From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Connaught Telegraph 16 June 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
19, Jun 2004 - 12:58

Castlebar Town Council

Seats: 9
Electorate: 9,508
Total Poll: 4,740
Spoiled Votes: 93
Valid Poll: 4,647
Turnout (percentage): 49.85%
Quota: 465
First Count
Barrett Edmund (FG): 179
Barrett Harry (Lab): 233
Bourke Sean (FF) (outgoing): 299
Brophy Michael (FF): 122
Campbell Noel (SF): 418
Cresham Conor (FG): 108
Crowley Aidan (FF) (outgoing): 368
Egan Liam (Lab): 70
Gavin Kieran ‘Blackie’ )FF) (outgoing): 451
Guthrie Kevin (FG): 236
Heneghan Brendan (FG) (outgoing): 547 elected
Joyce Eamon (FF): 157
Kilcoyne Michael (Ind) (outgoing): 614 elected
King Pat (FF) (outgoing): 194
McCormack Eugene (FF): 243
Mee Johnny (Lab) (outgoing): 418

In the end the nine seats were taken by Michael Kilcoyne, Brendan Henaghan, Sean Bourke, Aidan Crowley, Blackie Gavin, Noel Campbell, Johnny Mee, Kevin Guthrie and Eugene McCormack pipped Harry Barrett by four votes following a recount. The big talking points were the election of Noel Campbell of Sinn Fein and the failure of Pat King to take a seat – he was reputed to have been shafted by his fellow Fianna Fail colleagues. The labour split before the election forcing Michael Kilcoyne to run as an independent was shown to be a mistake in that presumably they could have pulled Harry Barrett up by another four votes if they had all been running on the ticket. Labours loss was Fine Gael’s gain in this case. It looks like Brendan Heneghan will be the next Mayor of Castlebar – obviously his pre-election association with Frank Durcan did him no harm.

Shock as staff offered downgraded jobs in Orthopaedic Unit

A HEALTH care campaigner has called on the chief executive of the Western Health Board to clarify the situation over the proposed opening of the much sought after Orthopaedic Unit at Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar. Dr. Jerry Cowley, TD, has called on WHB boss Dr. Shiela Ryan, to immediately set the record straight on the opening. And he revealed last night (Tuesday) that senior staff who had been given jobs in the new unit have now been offered downgraded positions by the WHB. The senior Orthopaedic ward sister is being offered a junior position as sister in the ward while the Occupational Therapist is being offered halftime in Mayo General and half time at the Sacred Heart Hospital – but she cannot see patients at Mayo General. Likewise the newly appointed Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon must also perform three sessions per week (9 hours) in Merlin Park, Galway – one session of which will be taken up by travel to and from Castlebar – while new operating theatres lie idle at MGH.

The massive march before the election was symptomatic of why the government parties, FF especially bombed out in the election. The situation described above in the Connaught and similarly in all the papers this week is so laughable as to be worthy of a script in the old ‘Yes Minister’ series – the perfect hospital has no patients to muck things up – and no doctors or nurses either – just administrators. On second thoughts maybe an episode of Ballymagash.

Westport jobs fears described as ‘premature’

FEARS OVER the loss of jobs at Mayo’s leading industrial employers, Allergan Pharmaceuticals Ireland, have been described as ‘premature.’ Mr. Martin Gillen, director of human resources at the Westport plant, which has a staff of over 1,000, confirmed his company is currently in discussion with a number of companies in relation to third party manufacturing. He explained: "The manufacturing contract with A.M.O. (Advanced Medical Optics) is due to end in June 2005. However, any talk of job losses at this point is premature. "This does not take into account the company’s current efforts to expand its product portfolio and the positive impact this may have on the Westport site."

Hopefully this story is baseless. I would have thought that the type of jobs in Allergan were reasonably immune from the ‘move to China or Eastern Europe’ syndrome that has beset the manufacturing sector – Volex being a typical victim here in Castlebar. It shows how crucial it is to keep abreast of the modern economy with a big push to enhance the research and development side of things as opposed to merely manufacturing and shipping.

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