Only six of Sligo’s eighteen Councillors backed motion calling for repeal of Eighth Amendment

Public support for removal of Amendment has plunged.

Northwest TDs against repeal.

Sligo News File

It must have been disappointing for Gino O’Boyle to see a sizeable body of councillors leaving the September meeting of Sligo County Council just before his motion calling for the Repeal the Eighth Amendment came up for discussion.

Cllr. Gino O’Boyle

O’Boyle’s motion asked that “Sligo County Council write to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and ask him when will a referendum on Repeal the 8th take place and also Sligo County
Council support having a referendum.” 

The motion was carried but before the vote was taken a large body of councillors had apparently left the chamber.

Of those who remained, two voted against the motion, one abstained, leaving only six, including the proposer in favour.

Marked as absent were: Casserly, Independent, Clarke, Independent, Healy, Sinn Fein, Maguire, Fianna Fail, MacSharry, Fianna Fail, Mulvey, Fine Gael, O’Grady, Fianna Fail, Queenan, Independent, and Taylor, Fianna Fail. However, Casserly and Maguire are not listed among the attendees at the meeting.

The six supporters of O’Boyle’s motion were Bree, Independent, Henry, Fianna Fail, Keaney, Fine Gael, Kilgannon, Fianna Fail, MacManus, Sinn Fein and O’Boyle.

Lundy and Baker, both Fianna Fail, opposed the motion.

Gormley, an Independent, abstained.

Seemingly there is no great appetite among most Councillors for the removal of the Amendment from the Constitution.

At least three Northwest TDs, Fianna Fail deputies Marc McSharry, Eamon Scanlon and Pat the Cope Gallagher are all against repealing the Eighth amendment.

Councillor O’Boyle is a member of the People Before Profit Alliance which early last year moved a Bill in the Dail proposing that the penalty for procuring or assisting an abortion in Ireland be reduced to a €1 fine.

There was also controversy when the Independent reported last September that Trinity People Before Profit defended their members who were allegedly pictured cutting down posters advertising a pro-life event in Dublin.

It was claimed that a Facebook post on their page “showed two members of their group cutting down a poster along with the message: “2 comrades, 1 pair of scissors, 32 vile anti-choice posters surrounding the campus. A successful evening indeed”.

The posters were advertising an event by The Life Institute and Unbroken Ireland that had been scheduled for a Dublin hotel.

Polls show that public support for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment and abortion up to 12 weeks has plunged from 65% in 2018 to 56% in January 2018.

Only the power of the Constitution can prevent the State becoming like UK where 200,000 unborn children lose their lives every year – TD

‘Nothing to stop Oireachtas introducing permissive abortion if Eighth Amendment is repealed.’

Sligo News File

A leading member of the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution has warned that if “the repeal of the amendment happens…there will be absolutely nothing to stop the Oireachtas in any future iteration from introducing as permissive an abortion regime as it sees fit.”

Mattie McGrath, TD
Member Oireachtas Joint Committee on Eighth Amendment

TD Mattie Mc Grath told the Dail: “Only the power of the Constitution can prevent the State from descending into a situation like that of the UK where there is de facto abortion on demand and where 200,000 unborn children lose their lives each and every year.”

The Deputy, a graduate of UCC, said Ireland has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates “and is one of the safest places in the world to give birth.

“It is important that we do not confuse unfortunate medical failings with the lifesaving eighth amendment, which strives to protect both lives.”

“I emphasise that if the repeal of the eighth amendment happens, albeit I do not believe it will, there will be absolutely nothing to stop the Oireachtas in any future iteration from introducing as permissive an abortion regime as it sees fit.

In the last few weeks, he said there has been much talk and apparently a lot of sincere concern about one recommendation of the committee in particular. I refer to the so- called ’12 week limit without restriction as to reason’ which was introduced by the Fianna Fáil members.

“This was despite the fact that the Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis voted overwhelmingly a week earlier to retain the eighth amendment and not to undermine the right to life that it guarantees.”

“I have been asked not to say this, but many Down’s syndrome families have contacted me because of the stance taken by their CEO. I could have mentioned the fact that 90% of Down’s syndrome children in the UK are aborted or the fact that since the UK introduced its abortion law 50 years ago, a law which is mirrored in the report’s recommendations, almost 9 million unborn lives have been lost.

“Is that where we want to be in 50 years?

“This is an opportunity to assert we will not tread that path, that we choose a culture of life, the life of both mother and baby, and that we will not rush headlong into a culture of death from which there can be no return.”

Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan TD

Ministers and TDs in substantial numbers have flatly refused to back the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, some fearing that its removal from the Constitution would clear a way for an abortion free-for-all.

Fine Gael TD and Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan has warned repealing the Eighth Amendment could have ‘unintended consequences.’ He announced on On RTEs Week in Politics on Sunday that he will not support a referendum to repeal it.

“…I believe that it leaves too much uncertainty in relation to what is going to happen to the right conferred in 1983.”

Possible reprieve for threatened Mayo post office

Community turns out in force to oppose closure.

Sligo News File.

A Mayo post office earmarked for closure may survive after the
community took to the streets to oppose the move.

An Post has warned that the Ardnaree office is scheduled to close on
the retirement the postmaster in March.

A 1,500 strong march proceeded to Ardnaree where the participants were addressed by members of the Working Group for the Retention of the post office and local public representatives.

It’s understood that more than 100 submissions calling for the
continuation of the service have been referred to An Post.

The area, together with Ballina, is reeling from the lack of government investment in vital infrastructure. A substantial centre for the unemployed near Ballina town centre testifies to the number without jobs.

Dara Calleary, Fianna Fail spokesman spokesperson for public
expenditure and reform, and Senator Michelle Mulhern are locally-
based members of the Oireachtas.

Harsh treatment of Irish returning to live in Ireland

Huge problems over motor insurance cover, driving licences and mortgages.

Sligo News File.

Irish families returning to live in Ireland are in for a raw deal.

Daragh O’Brien TD

The issue of the shocking treatment has been raised in the Dail where a TD has highlighted problems they’re encountering in their interaction with financial and other bodies.

Daragh O’Brien said the vast majority of the people who returned have among other things encountered severe difficulties in getting car insurance. They are, he said, “rated on the basis that their previous driving experience in places such as Canada is not taken into account and their previous driving record in Ireland, including no-claims bonus, is all set aside.”

Most returning emigrants are also “now told there is a postponement period of 12 months within which they will get no health cover… and most of them cannot transfer their health cover to Ireland.”

Trinity educated Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon is the Fine Gael Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development since June 2017.

Simon Coveney,
Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the Government is “working to ensure that moving or returning to Ireland is as easy as possible” for those arriving back.

He said, “In addition to addressing potential barriers, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is always looking for new and innovative ways to assist Irish people abroad and those returning.

“To support returning emigrants in a practical way, the Department has established Back for Business, a mentoring programme for returning emigrants to help them set up business in Ireland and contribute fully to local communities and economies across the country. This pilot programme is currently underway and will be reviewed on completion. I know there are some other practical issues regarding driving licences, for example, and we are seeking to come up with solutions to address those issues.”

Ciaran Canon TD, Minister of State for the Diaspora 

O’Brien put it to Coveney that he needed to meet with Irish Banking Federation “because people applying for a mortgage are now asked by Bank of Ireland, for example, to provide a P60 for the previous year’s earnings.

“Banks will not accept foreign revenue documents from returned emigrants who were in Canada, the United States or other countries,” he said.




Another Sligo health facility for the chop

Unit at St. John’s to close in March.

Sligo News File

Sligo is to lose yet another health facility.

The Alzheimers Unit at St. John’s Hospital is to close with effect from next March.

It’s not clear where family members there at present are going to end up.

According to reports, the action is being taken on foot a Mental Health Commission report. However, it’s believed the move is part of a cost cutting exercise.

The unit has been in place for the last twenty years.

Sligo is continuing to be disadvantaged by Government decisions. The area is represented by four TDs – Martin Kenny, Sinn Fein, Marc MacSharry and Eamon Scanlon Fianna Fail – Scanlon is the party’s spokesman on business and jobs – and Tony McLoughlin, Fine Gael.

Fianna Fail is supporting the Fine Gael-led Government.

TD wants Government ‘awareness campaign’ to heat up demand for home insulation grants

‘Disappointed only 46 houses in Leitrim availed of funding in 2017.’

Sligo News File.

The Government is offering grants aplenty for house insulation, but it looks that homeowners in Sligo – Leitrim aren’t overly interested. Constituency TD Eamon Scanlon is wondering why not.

Eamon Scanlon TD
Fianna Fail

He says the Government should be doing more to spotlight the scheme.

“Getting a grant to insulate your home or install a better boiler is not only good for the environment; it can help struggling families save money on their energy costs,” he said.

“It also makes the home a more comfortable place to live, particularly for older people or people with certain respiratory and health conditions.”

Scanlon said he was disappointed that in 2017 only 46 houses in Leitrim availed of the funding “as compared to 4,791 in Dublin.

“Sligo did not do much better, with only 108 houses drawing down funding under this scheme.

“These figures should be triggering alarm bells in Government Buildings- what is the point of having these grant schemes if most people are not aware of them and a result, miss out on them?”

He has now called for the rollout of “a major awareness campaign, so people can become familiar with the different grants and upgrades their homes might be eligible for.”

Ongoing pressure on price hitting winter finishers

‘Processors showing a complete lack of respect for efforts of producers.’

Sligo News File

Beef plants have come under file over, it’s claimed, “putting downward pressure on prices this week.”

Beef chairman of the ICSA Edmond Phelan said processors were

Edmond Phelan, Chairman, ICSA National Beef Committee.

showing “a complete lack of respect for the efforts of producers who are left in an increasingly vulnerable position as far as future viability goes.

“At the very minimum we need another 20c/kg to keep things going.

“Winter finishers also need a winter bonus, in line with the winter milk bonus, to cover the huge costs involved.”

Stating that if factories are serious about winter finishing, he said “there has to be an incentive to feed cattle over a long winter.

“This year in particular has proven particularly expensive so far with cattle being housed early and the looming fodder crisis means that all bought-in feed will be expensive for the rest of the winter period.

“We also see that demand for beef across Europe is improving and that UK production levels are slipping.

“Winter finishing is not viable with falling prices especially when market conditions are favourable for paying a better price at this time.

“We know there is no lack of profitability in the beef processing sector,” he added