PRIVATE GAMING CLUB OPPOSED

Proposed entrance (with planning notice) to a private members gaming club on ground floor of a vacant commercial unit at rear of Carrickmacross shopping centre Photo: © Michael Fisher

Proposed entrance (with planning notice) to a private members gaming club on ground floor of a vacant commercial unit at rear of Carrickmacross shopping centre Photo: © Michael Fisher

Councillors in Carrickmacross-Castleblayney Municipal District have united in their opposition to plans for a private members gaming club in Carrickmacross. The proposal was totally unnecessary and unwanted for 99.9% of the local population, according to Councillor Padraig McNally.

Cllr Padraig McNally  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr Padraig McNally Photo: © Michael Fisher

Councillor Noel Keelan said they did not want to see any such gambling facilities in Carrick. His Sinn Féin colleague Colm Carthy said he had been contacted by a number of constituents and the proposed club would not be a good thing to have in the locality. Fianna Fáil Councillor PJ O’Hanlon said a lot of parents were concerned for their children regarding the potential dangers of slot machines, which they had never had in the town.

Planning Notice posted on door of the commercial unit on January 16th 2015  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Planning Notice posted on door of the commercial unit on January 16th 2015 Photo: © Michael Fisher

Standing orders were suspended at their meeting on Tuesday in Carrickmacross to allow the five Councillors present to discuss the introduction of bye-laws in the town to prevent the establishment of gambling arcades or any other such gambling facilities. They agreed to write to the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to legislate immediately to allow local authorities to adopt bye-laws that would prohibit gambling facilities, including private members clubs.

Cllr Noel Keelan  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr Noel Keelan Photo: © Michael Fisher

The District Co-ordinator Cathal Flynn explained that the 1956 Gaming and Lotteries Act (Part III) which governs gaming had never been adopted for the Carrickmacross town area. This meant that unlike Castleblayney, Carrick had never allowed casinos, slot machines or such like into the town.

The District Council received a letter from a local resident saying that as a business person, mother and grandmother, she had serious reservations on what sort of message such an establishment would be sending out, and registering her strong opposition.

Referring to the planning application submitted last month to Monaghan County Council, the objector said that information on the opening and closing hours of the proposed establishment was extremely vague. She said she would be very concerned about the effect that it would have on the high amount of school-going children and young people in the town.

Ground floor unit proposed for conversion into a private members gaming club Photo: © Michael Fisher

Ground floor unit proposed for conversion into a private members gaming club Photo: © Michael Fisher

The planning application was received by Monaghan County Council on January 21st. It was submitted by a local architect on behalf of Carrick Gold Mine Ltd. It seeks full planning permission for a change of use from an existing ground floor commercial unit to a private members gaming club with external signage, and including all other associated site works. The premises is situated beside the car park at the rear of Carrickmacross Shopping Centre at Drummond Etra, Main Street. A site notice was posted on the door of the unit on January 16th. Two people, a man and a woman with an address in Carrickmacross, are described as directors of the registered company making the application. In a letter to the planners they say that the proposed use of the premises will be for a professionally managed Private Members Gaming Club. It would provide card games like Baccarat and other games like Texas Holdem etc “for groups of dedicated card players”. It is the Club’s intention to have weekly Poker tournaments, some of which will be for local sports teams and associations. The club also intends to host charity events for the above groups from time to time, according to the letter. The club’s facilities would be open to members only, who must be over eighteen. The club does not encourage impulsive walk-ins hence the proposed location “is not on the High St. for that reason”. According to the letter, the Club intends to serve teas/coffee and light refreshments and will not be applying for any form of alcohol licence and “it does not intend to sell intoxicating liquer on the premises”.

Cllr Colm Carthy  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr Colm Carthy Photo: © Michael Fisher

Objectors to the plans had until last Tuesday to submit their observations. Seven local people sent in objections. One of them pointed out that there are three secondary schools in Carrickmacross, and claimed that if the proposal is allowed, “it would put a large contingent of impressionable young people in the town at high risk of becoming addicted to gambling”. Another objector expressed concern that the car park area would become a focus for anti-social behaviour.

Northern Standard reporter Michael Fisher examining the planning application 15/13 at Monaghan County Council offices.   Photo: © Rory Geary/Northern Standard

Northern Standard reporter Michael Fisher examining the planning application 15/13 at Monaghan County Council offices. Photo: © Rory Geary/Northern Standard

An investigation of the planning file at Monaghan County Council revealed that the proposed club would have two areas for video machines: six near the front entrance and in Area ‘B’, fourteen video machines in one part and a further ten in another. There would be three “poker tables” and two “pool tables”. There would be a space for a cashier at the back of the room. In a small corner of this space, an area is designated for a “tea/coffee maker”.

Cllr PJ O'Hanlon  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr PJ O’Hanlon Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr Aidan Campbell  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr Aidan Campbell Photo: © Michael Fisher

A decision on the application is due to be taken by St Patrick’s Day, March 17th. The sixth member of the Municipal District Council, Aidan Campbell of Fine Gael, was not present at the meeting but told the Northern Standard he was fully behind the strong objections of his five colleagues.

Cllr Jackie Crowe, Cathaoirleach Carrickmacross-Castleblayney Municipal District Council  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr Jackie Crowe, Cathaoirleach Carrickmacross-Castleblayney Municipal District Council Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District Council Jackie Crowe also expressed his opposition to the plan.

Carrickmacross News: The Northern Standard p.19 Thursday 26th February 2015  Photos: © Pat Byrne/Rory Geary/Northern Standard/Michael Fisher and may not be reproduced without permission © Michael Fisher MMXV

Carrickmacross News: The Northern Standard p.19 Thursday 26th February 2015 Photos: © Pat Byrne/Rory Geary/Northern Standard/Michael Fisher and may not be reproduced without permission © Michael Fisher MMXV

BOSE REDUNDANCY DEAL

boselogoUnion members at the Bose factory in Carrickmacross, due to be closed at the end of May with the loss of 140 jobs, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of redundancy proposals negotiated by their representatives. SIPTU Industrial Organiser Jim Mc Veigh welcomed the result of the ballot.

SIPTU Industrial Organiser Jim McVeigh   Photo: © Michael Fisher

SIPTU Industrial Organiser Jim McVeigh Photo: © Michael Fisher

He said: “We negotiated what we considered to be a fair and reasonable redundancy package. We recommended the proposals to our members and they have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the package. SIPTU will be continuing discussions with the company, the government and the IDA, to try to ensure that alternative investment might be found for the Bose site”.

It was announced without warning a month ago that the plant was to be shut down. The original closure date was April but following talks with union representatives and local politicians an extension of several weeks was given.

The situation was discussed by councillors at this week’s meeting of the Carrickmacross-Castleblayney Municipal District. Councillor Padraig McNally who is also Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council said the atmosphere at the plant was not great and the relationship with the US headquarters was strained. The last thing they wanted was for the plant to be closed and for the people involved not to know where their future lay, he said.

Bose factory, Carrickmacross  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Bose factory, Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher

Councillor Colm Carthy a former Bose employee said the closure extension was not a great outcome, but it gave the employees a little bit of extra time to come to terms with the situation. He said the MEP Matt Carthy had been in touch with the Chief Executive of the IDA in Dublin asking him to give top priority to replacing the facility in Carrick as they needed to get more investment in the town.

Councillor Noel Keelan said he had been in continuing contact with the employees and was anxious that they should get their entitlements. They now needed to bring into the town some form of alternative employment.

The Cathaoirleach Jackie Crowe agreed that they needed to get someone in as quickly as possible to create the same number of jobs.

Councillor PJ O’Hanlon said it was his firm belief that when the IDA brought a factory into a town, the premises should never go into private ownership. With the site at Bose there was now going to be a commercial landlord looking for rent from a future tenant. This almost amounted to a “sharp practice” by the IDA, in his view, whereas the IDA, he felt, should be looking after such factory premises for any company that occupied it. He proposed a motion, seconded by Cllr McNally, “that this District Council calls on the Minister for Jobs, Richard Bruton, and the IDA, and Enterprise Ireland, that any new factories that are opened are not sold to private or commercial groups but are kept in ownership of the state agencies”. The motion was adopted unanimously and it was agreed to circulate it to all county councils in the state.

PAT FINUCANE ANNIVERSARY

Peter Madden addressing the meeting  Photo: Madden & Finucane

Peter Madden addressing the meeting Photo: Madden & Finucane

Speaking on the 26th anniversary of the killing of the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, his partner from the legal practice Peter Madden has renewed the call for an independent, international inquiry into the shooting. At a meeting in North Belfast he also rejected the findings of the 2012 de Silva review into the case ordered by British Prime Minister David Cameron. Mr Madden accused British QC Desmond de Silva of exonerating the secret British army unit Force Research Unit (FRU) of its role in the Finucane killing when he concluded that the unit, based in the British army’s headquarters at Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn, did not know the UDA was targeting Pat Finucane.

Mr Madden also asserted that de Silva was being “selective” in respect of the intelligence material he analysed saying “the de Silva review is one man’s analysis of a large amount of material”. Mr Finucane, who was 39, was shot dead at his home in North Belfast in front of his family by the Ulster Freedom Fighters, a cover name for the UDA, on February 12th 1989.

Also speaking at the event organised by the Finucane family and Relatives for Justice (RFJ), held in the Lansdowne Court Hotel on February 12th 2015 was the veteran BBC journalist John Ware, whose Panorama programmes revealed to a sceptical British audience the extent of collusion between the British army, RUC and loyalist paramilitaries.

Geraldine Finucane with Panorama reporter John Ware  Photo: Relatives for Justice

Geraldine Finucane with Panorama reporter John Ware Photo: Relatives for Justice

The first to address the packed hall was Mark McGovern, who for the past number of years has been working with RFJ examining the “patterns of collusion and collusion as a policy” focusing mostly in the Mid-Ulster area. Mr McGovern also raised the need, when analysing collusion, to look at the hundreds of people killed by loyalists in the early 1990s, after the importation of arms from South Africa and the political objectives of that campaign.

Pat Finucane Anniversary Talk  Photo: Madden & Finucane

Pat Finucane Anniversary Talk Photo: Madden & Finucane

ICA MONAGHAN FEDERATION

ICA Monaghan Federation President Patricia Cavanagh and guest speaker Michael Fisher at the ICA meeting in Clones

ICA Monaghan Federation President Patricia Cavanagh and guest speaker Michael Fisher at the ICA meeting in Clones

Many people will know the story of the US Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks. But have they ever heard of Rosa Patterson? I hadn’t until tonight when I broke for the border, as it were, and landed in Clones where I was the guest of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association. The County Monaghan Federation held their quarterly meeting at the Protestant Hall (kindly granted). I addressed the crowd of about sixty women about publicity. Thank you for the invitation and the tea afterwards; keep up the good work and hopefully you will continue to provide the local media with news of your many activities.

Maureen Gavin, ICA Aghabog Guild, with her winning poem on 60 Years of the ICA in Monaghan  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Maureen Gavin, ICA Aghabog Guild, with her winning poem on 60 Years of the ICA in Monaghan Photo: © Michael Fisher

Maureen Gavin from Aghabog won the contest for the best poem to celebrate 60 years of the ICA in the county. It told the story of Rosa Patterson, a teacher in Ballybay, who set up the first Guild in county Monaghan. The Clones Guild is well organised. One of its most famous members is Mamo McDonald, who went on to become ICA President in 1982 for a three-year term and is now an Honorary President of the Association. The group has over 10,000 members throughout the Republic of Ireland, in 500 Guilds.

ICA Monaghan Federation President Patricia Cavanagh holds up a prizewinning quilted cushion Photo: © Michael Fisher

ICA Monaghan Federation President Patricia Cavanagh holds up a prizewinning quilted cushion Photo: © Michael Fisher

KIERAN MCAREE LAID TO REST

 

Kieran McAree  Photo:  PSNI website

Kieran McAree Photo: PSNI website

For nine weeks the search went on at the Round-O in Enniskillen for the body of Kieran McAree from Emyvale, Co. Monaghan. On the 64th day, after a daily vigil by his parents and a well co-ordinated search involving the PSNI and dozens of volunteers from Fermanagh, Monaghan and much further afield, the body was discovered close to the jetty. On Saturday, his family were finally able to lay him to rest following a Requiem Mass at St Patrick’s Church, Corracrin.

During the search, Peadar McMahon from Emyvale spent many hours assisting the family and taking part in the search. He was there last Wednesday when a body was spotted in the water. His detailed diary of the search along with photographs can be found on his emyvale.net website.

Rodney Edwards of the Impartial Reporter along with photographer John McVitty brought almost daily coverage of the search in a very sensitive way, managing to convey the feelings of Kieran’s parents at various stages, without being intrusive. This is his report on the funeral:

He was missing for over nine weeks but today Kieran McAree from Emyvale in County Monaghan was at last laid to rest.

There was a large attendance at his funeral mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Corracrin, including representatives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland and volunteer search groups.

The poignant service just days after Kieran’s 24th birthday was conducted by Father Hubert Martin with assistance from Enniskillen church leaders, including Father Brian D’Arcy and the Dean of Clogher, the Very Rev. Kenneth Hall.

A family photograph, a football jersey and an ’Aware Defeat Depression’ t-shirt were displayed at the front of the church as Fr. Martin told mourners that Kieran was a young man “who packed a lot into his short life”.

“He is first of all a son, a brother, a grandson to Annie, a cousin, a best mate, a mystery,” he said.

After going missing on December 17, Kieran’s body was discovered near the Round ‘O’ last week in a search that captured the hearts of people in Enniskillen and Emyvale.

Fr. Martin described the “great joy” that was felt along the shoreline on Wednesday afternoon.

“People hugged; there were tears, tears of relief and sadness, mixed emotions… but lovely, warm moments that will be remembered forever,” he said, adding: “Rarely ever does a coffin at a funeral look so special as Kieran’s coffin today.”

“We have been through such a gruelling experience,” said Fr. Martin, reiterating the appreciation of Kieran’s parents Martin and Geraldine for the help and support from the community in Enniskillen.

“Many new friendships between the people of Enniskillen and North Monaghan have been firmly forged. Neighbourliness has been demonstrated and experienced, the gospel has been preached by witness rather than by word.

“Despite the ordeal and trauma of the last nine weeks, Kieran McAree’s family is full of praise for the support they have received from so many people. Time and time again they have complimented the Police Service of Northern Ireland for their professionalism and courtesy, particularly on Wednesday when the body was recovered and sensitivity was required.”

There was a standing ovation and loud applause for the many PSNI officers in attendance, including Inspector Roy Robinson, Inspector Rory Hoy and Constable Gavin Huey.

“Community spirit at its best manifesting all that is good in human relationships,” said Fr. Martin, “People were prepared to walk with each other and with the McAree family through their ordeal. There is something very special about that idea of people walking with each other.”

As Kieran’s coffin was carried to the nearby cemetery, members of the PSNI and search teams and individuals from Fermanagh joined with locals from Emyvale to form a guard of honour in one last show of support.

JUNO & THE PAYCOCK

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The world’s in a state of chassis….
A very enjoyable production of the Sean O’Casey classic Juno and the Paycock by Castleblayney Players tonight at the Garage Theatre in Monaghan. PHOTO: Glenn Murphy who has just posted on Twitter!
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Castleblayney Players are delighted to perform Juno and the Paycock, which has become a well loved classic since it was first performed in 1924. Audiences will sympathise with the Boyle family as they struggle with poverty, family relationships and civil war.
Seán O’Casey has given Irish drama some of its most memorable characters in this play: Juno (Ticky Mc Quillan) tries to hold her family together while her husband, Captain “the Paycock” Jack Boyle (Aidan Mc Quillan) is shy of work, their daughter Mary (Emma Duffy) is out on strike and has given up her boyfriend Jerry (Ricky Carragher) for her new man Charlie (Roraidh Irwin) while their son Johnny (Shane Cumiskey) is unable to work due to war injuries.
The Captain’s sidekick, Joxer (Jim O’Neill), is always lurking about, and along with Maisie Madigan (Andrea Beirne) they contribute much hilarity and sharp Dublin humour. Other neighbours and visitors (Paddy Crilly, Kelly O’Brien, Kevin Mc Geough, Francis G.Duffy, Eamon Mc Mahon, Pauline Clarke, Ryan Mc Mahon) bring colour and great vitality to the story.
Keeping the production together is director Nicky Hore assisted by an experienced and enthusiastic crew.
As the play is on the Leaving Cert this is a great opportunity for young students of drama to get to see O’Casey’s masterpiece on the stage.
The group also performed the play at the Iontas Theatre, Castleblayney, last weekend on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th February.
Watch out also for the forthcoming Castleblayney Drama Festival.

BOSE TALKS

Marian Harkin MEP meets SIPTU and Bose workers in Carrickmacross  Photo:  SIPTU

Marian Harkin MEP meets SIPTU and Bose workers in Carrickmacross Photo: SIPTU

Workers from the Bose factory which the company has announced will be closed by June have held a meeting held in Carrickmacross with the Independent MEP Marian Harkin. They were accompanied by the SIPTU Industrial Organiser Jim McVeigh. Monaghan Councillor Paudge Connolly also attended the discussions, which explored whether the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) could be activated for the 140 workers due to lose their jobs.

Marian Harkin said afterwards the Fund could be used for retraining or increasing skills, or for workers who might like to set up their own business. In certain cases subsidies could be paid to local employers who would take on redundant Bose workers for a guaranteed period of time. The MEP is the author of the regulation for the Fund that is available for redundant workers across the EU. This Fund can be applied for wherever jobs are lost due to globalisation and the impact of the redundancies on the local area is significant. The fund is also available to any other workers who lose jobs that are involved in supplying the Bose factory or in transport, haulage, or related services, or any workers whose employment is dependent on the Bose factory.

Marian Harkin MEP  Photo: European Parliament

Marian Harkin MEP Photo: European Parliament

There is also an opportunity to apply to the Fund for an equal number of young people from the region who are not in employment, education or training. This means that up to 300 people might be able to avail of the Fund. Marian Harkin said the Fund might provide opportunities for workers made redundant and while it was only a start, it could at least be a stepping stone to future employment.

A public meeting is going to be organised in Carrick in the next few weeks for all the workers and members of the public who are interested. Details will be made available within the next few days. The MEP said she had worked with many other groups of workers who had accessed the Globalisation Fund, such as DELL workers and the Waterford Crystal workers. “ I would be more than happy to assist Bose workers in any application they might make for the Fund and its rollout”, Marian Harkin concluded.