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.
€4k for Charity
June Belton launched herself into the public eye in September, when she held an art exhibition in the Backstage Theatre. Her artwork was on display in the Atrium Gallery during September, when it was auctioned off in aid of St Luke's Hospital. June found out this week that the auction she held to sell her artwork for charity raised a staggering €4,286. This up and coming local artist was inspired to take up painting by her late son, Derek, who passed away after a battle with cancer.
Angie Myles, of The Golden Health Store in Longford, has won this year’s Pat Curran Award for Excellence in Customer Service. Ms Myles was presented with the award, a €500 cash prize as well as a charitable donation of €500, by PPC Ltd and Eskimo-3. Ms Myles decided to present the charitable donation to CASA (Caring and Sharing Association) in Longford. The customers and the readers of Rude Health Magazine, the official magazine of the Irish association of Health Stores, nominated individuals for the Pat Curran Award. Angie, who is native of County Leitrim, has been a nutritional therapist for nearly 20 years.
New Roscommon Hospice
The new hospice building planned for Roscommon town is set to include separate accommodation for families who wish to stay on-site with patients. €6 million euro has been allocated for the building project. The site on the Athlone road is being developed by the Roscommon-Mayo Hospice. The hospice campus will include eight-bedroom suites, along with private outdoor spaces. People of all ages will receive full medical care and therapeutic support, and services will be available to patients receiving long term illness care or end of life care. It is understood that plans will be submitted to Roscommon County Council in the coming week, and it is anticipated that the building works will take a year and it is estimated that the project will be completed by January 2021, at which time funding from the HSE will be made available to support the operation of the services.
Éabha Kenny, from Cloontuskert, Co Roscommon, is a second-year student at the Convent of Mercy, Roscommon town. She will represent Ireland in May 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona at the Broadcom Masters, as part of the International Science and Engineering Fair. The Roscommon student has been named as the overall winner of the Broadcom Masters Award at the SciFest National Final, which was held in Dublin last Friday. The Broadcom Masters International programme will consist of twenty-eight delegates representing twenty-five countries. While attending the Intel ISEF, delegates will participate in the Broadcom Masters International programme which includes, selected Intel ISEF events, an outreach day, and additional specialized events. The very best of good luck to Ms Kenny in her ventures.
Robbery and assault
Longford Gardaí have thanked the public for their help in relation to an incident in which a woman was robbed and a man injured. Last Wednesday night, a woman was followed from Longford train station to a car park where she was robbed, and a young man who intervened to help her was assaulted and received injuries as a result. Gardai issued an appeal for information about the event on Friday, and say there was a great response from members of the public. A canvas for witnesses took place on Wednesday evening last, on the Dublin to Sligo train, the same service which the lady had used the previous week. It is understood that three people have appeared in court in relation to the incident to date.
Council rent hikes
Roscommon County Council has said that its recent rent review process is based on a formula that is handed down by the Department of Local Government. The local authority has confirmed that it is currently carrying out a process to update tenant information which they hold on file and utilise to calculate social housing tenant rents, in order to ensure that correct rent is calculated and charged to tenants of social housing. The method by which rent is calculated has not changed and is based on the income of the entire household. Despite it being a clear condition of receiving social housing support that tenants are obliged to report any changes in their household income when they arise, the changes in income are rarely notified to the council. As a result of this review, some tenants are reporting increases of up to 30 per cent or more. However, the local authority says the increases in rent are proportional to the unreported increase in household income.
Grant Thornton has confirmed that is intends to hire 400 new staff over the coming two-years to fill vacancies in their financial services, advisory, tax, and audit departments as well as further specialist consulting positions. Many of the new additions will be based at the accountancy company’s head offices in Dublin. The remaining posts are coming on stream at other branches in Longford, Belfast, Cork, Galway, Kildare, and Limerick. Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, has said that the investment by Grant Thornton is a "vote of confidence" in the Irish economy. “The financial services sector is a cornerstone of our economy,” he said, before concluding that the Government remained committed to supporting the creation of “high calibre jobs” in the financial services sector.
Drugs worth €570,000 seized
On 12th of November, as part of an ongoing investigation by the Dublin North Central Divisional Drugs Unit into the sale and supply of controlled substances in Dublin’s north inner city, a 34-year-old woman was stopped in the Dublin 7 area. In the course of a search, it is alleged that cannabis herb with an estimated street value of up to €20,000 and methamphetamine with an estimated street value of up to €22,000 (pending analysis) were seized. A follow-up search was conducted at a residence on the North Circular Road. This search is alleged to have yielded a seizure of cannabis, methamphetamine, amphetamine and cocaine with a combined estimated street value of up to €528,000 (pending analysis). Two men in their 30s were arrested at the scene.
Scientist with Longford roots discovers new way to tackle cancer
A scientist, with Longford roots, has devised a new method to help fight cancer. Dr Shane Cronin's research has shown that by activating the immune system with the hormone Serotonin, the body can fight the deadly disease more effectively. The Longford man, who made the discovery while working at Harvard, published his ground-breaking paper on this new method of activating the immune system in the medical journal ‘Nature’. Dr Cronin is the son of well-known Ballyjamesduff newsagent, Fintan Cronin, who is originally from St Patrick's Terrace, Longford, and the late Phyllis Cronin.
An ambulance crew which had been moved from Carrick-on-Shannon was returned to be based there on Thursday morning. The news came at a meeting which took place at the unit on Wednesday morning between a senior HSE official, union representatives, and local politicians. Cllr Caillian Ellis who arranged the meeting has been told that the unit will serve as a temporary base for up to six-months and planning permission will be lodged shortly for a new permanent base on the same site in Carrick.
On Saturday November 24th in the Percy French Hotel at 8 pm Strokestown Community Development Association are hosting a night not to be missed. The novel fundraising event ‘The Late Late Toy and Variety Show’ will be compered by comedian and actor, Katherine Lynch and will feature talent from comedian Frank Forde, as well as Miriam Gunn and other local talent. A spectacular night of chat, comedy, music, dance, and toys is promised. All proceeds are for the benefit of the SCDA community playground fund.
There is fantastic concert coming up in Rooskey Church on November 24th featuring the renowned Andy Cooney and Rooskey’s Emer Reynolds. The Conquerors and the Roscommon Solstice Choir will also feature in what will inevitably be an excellent night of entertainment. Proceeds from the night are in aid of the Chernobyl Children’s Project.
Foreign-direct investment in the Democrat region has come in for further scrutiny after the publication of the number of site visits made by the IDA to the region were revealed. Figures released this week show that in the third quarter of this year, only one IDA site visit took place in Roscommon, while Longford only saw two and there were none in Leitrim. So far this year, just nine site visits have been made by the IDA to this area, with Leitrim accounting for five of the nine visits, all in the first half of the year. The IDA claims that the number of site visits does not always reflect investment potential in a county.
The former Whitehouse Hotel in Ballinlough, West Roscommon has closed. Padraic Whelan has run the hotel at Ballinlough since May of last year. Mr Whelan has been renting the 18-room premises from owner Peter Kennedy and it is understood that it was doing a good weekend trade and was popular for functions. Unfortunately, this week Mr Whelan confirmed that the property has ceased trading, with the loss of five part-time jobs. He has thanked his customers for their loyal support during his tenure at the hotel.
Digging up some fun at Roscommon Arts Centre
After a busy few weeks of children’s events, Roscommon Arts Centre have one final family theatre show taking place before the end of the year. ‘The Dig’ takes to the stage on Saturday 17th November at 12 pm and again at 2 pm and it’s the perfect family show.
All his life, Mac has wanted to be an Archaeologist, to be an expert in finding things and working out what they mean. If only he could stick to the facts and not get carried away with his Granny’s highfalutin stories, but in a world where facts and figures mean so much more than fairy tales and fantasies, Mac has to dig deeper to prove that what he finds is what he thinks it is. Will people believe him, or is this just another one of his tall tales?
From the team that brought you ‘Bake!’ and ‘Roadworks’, writer and performer, Paul Curley, with designer. Ger Clancy, in collaboration with award-winning theatre artist, Robert Evans, bring this brand-new adventure to life. ‘The Dig’ spins a classic yarn in a brand-new light which will delight and charm audiences both young and old. Suitable for ages six and over, tickets are available now from Roscommon Arts Centre on 09066 25824 and from www.roscommonartscentre.ie. This show is supported by The Arts Council Theatre Project Award and the Irish Theatre Institute.
Roscommon Solstice Choir will be performing four concerts this Christmas for charities in Roscommon, Galway, and Cavan. One of our concerts will be in Croghan, just outside Boyle. The Roscommon Solstice Choir is happy to announce that they will be performing a concert in St Michael's Church, Croghan on Sunday 16th December at 8 pm. The concert is being held in aid of Cavetown Residents Development Company Ltd and the Croghan National School choir will be special guests on the night. Tickets are currently on sale locally and will also be available on the door. The event promises to be a great night of Christmas cheer for a very worthy cause. More information can be found at facebook.com/roscommon.solstice.choir.
(Picture in drive Roscommon Solstice Choir executive committee members James Hoban, Eimear Reynolds, Catherine Murray, Siobhán Menton and Andrew Reynolds)
Roscommon Arts Centre present a series of
Professional Development Workshops
Over the coming weeks, Roscommon Arts Centre are presenting a series of professional development workshops. The workshops are aimed at artists, writers, and all creative types who are interested in developing skills to showcase their works.
The first workshop is a digital images workshops, entitled ‘Getting the basics right’ with Tim Durham. It takes place in Roscommon Library on the Tuesday 27th of November from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission to the workshop is €10 and this admission charge includes lunch. The day-long workshop is about the processes of preparing, cataloguing, and storing digital image files. This workshop will cover the when, why, and how of preparing digital image files. Participants wishing to attend should have some basic familiarity with creating, saving, and finding files on their PC or Mac.
The second event is a book binding workshop entitled ‘Read that image’, takes place on Tuesday the 4th of December from 1 pm to 4 pm in Roscommon Library. Admission to this event is €20 and lunch is also included. Led by members of Photobook Design Collective, participants will be introduced to the craft of bookbinding and learn about the different papers, materials, and tools needed to create their own hand-bound books. Members of the ‘Read that image’ team will guide participants, step-by-step, through various bookbinding techniques. Workshop participants will leave with their own unique handmade notebooks and the knowledge and understanding of how to apply these binding techniques to their projects. The techniques taught can be used to create all sorts of books from journals and notebooks to artist books and zines. The workshop is suitable for beginners and all materials are included in the admission fee. These RVAF Professional Development workshops are funded through Creative Ireland. Places for both workshops are limited, so book your space now at the Roscommon Arts Centre box office by calling 090 6625824.