Senator Michelle Mulherin

  • A €100m Brexit compensation fund for beef farmers has been secured. 


    Agreement on a €50m support package from the European Commission was agreed yesterday. It is understood the deal will see the Irish Government match this with €50m of State funding, to bring the total fund for beef farmers to €100m.

    The details of the scheme will have to be worked out with the various farming organisations.

    The funding package is based on an IFA submission to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and Commissioner Hogan that detailed losses of €101m by beef farmers.

    Mayo Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin told Midwest News this morning that she received confirmation of the funding from Commissioner Phil Hogan last night.

  • There's good news this evening for Ballina, as funding of €140,000 has been allocated under the Historic Towns Initiative to help protect the town's architectural heritage and boost its tourism profile.

    The funding has been allocated to Mayo County Council to repair ten buildings in the Pearse Street architectural conservation area - including the town's library and a number of privately-owned buildings.

    Ballina-based FG Senator Michelle Mulherin says repairs to historic shop fronts, sash windows and doors will ensure the longterm survival of these historic buildings.

  • The future viability of the Mayo Power plant in Killala is now in question, following the decision of the energy regulator to issue a Certificate of High Efficiency to the company with a rate of 18% - compared to the 100% issued previously.

    Some €95 million has already been spent on the €255m high-efficiency combined heat and power plant in Killala.

    Work on the plant was halted in 2016 when one of the investors withdrew from the project.

    New investors then came on board to complete the 45 megawatt biomass-fuelled power plant, and they applied for the necessary consents.

    Renewed consents were was given by Mayo County Council, the EPA and ESB Networks, while the energy regulator has taken since last May to respond.

    The high efficiency rating of 18% now issued by  the regulator puts the commercial viability of the project in question, according to Mayo Senator Michelle Mulherin.

    The FG Senator believes the energy regulator has a number of questions to answer in relation to this power plant, and she's calling for the regulator to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, climate change and the environment to answer these queries.

    Senator Mulherin says this is a very important project for north Mayo, and is also of national importance as it will help Ireland acheive its targets on renewable energy.

    The FG Senator says this latest development calls into the question the viability of the Mayo Power plant.

     

    A spokesman for Mayo Power confirmed to Midwest News that the project promoters will discuss this latest development later today, but are unlikely to issue a statement on the matter yet.

        

     

  • €55,000 in LEADER funding has been approved for the Local Voices Music Trail in Ballina.

    Local Voices Music Trail is part of the acclaimed Other Voices Music Festival and will feature an exciting and diverse line-up of performers, musicians, bands and DJs, plying their wares across the venues of Ballina on September 28th and 29th.

    The funding will be provided by Minister Ring’s Department through the Mayo LEADER Local Action Group.

    22 new acts have been confirmed for free gigs throughout Ballina as part of the Local Voices Music Trail later this month.

    Local Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin says the funding is a welcome boost.

  • Additional funding of €29,500 has been allocated to Quay National School in Ballina.

    It follows a number of appeals by the school for the funding.

    Local Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin says Quay NS was initially approved funding for two resource rooms and one additional classroom. However when the site was assessed by an engineer, it was discovered that a linkway was needed between the existing school building and the new extension and that would incur an extra cost.

    Quay NS was refused this additional funding initially and have been appealing that decision since.

    Senator Mulherin told Midwest News she was happy to be able to make representations on the school’s behalf.

  • Affordability for households must be at the heart of the new National Broadband Plan.

    That's according to Mayo FG Senator Michelle Mulherin, who points to the low take-up of high-speed broadband already rolled out by Eir under its commercial rural deployment plan, as only one in 7 of these households have taken up the offer.

    As the final bid for the national broadband contract is still being evaluated, Senator Mulherin says broadband packages should be affordable for all homes.

  • An Bord Pleanala has again pushed back the date for a decision on planning permission for a new bridge at Cloongullane, near Swinford.

    The decision is not just disappointing but outrageous, according to Mayo FG Senator Michelle Mulherin.

    It's almost two years since an oral hearing took place into plans for a replacement bridge at Cloongullane - an accident blackspot on the N26 - yet no progress has since been made on the matter.

    The planning application is still with An Bord Pleanala, and it was expected a decision might be made by the end of last month, but that date is now being further delayed, and  there's no indication when a decision will be made.

    Senator Mulherin says it's not good enough that environmental concerns are holding up such a vital piece of infrastructure, when there are no objections from the National Parks & Wildlife or the fisheries.

  • Ballina-based Senator Michelle Mulherin is to meet shortly with the Transport Minister Shane Ross to push the case for a ring road around Ballina to ease the worsening traffic congestion, which she says is impacting on people driving into town from the Foxford road and Sligo road on a daily basis.

    A deputation from Mayo met with representatives of Transport Infrastructure Ireland last Monday to discuss plans for various road projects across the county.

    However, Ballina-based FF Councillor Annie May Reape told Midwest News that neither the N26 road project from Mount Falcon to Foxford, or the Ballina Orbital Route, are included in the National Framework Plan, therefore she claims there will be no progress on either road project for the next 5-10 years.

    However, Senator Mulherin says the Orbital Route, or ring road, is badly needed and she claims it could be delivered in different phases.

    She says the first section to be built should connect the Foxford road and Crossmolina road.

  • Mayo Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin, who lost her Dail seat in the last general election, topped the poll at the Fine Gael Selection Convention in Castlebar on Sunday night last.

    While party headquarters did not release the full details of the ballot, Midwest West News understands the Ballina based Senator was ahead by two votes after the first count.

    Senator Mulherin led the charge on Sunday night taking 256 votes

    Westport based, Minister Michael Ring was second, receiving 254 votes.

    While Castlebar based former Mayo footballer Alan Dillon received 193.

    South Mayo based councillor, Patsy O’Brien lost out in the 4 candidate contest with 140 votes.

    The party has decided to contest the 4- seater constituency of Mayo with a three candidate ticket.

    At present it holds two of the 4 seats. Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny remains a Dail deputy but declared some time ago that he will not be contesting the next time round, while the second seat is held by the Minister for Rural Affairs Michael Ring.

    It would be considered highly unlikely that Fine Gael could do any better than retain 2 seats in this constituency, however, as a 5 seater constituency back in 2011,  the party managed to secure 4 of the 5 places.

  • The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh has granted funds under the Additional Accommodation Scheme to Ballyvary National School.

    The Additional Accommodation approval is for 2 x 80m2 Mainstream classroom including en-suite toilet 1 x 10.5 m2WC for assisted users.

    The Additional Accommodation Scheme is an important programme which improves the quality of school buildings and helps them to expand their capacity.

    An additional benefit is the local employment created during the works on schools through this Scheme.

    Mayo Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin says this is fantastic news ahead of Christmas.

    Senator Mulherin says she has lobbied both Minister Bruton and Minister McHugh in getting this funding over the line for Ballyvary National School.

    She says this will all be complimented by the funding secured from Minister Michael Ring for a looped walk near the school which will connect up with the path to the school from Ballyvary village again opening up these shared facilities and making them more accessible.

    Senator Mulherin says she believes this school and its community is a model of excellence for cooperation and best practice in rural areas which are determined to remain vibrant, to provide community facilities and ensure their school is well supported. 

  • Next week's planned strike by Community Employment scheme supervisors has been postponed, pending further talks between the Department of Social Protection and the unions involved.

    That's according to Mayo FG Senator Michelle Mulherin, who's been informed this evening by Minister Regina Doherty that next week's 5 days of scheduled strike action, due to start on Monday, has been averted.

    The CE supervisors are calling for access to an occupational pension.

    Senator Mulherin has this evening welcomed the postponement of the strike action, pending further negotiations...

  • The HSE has confirmed that the chiropody service will resume in the Ballina Health Centre next month.

    That's according to Mayo FG Senator Michelle Mulherin, who says the chiropody service was moved to Castlebar earlier this year.

    Senator Mulherin has made representations on the matter to the HSE, and says they have now confirmed that the weekly Ballina service will resume in June, following refurbishment works at Ballina Health Centre.

    She says this is good news for those who avail of the chiropody service, and don't want the inconvenience of having to travel to Castlebar.  

     

     

     

     

  • A clinic will be held in Castlebar today as the Department of Agriculture urges more eligible farmers to apply for the €100 million beef support scheme.

    This Sunday was the original closing date for applications for the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure, but earlier this week, Minister Michael Creed extended the closing date for a further week, to Sunday 15th September.

    Already, some 20,000 farmers have applied, but Minister Creed believes there are over 70,000 farmers potentially eligible for payments.

    A number of online clinics will be provided by the Department of Agriculture in the run-up to the closing date, where farmers can meet on a one to one basis with a member of staff to make their application there and then.

    In this region, clinics are taking place today at the TF Royal Hotel in Castlebar from 10am to 4pm, at the Twin Trees Hotel in Ballina on Monday next 9th Sept, the Ard Rí Hotel in Tuam next Tuesday, and Hannon's Hotel in Roscommon tomorrow week 12th Sept  - all starting at 10am.

    Mayo Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin is urging people to apply because we should not be sending money back.

  • Concerns have been raised in relation to parking and traffic management at Barnacogue National School near Knock Airport.

    That’s according to Mayo FG Senator Michelle Mulherin, who has raised the matter in the Seanad and pointed out that this is a problem for hundreds of rural national schools across the country.

    She says neither the Department of Education or local authorities are taking responsibility for issues around parking and traffic management plans, and it’s unfair that parents have to fundraise to buy nearby land parcels and construct parking areas.

    Senator Mulherin is calling for better co-operation between the Department and local authorities in relation to road safety at schools such as Barnacogue….

  • Construction work is to start tomorrow on the new Mary Robinson Centre on the banks of the River Moy in Ballina.

    Mayo County Council has confirmed that the contract for the €3.1 million museum, archive and educational facility has been signed with Mayo-based LPB Construction Services.

    The project will involve the conservation and refurbishment of the original Robinson family home with a new extension, and is located on Emmet Street in Ballina.

    Mayo County Council is partnering with NUI Galway in this project, to provide the public with access to the former President's substantial archive, and to papers from her ongoing work, which she has gifted to the museum.

    Mary Robinson, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is world-renowned for her work in human rights, gender equality and climate change, and Mayo County Council says the project - which is Ireland's first Presidential Library -will honour the legacy of Ireland's first female President.

    Government funding of €2 million euro has been pledged for the Mary Robinson Centre, along with funding from Mayo County Council and from local and diaspora fundraising.

    Ballina-based Senator Michelle Mulherin says it's a very important investment for the town, and for the north Mayo region....

  • A Mayo Senator is calling on Mayo County Council management to provide an interim payment to the Friends of Leigue cemetery committee in Ballina to carry out improvement works ahead of the annual Cemetery Mass this Sunday.

    The voluntary committee is responsible for maintaining the historic cemetery, but have expressed concern in recent days that the cemetery is becoming overgrown with weeds due to the ongoing delay by Mayo County Council is paying out this year's GMA funding - the general municipal allocation is given annually to a number of committees and organisations across the county's four Municipal Districts, with €20,000 provided each year to the Friends of Leigue Cemetery, but has not yet been paid out for 2018.

    Ballina-based FG Senator Michelle Mulherin says it's not good enough, and she's calling on the Council's Chief Executive Peter Hynes to make an interim payment to the Friends of Leigue cemetery committee, so that grass-cutting and other works can take place ahead of next Sunday's Cemetery Mass....

  • The Department of Education is now actively involved in trying to sort out an issue with a lease, which is preventing work from progressing on new accomodation approved for Newtownwhite Educate Together National School.

    That's according to Mayo-based FG Senator Michelle Mulherin, who raised the issue in the Seanad this week.

    Approval was recently given to additional classrooms at the Educate Together school near Ballina, but the works cannot go ahead until issues with the lease are resolved.

    The Education Minister told the Seanad this week that his Department is engaging with the various stakeholders involved, to try and regularise the position with the lease.

  • A draft plan for a pyrite remediation scheme will go before a meeting of the cabinet in January.

    That’s according to Mayo Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin, who raised the matter with Minister Damien English this week.

    A pyrite remediation scheme was confirmed by Government in October and Senator Mulherin says the Minister told her that a draft scheme has been drawn up.

    That draft will go before cabinet in January for any amendments or changes required and approval.

    Senator Mulherin says that once the scheme has been approved, it will be put in place almost immediately.

  • The future of the Mayo Power plant in Killala will come under the spotlight next Tuesday evening, as the Energy Regulator has agreed to come before the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Change and the Environment to answer questions on the matter.

    The Energy Regulator recently issued a Certificate of High Efficiency of 18% to the promoters of the project - a significant change from the 100% rating originally issued by the regulator.

    This puts the future viability of the Killala plant in question, according to Mayo FG Senator Michelle Mulherin, who asked that the regulator be brought before the Oireachtas Committee to answer a number of questions in relation to the high-efficiency combined heat and power plant.

    The project has a price tag of €225 million , of which €95 m has already been invested.

    Senator Mulherin says this power plant is very important, not just for Mayo, but nationally in terms of meeting our targets on renewable energy.

    Senator Mulherin says she's now been informed that the Energy Regulator has agreed to appear before the Oireachtas Committee next Tuesday evening, 2nd April.

  • The Energy Regulator has agreed to meet with the promoters of the Mayo Power plant in Killala next week, amid concerns about the financial viability of the new power station.

    This follows an appearance byrepresentatives from the energy regulator before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action & the Environment yesterday evening, to discuss their decision to issue a certificate of efficiency with an 18% approval rate for the Killala power plant - compared to a 100% rate issued in 2012.

    There are concerns that this could put the future of the combined heat and power plant in question, as the 18% rate changes the viability of the project.

    Mayo FG Senator Michelle Mulherin has asked why the energy regulator changed its rating, when the other agencies involved - including the EPA, ESB Networks and Mayo County Council - renewed the consents given for the original project in 2012.

    She says the promoters have already spent almost €100 million euro on the Killala plant, and it's vital that the Energy Regulator works with the promoters to get this project over the line.