Excess use to be employed as a device to allow levies to remain.
Sligo News File Online.
Water charges are on the way back. According to what appears to be a backroom deal hammered out between Fine Gael and buddies Fianna Fail, rates will be levied for excess use. By that is meant
consumers will be allowed relatively little volume without charge so that to meet their needs most householders will have to go on to charged for overuse.
In a press release, Sinn Fein states that Fianna Fail has gone from promising water without charge to now plotting for the introduction of levies.
Of course, this kind of thing is nothing new to the Soldiers of Destiny. Years back they brought a hail of water charges down on the shoulders of rural dwellers at the very same time that levies for city and town users had been abolished.
Later, another Fianna Fail-led government prevailed on Sligo County Council to meter the water supplies of its rural customers – and to charge for the meters! It cost millions. The Council also engaged the services of a French water conglomerate to oversee the metering and billing. More millions.
All of the action was targeted against users in rural areas who had put up the money to construct group schemes in their respective areas.
And now people are howling for the return of a Fianna Fail government. Does the electorate seriously believe the present lot will be any different from what has gone before them?
The following is the statement issued by Sinn Fein earlier today:
Sinn Féin spokesperson on water Eoin Ó Broin TD has today accused Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil of cooking up a “backroom deal” on water.
The accusation was made in response to a Sunday Business Post report which suggests that a deal has been concluded on the issue of charging for excess use.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“Next week the Oireachtas Committee on Water will discuss the contentious issue of charging for so-called excess use and the funding of domestic water services.
“While no substantive discussion has taken place on this to date it appears that a back room deal has been cooked up by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
“Today’s report in the Sunday Business Post on the work of the committee suggests that an agreement has been reached on the excess charge.
“If this is the case it will represent yet another u-turn on water by Fianna Fáil. Having promised to scrap water charges they look set to allow the charge to remain.
“While they will claim that most people won’t have to pay, an excess charge will be the thin edge of the wedge for the return of charges for all in the future.
“Sinn Féin is opposed to the introduction of any water charge. There are better ways to conserve water and fairer ways to fund water services.
“A charge for so-called excess water use will cost the taxpayer more than it would raise and will lead to across the board charges in the future.”
The son of retired Sinn Fein councillor Sean MacManus is expected to replace him as a member of Sligo County Council.
MacManus, the elder, stepped down from the council last month.
He retired, it’s understood, with a ‘goodbye’ gratuity of around €53,000.
His son served as a member of the now defunct Sligo Borough Council.
The indications are that the son will be co-opted to the county council next month.
Councillors currently get a salary of nearly €17,000 per year plus various allowances and expenses for what for most is a part-time occupation. Council chairmen, vice chairs, chairs of strategic policy committees and other bodies are paid substantially higher rates. Councillors are also allowed to access social welfare benefits.
Recently, increases of upwards of €3,500 have been announced by the Minister for Local Government, Simon Coveney. The top-up payments are scheduled to kick in from May 2017. Members of local municipal bodies are also to be given a new annual allowance of €1,000 each.
The Local Authority Members Association – LAMA – which
represents councillors has been seeking increases of 40% in the payments. Sligo Fianna Fail councillor Tommy MacSharry, a solicitor, joint PRO of the LAMA officer board 2016.
It’s, meanwhile, reported that the chair of the debt-ridden Sligo council is to travel to the United States for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in March.
Fine Gael member Hubert Keaney will be accompanied by an official of the authority.
Visits of this nature are not thought to generate any material benefit for the area.
Complaints continue to be voiced about the condition of roads in the county.
Potholes are said to be showing in several locations.
The problem is being attributed to a shortage of funds for road maintenance.
Strategically important to the complete surveillance systems envisaged by Foodwise and Harvest 2020.
Shutdown would mean a massive loss of data and delayed response to any outbreak of animal disease in a third of the country.
Sligo News File Online
A local TD has warned that the North West won’t stand for the wind down of Sligo’s veterinary laboratory.
The facility, says Fianna Fail Deputy Marc MacSharry is seen as crucial to the complete surveillance systems envisaged by Foodwise and Harvest 2020.
“A closure would mean a massive loss of data and a delayed response to any outbreak of an animal disease in a third of the country.
“…the people of the North West will not take it.”
Insisting that the laboratory “must be kept open,” he said the maintenance of the operation had been a matter of concern going back several years.
“In 2015 as a Senator I was pursuing the issue of a proposed closure by the then FG/Lab Government of the Sligo Laboratory. Clearly, political expediency with a General Election on the horizon back in 2015 prevented then Minister Coveney from proceeding with their planned closure of the lab.
“Well, an election may not be that far off once again and if FG proceed with this retrograde step in alienating the North West region once again and seriously impeding upon the necessary agricultural support infrastructure not least irreparable endanger biosecurity, disease management and ultimately food quality – the people of the North West will not take it!”
Stating the reasons, he said:
“Sligo is of strategic importance to the complete surveillance systems envisaged by “Foodwise”, “Harvest 2020” and the review group. Our Lab is covering the whole of the North West and, as it showed in a previous survey, is utilised by its customers located closest to it. A closure would mean a massive loss of data and a delayed response to any outbreak of an animal disease in one-third of the country.
“With regard to Health and Safety and Biosecurity concerns, questions have to be answered. Firstly, who determined these and what criteria and data did they apply? Sligo Regional Veterinary Laboratory was refurbished and enhanced only four years ago and is located far enough from any public building (like a school etc.) not to justify these concerns.
“A Collection Service for post mortem is mentioned to replace the local service. The idea was taken from a different EU country i.e. the Netherlands. However, two important aspects were not mentioned. In the Netherlands, the majority of farmers would be full-time farmers and available for the collection service. Also, there would be better infrastructure to make this service function seamlessly. In the North West of Ireland, the majority of farmers are part-time farmers through necessity given small holdings, longer winters and poorer land limiting agricultural activity to grazing, suckling and dairying. They would also rarely be available to give a detailed case history to the collector on behalf of a centralised laboratory in Athlone or elsewhere.
“Without an accurate and up to date history the performing Veterinarian doing Post Mortems will not be able to specify what to look for, unless obvious.
“Important detail may be lost, and there will be diagnostic failures. This impairs the excellence of our Veterinary Laboratory Services and will lead to an impaired surveillance system.
“Collection services will delay the confirmation of any diagnosis. Cross contamination and misshapen carcasses could be another issue arising from that service.
“In addition, a helpline to filter out cases important for a surveillance system in order to deal with an increased caseload will mean the loss of data. Individual cases of zoonosis might be missed because they will not be investigated.
“The Sligo Regional Laboratory is often used to get blood results within 10 hours of cases seen by local Vets. This is very important for a diagnostic approach and results in better Animal Health and Welfare. Diagnosis can be reviewed sooner, and animals retreated, if necessary. Very similar to any outbreak situation. A quicker result will lead to less animal welfare issues because an outbreak can be dealt with sooner.
“The Staff in Sligo Regional Veterinary Laboratory are very dedicated, and the quality of service cannot be increased by quantity of staff members but by dedication. The mentioned necessity of an increase of staff numbers for a functioning Regional Veterinary Laboratory is questionable and looks more like a manufactured reason to justify closure than one which is genuinely based on international best practice or an optimum professional service.
“The closure of this Laboratory will further marginalise the peripheral nature of Sligo and the North West. It further underpins the FG Government neglect for our area. It will further undermine the necessary supports to family farmers in our area and above all risks exposing our region to disease outbreak and threatens quality food production in our region.
“All Government representatives must demand that the Sligo Veterinary Laboratory is kept open. Nothing else will do,” he said
Already massive carbon taxes on motor fuel, coal and briquettes to be raised by another 50%.
Sligo News File Online.
Climate change measures debunked by America as junk science are about to cost Irish rural dwellers millions more in levies.
Under provisions to be introduced by the Fianna Fail backed Fine Gael and Independent Coalition, the price of fuels on which the rural population is heavily dependent is set to soar to an all-time high.
Although already heavily carbon taxed, Roscommon TD Michael Fitzmaurice has revealed that a further massive 50% levy on diesel, petrol, coal and briquettes is on the way.
The measures, he said, “once again unfairly penalise people living in rural areas of the country.
“And that’s only the start of it.”
On the way also, he said “are further plans to introduce …new restrictions in agriculture, transport, and power generation in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint.
“There are also proposals to reduce the speed limits on motorways and to cut down on the number of free car parking spaces available in the bigger cities and towns around the country. Obviously, people who live in rural Ireland have not been thought about when these proposals were mooted.”
He said that many rural areas have no proper public transport. As a result, “the vast majority of people have to use their cars to get to work every day and to go about their daily business. Putting up the price of fuel and restricting where people can park for free is grossly unfair and will impact on them more than those who live in cities and who have access to decent public transport.
“With regard to a possible reduction in the speed limits on motorways, the official statistics show,” he said “that motorways are by far the safest roads in the country with the fewest fatalities. Most modern cars have six gears now and are very fuel efficient on motorways.”
The people of the country are currently paying “over 400 million Euro in Carbon Taxes per year” on top of “the many other taxes that we have on fuels, motor taxes other environmental taxes and levies.
“We have seen a reduction in school bus services over the past few years, there is talk about a reduction in train and bus routes in rural Ireland, yet we see these proposals that would further reduce the ability of people in rural areas to go about their daily lives.”
Branding the proposals as yet another attack on rural areas, he said that “once again they will have to pay for all these changes.”
The Deputy added that he will be vigorously opposing the measures.