Achill

  • A man is due to appear in a court in Wales today charged in connection with the murder of a 76 year old county Mayo native.

    An elderly man, originally from Achill, was found dead at a house in Cwmbran on Tuesday morning last. He has been named as Thomas Gallagher.

    Stephen Gallagher, aged 55, of Kidwelly road, Cwmbran, Wales, has been charged with the murder. He appeared at Newport Magistrates' Court yesterday. He confirmed his name and address and nationality as British in court and was remanded in custody to appear at Cardiff Crown Court today.

    Gwent Police launched a murder investigation on Tuesday when the elderly man’s body was discovered and a spokesman said they are not looking for anyone else at this time.

  • The “Achill Says Welcome” group says some of the women who were due to move to Achill have now been given places elsewhere.

    In a Social Media Post the Group says on behalf of the people of Achill, they have apologised to the women for the distress they have been put through.

    “Achill says Welcome” say they hope everyone involved will now listen to what asylum-seekers have asked for; a lifting of all blockades of accommodation, and support for their efforts to rebuild their lives.

    Meanwhile, Government plans to house up to 5,500 asylum seekers in new direct provision centres are running over the expected budget, with three of eight regional contracts awarded.

    The secretary general of the Department of Justice, Aidan O’Driscoll, told the Public Accounts Committee in a letter that the department needed to find new accommodation centres because of a rise in the number of people arriving in Ireland seeking international protection.

    He said the procurement of such centres would be done through regional advertisements.

    Three contracts have been awarded in the midwest, the southeast, and the midlands.

  • There’s good news this morning for the proposed Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point at Keem Bay in Achill.

    Fáilte Ireland is allocating €150,000 to Mayo County Council to begin the design phase of the discovery project.

    The council will contribute €50,000, which means an investment of €200,000 in progressing the discovery point, which will attract an increased number of visitors to Achill Island –that’s according to the Minister for Rural & Community Development Michael Ring.

    The Discovery Point was announced three years ago, and will see the construction of a viewing platform over Keem Bay.

    The project is expected to cost over €4 million euro in total.

  •   The Achill Half Marathon and 10k took place on Saturday last with more than 1,300 runners from a record 22 different countries taking part in the event. The early morning mist cleared by the start of the race to bring almost perfect racing conditions.

    The Half Marathon was won by David Murray in a time of 1 hr 16 mins and 23 seconds just 29 seconds ahead of Christopher Peck who finished second. In a hard fought battle for second place he edged out Patrick Lyons by a mere 2 seconds.

    The ladies race was won by Catherine Thornton with a time of 1 hr 32 mins and 36 seconds, almost 3 mins ahead of Charlotte Kearney in second and Yvette Leahy in third.

    The 10 k was won by Ray Hynes with a time of 33 mins 39 seconds, Sam France was second with 35 mins 57 secs and Joseph McDermott was third in a time of 36 mins 43 secs.

    The ladies 10K was won by Clare Sullivan with a fantastic time of 39 mins and 7 seconds which also placed her 6th overall. Adrienne Jordan was second but also in the overall top 10 with a time of 40 mins 59 secs. Caroline Crowley crossed the line in 43 mins and 14 seconds to secure third place.

    The oldest competitor to complete the Half Marathon was Thomas Kelly of Pollagh, Achill. Thomas has completed several races since reaching 80 years of age a few years ago and amazingly knocked 10 mins of his personal best since becoming an octogenarian.

     

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    The community of Achill believe the dept of Justice has failed them and the people seeking asylum on the island from tomorrow.

    13 female asylum seekers will be the first of a group of 38 asylum seekers, to take up emergency accommodation at The Achill Head Hotel tomorrow.

    That was confirmed by officials from The Department of Justice and The Reception and Integration Agency at a meeting yesterday evening in Achill, with representatives from the Achill community and local councillor Paul McNamara.

    The meeting had been sought by cllr McNamara to get more information / clarity on the approval of Emergency Accommodation being provided on the site of The Achill Head Hotel in Keel.

    Midwest news sought to speak with councillor McNamara following last night’s meeting, he  declined to be interviewed, but referred us to the statement on his facebook page, published this morning.

    He says the meeting opened with the community outlining that it feels forgotten about and let down throughout this process, stating that the lack of communication and consultation with the local people is appalling.

    During the course of the meeting the community delegation questioned the department officials on the many aspects of the contract which is in place at present.

    They were informed that the proprietor of The Achill Head Hotel expressed interest in using the hotel for Emergency Accommodation in January of 2019. In September a site visit was conducted, this involved an official from the department visiting the hotel, during this visit the official did not look at the services in the Pollagh area.

    The contract was signed after this visit.

    When questioned on the criteria that needs to be met in order to provide emergency accommodation on the site of The Achill Head Hotel the officials stated the only criteria needed was 'bed and board.'

    The community delegation requested a copy of the contract along with the report that was written after the site visit which deemed The Achill Head Hotel suitable for Emergency Accommodation.

    The contract is in place for three months. Once this contract expires the proprietor of The Achill Head Hotel can reapply every three months to continuously provide Emergency Accommodation.

    A department official stated that The Achill Head Hotel cannot become a Direct Provision Centre, as it does not meet the criteria of 'independent living.'

    Tomorrow, the 1st of November, 13 females will arrive to The Achill Head Hotel in Keel. During a two week period after this, the remaining 25 asylum seekers will arrive. They will consist of families.

    The cllr’s states, that as of now ,the department has failed to provide any extra services to facilitate the needs of the people availing of The Emergency Accommodation. In regards to children, as of now, no local schools have been consulted.

    He claims that during yesterday’s meeting- it became apparent that the department officials knew very little about Achill. They confirmed that none of the three officials present had ever visited The Achill Head Hotel. This information,he says, came as a shock.And goes on to state: We believe The Department of Justice has failed the community of Achill along with the people seeking asylum. We requested these officials visit The Achill Head Hotel and the village of Pollagh, prior to leaving the island.

    He says -the community  relayed to department officials yesterday the consensus which the community reached at the public meeting last week. That is, we are happy to integrate asylum seekers looking to start a new life into their villages and local schools in a different manner.

    He concludes saying , that as a community, we are deeply disappointed that we were not afforded the opportunity to do so.

     

     

     

  • About 200 customers on Achill Island are without electricity since earlier this morning due to a fault.

    The fault was reported shortly before 9.30 am and ESB Networks are working to repair the fault, with an estimated restoration time of 1pm this lunchtime.

     

     

  • The Reception and Integration Agency has confirmed to Achill based councillor Paul McNamara that there will be 38 males availing of the Emergency Accommodation in the Achill Head Hotel in Keel.

    They will arrive in two groups from next Wednesday.

    The ages of the men range between early 20’s to 50’s.

    The Agency has not confirmed the nationality of the men, as yet.

    In a statement Cllr McNamara says the men will be transported by a contracted private bus driver and vehicle over the duration of their stay.

    The Achill Head Hotel will provide Emergency Accommodation for three months.

    The Reception and Integration Agency also stated they work closely with the HSE.

    It is then the job of the HSE to inform local GPs in the area.

    However, the Cllr claims, this is not the case as he has confirmed with local GPs that they were not made aware of an influx of 38 people to the area.

    In a statement Cllr. McNamara says Achill as a community has no issues in welcoming people of all nationalities to the community.

    However, it was voiced at the public meeting on Wednesday night the proposal at present which is to provide Emergency Accommodation on the site of The Achill Head Hotel is not suitable. He says he appreciates at present Direct Provision Centres and Emergency Accommodation is the only solution available. This is an ongoing issue both past and present governments have failed to address over the past twenty years.

    At the public meeting it was agreed the community would stand united on the fact that they are happy to integrate asylum seekers looking to start a new life into our villages and local schools in a different manner. The proposal to provide emergency accommodation on the site of The Achill Head Hotel was brought upon a small village with little to no consideration for the people of the village or to the people availing of the Emergency Accommodation.

    The Councillor has emailed the Minister for Justice and Equality David Staunton, asking for a meeting with Officials from the Department but has failed to respond. The Achill based councillor says he has also emailed The Reception and Integration Agency asking for a meeting, they also have yet to respond.

    This morning a representative from the Agency confirmed there will be in total 38 males availing of the Emergency Accommodation. 20 will arrive on Wednesday, the remaining 18 will arrive the following week. Their ages range between early 20s to 50s. The Agency cannot confirm the nationality of these men at present.

    In regards to how they will be transported over the duration of their stay, there is a private contract in place with a bus driver. At present The Achill Head Hotel will provide Emergency Accommodation for three months. The Reception and Integration Agency also stated they work closely with the HSE. It is then the job of the HSE to inform local GPs in the area. However Councillor McNamara says this is not the case as he has confirmed with local GPs that they were not made aware of an influx of 38 people to the area.

    The Councillor says if he does not receive a follow up email he along with representatives from the community are prepared to travel to Dublin to meet with Officials from The Department of Justice or representatives from The Reception Integration Agency.

  • Irish Water is advising the public of a number of burst water mains in the region today.

    Repairs to a burst water main in Cashel, Achill is causing supply disruptions.

    It is expected that full supply should be restored by 5pm this evening.

    Repairs to a burst water main may cause supply disruptions to Bangor Erris, Keenagh, Bellacorick, Belmullet and surrounding areas today.

    A traffic management plan is also in place for the duration of these works.

    Works are scheduled to run until 3pm today.

    Also,repairs to a burst water main may cause supply disruptions to Ballyheane, Castlebar and surrounding areas.

    Works have an estimated completion time of 1pm today but supply may take up to three hours to fully return to all affected properties.

  • The Achill Dolphins are here to stay.

    It was revealed recently that the same family of dolphins have been following an Achill fishing boat for more than two years as the local crew went about their business in the waters off the coast.

    They were waiting for the boat every time it went to sea and would play around it until it returned to Purteen Harbour with its catch.

    However, fishermen can be very superstitious and the story remained untold until recently.

    The recent spell of bad weather meant that the fishing boat was tied up for two weeks and some experienced fishermen reckoned that the dolphins would no longer be present in the bay when fishing resumed, now that the secret was out.

    Nothing could be further from the truth! When the fishing boat returned to the water on Monday morning, the dolphins were in situ much to the delight of the local aquarium and its CEO, Terence Dever.

    “We’re very proud of the amazing waters we have around Achill and were overjoyed when news came through this morning that the dolphins are here to stay. They obviously know what hospitable people we are.

    “We have thousands of people coming to see the wonderful aquarium we have here and now we’ll be able to tell visitors about our resident dolphin family as well,” he added.

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    The Achill Half Marathon has been named the Best Half Marathon and Most Scenic Route by Run Ireland today.

    The national awards honour the various events that fall under the remit of Run Ireland each year and the Achill Half Marathon has scooped two awards in the scheme.

    Sean Molloy of Achill Tourism told Midwest Sport that it is a huge accolade for all involved.

    Best 5k: Darkness into Light
    Best 5 Mile/8k: Clontarf 5 Mile
    Best 10k: Womens Mini Marathon
    Best 10 Mile: Irish Runner 10 Mile
    Best Half Marathon: Achill Half Marathon
    Best Full Marathon: Dublin Marathon
    Best Ultra Marathon: Connemara 100
    Best Triathlon/Duathlon: Ironman 70.3 Dun Laoghaire
    Best OCR Event: Hell and Back
    Most Scenic Route: Achill Marathon  

  • Dingle might be famous for Fungi the dolphin, but Achill Island can now boast not one but two friendly dolphins.

    A local fisherman has revealed that the same two dolphins have followed his boat out to Achill Head every day for the past three years, and can be seen playing in the waters around his vessel.

    In recent days, the fisherman has told staff at the Achill Experience Aquarium & Visitor Centre about his friends in the dolphin family, and staff expect huge interest from the public in the coming weeks and months.

    Achill Aquarium is celebrating its second birthday today and has already welcomed some 40,000 visitors.

    On Saturday next, Minister Michael Ring will officially open phase two of the Aquarium and Visitor Centre.

  • A Mayo man has been appointed the new CEO of the Galway Chamber.

    Kenneth Deery, a native of Achill Island, has been appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Galway Chamber.

    Kenneth has almost 20 years experience in the retail banking sector, and most recently served as Regional Engagement Manager with AIB in Galway

    He also has a strong background in business and community development, innovation and tourism.

    He has led several business development delegations to the US, on behalf of the Achill local development organisation Comhlacht Forbatha Áitiúil Acla, and has been a board member of a number of organisations in the community and tourism sectors in Mayo and Galway.

    Mr Deery says he's delighted to the joining Galway Chamber, as it's an exciting time for Galway with considerable opportunities to be explored.

     

     

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    An Achill man has been jailed for two years for his role in an aggravated burglary, during which a husband and wife were tied up in their home and threatened with an imitation firearm.

    The court heard that 20-year old Declan Maxwell and another man, who is now deceased, invaded the house and demanded money because they claimed the couple's teenage son owed a drug debt.

    Maxwell, who was then 16-years-old, and the other man ordered the couple to hand over their bank cards and write down their PIN details.

    These were then passed to a third person outside the home who used them to take €440 cash from an ATM.

    The couple were then tied up with rope cut from the clothes line before the invaders made off with an Xbox, Wii console, Samsung Galaxy phone, a wifi router and runners, all valued around €1,000.

    Declan Maxwell, with an address at Rossfield Park, Fettercairn, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to aggravated burglary at Stannaway Avenue, Crumlin, Dublin, on December 7, 2013.

    The father-of-one is originally from Achill Island, Co. Mayo and has one previous minor conviction for possessing drugs.

    The court heard that Maxwell  was stopped by gardai the following day for a random drugs search, when he confessed to the aggravated burglary. The court heard was carrying a bag containing some of the items that had been taken from the house.

    Judge Martin Nolan said Maxwell participated voluntarily in the home invasion, which he described as a “reprehensible crime”.

    The judge imposed a five year sentence with three suspended and ordered that Maxwell undergo 18 month probation service supervision post release.

  • Achill Tourism is hosting its 4th Expo Achill this Easter Monday.

    The event is a showcase of all that Achill Island has to offer, from outdoor activities to the best in retail and design.

    There will also be a presence from the voluntary sector – the RNLI and Achill Island Coastguard.

    Everyone is welcome to attend the event and admission is free.

    The event takes place in Colaiste Acla in Dooega and runs from 12 noon to 4pm on Monday.

  • The Archbishop of Tuam's says the state needs to be fully transparant with locals over plans to house asylum seekers on Achill in Co. Mayo.

     

    Michael Neary's comments follow protests on the island last week over reported plans to house asylum seekers at a hotel there.

     

    However, the Archbishop also says Christians have a responsibility to share with those who are less fortunate than themselves.

     

    He says it's well known, nationally and internationally, that Achill people are a welcoming people and added that we should be alert to those who are experiencing serious upheaval and a crisis of hope in their lives.

  • Architects are to be appointed next month to design the Keem Bay Discovery Point in Achill.

    The project was announced in 2014 as one of the major discovery points along the Wild Atlantic Way, but concerns have been expressed about the lack of progress since.

    At last month's meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District, Achill-based Fianna Fail Councillor Paul McNamara expressed frustration at the slow progress on the Keem Bay project, which he says will attract huge numbers of visitors to the island's blue flag beach.

    He asked for a full report on the project, and at this week's meeting of the authority, a presentation was given on the timescale and work involved.

    Environmental consultants will be appointed later this month, as the site is in a designated area, and architects will then be appointed next month.

     

  • The army bomb disposal unit were called to deal with a suspected viable explosive device on Dooagh beach in Achill last night.

    Gardaí were alerted when a walker spotted the suspicious device shortly after 9pm last night. The area was sealed off overnight by several units of the Achill coast guard until the bomb disposal unit arrived.

    The army bomb disposal unit from Athlone arrived on the scene at around 5am. this morning and removed the object from the beach.

    It has since been confirmed that the device was a marine flare. After being assessed it was removed for destruction.

  • Around 200 customers are without electricity this afternoon in the Achill area.

    According to ESB Powercheck, 202 customers are without power, due to a fault.

    Power is out since around 2.30pm today and the estimated restoration time is 6.15pm this evening.

  • Mayo Junior Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta 
    Semi-Finals
    Ballycastle 4-06 Tourmakeady 1-09
    Cill Chomain 2-05 Achill 1-04 

  • The recent heat wave and calm seas has allowed a group of rocks known as Bills Rock, situated 11Km south of Achill Island to be filmed. The cameras caught the magnificent rocky island outcrop from the air for the first time and were also able to go through a double sea arch and record it.

    Few visitors ever go out to the Rock which can be seen on the horizon from Achill Island. And of those that do, even fewer have sailed under the arches as the sea, tide and wind have to be just right to allow it to be done. The unusual weather system that Ireland has experienced over the past two weeks has allowed this to happen and we now can show this magnificent location in all its beauty.

    The rocks are an important habitat for wildlife and hosts colonies of puffins (7.1% of the total Irish population), storm petrels, kittiwakes, guillemots and other gulls. A large number of seals also live on the islands. It is now a designated SPA (Special Protection Area).

    It gets its name from an unusual source, a Danish sea captain by the name of Mathias De Bille. He was the captain of a Danish Navy frigate called the Bornholm that departed from Copenhagen on 14th December 1781. As the ship rounded Ireland’s north coast on 17th January 1782 a hurricane blew up and drove the Bornholm south along the west coast of Ireland. With its foremast and bowsprit gone the frigate was virtually uncontrollable and but for a tremendous feat of seamanship would have been lost at these rocks and under the treacherous cliffs of Clare Island. Somehow De Bille guided his ship to the relatively calm waters of Melcombe Bay near Newport in Co. Mayo. The weary captain had lost several of his crew during the storm and was horrified to discover that the remaining crew members were now stricken by malignant fever. De Bille also caught the fever himself and was befriended by a local merchant, John McLoughlin, who treated him in his own home. De Bille died there on St. Patrick’s Day 1782. He was buried in Newport with full military honours.

    Achill Tourism has recently launched The Achill Maritime Trail, a series of 19 story boards that are placed at various locations around the island and tell many stories of Achill’s long history with the sea. As well as the story of how Bills Rock got its name, the trail highlights tales of Grace O’Malley, ancient ship wrecks, the basking shark fishing industry and many more tales of triumph and tragedy. The video has shot on 27th June 2018 and features views that have never been seen before. It was filmed by Sean Molloy who travelled there with 2 local experienced local fishermen Gerry Hassett and Martin Kane.

     

     

    Check out Achill Tourism for more wonderful images and events in the area.