Mayo News

  • A €31 million project has been approved for an ambitious four-year floating offshore wind project in Belmullet. Subject to consenting, it is planned that a full-scale floating wind turbine be deployed for testing off the west coast of Ireland at a Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) test site near Belmullet, Co. Mayo, by 2022. The project is led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) working in partnership with SEAI, SAIPEM and other organisations in France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the UK.

    Funding for the project has been secured from Interreg North West Europe to accelerate the uptake of floating offshore wind. The project will demonstrate the survivability and cost-competitiveness of a floating offshore wind technology. It will also support the development of an active supply chain in the region which has some of the strongest wind and ocean resources in the world. The project is known as AFLOWT (Accelerating market uptake of Floating Offshore Wind Technology) and is the first project of its kind at such scale to draw on expertise from right across Europe.

    The news has been welcomed by Mayo County Council, as a statement says today that the local authority has worked tirelessly alongside the SEAI over the past three years to ensure this project received the green light and funding.

    CEO of Mayo County Council Peter Hynes says the council is delighted with this project and it places Mayo at the heart of the renewable energy industry and offers huge opportunities for the development of supply chain and supporting industries to develop and flourish in the county,

  • A 13-year-old boy who had been missing in the Carrowmore-Lacken area since Friday has been found safe and well.

    Jake Bagnell went missing at around 9.30am on Friday morning.

    Gardai confirmed to Midwest News this morning that Jake has been found safe and well.

    They thanked the hundreds of local volunteers who have helped in the search since Friday and say without their assistance they may not have located Jake so quickly.

  • 37 thousand nurses have taken to the picket line for the third day today - in a row over pay and conditions, including over 100 at Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar.

    A further 25 thousand medical appointments are cancelled and the HSE says it's getting harder to reschedule as the industrial action continues.

    The Government shows no sign of budging in the dispute.

    Both sides last met 10 days ago in the Labour Court, but it decided they were too far apart to intervene.

  • Health services across the country will experience major disruption again this morning, as 37,000 nurses and midwives take to the picket line.

    A government offer of talks has been roundly rejected by their union, the INMO, as the discussions wouldn't address their pay claims.

    37,000 INMO nurses will walk off the job and onto the picket line for a second day from 8am over their dispute with the government on pay and staff shortages.

    A suggestion by Ministers Simon Harris and Paschal Donohue for talks on issues other than pay has been dismissed as "spin masquerading as substance" by the INMO. 

    Up to 50,000 people will be affected by the action.

    All outpatient appointments, surgeries and routine community nursing activities are cancelled.

    Local injury units, and nurse-led day centres for older people and those with disabilities are closed.

    The advice is to stay away from emergency departments. 

    The HSE's mental health services face disruption too, as the Psychiatric Nurses Association are extending an overtime ban tomorrow and Thursday in their own row over pay and working conditions.

    With unions and government entrenched in their views, it seems a breakthrough is a long way off.

    The Saolta University Health Care Group says today’s industrial action planned by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation will have a significant impact on patient services across all of their hospitals.

    The Saolta Group comprises of hospitals in this region including Mayo University Hospital.

    The industrial action is planned to take place at all public hospitals, healthcare facilities and community healthcare services from this morning 8am tomorrow morning.

    The Saolta Group say they are continuing to work with the INMO on arrangements for the day to ensure safe service provision; however scheduled services are cancelled.

    All Out Patient, Inpatient and Day Surgery appointments are cancelled and Roscommon University Hospital Injury Unit is also closed today.

    If a patient’s procedure is going ahead, the relevant hospital will be in contact directly with the patient to let them know.

     

  • The Achill Experience visitor attraction has been allocated €75,000 to fund a 60 square metre extension.

    The funding has been granted through the Dormant Accounts Fund in Minister Michael Ring’s Department.

    This investment will support the building of an extension to the front of the property which will contain a new enlarged entrance, retail space, rest area and cafe.

    Almost 70,000 visitors have enjoyed Achill Experince since it opened its doors in 2016.

    Minister Ring has been telling Midwest Radio that the aquarium and visitor centre is the feather in the cap of Achill.

  • The Achill Half Marathon and 10K attracts up to 1,200 participants annually. Keeping these runners hydrated required approximately 12,500 bottles of water at refreshment stations along the route. Keen to reduce the negative impact of large events on the environment, AchillTourism.com and the Achill Half Marathon committee teamed up with local secondary school, Colaiste Pobal Acla, for an alternative initiative to mark #climatestrike day. 

    The students competed in a 6k race, and rather than using single use plastic bottles, they were offered filtered water served in reusable cups

    With the help of Refill.ie, the reusable cups will be collected, steam cleaned and reused at other events around the country. Eliminating 12,500 plastic bottles from the Achill Half Marathon is just the start. The organisers hope that other events will follow suit and ultimately remove millions of bottles annually from such events.

    Earlier this year, the Achill Half Marathon was voted Ireland’s Most Scenic Route and the message from the students was that they want to do their utmost to look after it.

    This year’s race takes place on 6th July.

     

  • An Bord Pleanala has sought further information from Mayo County Council in relation to the proposed construction of a new bridge at Glenisland, on the main Castlebar to Belmullet road.

    Funding of 500,000 euro was granted in 2015 for the construction of a new bridge at Mucknagh/Kilgarriff in Glenisland and realignment works. However An Bord Pleanala has sought additional information on a number of occasions, with the latest request arriving on January 18th.

    Erris based Fine Gael Cllr Gerry Coyle says if the situation wasn’t so serious it would be amusing.

    He says he cannot understand why the planning authority cannot see the urgency in completing this project, given the safety concerns on that road.

  • Around 200 customers are without electricity this afternoon in the Achill area.

    According to ESB Powercheck, 202 customers are without power, due to a fault.

    Power is out since around 2.30pm today and the estimated restoration time is 6.15pm this evening.

  • A Ballina area councillor is calling on the developers of the Oweninny windfarm in north Mayo to provide funding for a new pedestrian crossing at Ardnaree in Ballina.

    The current pedestrian crossing in Ardnaree is not working, according to local FG Councillor John O'Hara who claims drivers are ignoring the flashing lights, and he fears a serious accident will occur unless the crossing is replaced with a push-button pedestrian crossing.

    Councillor O'Hara says that, with the Oweninny windfarm developers using this road four night per week from midnight, they should finance the pedestrian crossing as a community gesture.

  • Ballyhaunis has been highly commended in the Connacht category at this year’s Iarnród Éireann Best Station Awards. Station Manager, Matthew Garrett as well Shane Hughes of Ballyhaunis Station were at Inchicore Works to pick up their certificate. Ballyhaunis was narrowly beaten to the top spot in the Connacht category by Sligo. 

    Speaking at the awards, Station Manager Matthew Garrett said ‘Although we are disappointed to miss out on the top spot, we are proud to have made it in the top three in Connacht this year. He also thanked all the staff at Ballyhaunis who keep the station in great order

    Voting was conducted through an online poll and voting at stations, with hundreds of votes cast for Ballyhaunis. Customers were asked to rate their station under the following criteria; Customer Information, Station Appearance and Staff Helpfulness with Ballyhaunis scoring highly in all categories. The votes were cast at the end of last year.

    The Iarnród Éireann Best Station Awards reward excellence in customer facilities, cleanliness, innovation and customer service in the country’s 144 railway stations.

  • A bench in memory of the late Corporal Fintan Heneghan will be unveiled in his native Ballinrobe on Friday March 15th ahead of the 30th anniversary of his death.

    Corporal Fintan Heneghan died alongside Private Mannix Armstrong and Private Thomas Walsh on March 21, 1989 while serving with the 64th Infantry Battalion of the United Nations’ Interim Force in the Lebanon.

    They were killed when a landmine detonated in the ‘Green Rooms’ area of Lebanon, on a track that was not frequently used by peacekeeping personnel there.

    Local Fianna Fail Cllr Damien Ryan confirmed at this week’s Claremorris Municipal District meeting that the bench would be unveiled on Friday week at 2.30pm during the special ceremony in the town, which will be attended by the Defence Forces and various dignitaries.

  • A very famous face made an appearance in the west yesterday.

    U2 frontman Bono was spotted in Roscommon and Achill over the course of the day.

    Pictures on social media show the singer at Keenan’s in Tarmonbarry and then later in the day, at Lourdie’s Pub in Dooagh in Achill.

    It is believed he was visiting the island for a birthday party.

     

  • A Fianna Fail local election candidate has called for a new seawall and defence system to be put in place on the Muing Road in Belmullet.

    Sean Carey has made the call after the road was left littered with seaweed and other debris again today, despite the fact that it was not stormy last night.

    Pictures posted by local Senator Keith Swanick show the road covered in seaweed, something that happens very often according to Mr Carey.

    He told Midwest News that the new seawall and flood defence system must be installed as quickly as possible to prevent a more dangerous situation occurring.

  • A change in the contracts of HSE Carers will mean different carers calling every day to elderly clients.

    That's according to Castlebar-based Independent Councillor Michael Kilcoyne, who's concerned that there will be no consistency in the service, and that elderly people will be concerned about a number of different people calling to their homes to provide care.

    He's also concerned about security, as a number of carers may have keys to a client's home.

    Councillor Kilcoyne says he has been contacted by anxious families in relation to the change in carer's contracts, and will raise the matter at the next meeting of the HSE Regional Forum.

    Midwest News has also contacted the HSE for clarification in relation to this issue, and we're currently awaiting a response.

  • A meeting organised by Clare Island Fishermen’s Group held earlier this month, heard a number of concerns that the group have in relation to the proposed laying of a fibre optic cable in Clew Bay, connecting the US with Europe.

    Aqua Comms have applied for a foreshore licence for the cable.

    It is proposed to lay the cable in a free floating unanchored way, on a 25-30km, stretch of seabed north of Clare Island and west of Achill.

    The Clare Island Fishermen’s Group say it is proposed to hold responsible any vessel which snags this cable, which they say effectively creates a serious hazard at sea.

    The group is also concerned about where the cable is due to make landfall – close to the harbour at Old Head. They say it would cause serious issues and danger for the passenger ferries at that location.

    They are also concerned about the impact on the future development of Old Head as a possible deep sea port.

    The group is holding another meeting this Saturday at 12 noon on Clare Island and all are welcome to attend.

    In a statement to Midwest News Aqua Comms say:

    There are over one million miles of subsea cable laid across the world. They are a simple and safe technology that facilitate our phone, TV and internet communications.

    There are currently 20 cables landing in Ireland and they do not represent either an obstruction or a hazard.  

    The concerns raised by Mr O’Malley are all perfectly understandable, but we are confident that we can address each and every one.

    • The narrow 4-centimetre wide cable will be buried two meters below the seabed. 

     

    • It has a reinforced protective steel coating, weighs 4 kg per metre and cannot float.

     

    • For a small portion of rocky outcrop the cable will be fixed firmly to the seabed, by virtue of its weight and the tension applied.

     

    • The cable is too heavy and strong to be lifted by a fishing boat but if damaged, it automatically switches off.

     

    All of these issues have been discussed at a number of meetings of the regional fisheries forum which were attended by representatives of the Clare Island Fishermens’ group.

    • Finally, we have had a positive engagement with the local ferry operator and from our engagement with the Council we are confident that the cable will not hamper any future development of Old Head.

     

  • Concerns have been raised about GP services in the Bangor Erris area of north Mayo.

    It's understood the GP currently working in Bangor has been offered a job elsewhere, which he is expected to accept, and there are concerns that the vacancy in Bangor may be difficult to fill.

    That's according to Mayo Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary, who's calling on Government to make the role of a GP more attractive, as many areas of rural Ireland are struggling to recruit family doctors.

    Deputy Calleary says the HSE has struggled in recent years to recruit a GP for Bangor, and while the area is well-served by the current GP, there are concerns locally that he's set to take up another job

  • A Westport Independent Cllr. has again called for work to be carried out on footpaths along the Ballinrobe road in Westport.

    Christy Hyland says it is a densely populated area and anyone walking along that stretch at present is taking a huge risk.

    Cllr. Hyland says he has been calling for a footpath to be put in place for a number of years and has called on the senior engineer with Mayo County Council to put this on their plan.

  • The South Mayo area is in the grip of a "drug epidemic" according to a local Fianna Fail Councillor.

    The issue was discussed on Friday at a meeting of the Mayo Joint Policing Committee.

    Chief Superintendent of the Mayo Garda Division Pat Diskin told the JPC meeting that the number of drug offences detected by Gardai in Mayo has increased significantly over the past year.

    He said there were 240 detections for drug offences last year - including 51 detections for sale & supply of drugs - an increase of 122% on the previous.

    Drug cultivation offences increased by 25% last year.

    Ballinrobe-based Councillor Damien Ryan expressed concern about drug-dealing in the south Mayo area, due to its proximity to Galway city.

    Councillor Ryan said local teachers have brought the issue to his attention, and he called on Gardai to implement a pilot scheme to tackle drug use in the area - which would include increased surveillance and undercover activity.

  • There is disappointment in the parish of Islandeady that Leitir National School between Castlebar and Newport is to close in June.

    Local Fianna Fail Councillor Martin McLoughlin confirmed the news to Midwest Radio today describing it as another nail in the coffin for rural Ireland.

    Leitir NS will officially close for the last time on June 28th when the number of pupils at the one teacher school will reduce to four following the departure of two children to commence second level education.

    Leitir was one of five schools in the parish of Islandeady.

    Following the closure of Glenisland School three years ago, only Cloggernagh, Cornanool and Cogaula remain.

    Cllr. McLoughlin says he has learned of this closure with great shock and dismay.

  • An Independent Councillor has voiced his frustration at the state of the footpath in the Market Lane area of Westport.

    Christy Hyland says this has been an issue going back for at least ten years.

    It came to light again recently when a person fell in the Market Lane area and sustained injury.

    Cllr. Hyland says that there is an accident on that lane way once every two or three weeks and someone has to take full responsibility to carry out repairs.

    It emerged at a recent meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District that the laneway is owned by Nama and Council management say upgrade works in that area would be a very substantial investment.