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Yet another candidate has withdrawn from Fianna Fáil’s forthcoming General Election Selection Convention this week, with Alan Kelly now pulling out.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

90% of drink-driving cases in Castlerea did not lead to convictions

Ninety per cent of drink-driving cases before the courts in Castlerea in a two and a half year period did not lead to convictions, it has emerged.

  Statistics published by The Irish Times this week revealed that, between January 2013 and May 2015, 68 drink-driving offences were listed in the west Roscommon town, but only seven resulted in convictions.

  In total in Co. Roscommon only 33 per cent of drink-driving cases before the courts in the same timeframe resulted in convictions: 232 offences listed, but only 76 drivers convicted.

  The rate was poor throughout the county: ten convictions from 26 offences listed in Strokestown; 53 convictions from 122 offences listed in Roscommon town; and six convictions from 16 offences listed in Ballaghaderreen.

  This county’s rate was less than the national rate of 40 per cent, which itself compares unfavourably with England and Wales, where 97 per cent of drink-driving cases brought before the magistrates’ courts resulted in conviction.

 

90% of drink-driving cases in Castlerea did not lead to convictions

Ninety per cent of drink-driving cases before the courts in Castlerea in a two and a half year period did not lead to convictions, it has emerged.

  Statistics published by The Irish Times this week revealed that, between January 2013 and May 2015, 68 drink-driving offences were listed in the west Roscommon town, but only seven resulted in convictions.

  In total in Co. Roscommon only 33 per cent of drink-driving cases before the courts in the same timeframe resulted in convictions: 232 offences listed, but only 76 drivers convicted.

  The rate was poor throughout the county: ten convictions from 26 offences listed in Strokestown; 53 convictions from 122 offences listed in Roscommon town; and six convictions from 16 offences listed in Ballaghaderreen.

  This county’s rate was less than the national rate of 40 per cent, which itself compares unfavourably with England and Wales, where 97 per cent of drink-driving cases brought before the magistrates’ courts resulted in conviction. 

15% rise in burglaries in second quarter of year

Fitzmaurice wants more Gardai

There was a 15 per cent increase in burglaries in counties Roscommon and Longford in the second quarter of this year.

  The Central Statistics Office’s data show that the number of burglaries in the Roscommon Longford Garda Division rose from 107 in the first quarter of this year to 122 between April 1 and June 30.

  In the year up to June 30 last, 440 burglaries were recorded in the division, but this was actually a slight decrease on the previous 12-month period, when 448 such incidents were recorded in the two counties.

  Meanwhile, 22 burglaries were recorded to Roscommon Garda Station in the first six months of this year, compared to 14 in Boyle, 12 in Ballaghaderreen, ten in Castlerea and four in Strokestown.

  In other offences, 33 sexual offences were reported in the division in the first six months of this year – 12 in the first quarter and 21 in the second quarter.

   Forty-nine rapes/sexual assaults were reported in the division in the 12-month period until June 30 last, including 18 in the second quarter of 2015.

  Meanwhile Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has called on the Government to ensure that more gardaí are recruited to operate the new vehicles that have been promised to tackle the rural crime epidemic.

  While welcoming the news that €5 million would be provided for 260 new Garda vehicles, Deputy Fitzmaurice said: “I hope that there are extra gardaí to operate these vehicles, especially in rural areas.

  “I am aware that the Government have sanctioned 600 new gardaí, but it will be two years before those gardaí are trained and at least two years more before they would be able to drive these high-powered vehicles.”

  Deputy Fitzmaurice called on Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to redeploy gardaí to rural areas to “provide re-assurance to communities who feel abandoned in recent years.”

  He said: “We need to see a real change in policing policy with regard to rural crime. Having the vehicles is essential but we need the gardaí to operate them as well.”

Tempting treats for delegates at MeetWest 2015

Delegates attending the MeetWest two-day business networking event on Wednesday, November 18, will be treated to a tempting array of delights showcasing ‘A Taste of Roscommon’.

  An initiative of Roscommon County Council, the food exposition in the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone, will feature top food producers showcasing award winning glazed ham, home made chocolates, farm fresh beef, craft beers, local cheese, artisan and gluten free breads.

  Some 400 people are expected to attend the event where, in addition to business networking, they can sample produce from the food suppliers some of whom can develop personalised corporate gifts for delegates.

  The ‘Taste of Roscommon’ is organised by Roscommon County Council’s Úna Ní Chuinn and Louise Ward from Roscommon Local Enterprise Office. 

  According to Úna Ní Chuinn, the showcase will offer a unique opportunity for delegates at MeetWest to appreciate the wide range of producers based in Roscommon.

  “Creativity is increasingly a unique selling point in business and international experience has shown that traditional businesses need to adopt creative approaches to survive,” said Úna.

  “We would like to encourage business in the West region to engage with the food sector for their mutual benefit.

  “We want to highlight the attractiveness of Co. Roscommon for food producers and encourage our visiting delegates to experience what is special about Roscommon.”

  Among those exhibiting will be award-winning businesses Waldron Meats, Gleeson’s Restaurant and Townhouse, Roscommon Chocolates, Cloonconra Cheese, Black Donkey Brewery, Molloy’s Bakery and Gilligan Meats.

  Earlier this month, Roscommon Chocolates and Waldron Meat scooped gold at this year’s Blas Awards with Gilligan Meats bringing home silver.

  Mary Gleeson, from Gleeson’s Restaurant & Townhouse in Roscommon town, said that food produce from Co Roscommon was contributing to Ireland’s international reputation for quality, sustainably produced food products.

  “The Roscommon region has been gathering a name for itself nationally and internationally as a producer of world class food products,” said Mary, whose Roscommon lamb stew most recently wowed attendees at the World Food Expo in Milan in July.

  “We have a quality food culture in Roscommon and I’m really looking forward to showcasing our produce at MeetWest and networking with the delegates attending.”

  The ‘Taste of Roscommon’ Showcase takes place at 5 pm on Wednesday, November 18.

  MeetWest 2015 is organised with the local authorities, local enterprise offices and state development agencies in Roscommon, Mayo and Galway.

  Registration for Meet West is now open on www.meetwest.ie.

  Intending delegates are asked to register early to ensure their place at the largest business networking event in the west of Ireland this year.

SCHOOLS’ REPORT: Parents say YES

The amalgamation of Scoil Mhuire and Abbey Boys National Schools in Roscommon town looks likely to proceed after parents voted overwhelmingly for the historic introduction of a co-educational school system in the county town.

  While the ultimate decision will rest with the Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran – in consultation with the Boards of Management of the two schools – the prospect of the two schools amalgamating within the next couple of years has moved a step closer this week.

  Last month, the Boards of Management of the Abbey NS and Scoil Mhuire, in conjunction with the Diocese of Elphin, conducted a ballot of parents of children at both schools.

  Parents were asked if they were in favour of a re-organisation of Abbey NS and Scoil Mhuire NS that would see them become one single co-educational school operating on the two existing sites.

  The results of the ballot have now emerged. 74% of families attending the schools used their ballot and 84% of those who responded voted in favour of the proposal.

  The respective Boards of Management and the Diocese of Elphin will now begin to advance the proposal with the Department of Education and Skills and the various stakeholders involved.

 

Appeal lodged over Monksland planning refusal

An appeal has been lodged with An Bord Pleanála over Roscommon County Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for a €5 million development in Monksland, near Athlone.

  In July, businessman Donie Kenny applied for permission to develop a district centre, measuring 16,300 sq. ft. It would contain a discount food store, like Lidl or Aldi, along with an off-licence, café/bar and 16 dwellings.

  A second building, measuring almost 7,700 sq. ft., would also be built. It would contain consulting rooms and offices.  

            However, in September, the council rejected the application, partly on the grounds that the amount of retail development proposed would not be justified.

  On October 1, Mr Kenny appealed that decision to An Bord Pleanála. The case is due to be decided by February 12, 2016.

  Meanwhile, a 19-acre site in Parkway Avenue, Athlone, has gone on sale for €1.1 million. The lands, located on the Co. Roscommon side of the town, are zoned for residential development.

  Planning permission was previously granted for a housing estate on the site, which involved 144 houses, 13 apartments and a creche. 

Roscommon – a Green Town?

Public meeting next Wednesday

Roscommon Chamber of Commerce have invited a speaker from Greenbusiness to address its members and the wider business community on Wednesday, 21st of October at a meeting in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon (8.30 pm). All members of the public are invited to attend.

  Greenbusiness is publicly funded under the National Waste

Prevention Programme to help all businesses and enterprises deliver substantive results and savings on resource efficiencies, through waste management and prevention and reduction in energy and water consumption.

  Aside from assisting businesses in reducing costs it will also allow businesses to consider putting in place a programme which will allow them to ‘run a rule’ over their business and get specific green actions that they could do.

  The economic advantage is that the businesses can then measure whether or not there have been cost savings referable to the green actions. The business benefits and the environment benefits.

  By setting a standard and ensuring the standard is maintained the businesses can ensure that the savings are maintained into the future.

  If a sufficient number of businesses are prepared to participate in the programme the Chamber would consider the idea of a green town, co-ordinated by the Chamber.

  The idea of the green town could link in with other tourism initiatives around sustainable tourism and heritage trails. This would allow the business community in partnership with other community and civic groups, like the tidy towns and County Council, to enhance our town and encourage businesses and the wider community to develop a sustainable future for the town.

  The cultivation of a socially and environmentally responsible approach to business has the capacity to improve our businesses and attract greater numbers of tourists to the area. The task is to try and pull together all the interested stakeholders.

  The initiative is being run by the Chamber and opened to the wider business community in Roscommon and other towns in the county to see whether or not businesses can pull together to give the initial impetus to the idea of a green town.

  Roscommon County’s unique hospitality isn’t just about providing accommodation. It’s the entire experience and a green town or towns can offer a unique experience to those visitors looking for a more sustainable holiday experience.

Coláiste Mhuire presents ‘Hairspray’ this weekend

Broadway Musical runs from Thursday to Saturday

Coláiste Mhuire, Ballygar, is staging ‘Hairspray,’ the Broadway Musical, the latest in the long line of highly successful and entertaining shows staged by the school.

  A massive cast of over 90 students are involved in the staging of the production which will begin on Thursday 15th October and run until Saturday 17th October, featuring three top class performances.

  The show incorporates a number of hit songs including ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’ and ‘Good Morning Baltimore.’

  Ms. Carmel O’Shea, the Music teacher in the school, is once again producer of the musical. She is joined by Eilish Beirne (Director), Laura Murray (Musical Director) and Thelma Cunniffe (Choreographer), who, for the first time, have taken major roles in producing the show. John O’Leary and Eamon Madden are again in charge of the stage and set.

  The lead roles in ‘Hairspray’ will be played by Lucia Daly as Tracy Turnblad, Séan Clogher as Link Larkin, Shannon Collins as Motormouth Maybelle and Ronan Mockler as Corny Collins.

  The Von Tussles are played by Ciara Why and Sarah Scott. Padraig Bury is unforgettable as Enda Turnblad and Eoin Finneran plays his patient husband, Wilbur.

  There are students from each year in the school in the show and many of the new first year students are taking to the stage for their first musical, with Niamh Bury giving a fantastic performance as Little Inez.

  Principal Emma O’Malley highlighted the level of commitment displayed by everyone, staff and students, since they have returned to school.

  Complimenting all involved, Ms. O’Malley also thanked the pupils’ parents for their cooperation and “our sponsors, to whom we are indebted.”

  She added: “And of course our students have been fabulous throughout.”

  ‘Hairspray’ will begin this Thursday 15th October and run on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th, commencing at 8 pm. Admission is €10 for adults and €8 for student/OAP ticket.

  It promises to be an unforgettable show. Don’t miss it!

 

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