April 30 2004
in Counties Westmeath, Roscommon, Galway, Longford, Offaly.
Dowling, Anne Hoey Egan, Eleanor Cleary and Dermot Ward in a scene
from "Dead Guilty" by Richard Harris, which runs at Athlone Little
Theatre this week.
DEMANDS FIRM COMMITMENT
Roscommon Fine Gael
Deputy Denis Naughten has called on the Government parties to obtain
a firm and unambiguous commitment from the Minister for Health on
the future of Ballinasloe's Portiuncula Hospital. Deputy Naughten
claimed the Minister had performed a U-turn on the fate of regional
Hospitals in Nenagh and Ennis, but he said the absence of a similar
statement on the future of Portiuncula was worrying.
"If the Government's
Health Reform Programme proceeds without such a commitment, then
A&E services will be removed from Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe,
and the County Hospital, Roscommon, to a major unit at University
College Hospital, Galway," said Deputy Naughten.
"This will leave
the people of South Roscommon, Athlone and Ballinasloe as second
class citizens, without any emergency medical services and with
a totally under funded ambulance service," he added.
SEEKS ATHLONE EXPANSION INTO SOUTH ROSCOMMON
Fine Gael Cllr Mark
Cooney called for the extension of Athlone's Urban Boundary to take
in the town's large hinterland in South Roscommon. Though the call
is likely to prove highly controversial among politicians in South
Roscommon, Cllr Cooney said it was vital for the future development
of Athlone that the town was represented by one single local authority,
rather than two or three, as at present.
Cllr Cooney said
one of the most important reasons for the change was to ensure the
balanced development of Athlone. There were already fears that competition
between local authorities was distorting development.
CALLS FOR BETTER APPROACH TO MINIMISE TRAFFIC CHAOS
At the recent monthly
meeting of Athlone Town Council, Cllr Nicky McFadden called for
improved coordination to minimise the traffic chaos caused by the
regular digging up of the streets for gas, broadband and other works.
During the discussion,
it emerged that still further disruption to local traffic may be
on the cards, with major works to Athlone's drainage system expected
to get under way in the fairly near future.
Cllr McFadden said
she didn't accept the view of officials that disruption to traffic
had been minimised during the laying of the gas and broadband networks.
MAN ADMITS MANSLAUGHTER
A Ballinasloe man
admitted to manslaughter when he appeared before a sitting of the
Central Criminal Court this week.
20 year old Christopher
McLoughlin, Curragh Park, Ballinasloe, pleaded not guilty to murder
but guilty to the manslaughter of 19 year old Daniel O' Neill, Clontuskert,
after an incident in the town on March 19th of last year.
Mr Justice Carney
remanded Mr McLoughlin in custody for sentencing on May 24th next.
DRUGS SEIZURE NEAR BALLINASLOE
Gardai in Ballinasloe
made a major drugs find at a bog near the town at the weekend.
They seized a quantity
of cannabis resin, believed to be worth around 350,000 euro, during
an extensive search of bogland about eight miles from Ballinasloe.
A Garda source later
said that the street value of drugs seized in the Ballinasloe area
over the last six months had now reached 2 MIllion euro.
MAY RUN CANDIDATE IN ATHLONE
It emerged this
week that the Green Party may run a candidate in the local elections
to Athlone Town Council on June 11th. The party's Deputy Leader,
Cllr Mary White, who was in Athlone this week, told the Observer
that the name of the candidate could be announced within days.
This would be the
first time that a Green candidate has contested an election in either
Athlone or Westmeath. So far as is known, the Party does not have
a branch here, though a growing number of local people are thought
to be disenchanted with what is seen as an overwhelmingly pro-development
agenda by sitting local Councillors and officials.