Single parent families to suffer as a result of sneaky Budget cuts – Mac Sharry.

‘…hundreds of families across the North West are facing cuts of up to €80 euro a week…’

Sligo News File Online.

Senator Marc MacSharry
Senator Marc MacSharry,
Fianna Fail

Fianna Fáil Senator Marc Mac Sharry says hundreds of families across the North West are facing cuts of up to €80 euro a week because of changes to the One Parent Family Payment.  The age threshold for the entitlement is being reduced again in July, resulting in cuts payments for single parent families.

 Senator Mac Sharry commented, “These regressive cuts will impact some of the more vulnerable families in the country.  Hundreds of families in the North West will see substantial cuts to their payments in July because of the sneaky measures brought in by Minister Joan Burton in Budget 2012.  Since then the Government has been lowering the age threshold for entitlement, ensuring that year on year more families receive reduced payments, or see their payments cut altogether.  In some instances the age threshold is being slashed from 16 to 7 this July, resulting in thousands of families losing their entitlements.

“Nationally, more than 40,000 families will be affected by these underhand changes.  Many single parents are already extremely stretched because of high childcare costs and these payments could be the difference between them staying at work or being forced to leave their jobs to stay at home and look after their children.  In fact, these cuts are at odds with the Government’s own claim that it wants to see more people in employment, as they could force parents out of the workplace.

“Over the past four years parents have been subject to a raft of cuts under this Government.  Minister Burton has presided over cuts to child benefit and the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, as well as taxing maternity benefit.  Now One Parent Families are being targeted by the Government.  These sneaky changes, which will see some families lose up to €80 a week, will penalise working parents, and goes against promises made by Labour not to cut welfare benefits”.


Two, including garda, released in Sligo drugs-related investigation.

File being sent to the DPP.

Sligo News File Online.

Two people, including a female garda, have been released without
charge following their arrests in connection with drugs-related
activities in Sligo.

The garda, in her early 30s, based in Dublin, and a man were
detained in the town yesterday evening.

Both were released without charge this evening and a file is being
sent to the DPP.

Female garda arrested in Sligo Drugs investigation.

Garda and man detained at a Sligo garda station.

Sligo News File Online.

A female garda has been arrested in Sligo and is being questioned
in connection with drug-related activities.

The woman, in her 30s, and a serving member of the gardai based
in Dublin, was detained with a man in the town at 6.30 pm testerday.

It’s understood the two are being questioned at Ballymote garda

Government forced into climb down on LEADER issue – Liadh Ní Riada.

‘…changes, proposed by former Minister Phil Hogan, and carried on by his successor Minister Alan Kelly, would have been disastrous for the local and rural development sector.

Sligo News File Online.

Liadh Ni Riada, MEP, Sinn Fein
Liadh Ni Riada, MEP, Sinn Fein

Speaking from Strasbourg, Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland’s South constituency Liadh Ní Riada gave a cautious welcome to the government’s climb-down on its proposed changes to the
LEADER rural development programme.

“The letter sent to LEADER stakeholders by the Department just before the Christmas break show a partial climb down by government on its proposed changes to the LEADER scheme.”

“I have seen the letter, and it does detail some positive amendments to the proposed changes to the administration of the scheme which were due to come into effect this year.”

“I have been very clear that the changes, proposed by former Minister Phil Hogan, and carried on by his successor Minister Alan Kelly, would have been disastrous for the local and rural
development sector. These changes would have seen local authorities take control of the LEADER scheme.”

“In November I brought a delegation of key stakeholders to Brussels to meet with the European Commission, where we registered our firm opposition to the changes, and highlighted the many
contradictions and problems within the Government’s plans.”

“Soon after our meetings in Brussels, the Commission sent a long list of questions to the Government, seeking answers and clarifications, and pointing to serious discrepancies in their plans. I am glad to
see that finally the Department is getting around to addressing some of these.”

“That said I remain sceptical given the mess that the Government have made of the whole Rural Development Programme application, and I will be keeping a close eye on developments.”

“It’s important to point out that this whole debacle has led to further delays in rolling out the entire Rural Development Programme, which amounts to some €4 billion in European funds. Rural communities and farming families are facing delays in crucial payments and the companies and workers that have built sterling international reputations in the roll-out of LEADER are facing uncertain futures.”

“Alan Kelly and the Fine Gael-Labour coalition need to sort this mess out, and in the meantime secure interim funding to keep these companies above water and rural development officers in jobs.

Debt beleaguered Sligo Council reportedly looking to motorists to help with its finances.

More traffic wardens and broadening of pay and display zones on the way.

Sligo News File Online.

Motorists are reportedly down to play a significant role in helping debt beleaguered Sligo County Council stabilise its finances.

According to accounts, Chief Executive, Ciaran Hayes told this week’s meeting of the council that he sees parking fees as one way to bring in revenue needed to reduce the authority’s roughly €150 million debt load.

Among the measures he apparently outlined is a plan to broaden pay and display zones and put more traffic wardens on the streets of the town.

He is also said to have stressed that there will be greater attention paid to illegal parking and pay and display in the town during 2015.

The council is reckoned to have raked in upwards of €2 million in parking charges in the last year.






County has suffered major loss of industrial, service and retail activity under Coalition.

Sligo News File Online.

Despite widespread emigration of families and young people from Sligo records show there are still upwards of 4,600 on the Live Register for the area.

The county has suffered under the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition with a major loss of local industrial, service sector and retail activity.

Young people, many of them refusing to become part of a growing dole queue, have, with families, moved away to look for work in other countries.

Of the number currently on the dole, 2,765 are male and 1,835 female.

The existing working population includes many in low end, relatively poorly paid occupations.

Rural areas of the county are also set to be further depopulated under government measures, which, according to the IFA, provide that only young qualified farmers will be able to obtain EU payments and subsidies, without which it will be virtually impossible for farm owners to survive.

Meanwhile, the government is bringing forward its goal of full employment by 2018 – two years earlier than its previously announced deadline. This will include a target of creating 40,000 new jobs this year, the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny has said. However, Finfacts Business News Centre says Kenny has got his sums wrong by about 60,000 on the increase in employment needed to offset jobs lost during the recession.

As to Sligo, Ballymote-based former junior minister for small business John Perry has said he is in talks about plans to establish a whiskey distillery at Hazelwood House. This follows the launching of a brewery – the White Hag Brewing Company – in Ballymote in 2013.




Lane closure to facilitate on-going hydro-demolition works.

Sligo News File Online.

Hughes Bridge, Sligo 1Sligo County Council has informed motorists that Hughes Bridge will be reduced to a single lane for northbound traffic with effect from lunchtime today, Thursday 15th January. The lane closure, says the authority, will remain in place throughout the weekend and possibly into the early part of next week.

‘The closure will remain in place during the morning and evening peaks in order to facilitate the on-going hydro-demolition works. Accordingly, motorists should allow additional time for delays
during these periods.

‘As always, Sligo County Council and L&M Keatings will endeavour to minimise the effects of the works and we thank you for your continuing co-operation and patience,’ the statement adds.


‘…an increase of 13% in beef production resulted in a paltry 1% rise in the value of beef exports…’

Sligo News File Online.

Patrick Kent, President, Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association.
Patrick Kent, President, Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association.

ICSA president Patrick Kent has said that the 2014-2015 Bord Bia Export Performance and Prospects report clearly demonstrates that increased output does not always translate into good returns for farmers.

“As we see from these figures, an increase of 13% in beef production resulted in a paltry 1% rise in the value of beef exports, showing that increasing output has been of little value to the economy, and has actually had a negative effect for many farmers. While output increased by 13% last year, beef prices fell by an average of 11%, a completely unsustainable price drop.”

“Bord Bia themselves admit in this report that beef consumption was sluggish across most markets last year, yet farmers are constantly being told that they need to increase output. ICSA is adamant that any future food production strategy must focus on profitability as opposed to increasing output, and these export figures further reinforce that view.”