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Ambulance took hour and seventeen minutes to respond to emergency

On three occasions between January and May of this year, it took an ambulance over one hour to arrive at the scene of a life-threatening emergency in Co. Roscommon.

  The longest waiting time recorded was 1 hour, 17.34 minutes.

  These response times are a disimprovement on last year. In all of 2014, there were three instances of ambulances taking over an hour to respond to such calls in the county; the longest recorded waiting time was 1 hour, 14.50 minutes.

  These figures were released by the National Ambulance Service under the Freedom of Information Act.

  They relate to both Echo (cardiac-related life-threatening emergencies) and Delta (non-cardiac life-threatening emergencies) calls.

  According to guidelines set the Health Information and Quality Authority, ambulances should arrive at the scene within 19 minutes for such incidents.

  

Enda misses Mayo’s five-in-a-row

‘He still can’t face people of Roscommon’ – HAC

The Sligo footballers weren’t the only ones who failed to turn up for last Sunday’s Connacht Final – Taoiseach Enda Kenny also failed to appear.

  Four years after the closure of the accident and emergency unit in Roscommon Hospital, Mr Kenny chose not to attend the match, which saw his native Mayo hammer Sligo by the biggest ever margin in a Connacht Final.

  The Hospital Action Committee (HAC) erected three huge posters in the vicinity of the ground, anticipating his arrival. Along with a picture of the Taoiseach, they read: ‘No A&E – not forgotten, not forgiven.’

  “It says something that, even four years, he wouldn’t go to the match,” said John McDermott, the chairperson of the HAC, of the Taoiseach’s non-appearance.

  “Before the last election, he had no problem coming to town and making commitments.

  “Now, we have a situation where he won’t come into the town at all. If he can’t face the people of Roscommon at this stage, it will be interesting to see how he is going to face them for an election.”

  At least two Government TDs were however present: Junior Sports Minister Michael Ring, a Mayo man; and Labour TD Joe Costello, who represents Dublin Central but is a native of Geevagh, Co. Sligo.

  Understandably, Minister Ring was the happier of the two afterwards. Mayo’s 6-25 to 2-11 win was a record victory for such an encounter, eclipsing that set in the 1967 decider, when Mayo beat Leitrim by 4-15 to 0-7.

  Roscommon town businesses were also big winners on Sunday. A crowd of 23,196 people attended the match, meaning thousands of supporters splashed their cash in the town before and afterwards.

  “Business-wise, it was a huge boost,” said Declan Molloy, the President of the Roscommon Chamber of Commerce. “We were very happy overall.

  “People appeared to get in very early, which was great for the town. All of the eateries and the pubs had good crowds in before the match.”

  The town was emblazoned in colour last Sunday: Sligo and Mayo flags were draped over numerous lamp-posts, courtesy of the chamber.

  It was the first time a Connacht Final was held in the Hyde since 2012. 

Local mental health service at all-time low – Kelly

Senator John Kelly has said that County Roscommon’s mental health service was at an “all-time low” – and that closing the Rosalie Unit at Áras Naomh Chaolain, Castlerea, would have amounted to “political suicide”.

  The Ballaghaderreen politician wrote a strongly worded email to Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch on March 25, at the height of concerns that the unit, for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, was on the brink of closure.

  He said that it had been brought to his attention that patients were being vetted with a view to discharge to private or public nursing homes.

  He was highly critical of the move – which has since been reversed – especially with the General Election looming. 

  “These people have been here for 20 years plus and consider it their home,” said Senator Kelly, in an email released under the Freedom of Informaton Act.

  “There are articles in the paper from relatives of these stating that they would be better off dead.

  “It’s very emotive and it’s political suicide at this time, 11 months out from election…I need reassurances on the future of this facility or else I can forget about going before the electorate next year.”

  Senator Kelly had broader criticisms of the mental health service and was particularly scathing about management of the Health Service Executive.

  “Morale within the psychiatric service has deteriorated since your meeting with them last year,” he wrote in his email to Minister Lynch. 

  “No new nursing posts and no engagement from management with the staff.

  “Des Kavanagh (Psychiatric Nurses’ Association general secretary) said that none of this crack is happening in any other county except Roscommon.

  “What I understand is that management are the problem and they are the ones advising you that everything is hunky dory in the garden. They are not.”

  It emerged earlier this year that, in 2014, the Health Service Executive sent back €6 million of their mental health budget unspent for counties Roscommon and Galway. 

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. 

 

 

 

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