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Paul Healy

Paul Healy

Athlone Road: The €700,000 solution!






The bad news is that there may be delays on the Athlone Road, Roscommon for up to two months – the good news is that the road, now increasingly pothole-ridden, is set to be repaired at a cost of €700,000 (ex-VAT).

  Following detailed design and procurement Roscommon County Council have entered into a contract with contractor John Madden & Sons to carry out the required road improvement works on the N61 between Casey’s Roundabout and Hawthorn Drive. 

  The deteriorating condition of the road leading into and out of the county town has been a source of frustration for motorists in recent months and news of the commencement of works will come as a welcome relief to the public.

  The contractors were on site on Tuesday with VMS signs being erected to alert motorists to preliminary works.

  Roscommon councillors, Orla Leyden and Domnick Connolly and Kathleen Shanagher issued a press statement on Wednesday welcoming the news that the works are set to start. The councillors pointed out that the remedial works had been delayed until Irish Water had completed their work in replacing pipes in the vicinity.

  Cllr. Leyden said that the full contract will take in the region of two months to complete. She added: “Motorists should expect delays while works are being carried out. The road is in a really poor state. These works are desperately needed and I welcome the commencement of these works”. 




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Ballaghaderreen named ‘Community of the Year’







The community of Ballaghaderreen has been honoured with a top accolade at the 43rd People of the Year Awards, organised by Rehab. The Awards were broadcast live on RTÉ One from Dublin’s Mansion House last Sunday. 

  Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins said that Ballaghaderreen being named as ‘Community of the Year’ at the People of the Year Awards last Sunday night was an incredible honour for the whole community.

  Representing the community, James Gannon, Sajjad Hussain, Debbie Beirne and Mary Gallagher were presented with the Community Group of the Year Award by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and author, Cathy Kelly, for the inspirational altruism and community spirit shown. The community was also recognised for doing Ireland proud by extending a true Céad Míle Fáilte to a group of Syrian refugees.

  Last February it was announced that Ballaghaderreen would become home to 240 refugees. The town’s arrivals were mostly young families fleeing war-torn Aleppo and young men from Damascus who had left behind their immediate families in Syria.

  Many people in the community welcomed their Syrian friends into their homes, sharing food and friendship, the most basic of human kindness. As many of the refugees were young children, a call-out yielded a massive donation of toys and a beautiful playroom was created at the emergency centre. Life for the refugees was also made a little easier by various sporting and fun activities, cultural and social outings and various other trips organised by local volunteers. 

A volunteer’s view!

Volunteer Theresa Geever explains: “Throughout the last year as our two communities have got to know each other better, there have been many positive shared experiences and moments. As time has moved on, friendships and bonds have been formed, personal stories have unfolded – stories of despair, broken lives and families torn apart, but stories too of a truly incredible determination to leave behind war-torn homes and start a new life.

  “Having the Syrians stay in our town has been and still is an opportunity to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in a peaceful place, a place that we can share together”.


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‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ unveiled!



Fáilte Ireland unveiled its latest tourism brand at the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone last Thursday. ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ will cover the ‘heart’ of the country, from Leitrim to East Clare, extending through Longford, Roscommon, East Galway, as well as parts of Westmeath, Cavan, North Tipperary and Offaly. Fáilte Ireland’s other key brands include the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin.

  Speaking at last Thursday’s launch in Co. Roscommon, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross said the new brand is good news for the midlands.

  “Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands will significantly enhance the midlands as a tourism experience and bring growth and jobs to the whole region.

  “We have always been committed to ensuring that Ireland’s success as a world class tourist destination is shared among the regions. Some of the country’s finest natural assets are in the midlands, including spectacular lakes, walkways and blueways. Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands will bring these gems to life, offering a unique experience to both domestic and international visitors”.

  The announcement of this latest tourism brand comes after what Fáilte Ireland described as “extensive research with consumers in Ireland, the US, the UK, Germany and France”. The River Shannon as well as activities like walking, cycling, angling and boating routes will be the central focus of the new brand.

  Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran said the announcement will “transform” the region.

  Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, said the tourism body would work closely with key partners and communities across the region to develop the brand.

  Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands has now become a tourism development zone and Fáilte Ireland have allocated €2 million to start the development stage of the brand, with further funding to follow. This initial investment will help to develop visitor experiences, support industry development and develop marketing campaigns for the region.


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Elphin duo all set for Student Enterprise National Finals





Some of County’s Roscommon’s most enterprising teenagers are ‘counting down’ to the Student Enterprise Programme National Finals on Wednesday, May 2nd in Croke Park.

  Starting every September, students across three age categories (Junior, Intermediate and Senior) research, set up, and run their own businesses with the help of their teachers and supports from Local Enterprise Office Roscommon. 

  Nationwide, 230 students from 77 different student enterprises have now reached this year’s National Finals.

  Student entrepreneurs, Jake Kennedy & Jack Murphy (both aged 16), from Elphin Community College will represent Co. Roscommon on the 2nd of May with their business, Curlew Mountain Forge, in the Senior Category, under the guidance of their teacher, Ms. Bernadette Brooks. Their offering is handmade bespoke, unique and functional metalwork, such as practical household implements and jewellery, e.g. fire pokers, bottle openers, napkin rings, hand forged hooks in copper and steel as well as copper bracelets, earrings and necklaces.

  Run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in every Local Authority area, the Student Enterprise Programme is the biggest enterprise education initiative of its kind in the country, with 23,600 students taking part every year from 480 second-level schools. Funding for the programme is provided by the Government through Enterprise Ireland, and since it started in 2003, over 150,000 students have now taken part.

  Further information about the Student Enterprise Programme is available from www.studententerprise.ie, with free resources available for teachers and schools.



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