Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy said his party is prioritising the suckler sector and over 75,000 farm families nationwide with a Dáil motion today Wednesday under private members time.
“The almost one million suckler cow herd is pivotal to supporting the local economy in rural Ireland with every €1 of support provided to suckler farmers generating over €4 of economic activity in rural parishes and this is particularly important to counties such as Roscommon and Galway.
“While suckler farmers underpin our €2.5 billion beef exports, they generate average incomes below €13,000 each year and are fully dependent on CAP supports to maintain their livelihoods.
“The suckler sector is facing threats on many fronts with successive Fine Gael led Governments found wanting.
“The Government has refused at every avenue to look at all options to introduce a €200 payment per suckler cow. Fianna Fáil has championed this as a key policy and will continue to campaign for its delivery.
“Suckler farmers are being let down with the Government accepting at least 70,000 extra tonnes of South American Mercosur beef into the EU. The timing of this couldn’t be any worse for farmers with Brexit having the potential to place tariffs on half of all our beef exports.
“Meanwhile, the beef forum has failed farmers and has become a talking shop with commitments originally made being reneged on.
“In our motion, we also instruct the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to review the current underspend accruing across several Rural Development Programme (RDP) schemes and report back within two months to the Oireachtas on a roadmap towards targeting RDP underspend to suckler and other vulnerable sectors.
“The underspend in the Department of Agriculture soared to €186 million over the last two years, while several 2014-2020 RDP schemes are on course to underspend significantly, such as GLAS and TAMS.
“Given the existential threats of Brexit and any Mercosur deal on suckler farmers’ incomes, the Government must immediately seek EU recognition of these and request funding supports including CAP market disturbance funds.
“Fianna Fáil is asking for cross party support for this motion to send a strong message from Dáil Éireann to the Government that these farmers need to be supported,” concluded Deputy Murphy.
Last Christmas the Ballinasloe 12 Pubs charity event took place for the 6th year running, in which this year all proceeds would go to the Special Care Baby Unit in Portiuncla University Hospital. The event took place in numerous pubs all over town two days before Christmas day itself.
Many local businesses around town donated some fantastic raffle prizes for the night, with all proceeds going toward the charity kitty, along with the tickets prices bought by locals for the event itself. Overall the event raised an outstanding €2,100, which brings the total tally of the fundraising over the past six years to over €10,000 for local charities.
The 2017 Committee of John Mulvihill (An Táin Bar), Eoghan Clogher (Taughmaconnell), Céiteach Mac Stiofán (Ahascragh), and Niall Houlihan (Creagh) would like to thank the local businesses of Ballinasloe for donating such worthy raffle prizes on the night and to the people of Ballinasloe and surrounding areas who donated so generously on the night.
Hopkins calls for Review of Planning Laws as a result of the proposed Waste Facility for Ballinasloe
Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins has stated her strong opposition to the proposed waste transfer station at Poolboy, Ballinasloe and called for a review of planning laws as a result of the proposed development.
Senator Hopkins stated “I have several concerns about the proposed development. In particular, the environmental impact of a waste transfer station on the health and wellbeing of the community as well as the ability of infrastructure to cope with heavy traffic volumes.”
Raising the matter in the Seanad on Tuesday 30th January, Senator Hopkins said “an Environmental Impact Assessment is essential (EIA) to ensure that projects which are likely to have a significant impact on the environment are assessed in advance. At present, waste facilities such as the one proposed for Ballinasloe, are not required to provide an EIA in their planning or waste permit applications, if they propose to process less than 25,000 tonnes of waste per year. I understand that this system is easily overcome, as operators can submit applications which are just below the 25,000 tonne threshold.”
“To me, it seems wrong that the environmental impact of a project of this scale is not fully assessed at present. All projects of this nature should be subjected to these assessments to ensure that all relevant factors including the impact on the local community and infrastructure are fully considered. This would result in greater scrutiny of projects to ensure they are located on the most suitable site.”
Senator Hopkins continued, “I have called on the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy TD and the Minister for Communications, Environment and Climate Action, Denis Naughten TD to amend this 25,000 tonne threshold both in planning and waste licensing applications. This would ensure that all projects of this nature would be subjected to Environmental Impact Assessments.”
Senator Hopkins concluded, “the local community have been very proactive in opposing this development and I fully support their efforts. I will continue to raise the need for a review of planning laws in this area directly with both Ministers in order to ensure all applications of this nature are fully scrutinised”.
Over 200 people in chronic pain on waiting list for nerve conduction clinic at Portiuncula Hospital- Murphy
Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has highlighted the fact that over 200 people are currently on a waiting list for a nerve conduction clinic in Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe.Deputy Murphy obtained the figures through a recent parliamentary question to the Minister for Health when he queried the number of patients waiting for neurophysiology appointments at Portiuncula Hospital.
“There are currently a total of 238 people on a waiting list for this nerve conduction clinic in Portiuncula Hospital and many of these people are in chronic debilitating pain for a considerable length of time. Over a quarter of 26% have been waiting for six to nine months while some 16% have been waiting between nine months and one year while 20 patients or 8% have been waiting between one year and 15 months which is simply not acceptable.
“I understand that this clinic is only operated on a monthly basis in Portiuncula Hospital by a visiting consultant clinical neurophysiologist and there is a significant waiting list to access this specialist service. The HSE has also indicated that they are carrying out a validation of this waiting list. It is simply not good enough to have over 200 people being left in pain and waiting for a neurophysiology appointment and it is once again unfortunately systematic of our failing health service. I am calling on the Minister to examine the possibility of providing this clinic on a fortnightly basis in a bid to clear this back log of patients,” concluded Deputy Murphy.
Two groups of students from Ardscoil Mhuire competing in this year’s Junk Koture Contest have been selected to go through to the regional finals this March. The Junk Kouture is an annual competition which takes place all across the nation, where secondary school students who decide to take part must come up with a clothing design made out of recycled material.
The first group representing Ardscoil Mhuire in this year’s regional final are Aoibhin Carty and Shauna Mulry, with their entry called ‘Broken Bounce’. This dress is made entirely out of an old trampoline. These extraordinary talented girls used every part of the trampoline including every nut and spring to show how to fully reuse an object that would have ended up in landfill.
Along with them are students Mei Chen Kennedy, Amy Coyne and Keri Manning, who have entered a bird like design, called ‘Tribal’. This beautiful creation is made from hurl carvings and sliothars, which were embroidered together. This design is done to celebrate Galway's victorious win in the All Ireland hurling final.
Both sets of groups have done fantastically well to be chosen out of 1800 other groups to be selected for the final, and everyone within the school wishes them the very best of luck.
Members of the Convent of Mercy Choir are urged to come forward to discover more information about a CD recorded by the late Martin Costello.
Martin, originally from Kiltormer but lived in New Jersey was an accomplished fiddler and host to his own radio show “The Irish Roadshow.” On his travels, he recorded many CDs many of which he brought back to America and have never been heard locally.
Martin took great pride in his music collection and often referred to it as the greatest library of Irish music and songs in the world. Martin’s daughter, Máiread expressed “He spoke of the many trips he took back to Ireland to record the many fabulous sessions. My family often listens to the CDs he made over the years and we love to hear his voice when he introduces the songs,” she added “He came a long way from recordings in pubs, from reel to reels to albums to cassettes and ultimately CDs both on the radio and then what would have seemed impossible when he started out." Martin sadly passed away in March 2014.
While researching material for a second recording featuring material from Martin Costello's vast archive, Enda Creavan received a number of CDs from Máiréad, one of which was a recording of the Convent of Mercy Choir. The material is undated and there is no further information other than the track listings. Enda is Hoping to track down the members of the choir to find out more about the recording. He expressed “This music has never been heard here before as it was brought to America after recording,” he added “I feel its very important to archive this music as it is an important part of our local history.”
The recording features the songs: Kevin Barry, Two little Orphans, An old woman of the Road,Come back to Eireann, By Kilkenny's Lakes and Fells, Galway Bay and Silent Night.
The two people who are accredited on the sleeve notes on the CD are Fionnuala Lyseth and Mary Grenham who recorded a sting for Martin's Radio Programme. Enda is urging anyone who may know these people to contact them as they will help further his research.
The recordings of the Convent of Mercy Choir are available below: Anyone with any information, please email Enda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cathal Cregg originally of Boyle now living in Ballydangan, has taken to wordsmithng as he gets set to publish his first book this year. The acclaimed qualified stone cutter and food nutritionist, plans to hit the book world in the years to come.
Cathal's working career began by carving Celtic Crosses and hand cut lettering after completing a stone cutting/carving apprenticeship in 1982.
Today he now runs one of Ireland’s largest stone working companies, Creggstone in Ballinasloe, which employs close to 90 workers from all around the midland area. Creggstone carry out work nationwide from the top of Donegal to the bottom of Cork, with recent projects completed on the luxurious Adare Manor Hotel in County Limerick, along with refurbishing Court Houses all over the country and the magnifcent refurbishment of St. Mels Cathedral in Longford.
In his early days Cathal had a passionate love for mountain marathon running and orienteering, where he has gone onto being one of Irelands greatest. He went on to accomplish some amazing feats, such as climbing Crough Patrick 7 times in 14 hours. To this day he still holds the record for the fastest time to climb the five peaks of the British Isles in an astonishing 16 hours 15 minutes and 43 seconds which includes travel time.
Cathal’s love of sport has frequently tied in with raising funds for numerous charities all across Ireland, and he has managed to raise hundreds of Euros for each given charity. Nowadays he plans to use his writing skills to raise money for people in need all over Ireland.
Cathal started writing poetry and short stories in 2015 and has become a skilled writer in doing so. His inspiration for writing comes from life itself, the people which he meets every day and conversations with others on a daily basis.
Despite all his hard work and training Cathal put his spare time into writing a new book “Hello In There”, with the help of UCH Doctor Jackie Pando Kelly, which is filled with poetry based on down to earth stories during the last economic crisis, and people who have suffered with life problems such as Cancer and Alzheimer’s.
This concept has been on Cathal’s mind for quite some time, and he is delighted that his ambition has come to life. The book title comes from the famous American musician John Prine’s song, in which he granted permission for Cathal to use the song as his title and wished him lots of success with the book.
The book is set to launch on the 23rd of February this year in the Ballinasloe Town Library, with special guest Cork GAA star - Sean Óg De Halpín officiating. Copies of the book will be on sale in the library for €20 and other stores in the coming months, with all proceeds going towards voluntary hospitals in the andys mountains, where doctor Jackie Pando Kelly works every summer.
Cathal now has his sights set on a new book which will be filled with short stories asides to poetry on the same topics of his current one.
“ I must mention a huge thanks to Dr Jackie Pando Kelly for working with me on the book, and to my wife Patricia along with our children Steven, Gary and Rachel for all their amazing support”, stated Cathal.
Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy has said US multinationals such as Amazon should be targeted by the Government for expansion plans into counties such as Roscommon and Galway through the targeted use of IDA premises and lands.
Deputy Murphy was commenting after receiving a parliamentary reply from the Minister to Fianna Fáil which shows that two out of every three IDA premises or lands were unoccupied at the end of 2017.
“The figures speak for themselves- the IDA are not maximising their existing stock of buildings and lands to bring well-paying jobs to rural Ireland. Of the 153 lands in the possession of the IDA, just 54 are currently in use. Some 65% have been left lying idle which is a disgrace.
“The vast majority of the sites lying idle are in counties that have high unemployment rates despite a growing economy.
“Roscommon, Mayo, and Waterford, all have a number of lands or premises that are lying unused. All three are struggling to attract employment opportunities for their people. There are over 171 hectares of unoccupied IDA lands in County Galway with a total of 5.8 hectares of idle IDA land in County Roscommon including 4.63 in Roscommon business park and 1.17 in Castlerea. We also see over 11 hectares of idle land in Athlone park, Garrycastle.
“Amazon is forging ahead with major expansion plans in Dublin with a proposed €1bn data centre in North Dublin. Amazon’s Irish subsidiary, ADSIL plans to build a 223,000 sq ft data centre in Mulhuddart but they are looking at building seven more data centres on the IDA owned site- surely the IDA should be trying to direct some of that towards the regions or counties like Roscommon,” said Deputy Murphy.
The Fianna Fáil TD queried why there had not been more of an effort to attract Foreign Direct Investment to the regions which have seen a haemorrhaging of jobs over many years.
“IDA Ireland paid almost €93 million in grant aid in 2016 to support employment from foreign direct investment enterprise but there was no grant aid for Counties Leitrim, Meath and Roscommon.
“These facts speak for themselves – Roscommon and large parts of rural Ireland have been largely ignored by the IDA. The figures show that County Roscommon received €3,359,963 grant aid since 2007 but Dublin received €20 million grant aid in 2016 and Cork €13 million and over €10 million to Waterford- that’s all in just one year so how can that be comparable to County Roscommon receiving just over €3 million over ten years or Leitrim receiving just €2,480,200 over ten years- there is clearly not a level playing field and counties like Roscommon and Leitrim are only receiving the scraps from the IDA table!”
“A lack of quality broadband in many parts of rural Ireland is also a major stumbling block. Companies will not move to, invest in, or support rural counties if they cannot get high quality broadband and yet we see further delays upon delays in the roll out of the National Broadband Plan.“Unless this Government gets its act together, rural Ireland will continue on this downward spiral. Communities will decline and our young people will be forced to head to larger towns and cities in search of work. There needs to be a rural strategy put in place to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to attract investment and to encourage local businesses to grow,” concluded Deputy Murphy.
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