• New government figures show that there were 361 homeless adults across the Western region as of November last.

    Galway makes up the majority of the figure with 326 adults homeless, followed by Mayo with 29 adults homeless and Roscommon with 6.

    In the Northwest region Sligo had 36 adults homeless while Leitrim had 3, according to figures from the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government.

    Among the homeless adults in the Western region the majority were housed in private emergency accommodation, with 223 staying in hotels, B&B’s or other residential facilities.

    136 were staying in supported temporary accommodation including hostels with onsite professional support.

    There were 86 families homeless across the region, containing a total of 215 dependent children.

    Meanwhile, Fianna Fail claims children and older people are being hit hardest in the homeless crisis.

    In total, there was a drop of 66 in the number of people in emergency accommodation last November.

    But there were still 10,448 people without a home, including a slight increase in the number over 65 years old.

    And 3,700 were kids, which Fianna Fail's housing spokesman, Darragh O'Brien, notes is a 47 per cent rise on three years before.

  • The Government has abandoned plans to accommodate asylum seekers at a hotel in Rooskey, Co. Leitrim.

    The Shannon Key West Hotel had been earmarked as an accommodation centre for 80 people.

    However, the Department of Justice has confirmed that following legal advice, the plans have now been dropped.

    It's because of difficulties over the lease agreement between the company renting the hotel - who wanted to turn it into a tourist spot - and the owners.

    Local Councillor Liam Callaghan told Midwest News that he received confirmation from the Department earlier that the plans had been dropped.

  • The Taoiseach and Agriculture Minister cannot ignore that protests that took place outside Dail Eireann yesterday by farmers over the Mercosur deal.

    That's according to Roscommon Fianna Fail TD Eugene Murphy, who asks - if the Government is serious about climate action- how can they justify this deal which he claims is band for the environment and for the suckler beef sector in Ireland.

    Deputy Murphy says Fianna Fail will be voting with Sinn Fein later today on their motion calling for the Mercosur deal to be rejected.

    Speaking to Midwest News, the Roscommon-Galway TD says the Government needs to take action to lessen the impact of this trade deal on rural Ireland...

  • The CEO of Harmac Medical Products John Somers will be conferred with a Distinguished Fellowship in Roscommon this afternoon.

     The conferring will take place at the Council Chamber at Áras an Condae in Roscommon, with the President of Athlone IT Professor Ciarán Ó'Catháin and the Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council Ivan Connaughton conferring the honour on Mr Somers at 4pm.

     Harmac Medical, which has its headquarters in Buffalo, New York, opened its plant in Castlerea 20 years ago, and is a significant employer in the  town in the manufacture of medical products.

    CEO John Somers is a regular visitor from the US to the company's plant at the Demesne in Castlerea.



  • The Minister for Health is being asked to intervene in the case of a Co Roscommon boy with autism, who may have to wait four years to avail of services.

    Roscommon-Galway Fianna Fail TD Eugene Murphy says the 7-year old boy from north Roscommon is currently in 193rd place on a waiting list for the autism service at the Primary Care Centre in Athenry, and it could be up to four years before he receives treatment.

    Deputy Murphy is calling on Minister Simon Harris to intervene on this boy's behalf, describing the waiting time as "cruel and shameful"

  • The Minister for Health Simon Harris was in Boyle this morning to officially open the new Primary Care Centre.

    It's almost two years since the Minister turned the sod on the project in Boyle, and the primary care centre has been open for the past 6 months providing health services for a population of some 9,000 people in the town and surrounding areas.

    Local FG Senator Frank Feighan welcomed the Minister to Boyle and also said he's looking forward to an announcement shortly on the design team for the Medical Rehabilitation Unit planned for Roscommon County Hospital.




  • The Health Minister says it’s important the HSE apologise for any failings in audiology services provided to children in the West of Ireland.

    The HSE has been carrying out a review of 900 cases in the Roscommon and Mayo area between 2011 and 2015.

    It's understood up to 50 children were impacted.

    Simon Harris said today that its important the HSE tries to do better.

  • 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 highest temperature in the country today was recorded in Co. Roscommon.

    Mount Dillon recorded highs of 17 degrees at around 3 o'clock this afternoon.

    Met Eireann says tomorrow is set to be another dry and mild day.

    Weather conditions will become more unsettled towards the weekend.

  • 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.

  • HIQA has found that urgent action is required to address fire safety risks at a Co Roscommon care centre.

    Following an unannounced inspection in December, the State’s health watchdog said governance and management systems at St Eithne’s Rest Care Centre in Tulsk required “review and significant improvement” to ensure the service provided was safe.

    The 10-bed residential centre accommodates elderly members of the local community with low and medium dependency needs. The inspection was carried out to determine what progress had been achieved in addressing issues following a previous inspection in September.

    The September inspection found the centre needed to strengthen its governance and management structures; to take action to reduce and manage the risk of fire, and to limit its number of residents to a level that could be cared for safely.

    During the December inspection, Hiqa found the centre had not taken the necessary action to mitigate risks and had failed to improve regulatory compliance.


    Inspectors were not assured there was sufficient staff with an appropriate skill-mix available to effectively meet the needs of residents. They also observed that residents were sitting in the sittingroom for most of the day unsupervised.

    They called for a complete staffing review to ensure that a safe standard of care was delivered.

    HIQA said actions to address fire safety remained outstanding.

    Inspectors also said some residents had high dependency needs, which the centre was not structured or resourced to safely care for.

    The report said not all staff had up to date training in fire safety, moving and handling, inection control and prevention, or food hygiene education.

    It also said not all residents had access to the type of bed they required, and the bed linen was threadbare and needed replacing.


    Management at St Eithne’s in Tulsk said steps have since been taken to address the concerns outlined by Hiqa.

    The inspection report was one of 48 on residential centres for older people published by Hiqa yesterday.





    House prices went up by over a thousand euro a month during 2018.

    According to the latest report, there was a 5.5 per cent increase across the country with the average price now 254 thousand euro.

    In Dublin, house prices rose by 2.9 per cent, compared to an increase of 11.7 per cent in 2017.

    Prices went up 5.8 per cent in Cork, 6.3 per cent in Galway city, while Limerick saw increases of 9.8 per cent.

    In Mayo, prices in the final quarter of 2018 were 10% higher than a year previously, compared to a rise of less than 1% seen a year ago. The average house price is now €154,000, 39% above its lowest point.

    In Roscommon the average price has risen by 7.5% since last year up to €138,908 and are up 51.6% since their lowest point.

    In Galway City the average house price is €290,528, up 6.3% on the same time last year and up just under 81% since its lowest point.

    In Galway County the average price is now €197,791, up 7.4% on last year and 56.3% since the lowest level.

    In Sligo the average price is €138164, up 5.5% since last year and 31.5% since its lowest level.

  • House prices nationally rose by 2.5% during the first three months of 2018, according to the latest House Price Report released today by property website, The average price nationwide was €247,000, 7.3% higher than a year ago. Compared to their lowest point in 2013, prices nationwide have risen by an average of 50% or just over €82,500.

    In Mayo, prices in the first three months of 2018 were 3% higher than a year previously, compared to a rise of 11% seen a year ago. The average house price is now €145,000, 31% above its lowest point. In Roscommon prices are up by 4% compared to a year ago, in Sligo 5%, and in Galway County 11%.

    In Dublin, prices rose by 2.3% in the first quarter of the year. This means that the average price in the capital is now €145,000 higher than five years previously. In Cork and Galway cities, prices rose only marginally in the first three months of 2018 (by 0.3% and 0.1% respectively) but are now 59% and 70% higher than their 2013 lows.

    The number of properties available to buy on the market nationwide continues to fall. There were just over 20,000 properties on the market in March. A significant increase in Dublin listings – up from 2,700 a year ago to 3,500 now, largely offset a fall in availability elsewhere. The number of properties on the market outside Dublin is now at 16,800, down 1,000 on a year ago and the lowest on record, for a series starting in January 2007.

  • The HSE has apologised for failures identified in a review of paediatric audiology services in Mayo and Roscommon and has committed to sharing the review report with the families affected today.

    General Manager of the HSE West, Tony Canavan said “on behalf of the HSE, I would like to offer a sincere apology for the failures identified”.

    Parents of the children affected have been invited to meet with a senior manager and a senior audiologist to discuss the findings of the report and they will be updated on their child’s care,” he said.

    The HSE carried out a review of audiology services in counties Mayo and Roscommon between April 2011 and February 2015 following concerns raised by the assistant national clinical lead in audiology. It said the concerns related to one audiologist who no longer works in the audiology services.

    Of the 995 cases examined, 49 children have been found to be affected. Thirteen children were re-referred into the service following concerns and were retested and identified as having a hearing loss.

    Sixteen children with hearing aids received hearing aid management that deviated significantly from recommendations set out in the National Audiology Review group Report (2011). Twenty children who were recalled and retested were identified with a new hearing loss.

    The HSE say the 49 children affected are all currently receiving or have already received the appropriate care.

    Tony Canavan says the priority now is to bring the outcome of the audit to the attention of the parents involved and to provide them an opportunity to have any questions they might have answered. To this end, the review report will be shared with the families affected today.”

  • The HSE's Capital Spending Plan for the next three years has been published today.

    The plan covers 2019 to 2021, at a cost of over €2 billion.

    The publication of the HSE's Capital Plan was delayed as a result of the over-run in the cost of the new National Children's Hospital, however, it's understood no projects face cancellation or delays, despite the over-run.

    In Mayo, funding is being provided for additional bed capacity at Mayo University Hospital, as well as electrical upgrade works at the hospital.

    Elsewhere across the region, the capital plan includes funding for the new Rehabilitation Unit at Roscommon University Hospital, and a 50-bed upgrade of the Sacred Heart Community Nursing Unit in Roscommon.


    In Galway, funding has been announced for the long-awaited new Emergency Department and Maternity Unit at University Hospital Galway and a new elective hospital at Merlin Park in Galway to reduce waiting times and overcrowding.

    The plan also includes a new ambulance base in Galway city, while the mortuary at UHG will undergo major refurbishment works, and there's funding for the development of a blood science laboratory.

  • 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.

  • A motion calling on the HSE Executive to ask the board of the Irish Wheelchair Association to abandon the proposed closure of the Cuisle holiday centre in Donamon, Roscommon was carried unopposed at yesterday's meeting of the HSE Regional Health Forum in Galway.

    However, CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group Tony Canavan said it is not within the remit of the HSE to instruct the Irish Wheelchair Association regarding its plans for the respite centre.

    The motion was put forward by Roscommon Independent Councillor Tony Ward who said the decision to close the Cuisle centre is unbelievable, given that it was a vital service for people with disabilities who travelled from all over the country for a holiday.

    The Cuisle centre is set to close this week with the loss of 48 jobs.

  • The HSE is to apologise to almost 50 families in Mayo and Roscommon for serious failings in audiology services provided to their children according to an RTE Investigates report.

    It follows the completion of a look-back review of paediatric audiology services provided in over 900 cases by one audiologist.

    The HSE carried out a view of services provided in Mayo and Roscommon from 2011 to 2015 as a result of concerns around some aspects of the quality of the service provided, leaving some children with lifelong implants.

    The report says that the individual worked in the Mayo/Roscommon area for over a ten-year period from the early 2000s providing services to young children.

    The look-back began when several professionals in the area expressed concerns about the quality of the audiologist’s work.

    Of the over 900 cases examined, 49 children have found to be affected.

    The HSE is expected to write to these families in the next number of days to provide them with details of the report and RTE reports the letters will also acknowledge that the failings identified either increased the risk of a missed diagnosis or a poor outcome for the affected children.

    The letters will also include an apology from the HSE for its failure to provide appropriate hearing assessments and for the distress this has caused the children involved and their families.

    The clinical team who undertook the review found that in the cases examined hearing assessments conducted did not meet national audiology standards.

    Among the key failures identified are a failure to determine the model of paediatric audiology service provide; hearing aid management was not performed as per relevant guidelines at fitting or review appointments; there was inadequate clinical governance in place to audit and monitor service provision and poor record keeping.

    The HSE has said that all affected children who required a recall have been offered follow-up appointments and in the majority of cases those clinical follow-ups have been accepted.

    It said any children identified as needing further interventions have now been prioritised and treated in a timely manner.

    It is understood that the individual involved has been suspended from practicing here and no longer provides services in the Republic of Ireland.

    It is reported some parents are now considering pursuing legal actions against the HSE.