Sinn Fein are to pick their candidate for the next general election at a selection convention in the Southern Hotel in Sligo on Sunday.
Outgoing party constituency TD, Michael Colreavy has announced that he will not be contesting the election.
Reportedly in the field for nomination is Sinn Fein councillor Martin Kenny, a member of Leitrim County Council for the past 11 years. He has already contested previous general elections and the Roscommon/South Leitrim by-election last year.
A second candidate said to be seeking nomination is former member of the now defunct Sligo Borough Council, Chris MacManus.
‘Mayo political strategy meeting looks to forge a new shape in Irish politics from the reaches of the west to serve the people’
“Last night, Thursday February 26th, saw a meeting held in Ballina Manor Hotel which brings together grassroots community groups, activist groups, ordinary private citizens and trade unions.
“The meeting was held to continue the initial steps laid in a meeting with Michael Fitzmaurice (Ind. TD), whereby solid pathways towards new, solid, accountable & positively democratic representation, working on behalf of the ordinary people of this county are to be carved out.
“Present at the meeting were representatives from Castlebar, Ballyhaunis, Crossmolina, Killala, Foxford, Ballina and Bonniconlon. Groups represented at the meeting were: National Citizens Movement (Mayo), Land League West, People Before Profit (Mayo), Integrity Ireland, Moy Valley Protection Ltd., & ordinary private citizens of Mayo.
“The discussions were positive, constructive and people-centred. No vested interests are entertained and the focus is on the healing of a still-broken Ireland, from the community outward.
“The fallacy of, and failed ideologies that go hand in hand with, trickle-down economics are now commonly realized and the good people of Mayo have increasingly engaged with being part of the solution so as no longer to be faced with the problems, rather the solutions and resolutions. Some of those problems being, yet not limited to: forced regressive taxation imposed year after year; failed debt-driven economic models and associated austerity; banking-centric eviction processes whereby the person and/or the family is no longer treated as inviolable; the death of political accountability; TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and what it means to Irish society; corruption of the judiciary, the Garda Siochana and politics itself.
“A hot topic was the new #1Yi – 1 Year Initiative. I will let you manage the research here, but in a nutshell, #1Yi is an effort to change ONE single but crucial aspect of Irish democracy which empowers the people and returns accountability to the people again through people-initiated referenda. For more information on the initiative, check out http://www.1yi.ie
“A burgeoning set of new ideas are being born, not just in Mayo, but in every county in this country, and we are glad to be involved in the shaping of a new future for the people and by the people of the nation. A clear message has been drawn together and is now going to be repeated; and since our Fine Gael and Labour government are so vehement in their supposed practice of having ‘listened to the people’ [sic], we shall now see how they weigh the upcoming political and election storm that is brewing up to hit them from every possible angle in the coming months.”
‘Will not be precluded from the Capital Acquisitions Tax agricultural Relief’
Sligo News File Online.
Today in the Seanad, Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly asked the Minister of State Simon Harris to discuss the flexibility arrangements that will be put in place by the Revenue Commissioners for the application of Section 82 of the Finance Bill for members of the diaspora returning home to farm.
Senator Reilly said:
“After highlighting this issue during the passage of the Finance Bill late last year, I welcome the Minister’s comments today that the Revenue Commissioners have made provision for members of the diaspora to avail of Capital Acquisitions Tax agricultural Relief, should they wish to return home to farm.
“The reason I put this issue to the Minister of State was to gain clarity on some concerns expressed to me by people in the Cavan/Monaghan area during the passage of the Finance Bill. At the time, Sinn Féin had put an amendment to the Bill seeking to allay the concerns of these people that an individual who inherits agricultural property while living abroad and who wants to actively farm that property will not qualify for capital acquisitions tax agricultural relief, because he or she may not be able to return home for some time in order to do so.
“There is real concern in rural areas for the position of intended inheritors who plan to take over the farming enterprise but were, and still are, forced to find work in the United States, Australia or New Zealand because there are no employment opportunities at home. The requirement is that 50% of the farmer’s time should be spent actively working on the farm. The option of 50% off-farm work has not been available to countless thousands of young people from a traditional farming background for the past decade, in particular. The provision in the Bill as it stands means that many of these people will not be able to take up active farming immediately.
“It is of the utmost importance that provisions were made for members of the diaspora who are returning home to farm.
“I am satisfied that today I have obtained a concrete answer for our emigrants returning to farm the land. I am pleased to see that Section 3.7 of the Revenue Commissioners Guide to Farm Tax Measures in the Finance Act 2014 allows such flexibility that members of the diaspora, who may have had to emigrate for economic reasons, will not be precluded from the relief.”
‘Varadkar more content sitting back and giving running commentary, rather than addressing the issues’
‘Lurching from one crisis to the next, all the while telling the public the situation will get worse before it gets better’
‘Fair Deal crisis has escalated to point older people are waiting almost 3 months for a bed in a nursing home, overcrowding has reached levels never seen before and waiting lists have spiralled out of all control.
Sligo News File Online
Fianna Fáil Senator Marc Mac Sharry has called on the Health Minister to wake up to his responsibilities and take charge of the health system. The Sligo based Senator made the comments following Minister Leo Varadkar’s latest media appearance, where he once again gave a running commentary about the problems within the system, without proposing any concrete plans to fix them.
Senator Mac Sharry stated, “It’s becoming ever more obvious that Minister Varadkar is more content sitting back and giving a running commentary on the health service, rather than setting about addressing the issues and finding solutions to fix the problems.
“Since being appointed as Health Minister last summer, Leo Vardakar has found himself lurching from one crisis to the next, all the while telling the public that the situation will get worse before it gets better. It is completely unacceptable for a Minister to shirk his responsibilities in this way, when he is the very person who can implement the changes needed.
“Under Minister Varadkar’s watch we have seen the Fair Deal crisis escalate to a point whereby older people are waiting almost 3 months for a bed in a nursing home, overcrowding has reached levels never seen before and waiting lists have spiralled out of all control. The Minister has blatantly ignored warnings from my party, health unions and the former chairman of the Emergency Department Taskforce Tony O’Connell about the gravity of these situations and has blamed a ‘dysfunctional’ health system for the deterioration in services.
Speaking during a Fianna Fáil Private Members motion on health in the Seanad, Senator Mac Sharry called on the Minister to come up with more imaginative solutions to deal with the problems facing him.
He stated, “Minister Varadkar needs to begin thinking outside the box. The government could explore the possibility of abolishing the means test on the Carers’ Allowance, which together with other supports could provide a solution to the inordinate delays in hospital discharges for ill, elderly and disabled people, while also helping to alleviate the exceptionally high waiting lists for the Fair Deal scheme. The crisis demands initiative and innovation. The ‘worse before better’ rhetoric is an abdication of responsibility.
“We need to see less spin and more action from Minister Varadkar. It is increasingly clear that his main goal is to get to the next General Election without rocking the boat. This is not an acceptable position; it is a total betrayal of the voters who were promised positive change in the health system”.
Fine Gael TD for Sligo-Leitrim, Tony McLoughlin, has welcomed the recent commitments he has received from the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly T.D., that the Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People or People with a Disability will not only be reintroduced in 2015, but that they will also be increased by 10% by the Department.
“This increase in Government funding for this scheme in 2015 is very much welcomed”, stated Deputy McLoughlin.
“I asked Minister Kelly, via Parliamentary Question last week, that in view of the increasing demand for access to the housing adaptation grant from many people in my constituency during 2014, what plans were in place to reintroduce the scheme in 2015 and if he would make a statement on the matter.
“He outlined to me in his reply that three separate schemes would be available to the public in 2015. They are: The Housing Aid for Older People Scheme, the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with Disabilities and the Mobility Aids Grant Scheme, all of which will be administered by Sligo County Council.
“During 2014 alone, €654,876 in grant assistance was made available to people in Co. Sligo and I want to see this increased further in 2015 as these grants often make the difference between people remaining in their homes on not” concluded Deputy McLoughlin.
‘Fine Gael/Labour Government a disaster for rural Ireland’
Sligo News File Online
Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has expressed deep disappointment at the Taoiseach’s refusal to review Bus Éireann’s decision to axe almost 100 routes on its Expressway service or to take measures to ensure the continuation of vital routes.
Raising the issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil today, Mr Adams said the Fine Gael/Labour Government has been a disaster for rural Ireland.
Deputy Adams said:
“Bus Éireann’s decision to axe almost 100 routes on its Expressway service represents a huge setback for the people of rural Ireland. Fifteen communities are now to be left without any direct bus services. Dozens more will experience drastic cuts to vital bus links.
“If these cuts go ahead, the major routes affected – Dublin-to-Cork via Kilkenny, Dublin-to-Waterford via Wexford, and Athlone-to-Westport will see 198 services-a-day fall to 105. This is a direct result of years and years of underfunding of public transport by the present and previous Government.
“The Fine Gael/Labour Government has privatised 10% of Bus Éireann routes. They are making it harder and harder for the company to provide links which are economically and socially essential to rural dwellers.
“Bus Éireann has said very clearly that these routes need Government funding in order to survive. Farming and rural community groups have condemned the latest cuts as a further attack on rural Ireland.
“Considering the vital social and economic benefit of linking the affected towns to major public transport routes, the Government and the Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe must, as a matter of urgency, review the latest drastic decision by Bus Éireann and take whatever measures are necessary to ensure the continuation of these bus services.
“I am very disappointed in the Taoiseach’s response to my raising of this matter today. Citizens have rights. These include the right to public services no matter where they live.
“This Government has been a disaster for rural Ireland. It is cutting their services – rural schools, Garda stations, health services and post offices. Small and medium business have been starved of credit and neglected by the Government so that many rural towns are simply dying on their feet. Rural areas are going to be left without doctors in the coming years.
“This government has consistently made living in rural Ireland more difficult. It has cut rural transport services, including Iarnród Éireann and increased costs for private car users.
“Bus Éireann is an essential part of our public transport network and provides a good quality service to a huge number of towns and villages that would otherwise be isolated. The private model will not work in the interests of rural communities. The outworking of this will mean a less efficient and less reliable service.
“It will mean reduced wages and conditions for employees, an increase in fares and no pension arrangements for workers.
“It is clear from what he said today, that Government is not prepared to adequately fund Bus Éireann and the maintenance of vital public transport links for our small towns and rural communities.”