Naews in Brief

Taoiseach on Mayo Visit this week

MEP Maria Walsh welcomed An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to counties Mayo and Galway on Thursday of this week, August 10th. The Taoiseach’s visit was organised on the back of an invitation from MEP Walsh, to accompany her to meet with community groups and organisations across rural communities in the West. MEP Walsh and An Taoiseach were joined by local Councillors in South Mayo and North Galway throughout the day. The visit schedule included a stop-off at The Valkenburg, Main Street, Ballinrobe, meeting with the Town Hall committee, which recently benefited from a €4.6 million funding allocation from the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF ) scheme. Accompanied by local FG representatives, they walked the Main Street in the town, meeting with local businesses, sports clubs and community groups. This was followed by a visit to Glencorrib Church and a meeting with the Parish Priest and representatives from Sunny Days Community Childcare, the local Historical Society, the U14 LGFA Shrule Glencorrib Team (recent County Champions ), parents and students from local schools in area, the Shrule Development Group, South West Mayo Development Company, the Vintage Group, and others. The Taoiseach and MEP Walsh went on to Headford, Co Galway, arriving at The Square for a walk through the town and meetings with local businesses and organisations and the Headford and District Association to discuss plans and progress around Reimagine Headford. A media briefing was also arranged before finally, at The Angler’s Rest in Headford, MEP Walsh and An Taoiseach hosted a public meeting entitled The Rural Roadmap to 2030. The meeting provided an opportunity for community groups and businesses to share their vision on future developments in their communities and across rural Ireland. The event focused on Embracing our Rural Communities, and featured a Q&A with An Taoiseach, MEP Walsh, and local councillors. Community groups, businesses and individuals from across Mayo and Galway were also invited to attend.

Council must act on derelict Castlebar buildings

"Castlebar badly needs a Council that can apply more pressure to the owners of derelict property in the town and Mayo County Council needs to hire more staff now to do this, as it is well past time to tell these owners to either use it or lose it," Independent election candidate, Harry Barrett stated this week. He continued: "When you turn onto Bridge Street in Castlebar you are faced with dereliction and dilapidation. Is this the first impressions we want to give? We have to apply pressure now to fix the "broken teeth" on our Main street, if we want to reinvigorate the town and to build a thriving atmosphere again. I am also aware of other substantial properties in Castlebar that are not yet on the Derelict Sites Register and this is totally unacceptable and wrong in the middle of a housing and rental crisis. How these properties have escaped the net is totally beyond me. I am also aware that Mayo County Council is stretched and doesn't have the necessary amount of staff to deal with the administration of the Derelict Sites Register. This is something I want to deal with if elected next year. I will demand extra staff to act on the problem, not only of dereliction but also the issue of vacant, zoned land left idle around the town. If owners do not sell, or use the generous grants on offer to renovate, the properties should be purchased by the Council using a Compulsory Purchase Order. There are 700 families in Castlebar looking for affordable homes and over 1500 people on the social housing list. Expecting them to wait for years while people sit on derelict houses is unconscionable and needs a robust Council response to shake things up."

Boil Water Notice on Clare Island

Uisce Éireann, in partnership with Mayo County Council, continues to work to lift the Boil Water Notice in place for customers supplied by the Clare Island Public Water Supply and stated this week: "The notice, issued in June, remains in place to protect the health of approximately 160 customers following the detection of cryptosporidium in the water supply. Uisce Éireann continues to investigate the cause of the crypto detection and is working on implementing measures to ensure it doesn’t occur in the future. While drinking water experts from Uisce Éireann and Mayo County Council are working to rectify the issues at the treatment plant, all customers on this supply are advised to continue to boil their water before use until further notice. Customers are reminded that the water is safe to consume once boiled." Uisce Éireann’s Colette Scahill said: “Public health is Uisce Éireann’s number one priority and I want to acknowledge the inconvenience that this Boil Water Notice is causing to the local community. Please be assured that we are working to resolve the issue and lift the notice as quickly and safely as possible. We are currently progressing with plans to install equipment at the plant to render any cryptosporidium in the water inactive. In the meantime, we will continue to provide regular updates to the community as we work to address these issues."

Welcome for increased rates for home support

Mayo Fianna Fáil Senator, Lisa Chambers, has welcomed confirmation that increased funding has been secured for home support providers, to ensure that carers are paid appropriately and to help address some of the key issues impacting recruitment and retention in the sector. She stated: "State-funded home support is delivered directly by the Health Service Executive (HSE ) and by service providers in the community and voluntary, and private sectors. Home support services that are not provided directly by the HSE are procured through a tender process. A new Home Support Tender process is currently close to finalisation and due to be in place by August. This revised rate will give certainty and stability to the sector and help make caring a more viable career option and will help maintain the high volumes of service delivery and reduce waiting times for home support. It will ensure that home support carers are paid appropriately, and I am confident that it will help address some of the key recruitment and retention challenges in the sector."

Update on replacement GP for Lahardane Community

Mayo TD Alan Dillon has provided an update on the replacement of the General Practitioner (GP ) position in Lahardane, stating that, in response to concerns from residents of Lahardane and Bofeenaun, he has been in direct contact with the Health Service Executive (HSE ) to ensure that a suitable and qualified replacement GP is secured without delay. Dillon stated: "The HSE has confirmed that the GP position in Lahardane has been officially advertised, with the closing date set for 2nd August 2023. GP interviews for the position are scheduled to take place on 16th August 2023. In light of the departure of Dr. Enda Loftus, the GMS panel in Lahardane was frozen from 12th July 2023. The HSE is actively managing the transfer of medical card patients to their new GP once the replacement has been appointed." Deputy Dillon expressed gratitude for Dr. Loftus's service and emphasised that finding a new GP is a top priority to maintain the level of care the community deserves. He urged the residents to remain patient during this period of transition, saying the HSE is committed to conducting a thorough selection process to secure the most qualified candidate for the position. He added:"The health and well-being of the communities in Lahardane and Bofeenaun are of utmost importance to me, and I understand the worries of the residents regarding the departure of GP, Dr. Enda Loftus. I have been in direct contact with the HSE to ensure that a suitable and qualified replacement GP is secured without delay. I will continue to work closely with the HSE to ensure that the residents of Lahardane have access to adequate and uninterrupted GP care."

Delays in construction of Ballyhaunis Primary Care Centre

Minister of State Dara Calleary is seeking clarity from the HSE regarding the status of Ballyhaunis Primary Care Centre, saying he finds it 'wholly unacceptable that construction remains stalled on site'. The Mayo Fianna Fáil TD said: "The proposed Primary Care Centre in Ballyhaunis represents an important advancement in the provision of healthcare for the region and is a key component of the efforts to enhance community care. I understand the HSE has formally requested confirmation of a planned recommencement date and programme of works to completion. Once construction does recommence, the HSE estimates that a further eight-month period is required to complete the construction phase of this project, followed by an equipping and commissioning process before coming into operational use as a Primary Care Centre. I was pleased to hear that the Minister for Health, his Department and the HSE remain committed to the completion of the Primary Care Centre and I will continue to liaise with the relevant stakeholders to ensure the project progresses without any further delay."

Ring queries progress on N5 Ballaghaderreen /Scramoge Project

Michael Ring TD has questioned Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the Minister for Transport regarding progress with the N5 Ballaghaderreen to Scramoge Road Project. Deputy Ring stated: “I have been continually raising this issue over the last number of years in relation to what progress has been made and to emphasize the urgent need for upgrade of works to take place on this road. TII have responded to state that “Roscommon County Council has completed the tender assessment and requested approval to award the contract. Government approval is required prior to the award of the contract and the updated Business Case has therefore been submitted to the Department of Transport. TII anticipates that a memo will be prepared by the Department to go to Government for approval to award the contract in September. I have also queried this with Minister Eamon Ryan and await his response.” Deputy Ring added: “I am calling for approval of the Government memo on this road project in September so that the contact can be awarded. Adequate infrastructure to the West is hugely important for investment, tourism and our local economy. It is vital that roads to the West are as good as those in other parts of the country.”


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