Minister Michael Ring


    As 159 Post Offices across rural Ireland are closing - including 11 in Mayo, 18 in Galway and 5 in Roscommon-the Minister for Rural and Community Affairs Michael Ring insists An Post and the Government are not responsible for the closures, rather it’s the communities that failed to use their local post office on a regular basis.

    He believes that, if local post offices were being used by communities, many of the Postmasters/ mistresses opting for the retirement packages would not be doing so.

    The CEO of An Post David McRedmond is insisting that the remaining post offices will benefit from increased services and better investment, and says 96% of customers will benefit from the move.

     Minister Michael Ring is not responsible for the post office network, but he is the Minister for Rural and Community Affairs.

    He says he has been in attendance at some of the public meetings organized in the last number of days to Save the Local Post Office.

    While he acknowledges that large crowds have turned out and are upset and frustrated by the closures, he told Midwest News that the same volume of people have not been supporting the same post offices.

    Aine Gilligan is postmaster in Ballyglass Post Office, which is closing tomorrow.

    She agrees with Minister Ring that post offices are closing due to lack of support from their local communities.

    Speaking earlier with Midwest Radio, she said the numbers of people using the local post office have dwindled over the past 10-15 years.


  • The operators of a new whiskey distillery in Achill are hoping to start production next month.

    The Minister for Rural & Community Development Michael Ring visited Bunnacurry this afternoon to officially open the new Achill Island Distillery.

    The company hopes to create up to 25 jobs when fully operational.

    The company was established 5 years ago, and is currently exporting two types of Irish whiskey sourced from a number of distilleries across the country to 11 states in the US.

    The Irish American Trading Co says Minister Ring's visit today marks the completion of works on the Achill Island distillery, and they're hoping to start production next month, with a Visitors Centre due to open before the end of the year.


  • New penalties for speeding could be dramatically reduced after an intervention by Fine Gael Cabinet ministers.

    Transport Minister Shane Ross has committed to reviewing his proposed speeding laws after he clashed with Fine Gael ministers.

    A Cabinet sub-committee will now review the strict penalty point regime for speeding, which could see motorists receive severe penalties based on how fast they are travelling beyond the speed limit.

    It's understood every Fine Gael minister from rural Ireland raised concerns with elements of the new speeding laws at Cabinet, while Mayo-based Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring was reportedly the most vocal.

    Minister Ross intends to introduce speeding penalties based on how much over the limit a motorist is driving, and he also wants automatic fines for not carrying a driving licence.


    The Irish Independent says sources described the mood within Fine Gael over the clampdown as "close to revolt".

    Ultimately, Minister Ross proposed having a Cabinet sub-committee examine the proposed changes, before he moves on to the next stage of the legislative process.






  • 36 primary schools across the country, including 2 in Mayo, have been selected for a hot school meals pilot scheme.

    It's a new initiative from the Department of Social Protection to provide a hot lunch to students on a daily basis from next month.

    Scoil Naisiúnta Realt na Mara in Mulranny and Scoil Naisiúnta Achaidh an Ghlaisin, Belmulet will be part of the new pilot scheme, according to Mayo-based Minister Michael Ring, who says families will not be asked for additional contributions towards the scheme.

    The Department of Social Protection says a mix of DEIS and non-DEIS schools in both urban and rural areas have been selected for the pilot programme, and over 6,600 students will benefit.



  • Talks aimed at resolving the ongoing beef dispute will reconvene on Monday.

    The Agriculture Minister has confirmed that he will facilitate the talks, and asked that stakeholders "engage in a spirit of compromise."

    Michael Creed added that the dispute has the potential to inflict "long term damage on the sector" if it continues.

    Meat Industry Ireland meanwhile has welcomed the new round of talks, which are aimed at ending the dispute over beef prices.

    It says that if a process of engagement can now be secured by the Minister, members will defer further legal proceedings.

    Mayo based Minister Michael Ring told Midwest News today it’s time that farmers got a fair price for their product.

  • The restoration of the 13.5 percent VAT rate on hotels, restaurants and hairdressing was necessary in yesterday’s budget, according to the Minister for Rural and Community Affairs Michael Ring.

     Minister ring says the reduction of the VAT rate to 9 percent for this sector was introduced in 2011 as an emergency measure, and he said it was sustained for 7 and a half years, but in light of the booming tourist numbers it has had to be restored.

    It was costing the exchequer over 2 billion euro and he insists that money is now required in education, social welfare and other areas.

    Minister Ring told Midwest News today why the 13.5 percent VAT rate has been restored across the hospitality sector.


    Listowel in Co. Kerry has been named Ireland's overall tidiest town for 2018.

    This is the 60th year of the Tidy Towns awards, and Minister Michael Ring announced the winners in Dublin at lunchtime - he also announced a special allocation of €1.4 million to support the work of individual Tidy Towns committees around the country, to mark the 60th anniversary.

    Westport was among the national winners, being named Ireland's Tidiest Large Town  - for the second year running.

    Minister Ring presented the committee from his hometown with a trophy and €5,000 euro prize money.

    Castlebar has secured a Gold Medal award for the first time, while Westport also retained its gold medal award, which is worth €900.

    Ballina, Belmullet and Mulranny all secured Bronze awards worth €400.

    Westport was the county winner for Mayo, with Mulranny highly commended, and Castlebar was commended.

    Westport also won the Young Tidy Towns Committee award of €500.

    Binghamstown won the Endeavour award for Mayo and €500, while Belmullet was highly commended in the Gaeltacht award and received €1,000.

    36 communities from across Co Mayo entered the competition this year.

  • Westport has been named Ireland's Tidiest Large town at the 2019 National Tidy Towns awards, for the third year in a row, while Glaslough in Co Monaghan has won the overall award for Ireland's Tidiest Town.

    Over 800 entries were received from across the country in the 61st year of the Tidy Towns  competition, and the award winners were announced this afternoon at The Helix in Dublin.

    Seven communities in Mayo have won a total of 13 awards today.

    Westport has again been named Ireland's Tidiest Large Town, while both Westport and Castlebar have retained their Gold medals, with Bronze Medal awards for Ballina, Belmullet and Mulranny.

    Westport also won the county award for Mayo, with Mulranny highly-commended, while Castlebar was commended and the Endeavour award for Mayo went to Lecanvey.

    A number of special awards also went to communities across Mayo -

    Louisburg won the Leave No Trace Award, while Belmullet Tidy Towns won the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, and Belmullet was highly-commended in the Gaeltacht Award.

    The awards were presented in Dublin by the Minister for Community & Rural Development Michael Ring, who said Mayo has outdone itself in this year's competition, as 7 communities across the county won a total of 13 awards.

    Minister Ring also announced €1.4 million to be allocated to Tidy Towns groups around the country, and urged Mayo participants to avail of the funding.


  • Works at Robeen Crossroads in South Mayo will go to tender shortly and will commence in the next six weeks.

    That’s according to Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring.

    Minister Ring says he announced funding of €175,000 last year for Robeen Crossroads in respect of improving the junction.

    He said he has contacted Mayo County Council and Executive Engineer Kenneth Morley has confirmed that the final design for the junction realignment at Robeen is complete and the land agreement is also in place.

    Minister Ring says this work is badly needed as they have been a number of very serious accidents at this location.