Westport

  • Thousands of pilgrims are expected to climb Croagh Patrick this Reek Sunday weekend.

    Accurate counting procedures undertaken by Mayo county council indicated that 5,000 people climbed Mayo’s holy mountain on Reek Sunday last year.

    Masses will be celebrated on the summit from 8am on Sunday morning next, on the hour,  until 2pm. While a Mass will take place at the base of the mountain at Murrisk on this Friday, Garland Friday, the day that many local people traditionally make the climb.

    Fr Charlie McDonnell is the Adminstrator in the parish of Westport , where Croagh Patrick is situated, he told Midwest News today   that it’s a busy week  - as final preparations are made for Reek Sunday.

    He is advising pilgrims not to take any risks, if they do not feel physically able to climb, they should not attempt to reach the summit. 

    He says the condition of the cone, close to the summit is deteriorating and while its hoped to reduce the problem over the next number of years, it is a very difficult climb at present that should not be underestimated.

  • As the Mayo under 20's prepare to face Derry in Carrick on Shannon in a historic All Ireland semi-final - a game which you can hear live on Midwest Radio with thanks to Salamancas Tapas Bar - we got the views of manager Mike Solan, free scoring full forward Ross Egan as well as marauding half back Paul Lambert. You can watch the interviews back now and don't forget to tune in from 4pm on Saturday for the full game live on Midwest Radio.

  • Allergan is to invest €65m in its Irish operations and will add 63 jobs to its plant in Westport.

    Local Minister Michael Ring told Midwest News this morning that it’s great news for the county, and added that Allergan has been a wonderful employer in Westport for forty years now.

     Allergan has four plants in Ireland - two in Dublin, one in Mayo and one in Galway. 

    Today's jobs announcement will bring its employee numbers in Ireland above 2,100.

    The €65m funding will also see the company invest at its Clonshaugh facility in Dublin, which includes two manufacturing facilities and the company's head office.

    The Westport campus is the largest and most complex in the company's global network. 

    It includes a pharmaceuticals facility, two biologics plants and is also responsible for the global supply of Botox. 

    Minister Ring says the news is today warmly welcomed in Westport.

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  • The amount of time devoted to talking about issues concerning Westport town at monthly meetings of the West Mayo Municipal District is completely out of proportion in view of the large area that the district represents from the Ceide fields in north Mayo to the Mayo / Galway border.

    That was the view expressed by Achill based Fianna fail councillor Paul McNamara at the monthly meeting this week of the West Mayo Municipal District.

     In particular he highlighted what he termed the excessive debate on the introduction of on street car parking charges in Westport town.

  • Planning permission has been refused for Portwest to construct their new global headquarters in Westport.

    An Bord Plenala has upheld an appeal lodged against the decision of Mayo County Council to grant permission for the office building and café at Roman Island at The Quay in Westport.

    The Board says the proposed development is in an area which is at risk of flooding

    This is a major set-back for the clothing workwear company, which has seen a massive global expansion in recent years, and now employs over 3,000 people worldwide.

    Just over a year ago, Mayo County Council granted planning permission, with 37 conditions, to Portwest Ltd to build their new global headquarters at Roman Island, The Quay, Westport.

    The company was planning to construct a mainly 4-storey building with offices, cafe and parking, with plans to employ up to 150 people at the new facility.

    Last October, two appeals were lodged with An Bord Pleanala against the council's decision to grant permission.

    The appeals were signed by over 20 local residents in total, and cited concerns in relation to flooding, parking, traffic, and the design of the building.

    A decision was expected in April, but was deferred due to a backlog in cases.

    This week, An Bord Pleanala has upheld an appeal against the decision to grant planning permission to Portwest Ltd.

    In reaching its decision, the Board overturned the recommendation of its own inspector.

    In a statement to Midwest News, Mayo County Council says this is an unfortunate outcome, after a long and extensive process.

    The Council says it will preclude the development of an iconic 21st century building at the Quay, which would have involved a multi-million euro investment and would have bought significant employment and economic activity to the area on a year-round basis.

     

  • Home Care Services have been cancelled again this week at the McBride Nursing Home in Westport.

    As reported previously on Midwest News, people expecting to avail of day care service at the unit are having their service cancelled at the last minute, on a regular basis over the past number of weeks.

    It has now emerged that there are eight staff vacancies at the McBride home which haven’t been filled.

    Five of these posts haven’t been filled since 2018 and the Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council Brendan Mulroy says the HSE can say what they want but this is definitely a downgrading of the McBride Nursing Home.

    Mayo Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers requested details from the Health Minister regarding the number of staff employed at the nursing unit and Councillor Mulroy is now calling on the HSE to come out and make a statement of intent on their plans for the McBride Home.

  • Archbishop Michael Neary will lead the annual Croagh Patrick pilgrimage tomorrow (Sunday).

    Later this evening ( Sat), Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass in St Mary's Church, Westport at 6.30pm to mark the official start of this year's pilgrimage.

    On Reek Sunday, Mass will be celebrated on Croagh Patrick every hour from 8am to 2pm.

    The Bishop of Killaloe Fintan Monahan will celebrate the 9am Mass, and Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass at 11am.

    Confessions will also be available on the summit from 7.30am to 2pm.

    Those making the climb this weekend are advised to come prepared - with wet gear, sun screen, appropriate footwear, water and snacks.

  • Gardai in Westport are investigating the seizure of a significant amount of cannabis last weekend.

    It's understood the drugs, worth in the region of €20,000, were found in a wooded area near The Point.

    Members of the Westport Drugs Unit were involved in the seizure, and Midwest News understands one person is helping Gardai with their enquiries.

     

  • Cannonball has now broken the milestone of one million euro raised for charities

    The action packed supercar event was in Westport on Friday night last and large crowds lined the streets to welcome the parade.

    Fans got up close and personal with the world’s top mark cars such as McLaren, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce and Bentley, among others.

    The official charity of Cannonball 2018 is ISPCC Childline, Ireland’s 24-hour listening service for children and young people.

  • Car parking charges in local authority car parks and on the streets of Mayo towns should show uniformity right across the county, according to Independent Cllr Richard Finn.

    He raised the matter at the monthly meeting of Claremorris Municipal District, during which councillors passed bylaws for parking in their area.

    Cllr Finn says that in different Municipal Districts, there are different parking charges.

    He cited the recent controversy where West Mayo opted to have no car parking charges on the streets of Westport, one of the county’s largest and busiest towns.

    He told the meeting that he feels there needs to be uniformity on parking charges throughout the county, so there can be clarity for the general public parking in any town.

  • Carraig Donn, the Westport based retailer of fashion, jewellery and giftware, have today announced plans to open a new retail outlet and warehouse in Castlebar.

    The company, which currently operates 40 outlets across Ireland, plan to open their latest store at Hopkins Road in the centre of Castlebar next month and to establish a new 30,000 sq. ft logistics and warehousing centre at Moneen, Castlebar, to service the growing demands of their online operations.

    Maeve McCormack, Marketing & E-Commerce Manager with Carraig Donn told Midwest News today that the move  will create 40 jobs over a two-year period. Recruitment gets underway from today for the Castlebar store.

    After opening two new stores in Cork and in Blanchardstown, Co. Dublin, over the last fourteen months, this latest investment in Castlebar will bring the total number of Carraig Donn outlets to forty-one.

    Carraig Donn is 100% Irish owned and operated. It currently employ 470 people across its Head Office in Westport and 40 retail stores.

  • Bank of Ireland has confirmed that cash counters at their branches in Belmullet and Westport will remain open all day, from September.

    Last Summer, the Bank of Ireland closed cash counters at both branches from 12.30 each afternoon, which was a huge inconvenience for local people wishing to do their business and for tourists to the area - according to Erris-based FG Councillor Gerry Coyle.

    He and Minister Michael Ring led a campaign to have this decision reversed, and Councillor Coyle says the Bank of Ireland has now confirmed that, from September next, the cash counter will remain open all day at both the Westport and Belmullet branches.

  • An Bord Pleanala’s decision not to allow Portwest to build a new global headquarters own its own site at the Quays in Westport is a bad news day for Westport, according to the Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Westport based Brendan Mulroy.

    The Board has upheld an appeal lodged against Mayo County Council's decision to grant permission for a new 10 million euro office building and café at Roman Island at The Quay in the town.

    The Board says the proposed Portwest development is in an area which is at risk of flooding.

    This is a major set-back for Portwest, a clothing workwear company, which has seen a massive global expansion in recent years, and now employs over 3,000 people worldwide.

    In reaching its decision, the Board overturned the recommendation of its own inspector.

    In a statement to Midwest News, Mayo County Council makes this judgement on the Board’s decision stating that “it’s an unfortunate outcome, after a long and expensive process. It will preclude the development of an iconic 21st century building at the Quay, which would have involved a multi-million euro investment and would have bought significant employment and economic activity to the area on a year-round basis”.

    Midwest News sought an interview with the Chief Executive of MCC on the statement , but so far that has not been secured.

    Midwest News contacted Portwest for it’s reaction to the decision, the company declined an interview but forwarded a statement saying it "is disappointed at the planning decision".

    Adding that its team has “worked tirelessly to bring this project to Westport and create over 50 new graduate jobs. After two years in the planning process, the decision means the company cannot accommodate these new jobs, as there are no offices large enough to rent, and the company has now been refused planning permission for this development”.

    Westport based Fianna Fail councillor Brendan Mulroy is the Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council and speaking to Midwest News today he said it's a bad news day for Westport. Fifty new graduate jobs have been lost to the area, he argues, and that will result in further emigration by youth in the west Mayo area.

  • The Celtic Camino Festival will take place in Westport from April 13th-15th.

    The event is aimed at bringing a flavour of the Camino to Ireland.

    It is organised by the Camino Society of Ireland, a voluntary non-profit organisation, founded in 1992 by returned pilgrims to give something back to the Camino.

    More recent the group has started to promote walking pilgrimages in Ireland, with the concept – The Celtic Camino.

    The event beings on Friday April 13th with a screening of The Camino Voyage in the W Cinema in Westport. On Saturday there will be presentations, discussions and workshops in Hotel Westport from 9.30am, while Sunday sees the Celtic Camino Pilgrim Walk follow the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail from 9.30am.

  • Claremorris was last night named the best small town in Connacht/Ulster at the Bank of Ireland Enterprise Towns, held in Lyrath Estate in Kilkenny.

    Claremorris picked up the overall award in the small town category, while Westport was a runner-up in the regional section.

    Ballina and Castlebar also represented Mayo at last night’s awards.

  • The brother of a woman found dead in her home in Westport last week, asked the congregation at her funeral service yesterday to pray for her family.

    According to today’s Irish Independent, David French told mourners that mother of three Valerie French-Kilroy (41) was "an immensely caring and loving person" who had devoted her life as an occupational therapist to helping others.

    The mother of three young sons was found dead at her Islandeady home last Friday and a post mortem examination indicated she had met a violent death.

    Her husband, James Kilroy, was charged last Sunday before Castlebar District Court with the murder of his wife on June 14 and he is due before Harristown court later today.

    Hundreds attended the funeral service at St Fachtna's Church of Ireland Cathedral in Rosscarbery, west Cork.

    Mrs French-Kilroy is survived by her three sons Oscar, Axel and Zak.

    The service was led by the Dean of Ross Rev Christopher Peters and the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross Dr Paul Colton.

    Dean Peters had celebrated Valerie's wedding ceremony in St Fachtna's in 2008. David French paid an emotional tribute to his sister - and asked everyone to remember that her "three young sons are almost unaware of the catastrophe that has unfolded around them."

    "We are here to celebrate Valerie’s wonderful life not to remember the horrific circumstances of her death. The name Valerie means strong and valiant," he said.

    Mr French  said his sister, throughout her life and career, never lost her warm laugh, the sense of fun she inherited from her adored father and her compassion for others.

    "She had an immense capacity for work and a deep connection with people across the community wherever she was. Valerie could also be very serious but only when necessary," he said.

    His sister adored music, festivals, art, craft, storytelling, nature, gardening but above all her family and children.

    He asked mourners to remember his sister's three young sons.

    "Above all else please pray for the future of Valerie’s three sons," he said.

    Mr French concluded with a moving tribute to the Gardaí, Health Service Executive (HSE) and Tusla as well as all those who had supported his family over the past week.

    "As a close family friend often says: We are only put here to help each other. Valerie was put here to help us," he said.

    Dean Peters said anyone who met Valerie remembered her by her ready smile and warm laughter.

    "She was someone at ease in and with herself happy to be a bit different and to do things differently," he said.

    "It is the precious memories of her life which must always define our memories of Valerie and her marriage to James and not the tragic and awful event of this last week."

    A special statement had been issued by the family via the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne & Ross Dr Paul Colton thanking everyone for the immense outpouring of support the family had received since the tragedy last Friday.

     

  • Winners for the inaugural Irish SME Business Awards have been announced following an online campaign which saw nominations flood in from across the country.

    The awards celebrate the hard work and determination of the best professionals and businesses in the Irish SME business sector and follows the success of last year’s Scottish SME Business Awards and Welsh SME Business Awards.

    27 awards were presented on the night.

    Among the winners was Stephanie O’Malley of Education Desty in Westport who took the Social Leader of the Year award.

    Business of the Year for less than 50 staff in the west of Ireland went to JMB MERIT  in Galway, while Retail Business of the Year for less than 3 units went to Cahalan Jewellers in Ballinasloe.

  • Construction got underway yesterday on the first phase of the Westport to Louisburgh Greenway. 

    The 19km stretch of greenway will extend on from the Great Western Greenway that runs from Westport to Achill. 

    Phase One runs from Bertra to the famine monument at Murrisk, at the base of Croagh Patrick. 

    Local Councillor Christy Hyland told Midwest News he is delighted work on the new facility is now underway. 

  • Westport Fianna Fail Cllr Brendan Mulroy has been elected as the new Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, following a hotly elected contest today.

    Fianna Fail, working with the Independents elected to the local authority have managed to strike a deal to elect Cllr Mulroy as Cathaoirleach, with Fianna Fail’s Al McDonnell as Leas-Cathaoirleach.

    Meanwhile Castlerea based Fianna Fail Cllr Paschal Fitzmaurice is expected to be elected as Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council today. That meeting is underway and we hope to have more later.

  • A Westport Independent Cllr. has again called for work to be carried out on footpaths along the Ballinrobe road in Westport.

    Christy Hyland says it is a densely populated area and anyone walking along that stretch at present is taking a huge risk.

    Cllr. Hyland says he has been calling for a footpath to be put in place for a number of years and has called on the senior engineer with Mayo County Council to put this on their plan.