• Former US Vice President, with Mayo connections, Joe Biden has officially announced he will be seeking the Democrats nomination to run for US President in 2020

    He has formally thrown his hat in the ring today after months of speculation that he would enter the race.

    The 76 year old is one of twenty Democrats vying for the nomination to take on DONALD Trump.

    Mr Biden visited county Mayo in 2016, when he was the US Vice president.

     He has family connections in north Mayo and received a very warm welcome in Ballina, Castlebar and Westport – where large crowds turned out to greet him.

  • Ballina enjoyed more than 1.5 million euro of an economic boost earlier this year, when the town hosted the “Other Voices” festival.

    This was the second year in a row that the popular festival, that results in the production of three TV programmes for RTE, was located in Ballina.

    The “Other Voices” weekend in February attracted up to 30,000 people to the Ballina area, and fortunately took place just ahead of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

    Details of the value of the weekend culturally and economically were outlined by Mayo County Council Arts Officer Ann McCarthy to the monthly meeting of Mayo County Council earlier this week.

  • "Save our Summer", "Stop the Nonsense", "Save Our Jobs" - just some of the slogans carried on placards in Ballina today, during a protest over the delay in reopening hospitality.

    Pub, restaurant and cafe owners were among a large gathering organised to highlight their frustration over the ongoing restrictions in the hospitality sector.

    It was originally planned that pubs and restaurants could serve customers indoors from next Monday, but earlier this week, the Cabinet decided to postpone the reopening, due to concerns over the rapid spread of the Delta variant.

    Those taking part in today's rally gathered on Pearse Street and made their made to the post office, where a number of speeches were made.

    Ann Marie Flynn, Manager of Mayo North Tourism, was at the demonstration, and described the scene earlier to Midwest News....


  • There's good news this evening for Ballina, as funding of €140,000 has been allocated under the Historic Towns Initiative to help protect the town's architectural heritage and boost its tourism profile.

    The funding has been allocated to Mayo County Council to repair ten buildings in the Pearse Street architectural conservation area - including the town's library and a number of privately-owned buildings.

    Ballina-based FG Senator Michelle Mulherin says repairs to historic shop fronts, sash windows and doors will ensure the longterm survival of these historic buildings.

  • €55,000 in LEADER funding has been approved for the Local Voices Music Trail in Ballina.

    Local Voices Music Trail is part of the acclaimed Other Voices Music Festival and will feature an exciting and diverse line-up of performers, musicians, bands and DJs, plying their wares across the venues of Ballina on September 28th and 29th.

    The funding will be provided by Minister Ring’s Department through the Mayo LEADER Local Action Group.

    22 new acts have been confirmed for free gigs throughout Ballina as part of the Local Voices Music Trail later this month.

    Local Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin says the funding is a welcome boost.

  • Funding of €4.5 million for 26 greenway projects has been announced today by Minister for Climate Change and Transport Eamon Ryan.

    The funding will provide support for the planning and design of greenways around the country and was allocated under the Carbon Tax Fund 2020.

    €95,000 is being made available for the Mayo Interurban Greenway. 

    The funding is for the concept and feasibility study of a 60km link from Westport via Castlebar to Ballina.

    Fine Gael Deputy Michael Ring says in Mayo, our Greenways have proven to play a vital role in supporting local communities, creating jobs and bringing visitors to our county. 

    Meanwhile, €300k has been awarded to Sligo County Council for the development of the controversial Greenway along the western rail corridor that will run from Cooloney in Sligo to Bellaghy in Charlestown.

    €240,000 has been allocated to the Connemara Greenway and €75,000 for the Quite Man Greenway.

  • The pedestrian bridge over the river Moy in Ballina will not re-open to the public until May, and the cost of repairing the relatively new structure could be well in excess of 100,000 euro. That was confirmed today by the Manager of the Ballina Municipal District, Declan Turnbull.

    Mr Turnbull was responding to questions from the Cathaoirleach of Ballina Municipal District Seamus Weir, at today’s monthly meeting of the authority.

    Cathaoirleach Weir asked why is it taking so long and who will foot the bill?

    The bridge is closed since July last, when corrosion at the base of the structure were first identified,

    The Manager explained that while the work required to restore the structure has been agreed, some of the material required to repair it must be imported from the UK, as specialised materials. The actual time the work will take is dependent on Covid restrictions and water levels in the river at the time.

    He said that his best estimate is that the footbridge will be re-opened to the public sometime in the month of May and the estimated cost of the works is 100,000 euro at least.

    That money will initially be paid by Mayo County Council in an effort to get the structure re-opened, but the council is looking at the guarantee that was put in place and the insurance that was secured when the bridge was installed initially, in 2009, and he concluded that this is a “technical legal issue”.

    The Salmon Weir Bridge over the River Moy was opened to the public in 2009 and was built at a cost of 1.4 million euro.

  • €102,000 worth of suspected cocaine and cannabis herb was seized by Gardai in Ballina yesterday.

    As part of an intelligence led operation targeting the sale and supply of illegal drugs Gardaí attached to the Mayo Divisional Drugs Unit carried out searches of two premises in Ballina town shortly before 5pm yesterday (Tuesday).

     During the course of the search of a derelict property, Gardaí seized suspected cocaine valued at €70,000 and suspected cannabis herb valued at €20,000.

     During the second search, which was at a house, Gardaí seized suspected cocaine with a value of €9,500 and cannabis valued at €2,700.

     All drugs seized will be sent for analysis to Forensic Science Ireland.

    Various other items consistent with the sale and supply of drugs were also seized including a vacuum packer and weighing scales.

    No arrests have been made to date.

    However, Chief Garda Supt for Mayo Tony Healy says he is confident that arrests will follow.

    Speaking to Midwest News today he said the clear message for anyone involved in the sale of illegal drugs in the county is that the gardai are well resourced and committed to tackling the crime, whether the amount on sale is large or small.

    He also thanked the general public for their assistance in alerting gardai to suspicious activity.

  • There were 109 reported incidents of dog-fouling from the Ice House to the Quay area of Ballina on one particular day last week.

    The issue was raised at yesterday’s Ballina Municipal District meeting by Crossmolina based Fianna Fail Cllr Michael Loftus.

    Cllr Loftus said there were 109 incidents reported to him on one day last week.

    He says it is not a problem unique to Ballina but it is a serious issue.

    There is a fine of up to €3,000 for incidents of dog-fouling and Mayo County Council has committed to enforcing this law very strictly.

  • The 10th Mayo Pink Ribbon Charity Cycle is taking place today (Sat), with about 600 cyclists taking part.

    Motorists are advised of some traffic disruption as a result, with the cyclists leaving Castlebar at 10am this morning and travelling down the N5 towards Swinford.

    Organisers say the main area of concern, where motorists will need to take extra care, is at the junction of the N58 and the N4 in Ballyvary village.

    Motorists travelling from Ballina, Foxford and Straide will experience delays turning on to the N5 between 10.15 and 10.45 am this morning. 

    Road users also need to exercise caution on the following roads at these times:

    Castlebar to Swinford (N5) from 10 -11am. 

    Bohola to Foxford  (R321) from10.30am -12noon 

    Swinford to Foxford,  (N26) from 10.50am – 12noon

    Foxford to Pontoon (R318/R310) from 11.30am - 1pm 

    Foxford to Ballina via Knockmore, (R318/R310) 11.30 -1pm

    Ballina to Crossmolina, (N59) 12.30 – 2pm

    Crossmolina to Castlebar (R315/R310) 12.45 – 3.45pm

  • Irish Water and Mayo County Council are advising customers that a watermain has burst in Ballina affecting 300 houses on Bunree Road and in Greenhills Estate.
    Crews are on site working to repair the burst as quickly and as safely as possible to safeguard the water supply for homes and businesses in the areas. It is expected that the repair will be completed by 8pm this evening (Wednesday) and it may take further 2-3 hours for normal supply to return to all impacted customers as the network refills.

  • Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring has approved €350,000 in Leader supports for two projects – one in Ballina and the other in Lahardane

     €200,000 has been allocated to Nephin Whiskey Malting Plant, Lahardane to purchase equipment for the development of a malting plant, which will provide peat-smoked malt for the distillery industry.

    €150,000 has been allocated to IRD North Mayo West Sligo to establish a sustainable music festival of international standing in Ballina. This was successfully piloted in September, 2018 as Local Voices.

     Minister Ring told Midwest News today that these are a major announcement for the two communities and will provide a significant financial boost.

  • Sixty three candidates will contest the local elections in Mayo across six new electoral areas  - only 10 of the candidates are female.

    These are the contenders:

    Ballina Electoral Area (6 seats) – 12 candidates


    Michael Loftus FF      

    Eamon Moore FF      

    Annie May Reape FF            

    Kieran Gill FG

    Aileen Horkan FG

    John O'Hara FG                    

    Jarlath Munnelly FG              

    Michael Regan SF                 

    Tracey Smyth SD                  

    Mark Duffy Ind                                  

    Willie Nolan Ind                      

    Seamus Weir Ind                   


    Belmullet Electoral Area (3 seats) – 6 candidates

     Gerry Coyle FG         

    Breege GrealiS FG    

    Paul McNamara FF   

    Sean Carey FF          

    Teresa Whelan SF     

    Jay Heneghan    Ind     



    Castlebar Electoral Area (7 seats) – 17 candidates

     Al McDonnell FF       

    Blackie Gavin FF     

    Martin McLoughlin FF           

    Cyril Burke FG                  

    Ger Deere FG          

    Eugene McCormack FG       

    Donna Sheridan FG            

    Joe McHale SF                  

    Joe Daly PBP           

    Michael Farrington  Renua  

    Kamal Uddin  Lab

    Harry Barrett Ind              

    Michael Kilcoyne Ind          

    Anthony Vesey Ind

    Gerry Loftus Ind

    Des Walsh Ind

    Aidan Crowley Ind

    Claremorris Electoral Area (6 seats) – 10 Candidates

     Patsy O'Brien FG      

    John Cribbin FG        

    Tom Connolly FG

    Michael Burke FG

    Damian Ryan FF       

     Michael Carty FF      

    Natasha Warde SF    

    Mags Sheehan GP    

    Richard Finn Ind        

    Paul Lawless Aontu   

    Swinford Electoral Area (4 seat) – 7 candidates

    John Caulfield FF      

    Michael Smyth FF     

    Neil Cruise FG           

    Tom Lavin FG            

    Gerry Murray SF       

    Tom Horan Aontu      

    Sean Forkin Ind         

    Westport Electoral Area (4 seats)- 11 candidates

     Peter Flynn FG          

     Austin Francis O'Malley FG

    Tereasa McGuire FG

    Chris Maxwell FF       

    Brendan Mulroy FF    

    Cissy Nayiga GP

    Christy Hyland Ind   

    Johnny O'Malley Ind

    Darragh McGee Ind

    Frank McAlonan Ind

    Shane Fitzgerald Ind


  • A body was recovered from the water at Enniscrone beach yesterday afternoon.

    A member of the public, walking the beach at about 1.30 pm yesterday made the discovery and alerted the gardai.

    Extensive searches have been underway for a woman who went missing from Crossmolina earlier this month.

    Patricia O’Donnell, aged in her early sixties, was last seen in Crossmolia on the 11th of this month and her family and friends initiated an extensive search to locate her.

    The search involved the gardai, the River Moy search and Rescue crews, members of the Granuaile Sub Aqua club, civil defence, the Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery teams, family and friends of Ms. O’Donnell.

    Ballina and Enniscone gardai attended the scene in Enniscrone yesterday as the body was recovered from the water. The remains were brought to University Hospital Sligo where a post mortem took place this morning.

    A formal identification process in now underway.

  • A light will permanently shine for the diaspora from an upstairs bedroom of the former family home of Mary Robinson in Ballina, when work on the 5.7 million euro new Mary Robinson Centre is complete  in 2021.

    Construction on the centre overlooking the river Moy, is underway, and should be completed in about 15 months time.

    The contractors have been on site at Victoria House, the former family home of the former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights , since November last , and design consultants will be employed shortly with a view to developing the facility for artefacts and archives.

    Susan Heffernan is the Project Manager of the Mary Robinson Centre and she addressed the monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District earlier this week to update councillors on developments to date on the project.

     Afterwards she spoke to Midwest News about the centre and she also gave her some details on the Fifth International Human Rights lecture that will take place in Ballina on Friday (6th March).

  • Additional funding of €29,500 has been allocated to Quay National School in Ballina.

    It follows a number of appeals by the school for the funding.

    Local Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin says Quay NS was initially approved funding for two resource rooms and one additional classroom. However when the site was assessed by an engineer, it was discovered that a linkway was needed between the existing school building and the new extension and that would incur an extra cost.

    Quay NS was refused this additional funding initially and have been appealing that decision since.

    Senator Mulherin told Midwest News she was happy to be able to make representations on the school’s behalf.

  • Planning permission is being sought for an Aldi store in Ballina.

    The German company has applied to Mayo County Council for permission to demolish the former Deanwood Hotel, and construct a single-storey discount foodstore on the site.

    The plan also provides for 82 car parking spaces, and access from Bury St and Teeling St.

    Aldi already operates stores in Ballinrobe, Claremorris and Castlebar with a new store under construction in Belmullet.

    However, the Covid-19 restrictions have delayed work on the Belmullet store.


  • An Post is to offer a new contract to Ardnaree Post Office in Ballina.

    There was concern expressed about the future of Ardnaree Post Office in recent weeks, as the current postmaster is to retire in March. An Post undertook a Public Consultation on the provision of post office services in Ardnaree.

    Today An Post has announced that Ardnaree Post Office will be offered a new post office contract. When a suitable candidate emerges the contract will be in place initially for two years.

    It comes after a local campaign to oppose any suggestion of closing the post office, which included a public meeting and march in Ballina recently.

  • Anyone hoping to spend a penney to use a public toilet in Ballina has a long wait.
    The Director of Services for MCC Tom Gilligan told councillors in the BMD area yesterday that a public toilet on a street in the town does not make economic sense, due to the cost of the facility and would not bring an extra tourist to Ballina.

    FG Cllr John O’Hara disagrees- and argued that it’s a basic facility for people doing their shopping in the town.

    He asked at least for signs to be erected at public buildings in the town indicating toilet facilities, if available.

    Afterwards Cllr O'Hara told Midwest News the response by the council is not good enough.


    After recent concerns expressed by members of the public the organisers of the Ballina Salmon Festival have decided to cancel plans for a pig racing event during the week long festival. They released the following statement on the decision. 

    "In light of the number of complaints received about the proposed ‘Ardnaree Grand National’, which was scheduled to take place on Tuesday 10 July, the Ballina Salmon Festival committee has decided to cancel the event.

    The event, a joint initiative between a number of Ardnaree-based businesses which included pig racing had received enthusiastic local support. However over the past 24 hours, the Ballina Salmon Festival Office received a number of complaints by phone and social media about the planned event, with concerned objectors raising concerns about potential animal cruelty.

    While the committee of Ballina Salmon Festival had carried out due diligence on the proposed event, and had been satisfied that neither the format of the racing itself, nor the conditions in which animals were housed or transported, constituted any level of cruelty to the pigs, it nevertheless acknowledges the worries of those concerned, and has decided to replace the event with a street party on the same date.

    Chairman of Ballina Salmon Festival Billy Lewis said: “While we were more than satisfied that the welfare of the animals involved was paramount at all times, we do acknowledge the sincerity of the concerns raised by members of our community and local animal charities.  As a community festival we are grateful that people took the time to make their feelings known to us, and in light of their concerns, after consulting with our volunteer event leaders, we have decided to cancel the event.

    Ballina Salmon Festival has always been a family-friendly celebration, and our aim has never been to upset or offend people, but to deliver events that people enjoy.”

    Ballina Salmon Festival depends entirely on volunteers and on local support to design and deliver its programme of events. It is a first and foremost a family-friendly festival, which includes over 70 events designed to entertain and delight adults and children of all ages.

    The festival committee would now like to invite everyone, including those who took time to contact the festival to raise concerns, along to the Ardnaree Street Party on Tuesday, July 10th from 8pm, for some live music, street entertainment and delicious food.  The party will be family-friendly and entirely animal free, save for the famous ‘pig on a spit’ which has featured at the festival for many years. There are sure to be lots of surprises on the night, and more than likely, some more twists in the tale."