Cash no longer accepted as payment for driving licences

Cheques and postal orders also ruled out

Sligo News File

Another new problem for the public has been highlighted in a parliamentary question raised by a Clare TD.

Michael McNamara, TD

Last week, Deputy Michael McNamara called on Ryan, the Minister for Transport, to explain why cash payments are being refused at the Ennis office of the National Driving Licence Service in Clare. He put it to Ryan in a written question that this was happening while the motor tax office was accepting cash payments. Both offices, he pointed out, were under the remit of Ryan’s department.

Replying, Ryan stated that this was a matter for the Road Safety Authority, to which he had referred Deputy McNamara’s question for direct reply.

A notice posted on the NDLS website informs applicants for driving licences that payment at NDLS centres can now only be made by Credit/Debit card or Google Pay/Apple Pay or Payzone vouchers. Cash, cheques, postal orders will not be accepted, it states.


‘Prescription shall be valid for one year, rather than an initial proposal of five days’
Sligo News File

Hugh Farrell, ICSA Animal Health and Welfare chairman

ICSA Animal Health & Welfare chairman Hugh Farrell has said that farmers will be relieved that the introduction of a requirement for prescriptions for anti-parasitic treatments and medicated feed for livestock has been deferred until 1 June 2022.

This, he said, was meant to come in on January 28, 2022 “but there has been a concerted effort by ICSA, other farm organisations, and the Licensed Merchants representatives against this.  We have also succeeded in ensuring that the prescription shall be valid for one year, rather than an initial proposal of five days.

“This will entail the implementation of a National Veterinary Prescription System (NVPS) which will be based on an electronic app which will be used by veterinary practitioners. It is being used in response to the EU Veterinary Medicines Regulation 2019/4.”

Mr Farrell was speaking following yesterday’s meeting of the Anti-Parasitic Resistance (APR) Stakeholder Group.

“We have received important clarification that licensed merchants and registered pharmacies as well as vets may continue to sell anti-parasitic treatments such as wormers. ICSA has also got clarification that the vet shall prescribe on the basis of the active ingredient which ensures that all generic products will continue to be available.

“In practice, the vet will issue the prescription and the farmer may choose to buy from the vet or bring the prescription elsewhere. While we continue to believe that this is a sledgehammer measure being used to crack a nut, the combined efforts of farmers and licensed merchants and other suppliers has ensured that we have not ended up with a totally unworkable and restrictive regime.

“Nonetheless, there is now a major onus on the Department to ensure that farmers are made fully aware of the new regime in good time. I am also concerned that the regime must be monitored in terms of its impact on competition and pricing.

“ICSA is also concerned that the electronic app system needs to be trialled and that any potential problems are ironed out before this kicks in.”

Sinn Fein leads Bill to ban protests on abortion

Massive fines, prison and right to damages

Sligo News File

Sinn Fein has launched a Bill to outlaw public demonstrations against abortion.

Co-signed by Fianna Fail, Labour and the Green Party, the Bill provides for objectors to be hit with thousands of euros in fines and jail time. It also establishes a right to damages.

Official figures reveal that more than 13,000 preborn babies were put to death in just two years immediately following government enactment of the abortion Act.

Limerick Sinn Fein Senator Paul Gavan said the Bill was commissioned and drafted by Together for Safety, a campaign group working for legislation that, he told the Senate, would enforce safe access zones around all family planning centres, maternity hospitals and healthcare facilities that provide – or give information on – abortion.

The aim of the legislation is to criminalise all – usually peaceful and often prayerful – gatherings by the public within 100 metres of hospitals and GP offices offering abortion facilities with fines of 3,000 euros, jail sentences and civil recourse to damages.

Gardai and the Department of Health previously insisted that laws to create such so-called “safe access zones” at abortion centres were unnecessary since no issues warranting intervention had arisen.

But opening the debate, Senator Gavan asserted the legislation was needed “without further delay because women and pregnant people are entitled to access essential healthcare including access to termination of pregnancy services in privacy and dignity without being subject to intimidation, harassment and the subtle but deliberate chill effect that anti-choice protesters are bringing to hospital, family planning and GP settings across the State right now.”

Senator Sharon Keoghan disagreed. She said the calls for what she described as “protest prohibition zones, which, let us call a spade a spade, is what they are, do not appear to be coming from the grassroots but almost exclusively from special interest and political advocacy groups. Indeed,” she added, “the Bill itself was gifted to Senator Gavan by a faceless campaign group, Together for Safety. As legislators, we should be extra vigilant when it comes to outsourcing our constitutional duties to pop-up activists.”

Senator Ronan Mullen, Independent, branded the Bill as unconstitutional and not legally necessary. He said “I am afraid this legislation ultimately seeks to demonise people who want to offer positive alternatives to abortion. It is an attempt to deny there is a legitimate human rights argument in favour of protecting the unborn baby as well as a mother’s health and well-being.”

“This legislation is about driving the abortion agenda forward, lest it go backwards, as people wonder about the fact we have an increased number of abortions, with more than 13,000 lives lost since the legislation came in. That is an increase of between 40% and 75%, depending on how one calculates it, on the rate of abortions that would have been taking place, judging by the figures the Government supplied prior to the 2018 referendum.

“There are questions,” he said, “about the failure to guarantee precautionary pain relief where terminations of pregnancy take place in late pregnancy. There is also a refusal to provide that women would be offered an ultrasound as part of the counselling that is available. All of these things could, in a non-coercive and non-deceptive way, offer people real and positive alternatives to abortion in an attempt to save lives and continue to support women. However, all this is to be denied because there is a desire, not just to nail down abortion services and ensure they expand and continue, but to deprive those who would try in any way to offer an alternative point of view or an alternative source of hope and healing.”

Backing the Bill, Senator Lynn Boylan, Sinn Fein said:“women have been treated with disrespect, distrust and disdain since the founding of the State.” She stated the Bill was endorsed by the Abortion Rights Campaign, Ailbhe Smyth, Alliance for Choice, Amnesty Ireland, Clare ARC, Clare Women’s Network, Disabled Women Ireland, Donegal ARC, Dr. Mary Favier of Doctors for Choice, Dublin well Woman Centre, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Kerry for Choice, Leitrim ARC, Limerick Feminist Network, Limerick Women’s Network, the National Women’s Council of Ireland, the Northside Family Resource Centre, Offaly ARC, Rape Crisis Mid West, Rape Crisis Network of Ireland, Rebels for Choice, Safe Ireland, Sligo Asking for Angela, Tipperary for Choice and West Cork Rebels for Choice. It also enjoys the support of elected representatives in both Houses and from across the political spectrum. I would like to commend my colleague Senator Gavan, who is piloting its progress through the Oireachtas.”

Senator Clifford-Lee: “My colleague, Senator Chambers, and I visited Poland recently. On behalf of the all-party group on sexual and reproductive health and rights, we signed the Warsaw commitment to freedom of expression in Europe, and to the access and support of people’s sexual and reproductive rights.” Kevin Barry, she said, would have been pro-choice.

Senator Martin Conway, Fine Gael, said the termination of pregnancy services were now available in hospitals in this country “but they are not available to the level they should be because medical people are threatened, intimidated and are afraid to provide them because of the backlash from ultra-right, dangerous, fascist groups who think it is appropriate and proper to protest outside hospitals and other healthcare settings.”

Senator Annie Hoey, Labour, said: “only 10% of GPs nationally are providing abortion services at the moment.”

Thanking Sinn Fein for introducing the Bill, Senator Lisa Chambers, Fianna Fail spoke of her trip to Poland with Clifford-Lee on behalf of the all-party Oireachtas group on sexual and reproductive rights. It was, she said, “a surreal experience. One almost forgets how fraught and difficult the campaign was in this country and how it lasted for 35 years. In some ways, Poland reminded me of what Ireland was like 20 years ago. That is how much it has regressed and how scary a place it is to campaign for such issues.”

Stephen Donnelly, Fianna Fail, the Health Minister said it was originally hoped to include provisions on safe access to services in the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018. “However, the Department advised at that time that some complex legal and policy issues had been identified which necessitated further consideration. Prime among these are the constitutional and human rights issues which could be infringed upon should peaceful protest be prohibited. Freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion are fundamental rights in a democratic society. They are fundamental rights in our society. We have significant human rights commitments and obligations, both domestically in the Constitution and of course internationally. This means that there is a delicate balance to be struck in devising new legislative provisions to curtail rights in this area.

“Given the delicate balance that needs to be struck, my officials are currently drafting legislative proposals and consulting other Government Departments and An Garda Síochána to find the best way to provide for safe access. I want this to be expedited and I have made this clear to my officials. I have also had discussions on the matter with the Attorney General. I want to assure the House again that it is my intention to introduce legislative measures as soon as possible.”


COP26’s UK hosts peddle climate misinformation

‘For those who care about facts, it is frustrating to have media-enabled leaders utter absurdities with few holding them to account. Billions of energy-starved people deserve better.’

By Vijay Jayaraj – CO2 Coalition Research Associate

As hosts of the Glasgow COP26 climate conference, U.K. leaders were models for the meeting’s steady stream of misinformation and fear-mongering…

“The clock on the doomsday device is still ticking, but we’ve got a bomb disposal team on site,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “They’re starting to snip the wires – I hope some of the right ones.” If the spectre of catastrophic global warming is not sufficiently scary, how about the image of an explosion?

As for misinformation, Boris claimed that “India (is) keeping a billion tons of carbon out of the atmosphere by switching half its power grid to renewable sources.”

Actually, India is increasing emissions, not reducing them. The country is determined to raise coal production by 50 percent — from 700 million tons to 1 billion tons a year. The country has invested heavily in the coal sector and is asking coal utilities to implement fresh strategies to achieve the new target.

Also, the claim of India’s power grid being 50 percent renewables is misleading. While the total installed renewable capacity is around 40 percent out of the total installed power generation systems in the country, only nine percent of all electricity consumed comes from wind and solar because the so-called green technologies are available much less than are baseload sources. Seventy percent of all electricity comes from coal, followed by hydroelectric and nuclear. Even if wind and solar ever achieve 80 percent of total installed capacity, the actual generation from them would be less than 20 percent.

Also, there is no imminent threat from the climate as Boris so dramatically claims. Certainly not anything thing like a ticking bomb. Antarctica has been colder during the last four years, polar bears have thrived, islands are gaining land mass, and fewer people die from climate disasters than ever before.

Of course, understanding these realities requires unbiased research of data, which seems to be too much of a bother for Boris Johnson. Perhaps, the prime minister’s aides could read him page 256 of the United Nation’s special report, “Global Warming of 1.5°C.”

The report states that if we do nothing on climate, the subsequent theoretical increase of 3.66°C in temperature by the year 2100 will cost a meagre 2.6 percent of the global gross domestic product — a loss that gives no reason to panic nor any justification to declare a climate emergency. And that is assuming U.N. projections are not overstated, which they often are.

To balance the scare tactics of the prime minister, U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak employed alluring cliches to promote the financing of climate policies.  “We’re talking about making a tangible difference to people’s lives,” said the chancellor.  “About cheap, reliable and clean electricity to power schools and hospitals in rural Africa. About better coastal defenses in the Philippines and the pacific islands to protect people from storm surges. About everyone, everywhere having fresher water to drink…cleaner air to breathe.”

Image: Improvement in access to clean water globally Source:

Instead of real-world data, the chancellor uses high-sounding language as poetic musical prelude and endnote to sell his vision of spending money on climate policies for a supposedly better world. He ignores that more people in the world have better access to clean water than ever before in modern history. The share of global population with access to safe drinking water went up from around 60 percent in the year 2000 to around 73 percent in 2020 despite a rapid increase in population and growing groundwater problems in cities.

Western economies — Europe, U.K., and U.S. — that have been dependent on fossil fuels boast some of the cleanest air in the world today. This is because fossil fuels provide the fastest creation of wealth, which can be spent on reducing pollution. Average life expectancy in the world went up from just 45 in 1950 to 71 in recent years. These are all markers of improvement, not degradation.

Image: Global Hurricane Frequency — 12-month running sums. Source:

When it comes to extreme weather events, there has been no increase in the global tropical hurricane frequency, a fact that is conveniently overlooked by leaders like Sunak when they bemoan storms in cyclone-prone regions of the world.

If the chancellor really intends to provide affordable and reliable energy to the poor in Africa, then fossil fuels, nuclear, and hydro are the only probable solutions. Wind and solar are unreliable, and available battery technologies are simply not viable for on-demand baseload.

For those who care about facts, it is frustrating to have media-enabled leaders utter absurdities with few holding them to account. Billions of energy-starved people deserve better.

Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Va., and holds a Master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, England. He resides in Bengaluru, India.

This commentary was first published by Real Clear Energy, November 17, 2021.



‘Under no circumstances should membership of a domestic scheme, run by a domestic semi-state body, be tied to CAP supports’

Sligo News File

ICSA Suckler chairman Ger O’Brien has slammed the decision to make membership of Bord Bia’s Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS) mandatory for those wishing to participate in the proposed new Suckler Carbon Efficiency Scheme.

“ICSA is very clear that membership of any Bord Bia quality assurance scheme must remain a choice for individual farmers. Under no circumstances should membership of a domestic scheme, run by a domestic semi-state body, be tied to CAP supports,” he said.

“The majority of suckler farmers are not members of Bord Bia because it is of no benefit to them. The common practice is to sell cull cows and stores in the marts; they do not – for the most part – sell cattle to factories for slaughter, and therefore do not avail of any Bord Bia quality assurance bonuses.

“The requirement essentially creates a sanction for suckler farmers who don’t want to sign up to Bord Bia. We really must question the Department’s logic around this move; are they intentionally trying to create as many barriers as possible to prevent suckler farmers benefitting from the scheme?

“Suckler farmers are already facing reduced payments because of proposed changes to the scheme going forward. The scheme has also been made more complex. When added to the requirement to be a member of Bord Bia it looks very much like the Department are trying to discourage suckler farmers so much that they want to quit the business.”

Mr O’Brien said the minister made the correct call by removing membership of Bord Bia from the eligibility criteria for participation in the new Sheep Improvement Scheme. “Membership of Bord Bia should not be mandatory to participate in any scheme and I am urging the minister to remove this clause from the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme immediately.”


‘Uproar at meeting’ 

‘Farmers have not been listened to, and the Minister’s mart tour has fooled nobody’

‘The proposals on stocking rate and fertiliser usage are too severe and if you don’t qualify under one, you won’t qualify  under the other’

Sligo News File

Dermot Kelleher, president, Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association

ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has said there was uproar at this week’s meeting of the association’s National Executive as attendees delivered their verdict on the CAP consultation process. “There is a lot anger with the lack of genuine consultation with the farming organisations around CAP. As a result, what we are witnessing is a CAP reform by decree; farmers have not been listened to, and the Minister’s mart tour has fooled nobody,” he said.

Mr Kelleher said members of ICSA, and members of the National Executive in particular, have worked tirelessly to devise a set of CAP proposals that would benefit all sectors. “The cornerstone of ICSA’s proposal is to avail of the option not to utilise CRISS. We have shown that the CRISS method of redistributive income support does not work in an Irish context. It fails in its stated objective of redistributing funds to those who need it the most, or those who are contributing most to the CAP objectives. A far better solution is to use those funds to deliver coupled payments on suckler cows and breeding ewes.

“It is in the minister’s remit to do this; he does not have to implement CRISS. ICSA has demonstrated how a €300/hd suckler payment is possible and how a €35/hd ewe payment is possible – through a combination of a coupled payment and payments from the suckler and sheep schemes. This proposal provides a workable mechanism that succeeds in directing payments towards the lower income sectors in a way that CRISS does not.

“For the beef sector, a Beef Carbon Efficiency Programme as outlined in ICSA’s CAP proposals makes total sense. We have proposed a CAP payment of up to €100/hd for prime beef finished earlier. The minister himself is talking about reducing the age of slaughter but he has no comprehensive plan about how to achieve that. He is mistaken if he thinks that a factory bonus would be an acceptable reward for this measure. Reducing the average slaughter age has the potential to achieve a significant environmental benefit, but it requires the support of a significant CAP payment.

Mr Kelleher also pointed to the fact that the current proposals for the eco-scheme are totally unworkable for a lot of active farmers on productive land. “The Minister says he wants all farmers to be able to do their bit for the environment under the eco-scheme but the reality is that, under the current proposals, a large proportion will be left with no option but to stay out.

The proposals on stocking rate and fertiliser usage are too severe and if you don’t qualify under one, you won’t qualify  under the other.It is not realistic to think that all farmers can effectively do without fertiliser on a large part of their grazing ground unless the plan is to slash Irish exports. On the other hand, many farmers would opt to try to reduce fertiliser but only if the target is workable.

ICSA will meet Department officials in the coming days to try to find a workable solution on the eco-scheme. “What we are being offered at the moment won’t work and this implies a severe cut by stealth. The Minister seems to forget that the eco-scheme money is being funded by a 25% cut to existing payments which farmers can’t afford to lose.

Mr Kelleher said the ICSA plan is the only realistic way of keeping all sectors viable given the budgetary constraints. “Our plan benefits the more than 100,000 lower income suckler, beef, sheep, and tillage farmers. It also benefits the more profitable 18,000 dairy farmers we have by protecting the more vulnerable sectors they rely on so heavily.

“It is not too late to implement this plan, but the Minister now has to quickly respond to the growing farmer anger.”

Another new climate role for Ireland

‘Phasing out world’s oil and gas supplies’

Sligo News File

The people of Ireland are being signed up to yet another climate action role with the announcement of being joined – without public consultation – in some kind of alliance, the goal of which is the phasing out oil and gas supplies worldwide.

Thankfully, only a few countries have hitched a ride on the plan.

Ryan, the Green Party, declared that the tiny body, known as The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, launched where he is attending the COP 26 in Scotland this afternoon, “sends a powerful message that we are moving irrevocably away from fossil fuels…”

He said that as a “core member” of the new entity, “Ireland will lead by example and share our experience of legislation so that we can all move to a fossil free future.”

Licence for gold prospecting in Leitrim

TD: ‘We do not need this activity’

Sligo News File

County Leitrim is the only county where planning permission cannot be obtained at the moment because of soil quality, the Dail has heard.

The issue was referenced by Marc MacSharry when he said his colleagues, Deputy Harkin, Deputy Kenny, Deputy Feighan, and he all agreed that Minister Eamon Ryan seemed to be on the verge of granting prospecting licences for gold-mining in the north of Leitrim. 

Addressing Green Party Minister of State Ossian Smyth, he said he (Smyth) would appreciate “it beggars belief that any party in Leinster House, much less the Green Party and its leader, the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Deputy Eamon Ryan, would give prospecting licences to gold-mining companies.

“The company concerned, Flintridge Resources Limited, is,” he said, “connected to another company called Omagh Minerals Limited, which had a licence in this area previously. That company breached the guidelines it was to follow regarding informing landowners of prospecting and liaising with them in that regard. That was not done.

“In addition, as I am sure the Minister of State is well aware, gold mining is the most disruptive form of mining. It can lead to contamination of the water table and it has led to cyanide, zinc and other chemicals entering the water table.”

Smyth said the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications published a notice of intention to grant two mineral prospecting licences in north Leitrim in local newspapers on 7 October 2021. Submissions on these applications were invited until 7 November, which was last Sunday, “and no final decision has yet been taken on whether to grant the two prospecting licences. All valid submissions will be considered before a final decision is made.

However, he pointed out that that mineral exploration was not mining. They were two very different activities, given their potential environmental impacts and scale. “Different regulatory rules apply to each undertaking,” he said. “A prospecting licence relates to the activity of exploring for minerals only and it does not give the licence holder permission to mine. Most prospecting activities are temporary and involve minimal disturbance.

“Mining requires three additional and separate consents. Planning permission must first be obtained from the local authority. This involves a full environmental impact assessment, EIA, and public consultation. The activity of mining then also requires an integrated pollution control, IPC, licence from the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, and that process also involves a full environmental impact assessment and public consultation. In addition, a mining lease or licence is also required, and this is sought from the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications. A mining lease or licence, if granted, is not granted until after planning permission and an IPC licence are in place.”

“All proposed exploration activities are the subject of environmental screening by the Department. This ensures that they will not give rise to any significant adverse effects on the environment. Furthermore, no intrusive prospecting activities, such as drilling or trenching, can be undertaken without the express consent of the landowner or tenant. It is also worth noting that few prospecting licences ever lead to mining.”

“We should be aware,” he said “that there are 432 active prospecting licences which cover about 21% of the country’s land area. It means that 432 teams are actively prospecting, in many cases for gold, in different places all over the country. Some of those sites are within the Deputy’s constituency in Sligo. It is this particular instance in Leitrim that has drawn considerable attention, not just from the Deputy but also from his constituency colleagues, Deputies Harkin and Martin Kenny.

“That may perhaps be because Leitrim, especially north Leitrim, is a place that is particularly environmentally sensitive. Local activist groups there have successfully managed to block fracking in the past and helped to change the national policy on that activity.

“There are also concerns about forestry, with evergreen trees putting people’s homes in the shade, wind farm development and so on. There has therefore been a lot of interest in what will happen. That may be the reason Leitrim is the place where there has been a sudden interest in and a large movement concerned with gold prospecting.”

The Department, he added, “is finalising a draft policy statement on mineral exploration and mining and submissions received as part of a public consultation that concluded on 15 October are being considered. The Government will consider the draft policy statement early next year. It highlights the role of minerals in our everyday lives and the critical role they will play in our transition to net-zero emissions and carbon neutrality by 2050.

“The draft policy recognises that we need to reuse and recycle more minerals and metals, but the document also accepts that this alone will not supply the quantity of minerals required to decarbonise our energy system through solar power, renewable wind energy and batteries. Relying on imported minerals risks these activities being developed in parts of the world where less stringent environmental and human rights standards apply. It also risks our ability to secure the supply of minerals needed to make the green and digital transitions.

MacSharry: “We do not need this activity. We must listen to the will of the people of the area. Dare I say it, if this was happening in Ranelagh or Irishtown, I am sure the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Deputy Eamon Ryan, would not be interested in it going ahead. Equally, if this was occurring in Galway, I am sure the Leas-Cheann Comhairle would not be supporting it, nor indeed would any of us support it.”

Call to name bridge in honour of South Sligo hedge schoolmaster

Michael Brennan was principal at Knocknarrow in 1800s

Sligo News File

A motion before the meeting of the Municipal District of Ballymote and Tubbercurry is asking councillors to ‘commence the process of naming the bridge in the townland between Carrasprawn and Knocknarrow in honour of Michael Brennan, headmaster, who built the first school in the area on his own land in 1820.’

The hedge schoolmaster was the teacher at Knocknarrow from 1820 to 1846. Other teachers were Paddy Kerr, Miss Shannon, Miss Barber, James Ingram and Mrs. Hamilton.

Recently, a majority of Sligo County Council’s elected membership, including Enniscrone-based councillor Joe Queenan, voted down an appeal to name a bridge in Enniscrone in honour of teenage Irish freedom fighter Thomas Howley who died following injuries he suffered after being shot by British forces during an ambush in Ballina. Aged just 18, the young IRA volunteer was a native of Enniscrone. Ballina, however, recognised the valour of the young Enniscrone patriot, and went on to name a street in the town in his memory.

Sinn Fein motion declaring Waterford City & County an ‘LGBT+ Freedom Zone’ passed by councillors

Gay flag to be hoisted on all local authority buildings throughout June

Sligo News File

A motion in the names of Sinn Fein councillors declaring Waterford City and County an LGBT+Freedom Zone has been unanimously passed by the elected membership of the authority.

The council has also undertaken to hoist the gay flag on all its buildings throughout the month of June each year.

Sinn Fein’s motion was passed at the October monthly meeting of the council, and presumably means that the rainbow gay pride  flag will now have equal status with the national flag in Waterford.

Millions in government grants for local radio stations

Funding  granted through Broadcasting Authority of Ireland by Green Party Minister for Tourism and Media

Sligo News File

It’s reported, April 2021, that the government has allocated some 2.5 million euro to local independent radio stations across the country.

The money, according to accounts, has come from the COVID-19 funding initiative, operated by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland following the provision of funding by the Minister for Tourism and Media, Catherine Martin. This is the second such funding programme for the independent commercial radio sector regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below is the list of radio stations recommended for payments:

Minister has received report on horticultural peat

‘Considering it carefully’

Sligo News File

Deputy Peader Toibin, TD

Replying to a Dail question from Deputy Peader Tóibín concerning the crisis facing the Irish horticulture industry “owing to the effective ban on indigenous peat harvesting,” Minister of State Malcolm Noonan said he has received a report from the chair of the Working Group set up to assist in addressing issues around horticultural peat for domestic purposes on 20 October. “I am considering the report carefully with a view to publishing it in due course…,” he added.

Last month, the Irish Independent reported that Department of Agriculture data it obtained “shows that between January and July this year a total of 39,443t of peat (to the value of €6.7m) was imported into Ireland, this compares to 10,437t of peat (to a value of €3.2m) imported over the 12-month period of 2020 – marking an almost 300pc increase.

“The countries of origin for the peat imported up to July this year include: Northern Ireland (36,714t), the Netherlands (1,112t), Great Britain (901t), Germany (415t), Lithuania (214t), Ukraine (55t), Belarus (22t), plus 9t imported from an unknown non-EU country.”

It states that the Department “also confirmed that no phytosanitary checks were carried out on the imports to certify that the peat was free from harmful pests and diseases as ‘no such requirement’ on the movement of peat exists within the EU.”


‘30% reduction in emissions potentially means about a €3.8 billion hit for the rural economy, based on the KPMG analysis’

‘Any Government plans to cut back the national herd will be strongly resisted’

Sligo News File

Dermot Kelleher, president. Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association

ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has described the sectoral emissions reduction targets for agriculture as “incredibly challenging, and they carry a significant risk of doing serious damage to the economy outside of Dublin. We must get the balance right between our vital national interests and our obligations on climate change.”

He said: “Farmers are willing to play their part in the climate change challenge. But we need balance in this strategy. Ireland should strive to move in line with its EU partners, not faster and not slower. We also need to do what every other country is doing which is to have equal regard to its own vital national interests.

“For rural Ireland, agriculture is a vital national interest, and the target of up to 30% reduction in emissions potentially means about a €3.8 billion hit for the rural economy, based on the KPMG analysis (commissioned by the Farmers Journal). This is because the technology as it stands at present will not be sufficient and that implies cuts to the national herd.

“If every farmer in the country takes up the current technologies on manure, fertiliser, and potentially feed additives we might get to 18% (according to the KPMG study) but this will be a very big ask given that for many of these farmers, this will imply a significant cost that won’t be recovered either in efficiencies or in the marketplace.

“If we cut the national herd to outsource the emissions to other countries such as Brazil, we are effectively opting for a lose/lose policy where we undermine our own agricultural sector but actually do nothing to decrease global emissions. 

“The danger is that if we try to enforce lose/lose policies, we are simply undermining the credibility of climate action. We therefore have to look at better and quicker engagement with the farming sector and the wider industry to see where we can find win/win policies. 

“While there are some references to doing more with renewable energy plans in the fields of biofuels and biogas, the reality is that government and the EU has prevaricated far too much on renewables.  Up to now, the lack of ambition on solar energy, anaerobic digesters for renewable gas and the ongoing EU confusion over biofuels all demonstrate a lack of real ambition to deliver positive climate outcomes that can also benefit farmers and rural communities. It remains to be seen whether today’s announcement will see transformative change on renewables.

“It is absolutely pointless to talk about ‘Just Transition’ or even to set up a ‘Just Transition’ commission when the fact is that there has been no real engagement about how farmers can benefit from doing things differently or better. Enforcing cuts and driving people out of business just won’t cut it. There has been no just transition for the peat sector, but we are now importing peat from eastern Europe. This is an example of a lose/lose policy where ‘just transition’ is a meaningless sound bite.

“There are things that can be done to reduce emissions from the national herd such as finishing cattle earlier. But the ICSA proposal to use CAP funds to support farmers who deliver on this has so far been ignored by Government.

“Ireland’s farmers have invested huge sums of money to improve their beef and dairy businesses, and this has been of immense benefit to this country, particularly in the aftermath of the financial crash. Any Government plans to cut back the national herd will be strongly resisted,” concluded Mr Kelleher. 

Ryan for Scotland

Second Covid-19 test proves negative

Sligo News File

Ryan, the Green Party Leader, is headed for Scotland, after all.

According to reports, he was hit with the Covid-19 virus but tests a day or so later were negative.

Meanwhile, the country has been confronted with climate demonstrations, most of them small and populated largely by kids and young adults led to believe that the end of the world is nigh.

Demonstrations of this kind are, of course, nothing new, and are by and large ignored by the public, especially outside the cities

So, what of the government climate plan? Yes, it’s understood only part of it has been revealed, this with a price tag of €125 billion for taxpayers to shoulder.

However, prominent Irish climate expert Professor Ray Bates has put the actual cost of the package at €20 billion a year over the ten years life of the plan, a figure the government has, it would seem, backed away from disclosing out of fear of a public backlash against the programme.

Even at the stated €125 billion the financial load being dropped on the people is shocking in scale, more particularly so for rural dwellers whose economy, the mainstay of which is the farming industry, could be toppled off the rails. The rural scene has already been gravely undermined by the massive closure of bank branches and post office outlets across the countryside.

Objections are being voiced but all too many of them still appear to feel that there is a climate emergency, this despite the fact many claims surrounding the climate, or climate change, are nothing more than fear fuelling propaganda of political elites and their hangers on. Prominent climate scientists throughout the world have declared that there is no climate emergency whatsoever. In a video interview referenced on the Sligo News File website a few weeks ago, Professor Bates, one of the world’s leading experts in the field of climate research, has even questioned the validity of the UNIPCC report with regard to warming of the climate. This is the report politicians and elites jetting into Scotland for what has been labeled the COP 26 conference are relying on to pile on pressure for the massive taxation of the people in order to create a fund of billions of euro a year for transfer to less developed countries.

Professor Bates has said that he hasn’t been invited onto RTE to comment in the last five years. If opposing views on the climate are not being deliberately censored, why has this world-leading expert been excluded and is the public not now entitled to hear his views on the government’s climate action plan?

The government and their fellow travellers in Ireland are taking people for a ride to become the first state in the world to ban everything from stoves in the kitchen to cars, trucks, tractors, indeed, just about everything on which the progress and security of the people has been built. The country is being turned on its head. And a no less deeply troubling reality is that virtually the entire Oireachtas is now consumed with advancing the government’s potentially catastrophic climate agenda in one form or another.

There is next to no regard for the traumatising impact it is having, most particularly on children who now wake up dreading their generation may be the one which will see the planet explode in a ball of fire. Psychologists recently speaking with The Telegraph said a rising number of kids and young adults are being treated with psychiatric drugs in order to reduce the emotional stress and exhaustion caused by “eco-anxiety,” or, a fervent fear that humans will go extinct.

It’s a damning commentary on what properly should be condemned as scaremongering now being pushed by some pro-climate action sectors and the worries it spells for the future mental health and well-being of populations of currently vulnerable children being daily exposed to the extremist, unsettling propaganda.

Home front news on Covid-19 is that the number of cases is climbing to ever greater levels, all while a government persists with claims things are improving. Cases currently are up at thousands every day. Some 48% of people in intensive care units at present are patients who are fully vaccinated or have received their first vaccine. The pandemic is simply roaring ahead, leaving also a huge death toll in its wake.