• Former President of Ireland, Ballina native, Mary Robinson has issued a brief statement today after she came under fire for describing a ‘missing’ Arabian princess as a “troubled young woman” following a meeting between the pair at the behest of the princess’s family  to help solve a “dilemma”.

    According to, photographs of Ms Robinson and Sheikha Latifa – the daughter of the billionaire ruler of Dubai – were issued by the United Arab Emirates government last week after they met on December 15.

    Officials in Dubai said Ms Robinson was assured Latifa was in "the loving care of her family".

    The photographs prompted speculation about the princess and how her meeting with Ms Robinson came to pass.

    Mary Robinson spoke about the meeting for the first time yesterday on BBC radio – and said Latifa was receiving medical care.

    Ms Robinson's interview attracted criticism on social media, with campaigners asking how she could make such a sound judgment on Latifa's mental health after only spending a few hours with her.

    She responded to the backlash through a statement this morning, adding she would not be making any further comment at this time.

    She said she was dismayed at some of the media comments on her visit and added “I would like to say I undertook the visit and made an assessment, not a judgement, based on personal witness, in good faith and to the best of my ability," Ms Robinson said.

    Explaining how the meeting came about, the former UN Commissioner for Human Rights said she visited Dubai on December 15 at the request of Princess Haya bint Hussein, one of the wives of the UAE Prime Minister.

    She has known and worked with Princess Haya for many years in her capacity as a member of the UN Global Humanitarian Forum and as a UN Messenger of Peace. Mary Robinson said she was aware of the international concern over Sheikha Latifa and that she had not been seen for many months so when Princess Haya asked her to go to Dubai to meet with both of them, she said she agreed, without hesitation.

    "On my arrival in Dubai I received extensive briefings and it was clear to me that Princess Haya had particular concern for the welfare of Sheikha Latifa whom she described as troubled and quite vulnerable. During my time with her Sheikha Latifa presented  a very likeable young woman with a wide range of interests but her vulnerability was apparent," she said.

    The welfare of Latifa sparked massive concern amongst human rights groups following her failed attempt to escape the UAE last March.

  • Mayo County Council is encouraging householders across the county to avail of its free Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Day this Saturday.

    From 9am to 1pm on Saturday, certain hazardous wastes found around the home can be disposed of free of charge at the Rathroeen Civic Amenity Centre on the Killala Road in Ballina.

    Many everyday household items, fluids and containers are considered hazardous to both the environment and human health if not stored and disposed of correctly.

    Even common household items such as cooking oil and detergents can be considered hazardous if not treated with proper care and consideration.

    A full list of items accepted is available on and also on

  • The Mount Falcon Hotel in Ballina has announced its plans to close temporarily due to recent developments with regard to Covid-19.

    The four-star Hotel has made the announcement in a Social Media Post stating that its proprietors had made the mutual decision to temporarily close the hotel from this morning.

    The business will remain closed until further notice but the self-catering lodges based on the grounds of the estate will remain available for bookings.

  • Sean O'Brien has been named on the Leinster bench for tomorrow's Pro 14 interprovincial against Connacht in Galway.

    The Ireland and Lions flanker is set to make his first appearance for the Province after an injury ridden season.

    Robbie Henshaw will miss the match against his old team.

    Joe Tomane partners Garry Ringrose in the centre for the first time.

    Connacht captain Jarrad Butler has been ruled out due to injury.

    Hooker Dave Heffernan will take over the skipper's duties.

    Leinster suffered a heavy defeat when they visited the Sportsground in April.

  • With €1 billion allocated for flood defences over the next decade under the National Development Plan, a Mayo Senator is calling for flood defences in Ballina to be made a priority.

    In the Seanad this week, Ballina-based Senator Michelle Mulherin called on the OPW Minster Kevin “Boxer” Moran to prioritise the construction of flood walls along the River Moy in Ballina under the CFRAM programme.

    While 300 other at-risk areas were also examined under the CFRAM programme, Senator Mulherin says the Ballina flood walls project has been deemed one of the economically viable projects, and she hopes there’s positive news soon for residents in flood-prone areas of Ballina town.

  • A Mayo Senator is calling on the Transport Minister Shane Ross to fund a major road scheme between Ballina and Castlebar.

    FG Senator Michelle Mulherin says €10 million has already been spent since in the last decade on seeking a solution to environmental issues that have blocked roads development in this area.

    Now that difficulties at Cloongullane Bridge have been overcome, she says the Government should fund the proposed N26 / N58 / N5 road scheme joining Ballina and Castlebar.

    Senator Mulherin says traffic counts show this is a very busy road, with people travelling to work and in particular to the foreign direct investment companies such as Coca-Cola and Hollister in Ballina, and she told Midwest News that she has made a strong case to Minister Ross to have this road project prioritised...

  • A Mayo Senator is renewing her call for the proposed Mary Robinson Centre to become a reality in Ballina.

    Following Mrs Robinson's recent appointment as the Chair of The Elders - an international organisation of elder statespeople - Senator Michelle Mulherin says this further underlines her standing as an international public figure for her role as a peace activist, human rights advocate and life-long campaigner for equality, women's rights and the rights of refugees.

    Senator Mulherin says Mary Robinson's achievements should be celebrated in her hometown of Ballina.

    €2 million euro of Government funding remains in place for the Mary Robinson Centre, which is now estimated to cost in the region of €6 million.

    Senator Mulherin says the costs of the centre are being revisited at present, and she's urging all parties involved to move forward with the project as a matter of urgency...

  • The construction of an advanced technology building in Ballina would make the region a more attractive option for multi-national companies looking to establish in Ireland.

    That's according to Mayo FG Senator Michelle Mulherin who raised the matter in the Seanad yesterday with the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Heather Humphreys.

    Following the recent announcement that US company Meissner is to create 150 jobs at the IDA advanced technology building in Castlebar, Senator Mulherin believes a similar facility is needed in Ballina to allow the IDA to sell the area to multi-national companies.

    Minister Humphreys has agreed to speak with the IDA about the issue, and Senator Mulherin says she will be meeting with the agency also to push the case for an advanced technology building for Ballina...

  • A Mayo Senator is urging Mayo County Council to apply for grant-aid to proceed with the proposed Salmon Life Centre in Ballina.

    Fáilte Ireland recently announced a new grant scheme for large-scale visitor attractions, with funding of up to €2.5 million available, and expressions of interest must be submitted by 17th July.

    Ballina-based FG Senator Michelle Mulherin is urging Mayo County Council to submit an expression of interest before that date in relation to the Salmon Life Centre, which was first mooted in Ballina about ten years ago.

    She says the plan has been on the back burner for some time, but such a facility would help to expand the area's tourist attractions, and encourage visitors to spend more bed nights in north Mayo.

  • The Jackie Clarke Heritage Garden in Ballina is just one of a number of Mayo locations that have today been awarded a prestigious Green Flag Award for 2019 by An Taisce.

    The number of International Green Flag Award Sites has surged in Ireland this year.

    The Green Flag Award for Parks is the mark of a quality park or green space and is recognised throughout the world.

     Mayo county council’s Turlough Park, Castlebar has also secured the coveted recognition.

    While the National Parks and Wildlife’s Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park and North Mayo Heritage Centre in Enniscoe, outside Crossmolina have also secured a 2019 Green Flag Award.


  • Roadworks taking place on the Foxford road entrance to Ballina have been causing significant delays for motorists, as well as for emergency vehicles such as ambulances.

    That's according to Ballina-based TD Dara Calleary, who's calling on the contractors to work over weekends to ensure the roadworks on the N26 are completed as soon as possible.

    While welcoming the works, the Fianna Fail TD says it makes sense to work on the scheme 7 days per week to ensure it's completed before December, and he says some arrangement needs to be put in place with Hollister, to enable staff to access the exit the premises when shifts are starting and ending.

  • Mayo County Council has announced that the internationally renowned Other Voices music festival will return to Ballina at the end of February 2020.

    A Partnership between South Wind Blows, Moy Valley resources and Mayo County Council  has enabled Other Voices to again showcase excellent music, provide great workshops, a music trail in local pubs, high-profile concerts in St. Michael’s Church and the ground-breaking Ireland’s Edge Conference. 

    There was a tremendously positive response to the Other Voices Festival in Ballina in 2018 and it is estimated that the economic benefit to the region was in excess of two million euro in addition to an extensive media reach.

    Other Voices Mayo will also feature in the next broadcast series on RTE later this year and further information of an exciting line up of artists will be announced next week by Other Voices.

    Mayo Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary has welcomed the announcement of the music festival to the north Mayo town.

  • Ballina is twinned with the US city of Scranton, Pennsylvania for thirty years now, and Scranton is where incoming US President Joe Biden was raised.

    The Mayor of Scranton Paige Cognetti  joined online, today’s monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District to congratulate Ballina on its strong links to Joe Biden and the town’s long association with his home city, twinned since 1990.

    Both sides are planning now to invite the new President to visit Ballina during his term of office.

    The Cathaoirleach of Ballina Municipal District Seamus Weir had joined a meeting of Scranton council last night online, to initiate the discussions.


  • A number of  listeners to Midwest News today questioned why the recycling facilities / dumps at Derrinumera, outside Castlebar and Rathroeen in Ballina were closed to the public on Saturday last.

    Saturday last was more than a week since Christmas Day, and many households had more than their usual level of refuse and were keen to dispose of it properly.

    Many householders arrived at the entrance to the facilities on Saturday last with trailer loads of refuse and were forced to bring it all back home.

    In a written response this afternoon, Mayo County Council says that its two Civic Amenity Centres were closed over the Christmas 2020 period, as in previous years. Waste collection services operate on a two-week basis and our service closed for less than this two-week period. The closure was highlighted in advance to customers to ensure that they would have time to dispose of waste built up before the Christmas and all opening hours were advertised on the council website and on social media platforms. 

     A link was provided on our website homepage to McGrath Waste in Castlebar who were open for some of the holiday period, an option for customers who needed to dispose of waste over the Christmas. 

     Mayo County Council also ran a waste prevention campaign in advance of Christmas and throughout the year to encourage a change in consumer behaviour which causes excess waste. 







  • Members of the business community in Ballina are seeking a meeting with local elected councillors to outline their frustration with elected councillors’ failure to listen and take on the concerns of businesses in the town, as a new speed limit of 80km per hour is set to be introduced on the N58 main Foxford to Ballyvary road.

    That’s according to the President of Ballina Chamber of Commerce Hugh Rouse.

    Mr Rouse told Midwest News this morning that at last month’s meeting of Ballina Municipal District some councillors appeared to question the authenticity of the one thousand signatures secured by Ballina businesses - objecting to the TII decision to reduce the speed limit along this stretch of road that links Ballina to Castlebar.

    The business group had asked councillors to seek a meeting between themselves and the TII to outline in detail business concerns about the reduction to the speed limit proposed.

    Councillors voted not to seek such a meeting between both sides.

    Mr Rouse, who declined to go on air this morning, told Midwest News that Ballina Chamber is the third largest chamber in Connaught and he said it appears that local councillors are not listening to its concerns.

    He added that multinationals and local businesses in Ballina are all concerned about the impact on business if the speed limits are, as planned, reduced from  100km per hour to 80km per hour, along the Foxford to Ballyvary road.

  • On Friday 13th of April, Ballina man Michael Cuffe was struck by a bus while in Budapest on a weekend break. What followed was an outpouring of support from all over Ireland and beyond as his family tried to get him home to Mayo for treatment. After a hugely successful "GoFundMe" campaign set up by his sister Naomi, Michael was airlifted back to Ireland last week and is recovering in hospital at this moment. 

    Naomi joined Tommy Marren on Monday morning to talk about the last few weeks for the family and the relief at seeing Michael back in the country. Listen back now. 


  • From a young age Mayo native Dr Norah Patten has had a fascination with all things space. When we met her recently in her former national school at the Quay in Ballina, she explained to us what had brought her back to the town and explained more about her current role, and the possibility of one day fulfilling her dream of going to space.

  • Payments allocated to various festivals, events and committees in the Ballina Municipal District will be paid out from next week, following a decision by councillors yesterday to increase parking charges in Ballina town.

    An increase of between 5 and 10 cent per hour has been agreed in the various parking zones in Ballina town, and this will allow the GMA funding - which has been delayed by several months - to be paid out to clubs and organisations.

    Councillor Michael Smyth, Chair of the Ballina Municipal District, says there will be a minor increase in parking charges to meet the Council's financial committments...



    The Ballina woman who had been missing since last Thursday was located safe and well yesterday.

     Gardaí in Ballina have thanked the public for their assistance in tracing the whereabouts of 22-year-old Margaret Lawrence.


  • More than 2000 customers are without electricity in the Enniscrone/Quay area of Ballina today.

    ESB Powercheck is indicating a large fault which is stretching from the Ballina area to Enniscrone, where the majority of the outages are.

    According to the ESB it will be around 6.30pm this evening before power is restored to most of the areas affected.