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Scanlon weighs in with a call for ‘common sense’ as Sligo farmers face fines for forest fires

‘Damage to Killery forest and Sligo Way most likely accidental.’

Sligo News File.

Fianna Fáil TD Eamon Scanlon has slammed the decision by the Department of Agriculture to slap fines on farmers whose lands were affected by forest fires on Killery mountain last year.

Eamon Scanlon, TD …farmers being unfairly penalised over fires.

Hundreds of acres of land on Killery mountain were destroyed in forest fires last May, and a section of the Sligo Way was damaged.

The Sligo-Leitrim Deputy has said that despite the fact money was allocated by the Department of Rural and Community Development to carry out repair work to the
boardwalk on the Sligo Way, the Department of Agriculture is continuing to penalise farmers who did not set the fires.

He said:

“The situation on Killery mountain is extremely unfair. There are 33 farmers who are being unfairly penalised by the Department of Agriculture, which has itself recognised the fact that these farmers did not set these fires. I raised this issue with Department officials at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture this week and was extremely disappointed at the approach taken by them.

“The Sligo Way has been an extremely successful tourism initiative, bringing hundreds of people to the area, especially during the Sligo Camino, which took place during May last year. Hotels and B&Bs were booked out over the duration of the walking festival, resulting in a much needed economic boost for Sligo and Leitrim. However, farmers are now paying the price.

“It was unseasonably warm for the time of year, and it has been widely acknowledged that the fires were more than likely started accidentally. In fact, there were forest fires burning in Cork, Kerry and Galway during the same period. Despite this, the farmers in Killery are being penalised.

“The treatment of these farmers is appalling. They’re facing fines or penalties for something outside of their control. This is unbelievably unfair. I am calling on Minister Michael Creed to let common sense prevail and to reverse the decision to penalise these farmers.

“Farmers are already under pressure, the fact that they are facing a reduction in their Basic Payment is inexcusable. The Minister needs to intervene – and I will be continuing to raise this issue with him until there is a satisfactory outcome.”

Five Former Chairmen of Obstetricians & Gynecologists “Horrified” by Boylan and Mahony Comments

Call on Boylan and Mahony to withdraw comments they made in video for Together for Yes

Five of Ireland’s most senior Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, including four former Chairmen of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, as well as the current Chairman of the HSE working group on maternal mortality, have reportedly said they are horrified by comments made by Drs Peter Boylan and Rhona Mahony in recent days.
 

The letter states:

“We are particularly appalled by the comments of Dr Rhona Mahony in the Together for Yes campaign video where she states “In Ireland today, we play medical roulette with women’s lives”, and those of Dr Peter Boylan in the same video where he claims the Eighth Amendment “makes it difficult for us to treat women with compassion and give them the proper care that they need”.

These comments are simply not true and are nothing less than a serious misrepresentation of the Irish maternal health system. We call on them to withdraw these statements.”

The letter goes on to say that no doctor should be allowed to “use the 8th amendment as an excuse”.

Commenting on the letter, Save the 8th campaign chairwoman Niamh Ui Bhriain said:

“This is a very significant intervention in the debate from five of Ireland’s most distinguished and senior obstetricians. They clearly rebut and reject the notion that Ireland is in any way unsafe for women, and they directly challenge some outrageous falsehoods told by those campaigning for a yes vote. When four former Chairmen of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are saying that the 8th amendment does not impact maternal health, voters should sit up and listen”.

The letter in full reads:

“To the Irish public,

As former Chairs of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, we have been horrified at some of the statements made by colleagues during this referendum campaign in relation to maternal care in Ireland.

We are particularly appalled by the comments of Dr Rhona Mahony in the Together for Yes campaign video where she states “In Ireland today, we play medical roulette with women’s lives”, and those of Dr Peter Boylan in the same video where he claims the Eighth Amendment “makes it difficult for us to treat women with compassion and give them the proper care that they need”.

These comments are simply not true and are nothing less than a serious misrepresentation of the Irish maternal health system. We call on them to withdraw these statements.

Each of us has had extensive experience over around 40 years in the specialty of obstetrics and gynaecology. In addition, in our privileged position as Chairs of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, we have fought to improve the standards of care for mothers and their newborn babies.

Ireland is a very safe country in which to be pregnant. The Eighth Amendment does not prevent Irish women receiving care of the highest possible standard. This is why our maternal death rate is so low. Recent Maternal Death Enquiry reports confirm that Ireland is one of the safest places in the world to be pregnant.

Not one of our colleagues should ever be permitted to use the Eighth Amendment as an excuse for not treating a woman. Each one of us can stand over the care we have provided in our careers. Four of us who practised in this jurisdiction have carried out necessary surgery which resulted in termination of pregnancy in order to save and protect Irish women. We had no difficulty in so doing, and the Eighth Amendment did not prevent us from performing an ethical and medically indicated procedure.

On May 25th, Irish people will be asked to vote on whether the right to life of an unborn baby should be withdrawn. If the answer is Yes, it is the stated intention of government to introduce legislation to enable ending the life of a perfectly healthy growing baby, in a perfectly healthy pregnant woman. That is a matter of conscience for each voter.

What this referendum is not about, and what it has never been about, is maternal healthcare. That some campaigners have chosen to engage in a campaign to raise unnecessary fears for maternal health in the electorate is deeply regrettable.

Yours sincerely,

Prof John Bonnar MD FRCPI FRCOG FTCD, Former Chairman, Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Dr Eamon McGuinness MA FRCPI FRCOG, Former Chairman, Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Dr. Conor Carr MA FRCPI FRCOG, Former Chairman, Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Dr James Clinch MD FRCOG, Former Chairman, Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Dr Michael O’Hare MD FRCPI FRCOG, Former Chairman Institute of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists”

‘No’ campaign shocked at Google ban on abortion referendum advertising

‘They’re worried we might win, so they’re trying to silence us.’

Sligo News File.

Google has banned all 8th Amendment referendum advertisements on its platform.

The internet giant has reportedly claimed the decision has been taken amid concerns about the integrity of this month’s referendum.

However, the move has been challenged by Save The 8th, Pro Life Campaign and The Iona Institute, all of them Irish-based organisations.

In a joint statement, the three bodies have said the action is not about ‘concerns about the integrity of elections.’

It is, they state, about concerns that the ‘No’ side might win.

The statement says:

“It is very clear that the government, much of the establishment media, and corporate Ireland have determined that anything to secure a Yes vote must be done.

“In this case, it means preventing campaigns that have done nothing illegal from campaigning in a perfectly legal manner.

“This decision has been taken because one side in this referendum is afraid it is losing, and wants to prevent voters from being informed.

“This campaign has been marked by attacks on every form of legitimate campaigning the NO side has taken part in, and a complete absence of scrutiny for the YES side.

“Despite all of that, the polls have narrowed, and clearly there is fear in establishment Ireland that this referendum will be defeated. That explains the massive pressure exerted on Google, Facebook, and other platforms to deny advertising space to the NO campaign.

“It is scandalous, and it is an attempt to rig the referendum.

“Online was the only platform available to the NO campaign to speak to voters directly. That platform is now being undermined in order to prevent the public from hearing the message of one side.

“This is completely unacceptable, and it brings the conduct of what had, heretofore, been a civil campaign into severe dispute.”

The statement also claims that “in this referendum, Amnesty and the IFPA have received over €400,000 in foreign donations. When asked to return an illegal foreign donation, Amnesty refused, and yet Minister Harris is content to campaign alongside an organisation that has broken the law.”

TD tells Dail that mother jailed for alleged contempt of court for failing to surrender family home is on hunger strike in Mountjoy.

‘This is day six, and the woman is refusing food.’

Sligo News File.

The mother of two children jailed for alleged contempt of court for failing to surrender her family home is on hunger strike in Mountjoy prison, the Dail was told today.

Mattie McGrath,TD, Independent.

Deputy Mattie McGrath said he wanted “to raise the jailing of Irish families at the request of receiver Paul McCann of Grant Thornton.”

He said: “A mother was jailed on Friday last for alleged contempt of court for failing to surrender her family home. This is day six, and she is refusing food.

“The receiver’s actions came at the end of last week when, by agreement, the valuers for the vulture fund, Grant Thornton receivers and the owner were in discussions to resolve the issue. Late last Friday evening the High Court ordered the retention of the woman in the detention centre in Mountjoy Prison.

“This is day six, and the woman is refusing food. She has two teenage children.”

Deputy McGrath went on to say that European law “does not allow judges to jail citizens in this way.

“The Supreme Court in April of this year heard an appeal on this very issue, where the human rights organisations also joined in to highlight this unlawful behaviour of the State in the manner of how people are jailed at the request of banks, vulture funds and the Irish State. The decision of the Supreme Court is awaited. What is going on?

“In the meantime, this person is still in jail. She has two teenage daughters at home, being minded by family. Will the Taoiseach make a statement on the matter?”

There is current legislation, he said. “It should not be happening in our country.”

Minister for Justice Deputy Charlie Flanagan said it was not the practice, “as I am sure the House will appreciate, to comment on individual cases, the facts of which are not particularly clear.”

“I do not think it is either fair or reasonable to ask a Minister to comment on an individual case before the courts.”

Deputy McGrath: “It is not incorrect; it is factual.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle Pat the Cope Gallagher: “There are other ways of dealing with this.”