- Edition dated Tuesday, 1st May, 2007



Yvonne Devine, newly crowned Roscommon Rose of Tralee 2007 (centre) pictured with Kathryn Feeney, Rose of Tralee 2006, left and Michelle Brady, Roscommon Rose of Tralee 2006


Preparations well underway for Roscommon assault on Eurovision

PREPARATIONS are well advanced for the Eurovision Song Contest, which takes place in Helsinki on May 12th. Ireland's entry is "They Can't Stop The Spring", written by Castlerea natives John Waters and Tommy Moran.
The song will be performed by Dervish, with Scramogue native Cathy Jordan the lead singer. Cathy is a native of Curradrehid, Scramogue. She now lives in Sligo and has been performing with Dervish since 1990.
Indeed, Cathy was the beneficiary of a special 'Eurovision Send Off Night' in The Percy French Hotel last Sunday, organised by the Strokestown Development Association.
A number of other artists appeared on the night and proceeds from the raffle went towards Special Olympics in County Roscommon.
Speaking to the Champion, Tommy Moran said that on the night the song will be a "fabulous production."
"I am very happy with the production. The instrumental section has been extended. I think that it will sound very good on the night," he explained.
The song is due to get airplay from this week in radio stations and while there are no plans to release it as a single, it will feature on Dervish's forthcoming album, which is due for release soon.
Dervish will be performing fourth of the 24 entrants in the final. "Being on at the beginning may suit us as it is thought that people's concentration levels are highest at either the start or the end of the contest. The song will hopefully be freshest in people's minds at the beginning," he said.
"We are all set and it is all down to the night now. We are heading over on May 6th to Helsinki for a week. It is very difficult to get tickets for the finals. The feedback to the song has been very positive and we are getting good support," he continued.

Candidates quizzed on women's issues

MORE THAN one hundred Roscommon women had absolutely no reservations in telling Dáil candidates last Thursday what they will be seeking after the next election.
That opportunity was provided at a special conference held by the Roscommon Women's Network in the Abbey Hotel.
Dr Joanna McMinn, Director of the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) chaired the conference and the expert speakers were Kate Walshe, Angela Doyle, Maureen Kavanagh, Orla O'Connor, Mary Conry-Candler and Brid O'Brien.
Among the serious concerns and issues raised by women included lack of transport facilities, isolation in rural Roscommon, the need for recognition of women on the farm, the need for local community based facilities, a redressing of what makes a family in our society, barriers for those with disabilities, concerns for Roscommon hospital and inadequate Breastcheck facilities.
Sinn Fein candidate Martin Kenny,felt that women know better than men about the important matters in Irish life. "My experience in canvassing around the constituency is that women know what they want. There are the people who are most in touch with the issues on the ground and are most aware of the broader matters concerning Irish life".
Deputy Denis Naughton agreed with Kenny, saying "Women are more articulate than men when we call round to the houses." Addressing the issues raised Naughton felt that transport was intrinsically linked with isolation. "The transport provided by the HSE, Bus Eireann and the school buses are not linked or coordinated. These buses are only used at certain times of the day and are lying idle the rest of the time. We need to coordinate resources and use these modes of transport to tailor to the needs of those in isolation or those who need transport in order to avail of education."
Independent Cllr. John Kelly agreed with the points raised by the other candidates, saying that women were often undervalued in this society
Kelly also condemned the Irish transport system. "There is hardly much point in being able to avail of free buses and trains when you have to get a taxi to get them." Kelly also criticised the problems in the health system. " We had a better health service in Roscommon 40 years ago, now there are too many people involved and it is really time they looked after the hospital. Also, years ago, towns in the county had more to offer. Ballaghaderreen had a train station, cinema and hotels. Now all of theses things have gone and have not been replaced. It seems that as soon as you leave the M50, the government forgets about you and this is clearly the case in Roscommon."
Also at the conference was the Green Party candidate Garreth McDaid who agreed with a point raised as to the lack of affordable childcare facilities. " Employment and childcare are inextricably linked. Childcare needs to be affordable and more importantly people need to be given a choice." McDaid also promoted the notion of community care. "We need to start looking away from hospitals and putting more money into community care. This area is hugely under developed. This government has failed to capitalise on the massive amounts of money available to them. We are one of the richest countries in the world, yet we have failed to make the improvements needed."
Labour's Hugh Baxter said: "Ireland is suffering from great inequalities. The lion's share of the Celtic Tiger has gone to the East and South of the country. Roscommon exports a massive percentage of its young people to the bigger towns and cities for work and education. But for all those that leave, very few will come back here to work, and this issue needs to be addressed. We need more funding for development in the area instead of wasting billions of euro like the current government have done."
Organisers of the event said they were delighted with such a large turnout and hoped to arrange something similar in the future for the women's network.

Singers to remember Jimmy Murray
South Roscommon Singers Circle will host a special singing session on this Saturday night the 5th of May in memory of the late Jimmy Murray. Raffle proceeds from the night will go to the Special Olympics fund in Roscommon and our special guests will be Paddy Berry and friends from Wexford.
Oh! When he was born on a bright May morn' nearly ninety years ago,
He never cried, but his young eyes spied a bright thing that made him crow,
'Twas a football shirt and though caked with dirt, as he sat on his mothers knee,
And his father said, "He's a kicker bred, he's a gallant true young Murray".
Jimmy Murray will long be remembered for his illustrious football career, having taken the Sam Maguire Cup across the Shannon to his native county on two successive occasions, but for many of us he will be remembered as a singer, and of course a gentleman of the highest calibre. His renditions of such classic ballads as The West's Awake and Skibbereen were always delivered with passion and precision, hallmarks that were also associated with his sporting exploits. Jimmy passed away on the 23rd January this year and is sadly missed by all of us at the singers club, since his presence and his premises have been part and parcel of our activities over the past fourteen years.
Had he lived, Jimmy would be celebrating his 90th birthday on this Saturday and since it coincides with our regular First Saturday of the Month session, we think it would be fitting to remember the man who was our host and inspiration through all those years. The session will be sprinkled with musical memories of Jimmy and sporting songs from far and wide and with the sporting theme in mind, there are few better to deliver on that score than The Bold Shelmalier himself, Paddy Berry. Paddy's trade mark ballads of Nicky Rackard and Murphy's Running Dog are two that immediately spring to mind, but he could probably sing sporting songs all night - The 1910 Hurlers, The Curracloe Boat Race, the list goes on.
Paddy Berry has been a member of Comhaltas Choltair Eireann for over forty years and he won All-Ireland singing titles in 1970 and 1976. He has toured North America and Britain many times and has appeared on numerous TV and Radio shows at home and abroad. Paddy also compiled and published "Wexford Ballads" in 1982 and "More Wexford Ballads" in 1987. He recorded an album of Wexford Ballads in 1985 and his most recent CD collections include "Sing Us A Song Paddy" and "Sing Again Paddy" on which his musical journey takes him far beyond his native county. Paddy will be accompanied on Saturday night by some friends who have been associated with the Wexford Singers Festival over recent years.
So, why not join us in Murray's, Knockcroghery, on this Saturday night as, in the company of the Wexford contingent, we celebrate the life of Roscommon's greatest ambassador and legend, Jimmy Murray.
When the score is closed and the whistle blows for the last lineout of all,
Then beneath his name, write "He played the game in all things as in football",
And the one who waits by the Golden Gate will turn with his face full of glee,
Saying, "Come across, you have won the toss, step inside young gallant Murray".

Crosby welcomes new signage
CLLR Tom Crosby has been informed by Roscommon County Council that new signage name plates will be put in place in the town of Strokestown.
The signage will placed on the street corners identifying the different streets.
The councillor got agreement that new signage would be put in place on the Housing Estates throughout the town, all of which will be of great benefit to tourists and visitors to the Town and area.
The councillor also stated that the works on Elphin Street will be completed in the current year with ¤200,000 provided by Roscommon County Council to lay a macadam finish surface from the roundabout right up to Kiltrustan turn off.
Works will also involve planing part of the surface at the upper end.

Roscommon the most expensive place to live... on a Monopoly board!
As this paper goes to press, Roscommon county is currently the most expensive place to live in Ireland... on a Monopoly board!
No, the world hasn't gone completely mad. This latest claim to fame for the Rossies is due to the announcement that Hasbro Toy Company are set to release an All-Ireland edition of its best-selling Monopoly board game. And with only 22 spaces on a Monopoly meaning there is only space for 22 of the 32 counties, competition for the coveted spaces is expected to be fierce. Hasbro has invented a league for which Roscommon are currently top of. The counties that make it onto the board will be represented by their most popular visitor attraction when the game is released later this year.
At present, Roscommon top the Hasbro All-Ireland Monopoly league with over 3030 votes placing it at number one and in the most sought after and expensive purple Shrewsbury Road square in the game. Donegal are a close second with over 2900 votes are situated in Ailsbury Road, the second most sought after square in the game.
County neighbours Leitrim are in third in green/ Grafton Street followed closely by Longford in red/ St. Stephens Green with 1352 votes, Galway in pink/ Phoenix Park with 862 votes and Mayo in the lowly brown/ Rathfarnham slot with a mere 754 votes.
Sligo, Westmeath and Offaly who are second from bottom don't even feature on the board. But there is still time to make your vote count as closing date for voting at www.monopoly.ie isn't until 25th May 2007.
Once logged on to the website, users can click on their county of choice on the interactive map provided to register their vote. Voters can make one vote per day and the top 22 counties when the polls are closed will be chosen to occupy places on the all new All-Ireland Monopoly Board.
According to Hasbro's National Sales Manager, Anne Dermody says: "To ensure that Roscommon has its best chance of featuring on the board, the people of Roscommon will have to log on to www.monopoly.ie vote to be included on the new board. With one vote per person per day, Roscommon could well end up bumping Shrewsbury Road off the top spot when the board is released in October."
As the birthplace of Ireland's first president and Gaelic League founder, Douglas Hyde and boasting several major attractions including the Claypipe Visitors Centre and Hell's Kitchen Museum and bar, reasons are plentiful to vote for Roscommon to be featured on the new All-Ireland Monopoly board.

Ballagh singer appealing for support
Regina McDermott from Ballaghaderreen was top of the poll last week and is depending on your votes from today to get selected in the top 5 tomorrow night (Wednesday).
Regina said she was overcome with shock and excitement on last Wednesday nights show that she had top votes out of the nine contestants.
Regina will be singing on TV again tomorrow night on TG4 at 10.30 but only if you get voting right now Text Regina to 53500 or you can phone 1513 60 60 50 and press the number 9 on your keypad
Votes do not carry forward from each week so therefore in order for Regina to be selected in the top 5 tomorrow night she needs all the votes you can give her from today until 12am tomorrow.
Tomorrow night if selected as one of the top 5 Regina will perform "Whiskey Drinking You" which was initially recorded by Philomena Begley.
Regina says that "the song is similar in style to that of the song which she sang on the first night of the show which was "Truck Driving Woman" and I am looking forward to performing Whiskey Drinking You and I hope I make all in my locality Proud".
The show started on February 7th with nine contestants and last Wednesday two contestants were eliminated from the series due to insufficient votes.
Regina said "there are only 7 left now. It was hard to see Big Mike and Charlene eliminated from the competition last Wednesday but that's the harsh reality of the show and if I don't get the votes I won't get to perform and I will be eliminated from the show".
Regina McDermott topped the poll last week on Glor tire and she needs every vote she can get to be selected as one of the top 5 tomorrow night (Wed) out of the seven that are left in the competition.
If Regina gets selected to sing in the top 5 tomorrow night she will be depending on your votes again from the moment she sings to see her through to the semi final on the following week where only the top 3 will be selected from the 5 that will be going through tomorrow night
If Regina is one of the final three through in the semi final on Wednesday 9th May she will be singing 2 songs one of her choice and another in Irish.
If she gets to sing her two songs as part of the top 3 she will be depending on your votes more than ever that night to see her win the Glor Tire Completion on the following Wednesday 16th May
Regina has a 2 track CD recorded - Not Counting You & I Couldn't Leave you if I tried, which can now be requested on Mid West Radio.
If she gets to sing her two songs as part of the top 3 she will be depending on your votes more
Regina said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank in particular everyone who voted and please keep voting
To all who work/present the local radio stations in particular Mid West Radio who have given me so much support in the past few weeks
Regina also acknowledges the help & support from all the country bands.
Glor tire is repeated on Saturdays at 9.20 on TG4 and voting counts for the following Wednesday

Preparations well underway for Roscommon assault on Eurovision
PREPARATIONS are well advanced for the Eurovision Song Contest, which takes place in Helsinki on May 12th. Ireland's entry is "They Can't Stop The Spring", written by Castlerea natives John Waters and Tommy Moran.
The song will be performed by Dervish, with Scramogue native Cathy Jordan the lead singer. Cathy is a native of Curradrehid, Scramogue. She now lives in Sligo and has been performing with Dervish since 1990.
Indeed, Cathy was the beneficiary of a special 'Eurovision Send Off Night' in The Percy French Hotel last Sunday, organised by the Strokestown Development Association.
A number of other artists appeared on the night and proceeds from the raffle went towards Special Olympics in County Roscommon.
Speaking to the Champion, Tommy Moran said that on the night the song will be a "fabulous production."
"I am very happy with the production. The instrumental section has been extended. I think that it will sound very good on the night," he explained.
The song is due to get airplay from this week in radio stations and while there are no plans to release it as a single, it will feature on Dervish's forthcoming album, which is due for release soon.
Dervish will be performing fourth of the 24 entrants in the final. "Being on at the beginning may suit us as it is thought that people's concentration levels are highest at either the start or the end of the contest. The song will hopefully be freshest in people's minds at the beginning," he said.
"We are all set and it is all down to the night now. We are heading over on May 6th to Helsinki for a week. It is very difficult to get tickets for the finals. The feedback to the song has been very positive and we are getting good support," he continued.

Great pride at CBSGolden Jubilee reunion
IN the concluding speech at the Golden Jubilee Reunion, Declan MacDonald stated that he was delighted to have been asked to reply to the presentations and speeches already made by the speakers that evening.
It is with a sense of great pride that they celebrate the occasion of our Golden Jubilee of the class of 1957. Looking around the room at the class and team of 1957, he was conscious of how well the years sat with everyone there. It was deeply regrettable that so many friends had died and he mentioned in particular Tom Geraghty, who had passed away recently. He had the pleasure of meeting him for the first time since he left Roscommon in 1957 at the initial team reunion in 2004.
Looking back at those times, a lot was learned about life through the attendance at school and playing football. They had the Brothers, the lay teachers and parents to thank for the experience of attending one of the most progressive and innovative school of its time. As a "Dub" arriving in a country town, it was an interesting and life changing experience. One regret was the lack of a continental foreign language subject on the curriculum, which, perhaps, was not as important as English then. Regrettable, because it was a time when the foundations of great achievements were being created. Very prominent Europeans were putting together the EEC Treaties for Europe in 1957. Thank goodness, all that has changed. The realisation of the need to expand educational opportunities and the curriculum changed in the 1960's. A greater emphasis was placed on subjects such as continental languages from that time. The Treaty of Europe made possible significant improvements to living standards throughout Ireland and the last 15 years has seen the advent of the so-called "Celtic Tiger" resulting in many Irish people returning home to work here and the huge immigration of new foreign nationals joining our society, mirroring our own emigration of the 1940's, 1950's and 1980's.
Sport in Roscommon now centred on Gaelic Football and Golf. Gaelic football started in Roscommon he understood in or about 1899 and golf in 1904. Interestingly, rugby football and cricket were played in the late 19th century in 1887 before Gaelic football or golf became popular. Neither game is played competitively locally anymore. CBS sport was Gaelic football and our success in 1957 was preceded by significant earlier successes in the 1940's and early 1950's by the County and School teams. Since then, many football and hurling titles have been won throughout the 1970's and 1980's continuing the great sporting tradition of the school.
The highlight of this evening was the Special Golden Jubilee Book and he thanked all those who contributed articles to it. Sean Mulligan has great powers of persuasion and managed to convince all the authors of the importance of recognising a unique occasion. It was superb work and deserved to be read by all. The profiles and photographs reflected the diversity of the occupations of the class and their success. Special thanks were due to Sean, Christy and the members of the committee for their foresight, planning and dedication; they devoted significant time and energy in organising this function and making it a success. He would also thank all the sponsors of the event who, no doubt, also experienced the power of Sean's persuasion. He was sure that they were now delighted to be part of this auspicious evening.
Finally, he said how proud he was at having attended CBS Roscommon and for the privilege of being a fellow pupil of the Class of 1957 and a member of the Team of 1957.

Arts Centre to reach "full potential' after ¤1m funding
COUNTY Arts Officer Philip Delamere said that Roscommon Arts Centre would now be able to reach its full potential after receiving a Government grant of ¤1m to redevelop the facility.
Announced last week by Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism, John O'Donoghue, the large allocation was made under the Arts and Culture Capital Enhancement Support Scheme II (ACCESS II 2007 - 2009)
Mr Delamare said he was delighted with the funding adding that the much needed upgrading required had been in planning for the last couple of years and that now the facility would be able to reach its full potential.
Of the 200 applications which were made to the fund, (70% of which was for the upgrading of existing facilities), Roscommon Arts Cetnre was one of only 11 projects to receive a grant of more than one million euro.
Roscommon Arts Centre opened its doors to the public in 2000 and since then, it has successfully developed and delivered a high-quality programme of events featuring visual arts, drama, music, dance, comedy and film, together with workshops and other projects.
The concept of a phased development of the centre emerged in 2000 as not all elements of the arts centre could be fully developed within the available funding at that time. Consequently Roscommon County Council opted to build a high quality performing arts and film space with interim foyer, exhibition, workshop, cafe and administration facilities. Enhancement of the latter facilities would comprise Phase two of the Master Plan as further funding became available to complete the facility to professional standards.
As part of his tenure as Architect in Residence in 2005, Dominic Stevens developed the initial plans for Phase II, which eventually became the core of this application.
Phase II will involve the building of two visual art gallery spaces, a multimedia suite, bar/café facility along with greatly enhanced foyer, workshop, box office and administration facilities. Crucially the plans involve making every aspect of the facility fully accessible for people with limited mobility.

This is undoubtedly great news for Roscommon Arts Centre and following the development it will be able to provide a service of the highest quality to the highest standards for all the people of Roscommon and beyond of all ages and backgrounds.