• There were heated exchanges in the Dail today between Roscommon Fianna Fail Deputy Eugene Murphy and Minister with responsibility for Older People Jim Daly over the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea.

    Deputy Murphy says every attempt is being made at present to move a resident at the unit to a private nursing home, despite assurances that no patient would be moved before a review of the services there is complete. The review is due to get underway in January.

    Minister Daly told Deputy Murphy that neither he, nor the Roscommon TD are clinicians and therefore can’t decide what is in the best interests of residents.

  • The HSE Community Healthcare West Chief Officer says no decision has yet been taken on where residents of the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea will be moved to.

    Tony Canavan was speaking to Midwest News today following the news earlier this week that the unit will not continue to operate in its current guise.

    It follows a review by Dr James Anderson of the clinical assessments of the needs of each resident of the unit, on behalf of the HSE.

    The assessment concluded that two of the current residents required inpatient psychiatric care in a different setting, while the remaining 10 patients’ needs were exclusively supportive of general nursing at the time of inspection.

    Tony Canavan told Midwest News this evening that the unit will cease to be used as it currently is and alternative arrangements will be put in place for the 12 residents.

    He told Midwest News the HSE only wishes to ensure patients are receiving the best possible care they can.

    Meanwhile the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) today strongly condemned the decision of the HSE to close the Rosalie Community Psychiatric Unit in Castlerea. The PNA said the closure, which the HSE has claimed is in line with the recommendations of the Anderson Report, is a clear breach of repeated political commitments to keep the unit open and is against the wishes of service users and their families/carers.

    The PNA is seeking urgent clarification on HSE comments to the media regarding their concerns over the level of care being provided in the Rosalie Unit. The PNA totally rejects these reported comments from the HSE that have caused deep distress to staff working in the unit. The PNA is meeting with HSE management in the next week to seek clarification on the implications for services of the Anderson Report, and the HSE response to the closure of the Rosalie Unit.

  • The HSE has no intention of admitting new residents to the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea. That was clearly stated just last week by HSE Chief Health Officer Tony Canavan at a meeting of the unit that was attended by Ministers, public representatives and local interests.

    At present the Rosalie Unit is a HSE residential home for about 12 residents with dementia.

    A local campaign group has worked hard to keep the facility open, after the HSE had stated its intention to close it some months ago. 

    However that decision was reversed and local Minister Denis Naughten received a firm commitment from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that the unit as a residential facility for patients with mental health issues, would remain open. Leo Varadkar had given the same commitment in 2015 when he was Minister for Health and the future of the unit was under threat. 

    But despite the promises and commitments to date the HSE are insisting that no further residents are being admitted to the facility and instead are providing seven options that it sees as potentially the way forward for the unit.

    Yesterday Minister for Health Simon Harris was in Boyle for the opening of a new Primary Care Centre and he met a delegation supporting the retention of the Rosalie Unit as a residential facility for patients with specific mental health needs. The Minister outlined his frustration and dismay at the lack of progress on this matter and he again reiterated the government’s commitment to its retention.

    Local Senator Maura Hopkins was at the meeting last week between the HSE and public representatives.  She has been telling Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley why all interested parties are frustrated with the HSE’s response to date.

  • The HSE has confirmed that the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea is to close.

    The unit accommodates 12 mostly elderly patients with Alzheimers and dementia, and there have been fears for some time that the HSE may close the facility, as there have been no new admissions since September 2016.

    However, a strong campaign has been underway in Castlerea for several years to keep the unit open, for the current residents and to provide care into the future for those with psychiatric needs.

    Independent assessments have been carried out recently on the residents, and their families have today received letters from HSE Community Healthcare West Chief Officer Tony Canavan, which says the review of the clinical assessments concludes that the current residents do not require continuing in-patient psychiatric care.

    Therefore "the Rosalie Unit will cease to function as a community psychiatric unit". and the letter says a transition plan will be put in place to arrange alternative care for each of the residents

    News of the closure was announced to staff in Castlerea this morning.

    However, a son of the one of the residents in the Rosalie Unit says the battle is not yet over.

    Liam Walsh, who's mother Breda has been a patient there for the past ten years, told Midwest News that it's a dark day for the residents, their families and staff at the unit, as well as the wider community....

  • A Roscommon Senator says she is very frustrated after HSE management failed to attend a meeting between a local delegation and Ministers Harris and Daly over the future of the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea.

    Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins says she is very frustrated following the events of yesterday evening.

    A local delegation made up of Oireachtas members, family advocates and local councillors were due to meet with Ministers Harris and Daly and Executive Clinical Director for HSE West Amanda Burke and Chief Health Officer Tony Canavan. However Ms Burke and Mr Canavan were not in attendance.

    This was despite a formal request from Senator Hopkins’ office requesting they attend so a clearer picture could be gained about what is happening with the Rosalie Unit.

    It was agreed that the meeting would be reconvened and Senator Hopkins wants a new date confirmed by the end of today.

  • The HSE has responded to a query from Midwest News in relation to the closure of the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea, as the final two residents are being transferred today to Aras Máthair Pól - a community nursing home in the town.

    There are 24 staff employed at the Rosalie Unit, and the HSE says Community Healthcare West is currently "working with the unions under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission in respect of the staff transferring to existing vacancies in the area".

    In terms of the future use of the property, the statement adds that a proposal, which would see the provision of a Child & Adult Mental Health Service at the Rosalie site has been submitted to the Dept of Health for consideration, and the HSE is currently awaiting a decision on this.


  • An Independent review in to the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea will take place this week.

    This news has been confirmed to Roscommon Fianna Fail TD Eugene Murphy by CHO West.

    Dr. Jim Anderson who is a Consultant Specialist in Psychiatry of Later Life and has significant expertise in this area will carry out the review.

    The service users and their families are being invited to meet with Dr. Anderson to input into the process.

    Deputy Murphy says he hopes this review is progress in the right direction.

  • A large number of protestors have gathered today outside the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea, as the first of the residents was due to be transferred to another facility this morning.

    Last week, the HSE confirmed that the Rosalie unit will cease to function as a community psychiatric unit.

    Following assessments of the 12 residents, the HSE said two required inpatient psychiatric care in a different setting, while transition plans are being put in place for all of the residents.

    It was expected that the first of the 12 residents in the unit would be transferred elsewhere this morning, but it's now believed that has been deferred.

    Large numbers of local people have gathered since early morning to protest at the closure of the unit.

  • Drinking water in three supplies in Ireland - including Castlerea -  was found to have at least 10 times the maximum allowable limit of lead last year.

    Water in 23 supplies across the country were found to have above the permitted level, according to Irish Water's most recent inspections.

     11 times the limit was detected in Dublin City Council's Leixlip supply - which serves much of the north and west of the capital.

    Lead nearly ten times the limit was found in the Castlerea Public Water Supply in Co Roscommon, and there were similar results on the Roundwood Reservoir supply in Dun Laoghaire / Rathdown.

    Irish Water says the exceedances arose from the presence of lead pipework within properties, and is therefore the owners' responsibility.

    Environmental consultant Jack O'Sullivan says the results are a major concern:

  • Gardai seized cannabis with an estimated value of €2,200 during a search operation at a premises in Castlerea yesterday.

    Gardai have confirmed to Midwest News that, during the course of the search, suspected cannabis along with a sum of cash and drug paraphernalia were seized.

    A man in his 60's was arrested and charged in relation to the matter, and is due before Castlerea District Court next month.


  • The man charged with the murder of Detective Garda Horkan in Castlerea in June, has again failed to appear by video link in court today.

    Stephen Silver of Aughaward, Foxford, Co Mayo, is charged with the murder of Charlestown native Det. Garda Horkan on June 17.

    Further details of the extent of the murder investigation were outlined at Harristown District Court in Castlrea this morning when a defence solicitor questioned the length of time it was taking for the file to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

    Solicitor Martina Moran, who is representing Stephen Silver, asked for progress to be made on the matter.

    The 44-year old was due to appear before Harristown District Court by video-link from the Central Mental Hospital, where he is receiving treatment.

    Ms. Moran said that the Central Mental Hospital had arranged video-link facilities but the court was told that a sick note had been received this morning and that Silver would not be appearing.

    It is the seventh time Silver has been deemed unfit to appear by video link at Harristown District Court.

    Sgt. Mark Mahon said that the file is with the State solicitor in Roscommon and is due to be sent to the DPP but Ms. Moran said they expected more progress would have been made at this stage.

    In response, Sgt. Mahon said that it was a ‘complex’ investigation with numerous lines of enquiry.

    “There are over 350 house-to-house enquiries have been carried out, approximately 70 CCTV footage exhibits had to be explored, in excess of 200 written statements compiled,” he said.

    A previous court sitting heard that the investigation included over 250 exhibits and the content of ten electronic devices, while Gardai also spoke to a person in Australia as part of their enquiries.

    Judge James Faughnan remanded Stephen Silver in custody to appear before Harristown District Court by video-link on October 2 and asked that a progress report be made at the next sitting in two weeks.


  • The file into the murder last June of Detective Garda Colm Horkan in Castlerea has been completed and runs to ten volumes.

    At Harristown District Court in Castlerea today Sgt Mark Mahon told the court  that the garda file is now with the Director of Public Prosecutions and will take some time to be processed. He told Judge James Faughnan that considerable progress had been made in the investigation.

    Stephen Silver of Aughaward, Foxford, is charged with the murder of Det. Garda Horkan in Castlerea on June 17, and was due to appear before this morning’s sitting of the court by video link.

    But the court was told that a sick note had been received and that Mr Silver was unable to appear.

    It is the eighth time he has been deemed unfit to appear by video link at Harristown District Court.

    Defence solicitor Martina Moran told a previous sitting of the court that 44-year old Silver was being treated at the Central Mental Hospital and that video-link facilities had been arranged there.

    Sgt Mahon told Judge Faughnan this morning that an officer had been appointed to take charge of the file at the DPP offices and that it was progressing.

    The file is quite substantial, Sgt Mahon explained “however, the DPP’s office is actively looking into the file at the moment and we hope to have directions as soon as possible”.

    Judge Faughnan remanded Stephen Silver in custody to appear before Harristown District Court by video link on October 16 for DPP directions.


  • Gardai say their investigations are continuing into a multi-million euro VAT Carousel Fraud.

    A man in his 50's was arrested as part of the investigation earlier this week, and was questioned at Castlerea Garda Station under section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act.

    Castlerea Gardai have confirmed to Midwest News that the man was released without charge yesterday evening, and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

    A woman in her 40's had previously been arrested in Co Louth in May in connection with the investigation, and was subsequently released without charge.

    The investigation has been ongoing since 2017, and it's claimed the fraud involves the movement, purchase and sale of goods between different companies in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland for a number of years.

    Gardai say this type of fraud involves supplier companies, VAT-registered entities, customer companies and transport companies.

    The ongoing investigation involves Gardai, the Criminal Assets Bureau, PSNI, National Crime Agency and Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs Agency.


  • A man remains in Garda custody today in Castlerea, after three loaded guns were recovered from a car which was stopped by Garda on Main Street last night.

    As a result of an operation into illegal crime gang activities, Gardai attached to the Roscommon / Longford division stopped a car at about 8.30pm, and found three fully loaded pistols.

    A man in his early 30's was arrested at the scene, and is being detained at Castlerea Garda Station under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act, for unlawful possession of firearms.

    Gardai conducted follow-up searches at a location in Castlerea town last night, during which a small quantity of heroin was seized.



  • One man was taken to hospital following a single-vehicle collision on the outskirts of Castlerea last night.

    The collision occurred at about 11.30pm, when a van collided with the railway bridge on the N60, on the Ballinlough side of Castlerea.

    Emergency services attended the scene, and the van driver was taken by ambulance to Mayo University Hospital.



  • Emergency services attended the scene of a single-vehicle crash in Castlerea yesterday evening.

    The driver of the car was taken to Sligo University Hospital by ambulance with serious head injuries following the collision, which occurred at about 6pm on the Williamstown Road, just outside Castlerea.

    Gardai, fire and ambulance services attended the scene.

  • A 39 year old man, whose gun jammed when he tried to shoot his ex-girlfriend, has been jailed for 8 years.

    Gerard Mooney from Dublin but with a previous address in Castlerea in Roscommon was on bail when he pointed the gun in his former partner's face.

    The court heard he became obsessive after their relationship broke down and he called her more than 250 times over a number of days.

    He pleaded guilty to attempted murder with the Judge noting personal relationships can be the most dangerous place for victims.

  • A march will take place in Castlerea today.

    The marchis being held in response to an incident which occurred in the town last weekend.

    The march will take place from the Lidl Car Park to the Garda Station at 1pm this afternoon.

  • A deputation from Castlerea were planning to travel to Dublin later today to meet with the Health Minister Simon Harris and the Minister for Mental Health Jim Daly, in relation to the future of the Rosalie unit in Castlerea.

    However, Minister Daly has requested that the meeting be postponed, due to diary issues.

    It’s now been rescheduled for three weeks time -Wed 28th March.

    There are major concerns about the future of the home, which accommodates 13 elderly people with Alzheimers and dementia, after the HSE said the facility is not part of its long-term plans.

    No new admissions have been taken into the home for the past year and a half.

    However, a campaign is underway locally to retain the Rosalie unit, with thousands of people signing a petition to that effect.


  • The HSE West has finally revealed its plan to change the current use of the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea, that is controversially closing as a residential facility for people with dementia.

    A meeting took place earlier this week in Merlin Park, with Minister Jim Daly, HSE Management, Dept of Health Officials and Roscommon Senator Maura Hopkins. The Fine Gael Senator had been requesting such a meeting for some time, in response to concerns over the information being provided by the HSE to residents of the Rosalie unit and their families.

    HSE management now say that work is being progressed on a proposal to change the current use of the Rosalie Unit.  The proposal is to develop a Mental Health Hub at the site which would include two Day Hospitals, one serving children and adolescents and one serving the elderly. 

    At the meeting, HSE Management also gave a commitment that it will work with residents and their families but, according to Senator Hopkins failed to commit to her request that individual details of Dr. Anderson’s report on the needs of the elderly residents, be shared with the individuals and their families.

    The Senator spoke to Midwest News today.