News in Brief - Around the county

News-in-brief from around the county - catch up on what's been gonig on. 

Council will assist people tending graves if they are affected by car park closures 

A Mayo County Council (MCC ) senior engineer has said that council staff will assist people who want to bring materials into the graveyard in Castlebar, but are finding it difficult because of the closure of public car parks at Lough Lannagh. At the recent Castlebar Municipal District meeting, Cllr Michael Kilcoyne said that he had been contacted by constituents about the issue they faced due to the closure of the car parks at the popular Castlebar attraction, following a request from Gardai. Head of the district for MCC, Iarla Moran, said the council had recently spoken to the Gardai about it, but their position had not changed at that time, but with the easing of restrictions coming up, he would talk to them again. Ann Sweeney, senior engineer for MCC, said that if people were having difficulties bringing in materials to tend to graves, if they called the council they would give them assistance.

McDonnell questions Ballyheane lay-by dumping 

Fianna Fáil Councillor Al McDonnell has questioned the dumping of a lorry-load of waste material in a lay-by in the Westlands area of Ballyheane recently. Cllr McDonell told the recent meeting of the Castlebar Municipal District that somebody had arrived overnight at the site and with the assistance of a lorry, dumped a full load of waste material on the site. He said that locals in the area could not understand how this had happened and asked Mayo County Council to clean it up and put up signage at the site. Senior engineer for MCC Ann Sweeney assured him that a clean-up of the area was being arranged.

Kilcoyne queries spend on road-sweeping in Castlebar 

Independent Councillor Michael Kilcoyne has asked for a report to be prepared for the next meeting of the Castlebar Municipal District detailing where the budgeted money for street-sweeping in Castlebar was being spent. He told the recent meeting of the district, that now was the perfect time to clean and wash the streets in the town as they were dirty, with less footfall due to restrictions. He also asked, when was the last time the street-sweeper was in the town - and was told that that prior to the meeting, it would have been carried out two weeks previously. Cllr Kilcoyne then asked where was the budget for the amount of money being spent? He was informed that the street-cleaning budget also included litter collection, which takes place every day. Cllr Kilcoyne went on to say he felt that the budgeted amount of money was 'a lot' and asked for a report for the next meeting.

Irish Rail in negotiations with landowners at Kilnageer 

At the recent Castlebar Municipal District meeting, Councillor Al McDonnell raised the issue of the crossing of the railway line at Kilnageer between Belcarra and Breaffy, saying that Irish Rail said they would have a planning application lodged by the end of quarter-one 2021. He was informed by senior engineer for Mayo County Council, Ann Sweeney, that Irish Rail had completed all the documentation for lodging an application, but were still in negotiations with landowners - and she would update the members when they had more information.

Councillors want number of new pedestrian crossings in Castlebar

Councillor Cyril Burke has raised the need for a number of new pedestrian crossings to be installed in the county town. At the recent meeting of Castlebar Municipal District, Cllr Burke said there was a need for one on the Moneen Road near the new HSE Primary Care Centre and one on the old Westport Road, to make it easier for people who use the on-street parking near St Patrick's Avenue to cross to Mayo University Hospital. He was informed by senior engineer, Ann Sweeney, for Mayo County Council, that the Moneen Road would be looked at as part of the active travel master plan being prepared for the town and that in relation to the other area, talks were taking place with the National Transport Authority about locating a bus stop in the area, which would include a bus shelter and crossing close to the hospital.

Sheridan looks for shopfront grant in Castlebar area

Fine Gael Councillor Donna Sheridan has asked for Mayo County Council to put together a grant scheme for the restoration of shopfronts in towns and villages in the Castlebar Municipal District. She put forward a motion calling for it at the recent meeting of the district and was told that council management was looking at a proposal.

Car sharing company to roll out in Castlebar

Car sharing company GoCar will be starting a new operation in Castlebar later this month. The company gave a presentation in relation to their business at the recent Castlebar Municipal District meeting. They will be operating in three areas of the town, with cars located in the Castle Street and Market Square car parks and at The Mall. The company was wished well in its venture by the council.

PUP claimants continue to drop in Mayo

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment in Mayo continued to drop this week, with 11,692 in receipt of the payment down from 11,834 the week before. 149 people closed their PUP payment claim in the county in the seven days up to Monday, April 6. There were 3,841 in receipt of the Enhanced Illness Benefit in the county last week also, according to the latest Government figures.

Fundraiser for Christina Noble Children's Foundation

Former Mayo Man Of The Year, Kevin Bourke, is organising a unique fundraiser to help the work of the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation in Vietnam. Since 1989 the foundation has been dedicated to serving the health, education and emotional needs of vulnerable children who are at risk of exploitation, trafficking and violence. Just two years ago, Kevin organised a sell-out concert in Westport Town Hall along with Oliver Rouse and Nora Shally for Christina’s foundation. Kevin has now joined forces with Castlebar-based artist, Attracta Burke, for this fundraiser. She exhibited some of her art at her place of work where Kevin noticed and admired them and asked if she would be interested in painting a portrait of Marcus Rashford MBE, the Manchester United player, who has done a lot for childrens’ charities. Then they would auction the painting with all proceeds going to the Christina Noble Children's Foundation. The auction is live now online at and you can pop over there and place your bid or if you prefer, you can make a donation there.

Property prices increase by two per cent says new report

In Mayo, prices in the first three months of 2021 were two per cent higher than a year previously, according to a new report, compared to a fall of one per cent seen a year ago. The average price of a home is now €157,000, 42 per cent above its lowest point. The national average price of a home is now €233,000, 63 per cent above its lowest point. The average national listed price of housing rose by 7.6 per cent in the year to March 2021, according to the latest House Price Report. The average price in quarter one of 2020 was €256k and this has increased to €276k this quarter. This marks the second quarter in a row where prices are nearly eight per cent higher than a year previously, roughly twice the rate of inflation seen during 2018 and 2019. The average sale price nationwide in the first quarter of 2021 was €275,751, up 68 per cent from its lowest point in early 2013, but still one quarter below the Celtic Tiger peak.

Balla Bingo

Balla Bingo Online continues to add to the prize fund with an offer of €5,500 for the bingo this Sunday and a guaranteed prize payout of €4,000. The jackpot is €1,000 on 42 calls and competition draws on the night. Bingo books can be purchased at

Mayo woman appointed to Law Society top post

Swinford native, Mary Keane, has been appointed as the new director general of the Law Society of Ireland, and will be the first female to hold the post. Most recently, the barrister held the position of deputy director general and director of policy and public affairs with the Law Society

Balla Florists wins again at Weddings Online Awards 

For the fourth year in a row, Balla Florists has scooped the top award for florists at the Weddings Online Awards. Having won the award in 2018, 2019 and 2020, the Balla-based florists which has worked on over 3,500 weddings, was once again recognised for excellence in its field.

Book Magic Project launch

The Book Magic Project was established in April 2019 by the Active and Healthy 0-6 years Subgroup of Mayo Children and Young People’s Services Committee (CYPSC ), to support more parents in County Mayo to read to their children. The Book Magic Project provides families with ‘a bag of books’ that have been carefully selected by the Mayo Library Service. The books deal with a range of topics focusing on emotional wellbeing, all in the form of easy-to-read stories with eye-catching illustrations. This project was a key action of the Active and Healthy Early Years sub-group of Mayo CYPSC. The launch takes place (remotely ) on Thursday April 29, from 10.30-11.30am. It will involve a presentation by the key partners, including Mayo County Library, in the project, followed by a Q&A. You can book a place at the following link:

Live life fully and learn mindfulness 

Joyce Country and Western Lakes GeoHeritage (a cross-community group collaborating in the JCWL Geopark Project ) are running a six-week introductory course in mindfulness. It starts on April 13 and places are limited. For more info contact Suzanne at [email protected] or (087 ) 2358946 or see

Funding to improve access to Mayo fishing 

Inland Fisheries Ireland has been granted €500,000 in funding to improve infrastructure, safety and access in four angling locations - including Aasleagh, along the Erriff River in Mayo. The works include wheelchair-accessible platforms and a wheelchair-accessible trail. The funding is part of a €6 million package announced this week under measure 3 of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

Ballyglass Inshore Lifeboat has first call-out of the year

Last Friday, April 2, saw the Ballyglass RNLI Inshore Lifeboat have its first call-out of 2021. It was dispatched to assist a fishing vessel in Broadhaven Bay after the 35ft fishing vessel ran aground in the channel close to Belmullet; the crew successfully transferred the sole occupant of the vessel to the lifeboat.

Defibrillator fundraiser in Achill 

Comhlacht Forbartha Áitiúil Acla is working with Dr Noreen Lineen Curtis, who helps to coordinate the Achill AED Defibrillators, to fundraise for new defibrillators and the ongoing maintenance of the current AEDs in the parish. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, their traditional fundraising methods such as bucket collections and local socialising events, have not been able to go ahead; therefore they have had to go virtual with fundraisings efforts. Any donations, no matter the amount, will be greatly appreciated and all go towards the funding of the defibrillator equipment. Donations can be made through their Go Fund Me page

Run mini-marathon for Western Care

The West of Ireland Mini-Marathon will be held in a virtual setting for the second year running on the May Bank Holiday, Sunday May 2. If you are interested in participating in the event, maybe you would consider raising funds for Western Care Association. If so, please feel free to contact them at: [email protected]; they look forward to hearing from you.

Castlebar County Mayo Counties of Ireland Mayo County Council Mayo Association Football League Counties of the Republic of Ireland Castlebar Mayo County Council councillor Michael Kilcoyne Fine Gael Fianna Fil Councillor head artist fundraiser Christina director general Western Care Association Mayo County Library car parks Mary Keane National Transport Authority Westport Town Hall May Bank May Bank Holiday public car parks Cllr Michael Kilcoyne Mayo University Hospital Cyril Burke senior engineer Westport Broadhaven Bay Castle Street Engine & Powertrain Systems Al McDonnell Balla Cllr Burke Mayo Library Service Suzanne Law Society celtic tiger Legal Services Law Society of Ireland HSE Primary Care Centre Erriff river Kevin Bourke Iarla Moran Donna Sheridan Young Peoples Services Committee car park closures Ann Sweeney Online awards MANCHESTER UNITED Diversified Mining Leisure & Recreation (NEC) Children's & Infants' Clothing Retailers [email protected] cross-community Western Lakes GeoHeritage deputy director general and director of policy and public affairs the Weddings Online Awards Book Magic Project (087) 2358946 [email protected] Christina Noble Childrens Foundation in Vietnam Cllr McDonell defibrillator equipment street-sweeper Christina Noble Children's Foundation Marcus Rashford MBE Nora Shally Oliver Rouse Castlebar Independent Councillor Attracta Burke Noreen Lineen Curtis Defibrillator fundraiser Manchester United player active travel master plan

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