Cutback on livestock a condition under which farmers were granted payments under the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure – Minister

More than 34,000 farmers have received the aid of €77.72 million

Sligo News File

Farmers agreed to reduce the production of bovine livestock nitrogen on their holding when they applied for payment under the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said in reply to a parliamentary question.

Sean Canney, TD

Pressing the Minister about his plans concerning the 5% reduction in livestock, a condition under which the aid was awarded to applicants, Sean Canney TD told him that many farmers were unable to sell stock owing to Covid-19 restrictions “including travel restrictions, and lockdowns” and, too, were unable to sell stock online.

McConalogue said the “Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) provided temporary exceptional adjustment aid to farmers in the beef sector in Ireland, subject to the conditions set out in EU Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1132.

“BEAM was funded by a combination of EU aid and Exchequer support. It was provided to support Irish beef farmers who saw beef prices fall in light of the Covid-19 market disturbance.

“One of the conditions under which the €50 million was granted by the EU was that there had to be an element of reduction or re-structuring built in to the scheme. Accordingly, in applying for BEAM, participants agreed to reduce the production of bovine livestock manure nitrogen on their holding by 5% for the period 1st July 2020 to 30th June 2021 as compared with the period 1st July 2018 to 30th June 2019.

“Obligations under the measure were developed based on analysis of the herd profile and nitrates profile of the national herd. It was designed, in consultation with farmer representative organisations, to make the measure as easy to participate in as possible, whilst maintaining the requirement under the implementing regulation for temporary market adjustments.”

 “Since 2019, 34,345 farmers have received some €77.72M as part of the scheme,” he added



Traffic News – Sligo Urban Area

List of works in the Sligo Urban Area below



 N4-N15 Sligo Urban Improvement Scheme:

In order to facilitate major road realignment works at the Duck St (N16)-Barrack St and the N4/N15/N16 Junctions, the following road closure and associated diversions will be implemented on Monday 25th January until the 5th March 2021 (6 Weeks).

N16 Westbound Diversion

The Westbound lane of Duck St (N16) will be closed to through traffic between the N4-N15 junction and the mini-roundabout.

  • Traffic will be diverted via Ballytivnan-Elm Gardens-N15
  • Local Access will be maintained to premises along this section
  • Traffic travelling from the N4/N15 onto N16 Duck Street will not be impacted by the diversion

Closure of N16/Barrack Street Junction

Barrack St will be closed to through traffic between the Duck St (N16) junction and Holborn Hill junction.

  • Northbound traffic on Holborn Street will be diverted via Holborn Hill to the N16 mini-roundabout
  • Access to Barrack St for N16 traffic will be via N16 mini-roundabout onto Holborn Hill, onwards to Holborn St and onto Barrack St.
  • Local Access will be maintained

See attached Maps and letter Drop By Fox Contracts for Barrack Street Closure.

Diversion for N4 southbound traffic accessing the R870 Markievicz Road

The Left Turn exit slip from the N4 Southbound onto Markievicz road will remain closed and all N4 southbound traffic looking to access the R870 Markievicz Road will continue to be diverted via

  • The N4 Inner Relief Road, R292 Lord Edward Street/Wine Street/Lower Knox Street and the R286 Markievicz Road.
  • Traffic travelling from the R870 Markievicz Road onto the N4 will not be impacted by the diversion.

Traffic Diversion on the N4 Northbound lane in place as follows:

  • The Right Turn for N4 Northbound Traffic entering Markievicz Road remains closed.  A Traffic diversion is in place via N16 Duck Street / Holborn Hill and R286 Connughton Road.

 Lane Narrowing / Closures:

  • N4 Northbound Lane Closure on the N4 approaching the Ballast Quay junction and continuing past the Duck St (N16) Junction.
  • N4 Southbound Lane Closure remains in place on the N4 from Duck St junction to Markievicz Road junction.

 Pedestrian Diversions:

  • West Footway closure is in place on the N4 between Hughes Bridge and the N16 Duck Street Junction with diversions in place onto temporary East Footway .
  • Localised Footway diversions will be in place at Markievicz Road junction to facilitate drainage and pavement works. 
  • The Footway diversion between the N16-Duck Street junction to the Rosses Point junction is using a new temporary footway alignment.
  • North Footway is closed on Duck St between the mini-roundabout and the junction with the N4.  Pedestrians to use diversion on the South footway.
  • Pedestrian diversion North of Rosses Point junction is via the new West footpath up to the Circle K Service station, and onwards from Circle K Service station to Horkans Garden Centre/Texaco Service station.  The opposite footpath is closed to facilitate service ducting and footway works.  Temporary access to/from Cartron Estate will be maintained.

Sligo County Council apologises for any inconvenience arising from these works.

Planning approval expired on Ballina IDA site

‘Marketing of site continuing’

Sligo News File

Planning permission for IDA lands on the outskirts of Ballina has expired, local TD Dara Calleary has been told in response to a parliamentary question.

The lands at Quignashee, zoned industrial, and purchased by Mayo County Council in 2001 are earmarked for development as a business and technology park. 

Tanaiste and Minister for Trade Leo Varadkar said the IDA is continuing to market the 10.6-acre site to prospective investors.

The agency, he added, has now appointed an engineering firm to undertake detailed technical due diligence, review the master plan design and submit an infrastructure application which the IDA expects will be ready for submission in the third quarter of 2021 “subject to on-going review.”



Employer’s responsibility to pay statutory redundancy payments to eligible employees

Debt is raised against the employer where redundancy payment made from Social Insurance Fund

Sligo News File

Tanaiste and Minister for Trade Leo Varadkar has told a Sligo-Leitrim TD that “under the provisions of the Redundancy Payments Act 1967, it is the employer’s responsibility to pay statutory redundancy payments to eligible employees.

“However, in situations where an employer cannot sustain the cost of redundancy payments due to financial difficulties, the Department of Social Protection provides a safety net for both employers and employees and can make the statutory redundancy payment to eligible employees from the Social Insurance Fund on behalf of the employer.

“When such a redundancy payment is made from the Social Insurance Fund, a debt is raised against the employer. The Department of Social Protection is legally obliged to make every effort to recover the debt owed to the Social Insurance Fund,” he added.

The TD raised the issue in a parliamentary question.

China hit with further outbreak of Covid-19

Cluster discovered at large-scale chicken plant

Sligo News File

Authorities in China are reportedly investigating a cluster of Covid-19 cases at a major chicken processing plant in the North East of the country.

According to media outlets, 10 symptomatic incidents and more than 30 asymptomatic infections have been recorded at the Thai processing conglomerate.

Authorities, it’s stated, have embarked on emergency measures to control the outbreak.

Two hospitals in Shanghai, it’s also said, have gone into lockdown after they were linked with a number of new cases in the Chinese city.


ICSA calls for trailing shoe/protected urea as option in lieu of 5% BEAM reduction

‘Would avoid hard-pressed farmers being asked to return up to 100% of the BEAM money already received which in certain cases is a €10,000 penalty’

Sligo News File

 A compromise could be found to the issue of the 5% BEAM scheme stocking reduction, says chairman of the ICSA Edmund Graham.

Edmund Graham,
ICSA Beef Chairman

The ICSA he said, “is asking the Minister to negotiate an option for carbon reduction involving trailing shoe and/or protected urea as an option for those who cannot meet the 5% reduction in organic nitrogen.

 “This would avoid the appalling vista of 8,000 hard-pressed farmers being asked to return up to 100% of the BEAM money already received which in certain cases is a €10,000 penalty. The reality is that not only are farmers struggling with the complexity of this requirement but neither Teagasc nor the Department have the tools to advise farmers of where they stand in a timely and accurate fashion.

“The option to allow farmers who can’t meet the 5% requirement to use trailing shoe and protected urea as an alternative is win-win as it delivers carbon mitigation and is in line with the national strategy to deliver carbon reduction in Irish agriculture. Therefore it should be a very welcome proposal in Brussels. I am calling on Minister McConalogue to tackle this as a matter of urgency,” he added.  


Questions after thousands of Israeli’s reportedly test positive for Covid–19 following Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination

Some said to be infected after the second jab

Sligo News File

More than 12,000 Israeli’s have tested positive for Covid-19 after being inoculated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, media outlets have reported

Accounts attributed to the Israeli Health Ministry report that 6.6 percent of 189,000 vaccinated for the coronavirus later tested positive for the virus. Some 69 of them are said to have been people who had been inoculated for the second time.

Reports state that the majority were seemingly infected soon after being administered the first of the two-part vaccine. This is a period when the vaccination isn’t expected to have yet taken effect. However, it’s stated that 1,410 tested positive two weeks after the first jab when limited immunity should have occurred.

Pfizer is reported to have said that a spike in immunity occurs between Day 15 and Day 21 after the first vaccination when its effectiveness increases from 52% to 89%.

Israel’s government advisor on coronavirus Professor Nachman Ash is stated by i24 NewsTV to have told Army Radio that the first dose was “less effective than we thought” and “lower than (the data) presented by Pfizer.”

However, it adds that current data suggests “two doses of the vaccine still offer 95 percent protection against Covid-19.  



Ballina and Area People – another captivating work from the pen of distinguished writer and historian Terry Reilly

Engrossing production takes readers on a journey of discovery with compelling and thought-provoking volume

Page after page of enrapturing detail

Sligo News File 

Fresh from the publishers, Ballina and Area People is yet another captivating work from the pen of distinguished writer and historian, Terry Reilly. Full of intrigue, the author – renowned for his numerous and engrossing productions on the history of Ballina and its region –  this time takes readers on a journey of discovery with a compelling and thought-provoking volume they will find hard to put down.

Fascinating chapters focus on such as the ‘disappearance’ of Ballina Stephenites’ greatest ever captain; the life and place of the Mayo ancestors of US President-elect, Joe Biden, and the famed Jim Donnelly, coach to famous European soccer teams.

Page after page is packed full of enrapturing detail:

 Could Alexander Fleming have made his discovery without the help of his Kilfian-born wife, Sarah McElroy?

Who is a much-decorated US songwriter and Grand Ole Opry Hall of Famer, Rory Bourke?

What Mayo man served late-night drinks to Winston Churchill’s daughter, Sarah?

Who was Mayo’s most outstanding all-round athlete?

Rosary priest Fr Patrick Peyton and helping hand from US CIA

The area’s great missionaries and Robben Island anecdote

What Ballina man was a  pioneer in abolishing slavery in California

And that’s not the half of it….

It’s a limited edition, hardcover, price 20 euro, with an illuminating bookmarker.

Amongst those featured are: 

President Joe Biden, 46th President of the USA; Rory Bourke, top songwriter in the USA;

Jackie Clarke and his truly amazing collection; Cyril Collins, prime enhancer of Belleek Wood; Andy Corcoran, great Stephenite captain, lost and now found; Jim Donnelly, extraordinary footballer and international coach; Monsignor Fachtna Joseph Harte, builder of beautiful Basilica; Dick Hearns, athlete, footballer, boxer, trainer; Patrick Hennigan and friends in WWI trenches (amended to Bravery in WW1 & India); Pat Herbert, collector of radio oddities and acquaintance of Winston Churchill’s daughter; Richard M. Hooley, theatrical entrepreneur in the US + Jack Cunningham and Paddy Stephens; Dr Kathleen Lynn, her role in 1916 Rising and children’s hospital; John McDonnell, most successful ever US college athletics coach; Sarah McElroy, the woman behind Sir Alexander Fleming;  Sr Mary McNulty and others on mission fields; Arthur Muffeny, one of Ballina’s greatest campaigners; Fr Patrick Peyton, Rosary Crusader, preached to over 28 million; Sr Alphonsus Preston, legendary matron Ballina Hospital; Jimmy Ralph, one of nature’s loveable  gentlemen; President Mary Robinson, Ireland’s first woman president; PJ Ruttledge, freedom fighter and Government Minister; William Joyce Sewell, decorated US Civil War hero; William E Shannon, leading abolitionist in California; Leslie Stuart, another famous musical figure; William Vincent and Eliza Wallace,  Rock Stars of the 19 century; and  Edward Whelan, Father of Canadian Confederation. 

Signed copies of this limited hardcover edition available online from author (click on Bookstore) and

Outlets include Easons, and Ernie Caffrey, Garden Street, Ballina,  Jackie Clarke Collection,  Ballina Tourist Office, Mayo Books, Castle Street, Castebar, etc.  For further details email  Price 20 euro.

Terry Reilly is author of Mayo’s Forgotten Famine Girls, Sent to Australia 1848-50, the central character in the book is Winnie Nealis who was born in Skreen, Co Sligo and ended up in Ballina Workhouse before being sent to Australia. Limited copies are still available. Other books by the author include Dear Old Ballina, On A Wing and a Prayer (Monsignor Horan and the building of Knock Airport), Amazing Mayo Stories, Ballina, One Town, Three Wars & More.