News briefs

Extension approved for St Dymphna’s Special School

Initial project approval which has been granted for an extension to St Dymphna's Special School in Ballina.

The Department of Education has issued initial project approval for a modular framework extension at the school, which will include a Special Educational Needs classroom.

The approval has been welcomed by local TDs.

“I am pleased that these works at St Dymphna’s Special School have now been approved," said Dep Michael Ring. "I look forward to the works being completed and I’m sure that the teachers and students will benefit from the additional accommodation in their school.” co

Deputy Alan Dillon also welcomed the announcement, saying: “I want to congratulate the school and their principal Maureen Quinn for the work they have put into the application for this modular extension. With nearly 35 pupils, it has grown and developed since first opening in 2010.”

PLACED Third tennis court officially opened at Westport Tennis Club

Dep Michael Ring officially opened the third tennis court at Westport Tennis Club on Saturday.

“I was delighted to be in a position to officially open the third tennis court at Westport Tennis Club," Dep Ring said. "This wonderful new court is a very welcome asset to Westport Tennis Club and it increases the capacity at Westport Tennis Club. This will give more people than ever the opportunity to play tennis.

“Westport Tennis Club have a tremendous offering with their excellent courts and new clubhouse. This development is testament to the dedication, time and hard work put in by Westport Tennis Club committee and club members.

“I have been a strong supporter of Westport Tennis Club. During my tenure as Minister I allocated funding to this wonderful tennis club.

“Westport Tennis Club was established in 1954 and has continued to grow. The hard work of many volunteers on the committee and members throughout the club is very obvious. The enhanced facilities now here in Westport will enable the club to further develop and attract new members. It will lead to increased participation especially among the youth of Westport.

“I wish to publicly thank the committee and the members of the club for their tireless work on developing Westport Tennis Club and bringing it to the standard that it is today. I wish Westport Tennis Club continued success in to the future.”

PLACED Urgent action needed to halt nursing home closures

Mayo Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway-Walsh has said the Government must listen to older people and their families in Mayo and take urgent action to build public capacity and halt nursing home closures.

Sinn Féin is calling on the Government to develop a medium- and long-term plan to ensure the sustainability of nursing homes across the state. The party is bringing a motion to the Dáil this week that set out a number of measures they think need to be implemented to address the issue.

“There is a sharp and deeply worrying trend of nursing home closures that is causing enormous concern for older people and their families," Dep Conway-Walsh said.

“Older people in Mayo and their families must have their voices heard. That requires immediate action from Government to halt nursing home closures and build public capacity.

“In the last three years, there have been 31 private and voluntary nursing home closures resulting in the loss of 915 beds. Without Government intervention, this will get considerably worse.

“We have seen a loss of capacity in the region with closures of three nursing homes in both Galway and Roscommon, causing a loss of 179 places. In Mayo, St Anne's Nursing Home in Sonnagh, Charlestown has informed HIQA of their intention to close meaning a loss of 26 places.

“An increasing number of nursing homes are considering leaving the Fair Deal Scheme and maintain it is not providing sustainable funding, while many more reported an operating loss in 2022 and are raising concerns about the viability of the sector.

“Our older people need love, support and security in their golden years but instead an increasing number of them are being told that there is nowhere for them to go.

“This is causing incredible stress for them and their families, and cannot be allowed to continue. As a society, we can and must be so much better than that, and we need a government that is better than that.

“We need a plan that builds up public capacity and that shifts the burden of reliance away from the private sector. But in the here and now, we must halt the trend of nursing homes closing.

“The Dáil goes into recess next month and we simply cannot have a situation where Government TDs head off on their holidays without putting in place a plan to address this crisis.

“Sinn Féin is this week bringing forward a motion which sets out what steps we believe need to be taken. We are calling on the Government to deliver and fund a collective pay agreement for workers in the nursing home sector, review public funding for long-term nursing home care, reform the pricing mechanism for the Fair Deal Scheme, and fund hospitals to contract beds in local nursing homes.

“Failure to address the rapidly decreasing capacity in our nursing homes is a dereliction of duty from the Government, and I urge Government TDs here in Mayo to support our efforts to address this issue.”

Mayo house prices rise in Q2

The price of the average second-hand three bed semi in County Mayo rose to €195,000, up 2.6% from €190,000 in the last three months, according to a national survey by Real Estate Alliance.

The average time to sell in the county fell this quarter by one week to six, the Q2 REA Average House Price Index shows.

Agents in the county reported that this quarter, 80% of properties were purchased by first time buyers, with buyers from outside of the county making up 10% of sales.

This quarter, agents found that 30% of sales are directly linked to landlords leaving the market.

The average price in Westport rose 3.8% to €270,000 this quarter, and Castlebar prices rose 2.6% to €195,000.

“Despite interest rate increases, the demand for good quality homes is particularly strong, and the market remains very active,” said Robert McGreal of REA McGreal Burke.

“Prices are rising and lack of supply is the biggest factor with strong activity on the market for the available properties.”

The REA Average House Price Index concentrates on the actual sale price of Ireland's typical stock home, the three bed semi, giving an accurate picture of the second-hand property market in towns and cities countrywide.

The actual selling price of a three bedroom semidetached house across the country rose by 1.3% over the quarter to €297,056 – representing an annual increase of 6.6%.


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