One of Ireland's most controversial and thought-provoking public intellectuals and independent thinkers has begun a series of unique talks in Roscommon at the beautiful Castlecoote House. The venue is the home of the annual Percy French Festival and as part of the Sprint lectures series will host a set of three lectures by Kevin Myers, marking his return to the public square after a nearly two-year absence.
This month, Strokestown Support Group presented a cheque for €24,194 to the Mayo Roscommon Hospice. The Hospice’s CEO, Martina Jennings received the funds on behalf of the organisation. The funds were collected through a series of fundraising events organized by the Strokestown Support Group over two years which included occasions and events organized such as: Sunflowers, The Dublin City Marathon for which Westward Scania kindly sponsored the bus, coffee mornings, a bag packing events in Centra Strokestown, Shine a Light Christmas cards, collection boxes, church gate collections, and events organised by: Strokestown Bridge Club, Scoil Mhuire Strokestown, and Sliabh Ban Athletics Club.
A new Connacht Horse Ploughing title will be on offer at the County Roscommon Ploughing Championships on Sunday, April 7th. This competition, which is confined to competitors from the Connacht region, has been sanctioned by the National Ploughing Association, (NPA) and will feature a prize fund of €1,000, kindly sponsored by the Sweeney family from Strokestown.
Cllr Domnick Connolly has confirmed he will contest this year’s local elections in May and has outlined his concerns regarding the lack of job creation, the decline of rural services and the threat posed by Brexit.
Roscommon based company, National Crane Lifting Services (NCLS), has been accredited by All-Ireland Business Foundation as having achieved the highest standards of verified performance, trust, and customer centricity. The Scramogue based company is headed by local man, Scott Hunter. Receiving the Business All-Star Accreditation is a great achievement for NCLS and its team.
Following weeks of unfortunate news coverage of the village of Rooskey, this week its future looks all the brighter. Rooskey Development and Social Inclusion Group, the company which operates the Rooskey Community and Tourist Centre, has confirmed that a major capital investment plan has progressed to an advanced stage. The state-of-the-art development is currently at the pre-planning stage of development and the company’s management is hopeful that they will be successful in their efforts to progress the project to the planning, funding, and construction phases over the next couple of years.
The Shannon Key West Hotel at Rooskey which has been earmarked by the Department of Justice as a potential direct provision centre to be used to accommodate 80 asylum-seekers. The plans have hit another major obstacle as a referral question, or appeal, has been made to An Bord Pleanála against the change of use of the Shannon Key West Hotel to accommodate asylum-seekers.
Twelve months on from the first meeting, the Longford branch of Cuidiú is thriving. Cuidiú is a national voluntary organisation that provides support and education to parents through all stages of parenthood. Offaly native, Ciara Reilly, a trainee breastfeeding counsellor, started a breastfeeding support group in February 2018 which now meets twice monthly. She says that she started the breastfeeding group to help other mothers. Speaking of what motivated her to establish the group, Ms Reilly said: “A number of my friends had difficulty on their breastfeeding journey, so much so that some reluctantly gave up much earlier than they wanted to. We need more supports in place to help women who make the choice to breastfeed”.
It is understood that Paradub Ltd still intends to go ahead with the purchase of the Shannon Key West Hotel from James Kiernan, despite the property being the subject of two suspected arson attacks already this year. After a protracted legal battle between Paradub Ltd, the company seeking to buy the hotel, and James Kiernan, the man who currently owns the hotel, an agreement was reached in relation to the sale of the hotel before Christmas.
Fianna Fáil General Election Candidate for Longford, Cllr Joe Flaherty has criticized the Department of Rural and Community Development for failing to spend allocated LEADER funding. Cllr Flaherty was commenting as information obtained by Fianna Fáil shows that just 9% of the LEADER funding allocated to Co. Longford has been spent to date.
The man, who is a former GAA coach from the midlands, had fought extradition from the USA in a court in Albany, New York. However, the Judge who was hearing the case has just delivered his judgement that the man shall be extradited back to Ireland to face the charges. The man cannot be named for legal reasons and is facing almost 400 charges relating to allegations of abuse of two teenagers over a number of years.
Fine Gael Senator, Frank Feighan, has announced that he will not now be seeking a party nomination to contest the next General Election in the Roscommon-Galway constituency.
Senator Maura Hopkins has confirmed she will be seeking the Fine Gael nomination to run in Roscommon-Galway at the next General Election. The Senator, who is originally from Ballaghaderreen in West Roscommon, is a former County Councillor.
Ballyfarnon’s Kilronan Castle has been named one of the best caste estate hotels in the country. The wonderful North Roscommon property has taken home a Gold Excellence Award for ‘Best Hotel Accommodation’ the CIE international Annual Awards of Excellence.
Beautiful Roscommon village has been abandoned on the fringes, with no strong political representation in its locality.
Martin O'Toole of Stripe, Irishtown, Claremorris, Co Mayo, who has been charged with trespassing and burglary in relation to an incident which is alleged to have taken place at a repossessed farmhouse in Strokestown in mid-December 2018, has been remanded on continuing High Court bail until March 15th.
150 new jobs are being created over the next five years at Meissner Filtration Products in Castlebar, the manufacturer is opening a new facility in the Mayo town. The new roles are to include manufacturing jobs, quality and regulatory roles, engineering positions, and customer service appointments.
Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) has confirmed that two of its directors were assaulted in Ballyconnell. The alleged assault is meant to have happened in a shop in the town on Friday afternoon, February 1st.
Martin O’Toole, who is one of two individuals charged in connection with an incident at Falsk, Strokestown, Co Roscommon on the morning of December 16th, last year, has taken a High Court action aimed at preventing a local District Court Judge, Judge James Faughnan, from dealing with his case in the future.
Fine Gael local area representative, Andrew Reynolds, suffered a shock defeat last Friday night at the party’s Boyle Electoral Area selection convention which took place at the Percy French Hotel in Strokestown, Co Roscommon. The Rooskey based businessman secured 21-votes at the convention, losing out to sitting councillor, Liam Callaghan, and former Boyle town councillor, Keith Suffin. Cllr Callaghan secured 55-votes, while Mr Suffin who was nominated by his local Boyle branch secured 36.
This week, Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice announced that Cllr Des Joyce, the man who replaced him on Galway County Council following his election to the Dáil in 2014, will not be contesting this May’s local elections. Instead, Fitzmaurice is endorsing Williamstown businessman Declan Geraghty.
“Des Joyce has informed me that, due to work and family commitments, he is unable to commit to another five years as a County Councillor. I fully understand and respect his decision and I wish him well in the future,” explained Deputy Fitzmaurice.
Speaking on the matter, Cllr Joyce said: “Being a member of Galway County Council has been a great experience for me and I have enjoyed representing the people within the Tuam Municipal area. It has been a pleasure to have worked with my colleagues on the Council and all the staff of Galway County Council with whom I had a very good relationship and I thank them for their support and co-operation.”
Declan Geraghty, the latest candidate to enter the local election race in Galway, has said: “Firstly, I would like to wish Des Joyce well following his decision to step down from the Council. Once I heard that Des had made this decision, I felt that it would leave a vacuum in this part of the county and I decided to run to give the people of this area a strong independent voice.
The proprietor of DG Roofing concluded: “I believe this part of the county is a great place to live in and a great place to bring up a family, but it has suffered over the past few years and my aim would be to do all that I can to help improve rural infrastructure in the area.”
The announcement by Mr Geraghty that he is entering the race will not come as a surprise to many in the Williamstown area, as he has long been mooted as a credible candidate. Williamstown is, to all intense and purpose, Deputy Fitzmaurice’s backyard and his endorsement will certainly do Mr Geraghty no harm.
A Roscommon businessman, who is originally from Dublin, has expressed his outrage at a recent allegation of littering made against him by Kildare County Council, which resulted in him being issued with a €150 fine.
The businessman, who wishes to remain anonymous, has shown the Democrat his file in relation to the matter. In September 2018, he was issued with a letter and a fine under the Litter Pollution Act 1997 to 2009. In the letter, which was accompanied by a notice in relation to the alleged offence under section 3 (1) of the aforementioned act, Kildare County Council said that “an offence has been committed at the Long Road, Millicent, Co Kildare. The writer of the letter referred to the accompanying fine notice and said if the €150 wasn’t paid within 21 days that they would look to prosecute, and the fine may be as much as €4,000 on conviction. They also noted that the accused may be liable for the council’s costs.
The morning after receiving the letter, the businessman rang the environment section of Kildare County Council asking to appeal the matter, and he was asked to do so in writing. When he asked what evidence had been found to support the allegation of dumping, he was told that his business card had been found among dumped rubbish.
Later that week, he sent them a letter asking to appeal the fine and seeking a copy of the evidence. He strenuously denied the allegations in the letter also. Over a month later, Kildare County Council wrote back to the man and told him they were proceeding with the fine. The writer of the letter reiterated the severity of the possible penalties which may be applied if the matter went before the courts. He was also supplied with a copy of a picture of his business card among the rubbish, it was clearly old and tattered.
When the businessman saw the ‘evidence’ he was even more enraged. The business card which the council were relying upon was one from an old company of his, which was dissolved in 2002, some 16-years before the alleged offence took place. He consulted his solicitor in relation to the matter, as he was adamant to fight the accusations, only to be told that it would cost him more to fight it and that the only reason he was being pursued was that he was an “easy target”.
Speaking to the Democrat the man explained: “I am really annoyed about the whole thing, I paid the fine because my solicitor told me it wasn’t worth fighting and I want an easy life. It’s awful, you need to be really careful about who you give your business cards to it seems. I would ask all people in business; please ensure you use a licensed waste disposal company. If you don’t, you might find someone you know, or knew, getting cleaned along with your waste. I know now I probably should have fought it but I just hope others don’t fall into the same trap.”
The Democrat made a number of enquiries with local solicitors and were told that despite it being a very winnable case, the cost of fighting it would far out-weigh the cost of paying the fine. One solicitor explained that local authorities know this, and that is why appeals are almost never successful, and why very few matters such as this make it to the courts with the accused defending the matters.
Well known Leitrim County Councillor, John McCartin, has announced that he will not be running in the upcoming local elections. The shock announcement by the North Leitrim Councillor, he says, has been motivated by the fact that he has responsibilities which he cannot prioritise ahead of politics. Cllr McCartin claims that due to family and work commitments, he would not be able to fully dedicate himself to being a public representative. He has also expressed a feeling that there continuously less credit being given to local authority members for the work they do.
Fine Gael will hold its local election selection convention for the Ballinamore LEA in the Commercial Hotel in Ballinamore on March 8th. Nominations are due to close on February 22nd.
Later this year, the company which owns Shannonside/ Northern Sound is due to expand. Radio Kerry Holdings has approved an offer to the shareholders of Clare Community Radio Holdings Ltd which operates Clare FM to purchase the entire share capital of the company. Radio Kerry has also made an offer for a controlling interest in Tipp FM. It is understood that the board of Clare FM are recommending acceptance of the offer to their shareholders.
Liam O’Shea, the Managing Director of Clare FM & Tipp FM said: “The counties share the same pride of place, love of sports, music and culture. The reality of the modern media environment is that in order to secure their business future I strongly believe that radio stations must consider shared costs and consolidation with other similar companies.”
Both acquisition offers are subject to shareholder approval and regulatory approval, two factors which are expected to be decided upon in early 2019. Shannonside/Northern Sound, Radio Kerry, Clare FM, and Tipp FM have forged a close working relationship in the independent radio sector over the years and work together on industry bodies such as IBI, IRS, and Learning Waves.
Radio Kerry CEO, Paul Byrne, said: “The decision is being made to be proactively involved in the future development of the radio and media industry in Ireland and to create new opportunities for staff, advertisers, and listeners.”
Consolidation in the independent media sector has become the norm in recent years, with respect to both the radio and newspaper sector. There is no comment from Radio Kerry with respect to its plans for the expanded group. However, it would be fair to speculate that consolidation will lead to sharing costs among the group. In the past operations such as accounting, sales, human resources, and some management roles have been merged when consolidations of this nature occur, but there have been no specifics in this regard confirmed by Radio Kerry. The reality of modern business is such that consolidation, acts to secure the financial health of companies.
The Democrat would like to congratulate our colleagues in the fourth estate at Shannonside FM for their recent commendation. On Wednesday night of this week, the Road Safety Authority praised Shannonside FM for having a ‘clear commitment to road safety’, at its annual Leading Lights awards ceremony.
Chairperson of the RSA, Liz O’Donnell, presented the local radio station with an award for promotion of road safety in the region over the last 12-months. Shannonside FM’s news team was praised for promoting a variety of road safety issues affecting both motorists and pedestrians.
Maurice McCabe too was honoured for his contribution to road safety, having exposed the penalty points scandal.
MC of the event, Simon Delaney, explained why Shannonside FM impressed the judges: “The news team strives to promote an awareness of road issues... The Station tries to inform in an entertaining and challenging way, the issues that are facing drivers.”
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