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Ibrahimi into ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ Final

A young Roscommon entrepreneur has won a place at the national final of the prestigious ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition (IBYE), for a chance to share a €100,000 investment fund. Mr. Oz Ibrahmi from Hex CNC Ltd., based in Knockvicar, is representing the West Region in the Best Established Business category at the national final in Dublin this December and has already won €20,000 in investment from Local Enterprise Office Roscommon.

  Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition is an integral part of the Action Plan for Jobs and is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through the 31 Local Enterprise Offices around the country. At the IBYE Regional Final, three local business owners and new start-ups from Roscommon, all under the age of 30, went head-to-head with other county winners from Mayo and Galway.

  The nominees were all interviewed by a three member judging panel and had to deliver a business pitch, live. Assessed on criteria such as business innovation, job creation potential and financial planning, the announcement of the national finalists was made at a reception in Claremorris, with special guest, Minister for State, Michael Ring TD. Leas-Cathaoirleach, Cllr Paschal Fitzmaurice, represented Roscommon County Council.

  The three young entrepreneurs representing the county at the Regional Final were: Best Established Business – Oz Ibrahmi, Hex CNC. Best New Idea – Enda Mahon, Mahon Pipe Solutions. Best Startup – Mark Bannon, VT Networks.



Major jobs blow in Carrick-on-Shannon

There was an economic blow in Carrick-on-Shannon earlier this week when it was announced that around 37 jobs would go at a credit card provider.

  AvantCard currently employs 165 people at the facility, but the company cited changing trends and new technologies as the reason for reducing its workforce by almost 25 per cent.

  An AvantCard spokesperson said: “Like many other employers, we regularly review our business to ensure that it is right for our customers, reflecting any changes in customer behaviour and the competitive marketplace.

  “Following a detailed review, it is with regret that we confirm that we are planning to reduce our workforce across our business areas.

  “We have entered a consultation period with our employees.”

  They hope to achieve many of the job cuts through voluntary redundancies.

  Local Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice expressed “great sadness and disappointment” at the news of the staff reduction.

  “It is a huge blow to the people involved and their families and to the economic life of the area,” he said.

  Meanwhile, Deputy Denis Naughten, also an Independent, called on the IDA and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton to bring “east coast job expansion” to the Leitrim county town after the job losses.

  He said: “Over the last couple of month, we have businesses based on the east coast complaining that they cannot access affordable office accommodation or housing accommodation for staff.

  “At the same time, we see a state-of-the-art office development in Carrick-on-Shannon which used to accommodate MBNA virtually gathering dust.

  “It is about time that we join up the dots and bring new jobs announcements to towns like Carrick-on-Shannon, which have the staff with the technical skills, an abundance of modern offices and affordable housing accommodation.”   


Lorry and cars targeted in Ballaghaderreen fire

A lorry was set on fire and four cars were doused in petrol in Ballaghaderreen on Monday night, with gardaí suspecting “foul play” was involved.

  A resident who saw the damaged lorry said that it was “burnt out”.

  A spokesperson for Castlerea Garda Station said that, at 10.30 pm, a man looked out the window of his home and a saw the vehicle on fire.

  “He got the fire under control and there was two other vehicles damaged,” the spokesperson said.

  The scene was preserved by the gardaí and a technical examination was carried out. The results of the examination are awaited.

  “At this stage, it is being treated as suspicious and an investigation is ongoing,” a spokesperson for Castlerea Garda Station added.

  Fire service staff were called to the scene of the incident on Monday night, arriving at 11.20 pm and remaining there until over an hour later.


Children’s book to be launched in Roscommon Library

The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox by Rose Morris will be launched at 6 pm on Thursday, November 5, at Roscommon County Library on Abbey Street, Roscommon Town.

  Ferdinand is a dashing, playful young fox, leading a carefree existence somewhere in the Irish countryside. One fateful day, a message from on high, delivered in the form of a ‘bolt from the blue’, gives him his calling in life. He sets out on a mission to go where creatures are in need, to protect the Earth and ensure its conservation and re-birth.

  A children’s fable, told in verse and beautifully illustrated by Karolina Smorczewska, The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox is as wonderfully whimsical as the title suggests, yet underlined by a serious ecological message. It is a story that skilfully combines themes of folklore, mythology, globe-trotting action and adventure. 

  It will be appreciated and enjoyed by children of all ages (and even a few adults) but is particularly recommended for reading ages of seven-12 years. A glossary of difficult words is included, along with maps and charts that allow the reader to follow Ferdinand’s progress.

  A retired primary school teacher and native of Roscommon, currently living in Elphin, Rose Morris has previously gained recognition for her literary output at local festivals, competitions and events. Her short story, The Wall, was a popular choice as overall winner at the 2014 Hanna Greally Literary Awards. Her prize, sponsored by The Manuscript Publisher, was to see her book published in print and e-book editions.

  The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox marks her first publishing outing but will bring to wider public attention, the work of a talented author with an exciting and diverse range.

  Signed copies of The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox will be on sale at the launch today at Roscommon County Library. The book will be on general sale thereafter – RRP €9.99.

  It is currently available to pre-order from The Manuscript Publisher with an e-book edition coming soon.


Ballaghaderreen and Castlerea hotels to reopen

There was a major boost to the west Roscommon area this week, with the news that hotels are to reopen in Ballaghaderreen and Castlerea.

  Construction work is under way on the state-of-the-art Abbeyfield Hotel in Ballaghaderreen, which has been closed for about five years.

  It is understood that a consortium of businessmen have purchased the premises and that it will reopen in the new year.

  There was much fanfare about the hotel when it was originally built about ten years ago. The lavish building includes a swimming pool, gym, sauna, jacuzzi, beauty salon and about 40 bedrooms.

  Senator John Kelly, who is based in the town, said that its imminent reopening had created a buzz in Ballaghaderreen.

  “It’s very welcome,” he said. “It’s great to have it reopened because it was really a blight on the landscape as you come into town from the Sligo Road.

  “Everyone is looking forward to its opening.”

  Meanwhile, it is understood that plans are also at an advanced stage for the reopening of Tully’s Hotel, The Square, Castlerea.

  The 22-bedroom premises has been closed for over a year.

  Local councillor Paschal Fitzmaurice said: “I would be hoping that it will be reopened for Christmas. It would be a great asset to have it reopened.

  “The people of Castlerea miss it and would be delighted to see it reopened.”

‘What I imagined has come to pass’

Local woman’s delight as gay marriage becomes law

Knockcroghery artist Anne Rigney has expressed her delight at the news that gay couples will be able to marry from November 16.

  Ms Rigney, whose son, Daragh, is homosexual, campaigned strongly during the campaign for the marriage equality referendum.

  The Marriage Equality Act 2015 was signed into law on Thursday, October 29, by the Presidential Commission, as President Michael D Higgins was completing an official visit to the US.

  From Monday week, gay couples will be able to engage in civil marriage. A delighted Ms Rigney said it was “a great historical victory for the Irish people”.

  “It shows the compassion and kindness and generosity of the Irish people,” she said. “It is also a great victory for people-power.”

  In May, 62 per cent of the electorate voted for gay marriage. Roscommon-South Leitrim was the only constituency in the country that did not approve of the legislation, by a narrow majority of 51 per cent. 

  Yet Ms Rigney applauded Yes Equality Roscommon for their campaign.

  “For me, it was a great honour to work and campaign with such inspiring individuals,” she said. “I particularly wish to thank Will Keane and my son, Daragh, who spearheaded the campaign in Roscommon.

  “And while we did not have a majority in Roscommon, every ‘yes’ vote mattered in the overall count. The Irish national said ‘yes’ to marriage equality and this makes me very proud to be Irish.”

Information Night on mental health, recovery and wellbeing

Advancing Recovery Programme initiative

An Information Night which will be held in Gleeson’s of Roscommon next Wednesday addresses the issue of understanding mental health, recovery and wellbeing through education, collaboration and conversation.

  Are you someone who has (a) lived experience of mental health challenges, including personally, as a family member, friend or carer (b), professional experience of working in the area of mental health or (c) an interest in mental health issues?

  If so, you are invited to attend the Information Night taking place in Roscommon town next Wednesday, as part of the Roscommon/East Galway Advancing Recovery Programme.

  The Advancing Recovery In Ireland Project commenced in the region in 2013 and has made great progress to date. In essence it is about challenging and ultimately changing how mental health services in Ireland are delivered.

  The key methodology is ensuring that people with lived experience of mental health difficulties, their families and professionals work in collaboration to bring about the changes. This is a significant shift in relation to how services have operated historically.

  This project is based on respect, understanding, and the desire to promote equality and dignity for all, regardless of you personal journey to date. Most of all it is about promoting wellness through recovery.

  The team involved on the project are thrilled to invite the wider community in Roscommon, to come and meet us as we host our first information evening about one of these exciting projects on Wednesday, 12th of November, in Gleeson’s Townhouse at 8 pm. Everyone is welcome.

  The organisers are appealing to the public to tell them what they would like from The Roscommon East Galway (REGARI) Recovery College. If you cannot attend but wish to know more, please contact Ailish Connaughton, College Principal on 086-1304869 or Paula Kerr, Project Co-Lead on 087-9225999. Alternatively you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Enda Oates to launch new Mullooly book in Roscommon

After spending nearly 20 years in community development work and a career of 30 years in broadcasting, Ballyleague resident and TV reporter Ciaran Mullooly has published a new book.

  Back To The Future is the title of the publication to be launched in Roscommon Town next week by local man and RTÉ Fair City actor Enda Oates – a recent winner of an Irish Film and Television award.

  The event will take place in Roscommon County Library on Friday, November 13, at 6 pm.

  The book is a collection of stories reflecting on rural Ireland, recession and the renewal of community life in the county through some of the initiatives similar to the ones Ciaran has helped to foster along with the committees of the Ballyleague Village Renewal and local men’s shed groups in the Shannonside village since 2008.

  Ciaran is also writing in the new book about the economic challenges facing Co Roscommon as Bord na Móna and ESB both downsize their operations.

  There’s a special feature on the last surviving resident on an island on Lough Ree and a look again at how Roscommon Hospital lost its emergency department in such controversial circumstances.

  Ciaran is a former president of Roscommon Lions club, where he worked with the committee to help raise €200,000 to open the new Quad Youth Centre.

  He was also community project manager for the €300,000 riverside park development in Ballyleague, which opened earlier this year and reflects in the book on how the Ballyleague-Cloontuskert-Ballyleague area is coping with the difficulties brought about by recession.

  Back to the Future will draw on some material originally written by Ciaran for the Roscommon Champion newspaper over a 15-year period and will be on sale in the Ballyleague and Roscommon area next week.

  GAA broadcaster Marty Morrissey will preside at a special reading in Lanesborough Community College on Tuesday, November 10, at 8 pm.

Lidl seek to build huge new store in Castlerea

Lidl have applied for planning permission to knock down their existing store on the Arm/Williamstown Road, Castlerea, and develop a much bigger version.

  Last Thursday, the German franchise lodged a planning application with Roscommon County Council to, firstly, demolish the single-storey discount foodstore, which measures 1,794 sq. m. and was built about ten years ago. 

  They are asking the local authority to allow them replace it with a much bigger store and off-licence, measuring 2,834 sq. m.

  They have applied to redevelop and reconfigure the existing car park to provide 125 parking spaces and 14 bicycle parking spaces.

  The proposed development would be accessed via the existing vehicular access on the Williamstown Road, also maintaining the existing pedestrian access on Arm Road.

  There would also be further pedestrian access adjacent to the Williamstown/Arm Road junction, and, finally, various signage.

  The council are due to make a decision on the application by December 23.

Staff approved to make endoscopy unit operational

The endoscopy unit at Roscommon Hospital is on track to open “soon”, Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan has said, after Health Minister Leo Varadkar approved the staff to make it operational.

  Construction of the €6 million facility, which commenced in 2014, is now almost complete, but there has been a delay in its opening.

  The delay was caused by the fact that the staff to make it operational had not been approved, but Deputy Feighan said that has now been resolved.

  Speaking on Wednesday, he said: “The Minister has informed me that the endoscopy unit is now approved to recruit staff.

  “A total of 19 staff have been approved. They will have to be trained, but I now look forward to the endocopy unit opening soon.

  “This 14,000 square foot unit is set to become a diagnostic centre for the western region.

  “This investment ensures that the number of patients treated in Roscommon will continue to rise and add substantially to the general increase in activity at the hospital.

  “I gave a commitment to secure significant investment for Roscommon Hospital and the endoscopy suite is part of a €20m investment earmarked for the hospital. 

  “The other flagship projects are a Rehab Unit and a Hospice Care Centre.

  “Apart from the capital developments, the hospital is doing much more work in a large number of areas including day surgery, diagnostics, rehabilitation and chronic disease management.”

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