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‘Morally wrong’ that staff had to wait for payments




Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy said it is “morally wrong” that seasonal workers at Bord na Móna in Lanesboro who were recently laid off have been left waiting over two months for Social Welfare payments.

  Deputy Murphy raised the issue in the Dáil chamber this week under Questions on Promised Legislation with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

  “In the region of 78 seasonal workers with Bord na Móna who were laid off in the Mount Dillon area near Lanesboro, County Longford have been left without Social Welfare payments with some only receiving payments this week after over nine weeks.

  “In such a crisis, I would ask An Taoiseach to ensure that workers who have been laid off do not have to wait eight to ten weeks for Social Welfare payments. It is morally wrong,” said Deputy Murphy.

  An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar acknowledged that this situation should not have occurred. He said that he would raise the matter with the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty.


Waldron calls for movement on decentralisation



‘Only 80 of 230 jobs delivered’

At a collaborative group meeting held in Lanesboro/Ballyleague on Saturday, 21st of September – to discuss the recent job losses in the area – Cllr. Anthony Waldron in his speech to elected members from both the Longford and Roscommon areas as well as community groups from both regions, addressed the issue of decentralisation.

  Cllr. Waldron called on the Government to complete the implementation of the decentralisation process previously agreed for Roscommon town. The number of staff destined for Roscommon under the original plan was 230, however only 80 were relocated there.

  Cllr. Waldron said that a building was provided at a cost of €15 million and it is still, many years on, awaiting the remaining complement of staff.


Tenders for 50-bed unit at Portiuncula ready to issue




Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins says Health Minister Simon Harris will visit Portiuncula Hospital in the coming weeks.

  She was speaking after it emerged that tenders are now ready to be issued in relation to a new 50-bed unit at Portiuncula Hospital.

  The news was announced by Minister Simon Harris at a special Oireachtas briefing organised by Galway County Council in Leinster House on Wednesday.

  Senator Hopkins said the Minister pledged that the 50-bed replacement unit will open in 2022.

  “These works will include the construction of a replacement 50-bed ward block, fire safety works and a lift replacement programme”.

  Deputy Eugene Murphy said: “This is great news for Portiuncula Hospital”.

  Senator Hopkins concluded: “Minister Harris has committed to visiting the hospital in the coming weeks”.




News…at a glance - September 27th


Table Quiz for  Roscommon MS

The first of two fundraising table quiz nights for the MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Roscommon branch will be held in The Grove Lounge, Ballymoe on Friday, September 27th. The quiz starts at approximately 8.30 pm. Teams of four. €10 per person. All are welcome. There will be a raffle and prizes on the night. For more information, contact Bridín M. Connelly on 086-7914580.

 The Glencastle Lounge in Glinsk will host the second quiz night on Friday, November 8th, starting at 8.30 pm.

Roscommon Ladybirds, Brownies, Girl Guides

All Roscommon Ladybirds, Brownies, Girl Guides (and Senior Branch) units will return this week. Ladybirds on Monday from 6.30 pm to 7.30 pm. Brownies on Wednesday from 6.15 pm to 7.30 pm. Girl Guides and Senior Branch on Wednesday from 7.45 pm to 9 pm.

  New members welcome in all units. New Leaders are always welcome. For more information, contact 087-2854769.

Roscommon Town ICA Guild

The monthly meeting of Roscommon Town ICA Guild takes place on Tuesday, October 1st 2019 at 8 pm in Hannon’s Hotel.

  Following the meeting, local historian Albert Siggins will give a presentation on the history of Roscommon Town.

  A good attendance by all members would be appreciated on the night. If anybody is interested in joining our group please contact 086-8230754 for more information.

Pilgrimage to Knock

A Pilgrimage to Knock will take place on Thursday, October 10th, organised by the Legion of Mary. If you are interested in travelling, please contact 087-2445753.

The Johnny Cash Gospel Tribute Concert

A Johnny Cash Gospel Tribute Concert presented by David Kelly will take place on Thursday, October 3rd at 8 pm at the Light for the People Church, 1-2, Brogan’s Lane, Roscommon Town. Admission is free. Bring your friends. All are welcome! For more information contact 086-0838362.

Motorcycle Run in aid of dementia research

Following on from the resounding success of last year’s inaugural Motorcycle Run through Roscommon, Mayo and Galway, this year’s event will take place on Sunday, 29th of September from Hannon’s Hotel. Registration at 10.30 am.

  Last year, an impressive selection of motorcycles from surrounding counties emerged in large numbers to join our local bikers in support of persons caring for a loved one with dementia.

  Calling all motorcyclists – please join us this year on our journey to Roundfort. We invite motorcycle enthusiasts and spectators alike to come along and support this event and help us build on the success of last year’s run.

  Entry fee is €20 per bike. A warm welcome is guaranteed. Refreshments will be served.



Mick Rock enters race for GAA Presidency





Elphin GAA clubman Mick Rock officially launched his campaign to become the next President of the GAA following his nomination by Roscommon County Board at a meeting in Hannon’s Hotel on Monday night.

  The former Connacht Council President has had a number of administrative roles at Roscommon and provincial level and was also a member of the Central Council and the GAA Management Committee for three years.

  On Monday night, Mr. Rock told Roscommon County Board delegates that he had decided to enter the 2020 race because he felt he could steer the association down a different path where community effort and clubs would be at the heart of decision-making.

  Kilmore clubman Tommie Kenoy also addressed the meeting and said he was “mandated by his club not to support the nomination”. Mr. Kenoy cited a couple of reasons for not supporting Mr. Rock, including Mick Rock’s alleged stance on Rule 42 in previous years and also the decision of the Connacht Council to go ahead with a provincial club fixture the day after Kilmore had played in a County Intermediate Final and on the occasion of the passing of renowned Kilmore clubman Frank Dennehy (RIP).

  Mr. Rock was formally proposed by Eric Murray, the chairperson of the Elphin club. His nomination was seconded by Ger Aherne of St. Brigid’s, who said he had known Mick Rock since the 1990s and found him to be “a man of tremendous ability and integrity”.

  There was almost unanimous support from delegates present. As per Mr. Kenoy’s contribution, the Kilmore GAA Club delegates abstained.

  Speaking after the vote, Mr. Seamus Sweeney, Chairperson of Roscommon County Board said: “There was overwhelming support from all at the meeting and as a result of that, Roscommon is 100% behind Mick as a candidate to run in the election of Uachtarán Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, 2020.

  “History will show that of the 39 presidents we have had to date, only five of them have been Connacht men. Of course, for these past two decades of the 2000s, none of the presidents have come from Connacht.

  “You don’t get titles on the playing field, or hold office off it, purely because of historical or entitlement reasons. We know we have a very good candidate; he is a very capable man. Mick is a very committed and passionate Gael, an articulate speaker and an excellent communicator. Mick is a committed club man and was recognised for this by his appointment as Chairperson of the National Clubs Committee,” Mr. Sweeney concluded.


Farmers vow to ‘plough’ on in Athleague




As the row over beef prices reaches national crisis proportions, DAN DOONER spoke to protesting farmers outside the Kepak plant in Athleague on Wednesday…



“The IFA need to f****** come down here and talk to these men. They say they represent farmers and can attend talks and agree to whatever but they should be down here on the back of a lorry addressing these farmers. Who do they represent?”

  The sun shone in Athleague yesterday (Wednesday) but the mood was dark among those present at lunchtime.

  The frustration and anger among local farmers outside Kepak has grown over the past few weeks but nevertheless they have vowed to continue their blockade until an acceptable base price for their produce is agreed.

  The peace and tranquility was later shattered by the sound of a vehicle approaching. Men leaned from their plastic chairs to have a look. A delivery for Kepak perhaps? No, just a fellow farmer in a Massey Ferguson en route to feed his stock.

  “That man still has to feed his cattle. That’s about €180 he won’t get back. You see?”

  The hard work on farms continues despite the ongoing row with factories. Their demands are simple, they say.

  “Kepak tried in the early stages to turn farmer against farmer,” one man tells me.

  He is adamant that despite some reports, no Kepak worker has been abused by those protesting.

  “The only people (that have been) abused here are farmers,” he adds.

  When I first arrived, those inside the marquee, while entirely welcoming, had been reluctant to speak to a member of the press. There seemed to be a sense that stories have become twisted along the way, that their demands are not being heard.

  They said that this is a protest by independent farmers and as such no one individual is elected to speak for the whole group. They’re not looking to offend anyone, they quickly added. 

  Minister Michael Creed’s open letter to farmers hasn’t helped the mood. President Michael D Higgins’ comments at the National Ploughing Championships also caused some confusion among those present yesterday.

  Speaking of the ‘Ploughing’, this is supposed to be a week when the Irish agricultural sector proudly displays its might on the national stage. Instead it’s independent farmers coming together around the country to flex their muscle.

  “The National Ploughing Championships was started by farmers, small guys. Now, look at it. It’s been taken over by big businesses,” said one farmer, who then highlighted the suffocating impact farmer protests have had on big business across rural Ireland in the last few weeks.

  “No other union or organisation (in this part of the country) could do what these men have done…”

  While those I spoke to had sympathy for factory workers affected by the protests, they felt that responsibility for closures and lay-offs rested firmly on the shoulders of factory management.

  The bottom line from Athleague is that these farmers aren’t going anywhere until their bottom line is adequately addressed.

  “We’ll continue until an acceptable base price is agreed. We are determined… and we’re not going anywhere!”


Eight electric cars licensed in Roscommon in first half of 2019






In the first half of 2019 there were eight electric and 106 hybrid cars licensed in Roscommon – accounting for 0.2% and 3.3% respectively of new private car sales.

  Experts at Insuremycars.ie say that sales are increasing at a slow and steady pace, a progression they expect to quicken as people realise the cost savings available when it comes to insuring these vehicles both on a private and commercial basis.

  Jonathan Hehir, Managing Director of Insuremycars.ie commented: “The licensing and sales of e-cars, while still small, are on the rise – with an increase of almost 70% in the first half of this year alone. These increases are in the face of a car sales market that is in decline, with the overall number of car sales so far this year showing a decrease of 12.2% compared to 2018.

  “It’s interesting to take a closer look at the regional distribution of electric and hybrid vehicles – what makes them more popular in some counties than others? For electric cars the CSO reports Roscommon had 0.2% of new private car sales for the first half of 2019, while Wicklow had the largest proportion (4.7%), followed by Kildare (3.6%) and Leitrim (3.5%). For hybrid vehicles, they accounted for 3.3% of private car sales in Roscommon, with Longford having the highest proportion (14.6%), followed by Galway (13.1%) and Cavan (12.5%)”.

  Despite increases, the company say they have noticed that people are still, to a large extent, unaware of the impact that going electric can have on insurance premiums.

  Mr. Hehir continued: “In most cases, going electric will bring the price you pay down. Deciding whether or not to go electric often comes down to affordability for people – they have to see a financial incentive. For this reason, we have also negotiated a special discount of between 8-12% for electric car drivers, making premiums for electric cars significantly cheaper than petrol or diesel cars”.


Cash and gold ring stolen


Gardaí in Roscommon town are appealing for information following a break-in at a residence at The Walk in Roscommon town on the night of Wednesday, September 11th. A very small amount of cash and a gold ring was taken from the house which was unoccupied at the time.  Gardaí are interested in speaking to anyone who may have noticed a vehicle or persons acting suspiciously in the area at any time on Wednesday evening but particularly from 8.30 pm to 9.15 pm.


Gardaí investigate attempted break-in at Lidl



Roscommon Gardaí are investigating an attempted break-in at Lidl on the Lanesboro Road, Roscommon town in the early hours of last Sunday morning.

  Considerable damage was done to the store’s alarm system but it is believed those involved were disturbed by Gardaí responding to the alarm.

  Gardaí are appealing for anyone who may have been in the area from approximately 3.30 am to 4 am on Sunday morning to contact them at Roscommon Garda Station on 090-6638300.

  They are particularly interested in speaking to taxi drivers or other motorists who may have noticed suspicious activity in the area on Saturday night/Sunday morning.


Oh no…not an eight-month campaign!



It was entirely reasonable for An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to suggest, as he did last week, that he would ideally like to see the next General Election taking place in May of 2020.

  Entirely reasonable, but still problematic. We’ve all known for some time that an election is not that far away. An election, in truth, could happen at any time, uncertainty over Brexit notwithstanding.

  However, once a date, or in this case preferred date, is named, the political dynamic tends to change. No blame attached to Leo; he’s entitled to put his view out there. Maybe he’s trying to apply pressure on Micheál Martin and FF, trying to ensure that if an election happens before May the blame will fall squarely on that party.

  But, by publicly alluding to May, Leo has pretty much strayed into Fergie territory. Remember when the great Alex Ferguson announced many years ago that he was going to leave Manchester United at the end of the season? It had a disastrous short-term effect at the club, creating uncertainty and rendering Ferguson a ‘lame duck’ for a while (he decided to stay in the end, and the rest is history).

  By talking up May, Varadkar has arguably kick-started the election campaign already. A mood shift has occurred since Leo said his piece. FG and FF Deputies spent much of the weekend sniping in the media. The gloves almost off, this despite the fact that FF are propping up the Government.

  On Tuesday night, Micheál Martin was – kind of – dragged into it, getting little digs in at the Government when pressed by Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates. Yes, in a normal week or month, FF & FG exchange jibes, but just now, there is a danger that we are entering an eight-month campaign.

  The fear is that the election campaign, even subconsciously, is virtually starting. And if FG, FF and the rest really do start electioneering this early, will much constructive work actually be done? 


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