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.