• In five days time, children from junior infants up to and including 2nd class will return to school, as will Leaving Certs in secondary schools across the region.

    5th year students in secondary and all other primary school students will return 2 weeks later on 15th March, and remaining secondary school students on 12th April, after the Easter break.

    Vinnie Duffy is the INTO representative for Mayo & Sligo, and principal of Breaffy National School outside Ballina.

    Speaking with Midwest News, he said teachers and students are looking forward to getting back to the classroom next week..


  • Ballina has returned to the Irish Business Against litter campaign with one of its best-ever results.

    The North Mayo capital is ranked in 6th place overall in the ranking of 40 towns and cities nationwide, and is described as "Cleaner than European Norms".

    Eight of the ten sites surveyed in Ballina got the top grade .

    Top-ranking sites included the residential areas of Marian Crescent and Rockwell - both well-respected and maintained according to judges, while St Patrick's Church in Ballina was exceptionally well-presented and maintained, and Ballina District Hospital also ranked highly with a complete absence of litter, and well-maintained grounds.


    Roscommon Town is in 8th place on the list, also Cleaner than European Norms.

    Galway City and Sligo were in 17th and 20th place respectively, and described as Clean to European Norms.

    Kilkenny tops the litter league, while at the other end of the scale, Ballymun in Dublin is in 40th place, and described a litter blackspot.

  • AIL Division 2C 
    Ballina 45-28 Bangor 

  • AIL Division 2C 
    Seapoint 23-39 Ballina

  • There was one Mayo restaurant included in the 2019 Georgina Campbell Awards, unveiled in Dublin yesterday.

    Jack Fenn's Courtyard Café at Belleek Castle, Ballina was named Café of the Year.

    Adare Manor was named the Best Hotel in Ireland, while the Business Hotel of the Year award went to the Marker Hotel in Dublin, and the Newcomer of the Year award went to The Foyle Hotel in Moville, Co Donegal, while a new, Spirit of the European Region of Gastronomy Award saw The Twelve Hotel in Barna, Beechlawn Organic Farm in Ballinasloe and Gannet Fishmongers in Galway City take the award jointly.

    Also in Galway, the Outstanding Guest Experience was deemed to be found at Tigh Congaile on Inis Meain - and the Street Food award went to the Misunderstood Heron in Killary Harbour.

    Hooked in Sligo won the Just Ask Restaurant of the Year award, while in Co Roscommon, the Natural Food Award was won by Drumanilra Farm Kitchen in Boyle.


  • Ballina-based Senator Michelle Mulherin is to meet shortly with the Transport Minister Shane Ross to push the case for a ring road around Ballina to ease the worsening traffic congestion, which she says is impacting on people driving into town from the Foxford road and Sligo road on a daily basis.

    A deputation from Mayo met with representatives of Transport Infrastructure Ireland last Monday to discuss plans for various road projects across the county.

    However, Ballina-based FF Councillor Annie May Reape told Midwest News that neither the N26 road project from Mount Falcon to Foxford, or the Ballina Orbital Route, are included in the National Framework Plan, therefore she claims there will be no progress on either road project for the next 5-10 years.

    However, Senator Mulherin says the Orbital Route, or ring road, is badly needed and she claims it could be delivered in different phases.

    She says the first section to be built should connect the Foxford road and Crossmolina road.

  • Aurivo has awarded one of two places on its Gaffney & Mulleady Agriculture, Food & Nutrition Scholarship programme to Mayo native Jack Sweeney.

    Jack from Ballina, studied at Jesus and Mary Secondary School, Gortnor Abbey before embarking on a Bachelor of Agri Science (Hons) at University College Dublin (UCD). Having grown up in the countryside near a dairy farm that he loved to visit, he developed a keen interest in agriculture and farming. 

    Now in its fourth year, Aurivo established and sponsors the programme in memory of Paddy Gaffney and Sean Mulleady who died tragically in 2013. The competition was open to students from Aurivo’s catchment area who undertake a level 7 or level 8 third level degree course in agriculture, food or nutrition.

    Two scholarships, each worth €2,500, are awarded as part of Aurivo’s programme to recognise and reward academic excellence and support young achievers who wish to develop careers in an agri-related profession.

  • A Ballina teenager has been honoured at today’s 2020 Garda National Youth Awards

    17 years old Aimee O’Loughlin, was presented with a Special Achievement Award for overcoming difficult circumstances, defying all the odds and whose commitment deserves recognition.

    Her citation read: "Aimee is under the care of 11 consultants and faces many challenges every day.

    She has serious health issues and has difficulty breathing due to chronic lung complications.

    The brave Aimee lives in constant chronic pain. Her primary form of communication is LAMH, a form of sign language.

    She is a very resilient and teak tough young lady who displays great bravery, courage and charisma.

    She has a battle to fight every day but is determined to live as full a life as possible.

    Aimee was instrumental in raising funds for Bumbleance children’s national ambulance, Mayo Branch and thanks to her efforts and her fundraising group, the service is maintained in her area.

    This allows Aimee and people like her to comfortably attend hospital appointments around the country."


  • Two Mayo teenagers are hoping to raise enough funds this weekend to purchase a new vehicle for Western Care.

    Twin sister Abi and Ava Galvin from Ballina are doing a 24hr Tik Tok challenge with the aim of raising €10,000 for the local charity.

    From 12 mid-day on Saturday, the 13-year old twins will upload a video every hour for 24 hours and will be joined by special guests including members of local emergency services personnel.

    Their mother Marie Galvin works as a co-ordinator with Western Care and the twins sisters were inspired to help the charity after hearing at first-hand about the vital services they are providing during the pandemic.

    The donation links are -

  • 6,000 households and businesses in Ballina have water back in their taps this morning following overnight work by Irish Water and Mayo county Council to repair a burst water main. A major water burst occurred on McDermott Street in the town yesterday.

    However, householders in the Inverin area of county Galway are without a supply this morning.

    Irish Water in partnership with Galway County Council are carrying out emergency repairs to a burst water main affecting water supply to customers in Inverin, and surrounding areas.

    The company says the works are being carried out as safely and as quickly as possible and in adherence to current COVID-19 guidelines.

    A traffic management system is in place while these essential works are underway.

    It is likely water supply will be off until 7pm this evening and  it may take 2-3 hours for normal supply to return.

    Irish Water’s customer care helpline is open 24/7 on 1850 278 278 and customers can also contact us on Twitter @IWCare with any queries. For updates please visit the Water Supply Updates section of the Irish Water website reference GAL00030693.



  • A Mayo woman has been named Grand Marshal for this year's St Patrick's Day Parade in Limerick.

    Ballina native Dr Norah Patten, who's hoping to become the first Irish person in space,  has been unveiled as Grand Marshal for the parade in Limerick, as the theme of this year's parade is One Giant Leap - marking the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's landing on the moon.

    Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend the Limerick parade on 17th March.

    Dr Norah Patten, who studied at the University of Limerick, says it's an incredible honour to be invited to be Grand Marshal at this year's parade.




  • Ballina, Castlebar, Claremorris and Ballyhaunis train stations look set to be completely automated, with no staff at the stations processing tickets, from March of this year. That’s according to Mayo Fianna Fail deputy Lisa Chambers.

    The deputy believes that this will impact negatively on many train users and she has written to Iarnrod Eireann to clarify its plans and is strongly opposing any such development.

    Deputy Chambers says that from March of this year, the ticket machines used by staff to sell train tickets in the stations will become obsolete and will not be replaced. Rail passengers will have to purchase tickets on line or at the self service ticket machines at the stations.

    In county Mayo she has been told that Westport train station is the only train station in the county that will get a new machine.

    If this happens she argues, than staff at the stations without a facility to sell tickets directly to customers, will become redundant and will be transferred to other locations.

    In a statement to Midwest News a spokesperson for Irish Rail says:

    We have stated previously and publically, including briefings of elected representatives, that we do plan to change the way we provide customer service, both on-board and in stations, to reflect changing customer requirements. 

    Traditional booking office ticket purchases today represent only 13% of total revenue, and are reducing – 87% of our revenue across all networks is now generated through ticket vending machines, online booking, and other automated channels.

    However, customers still want and require customer service assistance for their journey, particularly on board longer-distance services where many trains are currently driver-only.  This can result in people having customer service personnel available for the 5 minutes they are in the station, but not three hours they’re on the train.

    To meet this need, Iarnród Éireann is planning to improve its customer services to ensure more customers receive the support and service required as routine ticketing becomes more automated.

    This will mean:

    • An increase in on-board staffing, to provide on-board customer service officers on Intercity services, helping customers with boarding, seat reservations, and customer service information
    • Station staffing re-focused to provide customer service and assistance in the station area, with a mix of manned and self-service stations reflecting customer demand and usage patterns
    • Equipping on-board and station staff with enhanced information and support to assist customers

    On-board Customer Service Officer deployment has begun.  We do anticipate that there will be changes in stations during 2019, which will include stations with full ticket sales, some stations having customer service staff for customer assistance, with ticketing through automated channels, and some stations becoming unmanned.

    However, final details of these changes have not yet been confirmed including timescales, and we will engage with employees and our customers to outline these changes nationwide, including in Mayo.

    The changes in customer service will mean that customers will have continuous access to customer service support on Intercity services, including assistance for customers with mobility and sensory impairments; better service information; better delivery of seat reservations; and a deterrent to anti-social behaviour.


  • Ballina’s Liam McHale is to be inducted into the Basketball Ireland Hall of Fame at a special ceremony in May.

    Basketball Ireland will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2020 and, as part of the celebrations marking the history of the game, the organisation announced late last year that the Basketball Ireland Hall of Fame would be relaunched in 2019.

    Currently there are six B.I. Hall of Fame members – Fr. Joe Horan, Harry Boland, Tom Collins, Liam McGinn, Danny O’Connor and Paul Meany.

    Nominations were made by the public, with an independent nominations committee announcing the six final recipients who are: Siobhan Caffrey (nee Stapleton), Danny Fulton, Kelvin Troy, Susan Moran, Liam McHale and the late Paudie O’Connor.

    Chairman of the Board of Basketball Ireland, Fran Ryan, and President of Basketball Ireland, Theresa Walsh also extended their congratulations to the six recipients and their families.


  • Ballina's Liam McHale is to be inducted into the Basketball Ireland Hall of Fame.

    A ceremony will take place at the Croke Park Stadium on Saturday 11th May where six people will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

    Basketball Ireland says Liam McHale is a household name throughout the country, for his contribution and prowess in both football and basketball.

    Siobhan Caffrey nee Stapleton, Danny Fulton, Kelvin Troy, Susan Moran and the late Paudie O'Connor are the other five being inducted into the Basketball Ireland Hall of Fame.


  • The Salmon Weir Bridge in Ballina is set to reopen in early March.

    That news has been confirmed by local Independent Councillor Mark Duffy who says following a lot of public pressure, there is development in re-opening the pedestrian bridge that was closed last year due to structural issues.
    A contractor has now been appointed to carry out the necessary works.

    Councillor Duffy told Midwest News today that the timeline for reopening the bridge is estimated at the beginning of March.

    The cost of the repair work, to this relatively new bridge, is not yet in the public domain.

  • Stephen Donnelly of Bunree, Ballina has won the Hard-Man half ironman triathlon in Kerry today finishing in a time of 4 hours and 42 minutes followed by David Sheridan in second and Oran McGee in third.

    Stephen is known for carrying out an ironman triathlon in the back garden of his home house at the peak of lockdown and raising over 13 thousand euro for meals on wheels Ballina and Mayo University hospital Covid 19 front line.

  • In Ballina this morning the bunting of American flags remain flying high  - just opposite the recently erected large mural of Joe Biden that overlooks it. The painting is the work of local artists Smiler Mitchell and Leslie Lackey.

    Market Square  was the focal point for last night’s gathering in Ballina to wish Joe Biden well – now that the count in underway in the US Presidential Election. A large screen was erected beside the mural and CNN coverage of the election count was beamed across the square – watched by supporters in cars, in a drive-in format, in an effort to ensure social distancing was maintained.

    Joe Biden has relatives in the Ballina area -the Blewitts,  and he visited the town back in 2016 when he was the US Vice President, when large crowds came out to meet and greet him.

    Now this morning, in Market Square the cars and people on the ground were few – but Midwest News caught up with David O’Malley, Mark Duffy and Paddy O'Hora members of the voluntary Ballina Clean-Up group, that organised last night’s gathering.

    While the result of this election is far from resolved this morning, the Ballina supporters are “keeping the faith”, and believe Joe Biden is on course to become the next President of the United States.


    Gardai in Ballina are investigating a break-in to the community centre  in Moygownagh in which gardening equipment was stolen.

    The incident occurred sometime between 10pm on Wednesday evening and 7am yesterday (Thursday morning).

    3 Sthil strimmers were taken and a Sthil long reach hedgecutter.

    The gates to the community centre were locked overnight so Gardai say the thieves are likely to have had transport to carry out the break-in.

     They are appealing to anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the area between 10pm on Wednesday night into early  yesterday (Thursday) morning to contact Ballina garda station at 096 21422.

    Also gardai are asking if any householder is offered any such equipment for sale by door to door salespersons to immediately contact the gardai.

    The equipment is stamped.

  • A major water burst is causing disruption to supplies for many residents and businesses in Ballina town.

    It's understood the leak has been detected on McDermott Street, but has led to reduced pressure for about 6,000 customers in Ballina town and surrounding areas.

    Irish Water and Mayo County Council will be carrying out repairs to the burst watermain this evening and tonight, and water restrictions will be in place from 8pm this evening until 2am tomorrow morning to allow emergency repair works to take place.

    Customers in the Ballina area are being asked to conserve water where possible until the burst has been repaired.


  • A Covid 19 vaccination centre needs to be established in Ballina. That’s the view of councillors in the Ballina Municipal District area.

    At today’s monthly meeting of the district, Crossmolina councillor Michael Loftus raised the issue at the start of proceedings, saying it was unfair to expect people from north Mayo to travel all the way to Breaffy, Castlebar to receive their jabs.

    Councillor Annie Mae Reape said that Ballina, as the capital of north Mayo, is the obvious location for another vaccination centre in the county.

    All councillors present concurred with that view and called on the Minister for Health to establish a vaccination centre in Ballina immediately, as mass vaccination is now underway.