• The Communications Minister Denis Naughten has defended his attendance at a dinner in New York hosted by the head of the bid for the National Broadband Plan, at which issues relating to the bid were briefly discussed.

    The Roscommon-based Minister says he and a number of his officials attended an event hosted by David McCourt, chairman of private investment firm Granahan McCourt.

    The last remaining bidder for the National Broadband Plan, a consortium originally led by E-net but now led by Granahan McCourt, submitted its tender last month.

    Minister Naughten says the issue was "discussed briefly" when he and Mr McCourt met in New York.

    Speaking on national radio, the Minister said he regularly meets with people who are investing - or planning to invest - in Ireland, and he added that he has never been directly involved in the procurement process relating to the NBP, which was a decision taken before he became minister.

    Fianna Fáil's communictions spokesman Timmy Dooley says Minister Naughten should not have attended the New York dinner, describing it as highly inappropriate, while Social Democrats' TD Catherine Murphy has said that Mr Naughten's meeting with Mr McCourt has undermined public confidence in the process of awarding a contract for the National Broadband Plan.

    This evening, Sinn Fein and the Green Party have called for the minutes of the dinner meeting in New York to be released.

  • Roscommon-based Independent Minister Denis Naughten is facing increasing pressure to withdraw support from the Government, over the closure of mental health facilities in his own constituency.

    A day care centre in Ballaghadereen is due to close shortly, while it's expected the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea, which cares for patients with Alzheimers and dementia, will also close.

    Both facilities were discussed at a heated meeting on Friday between the HSE and local Oireachtas representatives, and Tony Canavan, Chief Operations Officer with the HSE has since stated that the Rosalie Unit will close in the long-term.

    He said a review is underway to assess the future care of the 12 residents at the facility, and the policy of no new admissions to the centre will not be reversed.

    Midwest News has been unable to make contact with Minister Denis Naughten this morning, but it's understood he walked out of the meeting on Friday in disgust.

    The Minister - who lost the FG whip in 2011 following the closure of the A& E unit at Roscommon Hospital - is expected to raise the matter with the Taoiseach when he returns from New York.

    Minister Naughten has also written to the Minister for Older People Jim Daly on foot of Friday's meeting, and will be seeking a meeting with him and the Health Minister Simon Harris this week.

    However, a spokesperson told the Irish Independent she could not comment on whether Minister Naughten is considering withdrawing his support from the minority Government if the matter is not resolved.

    Denis Naughten's constituency colleague, Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice, has called on Minister Naughten to stand by previous committments he made in relation to the Rosalie Unit, and said it's time to put people before politics.


  • The Communications Minister Denis Naughten insists the National Broadband Plan is still on track.

    Following the withdrawal of SSE from the Enet consortium over the weekend, concerns have been expressed about the delivery of broadband to rural areas.

    However, Minister Naughten told Midwest News today that tenders are expected from the Enet consortium in the coming weeks, and he expects the procurement process will be completed later this year, as expected.

    Minister Naughten said he does not expect this latest development to delay the rollout of the National Broadband Plan....

  • The Government has confirmed that committments given in 2015 in relation to the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea will be honoured.

     Roscommon-based Minister Denis Naughten has received a letter from the Minister for Mental Health & Older People Jim Daly, confirming that the Rosalie Unit will continue to form part of the service delivery for older people.

    This comes as a welcome development for the residents of the unit and their families, as a senior HSE manager had indicated recently that the facility may close.

    Minister Daly points out that the matter of the best interests of the current residents of the Rosalie Unit is a separate issue, and independent assessments of each resident will be carried out to assess the most appropriate long-term care plan for each individual.

    That's perfectly acceptable, according to Liam Walsh, who's an advocate on behalf of resident's families.

    Following a packed public meeting on the issue again on Monday night in Castlerea, Liam Walsh has welcomed this letter from Minister Daly, which he says is great news for the current residents, and those who might need the unit in the future.

  • The Minister for Communications has warned that people need to respect the office of the US President.

    Denis Naughten has refused to directly criticise fellow Government Ministers who've threatened to demonstrate during Donald Trump's planned visit here in November.

    But he has said that protesting won't solve any problems.

    The Taoiseach claims there's a standing invitation for any US President to come to Ireland, despite the visit coming 'out of the blue'.

    Denis Naughten agrees that President Trump is welcome here.

  • At a packed public meeting last night in Castlerea, Minister Naughten confirmed that the Taoiseach will honour the commitments given in 2015, securing the Rosalie unit as a residential facility,

    Confirmation in writing confirming that commitment is expected later today.

    Liam Walsh, whose mother is a resident in the Rosalie Unit for some years, told Midwest News this morning that the packed hall was delighted with that news last night.

    The Rosalie Unit, a residential facility for people with mental health issues, looked destined to close in the coming weeks, according to the HSE.

    A campaign to keep the facility open has been ongoing for some years now.

    Mr Walsh told Midwest News this morning that people power appears to have won out in this case.

    Minister Naughten had been speaking with the Taoiseach about the Unit’s future earlier yesterday, before attending the public meeting, and he said the Taoiseach assured him that the commitments, given by Leo Varadkar himself, as Health Minister in 2015, to the people of Castlerea concerning the Unit’s future as a residential facility will be upheld.

    Mr Walash says they are now awaiting that verbal commitment in writing later today, but he said he is cautiously optimistic that the Rosalie Unit as a residential facility has been secured.


  • The HSE has been accused of betraying the residents of the Rosalie Unit, a facility for adults with mental health issues in Castlerea, by families who say they will fight plans to close the unit.

    Minister for Communications Denis Naughten has confirmed, to the Irish Times, that he will attend a public meeting in the town to night as relatives of those living in Unit reacted angrily to a HSE suggestion that their care needs would be better served elsewhere.

    Minister Denis Naughten, lobbied Minister for Health Simon Harris on the Unit’s future last week, and is under pressure locally to keep the facility open to the 12 residents in it at present.

    Liam Walsh, whose mother, Breda (83), has been living in the Rosalie Unit since 2009, said Mr Naughten had told a public meeting last February that the unit would not close while he was part of the government.

    Mr Naughten lost the Fine Gael whip after voting against the government decision to close the emergency department of Roscommon hospital in 2011.

    Recently  Tony Canavan of HSE West  told a meeting with local representatives that a report completed on the unit indicated that better care for residents could be provided in a different setting and said the unit was set for closure. However, he said before a final decision is made the report was being reviewed by a medical expert.

    Mr Walsh pointed out that there were 33 residents in the unit when his mother moved in and said following a decision to stop all new admissions in September 2016, the number had dropped to 12. “They have been trying to close it by stealth,” he insisted.

    We believe they want this building for something else, but we are prepared to keep fighting

    Mr Naughten confirmed he would raise the issue this week with the Taoiseach and said he would continue to press Mr Harris and Minister of State Jim Daly in relation to the unit.

    In response to a query on the unit by Fianna Fail deputy Euergene Murphy  last week in the Dail, Minister Jim Daly’s response concurred with the likely closure of the unit as a residential facility.

    The public meeting will take place in Hester's Golden Eagle Lounge this evening at 8.30pm





  • On the spot litter fines will be increased from €150 to €250 under new legislation being brought forward by the Environment Minister Denis Naughten.

    The Roscommon-based Minister has today published the 2017 National Litter Pollution Report, which shows that cigarette butts account for more than half the litter on our streets and roads.

    Cigarette-related litter accounts for 56% of waste, with packaging, food-related litter and sweet papers accounting for another 34% of litter.

    Minister Naughten told Midwest News  that smokers are responsible for much of the litter in our towns and communities....

  • Minister Denis Naughten has welcomed reassurances provided by the HSE’s Tony Canavan today in relation to the future of the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea.

    Minister Naughten had written to Minister for Mental Health Jim Daly stating that both Government and HSE policy is clear that the Rosalie Unit has a future which is in all likelihood within the Mental Health services and had sought reassurances in relation to both the residents of the unit and the future of the unit itself.

    The HSE has confirmed today that no decision will be taken in relation to the Rosalie Unit until the clinical assessment process has been completed and reviewed.

    Mr Canavan also said he can confirm that the Rosalie facility will continue to form part of the service delivery of health care in the Roscommon area, and that if any change of use should arrive from its current use, it will be done in consultation with public representatives and relevant stakeholders for the area.

    Minister Naughten says he welcomes the reassurances, and while it will provide some solace for residents and their families, he says we must continue to work with residents, their families and their advocates as well as the local community into the future.

    Liam Walsh’s mother is a resident at the Rosalie Unit and he told Midwest News today that it is a welcome development but it does not provide any assurance regarding the long-term future of the Rosalie Unit. 

  • The Minister for Health Simon Harris and the Minister for Mental Health Jim Daly have both agreed to meet a delegation to discuss the future of the Rosalie Home in Castlerea.

    That’s according to Roscommon FG Senator Maura Hopkins, who has spoken with both ministers, and says they have agreed to meet a delegation.

    Senator Hopkins is currently arranging the meeting, which would also include HSE management.

    In addition, she says Minister Jim Daly will visit the Rosalie Unit at the end of this month, where he will meet with residents, family members and healthcare professionals.

    Up to 300 people attended a public meeting in Castlerea last Thursday night amid concerns that the Rosalie unit may close, as the HSE says it is not part of their plans going forward.

  • The future of the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea will be discussed at a meeting in Leinster House this evening.

    The Minister for Health Simon Harris and Minister for Mental Health Jim Daly will meet with a deputation which will include patient advocates, three local Councillors and Roscommon Oireachtas members.

    The meeting was due to take place earlier this month, but was deferred until this evening.

    The Rosalie Unit in Castlerea is a long-stay residential unit for elderly patients with Alzheimers and dementia, but there are concerns locally that the HSE is planning to close the unit.

    The HSE says the 12 residents in the Rosalie home are being clinically assessed to determine their future care needs, while family members are concerned this may mean moving the residents to other facilities in Mayo or Galway.


  • Almost 3,000 homeless people around the country use a local post office as their home address to receive mail because of the scale of Ireland's housing crisis.

    New data reveals the spread of hidden homelessness across the country, with many people unaccounted for in official figures because they stay with friends and family.

    The Sunday Independent reports that the statistics show higher volumes of people in rural areas using post offices as an alternative because they have no home address.

    The figures show high demand for the service in Galway where there are 194 users.

    In counties across the west there are more homeless people registered for the An Post service than there are staying in emergency accommodation, according to the Department of Housing's most recent figures.

    Mayo with 31, Roscommon with 15, Leitrim with 5 and Sligo with 38, have more homeless people using post offices to access mail than those recorded as being in emergency accommodation.

    The figures have been made available by An Post for the first time since the service was created for homeless people last April

  • 750 older people are to be offered a nursing home place under the Fair Deal scheme.

    The boost in numbers follows months of restrictions by the HSE, which had been putting a limit on the number of places allocated weekly.

    It is expected that top-up funding will now be needed, in addition to the €1bn Fair Deal budget for the year, in an effort to make inroads into a waiting list of people approved for a nursing home place.

    Roscommon Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins told Midwest News recently that she is aware of a number of families paying out thousands of euro weekly for nursing home care for a loved one, who has qualified for the Fair Deal Scheme, but had not secured it.

    In some cases, older people are waiting two months or longer for a place.

    The Irish Independent reported earlier this week that a record 769 patients nationally, who are medically fit could not be discharged because of a lack of step-down care, and were occupying hospital beds.

  • More than a thousand people have taken part in a protest in Strokestown in County Roscommon.

    The peaceful demonstration was organised in support of the local family recently evicted in controversial circumstances, from a family farm on the outskirts of the town.

    Those attending today carried banners and tri-colours, calling for an end to forced evictions.

    It follows violent clashes last week in the aftermath of the eviction.

    Two men were arrested and later released following last week's disturbances - and a file is being prepared for the DPP.



  • The HSE has again apologised to almost families in counties Mayo and Roscommon for serious failings in audiology services provided to their children.

    Earlier this month, it emerged that the HSE carried out a review of services provided in the two counties from 2011 to 2015  as a result of concerns around some aspects of the quality of the service provided.

    Some children were left with lifelong impairments after the review of services provided in more than 900 cases.

    It was understood that one audiologist was involved who worked in the Mayo / Roscommon area for over ten years, providing services to young children.

    However, at yesterday's meeting of the HSE Regional Forum in Galway, FG Councillor Padraig Conneely called for the audiologist involved to be named and shamed.

    But HSE management then informed the councillor that it wasn't down to one individual - rather there were two contractual services involved.

    Councillor Conneely told Midwest News that this revelation raises further concerns....

  • A mother-of-three, who was fatally injured in a road collision last Friday, will be laid to rest in Ballinlough tomorrow (Friday).

    Anne Grogan from Cloonlough, Ballinlough, who was in her early 30s, passed away at University Hospital Galway earlier this week, after sustaining serious injuries in an accident last Friday when her car was involved in a crash with a lorry and a van in Ballinlough.

    Ms Grogan was a member of the teaching staff at Ballyhaunis Community School.

    A statement from the school says it's with great sadness that they learnt of the tragic passing of a dear friend and colleague, who was a much loved member of the school community.

    Ms Grogan was also an active member of Michael Glaveys GAA club, where she both played and managed teams.

    Ms Grogan's remains will repose at McDonagh's Funeral Home, Castlerea this evening (Thursday) from 4-7pm.

    Funeral Mass will take place in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Ballinlough tomorrow at 1.30, followed by burial in Ballinlough Cemetery.


  • A motorist in Co Roscommon was arrested on Saturday, after being detected driving under the influence of drugs.

    The Roscommon Division Roads Policing Unit stopped the driver and carried out an oral fluid test at the roadside.

    The motorist tests positive for cocaine, cannabis and benzodiazepines and was arrested, with court proceedings to follow.





    A motorist was caught travelling at 181 kilometres an hour heading for County Galway last night.

    The driver was speeding on the M6 motorway between Athlone and Ballinasloe.

    The Roscommon Roads Policing Unit say a fixed charge notice is to follow.




  • The N5 road has reopened following a crash in Roscommon overnight.

    Part of the N5 had been closed after a multiple-car collision near Strokestown near Strokestown Golf Club.

    Three vehicles were involved in the crash, which happened shortly before 8pm.

    Meanwhile the N17 road reopened around 11.30pm last night following a two-car collision in the village of Ballindine.

  • The N5 Road between Tulsk and Ballinagare has reopened to traffic following the removal of a jack-knifed truck. Conditions remain slippery in that area so Gardai are advising motorists to exercise caution. 

    The N4 on the Boyle side of Carrick on Shannon is closed following an accident involving a lorry and a number of cars. Gardai say the road will remain closed for a number of hours.

    The Kiltimagh/Balla Rd (R342) has reopened to traffic after a truck overturned there yesterday evening.