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Tulsk farmer enters local election race

 

 

 

59-year-old John Groarke from Tulsk is contesting this month’s local elections in the Roscommon Local Electoral Area as an Independent candidate. The bachelor farmer had previously entered the Irish Presidential race last year.

  Mr. Groarke, who hails from Fairymount,  failed to receive a nomination from local authorities, but learned a few valuable lessons along the way.

  “I learned that it wasn’t a level playing field for starters. The President of Ireland (Michael D Higgins) had a monopoly and the three main parties joined together to get their man elected,” he said.

  John is once again hoping to represent the “ordinary working man” as he canvasses for votes in Roscommon. His main motivation he says, is to represent schoolchildren and younger people as they campaign to save the environment, an issue close to his heart.

  The Tulsk man doesn’t believe the elected Independent TDs have done enough for ordinary Irish men and women and he also believes more needs to be done to protect farmers and to create jobs in rural Ireland.

  “The way I see it there needs to be a big overhaul of the beef industry and the farming industry as to how the farming community sells their produce. The main players are the meat factories and the supermarkets and they’re getting too big of a chunk…the farmers are only getting a minor cut of it,” he said.

  “If I’m elected I will be promoting issues including the environment, an overhaul of the agricultural sector and job creation, and of course Brexit is another issue. Brexit was ill thought out by the Tory party and it’s time the people of Ireland stood up for themselves,” he said before suggesting that members of the Irish diaspora overseas hit the British and European economies “where it hurts” in order for Ireland to be heard in the Brexit debate.

 

 

Gardening equipment worth thousands stolen from van near Boyle

 

 

Gardaí in Boyle are appealing for information following the theft of thousands of euro worth of gardening equipment on Wednesday afternoon.

  The theft occurred between 1 pm and 3.30 pm when a van was parked at the viewing point at Doon, on the Sligo Road from the town. Several pieces of equipment were stolen from the van including lawnmowers and strimmers.

  Anyone who might have noticed anything suspicious at the viewing point between on Wednesday afternoon is asked to contact Boyle Garda Station on 071-9664620.

‘Move that sign!’

 

 

 

Misplacement of signage in N61/Bogganfin area 

Malachy Hand, Fianna Fáil Local Election candidate for South Roscommon, has been asked repeatedly by constituents on the doorstep to immediately seek the relocation of a sign to its proper geographical location and the reassurance from Roscommon County Council that no part of County Roscommon has been given over to Co. Westmeath after the recent erection of a sign ‘Welcome to County Roscommon’ on the roadside a considerable distance out onto the N61/Bogganfin area.

  “This sign should be relocated back down the road towards Athlone!” one resident protested, as she queried the wisdom and logic of the location of this sign, seen by locals as an apparent indication to passers-by that they are somehow passing over a border from Westmeath into Co. Roscommon at this precise juncture.

  Mr. Hand said: “While there are clearly established political boundaries for both urban and county, controversy has raged in relation to attempts by Westmeath County Council to annex areas, incorporating Monksland into the Athlone Urban area, thereby reducing revenue presently flowing to Roscommon County Council.  

  “The positioning of this sign is causing acute concern for the residents of South Roscommon living in the Monksland, Bogganfin, Barrybeg, Hill of Berries and Barrymore areas”, said Malachy.

  “I am seeking an update from Roscommon County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland as to the status of this signage on the N61”, concluded Malachy.

 

Kilduff demands hi-speed Broadband for Roscommon, criticises Government

 

Donal Kilduff, Independent local election candidate, has expressed frustration about the National Broadband Plan.

  In a press statement, he said: “I can’t believe the way the Government is continuing to mismanage this project after so many years’ delay already.

  “Everyone knows that we need to have hi-speed broadband in rural Ireland – we’ve lost enough already in terms of infrastructure and services and we must have this vital piece of infrastructure without delay. 

  “People recognise the importance of Broadband for the future and I’m hearing this time and time again from people I meet while canvassing. The message to the Government is to please get on with it and stop messing around wasting more time and money.

  “I know from running my own business in rural Ireland that high speed Broadband is now crucial infrastructure, it is not a luxury, it is a requisite. We need to be able to conduct business at the speed of thought to remain competitive. It is crucial to ensure that rural Ireland can continue to have access to public and social services on the same basis as all citizens of the State”.

  He continued: “The situation in Roscommon at the moment is ridiculous, with access to fibre-based Broadband in some areas and not in others, with no logical pattern or plan as to how this has come about. The answer is to roll out the National Broadband Plan as quickly as possible, even though it may not be perfect, and give every citizen the same access to services no matter where they are”.

  Kilduff is also adamant that serious lessons need to be learned from the way this has been handled.

  “Coming so soon after the controversy over the cost of the National Children’s Hospital, and the very costly Irish Water fiasco, it is awfully frustrating for people to see this kind of carry-on with the Broadband Plan and we need to learn serious lessons from this. 

  “I am now calling on the Government to establish a State Project Management Agency to manage all one-off projects of national significance in the future. The procurement and management of large one-off infrastructure projects is extremely complex and its success requires properly trained personnel who have many years experience delivering complex projects on time, in budget and to an agreed scope and specification.

  “With the right personnel this agency could save the State a fortune. I do not want to see important projects in the future suffering huge delays and major cost overruns with millions being paid to consultancy firms for little return to the State. The people of Ireland deserve better than this”, he concluded.

Priest dies after alleged hit and run

 

The victim of an alleged hit and run incident in the Drumboylan area last weekend was named locally as retired priest Fr. Michael Guckian, who was originally from Drumboylan, Co. Roscommon, but who had lived with the Oblate Order in Inchicore, Dublin.

  The 81-year-old was fatally injured at approximately 11 pm on Saturday night when he was struck by a car. It was reported that the vehicle did not remain at the scene.

  Fr. Guckian was treated at the scene but pronounced dead a short time later.

  Following the incident, a man in his 20s, presented himself at Carrick-on-Shannon Garda Station and is assisting Gardaí with their inquiries. No arrests have been made.

  A full forensic and technical examination of the scene was carried out on Sunday morning. The road from Derrenargon Cross to Leitrim Village was reopened on Sunday evening.

  Gardaí at Boyle are investigating the incident and witnesses or anyone with information is asked to contact Boyle Garda Station on 071-9664620, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-66111 or any other Garda Station.

 

The Floating Voter - May 17th

 

Our survey said: Worrying ‘Times’ for FF?

The results of an Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll on the Midlands North-West constituency (European elections) make for grim reading for Fianna Fáil – and are very encouraging for Fine Gael.

  The poll has Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael) on top with 26%, followed by Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan on 16%, Matt Carthy on 14%, and the other Fine Gael candidate, Maria Walsh, on 11%.

  Fianna Fáil will be shocked that their candidates have a combined first preference support of just 13% – 8% for Brendan Smith and 5% for Anne Rabbitte. Maverick Independent Peter Casey polled 9%.

  If these figures are an accurate indication of how the vote will go on May 24th – and they may not be – Fine Gael has a chance of a sensational two-seat return in the four-seat constituency. Fianna Fáil, on these figures, could struggle to take a seat, while Roscommon’s transfer-friendly Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan will be safe. On these figures, Matt Carthy will also be elected, meaning outgoing MEPS McGuinness, Ming and Carthy would be returned, with FF, Maria Walsh and Peter Casey battling for the last seat.

  But…it is only an opinion poll, and a relatively early one at that!

 

Anger in Slatta…

A local election candidate says that people in the area are angry at the ‘removal’ of Slatta National School as a polling station.

  Tom Crosby (Independent) says that a number of people have approached him to express their anger at the news that Slatta National School has been removed from the list of polling stations for the forthcoming local and European elections.

  Mr. Crosby said that people will now have to travel out of their community and will no longer be able to vote where “their parents, grandparents and great grandparents” have voted over the years.  

  He said: “This is seen as yet another example of showing total disregard for a rural community. It is obvious there was little or no resistance to Roscommon County Council or the Court Service, who are responsible for this decision. If I am elected to Roscommon County Council I will have this matter put on the agenda of the Council”. 

 

Peter’s win-win day at the Races

He finished second in the 2018 Presidential election – but Peter Casey was a clear winner at Roscommon Races on Monday!

  By all accounts, Mr. Casey proved to be extremely popular when he turned up at Lenabane for the first race meeting of the season.

  When I rang him on Tuesday, the colourful candidate was still enthusing about the warmth of the welcome he received in Roscommon. And he revealed that he had two winners from three bets!

  “I got an amazing reception at Roscommon Races. What an evening! I even had two winners, from three bets. I must have shaken hands with over two hundred people, everyone was so nice and welcoming”.

  Mr. Casey said that the clear message from race-goers in Roscommon was that he is a voice for people who are disillusioned with the traditional political parties.

  Having spent three hours at the races, the Derry-born businessman and Donegal resident joined supporters and friends in Roscommon’s famous post-races bar, McCrann’s of Castle Street.

 

Oh brother! Denis & John – it’s no big deal!

I’ve always felt that media attempts to ‘make some hay’ by focussing on brothers Denis and John Naughten at election time is a pretty lame exercise.

  Denis is the former Fine Gael TD who is now an Independent. His brother John is a long-standing Fine Gael councillor. At the time of the 2016 General Election, Cllr. John canvassed for Denis (running as an Independent). Not unreasonably, it peeved Fine Gael, but it was also entirely understandable, in my view. Mind you, John’s official ‘explanation’ wasn’t to cite brotherly loyalty; instead he justified his position by saying that he was anxious to see a TD elected in South Roscommon!

  Three years on, and the pesky media is trying to stir things up again, pointing out that some prominent election boards for Cllr. Laurence Fallon feature a big image of Deputy Naughten. “Wonder how that goes down with Fallon’s rival for a seat in the area: Naughten’s brother John” The Sunday Times mischeviously mused at the weekend.

  I suspect that it’s not that big a deal, it’s realpolitik at play. Cllr. Fallon and Cllr. Domnick Connolly (also Independent) are after all well established as part of a political Holy Trinity with Denis.

Astute political alliances…

Laurence Fallon is not the only Roscommon county councillor with a prominent Independent TD ‘at his side’. We’ve become used to the unofficial alliance between Denis Naughten and Cllrs. Fallon and Domnick Connolly, but the formidable new electoral force in these parts, one Michael Fitzmaurice, is no slouch either when it comes to forging a close relationship with key councillors.

  Independent TD Michael has linked up (informally) with Independent councillors Ivan Connaughton and Nigel Dineen. Cllr. Connaughton and Deputy Fitzmaurice have hosted joint public meetings; Cllr. Dineen, in the manner of Denis Naughten and Laurence Fallon, even has a large photograph of ‘Fitz’ prominently placed on some of his election billboards.

  Deputy Fitzmaurice has a similar understanding with Independent candidate Declan Geraghty in the Ballinasloe LEA.

  This is a clever win-win tactic – good for Deputy Fitzmaurice, good for the councillors/candidates involved.

  These astute arranged political marriages/alliances would of course come under pressure if any of the councillors were to pursue General Election ambitions of their own; however, our sources suggest that, contrary to what some observers expected, Cllr. Connaughton is not likely to declare as an Independent candidate in the next General Election.

 

 

News…at a glance - May 17th

 

'Thank you’ from Roscommon town DIL

The Roscommon town Darkness Into Light Committee would like to express sincere thanks to everyone who participated in walking, talking and running with us at our Annual Darkness Into Light event last Saturday morning (11th).

  Thank you for turning up in your hundreds at the early hours of a bright and dry morning to support this worthy cause, demonstrating your enthusiasm for spreading the message of Hope.

  A special thanks also to all our volunteers, those who kindly donated and for the beautiful music of Roscommon Solstice Choir. Looking forward to seeing you all again in 2020!

 

Barn dance in aid of Hospice

A Big White Barn dance in aid of Mayo/Roscommon Hospice will take place in the Punch Bowl, Ballyhean, Castlebar on Friday and Saturday, June 7th and 8th. Music by Cliona Hagan and Stuart Moyles on Friday night and Patrick Feeney and Nigel Livingstone on Saturday night with full bar in marquee. Tickets available at local hospice shops, online at Eventbrite.ie or at the Punch Bowl. All welcome.

 

Roscommon Heritage Group meeting

Roscommon Heritage Group will meet on Tuesday, May 21st at 8.30 pm at Gleeson’s Townhouse, The Square, Roscommon town. If interested please call the re-elected secretary, Theresa on 087-7554393 or you can email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Monster Auction in aid of St Ronan’s Hall

A fundraising Monster Auction will take place this Saturday (18th) at 3 pm to aid the refurbishment of St. Ronan’s Hall in Keadue. Items available will include furniture, electrical items, vouchers, unwanted gifts, and much more.

  Donation drop-off point at St. Ronan’s Hall this Saturday (11th) from 1 pm to 2 pm and Thursday (16th) from 8 pm to 10 pm. Contact 087-2459222 or 087-2021620 if you want items collected.

 

Roscommon SPCA fundraising events

Roscommon SPCA will host a number of fundraising events over the next two weekends.

  The animal welfare society will host a car boot sale this Saturday (18th) at Casey’s Londis, Roscommon town, from 9 am to 3 pm.

  Roscommon SPCA will host its annual street collection in Ballaghaderreen next Friday and Saturday (May 24th and 25th). Your help would be greatly appreciated.

  On the same weekend, the SPCA will hold annual Church gate collections on Saturday and Sunday (25th and 26th) at Elphin, Creeve and Ballinagare Churches. All money raised will go directly to the society’s community spaying/neutering programme for cats. 

Wellbeing Talk at St Coman’s Wood

An informative Wellbeing Talk will take place at St. Coman’s Wood NS in Roscommon town on Thursday, May 23rd at 8 pm. This educational and informative talk will take place in the hall on the junior site and will be delivered by the National Parents Council.

  “All parents of children in the school are welcome to attend and will benefit greatly from the advice and knowledge to be gained on the night. The well-being of your child and enhancing their lives should be paramount for all parents and this talk will cover a lot of key areas,” said Geraldine Grealy PRO for St. Coman’s Wood.

  For further information, parents can call the school, visit the school website www.comanswoodprimary.ie follow them on Twitter or check out www.npc.ie. The Parents Association are encouraging all parents to please support and attend this short talk if possible before the end of the school year.

 

Cuidiú Week runs until next Monday

Parent support charity Cuidiú has invited its 20+ branches nationwide to join in the ongoing celebration of Cuidiú Week 2019 (Monday, May 13th to 20th).

  Cuidiú is a national charity which is run solely by volunteers. Across the country volunteers will host local events during Cuidiú Week, the charity’s annual 7-day promotional campaign.

  From Monday, May 13th, Cuidiú Longford-Roscommon will spend seven days engaging and promoting Cuidiú as a whole organisation with emphasis on our three key sectors: antenatal, breastfeeding support and parent to parent support.

  Cuidiú means so much to so many. Branches nationwide reach 100s of parents every week. ‘Cuidiú Week’ gives the organisation an opportunity to be seen by new audiences within our local communities.

  For more information on Cuidiú Longford-Roscommon check out the Facebook page or log visit https://www.cuidiu.ie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

€3bn National Broadband Plan gets green light from Government

 

 

 

Naughten hails ‘historic day for Ireland’

 

 

On Tuesday, the Cabinet approved the €3 billion National Broadband Plan, which aims to bring high-speed Internet to more than 540,000 homes, farms and businesses across rural Ireland with the first customers expected to be connected next year but with some facing a wait of up to seven years or more.

  Former Minister for Communications Denis Naughten, who quit his ministerial post over a series of controversial meetings with David McCourt, head of the only remaining bidder in the tendering process, Granlahan McCourt, hailed it as “one of the defining days in the history of the country”.

  “When I entered Government my absolute priority as Minister was to ensure that high-speed broadband was provided to the more than 540,000 households and more than 1.1 million people in rural Ireland who do not currently have access to this essential service.

  “When I left Government this complex procurement procedure was completed and all that remained was to obtain Government approval for the project. Tuesday’s announcement completes this process.

  “Just as roads came, and then electricity, broadband will now be delivered to every townland in Ireland and it will leave as lasting a legacy throughout our country,” Deputy Naughten said before adding that a “conservative analysis” regarding the benefits of the plan indicates that the local economy in Roscommon will receive an €8.8 million boost each year. 

 

 ‘Plan is overpriced and will take years’ – Murphy

 

 

 

 

Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy believes the National Broadband Plan is overpriced and will take years to deliver. He also highlighted the issue of network ownership when the roll-out is complete.

  “The new announcement is not good news for Roscommon-Galway. For many of us, particularly in the rural areas, we have been waiting indefinitely for the provision of high-speed broadband. Now, we have another ten years before this project is completed.

  “I have many concerns around this project. It is taking three times longer and costing six times the original price. On top of that, the State will not own the network built and paid for by the taxpayer.



  “The people waiting for broadband need it now, not 2029. They should be rightly skeptical about the announcement given the fact that every other timeline on this project has been missed.



  “Fine Gael has completely mismanaged this project from the beginning and have wasted taxpayers’ money,” he said.

  “The broadband plan, when finally in place, will be welcome for those in Roscommon-Galway who are urgently requiring this service. Yet, how we got to this point, and the next ten years as the service is slowly rolled out, is massively disappointing for those of us in rural Ireland,” concluded Deputy Murphy.

 

 

 

French Ambassador unveils ‘Alleé De Chartrettes’

 

 

Street named to mark twinning anniversary

 

 

The French Ambassador to Ireland, Stephane Crouzat, was in town last Friday to officially unveil a new street sign as part of the 21st Anniversary of Roscommon Chartrettes Town Twinning. The laneway which connects The Square to the county council car park off Church Street, was named Alleé De Chartrettes in honour of the link between the two towns.

  The unveiling was followed by a reception at Arás an Chontae for the Ambassador and 31 visitors from Chartrettes, including the town’s Deputy Mayor Pascal Gros and members of the Chartrettes Twinning Committee, whose visit had coincided with the Roscommon Lamb Festival last weekend. The French visiting party was treated to music by Bill Cunningham and an impressive ‘Lord of the Dance’ spectacle by Mary Dolan’s Roscommon Academy of Dance. This was followed by formal speeches in the council chamber and a food and drinks reception.

  The French Ambassador was clearly impressed by his reception in Roscommon.

  “I am absolutely delighted to be here. I wasn’t expected such unbelievable dancing, it was very, very impressive,” he said before describing town twinning as “very important”.

  “There are around 150 such ‘twinnings’ around the country, many between Irish towns and towns in Brittany. I am delighted to see that the Roscommon Chartrettes Twinning is extremely active. It is so important to have relations at local level and for populations on both sides to get to know each other.

  “After Brexit, France will be Ireland’s closest European Union neighbour and that will open new opportunities”.

  Monsieur Crouzat went on to highlight the proposed ‘Celtic Interconnector’, a submarine power cable which will link Ireland and France and allow for the movement of power between both countries.

   He said that this would encourage more trade and investment on both sides adding that current relations between the two countries are “very healthy and thriving”. More coverage: Page 44

 

  

 

 

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