• Thousands of pilgrims are expected to climb Croagh Patrick this Reek Sunday weekend.

    Accurate counting procedures undertaken by Mayo county council indicated that 5,000 people climbed Mayo’s holy mountain on Reek Sunday last year.

    Masses will be celebrated on the summit from 8am on Sunday morning next, on the hour,  until 2pm. While a Mass will take place at the base of the mountain at Murrisk on this Friday, Garland Friday, the day that many local people traditionally make the climb.

    Fr Charlie McDonnell is the Adminstrator in the parish of Westport , where Croagh Patrick is situated, he told Midwest News today   that it’s a busy week  - as final preparations are made for Reek Sunday.

    He is advising pilgrims not to take any risks, if they do not feel physically able to climb, they should not attempt to reach the summit. 

    He says the condition of the cone, close to the summit is deteriorating and while its hoped to reduce the problem over the next number of years, it is a very difficult climb at present that should not be underestimated.

  • As the Mayo under 20's prepare to face Derry in Carrick on Shannon in a historic All Ireland semi-final - a game which you can hear live on Midwest Radio with thanks to Salamancas Tapas Bar - we got the views of manager Mike Solan, free scoring full forward Ross Egan as well as marauding half back Paul Lambert. You can watch the interviews back now and don't forget to tune in from 4pm on Saturday for the full game live on Midwest Radio.

  • Funding of over €56 million is being allocated for national roads in Co Mayo for 2020.

    This includes an allocation of €40 million for the new N5 Westport to Turlough road.

    Transport Infrastructure Ireland's budget for 2020 allocated €55.3 million for improvement of roads in Mayo and a further €1.3 million for road maintenance.

    It also includes an allocation of €2.5 million for the long-awaited new Cloongullane Bridge on the N26 near Foxford, and €100,000 for the Charlestown bypass.

    The Minister for Rural & Community Development Michael Ring told Midwest News about the national roads allocation in Mayo for next year.

  • Funding of €4.5 million for 26 greenway projects has been announced today by Minister for Climate Change and Transport Eamon Ryan.

    The funding will provide support for the planning and design of greenways around the country and was allocated under the Carbon Tax Fund 2020.

    €95,000 is being made available for the Mayo Interurban Greenway. 

    The funding is for the concept and feasibility study of a 60km link from Westport via Castlebar to Ballina.

    Fine Gael Deputy Michael Ring says in Mayo, our Greenways have proven to play a vital role in supporting local communities, creating jobs and bringing visitors to our county. 

    Meanwhile, €300k has been awarded to Sligo County Council for the development of the controversial Greenway along the western rail corridor that will run from Cooloney in Sligo to Bellaghy in Charlestown.

    €240,000 has been allocated to the Connemara Greenway and €75,000 for the Quite Man Greenway.

  • Approval has been given today by Cabinet for the construction of the N5 Westport to Turlough Road.
    Speaking to Midwest News this lunchtime the Minister for Community and Rural Development Michael Ring said the proposed road development, which will cost €241 million to construct, involves the construction of 20km of dual carriageway from Westport to Turlough and a 2.5 km single carriageway link to the N59 Westport to Mulranny national secondary road.
    He says it’s the single largest Government investment in the history of Mayo and it will have a transformative effect on the county. Work is due to begin later this year.
    The Minister explained that the new N5 will link up with the N59 which is currently undergoing a €55 million improvement scheme from Westport to Mulranny.

  • With the Summer season finished and schools reopen, hotels are now reporting a 70% drop in projected revenues for the month of September, compared to this time last year.

    A new survey by the Irish Hotels Federation shows bookings for September & October have plunged, with average room occupancy levels at 30% in the West, and just 24% nationally - compared to 86% for the same period last year.

    The hotels federation says additional stimulus measures are required to save the sector - such as reviewing the 6-person limit on indoor gatherings, extending the wage subsidy scheme, extending the rates waiver period for tourism businesses, and reducing tourism VAT to 9%.

    Mayo Chairman of the IHF, Westport hotelier Darren Madden says it was a busy Summer for hotels across Co Mayo, but there are significant challenges for the months ahead.


  • Allergan is to invest €65m in its Irish operations and will add 63 jobs to its plant in Westport.

    Local Minister Michael Ring told Midwest News this morning that it’s great news for the county, and added that Allergan has been a wonderful employer in Westport for forty years now.

     Allergan has four plants in Ireland - two in Dublin, one in Mayo and one in Galway. 

    Today's jobs announcement will bring its employee numbers in Ireland above 2,100.

    The €65m funding will also see the company invest at its Clonshaugh facility in Dublin, which includes two manufacturing facilities and the company's head office.

    The Westport campus is the largest and most complex in the company's global network. 

    It includes a pharmaceuticals facility, two biologics plants and is also responsible for the global supply of Botox. 

    Minister Ring says the news is today warmly welcomed in Westport.


  • A 9-year old Mayo girl has had her artwork selected by author JK Rowling to illustrate her new book.

    Lottie Billington from Westport drew a peacock for the online competition, and this was one of 34 illustrations which were selected, from more than 19,000 entries from children worldwide.

    While Lottie was told in August that her drawing had been successful, she had to keep it secret until the book - The Ickabog-  was published.

    Lottie is a student at Brackloon National School in Westport, and as part of her prize, the school has won €500 worth of books.


  • The amount of time devoted to talking about issues concerning Westport town at monthly meetings of the West Mayo Municipal District is completely out of proportion in view of the large area that the district represents from the Ceide fields in north Mayo to the Mayo / Galway border.

    That was the view expressed by Achill based Fianna fail councillor Paul McNamara at the monthly meeting this week of the West Mayo Municipal District.

     In particular he highlighted what he termed the excessive debate on the introduction of on street car parking charges in Westport town.

  • Global biopharmaceutical company Allergan  has completed a €160 million investment in its Westport, Co Mayo facility as part of a strategic expansion.


    The New-York listed botox maker’s investment in Westport cements that facility’s position as its largest in the world and brings its investment here since it began operations to more than €750 million.


    The new facility will create 63 jobs and enhance Ireland’s position as a strategic global hub for Allergan’s flagship products.


    Paul Coffey Vice President Global Manufacturing and site Lead at Allergan Westport told Midwest News this morning that this €160m investment underpins Allergans commitment to advancement in the biologics arena and we are delighted that Ireland is home to this strategic expansion. 

  • Planning permission has been refused for Portwest to construct their new global headquarters in Westport.

    An Bord Plenala has upheld an appeal lodged against the decision of Mayo County Council to grant permission for the office building and café at Roman Island at The Quay in Westport.

    The Board says the proposed development is in an area which is at risk of flooding

    This is a major set-back for the clothing workwear company, which has seen a massive global expansion in recent years, and now employs over 3,000 people worldwide.

    Just over a year ago, Mayo County Council granted planning permission, with 37 conditions, to Portwest Ltd to build their new global headquarters at Roman Island, The Quay, Westport.

    The company was planning to construct a mainly 4-storey building with offices, cafe and parking, with plans to employ up to 150 people at the new facility.

    Last October, two appeals were lodged with An Bord Pleanala against the council's decision to grant permission.

    The appeals were signed by over 20 local residents in total, and cited concerns in relation to flooding, parking, traffic, and the design of the building.

    A decision was expected in April, but was deferred due to a backlog in cases.

    This week, An Bord Pleanala has upheld an appeal against the decision to grant planning permission to Portwest Ltd.

    In reaching its decision, the Board overturned the recommendation of its own inspector.

    In a statement to Midwest News, Mayo County Council says this is an unfortunate outcome, after a long and extensive process.

    The Council says it will preclude the development of an iconic 21st century building at the Quay, which would have involved a multi-million euro investment and would have bought significant employment and economic activity to the area on a year-round basis.


  • Home Care Services have been cancelled again this week at the McBride Nursing Home in Westport.

    As reported previously on Midwest News, people expecting to avail of day care service at the unit are having their service cancelled at the last minute, on a regular basis over the past number of weeks.

    It has now emerged that there are eight staff vacancies at the McBride home which haven’t been filled.

    Five of these posts haven’t been filled since 2018 and the Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council Brendan Mulroy says the HSE can say what they want but this is definitely a downgrading of the McBride Nursing Home.

    Mayo Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers requested details from the Health Minister regarding the number of staff employed at the nursing unit and Councillor Mulroy is now calling on the HSE to come out and make a statement of intent on their plans for the McBride Home.

  • While this year’s Reek Sunday pilgrimage has been cancelled due to Covid-19, the Archbishop of Tuam Dr Michael Neary will celebrate the vigil Mass in Westport this evening.

    The vigil Mass gets underway at 6.30pm in St Mary’s Church, Westport and will be streamed on Facebook.

    Meanwhile, pilgrims are being reminded to stay away from Croagh Patrick as tomorrow’s annual Reek Sunday  pilgrimage is cancelled.

  • Archbishop Michael Neary will lead the annual Croagh Patrick pilgrimage tomorrow (Sunday).

    Later this evening ( Sat), Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass in St Mary's Church, Westport at 6.30pm to mark the official start of this year's pilgrimage.

    On Reek Sunday, Mass will be celebrated on Croagh Patrick every hour from 8am to 2pm.

    The Bishop of Killaloe Fintan Monahan will celebrate the 9am Mass, and Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass at 11am.

    Confessions will also be available on the summit from 7.30am to 2pm.

    Those making the climb this weekend are advised to come prepared - with wet gear, sun screen, appropriate footwear, water and snacks.

  • Gardai in Westport are investigating the seizure of a significant amount of cannabis last weekend.

    It's understood the drugs, worth in the region of €20,000, were found in a wooded area near The Point.

    Members of the Westport Drugs Unit were involved in the seizure, and Midwest News understands one person is helping Gardai with their enquiries.


  • Cannonball has now broken the milestone of one million euro raised for charities

    The action packed supercar event was in Westport on Friday night last and large crowds lined the streets to welcome the parade.

    Fans got up close and personal with the world’s top mark cars such as McLaren, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce and Bentley, among others.

    The official charity of Cannonball 2018 is ISPCC Childline, Ireland’s 24-hour listening service for children and young people.

  • Car parking charges in local authority car parks and on the streets of Mayo towns should show uniformity right across the county, according to Independent Cllr Richard Finn.

    He raised the matter at the monthly meeting of Claremorris Municipal District, during which councillors passed bylaws for parking in their area.

    Cllr Finn says that in different Municipal Districts, there are different parking charges.

    He cited the recent controversy where West Mayo opted to have no car parking charges on the streets of Westport, one of the county’s largest and busiest towns.

    He told the meeting that he feels there needs to be uniformity on parking charges throughout the county, so there can be clarity for the general public parking in any town.

  • Carraig Donn, the Westport based retailer of fashion, jewellery and giftware, have today announced plans to open a new retail outlet and warehouse in Castlebar.

    The company, which currently operates 40 outlets across Ireland, plan to open their latest store at Hopkins Road in the centre of Castlebar next month and to establish a new 30,000 sq. ft logistics and warehousing centre at Moneen, Castlebar, to service the growing demands of their online operations.

    Maeve McCormack, Marketing & E-Commerce Manager with Carraig Donn told Midwest News today that the move  will create 40 jobs over a two-year period. Recruitment gets underway from today for the Castlebar store.

    After opening two new stores in Cork and in Blanchardstown, Co. Dublin, over the last fourteen months, this latest investment in Castlebar will bring the total number of Carraig Donn outlets to forty-one.

    Carraig Donn is 100% Irish owned and operated. It currently employ 470 people across its Head Office in Westport and 40 retail stores.

  • Bank of Ireland has confirmed that cash counters at their branches in Belmullet and Westport will remain open all day, from September.

    Last Summer, the Bank of Ireland closed cash counters at both branches from 12.30 each afternoon, which was a huge inconvenience for local people wishing to do their business and for tourists to the area - according to Erris-based FG Councillor Gerry Coyle.

    He and Minister Michael Ring led a campaign to have this decision reversed, and Councillor Coyle says the Bank of Ireland has now confirmed that, from September next, the cash counter will remain open all day at both the Westport and Belmullet branches.

  • An Bord Pleanala’s decision not to allow Portwest to build a new global headquarters own its own site at the Quays in Westport is a bad news day for Westport, according to the Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Westport based Brendan Mulroy.

    The Board has upheld an appeal lodged against Mayo County Council's decision to grant permission for a new 10 million euro office building and café at Roman Island at The Quay in the town.

    The Board says the proposed Portwest development is in an area which is at risk of flooding.

    This is a major set-back for Portwest, a clothing workwear company, which has seen a massive global expansion in recent years, and now employs over 3,000 people worldwide.

    In reaching its decision, the Board overturned the recommendation of its own inspector.

    In a statement to Midwest News, Mayo County Council makes this judgement on the Board’s decision stating that “it’s an unfortunate outcome, after a long and expensive process. It will preclude the development of an iconic 21st century building at the Quay, which would have involved a multi-million euro investment and would have bought significant employment and economic activity to the area on a year-round basis”.

    Midwest News sought an interview with the Chief Executive of MCC on the statement , but so far that has not been secured.

    Midwest News contacted Portwest for it’s reaction to the decision, the company declined an interview but forwarded a statement saying it "is disappointed at the planning decision".

    Adding that its team has “worked tirelessly to bring this project to Westport and create over 50 new graduate jobs. After two years in the planning process, the decision means the company cannot accommodate these new jobs, as there are no offices large enough to rent, and the company has now been refused planning permission for this development”.

    Westport based Fianna Fail councillor Brendan Mulroy is the Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council and speaking to Midwest News today he said it's a bad news day for Westport. Fifty new graduate jobs have been lost to the area, he argues, and that will result in further emigration by youth in the west Mayo area.