Senator Michelle Mulherin

  • A Mayo Senator is advising small local festivals, arts and cultural events in the region that they can seek funding from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

    Fine Gael’s Michelle Mulherin says the Department has opened its annual funding scheme for small local festivals and summer schools around Ireland, with a particular focus on arts, culture and film events.

    The closing date for applications is Friday April 19th.

    It’s only relevant to small local events, as the total fund for the scheme is only €75,000 and individual grants are for only relatively small amounts between €1,000 - €5,000.

  • A Mayo Senator believes the premature scrapping of roadworthy cars must be ended.

    Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin says tens of thousands of roadworthy vehicles are being prematurely scrapped every year- many of which have passed the NCT - and she claims this trend is being driven by insurance companies either refusing cover or quoting huge premia for vehicles ten years old or older.

    Senator Mulherin says a car is not a luxury but a necessity in rural Ireland, and many younger people get an older vehicle as their first car.

    She's questioning why over 77,000 vehicles were scrapped last year, and has asked the Junior Minister with responsibility for insurance Michael D'arcy to come before the Seanad after the Summer recess to answer a number of insurance-related queries.

  • A national discussion is needed on our approach to preventing eating disorders and supporting young people who suffer from an eating disorder, according to Mayo Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin.

    Senator Mulherin raised her concerns in the Seanad after data published by the child and adolescent psychiatry surveillance system showed that up to 4,000 children and adolescents in this country between the ages of eight to 17 may be suffering from anorexia nervosa. She said in Mayo she has been working with a number of families trying to access services to help their child overcome the illness.

    The escalation of the problem is reflected in the increase in referrals to child and adolescent mental health services, CAMHS, provided by the HSE, where there has been a 40% increase in referrals since 2011.

  • As protests continue outside a number of meat factories across the country, including Dawn Meats in Ballyhaunis, a Mayo Senator has reiterated her call for the Beef Forum to be reconvened.

    It's Day 10 of protests by the Beef Plan Movement, who are mounting pickets outside up to 20 factories, in an attempt get better prices for their beef.

    Mayo FG Senator Michelle Mulherin says serious talks need to take place between farmers, meat processors and the multiple retailers, and she believes the Beef Forum is the ideal place for such dialogue, as it would also involve the Agriculture Minister, Department officials, Bord Bia and other stakeholders.

    Senator Mulherin says the lines of communication need to be reopened between the stakeholders involved to try and address the issues around pricing....

  • Financial provision should be made for people living directly beside windfarms - such as the Oweninny wind farm in north Mayo.

    That's according to Mayo FG Senator Michelle Mulherin, who has raised the matter in the Seanad and with the new Minister responsible for this sector Richard Bruton.

    The Oweninny wind farm, which is expected to be completed by next year, is a joint venture between the ESB and Bord na Mona and will feature the highest turbines in the country at 580 foot in height.

    While a community fund is being set up worth about €230,000 per year, details of how the fund will be distributed have not yet been confirmed.

    Last week, a small number of people protested at the windfarm site, and a spokesperson for Oweninny Wind Power told Midwest News they were engaging directly with them in order to resolve any issues they have.

    Senator Michelle Mulherin believes financial provisions should be made for householders living in the direct vicinity of the windfarm....

  • With €1 billion allocated for flood defences over the next decade under the National Development Plan, a Mayo Senator is calling for flood defences in Ballina to be made a priority.

    In the Seanad this week, Ballina-based Senator Michelle Mulherin called on the OPW Minster Kevin “Boxer” Moran to prioritise the construction of flood walls along the River Moy in Ballina under the CFRAM programme.

    While 300 other at-risk areas were also examined under the CFRAM programme, Senator Mulherin says the Ballina flood walls project has been deemed one of the economically viable projects, and she hopes there’s positive news soon for residents in flood-prone areas of Ballina town.

  • A Mayo Senator is calling on the Transport Minister Shane Ross to fund a major road scheme between Ballina and Castlebar.

    FG Senator Michelle Mulherin says €10 million has already been spent since in the last decade on seeking a solution to environmental issues that have blocked roads development in this area.

    Now that difficulties at Cloongullane Bridge have been overcome, she says the Government should fund the proposed N26 / N58 / N5 road scheme joining Ballina and Castlebar.

    Senator Mulherin says traffic counts show this is a very busy road, with people travelling to work and in particular to the foreign direct investment companies such as Coca-Cola and Hollister in Ballina, and she told Midwest News that she has made a strong case to Minister Ross to have this road project prioritised...

  • A Mayo Senator has called for funding for three new group water schemes in Mayo.

    Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin says funding is urgently needed to fund new schemes in Downpatrick and Carrowmore in Ballycastle and Furmoyle in west Mayo.

    She raised the matter by way of motion in the Seanad yesterday.

    Senator Mulherin says it is past time that these areas were provided with proper group water schemes. In Downpatrick for example, the tap water cannot be used because of the presence of iron and arsenic in the supply.

    However these areas did not qualify for funding under previous water programmes due to not meeting certain criteria and the cost of providing the supply.

    However Senator Mulherin says a new measure – the multi-annual rural water programme – should provide for these types of areas and she is confident that in the cases of Downpatrick and Carrowmore they can be accommodated.

    She says more work will be needed to make progress in Furmoyle.

    Senator Mulherin told Midwest News that she will continue to work on obtaining a clean drinking water supply for these areas.

  • A Mayo Senator is calling for Government action to help Downpatrick families who have been without a water supply for over ten years.

    Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin raised the issue of 17 Downpatrick families who must go to a pump in Ballycastle for water in the Seanad.

    The project was named a number one priority by Mayo County Council ten years ago, but it was refused funding under the Multi-annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021 as the cost per unit exceeds the €9,000 per house threshold by €4,500 per house.

    The area is unsuitable for the boring of well water because natural soil conditions make the water untreatable.

    The Mayo Senator expressed her disappointment that a panel comprising of EPA, Irish Water and Department officials, didn’t deem the Downpatrick project worthy of exceptional funding

    Senator Mulherin told Midwest News that she is confident Minister Eoghan Murphy will look into this project and ones like it in more detail.

  • A Mayo Fine Gael Senator has called on the Office of Public Works to give urgent priority to the delivery of permanent flood defences for Crossmolina following heavy rain over the weekend and a flooding alert again for the town.

    Michelle Mulherin says Crossmolina has suffered from flooding a number of times in recent years most recently towards the back end of 2015.

    There have also been further incidents where the water level in the River Deel has risen to a height that is perilously close to breaching the banks.

    However, despite funding in place and the identification of a preferred flood prevention option nearly two years ago, which would see a channel being built to divert water flow away from the town, construction work still has to commence.

  • A Fine Gael Senator has called on the IDA to step up its efforts in promoting Killala for a data centre, as planning permission has already been granted for such a development at the former Asahi site.

    Senator Michelle Mulherin says we were told the main difficulty in developing a data centre is obtaining planning permission like in Athenry where Apple scrapped its plans for a data centre after a long planning row.

    She says in Mayo, we have planning permission for a data centre in Killala since June 2017, where there is a high-speed transatlantic fibre optic cable, and there is planning permission for a combined heat and power plant beside it, providing a secure, reliable and sustainable source of energy which is a key factor for data centres.

    Senator Mulherin says she wants to know what is being done to promote investment in these situations, as there have been no takers for the data centre so far.

    She says the likes of Microsoft, Facebook and Google should be enticed to come to Killala.

    Senator Mulherin put that question to IDA representatives when they came before the recent Joint Oireachtas Climate Action Committee recently.

  • A Mayo Fine Gael Senator has called Tesco’s new plans for an upgrade of their existing store in Ballina inadequate and disappointing.

    Michelle Mulherin is calling on Tesco Ireland to alter these new plans to address serious shortcomings in their latest proposals to do justice to the town centre of Ballina.

    Senator Mulherin’s call follows the UK retailers decision to shelve plans for a new €15 million store at it’s Market Road site and go with a very modest upgrade.

    The Fine Gael Senator is calling on Mayo County Council to challenge Tesco Ireland in relation to these serious shortcomings.

    Senator Mulherin says the local authority have bent over backwards to help Tesco in the past.

  • A Mayo Senator is calling for “joined-up thinking” when it comes to the construction of vital infrastructure, and considering its impact on the environment.

    Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin says a number of vital projects in Mayo have been held-up due to environmental concerns – including the N26, a new bridge on the R312 at Glenisland and the cleaning of the River Deel in Crossmolina to prevent further flooding.

    Last week, Apple confirmed it would not be going ahead with a proposed data centre in Athenry, Co Galway – after planning objections on environmental grounds delayed the project for several years.

    Currently, about half of lands in Co Mayo are designated as Special Areas of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive.

    Senator Mulherin is calling for a balanced approach, that will protect flora and fauna but also allow important infrastructural projects to go ahead in a reasonable timeframe….

  • The delay by the Energy Regulator in issuing licences for a €255 million renewable energy plant at the former Asahi site in Killala could see a repeat of the Apple fiasco in Athenry.

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

    She says three other State agencies have given consent for the project to go ahead under a new promoter - the EPA, ESB Networks and Mayo County Council - but a decision has not yet been forthcoming from the energy regulator.

    Senator Mulherin claims the promoters of Mayo Renewable Power have tried to deal with the energy regulator, but have "run into a stone wall".

    The Mayo Senator believes new legislation is needed to ensure that the regulator makes a decision on such matters within a certain time period, as she fears developers may look elsewhere.

    Senator Mulherin says this combined heat & power plant offers a golden opportunity for the north Mayo region.

    Midwest News has contacted the Energy Regulator to ask about the delay in issuing licences for the north Mayo power plant.

    A spokesperson said they cannot comment on this matter, due to commercial sensibilities and other factors.

  • The commitment of the Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin to Ireland West Airport Knock and its development must be seriously questioned, according to Mayo Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin.

    The Senator is reacting to statements made by Mr Martin, and published by the Clare Champion, when he was in county Clare recently.

    Senator Mulherin claims the FF leader appeared to take issue with the way IWAK has been funded, suggesting that there should be additional State intervention for Shannon Airport.The Clare Champion is quoting Mr Martin as stating that the government has overcome state aid issues to find ways of funding Knock airport.

    The Mayo Senator told Midwest News she is calling on Micheal Martin to clarify his remarks and his commitment to IWAK.

  • The provision of a new fire station for Crossmolina was raised in the Seanad this week.

    Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin says a new facility is a number one priority for Mayo County Council.

    Senator Mulherin says the Department has given a commitment that they will progress the project as soon as they receive the necessary documents from the local authority.

    She says it’s long overdue and is hopeful of positive news in early 2020 for this project to get over the line.

  • A Mayo Senator is renewing her call for the proposed Mary Robinson Centre to become a reality in Ballina.

    Following Mrs Robinson's recent appointment as the Chair of The Elders - an international organisation of elder statespeople - Senator Michelle Mulherin says this further underlines her standing as an international public figure for her role as a peace activist, human rights advocate and life-long campaigner for equality, women's rights and the rights of refugees.

    Senator Mulherin says Mary Robinson's achievements should be celebrated in her hometown of Ballina.

    €2 million euro of Government funding remains in place for the Mary Robinson Centre, which is now estimated to cost in the region of €6 million.

    Senator Mulherin says the costs of the centre are being revisited at present, and she's urging all parties involved to move forward with the project as a matter of urgency...

  • The construction of an advanced technology building in Ballina would make the region a more attractive option for multi-national companies looking to establish in Ireland.

    That's according to Mayo FG Senator Michelle Mulherin who raised the matter in the Seanad yesterday with the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Heather Humphreys.

    Following the recent announcement that US company Meissner is to create 150 jobs at the IDA advanced technology building in Castlebar, Senator Mulherin believes a similar facility is needed in Ballina to allow the IDA to sell the area to multi-national companies.

    Minister Humphreys has agreed to speak with the IDA about the issue, and Senator Mulherin says she will be meeting with the agency also to push the case for an advanced technology building for Ballina...

  • A Mayo Senator says that the rising price of petrol and diesel at the pumps shows that we need to consider looking at more sustainable sources of fuel.

    Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin raised the issue in the Seanadl this week and said that as a nation, we are over dependent on fossil fuels.

    She says that in the area of transport and heating, we are too dependent on fossil fuels.

    Senator Mulherin says our overall approach needs to change, so that we are looking at alternative fuel sources.

  • A Mayo Senator is due to sit down with the Finance Minister in the next number of days to push the case for an additional funding provision for suckler farmers in the budget.

    Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin says that she is concerned about the situation many suckler farmers find themselves in at present.

    She says there are a huge percentage of farmers in this region that are suckler farmers and they are struggling for a number of reasons.

    84% of cows in Mayo are suckler, with 93% in Roscommon/Leitrim falling under that bracket, while there is an overall figure of 81% for the west and northwest.

    Senator Mulherin raised the matter at this week’s Joint Oireachtas Committee meeting and also met with IFA representatives ahead of their picket outside the meeting of the Beef Forum on Wednesday.