deputy Alan Dillon

  • Churches are safer than supermarkets - that's according to Mayo FG Deputy Alan Dillon who's welcomed a letter of reassurance issued by Government party leaders to religious leaders outlining their commitment to the return of religious services.

    Deputy Dillon recently spoke in the Dail, calling for some easing of restrictions to include the restoration of public worship in a safe and limited way.

    The Fine Gael TD says most churches are well-ventilated buildings that can seat hundreds of people.

    When allowed to open last year, he says Churches operated in a very safe manner with  sanitising, allocated seats, one-way systems, limits on numbers, social distancing and face covers.

    Deputy Dillon says we need to trust the public to adhere to public health protocols as we move forward with reopening society.

    He insists the risks of Covid transmission when attending Church are much lower than busy supermarkets, which remained open right through the pandemic.


  • €11m has been secured today for Castlebar town under the government’s Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, according to local Fine Gael deputy Alan Dillon.

    The funding is part of an €83 million investment for seven regeneration projects in the Western region of Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.

    Mayo County Council submitted two applications under the scheme and both have been approved by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

    8.5 million euro has been granted for the Reactivation and Rejuvenation of Castlebar’s Historic Coreproject at the Mall. While Castlebar’s Military Barracks Reuse and Regeneration project secured 2.5 million euro.

    The Castlebar Historic Core Reactivation Initiative will fund a strategic renewal from the Military Barracks at Rock Square, through the Mall and onto Ellison Street/Mountain View.  The works will involve the development of back-lands, reuse of vacant properties. 

    The Castlebar Military Barracks Reuse and Regeneration funding will stretch from Rock Square through the Military Barracks and out as far as the roundabout at the entrance to Castle Street car park.  The funding will allow for detailed design works, site works, restoration of the public realm, and capital funding for repurposing works. 

    Deputy Dillon told Midwest News that “the funding provides a mechanism to stimulate and redress vacant deterioration of the historic properties that frame The Mall and will specifically repurpose the former Daly’s (Imperial) Hotel as an innovation hub,while the former Castlebar Post Office will be repurposed as a Community Youth Resource Centre.”

    Deputy Dillon has been speaking to Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley about this significant funding for the county town...


  • Funding of €159,800 has been awarded to Mayo for eight outdoor recreation infrastructure projects.

    The funding was confirmed by Mayo Fine Gael TD Alan Dillon following this morning’s announcement by Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphrey’s TD under Measure 1 of the 2020 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

    Measure 1 of this programme provides grants of up to €20,000 for small scale maintenance, promotion and marketing projects.

    The projects selected include:

    1. Achill - Combine the Dooagh 4km looped trail and the 10km Deserted village trail. Enhance existing paths, tracks, signage and drainage. Install small bridge crossings and rest areas : €20,000
    2. Claremorris - Clare Lake Land of the Giants – Replacements of two foot existing bridges: €20,000
    3. Castlebar - Breaffy Woods Loop Walk - Supply and install boardwalk materials. Improvements enhancements and extension on the trail: €20,000
    4. Clogher - Clogher Walking Hub - Develop 2 high quality loop walks complementing the existing Clogher Bog 8km Loop This will help create a new walking hub based around the Clogher Heritage centre (13km) : €19,800
    5. Newport - Burrishoole Loop Walk and Great Western Greenway – Develop and enhance a trailhead to the Burrishoole Network of loop walk and Great Western Greenway. Improve, parking, bike parking and information on directional signage: €20,000
    6. Belmullet - Erris Head - Improvements to the trailhead to facilitate parking, bike parking, information on directional signage: €20,000
    7. Mayo County Council - Marketing of Mayo Trails - Develop a dedicated Mayo Trails website to showcase trails that are available throughout Mayo. Develop and create a library of digital content as a promotional tool: €20,000
    8. Kilmovee - Kilmovee Heritage Trail - Enhance and further develop a 6km heritage trail, incorporating significant sites and monuments. Will facilitate access and enjoyment of the landscape and promote & protect the heritage of Kilmovee: €20,000.

    Deputy Dillon told Midwest News today that funding for this program is broken down by 90 percent from the Department, and 10 percent from the Local Authority and other sources.

    This increased funding level, he explained, has been introduced in recognition of the difficulty in raising match funding due to the impact of COVID–19.



  • Mayo deputy Alan Dillon has published the key points of his survey for Leaving Certificate students in county Mayo. 

    With over 520 respondents, almost 400 of whom were Leaving Certificate students the survey indicates a strong preference for a calculated grades process. 

    The highest ranked preference was to use calculated grades with an option to sit scaled-down end of year exams, followed very closely by the second preference to use calculated grades using standardised continuous assessment. 

    The third ranking preference was for the exams to proceed as planned pending public health advice. 

    Deputy Dillon has thanked the students, parents and teachers who contributed to the survey. 

    He says the results provide him with clear information for the Department of Education on the ranked preferences of Leaving Certificate students. 

    The Oral and Practical element of exams also was a source of concern with the ranked preferences of students being firstly to cancel them; secondly, partake in a scaled down version with ongoing assessment; and thirdly, move these online.”

    In addition the survey showed that almost 40 percent of the students surveyed in Mayo  have insufficient broadband.  Almost three in five have found remote learning to be a negative or very negative experience. While more than  three in five felt the uncertainty around the exams had a negative impact on their mental health. 


  • Almost 700 schools nationally will be connected to broadband  within the next two years in an acceleration of the National Broadband Plan (NBP).

    The acceleration of the NBP will mean 61 schools in Mayo will be connected to broadband by the end of 2022, according to Mayo Deputy Alan Dillon.

    Under the originally-planned rollout, some schools in Mayo would have had to wait up to seven years for connection.

    Some schools in the Intervention Area will become Broadband Connection Points (BCPs), by the end of Q1 2021, receiving 150mb high-speed connectivity for educational access.

    Deputy Dillon told Midwest news this afternoon that this expedited delivery of the NBP will ensure that primary school children in Mayo will be able to participate fully in the digital revolution that is taking place.

     “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have seen the immediate and present need for the rollout of the National Broadband Plan in the County. I welcome the announcement from NBI and the Government today and I will continue to place pressure on the Department of Communications to expedite further roll-out of the NBP to facilitate third level students and professionals to work at home.”  Deputy Dillon said.

  • The agreement between the government and private hospitals is having a negative impact on the quality of care received by some patients. That’s according to Mayo Fine Gael deputy Alan Dillon

    The deputy claims that families who have paid private health insurance all their lives “should rightly be annoyed and upset with the lack of care they are receiving as a result of the state’s takeover of private hospitals”.

    In a statement to Midwest News this morning deputy Dillon highlights an issue brought to his attention of a Castlebar man, where his consultant is refusing to fulfil urgent spinal surgery until contractual arrangement are in place”.

    Deputy Dillon said “ Last week, I was contacted by the wife of the man who was referred to the a Dublin Hospital with spinal complications causing extensive discomfort and pain. After four nights in the Mater he was informed by hospital staff that his Consultant could not perform his urgent surgery due to him being a ‘private consultant’. 

    He was told that his case for urgent surgery was not required (or not deemed an emergency) after further diagnostic tests, while being administered high dosages of morphine to control pain management. 

    To the amazement of the family he was later discharged that evening from Dublin back to Mayo University Hospital. It’s crazy to see what this family are dealing with in the middle of a pandemic and how stressful this situation has been for them all to see their loved ones quality of life been severely impacted.”

    "Under normal circumstances this surgery would have been scheduled without question or without any delay in a private setting or public hospital. 

    Deputy Dillon concluded “there is a real urgency to resolve the current impasse between private and public consultant contracts, I have asked the Minister to liaise swiftly with the Consultants group, his own Department of Health and the HSE to ensure all proposed measures protect all patients and their access to quality care".




  • A new development of 22 new social houses in Castlebar is now going to tender.

    The Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien has confirmed the long-awaited development at Lois na Circe, Saleen has now been approved, and Mayo County Council has been given the go-ahead to proceed to tender, and appoint the successful contractor.

    That's according to Mayo FG Deputy Alan Dillon who told Midwest News that this development will help to alleviate the large number of families on the housing waiting list in the Castlebar area.

  • The mortgage payment break already in place for local authority home loan borrowers will be extended for those continuing to face difficulties due to the Covid-19 emergency. That's according to Mayo Fine Gael deputy Alan Dillon.

    Deputy Dillon says that due to the continuing economic uncertainty associated with COVID-19, many local authority home loan borrowers continue to face difficulties in paying their mortgage or have very real fears that they will face repayment problems in the future.

    To help people in this situation, the mortgage payment break period is being extended by another three months, allowing people a total of nine months to get back on their feet.

    The deputy has been speaking to Midwest News about the latest extension.

  • A major new development for Scoil Naomh Bríd, Culleens, Ballina is to proceed to tender. 

    The new 2500sqm single story school building will include construction of 12 new classrooms, special needs unit, on-site parking provisions, parking, landscaping, boundary treatments, site works and ancillary services.

    Mayo Fine Gael deputy Alan Dillon says the development of this new primary school for Ballina is very welcome for the pupils and staff.  This is one of a number of projects approved for Mayo by the Department of Education since June. 

    Recent approvals locally include St. Marys Secondary School, Ballina, St Oliver Plunkett NS, and Bonniconlon NS.

    Deputy Dillon says all of these investments in our educational facilities in  Mayo create additional capacity for pupils and better teaching environments.

  • Applications are now open for the 25 million euro Live Performance Support Scheme 2021.

    Fine Gael Deputy Alan Dillon says it will further help venues, promoters and producers to plan events. Furthermore, the benefits will be shared widely, assisting promoters and venues to employ artists, musicians, performers, technicians and other support staff in live performances.

     The objective now is to support employment and wellbeing opportunities in the live performance sector across all genres, from new and emerging artists to the more established, and continued high quality artistic output for the general public.

     Key features of the Live Performance Support Scheme include:

    • Support live performances that will occur on or before 30th September 2021.
    • Support the creation of employment and wellbeing opportunities in the culture and creative industries and the generation of high-quality artistic output.
    • Scheme is aimed at commercial venues, producers and promoters in the live entertainment sector (e.g. music, entertainment and theatre).
    • Awards will range from €10k upwards.

    Applications are now invited for this scheme.

    Application forms, guidance on the application process and further information can be found on the Department’s

    The closing date for applications is 14th April 2021 at 1pm.

    Deouty Dillon has been giving more details to Midwest News Editor Teresa O'Malley...

  • The construction of 22 new social housing units in Castlebar has gone to tender.

    This is phase 2 of the development at Lios na Circe in Castlebar.

    Mayo FG Deputy Alan Dillon says tenders are now being invited for the construction of 22 houses, with work expected to start on-site over the Summer, and conclude within a year.

    Deputy Dillon has welcomed the project going to tender, and says these additional housing units are badly needed in the Castlebar area.

  • Irish Rail is to hoping to submit a planning application in the next month for an overbridge at the notorious Kilnageer level crossing near Belcarra, Castlebar.

    That's according to Mayo FG Deputy Alan Dillon, who questioned the CEO of Irish Rail Jim Meade on the matter at a recent meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications.

    The Kilnageer crossing has been previously described as "dangerous and confusing" as motorists must open and close gates every time they use the level crossing, while a traffic light system installed last year by Irish Rail was unclear.

    Local residents have been calling for an automated crossing or over-bridge for some time.

    Deputy Dillon told Midwest News that Irish Rail are currently seeking letters of consent from affected landowners, and hope to submit a planning application by the end of March for an over-bridge at this location.....