• 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.

  • Parking charges at The Quay area of Westport are to be brought into line with the parking regulations that apply in Westport town.

    At present, the first hour parking in Westport is free, but that's not the situation at The Quay, where motorists must get a parking ticket as soon as they pull in.

    A workshop was held yesterday to discuss the concerns of business people at The Quay, and it has now been agreed that the first hour of parking at the Quay will be free - the same as in the town.

    Westport-based Councillor Christy Hyland says a special meeting will be needed to adopt a resolution to enact the new regulations.

  • 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. 

  • Director of Services with Mayo County Council Catherine McConnell insists there is no “sweet deal” between the local authority and the Hughes family in connection with the sale of almost seven acres of land in Westport.

    The sale of land on Westport’s Golf course road from Mayo County Council to Inishoo Management Ltd , a Hughes owned company, was given the green light by elected councillors of the Westport- Belmullet Municipal District at the monthly meeting of the district earlier this week.

    That now opens the door for the sale of the land to be approved by the entire council at the next monthly meeting of Mayo County Council.

    There was extensive, and at times heated debate, at the Municipal District meeting, as some councillors argued that they had not been given all the necessary information to decide on the sale of the land in question and the value of land secured and surrendered by Mayo County Council, in the process.

    The situation is  more complicated than the simple sale of a piece of council land to a private company.

    There are in fact three parcels of land involved. Westport GAA urgently requires land to extend its facilities as its membership increases, Mayo county council had some land to provide for their needs under a lease agreement, but not enough. That introduced a third party Inishoo Management Ltd who had appropriate land for the GAA expansion but have a company policy not to sell land. But Mayo County Council and Inishoo Management Ltd are prepared to swop land in an effort to address the situation.

    Eventually, councillors without taking a vote, approved the sale of 6.7 acres of land at Westport Demesne to Inishoo Managent Ltd for 360,000 euro, Inishboo management takes ownership of 4.1 acres of Mayo County Council land in exchange. And at Monday’s meeting councillors also approved the lease of land at Westport Demesne to Westport GAA.

    FG Cllr Peter Flynn  had many questions about the deal between MCC and the private company at the meeting and asked for a decision on the matter to be deferred. While FF councillor Brendan Mulroy was adamant that the matter needed to be resolved immediately or it could scupper the deal that Westport GAA needed to expand its facilities.

    Both councillors joined Midwest News Editor Teresa O'Malley on the lunchtime news. Teresa began by asking Cllr Flynn what were his  concerns about these transactions and if he still has concerns..


  • Westport councillor, Peter Flynn is calling for clarity on how GMA in the West Mayo Municipal District is to be halved next year, when revenue from car parking charges is up 45 percent this year.

    The General Municipal Allocation (GMA) budget for the West Mayo Municipal District, has like the other Municipal Districts in the county, been halved for 2020, under Mayo County Councils budget plans for 2020.

    GMA is funding allocated to voluntary and community groups.

    According to the Fine Gael councillor, councillors who agreed last year to introduce on street car parking charges in Westport were promised by council management that the additional revenue brought in by on street car parking in the town would go towards additional GMA funding  - but that has not happened.

    He told Midwest News today that the budget figures show that since on street car parking charges were introduced in Westport so far this year they have brought in 45,000 euro extra in car parking revenue, but at the same time council management want to reduce the GMA by 50 percent

  • 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.

  • We need a referendum to change the bail laws of this country, according to Westport based Independent councillor Christy Hyland.

    He made the call at a recent county Joint Policing Committee meeting, stating that at present up to 2,000 crimes per month in the country are committed by people out on bail.

    The councillor told Midwest News today that the present bail laws are serving the criminals well, as distinct from the people that they are suppose to be protecting.

  • The long awaited work to renovate the old convent in Westport, and to locate a library and municipal district offices on the site, appears to be making little progress.

    The matter was raised yesterday at the monthly meeting of West Mayo Municipal District by Westport based councillor Tereasa McGuire.

    Council management presented a report to date on the site.

    Councillor McGuire  said it was a sad day for Westport, when there appears to be insufficient funding to develop the now derelict site, that is often used as a location for anti social behavior.

    The council bought the property in 2010, and for the past eight years  extensive plans are in place for its development but  nothing has happened.

    The Fine Gael councillor told Midwest News today that the building continues to fall into disrepair, and it will cost more now than it would have in 2010 to restore and develop it.  She described the situation as wrong and sad.


  • The slow pace of progress in developing the Bertra to Lecanvey greenway was raised at this week's monthly meeting of the Westport / Belmullet Municipal District.

    Almost a year ago, Minister Michael Ring announced funding of half a million euro towards developing the Lecanvey to Bertra section of the Clew Bay Trail, which is a 19 km walking and cycling trail between Belclare and Louisburg.

    Westport Independent Councillor Christy Hyland questioned council management at this week's meeting in relation to the progress being made in developing this section of greenway, and was told the route has been identified and the council is about to engage in discussions with landowners.

    Councillor Hyland is hoping to see the project progressing quickly, so that it can be completed for next Summer's tourist season.

  • A Fianna Fail Councillor is inviting Portwest to build their offices in Castlebar.

    Martin McLoughlin says we don’t want to lose these jobs in the region and with the new ring road coming on stream connecting Castlebar and Westport it’s only a ten minute commute.

    This is in light of yesterday’s news of An Bord Pleanala’s decision not to allow Portwest to build a new global headquarters on its own site at the Quay in Westport.

    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.

    Cllr. McLoughlin says yesterday’s announcement was a bad news day for Westport but it can be turned around and be a good day for Castlebar.

  • A local Councillor says that something has to be done about flooding on the access road to Allergan and Portwest in Westport.

    Independent Cllr Christy Hyland says the access road flooded again yesterday, following heavy rain as part of Storm Diana yesterday.

    He says that once Allergan found out that the road was flooded, they provided access to the two sites by opening up a road at the rear of their plant.

    However Cllr Hyland says the situation must be resolved, as it has occurred on a number of occasions over the past few years.

    He says that both Allergan and Portwest are major employers and it is not good enough to have the access road to the plants flooded.

    Cllr Hyland says employees were worried about getting home from work or getting into work yesterday because of the issue.

    He told Midwest News he has been in touch with the Executive of Mayo County Council about the matter.

  • An Independent Councillor has voiced his frustration at the state of the footpath in the Market Lane area of Westport.

    Christy Hyland says this has been an issue going back for at least ten years.

    It came to light again recently when a person fell in the Market Lane area and sustained injury.

    Cllr. Hyland says that there is an accident on that lane way once every two or three weeks and someone has to take full responsibility to carry out repairs.

    It emerged at a recent meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District that the laneway is owned by Nama and Council management say upgrade works in that area would be a very substantial investment.

  • Councillors at the West Mayo Municipal District meeting today voted in favour to grant permission for the Portwest construction on the proposed new 10 million euro Global Head Office of Portwest at Roman Island, the Quay, Westport.

    A total of 93 submissions have been submitted by members of the public and a number of local organisations to West Mayo Municipal District on the proposed new 10 million euro Global Head Office of Portwest at Roman Island, the Quay, Westport.

    The matter came before elected councillors at today’s monthly meeting of the West Mayo  Municipal district, in Westport.

    Councillors were asked to approve what’s termed a “material contravention” of the Westport Town and Environs Development plan in order to grant permission for the Portwest construction. The area at Roman Island, The Quay, Westport  is not zoned for such a development under the present area development  plan.

    The proposed development by Portwest includes an office building and café and is predominately 4 storeys in height. It will include office space for the Portwest Global Head Office . It also includes 91 car parking spaces and 30 covered bicycle spaces, signage, hard and soft landscaping and all associated infrastructure and site development works on a site area of 0.6ha at the Quay.

    At today’s meeting the number of submissions received from the public both in favour and against the proposal were presented to councillors.

    Councillors voted 6-1 in favour of the Material Contravention.



  • Concerns over the potential impact on local traffic with the proposed development of 50 council houses on the golf course road in Westport, and the type of housing proposed, has led to local councillors calling for a special meeting of the Westport-Belmullet Municipal District to discuss the issues.

    Mayo County Council is about to put in a Part 8 planning for the proposed housing development and councillors insisted that they need more data on how it may impact on traffic flow in an already very busy location.

    In addition, some councillors believe the development of 50 local authority houses at this location is the wrong housing mix, and exceeds demand for local authority housing in Westport.

    Fine Gael councillor Peter Flynn has been telling Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley why councillors have secured a special meeting of the district next week on the issues.


  • Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group Members have decided to proceed with a mountain path on Croagh Patrick, to help to preserve the mountain into the future.

    It follows and evaluation process of the trial path work undertaken on Croagh Patrick in recent weeks. The work was done by Scottish mountain path specialist’s contractor Mr. Matt McConway of Upland Access Ltd over a period of two weeks. The trial section of stone pitching is two metres wide, consisting of irregular steps and platforms, using only stone and material from the mountain. Work took place in two locations, along the traditional summit path and at a lower level near the access gate to the mountain.   

    The objective of the trial path work was to establish if the proposed methodology for constructing the path would work using the small stone blocks found on the steep slope of the summit. The path work was evaluated against Helping the Hills (the Guiding Principles for Upland Path work produced by Mountaineering Ireland) and included the assessing the quality of path work construction technique; landscape impact and environmental impact. It also provided an insight into the value of progressing the implementation of the project with strong emphasis on training and voluntary inputs, building the capacity locally to repair and long-term care for the mountain.

    The result of the evaluation process is that The Stakeholder Group is confident to proceed with the proposed path solution together with a maintenance and management regime.

    The Stakeholder Group has acknowledged with gratitude the assistance of the Mountain Shareholders; Murrisk Development Association; GMIT Mayo Campus; South West Mayo Development staff and RSS workers; Mountaineering Ireland; Mayo Mountain Rescue and all other volunteers who assisted with the physical creation of the path work.

    The next steps for the project are to obtain planning approval through Part 8 procedure in partnership with Mayo County Council and then proceed to implementation.

    Midwest News will have a special feature on this latest development on our local news next week.

  • The death has taken place in Westport of former Town Councillor John Joe O’Malley.

    Mr O’Malley, from Horkan’s Hill, was a member of the now defunct Westport Town Council for 20 years, from 1979 to 1999, and he served as Cathaoirleach of the Council in 1986 and 1987. 

    He retired from politics in 1999 after two decades of service in Westport, but he remained a very active member of the Westport community, until a battle with illness in recent years. 

    John Joe is survived by his wife Breda, three sons, three daughters and extended family.

    John Joe's remains will be repose in Navin’s Funeral Home, Westport, this evening (Wednesday), from 5pm to 7pm.

    His funeral will arrive at St Mary’s Church, Westport, on Thursday at 10.30am for Mass at 11am.

    Burial will take place afterwards in Aughagower Cemetery.