• The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed will visit Ballaghadereen today, for the official launch of a major investment at the Aurivo Dairy Ingredients plant in the town.

    Aurivo has invested €26 million in installing a new spray dryer at the Ballaghadereen site, to boost capacity at the facility by 50%.

    It's part of a wider €48 million five-year capital investment programme by Aurivo to enable new product development and meet global demand.

    The Agriculture Minister is due in Ballaghadereen at about lunchtime to launch the new developments.

    Meanwhile, the Beef Plan Movement is holding a peaceful protest in Ballaghadereen this morning.

    They say that, two weeks after a list of demands was handed into the Department of Agriculture following a major rally in Dublin, there's been no correspondence from the Minister or his Department.





    A group has protested outside the gates of IT Sligo yesterday ahead of a Cabinet meeting to voice their concern over any proposed closure of Easkey Post Office.

    The postmaster there is due to retire and the future of Easkey Post Office is now under review by An Post and could close by the end of March.

    The local community have strongly opposed any moves to close the post office and recently held a public meeting on the matter.

    A group protested outside the gates of IT Sligo yesterday where the Cabinet met ahead of the announcement of the National Planning Framework.

  • Failte Acla will host a coffee morning at 12 noon tomorrow in Keel Hall as protests continue at the Achill Head Hotel.

    Some members of the community began protesting at the proposed emergency accommodation site which was due to house 13 female asylum seekers.

    This comes after the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan called for the ‘Siege to be lifted’ outside the Keel Hotel.

    A member of Failte Acla told Midwest News they invite those protesting outside of the Achill Head Hotel to come to the coffee morning tomorrow in the hope of bringing the community in Achill back together.

  • The family at the centre of an eviction controversy in Co.Roscommon earlier this week have called for a peaceful protest tomorrow.

    Local farming and public representatives are expected to speak at the protest which is due to begin at noon on Church St in Strokestown.

    The protest follows violent clashes earlier in the week on the farm the family was evicted from.

    8 security personnel were injured and a number of vehicles burnt out during the incident.

    Two members of the family have since moved back into their home.

    Tomorrow, protestors will gather to call for an end to forced evictions.  Local Sinn Fein MEP, Matt Carthy, says the family want it all to take place in a peaceful manner. 

  • The future of the Irish beef industry is at a critical juncture, according to farmers who will stage a protest later.

    Prices in the sector are down at least 40 cent per kilogram since this time last year.

    The Beef Plan Movement says it will hold a peaceful protest at an Irish Farmers Journal meeting in Ballinsaloe, Co.Galway this evening.

    The event will be attended by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.

    Adam Woods from the Irish Farmers Journal is encouraging farmers to engage with the Minister and other speakers this evening.

    52,000 full-time jobs and more than 14,000 suckler farms will be lost from Ireland’s beef industry in the next 10 years unless something is done, a leading academic has warned in the Irish Farmers Journal.

    Ireland’s suckler herd is worth at least €2.9bn to the economy and accounts for the equivalent of 52,000 full-time jobs, UCD’s professor of agriculture and food economics Michael Wallace has calculated. But it faces the loss of 1,400 farms and more than 14,000 cows every year unless a strategy to protect it is put in place. “The suckler herd is a critical part of the agricultural industry in Ireland but its suffering a silent decline Mr Wallace told the Irish Farmers Journal ahead of the Beef Summit in Ballinasloe on tonight.

    In counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon alone, sucklers are worth €700m and 12,400 jobs, his analysis shows, while they are worth €450m and 7,800 jobs in the midlands.

    Sucklers in Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan generate €445m in direct and indirect economic output and 8,600 jobs. Even the more dairy-dominated eastern and southern counties rely on sucklers for €835m and 15,600 jobs. Prof Wallace said agri-environmental supports for extensive suckler beef and a targeted headage payment for high quality beef genetics could be among the solutions to avert the decline facing the suckler herd. His analysis shows that the western, midlands and border counties are particularly reliant on the suckler herd, but its positive effect on the economy is felt nationwide. To demonstrate just how much the suckler cow provides for rural Ireland, the professor looked in detail at counties Galway and Leitrim

  • Farmers from across the country are taking part in an IFA protest today outside the Department of Health in Dublin, in relation to the Fair Deal nursing home scheme.

    The IFA is calling on the Government to deliver on its commitment to introduce a three-year cap on productive assets for farmers.

    At present under the Fair Deal scheme, a person pays 80% of their total income, such as a pension to help fund their care, and on top of this, they commit 75% of the value of their assets as a yearly contribution.

    In the case of the family home, the contribution is capped at 3 years, or 22.5% of the value of the home.

    However, farmers and business person's other assets, such as land, are hit with a 7.5% charge every year, indefinitely.

    IFA President Joe Healy says nursing home fees are placing a huge financial burden on farms, and the Government passed a motion last year agreeing to a three year cap, as farm assets are income-generating assets that pass on to the next generation.

    Mr Healy says the changes need to be introduced without delay, and retrospectively applied to last July, when the commitment was given.

  • The IFA says it will be forced to escalate its protest against AIB unless the bank stops selling off certain farmer loans.

    Earlier today a number of farmers held a demonstration outside the banks AGM in Ballsbridge.

    The IFA says it's wrong that AIB has decided to sell off loans to a US fund, instead of entering into long-term arrangements with farmers which would allow them to pay off their debts.

  • Concern is mounting over the rising cost of funding the Fair Deal for nursing home care, as demand for the scheme soars.

    According to today's Irish Independent, state spending on the scheme is expected to hit €1bn this year – and the HSE has acknowledged it is monitoring it on a “week-by-week basis”.

    Over 23,200 people are  availing of the Fair Deal, which is above expectations, and its budget was increased by €24 m to €986m this year.

    If Fair Deal exceeds its allocated budget, it is expected the Minister for Older People Jim Daly will be forced to seek emergency extra funding from the Department of Health.

    Mr Daly said demand for the scheme was “outside of expectations in the year so far” and he has requested more data.

    It comes as farmers take to the streets today, saying the lack of fairness in the scheme for them is costing them up to €40,000 a year in nursing home fees.

     IFA President Joe Healy will lead the protest at the Dept of Health this morning at 11am.

  • In excess of 200 people attended a protest today in the village of Breaffy over speed limits there.

    The protest was held outside St John’s National School as people gathered to voice their frustration that the speed limit on the N60 road which runs through the village, has not been reduced to 60km per hour. The road has already seen a number of serious collisions occur.

    The protest was organised by Castlebar Municipal District Councillors, who say they have exhausted all other avenues with the TII to have the speed limit reduced.

  • A large number of protestors have gathered today outside the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea, as the first of the residents was due to be transferred to another facility this morning.

    Last week, the HSE confirmed that the Rosalie unit will cease to function as a community psychiatric unit.

    Following assessments of the 12 residents, the HSE said two required inpatient psychiatric care in a different setting, while transition plans are being put in place for all of the residents.

    It was expected that the first of the 12 residents in the unit would be transferred elsewhere this morning, but it's now believed that has been deferred.

    Large numbers of local people have gathered since early morning to protest at the closure of the unit.

  • More than a thousand people have taken part in a protest in Strokestown in County Roscommon.

    The peaceful demonstration was organised in support of the local family recently evicted in controversial circumstances, from a family farm on the outskirts of the town.

    Those attending today carried banners and tri-colours, calling for an end to forced evictions.

    It follows violent clashes last week in the aftermath of the eviction.

    Two men were arrested and later released following last week's disturbances - and a file is being prepared for the DPP.



  • No member of the Tuam Home Survivors Network was extended an invitation to attend a civil reception in Dublin this Saturday afternoon for the Visit of Pope Francis, despite a request by historian Catherine Corless  to allow a member of the Network take her place on the guest list.

    Catherine Corless, whose work uncovered details of the deaths of close to 800 babies at the former Tuam Mothers and Baby home, confirmed today that she declined an invitation from the Taoiseach's Office to attend the civil reception in Dublin Castle.

    She told Midwest News that she had asked that a member of the Survivors Network take her place, but said that request was refused and added it would have meant a lot to those affected.

    Catherine explained that she had refused the Taoiseach’s invitation as she believes her place is at the planned protest in Tuam on Sunday at 3pm at the site where it is suspected that 796 babies are buried.

    She also wrote to the Vatican asking for Pope Francis to meet one of the survivors of the home but that request has not yielded any result.

  • Ambulance personnel who are members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association will protest outside Leinster House this afternoon, as part of their campaign to be represented by the union of their choice.

    PNA ambulance personnel have already staged strikes at a number of ambulance bases in Co Mayo in recent weeks in their dispute with the HSE over union recognition.

    The NASRA branch of the PNA represents upto 500 ambulance staff, but the HSE has refused to recognise the union for negotiating purposes.

    This afternoon's protest outside the Dáil will mark a new campaign of escalating industrial action, with two 24-hour strikes scheduled to take place in the coming weeks - once in the week beginning 27th May, and the second the following week.


  • Ambulance members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) will protest at Leinster House, tomorrow (Thurs) from 12.30 pm. to 2.30 pm. in their continuing campaign for the right to join, and be represented by the PNA as the union of their choice.

    PNA has also announced that over 500 PNA ambulance branch members (including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians) will hold a further 24-hour national strike on Friday 19th July from 7am  to 7 am Saturday 20th July. 

    Peter Hughes, PNA General Secretary, said ambulance personnel members are determined that Oireachtas members will hear a very clear message before the Dail summer recess.

    ‘The message is unchanged”, he explained, “ambulance personnel, who established their own branch within the PNA ten years ago, demand the right to be members of PNA as the union of their choice and will not be forced by the HSE to join another union”

    He is calling on the new HSE Director General , Paul Reid to bring this dispute to an end finally and allow ambulance personnel members of the PNA to get on with providing vital services.    

  • Farmers are continuing to protest outside Dawn meats in Ballyhaunis this morning (Friday).

    Midwest News understands that Dawn Meats resumed the slaughter of sheep yesterday at the Ballyhaunis plant.

    The protesters are holding out for what they consider to be an acceptable base price per kilo from the factory for their cattle.

  • A protest is taking place in Westport on today to help save the local McBride Nursing Home.

    The demonstration gets underway at the Octagon at 2 p.m., and aims to highlight the scaling back of services at the facility

    The respite and day-care services at the HSE-run home have been suspended, with staff shortages being blamed.

  • A protest march  in support of the retention of rural post offices in Mayo will take place tomorrow afternoon in Castlebar.

    The protest is being organised by a newly formed committee, under the banner “Save our Post Offices in Mayo”, and will get underway at 2.30 pm from the car park of the Holy Rosary Church in Castlebar and will proceed through the town.

    Gerry Loftus is one of the organisers of the protest and he told Midwest News today that he believes public pressure is making a difference in changing the views of politicians to insist that An Post retain rural post offices.

    Earlier this week An Post announced the closure of 159 rural post offices nationally and 11 of these are in county Mayo.


  • A protest over speed limits in Breaffy will go ahead as planned tomorrow.

    That’s according to the Cathaoirleach of Castlebar Municipal District Cllr Michael Kilcoyne.

    Elected members have organised the protest, as they say they have exhausted all avenues open to them to impress on the TII the need to reduce the speed limit at Breaffy, the scene of many collisions and a number of fatalities.

    The TII has proposed installing flashing lights close to the school, at school times and reducing the speed limit to 60km during school times and 80km per hour for the rest of time. However Councillors say the community was looking for the limit to be reduced to 60km per hour across the board.

    Cllr Kilcoyne says that the latest TII proposals are not going far enough, given the volume of traffic in the area.

    A meeting took place in St John’s School in Breaffy last night to discuss the latest proposals from TII.

    A spokesperson for the Breaffy Road Safety Group told Midwest News today that 100% of the people in attendance at the meeting want the speed limit reduced to 60km per hour. They have decided to hold further discussions to see how that objective can be achieved. The spokesperson also told Midwest News that it is up to individuals as to whether or not they attend tomorrow’s protest.

    Cllr Kilcoyne told Midwest News today that the protest will go ahead tomorrow as planned.

  • A protest is taking place at Croagh Patrick today as the Reek Sunday pilgrimage takes place.

    Members of the local community in Murrisk are protesting in relation to the situation regarding drinking water in the area.

    There are signs erected on Croagh Patrick advising pilgrims not to drink the water as there have been concerns over the quality for a substantial period of time.

    On Friday Minister Michael Ring organised a meeting between Irish Water, Mayo County Council and representatives from Louisburgh and Murrisk.

    At that meeting Irish Water confirmed a commitment to bring a water supply to both areas.


    Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring has received a commitment from Irish Water that the utility will provide a water supply to Louisburgh and Murrisk.

    Minister Ring received that commitment from Irish Water at a meeting this week, where Irish Water, Mayo County Council and representatives from Murrsk and Louisburgh were in attendance.

    He says that he would like to see the Lough Mask to Westport scheme extended out to serve both areas but the final details of how the water will be brought out will have to be ironed out.

    He says Murrisk will also have to set up a new group water scheme, while one is in place in Louisburgh.

  • Protestors in Oughterard, Co. Galway are defending their demonstration about a possible Direct Provision centre in the town.


    A 24 hour protest is continuing at the proposed site of a former hotel.


    Earlier this week, the Minister for Justice appealed to protestors to 'step back' and await the result of an evaluation process.


    Protestors have rejected claims their actions are racist.


    A silent peaceful demonstration is also due to take place in Oughterard at 11:30 tomorrow against the "Inhumane Direct Provision Systems in Ireland."