Category Archives: news

Group protest outside the home of health minister

Growing anger over nurses’ strike and children’s hospital overrun.

Sligo News File.

Protestors earlier today staged a protest outside the home of the health minister, Harris.

Meanwhile, public anger over the government’s handling of the nurses’ strike and the multi-million euro overrun on Dublin’s new children’s hospital is growing.

A video placed online claims Harris is not qualified for the job and references issues including the smear test scandal and the hospital trolley crisis.

The video adds: “Simon is part of Fine Gael party the same party who voted for the eviction bill to be signed.”

The group, who apparently said the protest was about “austerity” dispersed quietly.

The protest has been condemned by the government-backing Fianna Fáil party.

New drink driving regulations hurting pub business

People fear a drink will drive them over the permitted blood alcohol limit.

Sligo News File.

People are afraid to have a drink in pubs in case it will push them over the safe driving limit.

Shane Ross, Minister for Transport with responsibility for drink driving regulations

So says publican John Duignan of the Tally Ho pub in Longford.

Duignan claims that figures used by Ross, the Transport Minister in assessing the extent alcohol are a factor in road crashes are incorrect.

He also points out that as a result of the regulations as introduced, customers visiting public houses on weekends are fearful that taking a drink will drive them over the
permitted blood alcohol level.

Publicans report that the licensed trade is being severely affected by the new measures.

Parasite threat to health of South Sligo public water users

Council triggers boil water alert.

Sligo News File.

Cryptosporidium is back in South Sligo’s public water supply. The parasite has seemingly either managed to dodge the extensive sampling and scouring works carried out under the direction of Irish Water less than a year ago or has newly arrived from some outside source.

A species of Cryptosporidium

In any event, its unwelcome presence is affecting a swathe of areas serviced by the Lough Talt and Ogham schemes.

Places named on Sligo County Council’s website include Curry, Killoran, Carrowcushely, Glenn-Kinnagrelly, Carrownacarrick, Kilmacteige, Bellahy, Achonry, Talt-Castleoye Trunk, Aclare, Tobercurry, Kesh, Achonry-Ballymote Trunk, Moylough, Templehouse, Ballymote, Muckelty, Rockfield, Annagh, Oldrock, Cloonacool, Quaryfield, Banada, Killavel, Branchfield-Collooney and, in Mayo, Cloontia, Quarryfield and Doocastle.

People taking their drinking supply from the schemes are being warned to boil the water.

The parasite is a nasty affair that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Symptoms include watery diarrhoea, dehydration, lack of appetite, stomach cramps or pain, fever, nausea, vomiting.

As the parasite is protected by an outer shell it very tolerant to chlorine disinfection. It is especially dangerous for young children, immunocompromised individuals and the elderly.

Anyone suffering from diarrhoea for more than two days should contact their general practitioner, says the council.

So, what has happened that last year’s scouring of the waters has failed to prevent the parasite showing up 11 months later? Is it of human or animal origin? The council’s website does not provide the answers.

Lough Talt ….home to State guarded white-clawed crayfish.

Councillors are heard to be complaining, with one even saying planning permission must be pursued for the provision of a new plant. All well and good, of course, but isn’t there some problem to do with the site of an EU protected snail population in the vicinity of the Talt?

Between the snails and the parasite then, it looks that the entire region of householders and businesses will have to suffer on yet again.

Not good enough by any measure.

What can be expected, however, is that TD’s will now come under pressure to have government get off their arses and finally deal with the ridiculous long-time danger to public health in the region.

People are advised to look up the county council website for more information surrounding the boil notices and the measures those reliant on the Talt and Ogham water schemes are being urged to observe.

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.”