A Radiographer at Roscommon University Hospital is celebrating after scooping a national award for her work.
Ann Marie Healy from Roscommon town, said: “She’s very proud and delighted” after being named ‘Radiographer of the Year.’
The mother of two, who was recently appointed Radiography Services Manager, has been described as “a driving force in the development of radiography services” at the hospital.
Ann Marie, who has worked at the hospital for 12 years, says the recognition was especially appreciated because it was her patients who initially made the nomination.
The public will get a chance to look at transformative plans for the lower half of Longford town centre next month, as part of a public consultation event. Longford County Council is seeking submissions and feedback on its plan for the ‘Camlin Quarter’ before work is due to begin in 2019.
The team behind the multi-million-euro project is seeking people’s comments and views on how the area, which encompasses the Riverside Shopping Centre, Connolly Barracks, and adjoining streets will meet the public from 5.30 pm until 8 pm on December 5th at the council offices.
Cathaoirleach of Longford M.D Seamus Butler says its important people take time to have a look at the plans;
It won’t “generate big profits”, but the Shed Distillery is cracking on with a visitor centre
It is expected that the attraction will be up and running in early 2020, and is expected to come in at nearly double the cost that was first expected.
The Shed Distillery is moving forward with plans to build a new ‘visitor experience’, despite its owner anticipating that it will cost almost twice as much as was first expected and won’t “generate big profits” for the company.
Pat Rigney (aka PJ Rigney) opened his small distillery with big dreams, four years ago. The facility now produces Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, and Sausage Tree Pure Irish Vodka. Last year, plans were unveiled to add a new visitor centre to the distillery, but Mr Rigney has said that work has yet to begin, and it is expected that the visitor centre won’t be open to the public until the early months of 2020.
Mr Rigney explained: “It’s going out to tender shortly and we would hope to start work early in the new year,” continuing to say: “At the moment we’re aiming for a soft launch at Christmas 2019 and then it’ll be the start of 2020 when we’re up and running. There’s a bit of a way to go but we’re taking our time and we’re trying to do it right.”
Initially, the company estimated that the extension project would set them back around one-million euro, but they have now said that figure is more likely to be between one-and-a-half-million and two-million euro.
“Visitor experiences typically don’t generate big profits – they’re expensive to run, they’re expensive to build and maintain – but it’s important to share your story with your customers,” explained Mr Rigney.
Leitrim County Council granted planning permission in February of this year for a single-story extension to the distillery which is located in Drumshanbo. The planning permission which has been granted includes a visitor exhibition, café, herb garden, and a space for tasting and selling products. It was originally envisaged that the centre would be fully open by next year, but Rigney said that the project hasn’t gotten off the ground yet as they have been preoccupied with other aspects of the business. Mr Rigney elaborated: “We’ve been very busy with our day-to-day business, growing new markets, hiring more people. We’ve been doing our day job,” going on to say: “At the end of the day your distillery needs to be a success before you can think about your visitor experience.”
A further reason for the delay has been Rigney’s concerns about the Public Health Alcohol Bill, which was passed by the Dáil in September, after taking nearly three years to make its way through the Oireachtas. In a letter to Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, earlier this year, which was released under the Freedom of Information Act, Rigney said that he was putting the construction of the visitor centre “on hold” pending the outcome of the debate surrounding the Bill. Nationwide, concerns had been raised with various cabinet Ministers by the Association of Visitor Experiences and Attractions that the restrictions on advertising in the bill could “seriously damage” the drinks tourism sector.
Despite his concerns about the potential effects of the new legislation he decided to proceed with his visitor centre in any event.
“We made the decision to go ahead with the plan. I think at the end of the day it would have been a disservice to Drumshanbo and to our staff to cancel the project on the basis of some elements of the Alcohol Bill.” (FANCY QUOTATION)
Rigney detailed why he decided to go ahead with the plan to develop the visitor centre anyway: “It’s still a concern but we’re going ahead anyway. With the growth in tourism and international visitors we hope this particular visitor experience will be of benefit to Leitrim. We’re close to Carrick-on-Shannon so there’ll be great things to do in the area.”
There is no doubt that drinks tourism is a growing trade in Ireland. The Guinness Storehouse was the country’s top paid-tourist-attraction last year, with shy of two-million visitors. The craft alcohol sector is also booming, and a number of distillery and brewery attractions have opened their doors across the country in the last couple of years also.
The Shed Distillery is aiming to get 10,000 visitors in its first year “as a starting point” and is hoping that it will grow from there. Rigney explained: “Our key point of difference is that everything we sell is distilled at the distillery and it’s very important that we can show that to people. We’re the real thing and we hope people will get a kick out of it.”
While they’re waiting for the project to be completed, Rigney has said that his main focus will be on expanding operations and working on the distillery’s whiskey product. There are twenty-eight staff working at the facility and the brand is exported to twenty-eight markets. The company had retained profits of just over one-million-euro in 2017, and is one of the fastest growing brands in the world, having won numerous global awards in recent years.
“Obviously the visitor experience is important for sharing our story with consumers, but we’ve got to keep growing the business at the same time,” Rigney said, before concluding: “We’re looking after our home base but we’re also driving internationally, opening up new markets. Our new whiskey is maturing and will be launched in 2020 so that’s the next big thing.”
On Monday, the 19th of November, a group concerned about the expansion of forestry in Co Leitrim visited Portlaoise to make their case about the impact of the over-forestation on their lives. The Save Leitrim group brought a number of appeals before the Forestry Appeals Committee, an independent body set up to hear appeals against decisions on license applications for afforestation and related activities. It is understood the Save Leitrim group brought appeals against two proposed forestry developments at this week’s meeting. John Brennan, member of the group says they also have serious concerns about the monoculture model for forestry being used in Ireland.
A radiographer who works at Roscommon University Hospital is celebrating after being nominated for and winning a national award for her work. This week Ann Marie Healy, from Roscommon town, said: “She’s very proud and delighted” for having been named ‘Radiographer of the Year.’ The mother of two, who recently became radiography services manager, has been described as “a driving force in the development of radiography services” at the hospital. Ann Marie has worked at the hospital for twelve years and says she especially appreciates the recognition because it was her patients who initially nominated her for the award.
SCDA lotto draw
The numbers drawn this week were 1, 6, 23, and 24. There was no jackpot winner. There was one "Match Three" winner, Damian Parker, Curraghroe. The next draw on will take place on Tuesday, 27th November, 2018, at the SCDA Office on Bawn Street, Strokestown. The next jackpot is worth €670.
A Leitrim company, Cora Systems, which was recently named as Technology Exporter of the Year, is hoping to expand its workforce in the coming months. The company is based in Carrick-on-Shannon and provides software solutions and packages for some of the biggest companies and organisations in the world including Price, Waterhouse, Cooper and the UK’s NHS. The company was founded by Roscommon man, Philip Martin, in 1999 and also has offices in London and in Boston, Massachusetts. Susanne Kerins, head of marketing with Cora Systems says they are hoping to expand even further in 2019. The firm currently employs fifty people at its Carrick-on-Shannon office and fifteen people across its other offices, and says that because it is experiencing a growth period, it currently has fifteen vacancies open, many of which are based in its Carrick-on-Shannon office. The roles include a variety of technical jobs including project managers, business analysists, and software developers.
According to figures released by the Central Bank there are currently 976 households across the three counties with mortgage arrears of two-years or more. The figures show that 438 households in Co Roscommon, 250 in Longford, and 62 in Leitrim are in long-term mortgage arrears. A new Government approved ‘mortgage to rent’ provider aims to keep people who find themselves in difficulty, in their own homes. Under the initiative Home for Life can buy the distressed property and then lease it back to the home owner through the Local Authority. Home for Life CEO, Paul Cunningham says that helping families stay in their homes makes economic sense to avoid having people become homeless, as regardless of the location of the property, making a family homeless will create a housing need, and this should be avoided.
On Tuesday night, Sinn Fein TD for Sligo-Leitrim Martin Kenny, moved a bill to second stage in the Dail which is aimed at removing obstacles for people who can’t get planning to build one-off houses in rural areas. The amendment to the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act 1977 empower local authorities to grant a waste water discharge license to people who want to build in circumstance where a percolation test has been failed. Deputy Kenny says this would move away from the zero-discharge rule which has prevented many people buildings houses in every part of rural Ireland in recent years. The Sinn Fein TD says it’s a small measure which could have a hugely positive effect in tackling rural de-population. He cited that in Leitrim, the changes to the rules would enable in the region of twenty-five to thirty-five houses a year be built, noting it would not be a free-for-all.
A woman, whose body was found in a house in Castlerea, has been named locally as Susan Seymore. The 66-year-old’s remains were found at her home at Carrowbehy on Thursday of last week, but it is understood she may have been dead for up to a month. Her body was removed to Roscommon University Hospital mortuary, and a post-mortem examination was conducted. A private cremation took place on Monday. In other news, the 57-year-old man, whose body was found in a lake near Loughglynn last week has been named as Micheál Waldron. The funeral mass of the man from Cloonfower, Castlerea was held in St Brigid’s Church, Cloonbonniffe, on Tuesday, and was followed by his burial afterwards in St Joseph’s Cemetery, Castlerea. It is understood that neither of the two incidents are being treated as suspicious.
McSharry on GLAS
Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim, Marc Mac Sharry, has called on the Agriculture Minister to ensure that all GLAS payments are made to farmers before Christmas. New information released this week reveals that almost 13% of farmers across the North West of the country are still waiting for their balancing payment to be made. The figure is highest in Donegal, where almost 20% of farmers have not received their final payment. Deputy MacSharry commented: “A total of 10,807 farmers across Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon were eligible for payment under the 2017 GLAS scheme. However, 1,391 farmers are still waiting for the final 15% payment. This is disappointing as it is now mid-November, and Christmas is less than seven weeks away,” continuing to say: “GLAS payments form an integral part of farm incomes across the North West, and delays in payment can have an impact on cash flow for the business and for the family. Deputy McSharry called on the Minister to act: “I am calling on the Department of Agriculture to work through any of the administrative delays and ensure that farmers get the money they are owed as quickly as possible,” before concluding by saying: “We are now moving to a point where 2018 payments will soon start to be issued, and I think it would better for all concerned if the 2017 payments were closed off quickly.”
This week, Roscommon Civil Defence’s Water Unit was involved in the rescue of two vessels on the River Shannon. The first boat, which had two people onboard, lost power while approaching the lock gates at Rooskey. The vessel was drifting towards a collision with another boat which was marooned, with the crew having lost control of the vessel. The marooned vessel was on the buoy-line safety-barrier at the weir in Rooskey until the Civil Defence intervened. The boat was towed to safety and passengers were transported to Dromod. The second boat, which was marooned, was towed upstream to safe waters and the crew regained control of their vessel. Thankfully, there have been no reports of injuries from the incidents.
On Monday (26th November), works will begin to be carried out by Farrans Construction Ltd to upgrade the public water infrastructure between the R371/L-1415 junction and River Shannon Bridge in Rooskey. Irish Water will have commissioned the works and the company has advised it will take up to ten weeks to complete. In partnership with Roscommon County Council, Irish Water will replace 860 meters of aged cast iron pipes with plastic ones. The state agency says it’s expecting the replacements will be finalised by the end of January 2019 and works will be limited to short sections off pipe in order to minimise impact on customers and local residents.
The annual erecting of the Christmas lights is already underway in Strokestown, and the committee are making great progress this year, and are very thankful to several new volunteers who have lent a hand so far this year. The old adage that many hands make little work could not be relative than with Christmas lights in Strokestown. The group will be out again over the next couple of weekends putting up Christmas lights around Strokestown and are always happy for more volunteers to help out. If you are interested in helping, you can contact Mike Snype on (087) 913 2936 for details of where and when the group meet.
This week Gerard Mooney (38), who has an address at Castlerea, was before the Central Criminal Court and was arraigned by the registrar. The West-Roscommon man pleaded guilty to attempting to murder a woman last year. He had previously pleaded guilty to threatening to kill her and to harassing her over the previous days. Mooney pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Stephanie Clifton on 12th February 2017 at Cartron, Carrick on Shannon. He had previously been arraigned before the court on a number of related counts and had pleaded guilty.
Mooney previously admitted to committing burglary, on the 12th of February 2017, at the home of Stephen O’Donoghue in Cartron, Carrick-on-Shannon. This involved him entering as a trespasser and committing assault causing harm to Stephanie Clifton. He also admitted to the possession of a shotgun, making a threat to kill or cause serious harm to Ms Clifton, and the criminal damage of Mr O’Donoghue’s door. Further, Mooney pleaded guilty to harassing Ms Clifton by persistently following, watching, pestering, besetting, or communicating with her between the 7th and 12th of February 2017.
Mooney was due to go on trial for the attempted murder of Ms Clifton next May, but that date was vacated yesterday following his plea. Michael Bowman SC, who appeared for the defendant, requested a urinalysis report and a Governor’s report for his client from Castlerea Prison. Mr Justice Michael White directed the preparation of the requested reports along with the preparation of a victim impact statement by Ms Clifton. The accused was remanded in custody for sentencing on Tuesday 18th December.
This week, Roscommon Drama Group will take to the stage at Roscommon Arts Centre, with their production of John B Keane's classic, Moll. Moll, the new housekeeper brings great promise for the Parish Priest, Canon Pratt, and his two curates. However, with the passage of time, Moll turns out to be a tryrant, who bestows all of her culinary favours on the Canon and makes life a misery for his two 'half-starved henchmen'. Under the direction of Margaret Madden, and starring a host of familiar Roscommon faces, you are invited to join Roscommon Drama Group for three fantastic nights of theatre on; Thursday 22nd, Friday 23rd, and Saturday 24th of November from 8 pm each evening. Tickets are selling fast, so book yours now at box office on 09066 25824 or from roscommonartscentre.ie.