Government accused of ‘inaction’ on future of rural post office network

Deadlock as the Postmasters Union pulls out of negotiations.

Sligo News File

The rural post network is in jeopardy following the decision of the Postmasters Union to pull out of negotiations with Government on the future of the service.

Martin Kenny TD, Sinn Fein

Expressing disappointment at the situation, Sinn Fein TD Martin Kenny has laid the blame for the apparent deadlock on what he said were “inaction by the government and procrastination by senior management of An Post.”

He said:

“There are many post offices around the country in small towns and rural areas that are under threat of closure such as the Ballygawley in Sligo and Aughavas in Leitrim and their future has been on hold pending these negotiations. I am seeking reassurances from Minister Denis Naughton that such post offices will be kept open and that this development is not used as an excuse to close them.

“I understand that part of the negotiations was around a changed model of payment for postmasters with low transaction post offices which had other businesses operating on the premises. This would mainly affect the more rural part of the network. The provision of additional services at the post offices including banking and state services is regarded by all as the way forward, yet progress is at a snail’s pace on all these issues.”

Naughton, he added, now needs to take the issue in hand “and set deadlines for progress as rural Ireland is hearing a lot of talk about regeneration but this break down is a signal of the reality that people fear.”

Hogan given award for services to Austria

Previously served as Irish Minister for Water.

Sligo News File

The Times reports that Phil Hogan has been made a presentation for services to Austria. Hogan served as Irish Minister for water services before his appointment as EU Commissioner for Agriculture. The nature or extent of the work for which Austria has recognised him is not mentioned in the report.


Low level of IDA sponsored site visits to North West

Two visits to Sligo – 82 to sites in Dublin.

Fresh buildings needed to attract new industry – existing older premises ‘not suitable.’

Sligo News File.

The North West fared poorly in IDA site visits during the earlier part of 2017.

Data released by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald has revealed that Sligo, for instance, had only two IDA-led potential investor visits in the first quarter of 2017. Site visits to other regional locations included just one to Donegal and one to Leitrim. Roscommon had one visit, Mayo none. In the same period, however, the IDA organised 82 visits to sites in Dublin – 80 more than Sligo. There were ten each to Limerick and Clare, nine to Cork and twenty-three to Galway.

This week, a Ballymote TD Eamon Scanlon has called on the Fianna Fail supported Government to immediately lay on funds for a Sligo inner relief road which, he submitted, is needed to accommodate the development of new industrial estates.

“Currently in Sligo,” he claimed, “IDA Ireland has not a square inch of land on which to build a plant or factory, mainly because the Finisklin industrial estate is full to the brim.”

However, last year the Sligo Progressive quoted John Nugent, Regional Business Development Manager with the IDA stating, “There are quite a few vacant commercial premises in the town centre and around the periphery from Collooney down to Finisklin and down to Cleveragh and at other locations. “But they are older buildings and not suitable for the type of companies we see coming through to Sligo.”

He reportedly instanced the kinds of businesses the IDA envisaged for the area. “If it’s manufacturing it will tend to be in a fairly advanced clean industry like medical devices where there are cleanliness height requirements, for clean rooms and similar facilities.

“Or it may be the technology or a services company. We can see what companies need and the building stock that is currently available in Sligo does not really meet those needs.”

The IDA had just embarked on the construction of a new 31,000 sq ft advanced technological building at Finisklin, expected to be completed by last November. Two other advanced factories were also being built in Castlebar and Tralee.

Nugent is said to have stated, “We don’t want to be using up millions of euros of taxpayers money to erect buildings. In a normal functioning property market, banks and developers would play in that space for us.

“But in places like Castlebar, Tralee and Sligo, it is clear that the banks and developers will not develop because it is higher risk. They do not want to speculate.”

Deputy Scanlon said Sligo County Council has applied for funding for an inner relief road, “which is expected to cost around €14m. It is essential that this money is approved because without it investment in the region will remain static,” he added.



ICSA chairman slams GAA broadcasting deal with SKY

‘Terrible decision.’

‘Many older rural fans left unable to see crucial matches.’

Sligo News File

ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock has called on the GAA to reflect on its decision to only show certain matches on Pay-TV, a decision which, he said, has left many unable to see crucial games.

Seamus Sherlock, Chair, ICSA Rural Development Committee.


He said:

“The Championship is now heading into the knockout stages, and every game will be fiercely contested and for many older fans living in rural areas free-to-air TV was their only opportunity to witness the game.

“The decision to tie themselves into a multi-year deal with SKY showed a complete lack of empathy on the part of the GAA towards older people living in rural Ireland, many of whom are lifelong stalwarts of the association.

“I am very disappointed with the GAA’s attitude of putting profit before its patrons, and denying so many the chance to enjoy our native games.”

Branding it as as “a terrible decision,” Mr Sherlock added that the deal “…should be abandoned at the earliest possible stage.”

Seventy-year-old killed in West Sligo accident

Tractor in which he was travelling overturned near Culleens.

Sligo News File

A 70-year-old man was killed in an accident in West Sligo this afternoon.

The tractor in which he was travelling overturned off the N59 close to Culleens.

The man, believed to be from the area, was pronounced dead at the scene.

His body was removed to Sligo University Hospital where a post mortem will be carried out.

Oil prices plunge, but Donohoe says not possible for him to engage with retailers over continuing high cost of petrol and diesel in Ireland

‘My advice to consumers is to shop around…’

Sligo News File.

Despite the massive plunge in oil prices worldwide, finance minister Pascal Donohoe has said he cannot get involved with retailers over the ongoing high price of petrol and diesel in Ireland.

Responding to a question from a Fianna Fail TD, Donohoe said:

“The price of petrol and diesel sold at the garage forecourt is determined by a number of factors including taxation, the price of the raw material, the prevailing exchange rates as well as the fact the different wholesalers can enter into forward contracts at different rates for the purchase of oil.

“There are two elements of tax in the final price of a litre of fuel, the excise rate and VAT. The excise rates (including the carbon charge) in Ireland on motor fuels are 58.8 cent per litre of petrol and 47.9 cent per litre of auto-diesel. These rates do not vary throughout the country and have not changed since 2012.

The other component of tax is the VAT, which is applied at 23%.

“The price of fuel on the forecourt is set by the individual retailer and would likely take into account the costs associated with the retail of the product such as those mentioned above together with the cost of having oil delivered.

“Other than setting tax rates I have no function in this area. My advice to consumers is to shop around and if possible use price comparison websites to ensure they receive the best value for money.”

Fianna Fail is a partner in the present Fine Gael-led Government.

Canadian police in search for missing Irishman

Twenty-six year old believed to be from Castlebar.

Sligo News File.

A search is under way in Canada for an Irishman who went missing at the weekend.

Identified locally as a 26 year-old from Castlebar, he is said to have disappeared while swimming in Columbia on Friday.

It is believed an underwater recovery team is scheduled to arrive in the area in coming days to help in the search.

Canadian police are understood to have been been in touch with the missing man’s family.