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Frenchpark men wait in hope for extra Home Help and Meals on Wheels

Two elderly brothers living in Frenchpark have aired their frustration at the HSE for their lack of care and attention.

  One would think the least these men, aged 77 and 81, would be entitled to is a Meals on Wheels service to their home, but the HSE have advised that “the Home Help Department does not provide a Meals on Wheels service to new clients since 2009”. 

  “If we cannot look after our elderly we have made very little progress, and we can no longer call ourselves a social welfare state” said MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan. “Without the assistance of a kind and caring neighbour these men would probably starve.”

  MEP Flanagan added: “If this is what membership of the doomed Euro brings us well we are far better off out of it. This austerity regime is only for the benefit of the bankers and their shareholders. Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the plight of these two brothers.”

  Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice has also been working to try and alleviate the dilemma faced by these men and by other elderly people around the county. 

  “It is my belief that every effort should be made to provide whatever assistance is needed to allow elderly people to live independently in their own homes. Every euro spent to achieve this aim is money well spent” he said.

  Deputy Fitzmaurice stated “When one thinks of their advancing years and accompanying health problems it would appear that any additional help they could be given would be worthwhile and would allow them to continue to reside in their own homes for as long as possible.” 

  He concluded: “We will be seeking further clarification on the issue of ‘Meals on Wheels’ as I sincerely hope that this service remains available to those who need it.”


Senator to contest FG Convention?

Ballinasloe-based Senator Michael Mullins is seriously considering contesting Fine Gael’s upcoming Selection Convention for the General Election.

  At present, Cllr. Maura Hopkins, who represents Boyle Municipal District, is the only party member who has confirmed that she will contest the event, to be held in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon town, on Friday, September 11.

  Fine Gael have yet to decide whether they will run one or two candidates in the Roscommon-Galway constituency.

  However, Senator Mullins has indicated that, if a two-candidate strategy is adopted, he will throw his hat in the ring.

  “I will certainly give it serious consideration,” he said. “Nothing is ruled out.”

  Senator Mullins said: “Two-thirds of the votes are on the Roscommon side of the constituency, but there is a feeling that the best strategy would to be have two candidates.

  “If we have just Maura Hopkins as a candidate, can we guarantee that the Galway votes will travel, or would it make sense to have a Galway candidate?”

  Senator Mullins (62), is a political veteran. A long-time member of Galway County Council, he was elected to the Seanad on the cultural and educational panel in April 2011.

150 social care workers set to strike

Up to 150 social care workers in Co. Roscommon are set to go on strike after the breakdown of talks on their ongoing dispute with the Health Service Executive.

  They will meet in Hannon’s Hotel, Roscommon town, on Friday, August 28, to finalise their plans for industrial action.

  The Brothers of Charity employees are among 400 social care workers across counties Roscommon and Galway who are owed a total of €7.5 million in unpaid wages, the Impact Trade Union said.

  They said that, since 2004, they had been entitled to ‘twilight premium payments’ – time and a sixth for working between 6 pm and midnight – but had never received them.

  The Labour Relations Commission (LRC) were drafted in to mediate, but Impact, which represents the social care workers, said that these talks had failed.

  The union’s assistant general secretary, Padraig Mulligan, said: “The LRC came up with a proposal that meant the employees would get three years of the ten owed, and the HSE would pay them in the first two quarters of 2016.

  “But the HSE have refused to go ahead with that. That created a situation where industrial action is now inevitable.

  “The HSE have reneged on the LRC recommendations. Our members are absolutely incensed over it – that they would be treated with such contempt.”

  Mr Mulligan said that the union would now be seeking to get “every penny” of the money owed to them.

  He said that meetings would be held with the 250 Galway employees next Thursday, and the Roscommon members the following day, over the matter.

  A HSE spokesperson said that the executive agreed to begin making the payment for ‘unsocial hours’ on January 1 last, but that no agreement was made in relation to arrears.

  The spokesperson added: “Currently the issue of a backdated claim for arrears is being reviewed by the State’s industrial relations processes and the claim is currently before the Labour Relations Commission. 

  “The HSE cannot comment further whilst this process is underway.”


Ballyfarnon man dies in accident while hedge-cutting

Ballyfarnon man Padraig Noone was killed after being struck by a heavy goods vehicle while he was working on a roadside at Castlebaldwin, Co. Sligo, last Thursday.

  Mr Noone was hedge-cutting for Sligo County Council on the N4 Sligo to Dublin road, one mile south of Castlebaldwin, ten miles from Boyle.

  He was pronounced dead at the scene and his body was removed to Sligo Regional Hospital. He was aged in his 60s.

  Three of his colleagues were also seriously injured in the collision, which took place as they were cutting hedges, at 11.40 am.

  One man was airlifted to University Hospital, Galway, and two other men were taken to Sligo Regional Hospital.

  The road between Boyle and Castlebaldwin was closed for a time.

  Mr Noone lived at Annagh, Riverstown, Co. Sligo, and worked for the Ballymote branch of the council, but he was from Alderford, Ballyfarnon. He is mourned by his widow, Colette, and two daughters, Elaine and Linda.

  His remains reposed at Shivnan’s Funeral Home, Ballyfarnon, last Saturday afternoon, and were removed to St Patrick’s Church, Ballyrush, Co. Sligo, on Sunday, when the funeral Mass took place.

  He was laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery.

Pride of Place judges to visit local nominees

The judges for the Pride of Place competition will visit the four Co. Roscommon nominees next week.

  Pride of Place is an all-island competition, organised by Co-Operation Ireland and the Local Authorities Steering Committee.

  It provides an opportunity for community groups to demonstrate their pride in the achievements of their own local community.

  Roscommon has nominated four projects for the competition: Kilteevan Community Development Association; Kilgefin Parish, under Ballyleague Village Renewal; the Quad Youth Centre, Roscommon; and Cavetown Residents Development Co. Ltd.

  Judging for the competition will take place next Tuesday and Wednesday. The Pride of Place judges will conduct a two and a half hour site visit to each community group, during which time they will meet with community representatives.

  The visit will consist of a formal presentation by representatives of the local community, highlighting their achievement and the reasons why they deserve a Pride of Place award.

  The judges will start their adjudication of the Kilteevan Community Development Association at Kilteevan Community Centre on Tuesday at 10 am.

  Later that day, at 1 pm, they will visit St Faithleach’s GAA club to assess Kilgefin Parish’s nomination.

  On Wednesday, at 9.30 am, they will visit the Quad Youth Centre in Roscommon town while, at 1 pm, they will visit Croghan Community Hall to judge Cavetown Residents Development Co. Ltd. 

The results are in!

Emma Callaghan, from Behy, Castlerea, achieved 610 points in the Leaving Cert, the results of which were released on Wednesday.

  A total of 543 students in Co. Roscommon waited anxiously to receive their results.

  As usual, there were some notable high achievers.

  Emma, from Castlerea Community School, was one of them. She received six A1s and a B1 in honours maths, which includes a bonus of 25 points.

  Eileen Ryan, the school principal, said a number of the other 76 students also excelled. “28.5 per cent achieved 400 points or more,” she said.

  “Four students achieve over 500 points. Altogether, we are delighted. Whether the students got 200 points or 500 points, if they are happy with what they get, their work has been justified and that is a good result.”

  There were also scenes of celebration in St Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen, on Wednesday, where there were also exceptional results.  

  Fr Tomás Surlis, the principal, said: “St Nathy’s had some exceptionally fine individual results, with two students attaining six As.

  “A significant number of students came very close to attaining maximum CAO points.

  “Students who actively sought such high grades were, by and large, successful in achieving the desired results and corresponding high points.

  “Accordingly, most students should gain their top CAO preferences.”

  Fiona Gallagher, the principal of Roscommon CBS, said that her school’s students did “exceptionally well”.

  Five boys received over 550 points: Brendan Mullen, Mark Kearney, David Finnerty, Jamie Granahan and Aidan Duignan.

  Ms Gallagher said: “It was down to their own hard work. Those candidates would be looking at studying physiotherapy, engineering and business.”

  In the northeast of the county, 72 boys and girls sat the Leaving Cert at Scoil Mhuire, Strokestown. The results were an improvement on previous years, principal Eamon Corrigan said.

  “The results were absolutely brilliant,” he said. “They were a good group, who worked extremely hard.”

  Though reluctant to highlight individual students, he said that a “sizeable number” of sudents got over 550 points.

* Local Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan congratulated everyone who sat the exams and wished all them the best in their future careers.

  “Those who achieved the top grades are to be commended for their hard work,” he said. “For the students who are disappointed today, I would advise them to talk to family, friends and teachers.

  “It is important to remember that the Leaving Certificate only examines a particular set of skills, and that there are many options open to them.”

  * Other schools contacted by the Roscommon People on Wednesday morning weren’t in a position to provide feedback prior to our deadline.  


Anne to run for Renua – after her politician brother declined to!

Anne Farrell will contest the General Election for Renua – after her brother, Senator John Kelly, refused to do so.

  Ms. Farrell was last week confirmed as the the fledgling party’s candidate for the Roscommon-Galway constituency. This has prompted an unusual electoral sibling battle: Senator Kelly is seeking a seat in the Dáil for the Labour Party.

  Oran-based Ms. Farrell said that she originally joined Renua in an organisational capacity; she did not intend vying for a seat in the Dail at the time.

  She said that her wish was for Senator John to leave Labour and run for Renua in the General Election, but he repeatedly declined overtures to that effect. 

  “I went to John and I asked him would be be interested in joining Renua,” said Anne. “At that time, John wasn’t interested in Renua. I revisited that (with him) on a number of occasions, and he is not.

  “That’s it. I respect his decision.”

  Anne Farrell, who is in her fifties, is married to Kieran. They have three children: Kelly (19), Matthew (17) and Michelle (16).

  She says she has always had an interest in politics, having previously canvassed for President Michael D Higgins.

  She said that her decision to join Renua was largely based on her admiration for its leader, Deputy Lucinda Creighton, who severed ties with Fine Gael over her refusal to back the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

  Abortion is currently top of the political agenda, with parties divided on what legisation, if any, they would introduce on the subject if elected to office.

  Ms. Farrell is non-committal on the subject.

   Asked about the position Deputy Creighton took on the Bill in July 2014, she said: “I would prefer not to answer that.”

  Asked for her stance on abortion, she is equally equivocal. “It’s isn’t black or white,” she said. “I am pro-life and pro-choice.”

  One of her main issues during the election will be the health service. Ms. Farrell worked as a community welfare officer for 20 years, but now works full-time for Renua. She is particularly concerned about mental health services.

  “What I see through my eyes is a negative society, depressed and suicidal, and support services not what they could be,” she said.

  “I am frustrated when I go to access a service and find out how poor it is and how much better it could be.

  “There is no strategic, forward-thinking five-year plan for mental health.”

  Ms. Farrell said that she was also very worried about the amount of bullying in society. “We have a bullying crisis, not only face-to-face, but also a huge epidemic online,” she said. “We need to make our young people resilient.

  “We now have our politicians receiving death threats from faceless people.”

  She said that Renua had yet to agree health policies but, speaking from a personal perspective, she would like the accident and emergency department (A&E) at Roscommon Hospital to be reopened.

  “Roscommon Hospital is at the heart of everything in the county,” she said. “I personally want to see an A&E in Roscommon. “I think every county should have an A&E.

  “To leave big buildings that have the ability to provide services, idle and empty and close them is shocking.

  “I am sure, if there is money and a political will, smaller and regional hospitals can be utilised to a greater extent.”




Roscommon car sales rise by 11 per cent

New car sales in Co. Roscommon increased by 11.2 per cent in the first half of the year, compared with the same period in 2014, it was revealed this week.

  The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) said that, during that timeframe, 720 cars were sold in the county, up from 667 last year.

  There was also a significant rise in new sales in the county last month, when 152-registered cars began being sold. The July 2015 figures for Roscommon were up 50.3 per cent on the same month last year, with 227 cars being sold.

  Mark Boggan, the president of the SIMI, said that the two sets of figures represented a “massive boost” to the industry in Co. Roscommon.

  He added: “The dual plate has given the industry a means to structure their business better as we continue the move towards a more stable economy.” 

Countdown to National Heritage Week

National Heritage Week will take place between the 22nd and 30th of August. This year we shine a light on Ireland’s Industrial and Design Heritage.

  Over twenty-five community groups, organisations and individuals have organised over sixty events around Co. Roscommon to celebrate the rich and diverse heritage that is there for us all to enjoy in the county.

  Events range from lectures, launches, nature walks, archaeology site visits, visits to historic houses & gardens, music and song to family fun days. 

  Many of the events are free and the programme highlights the abundance of great work that is carried out in communities all around Co. Roscommon to care for and promote our built, natural and cultural heritage.

  “Events are taking place from the north to the very south of the county, so no matter where you live there should be a Heritage Week event on near you!

  “There is lots to do for all ages and all the family during National Heritage Week and best of all most of it is free, so enjoy the week” says Nollaig Feeney, Heritage Officer, Roscommon County Council.

  Further details on events can be viewed on www.heritageweek.ie or by ‘phoning Callsave 1850 200 878.

  You can also keep in touch with Heritage Week on Facebook and Twitter. Roscommon County Council supports National Heritage Week under the County Roscommon Heritage Plan 2012-2016. 

Eddie to run in General Election

Boyle man Eddie Conroy will contest the General Election for People Before Profit, he revealed this week.

  Well-known in the north Roscommon town, where he is a community activist, he has been strongly involved in the campaign against the introduction of water charges, as a member of Right2Water Boyle.

  Explaining why he was seeking to enter the political arena, he said: “I’ve seen first hand the damage that austerity and disastrous economic decisions by successive governments has had on rural communities.”

  Mr Conroy said that there was “anger and frustration” at the “neglect of Roscommon” by successive governments.

  He said: “Emigration has hit all communities hard. Every town can see poverty, homelessness, deprivation and families harassed by the banks.”

  He particularly lamented the decline of his home town, Boyle, where he said that it was difficult to find a person aged between 18 and 27.

  “They’ve been forced away by a disastrous Government,” he claimed. 

  “Boyle has lost the fish factory, its hotel, two banks, its courthouse and the Garda station has had its hours much reduced. This is reflected in every community in Roscommon. We have been abandoned by the establishment parties.”

  Mr Conroy said that, if elected, he would lead the fight against austerity.


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