Historian accuses critics of using Mary Robinson Centre as ‘political-academic punchbag’

Slurs like ‘vanity projects’ cheap and below the belt.

‘Project will materialise.’

Sligo News File Online

Historian and author, Terry Reilly has slammed critics of the Ballina-based Mary Robinson Centre, saying that “despite the small-mindedness of certain political and elitist academic/archival interests the project will materialise…”

Historian and author, Terry Reilly.
Historian and author,
Terry Reilly.

The former Western People editor in chief, who is a member of the local Robinson Centre fundraising committee, called as far back as 2012 for such a project to be based in the town in his book, Amazing Mayo Stories.

Commenting on recent attacks, Mr. Reilly said, “it’s a real pity the Mary Robinson centre is being used as a political/academic punchbag.”

“Jackie Clarke gave his collection to Ballina and this year the Collection is expected to clock up in excess of 30,000 visits. Likewise, Mary Robinson has remained loyal to her town; she was invited to go elsewhere with her collection gathered over a lifetime of service: she chose her native town.

“Slurs like ‘vanity projects’ are cheap and below the belt,” he said.

“Sure Dublin would love to have it…and would find the money from

Visiting Somalia...Mary Robinson served as seventh, and first woman, president and United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights
Visiting Somalia…Mary Robinson served as seventh, and first woman, President and United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights

State coffers to house, archive and staff it. The West has been denuded of opportunity over the years. We have to trek to Dublin for everything and pay top whack when we get there. Ballina is not in outer Mongolia.  Ballina is the same distance to Dublin as Dublin is to Ballina.

“It is served by train and bus, and is only 45 minutes from Knock International Airport – the Airport no one in the capital wanted, remember!  Ballina is also the salmon Capital of Ireland, home to one of the country’s longest running summer festivals, and ancestral seat of US Vice-President, Joe Biden.It serves a large section of North Mayo/West Sligo.

“The people who really care about the town and the region know the Mary Robinson Centre will be advantageous in creating jobs and will bring students from all over the world here, apart from other benefits.

Mary Robinson presented with United States Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009.
Mary Robinson presented with United States Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009.

He also noted that “a good share of the money needed is being raised by the Mary Robinson Centre Foundation internationally.

“Despite the small-mindedness of certain political and elitist academic/archival interests,” he said, “the project will materialise and play its part in developing attractions so desperately needed, attractions which would not have been provided by detractors whose interests lie elsewhere.”



ICSA deplores “apparent bullying” of Wallonia over opposition to Canada-EU trade deal

‘Quota for 50,000 tons of beef when Irish farmers seeing beef price in freefall.’

‘Given the uncertainty around Brexit, the last thing we need is more beef being imported.’

Sligo News File Online.

The President of the ICSA has hit out at what he says is “the apparent bullying” of Wallonia because of its opposition to the CETA trade deal between Canada and the EU.

Canada, EU, Trade, Deal
Patrick Kent, President.
ICSA. ‘Huge disappointment over apparent bullying of Wallonia’

Expressing “huge disappointment” over the seeming pressure being placed on the region, Patrick Kent said the outcome is that “Belgium is now accepting that the deal will go ahead.”

He said:

“Wallonia raised very important points about how the deal is damaging to EU beef farmers and also correctly challenged the investor dispute mechanism.

“CETA will involve a quota for 50,000 tons of beef at a time when Irish farmers are seeing beef price in freefall. Given the uncertainty around Brexit, the last thing we need is more beef being imported. It is clear that the EU market does not have the capacity to absorb it and it will lead to further downward pressure on price.

“Irish beef farmers are under immense pressure, and the implementation of CETA will further undermine their viability.

Protests against CETA and TIPP in Germany
Protests against CETA and TIPP in Germany

“Worse, perhaps, is that CETA is a blueprint for a TTIP deal with the USA. It beggars belief that the EU would stubbornly press ahead with these trade deals that offer absolutely no upside to the EU beef farming sector when there is so much uncertainty about markets.”

The ICSA “is now again calling for all trade deal negotiations to be frozen until such time as Brexit negotiations are concluded, and the nature of the EU/UK trading arrangements are clear.

“It must be remembered that the UK could also do another, separate deal with Canada, USA or South America which would multiply the impact on our beef exporting sector.

“The Irish government needs to immediately wake up to the threat from all of these trade deals and instead of criticising Wallonia, we should have listened to them,” he said.

Canada, EU, Beef Trade

Settle teachers strike in week ‘or else chaos’ warning

‘Schools will be forced to shut permanently.’

Sligo News File Online.

There will be ‘chaos’ unless the ASTI dispute is resolved within a week.

ASTI StrikeFianna Fail TD Marc MacSharry has also warned that schools across the country “will be forced to shut permanently.”

Unless the strike is settled, he said, the largest boys’ secondary school in Connaught, Summerhill College, will not be able to re-open after midterm.

He said parents were informed it would take at least six weeks to arrange “civilian” support to cover for union members of the union withdrawing substitution service.

ASTI Strike“This delay would force the school, and I suspect other schools, to stay closed in order to protect the welfare of the pupils.”

He said the net effect of what he called “Minister Bruton’s laissez-faire approach” to the dispute “is schools, such as Summerhill College, closing their doors and not knowing when they will reopen.

“It’s simply not acceptable with thousands of students in Sligo and Leitrim in the process of preparing for their State Examinations.

“The Department and the Union have one week to find a solution, otherwise schools across the region will remain closed,” he warned.

No more Government aid for debt-ridden Sligo County Council.

Council agreed on Financial Plan only a year ago.

‘Already receiving million euros yearly to cut deficit.’

Sligo News File Online.

The Government has apparently again rebuffed calls to help Sligo County Council out of its sweeping debt pile.

Sligo County Council
Fianna Fail TD Marc MacSharry.

According to accounts, the council has debts of around €120 million.

During a recent Dail debate, Local Government Minister, Simon Coveney referenced a financial plan the authority had signed up to.

He said this had been accepted by the council and his department only a year ago. Under it, his department agreed to give Sligo an extra €1 million each year over a five-year period.

In heated exchanges, the minister branded local Fianna Fail TD, Marc MacSharry “a joke.”

Following a meeting with Coveney on Thursday, MacSharry issued a statement saying the minister’s department had “placed a stranglehold on Sligo County Council.”

Sligo County Council
Minister for Local Government Simon Coveney.

He said the financial plan which the council was being “forced” to follow “is deeply unfair and is curtailing essential services.”

He had “made it clear” to Coveney that “the current timeframe and targets cannot be met.

“There are a number of imminent capital projects, including the upgrade of O’Connell Street and the construction of social housing units, which cannot be deferred.”

He said the council must be permitted to recruit staff “to ensure these important projects are progressed without delay.”

Simplify sheep scheme rules – ICSA

Category A options ‘too limiting for hill farmers.’

Welcome for extension of carbon navigator deadline.

Sligo News File Online.

The ICSA has called on the Department of Agriculture to curtail ‘bureaucracy’ surrounding the operation of the new sheep scheme.

John Brooks, Chairman,
ICSA National Sheep Committee

A particular concern is Category A where the ICSA believes the “options are too limiting particularly for hill farmers,” said the Chairman of the association’s Sheep Committee, John Brooks.

Commenting after the Association met with officials of the department, Mr. Brooks said that keeping bureaucracy to the absolute minimum was essential to attracting “maximum uptake.”

He said, “…going forward with the scheme we will be lobbying for a flexible approach to be taken, particularly with regard to new entrants and young farmers.

“The ICSA delegation,” he added, “pressed upon the department the need to ensure that payments due under the scheme would be made in full and on time in the 2017 calendar year.”

Lowering Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.

Dermot Kelleher, Chairman of the ICSA Suckler Committee, has welcomed the department’s decision extending the BDGP carbon navigator deadline by a month.

Dermot Kelleher,
Chairman, ICSA Suckler Committee

He said both farmers and advisors “have been under enormous pressure as the deadline loomed so this move will be appreciated by many.

“Farmers have invested a lot in the scheme to date, so this extension was critical to ensure that as much of the available funds as possible is ultimately drawn down.

“The new deadline of 30 November,” he said, “will give everyone involved in the scheme a better opportunity, given the difficulties, to comply with all the requirements.”

Government delays fracking Bill.

Bill blocked until after June 2017, at the earliest.

Sligo News File Online.

The Fine Gael-Fianna Fail Partnership is set to stall a Bill banning fracking in Ireland.

BillTabled by Fine Gael TD Tony McLoughlin the measure provides for the prohibition of the exploration and extraction of petroleum from shale rock, tight sands and coal seams in the Irish onshore and Ireland’s internal waters.

It is scheduled for discussion this evening.

BillHowever, McLoughlin says the Government has proposed an amendment delaying its passage to Committee stage until June 2017.

Martin Kenny, Sinn Fein has described the amendment as “sinister and deceitful.”

Marc MacSharry, Fianna Fail, says he will oppose the move.

Government announces move to renovate derelict council houses.

Sligo allocated €17,000 to make rundown structures inhabitable.

Sligo News File Online

The Government has announced funding for the rehabilitation of abandoned old local authority houses to accommodate families evicted from their homes.

Some 140 derelict or disused Sligo structures are to be restored for which €17,000 per structure has been granted.

Across the country, families are being evicted from their homes on an ever increasing scale. Sleeping on the streets has become the norm for many people and their children. Scandalously, it’s happening after the The government refused to accept billions in back taxes from the Apple corporation – a figure the EU ruled is due to Ireland – which could have ended the suffering being endured by so many.

Local Fine Gael TD, Tony McLoughlin says that overhauling derelict or vacant dwellings is “a key plank of Minister Simon Coveney’s radical new ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ housing plan.”

TDs step up for salary boost

Additional €14,000 for Sligo Deputy McLoughlin.

Sligo News File Online

Ballina-based Dara Calleary has reportedly said he will accept the

Dara Calleary TD, Fianna Fail, Mayo.
Dara Calleary TD,
Fianna Fail, Mayo.

recently announced €5,000 salary boost for TDs.

He is also said to have stated that most Fianna Fail Deputies will take the award.

So far, there has been no indication from Sligo’s Oireachtas members Marc MacSharry, Eamon Scanlon or Tony McLoughlin that they have refused the top up.

Tony McLoughlin TD, Fine Gael Sligo-Leitrim.
Tony McLoughlin TD, Fine Gael Sligo-Leitrim.

McLoughlin (67) is also seeing his Dail salary bumped up by a further €14,000 following his appointment as assistant party chief whip.

He also receives €8,740 as a member of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly.

TDs are currently on a salary of €87,258.