Mayo News

  • A huge basking shark is making waves along the Wild Atlantic Way.

    The massive plankton eating fish has become a regular visitor to Keem Bay on Achill Island in County Mayo.

    Seán Molloy from Achill Tourism says the bay was once home to one of the largest basking-shark fisheries in the world.


    It's important to find new ways to connect people and focus on the importance of neighbours.

    That's the view of Minister Michael Ring as he launches "The Big Hello" event.

    It's taking place during the May Bank Holiday weekend, with people across the country encouraged to increase community spirit and create friendships.

    Minister Michael Ring hopes it will tackle social isolation.


  • The impossible workload facing teaching principals in smaller primary schools was highlighted this week at the INTO conference in Galway.

    Teaching principals are a feature of many smaller schools - especially in counties in the West of Ireland - but many have reported increased stress levels due to trying to balance their teaching work with administrative duties.

    They're asking to be released from the classroom for one day per week to carry out their administrative work.

    Mayo Senator Rose Conway-Walsh says the current situation cannot continue, and the Government needs to immediately address the workload placed on teaching principals.

  • The inaugural Mayo History Conference will take place in the Gateway Hotel Swinford on Saturday March 2nd.

    The event is being held as part of the town’s 250 plus celebrations.

    The weekend commences on Friday March 1st with the official opening and the conference itself will take place on the Saturday, with a host of talks on various aspects of Mayo history.

    There is also a walking tour of Swinford on Sunday morning March 3rd for those who wish to avail of it.

  • The INHFA is advising farmers who want to tax their jeeps commercially in Mayo that they need to bring one of two specific forms with them.

    Gerry Loftus told Midwest News that the tax office cannot process commercial tax with just a herd or flock number. Up to this point, they were allowing some instances of this through, but it was only to accommodate the farmers and at the discretion of the staff.

    However, according to regulations, farmers are required to bring their tax cert with them so they can tax their jeep commercially. They can also produce their online receipt for their farm payments like the ANC or Single Farm Payment.

    Gerry Loftus told Midwest News that he sought the information to clear up the matter for farmers who had been in touch with the INHFA.

  • The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association are insisting that current Commission proposals under the CAP Reform relating to the protection of wetlands and peatlands, referred to as Carbon rich soils does not become another designation.

    Gerry Loftus of the INHFA says that land designations implemented over 20 years ago remain a major issue for many farmers.

    Farmers on designated land were he added “sold out despite having pristine habitats that are critically important for our flora and fauna.” For some he stated “the designations undermined their farming activity and left them vulnerable under land eligibility inspections.”

  • Any environmental changes which will be required in the agricultural sector will cost money – and the bulk of the adjustments will have to be made by the dairy sector, according to director of Teagasc Professor Gerry Boyle.

    Professor Boyle was speaking after Teagasc’s report yesterday which found that dairy farms produce three times more greenhouse gas emissions than beef enterprises.

    The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association has been reacting to the report and Professor Boyle’s comments.

    Gerry Loftus, who is also a member of the association’s committee on forestry and climate change, says that not all farmers are equal and it would not fair to penalise all farmers in the same manner when it comes to combating climate change.

    He said they are happy to see that Teagasc has recognised this in this report and that rural Ireland is at a disadvantage when it comes to agriculture and profit margins in farming.

    It is believed the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Change’s report of recommendations, due to be published tomorrow will recommend a “fundamental redirection of Irish agriculture” away from a reliance on dairy and beef and move towards horticulture.

  • Inland Fisheries Ireland is appealing to anglers and the general public to report the presence of any Pacific pink salmon in Irish rivers systems over the coming months.

    They're concerned that the presence of pink salmon in Irish rivers could negatively impact on some of Ireland's native species - such as Atlantic salmon and sea trout.


    Pink salmon were very rare in Irish waters until 2017, when the non-native species unexpectedly appeared in unprecedented numbers in multiple river systems in the west, northwest and south-west of the country.

    In the past week, pink salmon have been reported returning to rivers further south in Norway than anticipated, which increases the likelihood of their reappearance in Irish rivers this year.

    Also known as humpback salmon, pink salmon a native to rivers in the northern Pacific Ocean and nearby regions of the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean.

    Inland Fisheries Ireland says the potential presence of pink salmon in Irish rivers again is of concern to them, as its presence in large numbers may negatively impact on some of Ireland's native species - such as Atlantic salmon and sea trout - as well as other fish species and their associated ecosystems.

    Pink salmon are a blue-green colour on the back, with silver sides and a white underbelly with large black oval spots on the tail and very small scales.

    Anglers are asked to report any catches of pink salmon to Inland Fisheries 24-hour hotline number 1890 34 74 24.

    Anyone who catches a pink salmon is asked to keep the fish, and not release it back into the water - record the date and location as well as the length and weight of the fish, tag the fish and present it to Inland Fisheries Ireland - and a new tag will be issued to replace the tag used, and take a photo of the fish.

    Inland Fisheries will than arrange collection of the pink salmon for further examination, which will help establish the abundance and extent of the species in Irish waters.



  • An interim scheme needs to be put in place for farmers who are coming out of the AEOS scheme and cannot enter GLAS.

    That's according to Mayo-based Sinn Fein Senator Rose Conway-Walsh who raised the issue this week at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture.

    Department officials confirmed that, for farmers in this position, there will not be a scheme in place until after 2021.

    Senator Conway-Walsh says it's unfair to leave these farmers for two years without a scheme, facing a significant drop in income, and she's calling on the Agriculture Minister to put an interim scheme in place for those leaving AEOS that were excluded from GLAS.

  • Ireland West Airport yesterday welcomed the first scheduled service from Cologne with Ryanair to the West of Ireland.

    Between June and September Ryanair will operate direct flights to and from Cologne every Tuesday and Saturday. Cologne is Germany’s fourth largest city. Centred on the left bank of the Rhine, Cologne is regarded as Germany’s capital of carnivals reflecting the lifestyle of its inhabitants, who make Cologne the incredibly energetic spot that it is. Cologne is ideally located just an hour’s train journey from Frankfurt and only 90 minutes from Brussels providing easy onwards travel options for visitors.

    This new service is a major boost for tourism in the West and North West regions of Ireland as it provides the only direct access to the West Coast from the North Rhine-Westphalia region. Germany is the third-largest market for tourism to the island of Ireland with a record year forecasted in 2018 of over 650,000 German visitors with 50% of German holidaymakers visiting the West and North West of Ireland during their stay.

    On hand to greet arriving passengers were representatives from the Gourmet Greenway Food Trail who provided samples of delicious locally produced cuisines. The food trail has been devised by the Mulranny Park Hotel, in association with Mayo food producers, to showcase the wonderful artisan food in the vicinities of Mulranny, Newport, Westport and Achill.

    Accompanying passengers on the first flight from Cologne were a selection of media representatives from some of Germanys biggest media organisations who will be taking part in a 3 day familiarisation trip around the West and North West of Ireland during their stay.



  • Irish Water is to provide extra traffic management on Friday and Sunday evenings in Charlestown, while work is ongoing on sewerage pipes in the town.

    That was confirmed by local Sinn Fein Cllr Gerry Murray today.

    Cllr Murray had contacted Irish Water to see if they could provide additional personnel to man the traffic management in the town, especially on Friday and Sunday evenings due to the sheer volume of traffic.

    Irish Water confirmed they will do that and they will suspend works for the St Patrick’s Weekend, so that the parade can go ahead.

    Cllr Murray also appealed to people to shop local, despite the ongoing works.

    He also said that Irish Water hope to have finished the works in the next four weeks.

  • An issue that affected some Vodafone mobile and data services yesterday afternoon has been resolved.

    Vodafone Ireland confirmed in a tweet yesterday evening that the issue that had affected some mobile and data services had been identified and resolved as of around 7.30pm.


  • It's emerged a medical lab that takes up to seven months to process smear tests for the HSE has been fast-tracking the results for private patients.

    MedLab in Sandyford has been able to turn around the cervical cancer tests in just two weeks for private patients, according to the Sunday Business Post.

    There's currently a backlog of 78-thousand smear test samples for public patients, and the HSE says there's no extra lab capacity to deal with it.

  • The Joint Committee on Climate Action has published its cross-party report.

    It reached agreement last night on a number of key climate issues and has recommended a series of carbon tax rises up to 2030.

    Other recommendations focus heavily on transport with emphasis on electrifiying, improving and extending public transport as well as making it cheaper to use.

    While the Irish Farmers Association initially had reservations, the organisation's president, Joe Healy, says it's fair to farmers

  • Kilmovee native, Tommy Horan has been selected as a candidate by Aontú to run in the Swinford Local Electoral Area this May.

    Aontú was founded by former Sinn Fein TD Peadar Toibin TD.

    Tommy Horan is a Family Support and Community Development Worker at Kilmovee Family Resource Centre and is also self employed running his own business.

    He has an extensive track record in community development and has always been actively involved, at local, county and national levels.

    Tommy has been the one of the driving forces behind the now well-known and busy social enterprise of Kilmovee Community Centre which incorporates social housing, all weather pitch, laundry, health centre, meeting rooms, Meals on Wheels and Heritage Centre.

    He serves on the Board of Mayo North East Leader which is responsible for Leader Funding (Rural Development Programme) in North and East Mayo. He has huge concerns that the current programmes funding has been slashed which is another hit at Rural Mayo.

  • Knock Marriage Introductions, formerly Knock Marriage Bureau, is to close after over fifty years.

    Knock Marriage Introductions has been responsible for introducing couples, many of whom went on to become husband and wife over the past fifty years.  In that time it has been responsible for 960 marriages.  The service was based at the Knock Shrine, Co Mayo, in the Archdiocese of Tuam.

    When Father Michael Keane had the vision to establish the agency back in the 1960’s in Ireland, the west of Ireland in particular, was a very different place.  Emigration was rife and most of the means of communication that today we take for granted were practically non-existent.  The advent of the internet and online dating agencies, and apps have made it possible for people to meet a partner literally at the touch of a button.  Many of the couples who met through Knock Marriage Introductions commented on the personal nature of the service and that they felt safe and secure being able to speak to someone in confidence at the end of a phone.

    In recent years there has been a noticeable decline in the demand for the service offered by Knock Marriage Introductions, to the point that is no longer viable to run the service. The annual subscriptions from clients who have used the service have had to be supplemented in recent years by donations from dioceses around Ireland.  Obviously this is not sustainable long term.  It is for these reasons that the Board of Directors of Knock Marriage Introductions have decided at a recent meeting to wind down the agency.  

    Fr Stephen Farragher was in charge of Knock Marriage Introductions for the past two years. He told Midwest News that it is the end of an era.

  • Line painting works will be carried out in the Bohernasup area of Ballina in the coming weeks.

    Works were carried out by Irish Water in the area recently and local Councillor John O’Hara was in touch with Mayo County Council to repaint the lines on the roads there.

    Cllr O’Hara says since the works were carried out and the lines taken up, people were parking on both sides on the street.

    He says he has been informed that works to reline the road will get underway in the coming week.

  • A local election candidate is urging people to register to vote before Tuesday’s deadline.

    Shane Fitzgerald, who is running as a local election candidate in the Westport area says he is finding that up to 1 in 4 people that he has canvassed, are not on the register of electors.

    Mr Fitzgerald says the form to register must be with the council by Tuesday and is very straightforward to complete.

    He is urging people who are entitled to vote, to register so they can exercise their democratic right.

  • Main Street in Charlestown is closed to traffic and will remain closed for a couple of hours according to Gardai.

    It's after a lorry carrying a heavy load hit an ESB pole. While the pole is not down, work is underway to secure it.

    Diversions in place for cars but HGVS and large vehicles are advised to take an alternative route.

  • A man in his 40s will appear in court this afternoon charged in connection with the death of Valerie French Kilroy in Kilbree, Westport.

    The man in his 40’s is due to appear before a special sitting of Castlebar District Court at 2pm this afternoon.

    A murder investigation was launched by Gardai following the discovery of the body of Ms French Kilroy on Friday morning.

    A post-mortem examination was completed yesterday afternoon on the body of 41-year-old Valerie French Kilroy at Mayo University Hospital yesterday by acting State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan.

    Details of the results of the post-mortem are not being released at this stage for operational reasons.

    The man who was arrested on Friday will appear in court at 2pm this afternoon.