LOCAL historian and author Donal O Riain and his wife, Alice, who have lived for almost 50 years in Parteen, only discovered at a recent public information meeting that four lanes of phase two of the Northern Distributor Road are set to go through their four-bedroom home, Tuairín na Molt at Ballykeelaun.
While aware they could be living near the new motorway, which will split Parteen village in two, the couple insist Clare County Council provided no prior warning or indication it would result in the loss of their home, before they attended the consultation meeting in the Radisson Hotel in Limerick.
Their distress about losing their home coincides with a warning from Clare Deputy Timmy Dooley about the “limbo” facing at least 25 farmers and three householders facing the prospect of losing their homes, and other landowners losing parts of the curtilage of their properties.
Once the preferred route is earmarked for individual land and properties, Dooley warned it would present major restrictions on proposed future developments and could effectively sterilize properties.
If a farm is split in two, Dooley pointed out, the farmer will not be able to plan for the future or consider handing it over to a family member because of the uncertainty surrounding the possible purchase of the land, and if the Government will be able to secure enough money to build this motorway.
“A landowner will not be able to sell this land on the open market because it will be ‘worthless’ pending a funding decision on the road, which could take over 10 years. Landowners will be left with an impending loss hanging over them,” Dooley said.
“It would be far better if the Government could make an offer to buy a person’s land within two years of route selection, which would at least give people the opportunity to buy land elsewhere, if they wished, and move on.”
Ó Riain said no money would compensate them for losing their family home, which he built through direct labor with the help of family and friends back in 1964.
“I am not interested in compensation. I want to remain in my home and hopefully this road will never happen. We have spent a lot of money renovating this house in recent years and had no plans to move for the rest of our lives,” he said.
“This house has a lot of happy memories for us having raised five children. It is still very much a family home, as our children and grandchildren visit regularly, particularly during the summer time,” he said.
“When I built this house, I never expected in my wildest dreams four lanes of a road would go through it almost 50 years later,” he said.
Assisted Suicide Possible
A DONEGAL woman and her partner are considering the option of assisted suicide to end her suffering from the worsening effects of Multiple Sclerosis.
Marie Fleming, 59, who lives in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, says she wants to die if her condition deteriorates further. And her partner of 20 years, Tom Curran, said he will help her end her life.
“I love Marie, and part of that love says to me it’s her right to have the option to die, and if nobody else is prepared to give her that option then my love for her means I have that job to do,” said
Curran who is coordinator with the pro-euthanasia group Exit International.
Donegal based suicide counselor Father James Sweeney said he would not be encouraging anyone to go down the road of assisted suicide.
Describing it as a “very complex and delicate” area, he said such a move could “easily open the floodgates” where people with severe health difficulties were concerned.
“It could establish a precedent where people with, say, painful bowel cancer could opt for taking their own life,” he said.
Living on Nothing
A DUBLIN mother who has suffered three strokes broke down in tears as she asked, "Does the state just want me to die?"
Marie Butler, 58, from West Dublin claims she has waited over a year to receive her first disability allowance and is "frightened, frozen and hungry" in her own home.
The mother of one has been out of work for several months, having suffered her third stroke in July.
She has poor movement in the right side of her face and is unable to lift things due to a lack of strength in her fingers and arms.
However, despite her deteriorating condition, Butler claims she has yet to secure disability allowance which has "driven my family to poverty."
The former cleaner says she has been living without heating for several weeks, which she says leaves her terrified to go to bed each night.
One day last week, she had just three slices of bread in the house which had to last her and her son all week.
"I've never been at such a low point in my life. I've worked all my life but to show you my bare food cupboards and my €2 bank balance, things just can't get any worse,” she said.
“I've sent in all my forms to get disability allowance and I keep getting told there's a delay."
She added: "The worst part of it all is that we cannot afford heat. I'm out of work and relying on a measly sick payment each week. I'm behind in bills.”
The Department of Social Welfare refused to comment.
NURSES have reported record overcrowding at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, and have even called on the Health Service Executive (HSE) to activate the major disaster protocols in place for events such as a plane crash at Shannon Airport.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organization (INMO) has appealed for local doctors to be drafted in to help out as almost 100 more patients than the hospital has the capacity to safely care for were admitted.
The hospital is also struggling following an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug, and the HSE has appealed to the public not to attend the emergency department “unless absolutely necessary.”
Nurses said that 10 beds were closed last week due to an infection outbreak, and that the “gross overcrowding” experienced this week was “almost certainly a contributing factor” in the spread of bugs.
According to the INMO, there were 34 patients on trolleys in the emergency department waiting for a bed last Tuesday morning.
The union’s industrial relations officer for Limerick, Mary Fogarty, said on Tuesday that “additional nursing staff and acute in-patient beds must be prioritized to address this crisis and to prevent a major unavoidable incident.”
“It is incomprehensible that a hospital is allowed to reach such levels of over-capacity which undoubtedly lead to unsafe practices, low standards of care, mistakes and neglect of ill patients.
We are today calling for the HSE to implement the major disaster plan and to call on doctors in the region to attend the hospital to provide any assistance,” she said.
The hospital, she said, was “under the worst pressure ever experienced” despite assurances and reforms promised by the Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly late last year.
THE introduction of a crime preventative mobile phone text alert system has been hailed as the prime catalyst for a near 50% falloff in rural burglaries across north Longford.
Garda (police) insiders revealed the startling reduction barely six months after its official introduction last July.
“We have been delighted with how it has caught on and with the reaction it has generated,” said a source.
According to latest Garda figures, break-ins have declined by approximately 44% across the likes of Dromard, Colmcille and the wider north Longford region.
Under its workings, a homeowner can send an immediate text on their mobile phones to around 500 other households warning them to be aware of suspicious activity or any unfamiliar looking cars that may be lurking in the area.
Stole for Kids
A MAN who took books, a teddy bear, DVDs and chocolates from two local shops did so because he had no money and wanted Christmas presents for his two daughters, Sligo Court heard.
Maurice Flynn of Rathbraughan admitted taking chocolate bars and DVDs valued at €74.50 from Heaton's, Castle Street, on November 10, and taking books and the teddy bear, valued at €99, from Easons on O'Connell Street on the same date.
Defending solicitor Mark Mullaney said that Flynn was going to meet his children and was anxious, as any father would be, that he would be able to give them presents as Christmas was approaching.
Judge Kevin Kilrane was informed that Flynn had previous convictions and had been given a four month suspended sentence for theft in October 2008. He had also been fined €100 in October 2010 for an offense in August of that year, €200 in March last for a similar offense in December 2010.
While Kilrane said he had a certain sympathy for Flynn given the circumstances outlined, he added that he had been given a lot of chances in the past and warned the defendant that "this type of larceny is going to have to stop."
He imposed a two month prison sentence on Flynn, suspended for two years on condition that he not be convicted of an indictable offence within that period.