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Roscommon Garda receives National Bravery Award

 

 

A Garda from Roscommon Town was recently presented with a National Bravery Award for his role in helping to save a woman’s life in Dublin last year.

  On October the 31st 2018, Garda Donal Tully and another Garda observed a young woman in the sea at White Rock, Killiney, Co. Dublin.

  Garda Tully immediately entered the sea, swam a considerable distance out to the woman and attempted to rescue her. Garda Gavin, who had located a lifebuoy, entered the water at knee-level to assist Garda Tully. Both Gardaí were then able to pull the woman to safety.

  For his actions, Garda Donal Tully was awarded a Bronze Medal and Certificate of Bravery. The presentation took place at Farmleigh House, Dublin.

  Garda Tully, of Castle Manor, Roscommon, is son of Anne and the late Tim Tully.

 

 

Cuisle closure: A Friday afternoon bombshell

 

 

The rumours of an imminent meeting began to circulate on Wednesday of last week…two days before the bombshell meeting. For some Cuisle employees, the wait was shorter. Many of the staff only heard on Thursday that a meeting had been called for Friday. Some say they never got any official word of the meeting at all.

  Staff whom the Roscommon People have spoken to insist they have never believed that closure of the Cuisle Centre was even remotely ‘on the cards’. Yes, they knew there were ongoing financial pressures, they knew too that the building needed some ‘work’. But closure? Never.

  A staff member told me: “We had been told, on and off over the last two years, that management was trying to source funding…for electrical works, and so on. We didn’t for one moment think there was any risk of closure. We work in the disability sector…there’s a meeting at the end of the year, there’s a budget, there’s a funding deficit, every organisation wants more money. Nothing unusual in any of that. You hear it every year…you just keep working”.

  The staff had become used to that narrative…year in, year out. For the most part, the staff have been extremely happy in Cuisle. They have the normal ups and downs that are experienced in any workplace. As for the building, they like their physical work environment, but they know it’s not perfect. Not perfect, and subject to the usual financial budgetary tensions. But closure? Never.

  When staff heard about the meeting, many of them were concerned. But they did not expect the bombshell. The meeting began just after 2 pm on Friday. There were two ‘HR people’ present, along with Mr. Tony Cunningham, Director of Housing and Holidays with the IWA. Within ten minutes, the dye had been cast. Closure on the 29th of November. The need for electrical works, and a shortfall in required funding, was put forward as the reason for the closure.

  The message came as a monumental shock to the staff. They were dumbfounded. Some people were in tears. 48 staff. A lot of emotion, a lot of shock. A source says that, on average, staff members have been there “ten or twelve years”.

  After taking a few minutes to deal with the shock, a few people mustered some questions. The IWA now began to talk of the need for a new care model. Staff expressed concern for service users, people from all over the country who will be dismayed – in some cases distraught – at this news. Many of those people visit once or twice a year; many of them have built close relationships with staff. They know ‘Donamon’ and they love Donamon. 

  All weekend, employees of Cuisle sought to come to terms with the news. Shock turned to anger. So many questions.

  Why was there no warning? Were genuine efforts made to secure funding? Why, if funding is the issue, is the focus just as quickly switched to the ‘shift in best practice,’ i.e. a move towards ‘accessible hotel holidays’? Which is it…funding or a policy switch? If it’s funding, is it €1.2m, €1.5m, €2m? Why isn’t there more transparency? Why isn’t there any transparency? Why was the IWA CEO not engaging in public on the issue?

  “We believe this is closure by stealth” a staff source says. “And it was savage that it was announced on a Friday afternoon. Obviously we don’t agree with the closure, but they couldn’t even do it on a phased basis. It’s an attack on their own service. People are so let down.

  “It’s anguish for us as employees, but what is it for the service users? The reaction from service users nationally has been just unbelievable. People are distressed”.

  Cuisle is, after all, a resort…a service provider for people. Many service users have built up a special rapport with staff over the years. Emotions are running high now. One woman rang a trusted staff member and said: “Will you please keep in touch with me in the future, even if there’s no Cuisle…”

  Another upset caller said: “I’m really scared…please don’t give up the campaign to save it”.

  We are in a very strange situation now. The staff, the service users, the politicians, the Divine Word Missionaries, the community…all want Cuisle to stay open, and furthermore, they all seem to take the IWA ‘position’ with some scepticism. Trust? It’s not there. 

  A staff source says some employees believe this can be reversed. That staff member is less sure. “It would take people having to do a u-turn…and ego is the downfall of humanity…but a bit of real humanity goes a long way”.

  A service user from Dublin rang a member of staff they’re friendly with…to discuss the unexpected bombshell. Questions, answers, tears. She loves Cuisle, and keeps coming back. Now this. She had one final question.

  “Why do people make it so hard for us?”

 

 

 

Courthouse: Flanagan to meet Courts Service today

 

Denis Naughten TD has received confirmation from the Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan, TD that the Courts Service is actively seeking an alternative location in Roscommon Town for the duration of refurbishment works to the courthouse.

  The Roscommon-Galway TD previously met with Minister Flanagan on the issue and proposed a number of alternative locations to him that could accommodate the Courts Service in the town.

  “Minister Flanagan has informed me that he is meeting with the Courts Service (today, Thursday) on this issue and confirmed that he will be updated on possible alternative locations. I am hopeful there will be progress on the retention of the courts in Roscommon town as a result. 

  “The refurbishment of the courthouse is urgently needed, and this is an issue that I had prioritised during my time in government. I also met with Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran recently regarding the refurbishment works and the timescale for completion of this substantial project”.

 

Major investment for Monksland

 

 

 

 

Deputy Denis Naughten and Senator Maura Hopkins have both welcomed the allocation of Government funding of €2.75m and a further €900,000 by Roscommon County Council to develop a new life sciences innovation hub in Monksland in Athlone. Senator Hopkins has claimed that the funding was allocated on foot of her engagement on issues with Minister Michael Ring, while Denis Naughten has pointed out that he was a member of the initial sub-committee which developed the project,

  The funding is to refurbish a disused building in Monksland Business Park into a life sciences and co-working hub to support existing rural enterprises requiring high speed broadband and support for start-up companies.

  The hub will build on the software and life sciences businesses in the Monksland area and will be funded through the Rural Regeneration & Development Fund announced by Minister Michael Ring on Wednesday. 

  The project, which was initially spearheaded by Athlone Chamber and supported by Roscommon LEADER Partnership, is now being promoted in conjunction with Roscommon County Council and Enterprise Ireland.

  Denis Naughten, who was a member of the initial sub-committee which developed the project, said: “Many small and start-up businesses outside of the main towns are struggling to access quality broadband that can make their enterprise a success and this project can help fill that void.

  “Over time this project has expanded to become a potential key driver of new jobs not just in Monksland but in the towns around our region, by attracting innovative start-up companies into our area”.

  Senator Hopkins said that she recently brought Minister Ring to Co. Roscommon and these funds had been secured as a result. She said: “I am pleased to have worked closely with Minister Ring and Roscommon County Council on this application. By supporting start-ups in the life sciences sector, it will consolidate the existing presence in the area and will provide a route to major growth in the pharma sector right across the region”.

  Senator Hopkins concluded: “I want to thank Minister Michael Ring for making this funding available and I will be continuing to work closely with him to ensure that we can secure further investment for other projects to increase job opportunities across Roscommon and Galway”.

 

 

News…at a glance - November 8th

 

 

Ballintubber Defibrillator Church gate collection

Ballintubber Defibrillator Group is holding its annual Church gate collection this Saturday and Sunday (9th and 10th  of November). 

  There are currently three defibrillators in the parish, one in the village opposite the Church, one at the head of Carane Road and one at the Enfield GAA pitch. The group is endeavouring to encourage new people to train to use the defibrillators and will be holding more training very soon. The aim would be that every household would have someone trained to use a defibrillator and be able to resuscitate someone in need if required. 

  The defibrillators, batteries and their covers are quite costly and your support for the Church gate collection would be greatly appreciated.

Saint Vincent de Paul Church gate collections

Saint Vincent de Paul, Roscommon Conference, is holding its annual Christmas Church gate collection this Saturday and Sunday, November 9th and 10th at Roscommon and Kilteevan Churches. Your support and generosity would be gratefully appreciated.

North Galway Vintage and Heritage Club Autojumble

The North Galway Vintage and Heritage Club will host its annual Autojumble this Sunday (10th) at Glenamaddy Equestrian Centre.

  There will up to 50 trade stands and car boot traders on the day with items for sale such as parts for both vintage and new machinery, including cars and tractors, service tools both new and second-hand, bric-a-brac, crafts, and small food producers. Visitors to the Autojumble may also discover antiques, clothing, footwear and many other items on the day.

  Other attractions on the day include the club’s vintage display and a model diecast display.

  This is the club’s final event of the year and traders are welcome by invitation only. For more information, contact Ted on 086-4553776, Mike on 087-2967040/087-4357346 or Danny on 086-8510445; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or follow the North Galway Vintage and Heritage Club on Facebook or www.ngvhv.com.

Roscommon Town ICA Guild meeting

The next Roscommon Town ICA Guild meeting takes place in Hannon’s Hotel, Roscommon town on Tuesday, November 12th at 8 pm.

  Members are asked to please make every effort to attend. There will be a wine tasting and cheese reception on the night.

  For those interested in joining the Roscommon Town ICA Guild, please contact 086-8230754 for more details.

Church gate collection for Ballinderry Old Graveyard

The annual Church gate collection in aid of the Ballinderry Old Graveyard restoration project will take place in Fourmilehouse this Saturday and Sunday, November 9th and 10th. All support would be gratefully appreciated.

Public meeting ahead of Shoebox Appeal

The annual Team Hope Shoebox Appeal returns to Co. Roscommon and organisers have called a public meeting at Hannon’s Hotel, Roscommon town tonight (Thursday 7th) from 8 pm. Those wishing to volunteer this year are invited to come along as Team Hope seek help with school shoebox collections across the county, as well as sorting boxes, and sourcing fillers. Donations are also needed to fill shoeboxes, which will be delivered to children in some of the poorest parts of the world.

  For more information, visit www.teamhope.ie or text 085-7320027.

Rosary at Kileenan and Ardcarne Graveyards

The Rosary will be recited in Kileenan and Ardcarne Graveyards at 2 pm and 3 pm respectively on Sunday, November 17th.

Mass at Knock Shrine this Sunday

Mass will be held at Knock Shrine this Sunday (November 10th) at 3 pm for all parents who have lost children. Those wishing to have the names of loved ones included in prayers are asked to attend at 2.30 pm.

 

Justice Minister pledges support for ‘staying local’

 

Roscommon politicians were quick out of the blocks in their response to the Roscommon People’s exclusive report last Thursday on the uncertain future facing court services in Roscommon Town.

  Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins made it her business to meet Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan that morning.

  At that meeting, Senator Hopkins emphasised to Minister Flanagan that it would not be acceptable for the Courts Service to move out of Roscommon Town.

  “Minister Flanagan informed me that he had been in contact with the Courts Service on Thursday morning and had advised the Courts Service that an alternative venue should be secured in Roscommon Town immediately in order to allow for continuation of court sittings in the town”.

  Accepting that the mooted refurbishment works will take a number of years to complete – “a minimum of five years” – Senator Hopkins said that she asked Minister Flanagan to explore the possibility of completing interim works in order to facilitate safe access to Roscommon Courthouse and permit court sittings while the larger refurbishment works are planned.

  Independent TD Denis Naughten told Shannonside Radio that he also met with Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan on Thursday morning, when the story broke. Deputy Naughten said that Minister Flanagan had made direct contact with the Courts Service and expressed his (Minister Flanagan’s) strong preference that the courts would be retained in Roscommon Town while the refurbishment work is ongoing.

  Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice said that court sittings must be retained in Roscommon town over the period (expected to be many years’) of refurbishment work.

  In a statement issued to the Roscommon People, Deputy Fitzmaurice said: “There are plenty of suitable buildings around the town of Roscommon which could easily accommodate court sittings.

  “The Courts Service must look at renting an alternative building while the restoration works are completed.

  “The court sittings must continue to be held in the town. If they are moved to a neighbouring town like Carrick-on-Shannon or Ballinasloe, it would be a big loss to local businesses – such as restaurants and shops.

  “It would also be hugely inconvenient for solicitors practising in the town of Roscommon and people in the area who may have to attend a court date”.

  Deputy Fitzmaurice said that he had contacted the Courts Service directly to voice his support for the court sittings remaining in Roscommon town.

 

 

 

 

‘We’ll look for alternative venue in Roscommon Town’

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Courts Service responds to outcry over future of court sittings

 

The Courts Service has said that it will seek out alternative venues in Roscommon town in which to house court sittings as it prepares to close Roscommon Courthouse to allow for major refurbishment work.

 

  It has also indicated that the closure, which was to be effective from the beginning of January, will now be put back to the end of March, although it “cannot be guaranteed that there will be no problems between now and then”. The Courts Service acquired the building from Roscommon County Council in 2018.

  Last week the Roscommon People reported that the Courts Service was planning to close Roscommon Courthouse in January, with a view to major refurbishment works taking place. The Courts Service had been planning to switch Roscommon court sittings to other towns, with Carrick-on-Shannon earmarked for Circuit Court sittings and Castlerea to host the District Court.

  The plans were strongly criticised by the Roscommon Bar Association, which stated that moving local sittings to neighbouring towns was “utterly unacceptable”. On foot of the Roscommon People story, there was an immediate robust response from local politicians, who have insisted that court sittings must be accommodated in Roscommon Town over the duration of the refurbishment project.  

  The Courts Service met with local solicitors, Gardai and the prison service last Thursday afternoon.

  In a statement on behalf of the Roscommon Bar Association, its Secretary, Sean Mahon said: “The immediate concern of the solicitors was that the court would not close in January and that the Courts Service had not sourced an alternative venue in Roscommon Town. The Courts Service had decided that the District Court was going to move to Castlerea and the Circuit Court to Carrick-on-Shannon. Thankfully the Courts Service responded to the concerns raised and confirmed that they are now seeking alternative premises in Roscommon to accommodate both the District Court and the Circuit Court.

  “The Court Service have agreed to continue to liaise with the solicitors and a further meeting is in the process of being organised.

  “The solicitors are adamant that there are an abundance of properties in Roscommon that will accommodate both the District Court and the Circuit Court and that there can be no suggestion of either court moving to another town.

  “The solicitors shall continue to consult with the Court Service and assist them in finding an alternative venue in Roscommon Town”.

 

Stolen property worth over €30,000 recovered

 

Gardaí from Castlerea, Claremorris and Tubbercurry recovered stolen property worth €30,600 following searches of residential premises’ in the Ballinlough area of Co. Roscommon.

  The searches followed a successful operation by Claremorris Gardaí which uncovered a stolen bicycle frame in Ballyhaunis on Tuesday, October 22nd.

  During follow-up searches a number of items were recovered including a bicycle frame worth €5,000, which is believed to have been stolen in the UK in September, as well as €4,000 worth of power tools which are believed to have been taken from the Tubbercurry and Ballinagare areas in November 2018 and August 2019 respectively.

  Three motorbikes valued at approximately €15,000 were also seized in the operation and enquiries are ongoing to confirm whether the vehicles have also been reported stolen in the UK.

  Further tools and bicycle frames and components believed to be stolen and valued at €3,000 were also recovered as part of the operation. The total value of property recovered during this operation was €30,600. 

  Enquiries are ongoing by Castlerea Gardaí regarding identifying owners for outstanding property recovered. 

  Castlerea Superintendent Goretti Sheridan said: “This was a great detection by Gardaí from across three neighbouring Districts. The operation by An Garda Síochána in support of Operation Thor highlights the importance of householders and businesses recording serial numbers and descriptions of their property. This has allowed the identification and recovery of property in this operation. This is especially important in the run-up to Christmas and the New Year with the purchase of valuable gifts and items.

  “We would appeal to members of the public who become aware of people offering goods in suspicious circumstances or at suspiciously low prices to bring this to the attention of An Garda Síochána. This can be done by contacting their local Garda station (Castlerea 094-9621630) or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111”.

 

We’ll try and stay open to end of March – Courts Service CEO

 

 

 

 

Roscommon Courthouse may continue to host court sittings up to the 30th of March 2020, although that ‘cannot be guaranteed’. 

  That’s according to correspondence sent to Senator Terry Leyden by the CEO of the Courts Service last Thursday morning, prior to the latter’s meeting with members of Roscommon Bar Association and local Gardai.

  In the correspondence, the Courts Service provided some clarity on its intentions with regard to the building, which it purchased in 2018.

  On foot of enquiries submitted by Senator Leyden last Thursday, Angela Denning, Chief Executive Officer of the Courts Service, said that if there are issues between now and March with regard to holding court sittings in Roscommon Courthouse, the intention was to move District Court sittings to Castlerea and Circuit Court sittings to Carrick-on-Shannon. However, the Courts Service would continue to “look for alternative venues in Roscommon town to house the District Court, and where possible the Circuit Court”.

  In her correspondence to Senator Leyden, Ms. Denning also provided some information on the refurbishment works required. She wrote: “The Office of Public Works have been conducting various surveys of the building since we took possession of it and, in common with many old buildings, the main areas of focus were the electrical works and the roof.

  “Based on initial surveys, it was estimated earlier in the year that €350K would have to be put aside for electrical works. However, at a meeting with OPW on Friday 4th October 2019, the M&E Experts indicated that the cost of the electrical works alone will total at least €450K. In addition, following the collapse of a ceiling in a jury room on the ground floor of the courthouse, investigations were carried out on the condition of the roof and it appears it too needs considerable work. In total, it appears that it would be likely to cost at least €1m to repair the roof and electrical works.

  “At the same meeting, the proposal was put to the OPW about completing some small remedial works in order to keep the Courthouse open until 30th of March 2020. While no attendee indicated opposition to this, it cannot be guaranteed that there will be no problems between now and then. If there are, the proposal is that Circuit Court sittings will move to Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim while District Court sittings will move to Castlerea Courthouse in Co. Roscommon as an interim measure.

  “Work is underway to look for alternative venues in Roscommon town to house the District Court, and where possible the Circuit Court”.

 

 

Murphy to host insurance forum on Monday

 

 

 

Pat McDonagh of Supermac’s a guest speaker

 

Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon-Galway Eugene Murphy is to host an insurance forum with guest speakers including CEO of Supermac’s, Pat McDonagh.

  The forum will take place in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon on Monday, November the 4th, starting at 8 pm. Other speakers will include Fianna Fáil Business Spokesperson Robert Troy TD, Neil McDonnell, Chief Executive of ISME, and Martin Mulligan of Mulligan’s Service Station in Athlone.

  Speaking ahead of the forum Deputy Murphy has called on the Government to take urgent action to tackle rising insurance costs for businesses, families and motor insurance customers. The Roscommon-Galway TD believes the situation is now unsustainable and says that sustained government action is required to tackle the problem.

  Deputy Murphy believes Mr. McDonagh is a suitable main guest speaker for the insurance forum as the founder of Supermac’s has campaigned for insurance reform. The Fianna Fáil TD states that Mr. McDonagh’s words will resonate with many business people in the region.

  “Across the board, we have seen excessive and exorbitant increases in the cost of obtaining insurance, and it is forcing many policy holders to make a choice about whether to keep paying or not. By organising this forum in Roscommon, I would hope that similar-type events would be organised throughout the country.

  “We cannot allow these costs rise unabated; we must ensure that Ireland remains a competitive place to both live and work. Inaction is no longer acceptable. With Brexit and an ever more uncertain world, we need to address these areas that hurt our cost competitiveness. High insurance costs hurt jobs, businesses and households”.

 

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