deputy Rose Conway Walsh

  • A Mayo Deputy introduced a bill in the Dail this afternoon to protect students renting accommodation.

    Landlords would be required to repay rent to students who have not been able to occupy accommodation due to public health advice and Covid regulations under a new bill.

    Sinn Féin Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh tabled the Student Accommodation Bill in the Dáil today.

    The bill proposes inserting a new section to the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. Under the new section, students will have to give 28 days notice up to a period of time when they will not be occupying the accommodation and will legally require landlords or universities to repay rent for that period.

    This will only apply throughout the pandemic.




  • While Public Health won’t allow a hundred supporters into a vast venue like Croke Park for a match, at the same time it insists that its safe for 125 pupils in a school with a covid outbreak to reopen today, where pupils and staff attend 5 days a week, 6 hours a day, and that is not logical, according to the Principal of Claremorris Boys NS.

    Speaking to Midwest News Mark Loftus says the Dept of Education has instructed their school to reverse the decision on Thursday evening last to close because of an outbreak of Covid 19, insisting they open again this morning.

    A dozen students have tested positive for the virus in the past number of weeks, however, Health officials did not support the Principal’s and Board of Management’s difficult decision to close the school, last Thursday until January 5th.

    Apart from the 12 confirmed cases of the virus in the school, the Claremorris  electoral area is currently experiencing a very high level of Covid cases.

    Mr Loftus says his efforts to reason with Public Health and the Department of Education and Skills has fallen on deaf ears.

    Speaking to Midwest News ahead of this morning’s reopening, he said he will reluctantly re-open today to acknowledge the Department directive but, also respects and fully support the decision of parents to keep their children home until after Christmas holidays

    Mayo Sinn Féin TD, Rose Conway-Walsh has expressed deep concern about the lack of clarity and supports from the Department of Education in addressing the challenges presented by the virus in the school.

    She has commended the huge collective efforts made by the Board of Management, Principal, teachers, parents association and parents in ensuring the health and wellbeing of children in the Claremorris area is protected.

    However, she says removing, the autonomy of all local decision makers without proper consultation is not acceptable.

    Speaking to Midwest News this morning the deputy said that this "heavy handed" approach by the Department needs to be replaced with respect and effective local engagement.

  • The Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris must immediately clarify for students what’s happening in terms of online college learning between now and Christmas, that according to Mayo Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway-Walsh.

    The Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Further and Higher Education, Research Innovation and Science says students and their families need to know now if they need to secure student accommodation this term.

    In addition she says the people who have paid out for student accommodation, that is now not required because the college is providing learning on line, must get their deposits returned quickly.

    Deputy Conway Walsh spoke to Midwest News today.

  • Third level students cannot continue to be exploited by paying for accommodation they are prevented from using, according to Mayo TD Rose Conway Walsh.

    The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Further and Higher Education has published the results of a student accommodation survey that highlights how student renters have paid thousands of euro in advance to secure accommodation they are now prevented from using due to Covid Restrictions.

    She is calling on the government to take responsibility and to intervene to ensure students are refunded both deposits and prepaid rent, for unused accommodation.

    The Sinn Fein survey indicates that close to 60 percent (58%) of all student renters have paid more than a thousand euro in advance to secure accommodation based on assurances from the government and colleges  regarding the feasibility of on-campus learning during the pandemic.

    Deputy Conway Walsh told Midwest News today that it's unfair to students and their families.

  • This afternoon the government will announce details of a new “worker-led” decentralisation  plan that is aimed at encouraging and expanding remote working.

    A major new government plan  - 'Our Rural Future'  also commits to a fund to re-purpose vacant buildings in rural towns to turn them into shared office spaces with access to high speed broadband.

    The government is understood to be examining further financial incentives such as relocation grants to get people out of cities.

    Pilot schemes are set to be launched to provide state-backed taxis or hackneys in rural communities that can't support public transport networks on their own.

    A separate scheme will aim to turn some rural pubs into community areas, providing additional services in a bid to keep them open.

    Minister for Rural Development Heather Humphreys will formally launch the plan this afternoon and she says it provides  a huge opportunity to change how people work.

    To look at the Plan and what it might deliver to this region,  Mayo deputies - Fianna Fail's  Dara Calleary and Sinn Fein’s Rose Conway Walsh spoke to Midwest News Editor Teresa O'Malley about the likely impact of the new plan on this region...

  • The broadcasting levy paid by local radio stations to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland will be waived for the first six months of the year. The Communications Minister made the announcement this morning in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

    Richard Bruton says the sector is experiencing financial strain as a result of a drop off in advertising revenue and he says this will recognise the importance of local radio stations to their communities during this time.

    Minister Bruton says he's also asked the BAI to assess the financial situation of local radio as a result of the pandemic.


    It’s unthinkable that the services provided by local radio might be threatened by the present almost complete wipe-out of advertising revenue. That’s the view of Mayo Sinn Fein deputy Rose Conway Walsh.

    The vital role local radio is playing in disseminating information during the COVID-19 challenge she argues is enormous.

    “In my own constituency of Mayo, we are reliant and acutely aware of the value of Midwest Radio and the invaluable service it provides as a social inclusion mechanism and as one of the most important communication tools to combat rural isolation”.

    The deputy and her party are calling for a 5 million euro emergency fund for local radio nationally to be established immediately by government and to be allocated for news, current affairs & speech-based programming.

    This is in addition to the waiving of levies for 6 months announced by the Minister this morning.

    Advertising revenue for radio station has been decimated over the past number of days as the impact of the pandemic hits almost every business.

    Deputy Conway Walsh told Midwest New today that she has written and spoken to the Minister for Communications Richard Bruton to set up such a fund within the next number of days, to prevent the serious threat to the survival of local radio.



  • A Mayo TD is calling on Government to ensure that the jobs and entitlements of workers at Shaws department stores in Castlebar and Ballina are protected.

    Provisional liquidators have been appointed to four companies that are part of the Arcadia Group - which holds a number of concessions in Shaws department stores including Wallis, Evans and Dorothy Perkins.

    It's hoped to sell the Irish operations as part of the overall sale of the Arcadia Group, and the intent is that the shops will continue trading through Christmas under the provisional liquidators, to maximise the value of winter fashion stock.

    If the jobs cannot be saved, the monies secured from the sale of this stock should be ring-fenced for a decent redundancy package for workers - according to Mayo Sinn Fein TD Rose Conway-Walsh.

    There are 487 people employed in Arcadia Group stores in Ireland - about 50 of these employed in Mayo - and Deputy Conway-Walsh says these workers must be a priority for Government.


  • A Mayo TD is concerned about the loneliness and isolation felt by many elderly people in nursing homes, who are unable to see their families during the current Covid-19 restrictions.

    Sinn Fein TD Rose Conway-Walsh raised the issue with the Taoiseach recently, to ask if there's more that can be done to enable family visits, in a safe way.

     The Erris-based TD is asking that the Government look at safe protective practices in other countries, and explore ways of providing a limited number of designated visitors who can visit their loved ones, following strict protocols.

     While commending the work being done in nursing homes at this difficult time, Deputy Conway-Walsh told Midwest News that she's concerned about the impact of no visitors on elderly residents.....

  • There are people aged over 90 in Co Mayo who have not yet received any Covid-19 vaccine to date, which is simply not good enough, according to Deputy Rose Conway Walsh.

    The Sinn Fein TD says she is aware of a 95 year old, house bound woman in the county who is sitting waiting to secure the jab so that she can again be visited by family and friends, and yet she has heard nothing about when she might secure it.

    The HSE Helpline on vaccine delivery is of no value to these people, the deputy argues,  and it’s frustrating to hear HSE ads on the media outlining that the vaccine rollout is going to plan and under 70s are the next group to receive their jabs.

     Deputy Conway Walsh told Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley she is being contacted by 80 and 90 year old, house bound people in Mayo who have heard nothing, as yet, about when they can expect to be vaccinated....

  • It's not good enough that hundreds of school children are left without a place on a school bus, now that schools have reopened.

    That's according to Mayo Sinn Fein TD Rose Conway-Walsh, who's calling on the Education Minister and the Government to step in and find a resolution to the issue.

    With buses carrying second-level students operating at 50% capacity due to Covid-19 restrictions, this is adding to the shortage of places, but Deputy Conway-Walsh says there are always problems at this time of year with the school transport scheme.

    The Erris-based TD told Midwest News that she's raising the matter once again today with the Education Minister Norma Foley.

  • Sinn Fein will bring a Bill before the Dail later today, seeking to ban dual pricing when it comes to insurance premiums.

    Currently, insurance companies are allowed to charge a higher premium to loyal customers - and Mayo TD Rose Conway-Walsh says this loyalty penalty can cost customers hundreds of euro every year on their car and home insurance.

    The practice of dual-pricing is now banned in a number of States across the USA, and Sinn Finn's Insurance Bill would ban such unfair penalties here.

    Deputy Conway-Walsh is calling on Mayo TDs from all parties to back the bill, in the interests of customers who she says have been charged unfair insurance costs for too long....



  • Fianna Fail and Fine Gael TDs in Mayo are being urged to support a Bill which will come before the Dáil tomorrow (Wed) to provide greater protection for students renting accommodation.

    The Residential Tenancies Bill has been drafted by the Union of Students in Ireland, with assistance from Sinn Fein TDs Eoin O'Broin and Rose Conway-Walsh.

    The legislation addresses concerns raised about students and their parents not being able to access refunds, when they could not take up student accommodation due to Covid-19 restrictions.

    Over the past year, many students have found themselves unable to access their accommodation due to public health measures, but some have been denied rent refunds, and this Bill allows for prompt refunds in such instances.

    Mayo Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh is urging cross-party support for the USI Bill....

  • A  Mayo deputy is calling on the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, to take decisive action to tackle the massive driving test backlog.

    Sinn Fein Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh’s plea come as the Road Safety Authority (RSA) confirmed that there are now 1,548 learner drivers waiting for a test in County Mayo and over 92,000 people waiting across the country.

    She says “with public transport down to 25% capacity and sharing of lifts not feasible due to Covid, this is causing massive problems for people who need a licence to get to work.

    It’s a huge issue for people in rural Ireland, where public transport simply isn’t an option.

    The problem is particularly bad in Mayo with 596 learner drivers waiting for a test in the Ballina testing centre and 952 waiting in Castlebar.

    She told Midwest News today that there is a clear need for additional driving instructors and testers.

  • The government needs to immediately deal with the “elephant in the room” when it’s talking about apprentices and the extension the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme. That’s the clear view of Mayo Sinn Fein deputy Rose Conway Walsh.

    The reality is that there are more than 9,000 apprentices at present who are being denied access to their off-job training / college places. Since the start of the pandemic, apprentices at various stages of their courses, have been unable to access this vital part of their training. As a result, they are losing out on their subsequent increments in salary.

    On yesterday’s Morning Edition programme here on Midwest News, Mayo Fine Gael Deputy Alan Dillon announced the extension of the Incentivisation Scheme to employers taking on apprentices, where the employer can secure 3000 euro for each new apprentice registered.

    However, when deputy Dillon was asked a direct question by Midwest News as to what is happening to the thousands of apprentices at present stuck in a quandary, he failed to address the question, the Sinn Fein deputy claims.

    Nonetheless, she welcomes the extension, out to the end of the year, of the Apprentice Incentivasation Scheme.

    This lunchtime Midwest News asked deputy Rose Conway Walsh, the Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Higher and Further Education, if the problem for so many apprentices left without their off-job training has been resolved…




    Other countries are finding ways to ensure that nursing home residents will be able to enjoy a safe visit from a loved one this Christmas and Mayo deputy Rose Conway Walsh is calling on the Irish government to follow their lead.

    The HSE is to issue updated guidelines on nursing home restrictions later this week.

    Deputy Conway Walsh says that in England and Wales different initiatives are underway. The Welsh Government announced £3m for care homes to install temporary "pods" for Christmas visits.

    There will also be a pilot scheme to give care home visitors 20-minute Covid-19 tests starting next week.

    Speaking to Midwest News deputy Conway Walsh says Christmas can be a lonely time for many people, not least those isolated in nursing homes, and a safe way to allow visits now needs to be made a priority here.

    The deputy spoke to Midwest News about some of the initiatives underway overseas.


  • The disruption seen in the Green Cert applications system for young farmers requires an immediate intervention by the Minister for Agriculture, according to Mayo Sinn Féin deputy Rose Conway-Walsh.

    Earlier this week, up to 200 young farmers who had paid fees to do the Green Cert course at a Further Education College in Mayo were told that they had secured places on the course, but were informed later the same day that a mistake had been made.

    Refunds have been issued but the problem is far from resolved. The prospective students now have no place.

    Courses for the Green Cert are oversubscribed right across the country.

    Deputy Conway Walsh raised the issue with Minister Humphreys in the Dail yesterday and has also written to the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue urging him to work closely with the education providers to maximise places this year, insisting that students that were offered a place should be given one.

    The qualification is extremely important to young farmers and young people interested in entering the sector. Delays to qualification can have knock-on impact on farming careers and incomes.

    Deputy Conway Walsh says young people cannot get into farming if the government is unable to provide the necessary training required to become a qualified farmer and she has been telling Midwest News about a the demand for places this week on the Green Cert course at Westport College of Further Education.


  • People in Belmullet are afraid, there are many people in the area sick at present and the community is grieving the loss of life related to Covid 19, particularly over the past two weeks. That’s according to local deputy Rose Conway Walsh.

    The fact is that one in every 17 people in Belmullet local electoral area tested positive for Covid-19 in the space of two weeks.

    The region has by far the highest incidence rate in the country.

    This data reflects on the 14-day incidence rates of confirmed cases of Covid-19 between December 29th and  Monday of this week ( Jan 11th) .

    During that period, the country's rate was 1,410 per 100,000 people - meaning one in every 71 people had the virus.

    Twenty areas of the country had rates of over 2,000 per 100,000 people.

    Belmullet LEA had a rate of 6,032 - over four times the national average.

    There were 760 cases in this region in the two weeks - and with a population of 12,600, it means every 17 people had the virus.

    Deputy Conway Walsh told Midwest News today that now is not the time to focus on what caused the extensive spread of the virus in Erris. The Sinn Fein deputy says while it will be necessary to look at this more forensically in the future, now is the time to grieve and be kind to all families and friends impacted by Covid 19 in the area.

    She believes the cause of the extensive spread of the virus spread in Erris is manifold


    Mayo Sinn Fein deputy says thousands of students have been left behind as a result of the Leaving Cert calculated grades process.

    Students were downgraded by up to 70 points as a result of the standardisation process by the Department of Education.

    The student portal, which also showed the teacher's initial mark opened this morning.

    The party’s higher education spokesperson, Erris based Rose Conway Walsh, says the system was not fair to everyone.