment of €50,000 through the Local Enterprise Office Roscommon, as part of the €2 million Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition (#IBYE).

  The local winners and investments won were as follows: Best New Idea (winning a €10,000 investment): Enda Mahon, Mahon Solutions, Ballymoe; Best Start-Up (winning a €20,000 investment): Mark Bannon, VT Networks, Athlone; Best Established Business (winning a €20,000 investment): Oz Ibrahmi, Hex CNC, Knockvicar.

  Oz Ibrahmi, from Hex CNC, was also named as Roscommon’s ‘Overall County Winner 2015’.

  All local winners will now represent Roscommon at the regional finals in Claremorris on October 30th. A total of 24 finalists will then compete at the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur National Finals in December.

  Louise Ward, Head of Roscommon Local Enterprise Office, paid tribute to all the young entrepreneurs in the county.

  This year’s judging panel of James Donlon, Westbic, and George McCourt, GMIT Innovation Hubs, who joined Louise Ward, were also thanked during the ceremony for their role in the competition.

  Last week’s ceremony was the culmination of a competition that began in August, with 28 applicants entered. This was shortlisted to ten competitors.

  They attended a bootcamp at Delphi Adverture Resort, Leenane, at the end of September, with finalists from counties Galway and Mayo, and subsequently the three Co. Roscommon winners were selected.

  Accepting the prize fund of €20,000, a certificate and trophy, Bealnamulla’s Mr Bannon described the company as a ‘internet of things’ network operator.

  Oz Ibrahmi scooped the Best Established Business prize – which includes €20,000, a certificate and trophy – for his company, Hex CNC.

  He was also announced as the overall Co. Roscommon winner.

  Mr Ibrahmi, who is 28, is from Dubai but lives in Knockvicar, near Boyle. It is from there that he has established Hex CNC, which, he said, “allows hospitals to produce parts for patients much faster than they used to before.”

  Mr Ibrahmi said that he worked with a team of three people in Hex CNC, and that they also collaborated with a team of doctors in developing the concept.

  In a press statement, Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice congratulated the winners.

  “It’s great to see some of our young people returning home and putting their skills and experience to good use. 

  “I also congratulate LEO (Local Enterprise Office), Enterprise Ireland and the Department for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation for their work in supporting young entrepreneurs.”



Tulsk to feature in Daniel and Majella TV series

The first episode of ‘Daniel and Majella’s B&B Road Trip’ starring Daniel and Majella O’Donnell which will be aired on UTV Ireland next Monday (26th) at 8 pm, sees the couple arrive at Anne’s B&B in Tulsk, County Roscommon.

  The owners are Anne Sheerin and her husband Noel, a retired teacher. As a huge Daniel O’Donnell fan, Anne is slightly overwhelmed with excitement upon the couple’s arrival!

  After settling in to their first pit-stop, Anne, Noel, Daniel and Majella get dressed up for a night on the town at Tulsk’s Country Ballroom, which attracts over 200 local residents each week. However, the local dance hall will have two very special, unexpected guests.  

  Speaking about how people reacted upon seeing Daniel, Majella said: “You could see that some were overawed with Daniel and some weren’t, but all were equally welcoming.”  

  Daniel O’Donnell added: “The fact that we got to interact with so many different people was, for me, the best part. It was lovely to see Ireland and travel Ireland. I have travelled Ireland umpteen times, but not with that eye that’s enjoying it when you’re just trying to get somewhere. Ireland has so much to offer – whether you’re by the coast or inland.”

  Daniel and Majella’s B&B Road Trip begins on Monday (26th October) at 8 pm and will continue until Monday, 30th November, with the first episode 

Cloonfad in mourning after numbing tragedy

Son dies after fall on eve of mother’s funeral

The Cloonfad community in west Roscommon have been plunged into deep sadness by the tragic death of a 44-year-old man following a freak accident on Monday afternoon. 

  The sequence of events started on Sunday when Mary Bowens, of Pollanalty, Cloonfad, died unexpectedly in St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin.

  On Monday at around 3 pm, her son Pa Bowens was putting up lights at the side of her house in the Pollanalty townland, in preparation for her wake, when he fell from a ladder and onto the concrete below.

  He sustained serious head injuries and was brought by air ambulance to Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, where he died on Wednesday at 7 am. Pa leaves behind a widow and two young children, who are aged five and two.

  “The whole place has been numbed by what has happened – a mother dying and then to lose the son the following day,” said a family friend.

  At the time of going to press, Pa’s remains had not yet been released.

  A post mortem examination is to be conducted and it is likely the funeral will take place over the weekend.

Another Fianna Fáil candidate withdraws

Mike McPhillips Memorial Sweepstake on Friday

On this Friday night, October 23, Longford Greyhound Track will host a competition called the Mike McPhillips Memorial Sweepstake.

  Mr McPhillips, who was well-known in Roscommon town, died in May. He was the ‘Local Bread Van’ co-ordinator for Molloy’s Bakery, Abbeytown, Roscommon town, and an avid greyhound enthusiast.

  On Friday night, racing starts at 8 pm and Mike’s many friends are welcome to join with Longford race track in celebrating his life.

  Entry on the night with be free of charge and there will be a bucket collection for the Irish Heart Foundation.

  Two weeks before Mike’s sudden passing, Mike and his good friend Tommy Richardson purchased a greyhound called Bodens Spirit. 

  On Friday, October 9, Bodens Spirit won its way to the final of the sweepstake.  Starting in Trap 1, it would be a great night for all if Bodens Spirit crosses the line in 1st place.

  It promises to be a good night and no doubt there will be a sad reflection on Mike’s sudden passing but also no doubt there will be many happy memories.

  If anybody wishes to leave a donation for the Irish Heart Foundation in Molloys Bakery, Abbeytown, they can do so until Sunday, October 25.


Another Fianna Fáil candidate withdraws

Yet another candidate has withdrawn from Fianna Fáil’s forthcoming General Election Selection Convention this week, with Alan Kelly now pulling out.

  The treasurer of the Roscommon branch of Ógra Fianna Fáil, who is from Rathbrennan in Roscommon town, was one of ten candidates who initially accepted the nomination for the Roscommon-Galway convention. 

  Only three confirmed candidates remain in the race: Cllr. Eugene Murphy, Larry Brennan and Ballintubber’s Seán Óg Higgins.

  Mr Kelly, who is 26, said that he did not have sufficient experience to challenge for a Dáil seat.

  He said: “My own ambition has always been to contest the local elections for Fianna Fáil in 2019 and, on that basis, I decided not to actively seek a nomination.

  “However, I was honoured as a younger member of the party to have been nominated. However, my position hasn’t changed and, on that basis, I will not be allowing my name go forward.

  “It’s my view that it would be important to get elected locally first and work hard for your community for at least one term before making any effort to fight for a Dáil seat.”

  Mr Kelly is indirectly involved in the spat between south Roscommon councillors John Keogh, Paddy Kilduff and Ivan Connaughton.

  Fianna Fáil headquarters are investigating the row, and Mr Kelly recenty met with them to support complaints made by Cllr. Keogh.

  He said that matter did not influence his decision to withdraw.

  He said: “I have made no complaint against anyone and, likewise, no one has made a complaint against me.

  “The internal investigation regarding the complaint made by Cllr. Keogh against Cllr. Kilduff and Cllr. Connaughton has not affected my decision in any way, and I don’t believe it should.”

  No date has yet been set for the convention, but Fianna Fáil have confirmed that it will not take place this month. Mr Kelly has criticised the delay.

  He said: “The nominations have closed; candidates have confirmed their positions. I think it is best for everyone all around if the convention happens as soon as possible and people could focus on getting out canvassing and putting forward the strong policies that Fianna Fáil have in place.”

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