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Roscommon TD to Taoiseach: ‘When will we see real jobs coming to the regions?’

‘700 people living in County Roscommon must get on a train or a bus or into a car everyday and travel to Dublin for work.’

Sligo News File

A local TD has challenged the Taoiseach about the lack of jobs in the West claiming that hundreds of workers have to get up at 4.00 am to travel from Roscommon for employment in Dublin.

Describing the situation as “shocking,” Deputy Eugene Murphy reminded the Varadkar that recent Central Statistics Office figures show that “700 people living in County Roscommon must get on a train or a bus or into a car everyday and travel to Dublin for work.”

He said: “We are over 20 months into this Government, but very little has happened on regional development.

Eugene Murphy TD,
Strokestown

“The Taoiseach talks about it the whole time and constantly says it will happen, but it is not happening in our county or many other rural
counties.

“When will we see real jobs coming to the regions?” he asked.

“These people have to get up at 4 o’clock and 4.30 in the morning. I
know the Taoiseach likes people who get up early in the morning, but if they could get up at 7 o’clock or 8 o’clock; it might be better for them.”

Varadkar said that unemployment had fallen and the number of jobs
had increased “in every county in Ireland; 80% of the new jobs created in the past year, or so were created outside the Dublin area.

“Obviously, people make decisions for many different reasons. I
appreciate it is a very long way to travel from Roscommon to Dublin,
but there are people in other rural counties who choose to commute
and who want to live in rural areas and commute to work.

“One cannot assume that if 700 jobs were provided in Roscommon, all these people would necessarily give up their jobs in Dublin and take up the jobs in Roscommon,” he said.

Government Housing Plan – 55 to a single dwelling

Place closed in 2011.

Sligo News File.

The Dail has been told plans are afoot to move 55 migrants into a single house in Killarney.

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae who highlighted  the apparent proposal

Danny Healy-Rae TD

said there has been “no consultation with the local authority or the Garda, whose station is on the same road.

“There are community schools and national schools, including the Presentation convent school and St. Brendan’s College, on the same road.

“Some 55 men are being put into one house.”

Healy-Rae said there was an uproar in the Dail “after a television programme which highlighted large numbers of people staying in a single house in Dublin.”

Remarking that Deputy Stanton, the Minister of State with responsibility for Immigration and Integration was present, Healy-Rae asked: “Will he consult with the community, the Garda and the local authority or will he take this high-handed action without giving local people say in what is happening?”

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan stated the residence referred to by Healy-Rae was closed in 2011.

“Consideration is now being given to re-opening it,” he said.

“I do not have details on the local issues involved, but I will be happy to convey the Deputy’s concerns that there should be an engagement with local public representatives.”

Healy-Rae: “It does not have capacity for 55 men.”

 

Farmer fury over Government inaction on fodder crisis

‘Chronically low’ fodder levels in border counties.

Resounding demand for the immediate introduction of subsidy and distribution of meal vouchers to worst affected.

Sligo News File.

A strongly supported ICSA meeting in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan on Tuesday night witnessed “huge anger” over the reluctance of the Government to act on calls to roll out a scheme to aid farmers in areas where atrocious weather conditions have wreaked havoc on fodder harvesting.

ICSA president Patrick Kent addressing fodder crisis meeting in Ballyconnell

Commenting on “the anger of those present,” president of the ICSA Patrick Kent said it was clear from the meeting that farmers “are under pressure” and that immediate action is needed on the fodder crisis.

He said, “ICSA has been sourcing fodder from the Southern half of the country to distribute to those most in need. From the information we have gathered tonight, the need for fodder in this region is immense.”

Stressing that the efforts of the association will continue, he said: “a transport subsidy needs to be introduced as a matter of urgency as does a system of distributing meal vouchers to those worst affected.”

ICSA Cavan chairman Hugh Farrell said, “Fodder levels are chronically low due to the atrocious weather conditions we experienced in the border counties during the autumn months.

“It is imperative we get to grips with the situation now.”

He underlined that the mission of the ICSA “is to assist as many local farmers as possible.”

Braving appalling weather conditions, huge regional attendance at ICSA fodder crisis meeting in Cavan

A presentation by nutritionist Emmet Duffy of AW Ennis attracted keen interest. He proposed that the Government should subsidise products “such as alfalfa, lucerne or straw pellets which would be ideal for inclusion in fodder stretcher mixes.

“A subsidy of €50/ton could make a decisive difference. These products can provide an efficient alternative to the high cost of transporting bales which are scarce anyway.”

Mr. Kent observed that “We have to look for smart and efficient solutions which can be delivered at short notice. It’s time for shoulders to be put to the wheel and deliver these practical solutions without delay.”

Michael Davey of Specialist Nutrition pictured with Hugh Farrell, chairman, Cavan ICSA

ICSA calling fodder crisis meeting in Cavan

Pressure on government to provide subsidy for badly hit farmers high on agenda.

Association officials ‘will also be addressing the issue of slurry spreading’

All farmers welcome to attend.


Sligo News File

The ICSA is calling a crisis meeting in Cavan to “explore ways to cope with fodder scarcity and look at alternatives to too much dependency on hay, silage and straw.”

Demands on the government to roll out a subsidy for badly hit farmers is high on the agenda.

ICSA Cavan chairman Hugh Farrell said, “ICSA has pushed the Department of Agriculture for an urgent fodder transport subsidy. We have to get fodder to where it is needed most as a matter of urgency so the issue of subsidised transport needs to be addressed.

“We also need to look at ways of supplementing the fodder we do have in order to make it stretch. To this end, ICSA is also calling for a system of meal vouchers to be introduced to help those most affected.”

“ICSA officials will also be addressing the issue of slurry spreading on the night so I would also encourage anybody affected by that issue to attend also,” he said

Venue for the meeting on next Tuesday 12 December is the Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell where proceedings are scheduled to get underway at 8.00pm.

Guest speakers on the night will be:

Michael Davey
Beef & Dairy Nutritionist with Specialist Nutrition

Emmet Duffy
AW Ennis – Erin Farm Feeds

Adam Woods
Farmers Journal

Patrick Kent
ICSA National President

The meeting is open to all farmers.

For further information, please contact Hugh Farrell, ICSA Cavan

chairman, on 083 4841714 or ICSA office on 057 8662120.

Sligo gardai protesting about ‘not fit for purpose’ condition of local station ordered to resume operations in the building

Management say inspections have shown structure complies with ‘statutory requirements’

TD denounces delay in promised provision of a new garda station as ‘completely farcical’

Sligo News File

Sligo gardai have been ordered to return to the local garda station on Pearse Road from which officers walked out last week citing concerns about health and the safety of the building.

Senior garda management has told the protesting members that inspections by fire services, the HSA and OPW have shown that the structure complies with statutory requirements.

Marc MacSharry, TD, Fianna Fail.

However, the Garda Representative Association say they have not yet been given sight of the findings, and that an earlier independent report which the association itself had commissioned deemed the place “not fit for purpose.”

Fianna Fail TD Marc MacSharry said he had been informed that a tender for the refurbishment of Sligo Garda Station had been issued and works on the building would be complete by the end of September next year.

Commenting after he highlighted issues surrounding the building with the head of HR with An Garda Siochana John Barrett, MacSharry condemned the delay in the promised provision of a new station as “completely farcical.”

He said:

“For two years, I have been calling on the Minister for Justice to outline a timeline for the provision of a new building following a Government commitment back in 2015. Since then there has been virtually no movement on securing a site for the new station and conditions at the Pearse Road building have led to officers staging a protest.

“Ministers Fitzgerald and Flanagan have been stonewalling on the issue for over two years. Despite tabling several questions to the Ministers for Justice and the OPW seeking progress on a new site, the answers were vague, claiming that there would be ‘agreement on the purchase of a site soon’ or that the Department would ‘reach agreement on the purchase shortly.’

Fine Gael Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan TD

“This hands-off approach continued . . . when Minister Charlie Flanagan, despite assuring me in the Dáil that he would be ‘happy to engage’ with me on the issue, subsequently told me that it wasn’t his responsibility to secure a site.

“This constant passing of the buck has to stop. On the one hand, we have a Transport Minister who has secured a commitment on the reopening of a south Dublin Garda station, while on the other we have a Justice Minister who is completely disinterested in the health and safety of officers who are working out of a condemned regional and divisional headquarters in Sligo.

“. . .I questioned the head of HR with An Garda Síochána John Barrett in the Public Accounts Committee about the situation at the station; he confirmed that tenders for €1.25m for the refurbishment of the existing station are due in December and that works are to be completed by the 30th September 2018. He also stated that procurement of the preferred site of the new station beside Summerhill College should continue in tandem with the refurbishment process.

“I would like confirmation from the Justice Minister that this process will be proceeding as outlined by John Barrett this morning. The status quo is not an option,” he added.

Sligo Garda Headquarters.
Protesting gardai ordered to resume operations in building.

 

Sligo-Leitrim has four TDs, Martin Kenny, Sinn Fein, Tony McLoughlin, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail deputies Marc MacSharry and Eamon Scanlon. Scanlon is the Fianna Fail party spokesman for business and job creation.

 

Garda Traffic Corps battered by years of cutbacks

Strength of unit down from a peak of 1200 members to just 631 in 2017.

Sligo News File

Amid reports of proposed changes in the current remit of the Garda Traffic Corps, it’s emerged that the strength of the unit has been massively reduced over the years.

Hundreds of gardai have been pulled from the service since 2012 when the number stood at 931.

Fine Gael Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan TD

Responding to Dail questions on the issue Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan confirmed that just one year on in January 2013, the total had been slashed from 931 to 867.

A year later, 2014, the number was cut yet again, this time to 802.

Seventy-two more gardai were lost to the unit twelve months later, in 2015, leaving the number at this point down to 730.

There were more cuts again in 2016 when the unit, reduced by a further forty-two, dropped to 688.

Currently, the number assigned to the unit – 57 less again than in 2016 – is given as just 631.

At its peak, the Traffic Corps had 1,200 members before Garda frontline policing was battered by massive government cutbacks.

Flanagan said the government “is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime.”

It’s understood that the existing function of the traffic corps is set to be replaced by an operation with a broader remit.

 

ICSA chief slates EU negotiators on Mercosur in Brussels

‘Monumental folly to allow 70,000 tons or more of extra South American beef into the EU when we have no idea what the trading arrangements will be between the UK and Europe.’

Sligo News File

ICSA president Patrick Kent has slammed the EU Commission for “selling out the European beef sector in Mercosur talks” at “the worst possible time due to the uncertainty around markets as a result of Brexit.”

ICSA general secretary Eddie Punch and president Patrick Kent argue strongly against the sellout of beef in the Mercosur trade talks with EU chief negotiator on Mercosur, Sandra Gallina.

Speaking following a meeting with the EU chief Mercosur negotiator Sandra Gallina in Brussels yesterday, Mr Kent explained that Brexit put a huge question mark over the 270,000 tons of beef exported to the UK each year.

He said “It is monumental folly to allow 70,000 tons or more of extra South American beef into the EU at a time when we have no idea what the trading arrangements will be between the UK and Europe.

“Obviously, the importance of trade with the UK is especially significant to Ireland. However, while it may be Ireland’s problem today, it will be Europe’s problem tomorrow because any interference with free trade between Ireland and the UK could lead to some or all of our current 270,000 tons being displaced onto other EU markets.”

The ICSA president, along with ICSA general secretary Eddie Punch, were in attendance at a briefing hosted by Ms.Gallina for all sectors which are interested in Mercosur including car manufacturers, financial services and food and drink. While Gallina accepted that the Irish beef sector was especially sensitive, she admitted that “every effort was being made to do a deal.”

Mr. Kent said “it is clear that the EU is willing to sacrifice the EU beef sector in return for potential gains for the car and financial services sector.

The ICSA, he added “is now calling on the Taoiseach to make a further very strong intervention with the Commission president Jean Claude Juncker on behalf of the beef sector.

“We need to have a strong alliance with France against this deal. It is unacceptable that 100,000 livestock farmers in Ireland will pay a disproportionate price.”

The ICSA also called into question “the coherence of the EU on climate change when this deal will displace local beef with beef imported from thousands of miles away and which is causing destruction of rain forest in South America.

“The emissions from transporting beef from the opposite side of the globe and the destruction of forests are ignored in this trade deal. Similarly, the proposals to import ethanol fly in the face of the EU position on reducing crop based ethanol in Europe. Worst of all is the fact that the EU seem to be content to ignore the appalling breaches of food safety standards that occurred in Brazil earlier this year.

“It is very hard to take the EU seriously when we see such double standards,” said Mr. Kent.

 

Broadband for rural dwellers to be ‘hot desks’ in community centres?

Minister says that many of his constituents ‘do not have phone coverage never mind broadband services.’

Sligo News File.

It appears the nearest many rural dwellers will get to high-speed broadband is at their local community centre.

Questioned today by Fianna Fail Deputy Timmy Dooley, Minister for

Denis Naughton, TD, Independent. Minister for Communications and Climate.

Communications Denis Naughton said he is working with Community Development Minister Michael Ring to provide “hot desks” in rural communities where fibre is located.
“If people cannot have high-speed broadband of 1,000 Mbps in their own home they can have it in their own local community centre…

“We are working with wireless and mobile operators to see how we can exploit the fibre that is already rolled out across the country to improve the existing services that are available, so people have access to a broadband service before they have access to the high-speed broadband service.”

Saying he did not know if Naughton’s office was as inundated as his with people concerned about the issue, Dooley said he “did not intend to offer such a solution to anybody.

“I refer in particular to families where children come home at the weekend from college or with secondary schoolchildren. I do not want to say that they should toddle off to the community centre to find a hotspot to do their homework, assignments and projects. We know that when people are on holidays, they drop in to the local McDonald’s to get access to high-speed broadband. That is fine for a holiday environment, but many people in the 542,000 cohort require broadband to live their lives, do their studies, apply for jobs and in the case of farmers to return information to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. We must address the issue.

“The sooner the Minister sets out dates, the better as it will force others to meet the deadlines. That is his job, and it is the challenge of the companies to adhere to them.”