Deputy Denis Naughten

  • The Government confirmed yesterday that plans to increase the pension age to 67 from next January will not be going ahead.

    Roscommon-Galway Independent TD Denis Naughten has welcomed the decision that the pension age will be retained at 66.

    He says Minister Heather Humphreys confirmed the decision earlier this week to the Dail's Social Protection Committee, pending a report from the Commission on Pensions in mid-2021.

    Speaking with John Morley - Deputy Naughten acknowledged that we need a broader debate on how fund pensions into the future, but says there needs to be flexibility in the system.

  • The dental clinic which operates from Roscommon Hospital is to move to a permanent new location in Roscommon Primary Care Centre, according to deputy Denis Naughten.

    The deputy had been contacted by parents concerned that the service had been transferred temporarily out of the hospital as a result of Covid-19, which resulted in some patients being treated in Galway.

    He has now been informed that it is expected that dental services will commence in the primary care centre in mid-November, which is welcome news particularly for parents travelling to appointments with children. It has also been confirmed that in the interim patients are being offered services in Strokestown, Monksland, Boyle and Castlerea. Services are also due to recommence in Ballaghaderreen in the coming weeks, where a new dentist has joined the team.

  • Roscommon Independent deputy Denis Naughten has sought reassurance from Minister Charlie Flanagan that Roscommon Town will retain its status as a Garda Divisional Headquarters in any re-organisation of Garda Divisions.

    He says recent reports on a draft proposal for the Garda re-organisation of the force is suggesting that the Roscommon/Longford Division would be merged with Mayo under the changes which are due to be introduced at the end of the year.

    This would mean that there would be a single Garda Divisional Headquarters for this new super-division and deputy Naughten says the current Garda HQ in Roscommon Town is geographically well suited to service this expanded area.

    He says no final decision has been made on the re-configuration of the divisions but that people are concerned that Roscommon could lose out in the process.


  • Enforcing a one metre social distancing rule, rather than the present two metres,  and if the wearing of face masks had been made compulsory sooner, then our economy would have a better chance of bouncing back, while at the same time controlling the coronavirus. That’s the view of Roscommon/Galway Independent deputy Denis Naughten.

    The deputy says he believes that the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), is basing all its decision on science, but he says a more balanced view is needed, to ensure that our economy is not destroyed.

    Speaking to Midwest News today he accused Nphet of secrecy and not providing all of the facts around the virus and its control.

  • The Road Safety Authority must not put drivers to the expense of having to make two visits to NCT centres with two sets of preparations for the test, according to Roscommon/ Galway Independent deputy Denis Naughten.

    He says the current proposal that drivers would have two make two trips to get an NCT cert is contrary to the contract that the company has with the State and if people are forced to attend twice, at the very least they should receive a full refund for the cost of the test.

    He argues that the problem exists with the contractor in fulfilling its obligations due to faulty equipment. However, it now seems that the Road Safety Authority is trying to pass this cost on to motorists, which is unacceptable.

    Deputy Naughten told Midwest News today that the Road Safety Authority cannot place this burden on motorists who are in no way responsible for the problem and under no circumstances should they be out of pocket as a result.

  • A former cabinet minister is calling for more talks to be held immediately to try to resolve the beef-farming dispute.

    Two rounds of negotiations were held recently between Beef Plan and Meat Industry Ireland, which represents factories.

    But farmers failed to secure the price increases they wanted  and unofficial protests have resumed outside some meat factories.

    Independent Roscommon TD and former environment minister Denis Naughten is calling for mediation talks to be convened immediately in an effort to find a solution.

  • Services for older people to stop them being admitted to hospital and encouraging a quicker return to their homes, are to be developed at the former A&E at Roscommon Hospital according to local deputy Denis Naughten.

    A reform of Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) services at Roscommon Hospital with an expanded range of services and additional staffing to ensure that the unit is better able to meet the needs of the local population, has been confirmed by the deputy.

     Earlier this year €750,000 per year was secured to expand services at the Medical Assessment Unit at the hospital with a view to extending the opening hours. However on review by hospital management it was deemed more beneficial, at this stage, to reform the service to provide an expanded model of care “more relevant to our local population, particularly older people and GP services” and which works within the constraints on the existing number of hospital beds.

     The focus will be on preventing people from having to be admitted to hospital in the first place and also minimizing the length of time people need to spend in hospital.

     Deputy Naughton says this is the first significant investment at the Urgent Care Centre in Roscommon Hospital since the A&E closed in 2011 and forms part of a commitment which he says he secured in the Programme for Government. 

    To facilitate the development  the hospital is in the process of recruiting 15 additional staff including a consultant physician, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech & language therapist, dietician, pharmacist, social worker and specialist nurses who will form a multidisciplinary ‘Fraility Team’. 

    Additionally a new consultant radiologist, radiographer and cardiac physiologist will allow the hospital to provide additional diagnostics.

    The enhanced services will allow GPs, he says, to refer medical patients to the MAU for a range of issues including falls, breathlessness, stable chest pain, neurology and rheumatology conditions. 

  • Independent TD for Roscommon/ Galway, Denis Naughten says he is prepared to work with the Green Party in Government, despite significant disagreement on climate change targets.

    The Greens want any new administration to commit to cutting emissions by 7 per cent a year.

    Green party members are considering a response to their request from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael for clarification on how a coalition could work.

    Denis Naughten a member of the Regional Independent Group says he'd be prepared to engage with the Green party.

  • 40% of livestock marts around the country have a poor broadband service - according to the Government's own website.

    It shows marts in Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Sligo are among 19 marts included under the National Broadband Plan to have their service upgraded.

    With 40% of marts failing to have decent broadband, the current restrictions allowing only online sales of cattle and sheep need to be reviewed, according to Roscommon-Galway TD Denis Naughten.


    Meanwhile, farming organisations are also calling for a limited number of bidders to be allowed in the ring at mart sales, while adhering to social distancing and other public health guidelines.

    The IFA, Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association, ICMSA and the Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association have all called on the Government to make immediate changes to the current restrictions, to facilitate ring-side buyers in a socially-distanced manner.



  • An increase in carbon tax in tomorrow's budget could have a disproportionate impact on rural Ireland.

    That's the view of former Environment Minister, Roscommon Independent deputy Denis Naughten, who has raised concerns over the potential hike.

    An increase in carbon tax by Finance Minister Paschal Donohue will push up the cost of petrol, diesel, heating oil and other fuels.

    Deputy Naughten told Midwest News today that people in the capital may be able to avoid the tax, but it's a different story for people in rural areas without access to an adequate public transport system.

  • Some hospitals have cut 10 per cent of their beds to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

    Roscommon-Galway Independent TD Denis Naughten claims that's the case at Portiuncla Hospital in Ballinasloe.

    The Regional Independent TDs have secured a Dail debate on the matter today, amid concerns that the number of patients on hospital trolleys has risen, on average, to over 100 per day across the country since the start of this month, as a direct result of the bed reconfiguration in hospitals to reduce the risk of infection due to coronavirus.

    Deputy Naughten is calling on the Health Minister Simon Harris will explain the measures being taken to address the reduction in bed capacity, and says urgent action is needed....

  • The Data Protection Commission is examining complaints it has received in relation to Covid 19 test results being made available to employers before staff members.

    It centres on tests carried out at certain facilities.

    Individuals have expressed shock and upset at receiving their results from managers, rather than the HSE.

    The Chief Medical Officer has said the practice whereby the HSE is giving employers the Covid-19 test results of their employees is "a breach of confidentiality".

    Dr Tony Holohan told the Dáil's Covid-19 committee meeting today that "employers should not be receiving result for employees".

    Confirmation that test results were shared with employers before employees clearly shows that basic data protection rights of individuals were ignored by the HSE, says Roscommon-Galway TD Denis Naughten.

    He has given examples of staff in meat plants and nursing homes who were informed of their Covid test results by their employer.

    The Independent TD says this cannot be tolerated, and results should be provided directly to those tested as soon as they become available.


  • Employers will no longer be told about their workers Covid-19 test results.

    Yesterday, the HSE confirmed the issue had been taking place in some 'exceptional' circumstances.

    However, it now says the practice is being suspended as it seeks advice on the matter from the data protection commissioner.

    Following a further 16 deaths yesterday, the death toll from the virus now stands at 1,561, and there are 24,251 confirmed cases - including an additional 51 cases confirmed yesterday evening.

    The number of confirmed cases in Mayo is up 4 since yesterday at 556, with 438 confirmed cases in Galway, 307 in Galway-  that's an increase of 6 cases - 307 cases in Roscommon, up 3, 129 in Sligo - unchanged from the previous day - and up one in Leitrim to 80 confirmed cases.


    Roscommon-Galway TD Denis Naughten has welcomed confirmation that the HSE is to suspend its practice of sharing medical results with employers before workers, but again questioned why this practice was used in the first instance.

    Deputy Naughten, who first raised this issue in the Dail last week, says the key question that remains unanswered is why did the HSE disregard data protection laws regarding medical test results.

    He believes it's because those responsible either wait weeks for the contract tracing system to inform staff of their results, or try to get the information out quickly to the employer in order to reduce the spread of the infection.

    The Independent TD claims this breach of data protection has occurred because the current contract tracing system in not working.





  • The leaders of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens will meet more Independent TDs today, as government formation talks continue.

    They'll meet the eight deputies from the Regional Group this afternoon. 

    Yesterday,  Sligo's Marian Harkin and Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice were told they could get access to Ministers, and deals for their respective constituencies if they support the new Government.

     It's understood this would be the arrangement, rather than the promise of Ministerial posts.

    Today, it's the turn of the regional group of Independent TDs - which includes Roscommon's Denis Naughten and Galway TDs Sean Canney and Noel Grealish.

    Deputy Naughten told Midwest News that he and his colleagues will meet today with the three party leaders, for an update on progress so far, and an indication of when a  new Government might be formed....

  • It looks like the resignation of Denis Naughton as Communications Minister hasn't hit Fine Gael badly.

    The party's still riding high in the latest Sunday Business Post/Red C poll and is unchanged on 33 per cent.

    Fianna Fail has seen a boost in support in the wake of the budget  - it's up three to 25 per cent, while Sinn Fein's up 1 to 15 per cent

    1,000 adults over 18 were interviewed between Thursday, October the 11th and Wednesday the 17th.

  • The Housing Minister faces a motion of no-confidence in the Dáil this evening.

    The Social Democrats moved the motion saying Eoghan Murphy has failed to get to grips with the housing crisis.

    The government will need the support of several independents in order to win the vote with Fianna Fáil abstaining.  The support of Roscommon Independent deputy Denis Naughten and Galway Independent deputy Noel Grealish will be vital, if the motion is to be defeated, and to avoid a general election this side of Christmas.

    Independent TD for Louth Peter Fitzpatrick says he won't be supporting the government in the vote.

    Communications Minister Richard Bruton is confident the motion this evening will fail.

  • The value of wearing of cloth faced coverings in public and work areas should be immediately examined by the Government and the National Public Health Emergency Team. That's the view of Independent Roscommon Galway TD Denis Naughten.

    The deputy is calling for the issue to be looked at , supported by his colleagues in the Regional group of independent TDs.

    Deputy Naughten believes make-shift face cloths should be considered for members of the public so that industrial masks can be kept aside for frontline healthcare workers.

    Deputy Naughten told Midwest News today that the Community Call initiative could provide mask templates to homes and businesses.

  • A Roscommon TD is calling for Covid-19 restrictions to be relaxed in counties that have a low number of cases of the virus.

    Independent TD Denis Naughten says it makes no sense that parts of the country with low rates should remain in lockdown to the same extent as areas with a significant problem, and he claims restrictions on returning to work could be relaxed in areas with low rates of infection.

    As of midnight on Monday, there were over 9,000 cases of Covid-19 in Dublin - while Leitrim had only reported 67.

    Deputy Naughten says rural areas can be used as a test for cities to relax restrictions:

  • The HSE's decision to suspend the allocation of new Home Help hours will hit the counties of Mayo, Galway and Roscommon hardest, as demand in the West is far greater than anywhere else in the country - that's according to Roscommon Independent TD Denis Naughten.

    Deputy Naughten has called for the Dail to be suspended this week to discuss the HSE's decision to close the home help scheme to new entrants, which he says will trap carers in their homes and leave them unable to get a break from the 24 / 7 care they provide.

    He says it will also lead to families being left with no choice but to admit older people to long-term nursing home care.

    The Roscommon TD told Midwest News that the HSE's decision must be reversed immediately....

  • A Roscommon TD has called for an immediate stay to be put on the transfer of residents from the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea, pending a full independent inquiry into the treatment of residents by senior management within the HSE.

    The issue was debated as part of a Fianna Fail Private Members motion on mental health services.

    Roscommon Fianna Fail TD Eugene Murphy says the motion highlighted the need to respect the wishes of service users and their families in facilities such as the Rosalie community psychiatric unit.

    In April, the HSE announced that the Rosalie Unit would cease to function as a community psychiatric unit, and alternative care plans would be put in place for the residents.

    Speaking in the Dail last night, Independent TD Denis Naughten says issues have arisen since 2015 in relation to the carrying out of clinical assessments on residents at the Castlerea unit, and he now wants an independent inquiry into how the residents have been treated since then....