From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
Connaught Telegraph - 23 April 2003
By The Jaundiced Eye
26, Apr 2003 - 16:47

Nan Monaghan Awarded For Her Community Endeavour

Nan Monaghan was awarded the inaugural Coady/Duffy Cup for Community Endeavour. The cup is presented by the Coady/Duffy family who run the popular pub on Linenhall Street. The Coadys - father, Adrian and Son, Dermot - are also undertakers. The panel of adjudicators selected Nan as the first recipient of the new award. They cited her lifelong commitment to community life in Castlebar. In particular Nan revived the Castlebar Pantomime in recent times after a 20-year gap without a town panto. Her trojan work on community radio was also mentioned. Wishing her well on the night were Paddy Cummins, Peter Killeen, Mary Cafferty and Collette Forde. Also present were Cllr Johnny Mee, Frank Forde, Dick Geraghty and Tom Shiel was MC on the night. Congrats to Nan.

Councillors and Money

There are two separate items on money and politics in this week’s Connaught. The first details the Town Councillors’ declaration of interests – i.e. a list of their financial and other interests. The second details expenses received by Town Councillors for various trips to local authority meetings and overseas promotions.

The headings for the declaration of interests fall under 10 headings:

  1. Description of profession or occupation relating to dealing in or developing land
  2. Description of other profession or occupation
  3. Land: any estate or interest you have in land in the State, including the case where you or your nominee is a member of company or other body which has an interest in land.
  4. Company business of dealing in land
  5. Shares: name and address of company where shares are held
  6. Directorships
  7. Gifts, property and services including foreign travel facilities
  8. Local authority contracts
  9. Political or public affairs: any remuneration held by you as a political or public affairs lobbyist, consultant or advisor
  10. Any other additional interest

The Connaught details the replies given and the public can view the forms at Marsh House as a matter of public record. This kind of transparency is good for democracy. All civil servants fill out similar documents under the Ethics in Public Office Act - recent legislation presumably introduced in response to the Charlie Haughey, Ray Bourke, Liam Lawlor type of public ethics that has devastated the entire planning process in Dublin if not further afield.

Regarding expenses five of the nine councillors received €12,651 euros during 2002 with Paddy Burke topping the list at €3683.05 including €2048.22 for the Peekskill New York visit. Aidan Crowley, Frank Durcan, Eoin Garavan and Johnny Mee did not claim any reimbursement of expenses incurred during the year. Again it is good to know where we stand - if councillors are to attend conferences on environmental and other matters relevant to their positions they should not have to do so out of their own pocket but the voter will let them know next time round if they feel they are simply milking the system.

Why does the Castlebar Hospice Unit remain closed?

Cllr Johny Mee raised the question of the closure of the hospice unit at the Sacred Heart Hospital. The facility provided relief to terminally ill patients who wanted to be near their family in the Castlebar area. Despite the fact that the WHB has stated that it is prepared to cover the cost of a doctor for the unit the unit has remained closed for the past two years. Cllr Gavin supported Mr Mee in calling for a letter of complaint to be sent to the Western Health Board requesting immediate appointment of a doctor to the unit.

As anyone whose family has availed of the services of a hospice will know, this is a wonderful service for the terminally ill and their families. To force family members to travel long distances to visit their loved ones dying of cancer or other puts incredible additional pressure at a time when this is least welcome. The Castlebar location serves a wide catchment and it should be reopened immediately.

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