Category Archives: news

Rural post offices closed without ‘commercial, economic analyses or rural proofing,’ – Gallagher

‘Rotten and stinking deal done by the Irish Postmasters Union’ – McGrath.

Sligo News File

The virtual wipeout of the post office network continues to generate heated debate in the Dail where last night a Donegal TD lashed the “deceitful way” in which the rural service is being killed off.

Pat The Cope Gallagher TD

Pat the Cope Gallagher said 17 of the post offices in his county are currently earmarked for closure. “There was no commercial analysis, no economic analysis and no rural proofing.”

Closure of the offices will mean “people will have to walk or cycle or perhaps use public transport, if it is available. I refer to 15 km.

“The people of rural Ireland, and particularly the people of my county, have been conned by this Government.

“I came in here with others, and we voted unanimously on an amendment to provide a public service obligation, PSO, for those rural areas. What has the Government done? It has ignored it.”

Calling it “a very sad day,” he also strongly criticised the absence of Communications minister, Richard Bruton from the Dail.

“If the Minister has a duplication of business, it means this is less important than the business he is now attending to. To us this is the most important business being discussed in this House today. It is a total insult to us as Deputies and to rural Ireland that this is being done. It is just not good enough. We are not prepared to accept this.
“We are looking for the Minister to meet a representative cross-party group of Deputies to discuss this matter and the associated protocols.”

“I ask the Minister of State, Deputy Canney, to confirm tonight that the Minister will meet that group of rural Deputies.”

Deputy Mattie McGrath dismissed a reply from Minister of State Sean Canney as “balderdash.” He said: “This is a rotten and stinking deal done by the Irish Postmasters Union, IPU. Who gave it any mandate to close post offices? I salute all the postmasters and postmistresses. More power to any of them who took the redundancy as they are entitled to it. Park that first of all. It did not give the IPU the right to negotiate away services from my village in Newcastle in Tipperary or the other five villages in Tipperary
losing their post offices. The Minister would not even come in here, which demonstrates his disdain.

“I have written to the four Fianna Fáil Deputies, including Deputy Michael McGrath, who are renegotiating the confidence and supply agreement. If Fianna Fáil cares about rural Ireland, with the Government it will prioritise these post offices and disband this cabal of people on a so-called independent inquiry team. Its members had neither the manners nor the respect to write back to our committee in Newcastle, which has gone about its work diligently and honestly.

Mattie McGrath, TD

Acting Chairman Deputy Eugene Murphy: The Deputy has gone way over his time.

McGrath: “The Minister must act. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael must keep these post offices open. If that does not happen they should call an election and go to the country so the people can make a decision rather than a cabal of so-called independent people with a rotten and stinking deal that the union negotiated behind people’s back.”

Canney said he couldn’t make a commitment on behalf of the Minister (Bruton) “but I will bring to him the Deputies’ request to meet an all-party delegation.

McGrath: “He should be here.”

No Fianna Fail local elections ticket for Queenan?

Councillor proposes to run as Independent.

Sligo News File

It is believed that Fianna Fail has refused to add Sligo councillor Joe Queenan to its party ticket to contest the 2019 local elections.

Enniscrone-based Queenan, a long-time member of the party, and a former chairman of Sligo County Council featured with two other councillors in the RTÉ Investigates Standards in Public Office programme in December 2015 following which he was called before the Standards in Public Office Commission public hearings earlier this year. He resigned from Fianna Fail.

The outcome of the SIPOC enquiries is not yet known. One of the three councillors has reportedly taken a High Court action against RTE.

Queenan was this year elected chairman of the Ballymote-Tobercurry Municipal District.

He is said to have indicated that pending the conclusion of the SIPOC process he intends to run as an Independent local elections candidate.

Key Brexit priorities for fisheries will be access to the UK zone in Irish Sea, Celtic Sea and North of Donegal – Minister

‘Continued objective is to ensure that the implications for fisheries are fully taken account of throughout the negotiations.’

Sligo News File.

Questioned by Sligo TD, Tony McLoughlin about the efforts being made to safeguard the Irish fishing industry in the context of Brexit, Minister for Agriculture and the Marine Michael Creed said the key priorities for Ireland will be “the maintenance of current access to fishing grounds in the UK zone in the Irish Sea, the Celtic Sea and north of Donegal.” The protection of Ireland’s existing quota shares will also be a priority.

Tony McLoughlin, TD

Creed said his continued objective is to ensure that the implications for fisheries are fully taken account of throughout the negotiations for a future EU-UK relationship.

“In recent months, I have continued to have positive, regular meetings with my European colleagues, especially those from the group of 8 Member States whose fisheries are most impacted by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. I am also working closely with key
stakeholders in the Irish fishing industry and am pleased at the level of unity on these key issues. The results of my engagement with the
Barnier Task Force, in close collaboration with the Tánaiste, are evident in the agreed EU position on fisheries.”

He added that the actual agreement on a future relationship could only be finalised and concluded “once the UK has become a third country, that is after it leaves the EU on 29 March 2019. This is why a status quo transitional arrangement is so important. Of course, it is in the interest of everyone that a future relationship agreement is concluded as quickly as possible after the UK leaves the EU to provide certainty sooner rather than later.

“I would like to assure the Deputy that, working together with the
Tánaiste and his team and the Barnier Task Force, I will continue to
work to ensure that negotiations on fisheries remain inextricably linked to the overall future relationship negotiations in order to protect our existing access rights and quota entitlements.”

Pope Francis compares abortion to ‘hiring a hitman’

‘How can an act that suppresses innocent and defenceless life as it blossoms be therapeutic, civil or simply human?’

Condemnation comes as Irish government earmarks millions of euros for abortion services.

Sligo News File

As the Irish government earmarks €12 million of its annual budget for abortion services, the Pope has resolutely denounced the destruction of infants in the womb.

During his weekly audience in the Vatican on Wednesday, Francis compared abortion to Mafia-style killing, saying it was the equivalent of hiring a hit man “to take out a human life to solve a problem.”

Urging the faithful not to kill, he said some people justify abortion as respecting other rights, but he asked, “How can an act that suppresses innocent and defenceless life as it blossoms be therapeutic, civil or simply human?”

Attack one of the Pope’s strongest on abortion

The attack is one of the strongest he has made on the killing of innocents in the womb. Five months ago, he likened abortion to avoid birth defects to the Nazi-era of trying to create a pure race.

Wilfully terminating life in the womb flies in the face of teachings of the Catholic Church and is regarded as a grave moral wrongdoing.

Ireland, a Catholic state, last month formally removed a long-time constitutional amendment that protected the unborn, voting by a huge majority to clear the way for mothers to be able to legally kill babies up to twelve weeks of pregnancy and, in some cases, as far on as six months.

In June, Health Minister Harris reportedly said that he was “determined” to do something to prevent people from protesting outside centres where abortion services are offered. However, it’s been argued that the action could lead to a constitutional challenge in the courts.

The government in Britain has categorically rejected calls for the introduction of “buffer zones” barring protests outside abortion clinics across the UK.

ICSA pulls out of beef forum as farmer fury grows over prices

No point in meeting ‘when factories are attending in bad faith.’

Sligo News File

Amid growing anger over prices, the ICSA is set to boycott tomorrow’s Department of Agriculture’s beef forum.

Patrick Kent, president ICSA

The association said it had decided to shun the meeting “due to the lack of solidarity shown by meat processors in recent weeks.”

The forum was set up to tackle the price crisis facing farmers in the beef sector.

Cutting prices week after week is shameful.

However, association president Patrick Kent said that attending a roundtable discussion was pointless “when factories are attending in bad faith.

“Cutting prices week after week is shameful. It shows complete contempt for farmers and is particularly egregious when many are on their knees due to increased costs.”

AirBnB short term home lettings could face chop under Labour Party Bill

Party wants houses restricted to providing accommodation for students and the homeless.

Sligo News File.

Labour is rolling out a bill which could virtually kill off short-term accommodation property lettings.

Some 3,000 homes are currently being offered for short stays under arrangements with an international organisation known as AirBnB.

House lettings facilitated by the United States company has been one of the growing success stories of Irish tourism, enabling visitors to avail of low priced quality accommodation while travelling the country. At the same time, property owners can enjoy a relatively modest financial return from renting furnished rooms or entire homes for short periods of time.

Labour concerned over expansion of AirBnB lettings.

But the Labour Party is reportedly unhappy with the expanding industry and is proposing to knock it back with controls where lettings in their present form would be restricted to only a few weeks per year. Owners of AirBnB properties would also need planning permission, obliging them to dole out substantial commercial rates to local councils.

Humphreys, one of the small party’s leadership, believe the controls will force the 3,000 AirBnB owners to open their houses to students and the homeless instead.

AirBnB, based in San Francisco, operates the flourishing online hospitality service. The company has over 5 million lodging listings in 81,000 cities and 191 countries and has facilitated over 300 million check-ins.

Homeowners relying on income from home sharing.

Many people on the brink of losing their homes have come to rely on AirBnB for additional income. Homeowners in the United States who refinance their mortgages with some agencies can include the income they earn from their Airbnb rentals on their refinance loan applications.

The Labour bill would require a register to be kept to prevent homeowners from moving from one letting type to another to supersede the regulations. Those failing to maintain a register will be subject to a ‘Class A fine’ of upwards of €50,000.

Government housing thousands of migrants in centres throughout the country.

Migrant accommodation centres in Kerry, Waterford, Cork, Sligo and other locations

Sligo News File

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan.

Some 5,442 migrants from 17 countries are currently being housed by the Government in accommodation centres across the State.

Details of the location and occupancy of the centres have been given by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan include:










King Thomond Hotel

The Bog Road, Lisdoonvarna



Ashbourne Hse




Kinsale Road

Cork City




Wellington Road







Clonakilty Lodge

Clonakilty, Co. Cork



The Towers

The Ninth Lock, Clondalkin, D.22




St. Margarets, Finglas, Dublin 11



Hatch Hall

28 Lower Hatch Street, Dublin 2




The Proms, Salthill



Great Western House

Eyre Square



Atlas House (Killarney)




Atlas House (Tralee)




Johnston Marina




Linden House

New Road, Killarney



Park Lodge









Emo, Portlaoise




Glentworth Street, Limerick



Mount Trenchard

Foynes, Co. Limerick



Richmond Court

Richmond Street, Longford



The Old Convent








St. Patricks




Globe House

Chapel Hill



Bridgewater House

Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary



Atlantic House

Tramore, Co. Waterford



Ocean View

Tramore, Co. Waterford




Ballytruckle Road



Viking House

Coffee House Lane



Temple Accommodation

Horseleap,Moate, Westmeath







Carroll Village






Minister for Justice seeking report following Dail allegation Gardai “stood idly by” while KBC Bank hired former British Army members forcibly entered Dublin family home

‘Householder assaulted and ejected from the house with family.’

Sligo News File

Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan has ordered a report following claims that Gardai “stood idly by” during an incident allegedly involving former British army soldiers hired by KBC Bank forcibly entering a Dublin home where it’s been said the householder was physically assaulted and ejected from the residence along with his family.

Mattie McGrath,TD, Independent.

Raising the issue during Leaders Questions in the Dail on Tuesday, Mattie McGrath said KBC had hired former British Army members forcibly to enter the Smith family home in Balbriggan the previous day. Entry, he said, was made at 9 am. In the course of the occurrence, the householder was physically assaulted and ejected with his family from the home.

He said, “Gardaí were present all day at the scene in Balbriggan and stood idly by but, thankfully, neighbours and friends of the family arrived late yesterday evening, at which stage the gardaí advised the mercenaries to leave, and I salute them for that.”

“This is the same bank that put 2,500 people on the wrong tracker mortgage rate, resulting in the loss of 33 properties, including six family homes,” he said.

Remarking “I do not want to invoke the song ‘Go On Home British Soldiers,'” McGrath went on to say that, “Those former British soldiers should not be here to carry out such thuggery on Irish people.

“The Taoiseach wants to allow such actions along with allowing people to freeze to death. Such events are being carried out under our watch by KBC and other banks and more will be facilitated by banks selling mortgages to vulture funds. Retired British army mercenaries have no business in this country. We have the Garda Síochána to enforce the law. It is outrageous.

“What is the Taoiseach going to do?”

The Taoiseach replied that he was “unaware of the matter” referred to by the Deputy.

McGrath said the Taoiseach could not “sit idly by and allow thuggery to be perpetrated by a third force, neither the Garda nor the Army. We do not need such people here. They did their deeds elsewhere and have retired on pensions. They should not be allowed come to Ireland—–”

An Ceann Comhairle said the Deputy couldn’t “come in a second time.”

McGrath: “The Taoiseach must answer the question.”

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: “He must answer.”

An Ceann Comhairle: “Does the Minister for Justice and Equality have anything to say on this matter?”

Fine Gael Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan TD

Minister for Justice and Equality: “The Deputy has made very serious allegations. I ask him to communicate with me in writing—”

McGrath: “I will.”

Minister for Justice and Equality: ” —–and I will seek a report from the Garda Síochána on the matter.”

McGrath briefly mentioned the alleged incident again in the Dail on Wednesday.

He said, “We saw what happened in Balbriggan to the Smith family who were terrorised by people from abroad, ex-British soldiers. The Taoiseach asked me to put it in writing.

I have two letters here, one for the Taoiseach and one for the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan. I will give them to the usher to hand to them.

“Ex-British soldiers beat this family. We have a short memory. In September 1920, Balbriggan was sacked and looted by the Black and Tans and two people were killed that night. The local barber, James Lawless, and John Gibson were both beaten to death by the Black and Tans. They are back again and this has happened under the Government’s watch. It is a shame on all of us to allow this go on last Monday morning in Balbriggan. I have the information here and I want the Government to act on it. I also want the Government to support legislation to stop the vultures getting their grisly claws on any more loans.”


The information is contained in the report on proceedings in the Dail