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Bog ‘a dumping ground for builders and farmers’

Illegal dumping is rampant on bogs in Co. Roscommon, it is claimed.

  Roscommon County Council received numerous such complaints last month, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show.

  On June 16, the council received a report that Clooncoran Bog, near Athlone, was used for a “dumping ground for local builders and farmers”.

  The complaint says: “Concrete blocks being dumped on the bog road, farm manure blocking drains, causing pollution to the local river and streams.”

  On June 11, it was also claimed that dumping was widespread on an unnamed Castlerea bog, where a “trailer full of waste” was discarded.

  A similar complaint was received the following day, when it was said that five bags had been dumped at the side of the road at Ballinapark Bog, Castlerea.

  Separately, on June 23, a disturbing complaint was received from a resident in a housing estate in North Roscommon. 

  The email to the council reads: “I would like to report that my next-door neighbour burns her waste every other day in the back garden and the fumes are very dangerous for the young child.”

   Separately, on June 16, it was claimed that nine people were living in a house in Roscommon town, but had no waste collection system in place. The complaint was that they were storing waste in their “shed and back garden”.

  On June 26, a report was also received of a septic tank near the golf course in Strokestown discharging onto a neighbour’s property.

  There were also complaints made of the unauthorised erection of advertising signage in Roscommon town, particularly on the Racecourse Road. 

Morning of inspiration to celebrate Traveller Pride 2015

There was a great turnout for a ‘Morning of Inspirational Speakers’ event for Traveller Pride Week 2015.

  Newly-appointed Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Paddy Kilduff opened the event. Cllr. Kilduff spoke about Traveller Pride and said that Traveller Pride Week is a week in which all Irish people should celebrate and value the contributions that travellers have made to Irish life.  

  Hannah McGinley, Lecturer and PHD student in Department of Education, National University of Ireland, spoke about her experiences as a traveller woman in education, as a Community   Development worker and a Rights activist.

  Tracie Joyce, journalist with Traveller Voice Magazine, outlined her journey into the world of media and her experiences being mentored by one of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs. 

  The event was part of a week-long celebration of the contribution travellers make both within their own communities and to Irish society as a whole, through their culture, enterprise, sporting excellence, professional expertise across every area and unique history and tradition.

  The event was organised by the County Roscommon Traveller Health Programme, Roscommon LEADER Partnership and kindly funded by the Department of Justice & Equality through Roscommon County Council under the Traveller Interagency Group.

  For more information on the programme contact Úna Daly, Traveller Health Coordinator on 090-6630252 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Secret recording of Fianna Fail meeting

HQ investigated recording at Strokestown meeting

Fianna Fáil headquarters were asked to investigate the alleged secret recording of a party meeting in north Roscommon earlier this year.

  The practice has been condemned by a local party official and a local councillor, who described it as an “outrage”.

  This is the latest twist in a crisis that has engulfed Fianna Fáil recently.

  Currently the party is investigating complaints made by Cllr. John Keogh against Cllrs. Paddy Kilduff and Ivan Connaughton, his south Roscommon colleagues. His complaints do not relate to the recording controversy.

On being contacted by the Roscommon People, the recording controversy was confirmed this week by Mary Clifford, the secretary of Fianna Fáil in the Boyle Local Electoral Area (LEA).

  She said: “It was alleged there was a recording made of a conversation at a Boyle LEA meeting in the Percy French Hotel, Strokestown, on January 22.

  “We reported that detail to the headquarters of the party.”

  Ms Clifford said that she did not approve of the practice.

  She added: “As far as I am concerned, you cannot tape any meeting unless you actually specifically state that you are taping the meeting and that it is for your own personal reasons…

  “In other words, if I recorded a meeting, I should not divulge, strictly speaking, what was in the recording. It would be for my information only.”

  Ms Clifford refused to disclose the outcome of the Fianna Fail investigation into the matter.  

  “It is a party issue,” she said. “As far as we are concerned, the matter is closed. It was dealt with in the appropriate way.”

  However, Cllr. Ivan Connaughton disagrees.

  “I believe it has been reported to headquarters, but nothing has been done since about it,” he claims. “I believe it should be investigated.”

  He, too, condemned the practice.

  “I think it’s an outrage,” he said. “I am aware that a meeting was recorded.”

  Cllr. Connaughton said that Fianna Fail councillors – with the exception of himself – had been made aware of the content of the recording.

  “I have not heard its content.”

  The alleged recording of the meeting is a source of “anger” for many party members throughout the county, Cllr. Connaughton said.

  “Many of them are afraid to attend meetings or are very wary about what they might say at meetings since,” he added.

  Cllr. Kilduff declined to comment on the matter.

  Cllr. Keogh told the Roscommon People: “I am aware that there is apparently a recording, but, obviously, I wasn’t at the meeting (it is not his area), so I am not in a position to make any comment in relation to its content.”

 

Roscommon to feature on Australian TV referendum special

Various people and places from Co. Roscommon will feature on a programme about Ireland’s recent marriage equality referendum on the Australian TV channel ABC later this month.

  Same-sex marriages are not permitted in Australia, unlike in Ireland, which passed the referendum by a majority of over 60 per cent in May.

  Historically, Ireland became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote, which resulted in the referendum attacting publicity from various countries through the world.

  Roscommon-South Leitrim was, however, the only constituency in the country to reject the referendum, which led to ABC’s decision to feature this county in a special programme on the subject.

  They interviewed prominent ‘yes’ campaigner Anne Rigney at her home in Knockcroghery on June 30. They also filmed her at some well-known sites in the area, such as Quaker Island in Portrun and Murray’s Pub, Knockroghery.

  Anne said: “They saw my poem, ‘Imagine It’s Your Child’, online and contacted me to feature me in the programme.”

  Anne’s son Darragh, who is 32, is gay.

  On the ‘no’ side, local community activist Gerry Browne, from Roscommon town, was interviewed about his stance on the referendum. 

Civic HQ to be completed next month

Construction of the new Civic Headquarters of Roscommon County Council is due to be completed by August – but it will be another 40 years before the local authority have fully paid for the €15 million project.

  The entire building will be 6,250 sq. ft. in size and among the amenities on site will be a council chamber and various meeting rooms.

  “The anticipated completion date of the new Civic Headquarters is August 2015,” said Brian Duffy, the council’s information officer, who added that staff would begin to occupy the building in September.

  The council have already started paying for the €12.86 million (plus VAT) project, Mr Duffy added.

  “Partial repayments have commenced,” he said, in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act. “Repayments are processed twice annually, in June and December.

  “Roscommon County Council is financing the loan over a 40-year term.”

  At present, the local authority are spending €314,000 per annum for the lease of five buildings for various departments of the council and for office use.

  Mr Duffy added: “It is anticipated that all (lease) agreements will cease when the staff have relocated to the new Civic Headquarters.”

 

 

 

Brideswell Pattern Festival launch

The launch of Brideswell Pattern Festival took place recently in O’Connell’s Bar, Brideswell. Guest speaker on the night was Mayor of Roscommon, Cllr. Paddy Kilduff. Also present were Cllr. Tony Ward and Deputy Denis Naughten and all three spoke of great admiration of the Pattern and what the festival committee is trying to achieve on a limited budget.

Chairperson Tomás Beades spoke of the highlights of the last few years and encouraged everyone to come out and continue to support “the only festival of our kind in South Roscommon.”

During the night the launch took place of a special Festival 50/50 Draw with all funds raised going to the Brideswell Pattern Festival Committee. The Draw takes place Monday 28th July.

Tickets will be on sale throughout the weekend. The Festival, which gets underway on Thursday 23th July, promises to be even more popular and enjoyable than last year, with an action-packed schedule on offer – with something for all tastes.

Dancing, music and ‘The Cube’ amongst highlights of Brideswell Pattern Festival

The annual Brideswell Pattern Festival will begin on Thursday, July 23rd next.

Events will get underway this year with an excuse to get your dancing shoes on in the form of a céilí with the Anally Céilí Band in the Festival Marquee and Traditional music session in O’Connell’s Bar.

This will be followed on Friday 24th when organisers host The Cube with MC Willie Hegarty in the Festival Marquee – so why not book a table now for the Traditional Gathering night for you and your family where you can eat a lovely choice of dish and enjoy local participants in The Cube afterwards. Groups of 10 or more are guaranteed a participant in The Cube. The group nominates one person. There will also be an open draw for all attendees. If you are interested in partaking in The Cube please state this when entering on the night.

Cost of meal and The Cube – tickets on the door €10 per person or €25 per family (2 adults + family under 16). Doors open 8.30 pm with dinner at 9 pm.

Saturday 25th is packed with entertainment for all age groups – young and old alike. Saturday’s schedule will involve a 6km walk in aid of the local Defibrillator group, Cycle trails around south Roscommon to choose from and a GAA blitz.

The entertainment will continue on Saturday night with ‘Ireland’s newest country sensation’ Shane Owens and his band in the Festival Marquee with Sean Brennan. Tickets on the door are €15.

Sunday 26th sees events get underway with the annual Pattern Mass at 12 noon in Brideswell Village followed by the family fun day which includes cake sale, wheel of fortune, local dancers, children’s entertainer and traditional Stations of the Cross.

This year we are hosting a Monster Bingo in the marquee in the afternoon with a prize fund of €2,500. Sunday evening also promises to be one of the highlights of the weekend with a special night of entertainment with the legendary Brendan Shine, supported by Sean Brennan and Andrew Kenny.

The Festival will draw to a close on Monday night with music and a BBQ in Hamrock’s bar. For more information contact us on www.brideswellpatternfestival.com, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find the Festival on Facebook.

Anger over new postcode system

There is anger in south Roscommon over the new postcode system ‘Eircode’ because many areas are being listed as being in counties Westmeath or Galway, instead of Co. Roscommon.

  The Government unveiled the new system on Monday.

  Every property in Ireland has its own individual identification number, designed to make it easier to deliver mail.

  However, Roscommon People have found numerous errors in the system.

  Addresses in Bealnamulla, Monksland, Creagh and Brideswell all listed as Athlone, Co. Westmeath, instead of Co. Roscommon, including the Hodson Bay Hotel and the Athlone Springs Hotel.

  Secondly, addresses in Dysart, Taughmaconnell and Ballyforan are listed as being in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, instead of Co. Roscommon.

  Cllr. John Keogh, of Fianna Fáil, strongly criticised these errors.

  He said: “It is just not acceptable. The members of the public are particularly exercised about this issue.

  “I have been receiving complaints about the fact people are being put down for Co. Galway and Co. Westmeath when, in fact, they live in Co. Roscommon.

  “They applied for planning permission in Co. Roscommon, paid their development charges in Co. Roscommon and they want to live in Co. Roscommon.”

  However, an Eircode spokesperson said: “No address has changed – or will change – because of the introduction of Eircode.

  “You should use the address (including the county) that you have always used, and simply add the Eircode at the end.

  “The reason some addresses are showing with the ‘wrong’ county is that Eircodes are based on the existing An Post sorting system.

  “In a small number of instances, the An Post sorting office is in a different county to the address.

  “This has been the case for years and nothing has changed.”

  Numerous Co. Galway addresses are actually listed as being in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon, such as Glenamaddy, Glinsk and Williamstown. 

 

 

 

Investigation into fall and death of Castlerea patient

An investigation is being carried out into the serious fall of a Ballintubber woman in a Castlerea nursing home and her subsequent death.

  Documents released by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) show that the resident sustained a serious injury to her head following a fall in Áras Mhathair Phóil, Knockroe, in the west Roscommon town, on January 10.

  The patient died in hospital two weeks later.

  HIQA documents on the matter were redacted before being released under the Freedom of Information Act. They describe the incident that took place in the home, which is run by the Health Service Executive.

  They state that the “resident fell in the main lounge and sustained a superficial laceration to left temple at 10.50 pm on 10/01/2015”.

  They add that the resident was “sitting in the lounge unsupervised in a chair with lap belt fastened”. “Resident suffers from dementia and opened lap belt, which resulted in the fall,” the HIQA document said. 

  The resident was reviewed by WestDoc and transferred to Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, where she died on January 24.

  According to the HIQA documents, the “cause of death was unknown”.

  The HSE commissioned an investigation into the “fall and subsequent death”. Interviews with next-of-kin, staff and management were carried out, but the report on the investigation has not yet been completed.

  A HSE spokesperson said: “The HSE has policies and protocols in place to review any incident or unexpected outcome for service users. This is in line with best practice and includes input from the family and next-of-kin.

  “Currently, there is a systems analysis under way in Áras Mhathair Phóil, Knockroe, Castlerea, in line with HSE policy. The report has not yet been received from the investigation team.

  “The HSE cannot comment on any individual service user.”

   HIQA also said that they did not comment on individual cases.

  A spokesperson added: “The remit of the authority does not extend to investigating incidents, but rather the regulations require providers to investigate adverse incidents and notify the authority.”

 

 

 

 

‘If I ran in election, the A&E would be up at every doorstep’

Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan has said that the main reason why he has decided not to contest the next General Election is because he had too much “baggage” over Roscommon Hospital.

Speaking to the Roscommon People on Wednesday, he said: “If I was on the ticket for the General Election, the A&E would be up at every doorstep. “I believe we need someone fresh, without baggage. I think Fine Gael need to be united for the next election and I think I had a bit too much baggage. “I feel we need a new name and somebody different.”

Deputy Feighan was non-committal on his future plans, refusing to rule out a rule out a return to the Oireachtas as a Senator or as Ceann Comhairle in the Dail. He also refused to respond to speculation that his decision not to seek to contest the General Election was based on private Fine Gael polling that had indicated he would not be re-elected.

The Boyle-based deputy announced on Monday night that, after much consideration, he had decided to bow out as a TD. He has served the Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency continuously since 2007. Previously, he was a councillor for the Boyle area from 1999 to 2002 and a Senator from 2002 to 2007.

Deputy Feighan would have faced a tough re-election bid, following the Government’s decision to close the round-the-clock accident and emergency (A&E) Department at Roscommon Hospital in July 2011. Fine Gael had promised prior to the 2011 General Election that services at the hospital would not be reduced.

Deputy Feighan said that the hospital would always be associated with his name, but that the decision to bow out was a personal one. He said: “I have decided not to put my name forward to contest the General Election for Fine Gael in the Roscommon-Galway constituency. “This is a personal decision which is one I have not taken lightly but one I feel is taken in the best interests of my party and my constituency.

“Roscommon Hospital will always be associated with my name. And I’ll always take pride in the fact that not only is Roscommon Hospital safer, but has a long-term future with a €20 million investment plan taking place there. “The introduction of the air ambulance and advanced paramedics has saved dozens of lives.” The air ambulance service was introduced in the summer of 2012, a year after the closure of A&E at Roscommon Hospital. Deputy Feighan said that he was “honoured” to have been a member of the Government that “restored our nation’s sovereignty”.

He said that he had helped deliver €200 million in infrastructure projects, including the Ballaghaderreen Bypass and €20 million’s worth of funding to help to resolve Co. Roscommon’s water crisis. He added: “I have worked hard to constituents. I have always tried to be honourable and decent. “My work as a TD continues. I will continue to fulfil my mandate as a local Fine Gael TD right up until polling day, whenever that may be, with energy and pride.”

Message from FG poll: Back Maura to win seat

A private poll conducted by Fine Gael convinced the party that Deputy Frank Feighan was highly unlikely to be re-elected in the next General Election.

The party conducted the poll in Roscommon/Galway constituency earlier this year. Reliable Fine Gael sources indicate that Feighan did not fare well in the poll, confirming a long-held view that the party would have a better chance of winning a seat with a new candidate.

In the poll, Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice came out on top (exceeding the quota on 27.5%) and looking good to take the first seat in the new three-seat constituency. The poll suggested that Independent TD Denis Naughten is set to take the second seat.

According to our sources the Fine Gael poll has Cllr. Maura Hopkins well placed to take the third seat, fighting off strong competition from both Sinn Fein (Claire Kerrane) who polled strongly and Fianna Fail.

Deputy Feighan this week declined to respond to speculation that his decision not to contest the General Election was based on private Fine Gael polling that had indicated he would not be re-elected.

Taoiseach pays tribute to Feighan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has paid tribute to Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan after he announced that he would not be contesting the next General Election.

Deputy Feighan announced on Monday in a “personal decision” that his term as a deputy will end at the conclusion of the Government’s term of office. The news will bring the curtain down on a career as a TD which saw Deputy Feighan serve Roscommon-South Leitrim continuously since 2007.

The Taoiseach said: “I was sorry to learn but fully accept Deputy Frank Feighan’s decision not to put his name forward to contest the next General Election for Fine Gael in the Roscommon-Galway constituency. “I want to sincerely thank him for his hard work and excellent service to the people of Roscommon-South Leitrim over the past 16 years, firstly as a councillor, as a Senator and then as a TD since 2007.”

Deputy Feighan was subjected to strong and relentless criticism for his decision to support the Government following the closure of the Accident and Emergency Unit at Roscommon Hospital in July 2011.

However, the Taoiseach said that the hospital was now safer as a result of Deputy Feighan’s input in recent developments there.

Mr Kenny said: “Frank has worked tirelessly to help this Government deliver infrastructure projects and enhanced services to the people of Roscommon and Leitrim, including making Roscommon Hospital safer and relentlessly working to resolve the water crisis in his constituency.”

The Taoiseach also commended Deputy Feighan for his work as chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and co-chairman of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly. “The passion, energy and commitment he has brought to these roles have helped to foster greater British-Irish relation, which will be evident for many years to come,” he said.

The Taoiseach said that, on a personal level, he had know Deputy Feighan for his entire political career. “He is a man of great courage, integrity and loyalty,” he said. “I will continue to work closely with Frank over the coming months as he serves the people of Roscommon-South Leitrim and I wish him well for the future.”

FG organiser: ‘History will be kind to Feighan’

Fine Gael’s western area regional organiser, Darragh Kelly, from Tulsk, has paid tribute to Deputy Feighan following his decision not to contest the next General Election.

He said: “I think Frank Feighan has served the party with huge courage and dignity. I think history will be quite kind to him. “I would like to thank him for his contribution to the party, as a TD, Senator and councillor over many years.

“I think Frank has been a very good public representative and a very good representative for the party and a very decent individual as well.” Deputy Feighan has been a public representative continuously for 16 years. He was a councillor for the Boyle area from 1999 to 2002, a Senator from 2002 to 2007 and a TD from 2007 onwards.

Date set for Fine Gael Convention

Fine Gael have announced that their Selection Convention for the new Roscommon-Galway constituency will take place on Friday, September 11, in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon town.

After Deputy Frank Feighan’s decision to bow out of Dáil politics, Cllr. Maura Hopkins is so far the only confirmed candidate for the contest, which will decide who will represent the party in the next General Election.

She contested last October’s by-election. She gained 5,593 first-preference votes and finished third, behind Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice, the winner, and Cllr. Ivan Connaughton, of Fianna Fáil.

Cllr. Hopkins has joined in the tributes to Deputy Feighan this week. She said: “Frank Feighan has been a diligent parliamentarian, advocating tirelessly on behalf of the people of Roscommon/South Leitrim. “Frank’s hard work and positive influence as a Government TD has made sure the needs of the people of this constituency has been continually highlighted at the top levels of Government. “His advocacy over the past few years has helped secure the delivery of many services, initiatives and projects in a very challenging economic environment. “He has served the people with distinction and dedication and I wish him every success with all his future endeavours.”

€5m commercial development planned for Monksland

Developer Donie Kenny is behind venture

A planning application for a huge development in Monksland, which would cost around €5 million to construct, was lodged with Roscommon County Council on Monday.

According to the planning notice, the development would involve the construction of a district centre, measuring over 16,300 square feet. It would contain a discount food store, an off-licence and a café/bar, along with 16 maisonette-type dwellings on the first floor, organised around residential open space in the form of a quadrangle, over-ground level parking. A second building, measuring almost 7,700 square feet, would also be built. This would comprise consulting rooms and offices.

The proposed development also includes the construction of a proposed link road from the existing public road to the proposed site entrance, in order to access what would be called Monksland District Centre.

The businessman behind the plans is Athlone-based Donie Kenny, who has been attempting to build a similar development in the area in recent years. On June 3, An Bord Pleanála rejected his application to build a retail centre at the Tuam Road site.

His new plans, however, contain far less office and retail space and a residential element to the project. Mr Kenny is adamant that there is a need for his proposal development in the highly populated area of Monksland. “There are supermarkets requiring property in the Monksland area and, contrary to what people think, there are none available for them,” he said. “There are 4,500 people in the Monksland area. There are 4,700 people in Roscommon town. The people in Monksland have to travel a minimum of 12 kilometres, round trip, to do any sort of comparison shopping.

“All of that travel is straight through the centre of Athlone.” Mr Kenny said that the project would cost “in the region of €5 million” and that the “anchor tenant would hopefully be a discount supermarket” (like Lidl or Aldi).

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