Highlights of Minister for Social Protection and Community and Rural Development Heather Humphreys’ whirlwind tour of Roscommon last Thursday included a significant funding announcement, five official openings, a live radio interview, and one broken picture frame!
The €281,000 under the Community Support Fund has been warmly welcomed by local projects and public representatives while there were also plenty of kind words for the minister at each of her Roscommon engagements on Thursday last.
Minister Humphreys herself was in fine form and gave of her time generously, too generously in fact for some of her entourage, who wondered aloud if the journey from Roscommon to Ballaghaderreen could be achieved in 20 minutes.
Everyone was happy to see her at the West Business Park on the Golf Links Road, where she cut the ribbon on a shared premises for Citizens’ Information, MABS and the National Advocacy Service.
It was a nice, easy start to the minister’s visit as Master of Ceremonies Ciaran Mullooly quoted such luminaries as Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, and Benjamin Franklin.
Unfortunately it was one of Benjy’s old friends, gravity, that led to the only mark on an otherwise unblemished day, when a framed plaque to mark the minister’s visit achieved ‘absolute levity’, crashing to the floor before it could be officially unveiled.
Later, at the officially opening of The Cube FlexiSpace, Minister Humphreys gave a special shout out to the Roscommon minor camogie team recently won an All-Ireland title, before highlighting the fundraising exploits of local Senators Aisling Dolan and Eugene Murphy.
“They’re not slow about shaking me down for a few bob because there’s always more money needed and they’ll be on the phone to me and meeting me on the corridor and saying ‘What about? What about?’ They’re not doing too badly,” she said.
“In fact, up in Monaghan they’d say they’re doing ‘rightly’ because (they’ve got) nearly €42 million since 2020 and that’s only the Department of Community and Rural Development, the smallest department!”
The minister’s charm offensive later moved on to Ballaghaderreen where she made her big funding announcement while it’s believed that no further plaques were harmed following yet more ribbon cutting at Lough O’Flynn and Ballinlough.