• Projects in Mayo, Galway and Roscommon have each been allocated €500,000 today, under the 2018 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

    This morning, the Minister for Rural & Community Development Michael Ring announced half a million euro for the Lecanvey to Bertra section of the Clew Bay Trail.


    The Clew Bay Trail is a 19 km walking and cycling trail along the southern edge of Clew Bay between Belclare and Louisburg.

    This is one of 18 projects that which will share a fund of over €8 million from Minister Ring's department.

    €500,000 has also been announced for a new cycle corridor between Boyle town centre and Lough Key Forest Park in Co Roscommon.

    Local Senator Maura Hopkins says the new cycle corridor will provide a great new amenity for the community, and help to draw tourists who visit Lough Key into Boyle's town centre.

    Senator Hopkins says the new cycle route will form a key element of the new tourism brand for the region -"Ireland's Hidden Heartlands".

    And in Co Galway, €500,000 has been allocated for the Connemara Greenway Project, for a walking/cycle track along the disused railway line between Clifden and Oughterard.


    More than €105,000 has been refunded after residential service users with intellectual disabilities in Co Roscommon were wrongly charged for the provision of incontinence wear.

    Details of the refund were included in a briefing by the HSE for the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee.

    The committee heard last week that health authorities told the Brothers of Charity in Co Roscommon in 1997 that service users would not receive funding for these products.

    On that basis, a number of service users were charged for incontinence wear between 2002 and 2013. It says the practice of charging for incontinence wear was stopped in 2013 following the investigation of a complaint made by the family of one of the individuals involved.

    A total of €105,335 was provided on a once-off basis to the Brothers of Charity to refund clients for the "inappropriate charges" and the service users have received a "full refund".

    Sligo Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry now wants the HSE and Brothers of Charity to answer further questions on the matter before the Public Accounts Committee.

  • Over €3 million is to be provided for the construction of 18 new social houses in the Co Roscommon village of Ballyleague.

    That's according to Roscommon FG Senator Maura Hopkins, who says the Housing Minster Eoghan Murphy has approved over €3.1 million under the Rebuilding Ireland programme, for the construction of the 18 new houses in Ballyleague, on the borders of Roscommon and Longford.

    Senator Hopkins says there's strong demand for social and affordable housing in the area.


  • Over 100 staff at Roscommon County Council are staging a one-day strike today in a row over flexi-leave.

    In a statement to Midwest News, their union Forsa, says council management’s refusal to implement a flexi-leave scheme in the local authority has provoked this series of one day strikes, which are commencing today and are due to continue every Tuesday and Thursday. These strikes will impact on all council services.

    Forsa says council management has refused to halt its effective ban on flexi-leave in spite of two binding Labour Court recommendations, two Labour Court clarifications of its position and one Labour Court clarification of its clarifications.

    The union decided to take industrial action it said in the statement, after management refused to concede any progress in Workplace Relations Commission brokered talks, which have been going on for weeks.

    The Roscommon County Council CEO Eugene Cummins told RTE that Labour relations forums have backed his view that flexi-leave must be approved by a line manager based on the council’s business and operational plans.

    The council says the union is seeking an additional 13 days flexi-leave per annum, resulting in some staff having in excess of 50 days leave per year.

    The widely available flexible working scheme allows staff to accumulate an extra day per month – up to 13 days per year – by working additional hours during a normal week.

    Mr Cummins said this morning that if there is a defined business staff can work additional hours and those hours can be transferred into flexi-leave, but to date the problem has been that staff have been generating this leave without permission or purpose, rather than to suit the business needs.

    He said he wants to manage that process more effectively to ensure business continuity is maintained and it can be better audited.

    Padraig Mulligan is a Forsa official and told Midwest News today that this action will continue unless a compromise is reached.

  • Over 300 pints of homemade alcohol were seized at Castlerea Prison last year - despite efforts to clamp down on contraband.

    According to the Irish Examiner, prison officers made more than 1,100 drug seizures in Irish prisons in 2018, along with seizures of mobile phones and weapons.

    During searches, prison officers also seized over 750 pints of homemade alcohol, known as hooch.

    The largest quantity of over 300 pints was confiscated at Castlerea Prison, with 107 pints seized in Cork Prison and 192 pints in Mountjoy.

    The Irish Prison Service says preventing the access of contraband into prisons remains a high priority for them.






  • A pedestrian has died following a collision with a car on the N5 near Strokestown overnight.

    Emergency services were called to the scene of the collision shortly after 5am on a stretch of the N5 on the Longford side of Strokestown.

    The male pedestrian, who was in his 30's, was pronounced dead at the scene.

    The driver of the car was taken by ambulance to Sligo University Hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

    The N5 remains closed for forensic examination, with diversions in place.

    Castlerea Gardai are appealing for any witnesses to contact them at 094 - 96 21630  - particularly any road users with dash-cam footage.


  • The person appointed to carry out an independent review of the clinical assessments carried out at the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea, has withdrawn from the process.

    That was confirmed to relatives of service-users of the facility yesterday.

    Clinical assessments were carried out earlier this year at the unit to establish the needs of the residents going forward.

    An independent review of those assessments was being carried out, after the assessments were concluded in May of this year.

    However the person appointed to carry out the review by the College of Psychiatrists has now withdrawn from the process.

    The review was due to be completed by September of this year but relatives of residents were informed yesterday that it will now be January of 2019 before the review is completed, as an independent third party is being sought to finish the work.

    Liam Walsh, whose mother is a resident at the Rosalie Unit told Midwest News today that it is further disappointing news for families.

  • Planning permission has been granted for a new Hospice Unit in Roscommon Town.

    Mayo Roscommon Hospice has confirmed that Roscommon County Council has approved planning for an 8-bedroom palliative care centre on a site located adjacent to Roscommon University Hospital.

    The approval comes just as work is nearing completion on the new 14-bed Hospice Unit in Castlebar where public tours have been taking place this week.

    The Roscommon Palliative Care Unit will include in-patient and daycare facilities, day services, social work and alternative therapies.

    It's hoped the €6 million project will go to tender before the end of this year.

  • Plans are progressing to build an equine unit at Castlerea Prison, which will allow prisoners to work with horses.

    It's hoped the stable unit may open next Spring, according to Jonathan Irwin, founder of the Jack & Jill Foundation and a former blood stock agent, who has raised over €100,000 euro for the stud facility.

    Mr Irwin came up with the idea after visiting a prison in the United States, says it's been proven that the rate of reoffending drops significantly among prisoners who learn about the care and management of horses.

    The Irish Prison Service is supporting the project, which would be the first of its kind in Europe, and surveyors will look at possible sites within the prison grounds next week.

    Jonathan Irwin told Midwest News this lunchtime that this project has been a dream of his for the past 30 years, and he hopes it will open next Spring.

  • Plans are well-advanced for the provision of a CCTV system in the town of Ballaghadereen, and cameras could be in place by next Easter.

    That's according to local businessman Pat Towey, a member of the Town Team in Ballaghadereen.

    It's believed the CCTV cameras will be of assistance to local Gardai in investigating crime in the town - such as the vandalism caused over the weekend to the Christmas tree in Ballaghadereen.

    Wiring from the tree was pulled out and the fencing around it was damaged in the early hours of Sunday morning - shortly after the lights were officially switched on, on Saturday evening.

    The installation of a CCTV system in Ballaghadereen will cost in the region of €60,000, and will see cameras being erected at 13 locations around the town according to Pat Towey.

  • A post mortem is due to take place today, after an elderly man died in a crash in County Roscommon.

    It happened yesterday morning, after the car he was driving struck a wall on the Old Carrick Road in Boyle, at around 10am.

    Gardai are appealing for witnesses.



  • Prison officers were injured 137 times last year while trying to restrain an inmate.

    That's up from 91 similar incidents in 2017, according to the Irish Examiner.

    "Restraint intervention" cover situations where a prisoner is not complying - including when they're assaulting another inmate - and prison officers are injured trying to restrain them.

    Of the 137 such incidents last year, 11 were recorded in Castlerea Prison.

    These are in addition to 110 direct assaults on staff by prisoners last year.

    The annual figures have been rising steadily since 2015.

    Mountjoy and Cork prisons had the highest number of assaults on staff by prisoners.



  • Projects in Mayo, Sligo and Roscommon have been awarded funding from Inland Fisheries Ireland to support fisheries conservation and protection initiatives, and to give the public greater access to fishing sites.

    In total, €1 million is being allocated to 25 projects in 16 counties, under the National Strategy for Angling Development.

    Angling clubs, sports clubs, community groups, tourism providers and local authorities are among those who were successful in securing funding under this scheme to improve and protect their local fisheries.

    In Mayo, funding of €22,400 has been granted to Shean Lodge Fishery for the Tarsaughan River Salmon Conservation project.

    The river is currently eroding and has become shallow and is not ideal as a salmon habitat.

    This project will assess potential works to repair the eroding river bank, to improve the habitat.

    In Roscommon, €50,000 has been allocated for Lough Ree Angling Club, to create a wheelchair accessible angling centre and provide a wheelchair-accessible boat.

    In Sligo, €33,000 has been allocated for the River Easkey Angling Club, to provide stiles and footbridges at 32 locations along the river to give greater accessibility to fishing sites.

    This is the 3rd phase of the project.

    Inland Fisheries Ireland says they look forward to working with all of the successful applicants in delivering these projects for their communities.

  • Three Galway projects will receive €47,920 in funding as part of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme administered by the Department of Community and Rural Development.

    Gort River Walk Development Group and Gort Tidy Towns are to receive €19,760 for the development of a river bank walk in the centre of the town.

    Sliabh Aughty Walking Trails has been allocated €10,000 towards the cost of developing walking trails.

    Elsewhere, Corofin Community Development Association (CCDA) has been awarded €18,160 towards the development of a walking route linking the village to the community amenity space and playground.

    The grants were allocated in Measure 1 of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme allocation.

    Measure 2 applications for larger projects under the scheme are still being assessed.

    Galway East TD and Minister for Rural Affairs Seán Canney welcomed the allocation of funds to the groups saying "The funding will assist in creating outdoor recreation facilities in their communities for the benefit of all."

    In Roscommon, €60,000 has been awarded to 4 outdoor recreation projects in Mote Park, Castlerea Demesne, Keadue and the National Famine Way.

    The works range from path and surface upgrades to signage and media content.

    In Sligo, €125,000 has been allocated equally to 5 projects under the scheme.

    The Sligo Walks Website, Lough Talt road walk, Achonry, Coolaney River Walk, Enniscrone Coastal Walk all receive €25,000 under the government programme.

    The upgrades there include repairs to paths, maintenance, drainage and online marketing.

    Yesterday, Minister Michael Ring announced that five walking trails in Mayo were to benefit from a share of €100,000 under  the scheme.

    Nephin Trailwalk in Laherdane, Brackloon Woods in Westport, the Pullathomas Loop Walsk, Killeen Walks and the Cattle Raid of Mayo Trail in Glencastle and Ceathrú Thaidhg were the selected projects.

  • The Health Minister Simon Harris has confirmed that a proposal for a new Central Sterile Services Department at Roscommon Hospital has now been agreed between HSE Estates and the Saolta Hospital Group.

    Concerns have been raised recently about the future of the sterile services department at Roscommon Hospital and its impact on surgical procedures at the hospital, unless investment was secured urgently.

    Currently, sterilisation of some equipment is being outsourced to another hospital.

    Roscommon FG Senator Frank Feighan says a proposal for the new unit has now been agreed, and the project brief has been prepared, which he hopes will progress to design stage early next year.

  • The HSE is proposing to extend the service at the Loughglynn ambulance base in Co Roscommon to a 24 hour per day, 7 days per week service.

    At present, ambulances crews are deployed to the Loughglynn base for possibly a few hours per day, but it’s now proposed to extend it to a round-the-clock service, as the ambulance base covers a wide area of West Roscommon and East Mayo.

    The issue was discussed yesterday at the HSE Regional Forum meeting in Galway, where councillors were informed that discussions are already underway, and it's hoped to extend the service within the next 6 months.

    Loughlynn-based FG Councillor Micheal Creaton says it’s a welcome development as the ambulance base at present is only manned on a part-time basis.

  • The proposed closure of the N60 road from Castlerea to Ballymoe for roadworks has been postponed until mid-September.

    The busy section of road was due to close yesterday morning for a 2-week period for overlay works.

    However, Councillor Paschal Fitzmaurice said that, due to delays on the part of the contractor, the work will not now start until 17th September.

    Diversions will be in place.

  • The new Rose of Tralee says she's a big hurling fan in her native Co Limerick, while her family support Roscommon football.

    The 2019 Limerick Rose Sinead Flanagan has been crowned the new Rose of Tralee.

    27-year-old Sinead from Adare studied medicine at UCC, and works as a junior doctor in Cork.

    Her father Padraig Flanagan is a native of Elphin, Co Roscommon.


  • Sanitising your hands before putting on, and after taking off you face covering/ mask, is very important, and is just one of a number of steps everyone can take to reduce the spread of Covid 19 across the region. That’s cording to Dr Breda Smyth HSE Director of Public Health for Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.

    Dr Smyth says there is a significant and concerning increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases being reported across counties Galway and Roscommon in particular, and so now more than ever, we must double down on our efforts to contain it.

    She is urging young people to meet in small groups, stay apart and download the COVID Tracker app. There is still time to get the virus back under control in this region, but she says, we have to stay united in our efforts to tackle the infection and know that the actions of each and every one of us have a part to play in reducing its spread.

     Dr Smyth, a native of Straide, has been speaking to Midwest News today.

  • Public health officials have issued advice, after becoming aware of cases of Covid-19 in the north Roscommon area, including the wider Elphin area.

    They say close contacts of confirmed cases are being contacted and advised accordingly.

    The Department of Public Health is advising that anyone who develops symptoms - such as a cough, fever, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties - to isolate immediately and phone their GP for further advice, while family members and anyone else sharing their accommodation should restrict their movements.

    People in the region are reminded to continue to adhere to the basic public health advice - maintaining social distance, washing hands frequently, wearing face coverings in shops and on public transport and when sharing a car with someone you don't live, and face coverings should also be worn when visiting anyone over the age of 70 or medically vulnerable.

    The advice remains that everyone should reduce their social contacts.