Councillor Clarke should look to impact of the property tax on family homes as well as rents on council tenants

Motion highlighting surge in food and energy costs for debate during Sligo council meeting Monday

Sligo News File

Scheduled for debate during the meeting of Sligo County Council on Monday, Cllr. Michael has submitted a motion bemoaning the impact an increased council executive rent is having on council tenants. He notes that energy and food costs have surged by 20% in the last 24 months with no corresponding increase in social welfare payments. Spot on, councillor. But are many of the homeowners hit with a sweeping surge in the Local Property Tax on their dwellings – a tax rate sanctioned by elected members of the council – not similarly affected? Their social welfare payments haven’t been increased either. There is hardship where incomes are limited – money cannot be plucked from the trees. So, Councillor, why not amend the motion to also call for the unfair property tax burden on the homes of hard-pressed  families to be examined and reported on in the same way you want a report on rents to be produced.

More consultation required on anti-parasitic proposals – ICSA

No meaningful talks since last April’

Sligo News File

Hugh Farrell, Chairman, ICSA Health & Welfare committee

ICSA Animal Health & Welfare chair Hugh Farrell has complained that the consultation process regarding anti-parasitic products has collapsed. “The last meeting was in April and since then, no meaningful talks have taken place. The Department has apparently made up its mind that the legitimate concerns of stakeholders are not going to be given any more consideration.

As ICSA has repeatedly argued, we need competition to ensure that farmers have a range of products available at the best possible price. Licensed merchants are an important part of the market and the current proposals are, in our view, anti-competitive.”

“A possible solution could be found if the Veterinary Council was given a role to oversee the sale of anti-parasitics by qualified individuals working in licensed merchants or co-ops. The bottom line is that we need to find a way around this current impasse, and it will not be solved if the Department does not come back to the consultation process.”

The late Patrick Joseph Hanley, Carns

Patrick Joseph Hanley, popularly known as P.J., Carns, Co. Sligo who died recently was held in high regard throughout the West Sligo community.

A member of a popular and widely respected family, P.J. was a son of the Michael John and Margaret  Hanley (nee Rouse) Michael John served for many years as an Independent member of Sligo County Council, a period during which among many other developments, he secured the hard-won provision of a modern vocational school for his native parish of Castleconnor, a major accomplishment. The building was acquired in later years by the North-West Parents and Friends Association and now houses a highly valued  training and employment services resource centre for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

P.J. was predeceased by his beloved wife Josephine, brother, Bernard and niece Carrie.

An uncle of P.J’s, the late Theobald Hanley served as an army Adjutant in Mayo and Sligo districts during the civil war after which he moved to reside in the United States.

P.J. married Josephine (nee Conmy from Culleens)  and they raised a family of five, a daughter Mary and four sons Michael, Padraic, Paul and Damian. Damian sadly passed away in Canada in 2018.

Mary, P.J’s daughter, was one of the three secondary schools students, including Patricia and Colleen McGuinness who witnessed a vision of Our Lady and Saint Bernadette at Carns on the night of 2nd September 1985. A voluntary funded grotto erected close to the spot where the Virgin Mary appeared is today a place of Christian pilgrimage and has been visited by thousands in the thirty-six years since it was opened.

Farming was in P.J’s blood from boyhood. He and Josephine, a warm and gracious lady, were closely involved with the local farming scene and together excelled in various agricultural initiatives on the long-established family holding in Carns. Ever kind and caring, both took a keen interest in community activities, and were always willing to lend a hand to others.

P.J. is survived by his sons Michael, Padraic and Paul, daughter Mary, daughters-in-law, son-in-law, grandchildren, sister, Mary, brothers Michael and Theobald, brother-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces and other relatives in Ireland and abroad.

His remains reposed at Gallagher’s Funeral Home, Bonninconlon and following requiem mass at the Church of St. Joseph, Castleconnor, he was laid to rest at St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Kilglass.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dílis.


Proposed Killala – Enniscrone leisure route may threaten farming life

A joint Mayo – Sligo local authority venture

Sligo News File

More millions of euro are set to be poured into a new Mayo – Sligo greenway if the proposed enterprise is approved.

Informal surveys have been carried out to establish the viability of linking Killala with Enniscrone through Ballina by way of the contemplated development.

The envisaged project  has sparked excitement among some but it’s not as yet sure if farmers whose lands would be severely impacted are jumping with joy at the prospect of the undertaking.

It’s understood that nearly 100 objections have been lodged against the move.

Fears for the safety of people and livestock is a primary concern especially where walkway users would insist on taking dogs with them across the route.

A number of people were killed by cattle while dog walking in the UK this year. According to reports, an 82-year-old man was trampled to death in front of his wife in the Yorkshire dales, in June.

The security of farm property and potential claims for injury involving children straying onto lands is also believed to be a matter of concern.

Earlier this year, Councillor Joe Queenan, who asked for an update on the proposed development was told that Sligo Local Action Group in collaboration with Mayo County Council had submitted an application for funding under the RDP/LEADER Co-operation Programme for a feasibility study and related studies to pursue the potential for an on/off road recreational route to link Enniscrone and Ballina.

The application was approved by the Sligo local action group in December 2020 and would be going to the Mayo LAG in early 2021 for consideration.

Queenan said the project would be exciting for north Mayo/west Sligo, if developed.





Council Honours List – Queenan

County Librarian to be asked to assist

Sligo News File

Local councillors apparently want to confer council honours on persons who have made a contribution to their area. A notice of motion submitted by West Sligo member Joe Queenan asks that the county librarian Donal Tinney be requested to advise councillors on the strategy surrounding the process. The issue is up for debate at the next Tubbercurry-Ballymote municipal district meeting in Tubbercurry on Monday. It’s not clear if the ‘roll of honour’ is to include former public representatives.

The same meeting is scheduled to hear about the public sewerage system in Enniscrone with Queenan seeking to have Irish Water confirm that plant in Carrowhubbock, Enniscrone is “fit.” for purpose.

MacSharry resigns from Fianna Fail Parliamentary Party

‘Will be voting no confidence in Minister Coveney’

Sligo News File

Marc MacSharry TD

Sligo-Leitrim Fianna Fail deputy Marc MacSharry has resigned from the parliamentary party.

His announcement follows the party’s decision to cold-shoulder his request for an internal debate ahead of the imminent Sinn Fein no confidence motion in Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney later today.

In his resignation letter to the Taoiseach Micky Martin, MacSharry said the party’s voting intentions had once again been dictated by Government without debate and the input of the Fianna Fail parliamentary party members.

Stating he was elected to serve “a democratic Republic,” he added he had no option but to resign the Fianna Fail Party whip with immediate effect “and will be voting no confidence in Minister Coveney this evening.”

Death of former Castleconnor resident Noel Rafter in Australia


The passing of former Carragarry native Noel Rafter is mourned by his many friends in Castleconnor.

Noel emigrated to Sydney, Australia where sadly he died last week.

Son of well-known farming couple, the late John and Evelyn Rafter (nee Judge), he is remembered as a popular and respected figure whose visits home on holidays were always welcomed by all who knew him. Noel resided in Australia for a number of years.

Deeply regretted by his beloved wife Margaret, Noel is also survived by a daughter, Alison, son Seamus, daughter-in-law, Rebecca, son-in-law, Matthew, grandchildren, sister Mary Treacy, Ballina, nephews and nieces in Australia and Ireland and other relatives.

His funeral Mass will be held in Pinegrove Cemetery Chapel, Minchinbury, Sydney, on tomorrow, Wednesday, at 1pm Australian time (4am Irish time)

The Mass will be live streamed on:

When you login, you will be asked for Event ID/email, which is:

The password is: XKC9QC

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dílis.


‘Ignore low factory quotes’

Sligo News File

ICSA sheep chairman Sean McNamara has urged farmers to ignore low factory quotes for lambs. “Factories have been trying to talk down lamb price over the past few days, but farmers need to know that €6.30/kg is readily available this morning (Monday, 13 September). 

“Farmers have no reason to accept any less. Farmers also have the option of the mart and this is the best option for lambs that are a bit heavy. Factories are still imposing a weight limit of 21.5kg which is surprising given that the weight limit is normally 22kg from the start of September. Lambs above this will do better in marts.

“Every so often this year factories have overdone price cuts, but they have generally had to row back because lambs are scarce, and demand is good. Farmers need to push for more than the basic quotes.”

Mr McNamara went on to point out that the importation of lambs, both live and dead, is a sure sign that factories cannot keep up with the demand. “I want reassurances from the Department that all imported product is fully monitored and that none of it is being sold as Irish quality assured lamb. It is vital that we have full transparency and a robust inspection process in place.”

Minister urged to prioritise low-income cattle and sheep farmers in next CAP

‘The priority for Minister McConalogue must be to bring CAP payments back home to the active but low-income farmers in the beef, suckler, sheep and tillage sectors – which is where direct payments were originally concentrated’

Sligo News File

Pictured L-R: Minister of State Pippa Hackett, ICSA Rural Development chairman Tim Farrell, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConologue, ICSA president Dermot Kelleher, Minister of State Martin Heydon and ICSA general secretary Eddie Punch

ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has urged Minister McConalogue to do more for low-income cattle, sheep, and tillage farmers as the next CAP is designed.

“ICSA today presented the Minister with a comprehensive and fully costed plan that would ensure CAP payments are directed to those farmers that need them most, and which also crucially meets all the EU Green Deal objectives.”

Speaking following this afternoon’s (in person) meeting with Minister McConalogue and Ministers of State Pippa Hackett and Martin Heydon Mr Kelleher said, “The priority for Minister McConalogue must be to bring CAP payments back home to the active but low-income farmers in the beef, suckler, sheep and tillage sectors – which is where direct payments were originally concentrated. This is achievable through maximising the use of every possible avenue within the CAP framework.

“ICSA pressed the Minister to avail of the full 13% coupled payment option to deliver variable, coupled premiums, that would deliver an extra payment on suckler cows and ewes. On current cow numbers it would add €120/cow for the first 40 cows, and we believe that the BDGP and BEEP payment value can also be increased to deliver an overall total of €300 on the first 40 cows, and €180 thereafter. This eliminates the need for quotas or capping of the suckler herd.

“Similarly, the coupled option could also deliver €16/ewe on the first 250 ewes, and we are seeking a total payment of €35/ewe on the first 250 ewes (adding in the Sheep Welfare Scheme) and €19/ewe thereafter, again with no quotas or capping.”

These variable coupled payments – front-loaded on the first 40 cows and the first 250 ewes – eliminates the need for the CRISS component to be applied when it comes to Ireland. “CRISS is a very inefficient way of targeting supports to those in the lower income sectors that need them most. We believe that ICSA’s proposed targeted variable coupled payments offer a far more precise option to meet the EU’s redistribution requirement.

“For beef finishers ICSA is seeking a beef carbon efficiency payment worth up to €100/head for feeding animals between 12-24 months, up to 150 head. This scheme would be aimed at farmers who undertake a programme designed to deliver more efficient, earlier slaughter of steers, heifers, and bulls, and will involve weighing, dung samples and a target to finish cattle at under 28 months for steers, under 26 months for heifers and under 22 months for young bulls, with higher payments the younger they are finished.”

Other key components of ICSA’s CAP plan are two schemes that would work in tandem – one that gives young farmers a top-up to expand their enterprises, and one which allows older suckler farmers to move away from breeding but not from farming altogether. “Supporting young farmers and facilitating intergenerational transfer must go hand in hand.”

To this end ICSA has proposed a 25% young farmer top-up for suckler cows to a maximum 40 cows (about €30 + €120), for up to five years under the variable suckler cow payment; a 25% top-up for ewes to a maximum 250 ewes (about €4 + €16 for up to five years); a 25% top-up per hectare for up to five years and access to TAMS grants at a rate of 60%. In tandem with this must be an early retirement scheme for suckler farmers aged 55 and over amounting to €100/cow for 5 years to facilitate those young farmers who wish to expand their suckler herds.

“ICSA has also made it very clear to the Minister and his officials that membership of a Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme must not be linked to CAP payments. We are also clear that payments under Pillar 1 should be capped at €66,000, with no loopholes for employed staff.”

Mr Kelleher acknowledged that while the Minister has a complex task in dealing with all the relevant stakeholders, he is optimistic that the ICSA view will be taken on board. “ICSA’s CAP proposals provide the best framework upon which to build the next CAP for Irish farming families, and we are encouraged that these proposals have been well received by the Minister and his senior Department officials.”

Mayo Fianna Fail TD pledges support for Coveney in imminent Sinn Fein no confidence motion

Fianna Fail TD’s who fail to support minister face suspension – claim

Sligo News File

Coveney, it seems will have at least one supporter when a Sinn Fein table motion of no confidence in him comes to be debated in the Dail next week.

Reports indicate that short time Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary has indicated his backing for the minister.

The Taoiseach, it’s reported has warned that Fianna Fail TD’s who refuse or fail to endorse Coveney in the motion of confidence expected to be tabled next week will face suspension.

Coveney is facing opposition calls to step down following the controversy surrounding the appointment of a former government minister to a United Nations role.

Meanwhile, today’s Irish Independent has quoted former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern as saying: Fianna Fáil is in a very bad state. Morale is very low and there doesn’t seem to be a plan.”


Labour Leader ‘profoundly taken aback’ by number of derelict properties in Sligo


Sligo News File

Visiting Sligo yesterday, Labour Party leader Alan Kelly told Ocean FM that he was “profoundly taken aback by the amount of derelict buildings and houses and shop fronts around the place.

“That’s certainly alarming…” he said

Child care also “was a big issue.” He also referenced capacity issue at Sligo University Hospital.

Kelly, remembered as the government minister for the Environment who unsuccessfully fought for the retention of domestic water charges, was in Sligo to meet party members.

Labour doesn’t have either a TD or councillor in Sligo or the constituency.

According to GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rate, the commercial vacancy rate in Sligo last June was 20%, the highest in the country.

Covid has wiped out thousands in Ireland

Sligo hospital fighting to deal with the virus

Sligo News File

More than 5,000 have already been killed by Covid in Ireland. Case numbers are in the thousands with places such as Sligo General reportedly currently battling the disease in multiple wards.

However, it hasn’t deterred the government from lifting restrictions earlier introduced to control the spread of the epidemic. With virtually open season for hotels, restaurants, sports events and tourism, the future now looks to be about survival of the fittest – the economy, it appears, must come first.

Worldwide, case numbers of the virus and variants stand at almost 224 million. Deaths are up on 5 million.

In testing of children in Ireland, more than 1600 primary and secondary schools have reported positive cases since reopening.

Death of former Sligo Council chairman

Member of local authority for more than 30 years

Sligo News File

Promoting Sligo Tourism:
Late Paddy Conway (right) Former Minister John Perry and, back, Ned Kilcullen

Enniscrone native Paddy Conway has sadly passed away. He was 91.

A councillor for more than 32 years from 1967 to 1999 during which he also was chairman of the local authority for a term, he served as well on a number of bodies, including Bord Failte.

A strongly committed and hard working public representative, many held that the affable Fianna Fail figure should have been nominated for membership of the Senate.

Paddy, a true gentleman and Pioneer and non smoker all his life, enriched the life of the community he represented, and remained a warm and ever approachable ambassador for Enniscrone long after stepping down from the local authority

A passionate GAA man, his love of sports also extended to rugby and golf – the latter encouraged by the proximity of his home to the famed Enniscrone Golf Course beside the beach and Killala Bay

Hundreds of tributes flowed in following the announcement of his death at his home at Bartra Enniscrone.

Paddy is survived by his loving wife Breege (nee Reape) daughters Sinead Clancy (Galway) Michelle (Strandhill) Marina, (Enniscrone) Kathleen (Enniscrone) Paula (USA) Aoife (Enniscrone) sons-in-law Ken, Dave, Padraic & Paula’s partner Jason, grandchildren Rian, Ava, Holly, Jack and Emily, brother Fr. Michael and extended Conway and Reape families

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dílis


Worm boosted meat on the way

EU authorises farmers to feed bugs to chickens and pigs

Sligo News File

Fancy a helping of worm-fed meat on your plate? Like it or not, it looks from reports that it’s what the EU apparently wants consumers to chew on as a more sustainable source of protein.

According to news accounts, the EU is authorizing farmers to now feed bugs to their chickens and pigs, a move said to come into effect from this week.

The EU’s food safety watchdog appears to have already ruled that insects are safe for consumption – this includes locusts, crickets, and mealworms.

However, feeding bugs to poultry and livestock rather than directly humans has shown, it’s said, the greatest commercial potential with the market for insects estimated to reach 500,000 tonnes within the next few years.

Insect-based food has long been seen as a part of the solution to cutting the emission of greenhouse gases in food production.

The British Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced a ban on the feeding of mealworms to chickens in 2014. Mealworms are imported and may have come into contact with, or been fed, animal protein which could then potentially pass on disease.