News in Short | Sligo News File Online

British royals are coming
Balls for Sligo
Sligo to get new primary care centres
FF pledge better access to community healthcare in North West
Open farm day for politicians
Homosexual ‘marriage’ campaign


Sligo News File Online

Charles and Camilla are packing their bags for a trip to Ireland where, next month, they are to take part in a number of official and private engagements.

Mullaghmore and Lissadell House are on the Sligo itinerary.

The planned visit has been welcomed but also attacked in some
quarters, with bodies announcing they propose to picket the visit –
where isn’t clear.

Security is expected to be tight – and hugely costly.

 Balls for Sligo

The Sligo Weekender reports that the chairman of the
Sligo Municipal District Council, Tom Mac Sharry is to host a charity ball in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Ballincar on 3rd May.

There had been concern about the loss of balls following
the abolition of the Borough Council.

A headline in the same newspaper reads ‘Ray MacSharry
challenges SFs McDonald over Dail accusations.’

Seems the former commissioner and minister isn’t pleased
about remarks made by Mary Lou.

Sligo to get new primary care centres

TD, Tony McLoughlin has said Sligo has been earmarked for the
development of new primary care centres in Sligo Town, Ballymote
and Drumcliff. The facilities are to be built with the help of the
European Investment Bank Loan.

The announcement, Tony says, is “really good news for the
people of Sligo.”

His press release states that work on the facilities is to begin
in 2016. However, it is not clear if Sligo will be embarked on within
the 2016 timeframe. The statement says that the EIB loan has
only yet been approved “in principle.”

To his credit, Tony has been fast off the mark about the upgrading
of the cardiac service at Sligo Regional Hospital. In a written parliamentary question to Health Minister, Leo Varadker he observed on new services being put in place at Altnagelvin in Derry, and asked Varadker about the provision of upgraded cardiac facilities, “chiefly a Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory” in Sligo as “an important next step towards improving cardiac care in counties Sligo, Leitrim, West Cavan, South Donegal, North Mayo and North

Varadker said “the decision of appropriate options for a fixed elective cardiac catheterisation laboratory will be deferred until the service in Altnagelvin is fully operational and its impact on service requirements in the North West is assessed. In the interim, the current mobile cath lab services will continue to operate.”

FF pledge better access to community healthcare in North West

General election candidate, Senator Marc MacSharry has said Fianna Fail’s new health policy will ensure better access to community healthcare “for all people in the North West, regardless of their age or means.” The party in government will do that, he said, by a system “which puts a major focus on moving towards
enhanced primary care within the community and keeping people out of hospital.”

Health Minister, Leo Varadkar’s plan to hit families with “expensive and compulsory Universal Health Insurance” will not result in any improved access to healthcare, he said

The Fianna Fail strategy is about “putting patients in the North West back at the heart of the health service.

“We need quality local healthcare in our communities to ensure that people with chronic illnesses like diabetes, asthma, arthritis, cancer and heart disease can get expert treatment locally rather than needing to go into hospital for their day-to-day care. It’s also testing and assessing for a range of conditions at a local level to catch
illnesses at an earlier stage, and keep out of hospital,” he expained

Fianna Fail, he said, will abolish the prevailing €2.50 prescription charge “over two years” and reduce the treshold for the Drug Payment Scheme to €120 a month.

No mention, however, that cancer services will be returned to Sligo.

Open farm day for politicians

Full marks to the Dunphy family on their work in developing the highly successful enterprise that is their farm operation at Easkey. From 50 cows in 2008 to a projected 280 by 2017 is certainly a major accomplishment – testified to, not least, by  the large turnout of farmers who turned up to tour the farm and hear about the
plans on which it all has been so admirably progressed.

Perhaps this is the kind of place local government party politicians should be taking ministers visiting Sligo. Imagine what they could learn about managing the country and the economy from time spent with this innovative West Sligo farm family.

Pier and pong

Council chair, Joe Queenan was greatly mistaken if his reason for raising a question about the condition of the pier at Enniscrone was to get the county council involved in what seemingly is a bit of a needed clean up. Bringing up the issue at a meeting of the council
earlier this week, Queenan moaned that when Westport TD and Junior Minister Michael Ring visited the pier everything wasn’t quite as it should be, particularly as the structure was on the route of the Wild Atlantic Way.

However, Director of Services, Tom Kilfeather was having none of  it. He told Queenan the pier was a local issue, and it was up to locals to maintain it.

Chairman Joe also told the meeting God is being prayed to that there won’t be high tides or storms given the scale of the coastal erosion in Enniscrone. We are reliably informed Joe warned that the people are going to wake up one morning and there will be no
sewerage facility in the resort.

Imagine the pong!

Homosexual ‘marriage’ campaign

Fathers & Mothers Matter, a group lobbying for a No vote in the coming homosexual ‘marriage’ referendum, have complained of posters they erected being torn down and replaced with Yes side images. They have issued a statement saying that there was a “campaign of harrassment, intimidation and criminality underway.”

Public concern is also growing about some social media content, as well as in cases one sided and misleading material in favour of a Yes vote in regular media.

The Yes campaign is being driven by the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition, Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and a crop of other political interests and organisations. Major funding, donated from America, is being employed by interests to secure the success of the referendum.

However, a public backlash against the referendum seems certain as discussion of the very grave, some would say  dangerous, repercussions of the referendum for parents and their children is broadened into the public domain.

The raft of new, and so far unreaveled laws, set to follow the referendum will, it’s considered  undoubtedly destroy the institution of marriage and the rights of parents, children and much more. Just one example, how many know or have been told that a Yes vote will acknowledge all married homosexual couples with or without children as a ‘family’ while lone parents with any number of children will still not be recognised as a family in that way?

As has been pointed out by an expert in the field, a Yes vote “could be said to usher in a never before existing INEQUALITY in Ireland. The children of unmarried people will have less constitutional protection than others. Family law will change for ALL due to the inclusion of three or more equal parents, expecially in the circumstance of homosexual divorce since their union in principle required a third party.”

Needs thinking about.

Earlier in the week a lady was heard to voice her opposition to the posters erected by the Fathers and Mothers Matter lobby. What
she had to complain about didn’t make a lot of sense. Nevertheless, we asked the highly reputable Fathers and Mothers organisation to comment on their posters, a request they kindly facilitated with detailed explanation, and that we are happy to include below for the information of the public.

This is what they said:

“Marriage Referendum No posters focus on the key areas of public debate

“Today volunteers throughout the country are taking delivery of our posters designed to reflect the key debating points of the “No” campaign in the Marriage Referendum, to be held on May 22nd. These posters will be erected over the next week or two in every constituency.

“Poster One: “Children deserve a mother and a father.

“The Government wants to spin children out of this referendum. In doing so it is either deliberately misleading the public or else grossly ignorant of the primary constitutional effects of the referendum. The simple fact is that issues relating to children cannot be neatly divided from Article 41’s protection of marriage and the family. If Article 41 is amended it will be impossible for any future Oireachtas to ever place in law a preference for a child having a mother and a father when it comes to any of adoption, surrogacy or donor assisted human reproduction. If the referendum passes it will forever prevent the Oireachtas from attempting to vindicate a child’s right to a mother and a father where possible. In effect, the Constitution will require that some children be deliberately deprived with the collusion of the State of either a mother or a father. Every child deserves a mother and a father, and this is no less true for adopted children or surrogate children. 

“Poster Two: We already have Civil Partnerships.

“Since its introduction five years ago, Civil Partnerships have allowed over two thousand same sex couples in Ireland to say “I Do”. After campaigning for legal recognition and equality on inheritance, next of kin status, taxation provisions etc, same sex couples have the long sought after legal recognition of their relationships. Almost all of the initial differences with Civil Marriage have now been removed. Those that remain reflect the differences between same sex and opposite sex relationships when it comes to bringing children into the world. Civil Partnerships give same-sex couples the rights of married couple but don’t attack a child’s right, where possible, to a mother and a father.

“Poster Three: Surrogacy

“The Government has indicated that one of the primary reasons the Children and Family Relationships Act was passed was to attempt to take children out of the referendum debate in order to make life easier for the Yes campaign. But it has been deliberately evasive on what a passed referendum will mean for the right to procreate. Our Courts have judged that the right to procreate is derived from Article 41 of the Constitution, meaning that if the referendum passes same-sex married couples will likewise have a constitutional right to procreate. They can only procreate through donor assisted human reproduction and, in the case of men, surrogacy as well. So it is very possible that surrogacy will be seen as part of a same-sex couple’s constitutional right to procreate. In such case the Constitution will endorse as a “right” a child having a biological mother and a birth mother but being left legally and socially motherless for the rest of her life.

Even if a future court does not find that two married men have a right to have children through surrogacy, any Government which permits opposite-sex married couples to use surrogates will be bound by the Constitution to also allow two married men to use a surrogate, which once again is a deliberate attack on the child’s right to a mother.”

The Chairperson of Fathers and Mothers Matter is Professor Ray Kinsella, Professor of Banking and Financial Services and Healthcare at the Michael Smurfit School of Business, University College, Dublin.

Committee of members advising Mothers and Fathers Matter on the law and ethics relating to assisted human reproduction, surrogacy and adoption are:

Dr. Thomas Finegan, publisher in areas of human rights law and legal and moral philosophy;

Dr. Caitriona Hughes, a Clinical Psychologist, working with children, young people, and adults;

Dr. Catherine Kavanagh, lecturer in philosophy at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick;

Dr. Rik Van Nieuwenhove, lecturer in theology,
Mary Immaculate College, Limerick;

David Quinn, columnist with the Irish Independent and Irish Catholic and founder and director of the Iona Institute, and

Dr. Joanna Rose, a campaigner for rights of donor-conceived people. She took a legal case in Britain that eventually won the right of don-conceived people to know their biological parents