Ireland

  • An Post is denying they need to cut two thousand jobs to survive.

    The Irish Times is reporting today that  the company needs  500 job losses a year over four years.

    The paper says the numbers were outlined in a confidential briefing to Cabinet just days before An Post announced a 50 million euro investment in their network.

    This morning An Post confirmed the number of 2000 redundancies is from a strategic review in March 2017.

    The statement from the company says the company has achieved a major turnaround since then and is performing well ahead of plan and does not anticipate job reductions of this magnitude.

  • "They can dress it up anyway they want to, but the introduction of car parking charges on the streets in eight additional Mayo towns, is just a money making exercise by Mayo county County Council." That’s the view of Westport based Fianna Fail cllr Brendan Mulroy.

    The Cllr is the Chair of the Roads and Transport Strategic Policy Committee of Mayo county council, and at a meeting of the committee yesterday, Tom Gilligan Director of Service for the local authority told members that car parking charges are to be introduced in Ballyhaunis, Belmullet, Charlestown, Crossmolina, Foxford, Kiltimagh, Knock and Swinford.

    At present these towns have neither street car parking charges or carpark charges.

    Mr Gilligan said they plan to collect an additional half a million euro a year from such charges.

    Westport has carpark charges already, but on street car parking charges are also proposed under this plan.

    Cllr Mulroy told Midwest News editor Teresa O’Malley why he cannot accept the proposals.

  • The campaign is continuing in Easkey county Sligo to retain the village Post office.

    Secretary of the Save Easkey Post Office Campaign, Orla Cawley told Midwest News today that they hope to meet a representative of An Post about the situation later this week.

    The local campaign group held a peaceful poster protest outside the gates of Sligo IT last Friday, as the Cabinet had a special sitting in the college to launch the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 plan.

    Ms Cawley said the campaign will continue as the community back the efforts to convince An Post to retain a post office in Easkey.

    Meanwhile the village is today celebrating the success of Martin McDonagh at the BAFTAS last night.

    The internationally acclaimed director’s mother is from KIlleenduff, Easkey. He was born in London.

    His film ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ picked up five prizes in total including best film and best British film.

    Minister for Culture and Heritage Josepha Madigan says ‘It’s great to see Irish talent represented at this year’s BAFTA awards’.

  • Pope Francis hopes to begin his historic visit to Ireland in Knock, according to today’s  Irish Independent. Organisers of the pontiff's trip are believed to be exploring the idea of having him fly directly to the west of Ireland rather than Dublin as anticipated.

    When the Pope’s visit to Ireland was officially confirmed some weeks ago, Dublin was the only venue confirmed – Knock was not ruled out – but certainly wasn’t ruled in either.

    This morning Midwest News has contacted Knock Shrine and we were told that they have not been informed of any new developments regarding the Pope’s visit.

    However, according to the paper there has been much speculation about the type of welcome the Pope will receive - but sources say gardaí have concerns that as many as 650,000 people will want to see him in the Phoenix Park on August 26.

    By holding another event at Knock a day earlier they hope to offer an alternative viewing opportunity for people.

    "The Phoenix Park can cope with the crowds once they are inside but getting them safely to and from the Mass would be the problem," a source  has told the paper.

    The Vatican tends to remain tight-lipped about the Pope's itinerary until shortly before he travels to a country.

    It has been confirmed that the first papal visit in nearly 40 years will take place to coincide with the World Meeting of Families in Dublin between August 21-26. Pope Francis (81) is scheduled to take part in a ceremony in Croke Park on August 25, before celebrating Mass in Phoenix Park the following day.

    Well-placed sources involved in logistical planning for the visit have indicated to the Irish Independent, that Knock is now firmly on the agenda. One proposal is for the pontiff to fly directly to Knock Airport, which in itself would be an historic occasion.

    Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass at Knock shrine during his visit in 1979. He described his visit there as "the goal of my journey to Ireland".

    Pope Francis has prayed at a number of Marian shrines while on tours to other countries, including last year when he honoured two children who saw Mary in the Portuguese town of Fátima.

    It is likely that if the Pope flies directly from Rome to Knock, he will then use air transport to get to Dublin in time for a ticketed event in Croke Park.

  • Irish Rail is advising those travelling to Dublin for the Pope's visit next month that train seats must be booked in advance.

    There will be no access to trains on Sunday 26th August without a ticket or reservation.

    Irish Rail says train tickets will not be available for sale on Sunday 26th August, and only passengers with tickets or reservations will be allowed access the Intercity trains.

    This applies to regular services and extra trains which will operate on a number of routes, including the Mayo, Galway and Sligo rail lines.

    Train passengers must travel on the train they book - due to high demand, there is no flexibilty to change to other services.

    Trains on that date will have unallocated seating, and passengers should take any available seat.

    Up to half a million people will travel to Phoenix Park where the Pope will celebrate Mass on 26th August, following a brief visit to Knock Shrine.

    Irish Rail says this is the large single event the country has hosted since Pope John Paul II visited in 1979, and customers need to book intercity trains in advance to ensure all can travel to the event in comfort.

    Iarnrod Eireann says there are also limited services from Westport, Ballina and Athlone to Claremorris for the Knock Shrine event on the same date - including a bus transfer to and from Knock.

  • Efforts  to preserve a rare snail species appear to have taken priority over the rights of 13,000 people  having a safe water supply from the Lough Talt, in county Sligo.

    That’s the view of local Independent cllr Margaret Gormley.

    The householders in South and West Sligo, and parts of East Mayo served by the supply have had  a boil water notice imposed , as a result of the discovery of cryptosporidium in the treated water coming from the Lough Talt plant.

    The boil water notice is in place in the towns of Tubbercurry and Ballymote, and the villages of Aclare, Curry, Charlestown, Lavagh, Ballanacarrow, Kilmacteigue and Coolaney as well as Cloontia/ Doocastle and Quarryfield in Mayo.

    Irish Water says public health is their number one priority, and it’s imperative that people adhere to it.

    Water must be boiled for drinking, preparing salads and similar uncooked foods, brushing teeth and making ice.

    Irish Water says it recognised in 2014 that the Lough Talt supply needed more advanced treatment to meet the risk of Cryptosporidium contamination and compliance with THM levels.

    However, Sligo County Council and An Bord Pleanala have both refused permission for reasons of protected habitat.

     

     

  • Strike action by Irish Ryanair pilots is underway for a fifth day - coinciding with industrial action across Europe.

    They're picketing the airline's HQ in Dublin - while pilots in Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium will also walk off the job for 24 hours.

    The company has been forced to cancel almost 400 flights - affecting 25 thousand passengers

    Bernard Harbor from the FORSA trade union says his members are determined to secure their demands.

  • Rail services to Mayo, Sligo and Galway are under threat unless Irish Rail receives 460 million euro cash injection for the rail network, according to a front page story on today’s Irish Independent.

    The government has been told that intercity services to Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Kerry, Waterford and Wexford face being axed unless a massive investment to compensate for years of underfunding is sanctioned.

    Even if more money is approved, lightly used services are likely to be shut because they are too expensive to operate and don’t carry sufficient passengers.

    Only the Dart, Dublin and Cork commuter services and intercity services between Dublin and Cork, Belfast and Limerick would remain.

    The revelation comes as the Cabinet signed off on a 115 million euro spending spree under the National Framework Plan yesterday. The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned people in rural Ireland to be realistic in their expectations for services. He said it’s not viable to have “railways to everywhere”.