Coronor not being called into site of Tuam mother and baby home burials

‘No active investigation being conducted into the Tuam discovery’ – minister

Sligo News File

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has said no active investigation is being carried out by the coroner or the gardai into the site of the burials at the Tuam mother and baby home.

Denis Naughten TD

The issue was raised by TD Denis Naughton who asked the minister the reason the coroner has not been called into the Tuam site “and if he will now be called in.”

Responding by way of a written parliamentary reply, the Minister said she understood that the Commission of Investigation first formally notified the coroner for North Galway on 2 March 2017 of its discoveries at the Tuam site.

“Both the coroner and the gardai, she said, “provided any co-operation requested by the Commission during its work.”

She understood, she said, that “there is no active investigation being conducted into the Tuam discovery by the gardai or by the coroner.”

Her statement adds: “The coroner is an independent quasi-judicial and it is a matter for him how to conduct any death investigation in accordance with his statutory functions, on the basis of the information made available to him.

“The Final Report of the Commission does not recommend any particular action on behalf of the Coroner with regard to the Tuam site.

“The Minister for Children, Disability, Equality, Integration and Youth will progress the Certain Institutional Burials (Authorised Interventions) Bill, which will provide for the establishment of a dedicated agency, by Government Order under a sponsoring Minister for a specific site, to undertake where necessary, a forensic standard excavation, exhumation and, where possible, identification of discovered remains, and provide for their respectful reinterment.

“This legislation will support intervention at the Tuam site, and any other site, where intervention is reasonably required based on the manifestly inappropriate nature of the interments.

“This is a bespoke approach to address the very sensitive matter of the discovery of human remains at the Tuam site. The approach will effectively displace the relevant role of the Coroner, by disapplying the exhumation process in section 47 of the Coroners Act 1962. This is the most appropriate means to address the particular needs arising in my view.

“I support the approach proposed by Minister O’Gorman and have assured him of the full co-operation of my department and its agencies in implementing the actions set out in the legislation,” she concluded.








Border control crucial to blocking spread of the Covid-19 pandemic

Deploy army to help in restricting unnecessary travel into the State

Sligo News File

What’s preventing the government from deploying the army to the border as a measure to assist gardai to control the spread of the Covid virus from the North?  Soldiers can be sent on missions abroad so why not to a frontier at home where their presence is clearly pressingly needed at the moment?

The border is plainly a major weak spot that surely must be focussed on if progress is to be made on the suppression of the virus.

It’s hard to understand the current reluctance of ministers to deal with this, given the massive threat that it is.

Ministers need to further ponder the advice of the expert body and medical professionals and now do the right thing if the lives of the people – especially the most vulnerable of the population – mean anything at all to them. How many more are they prepared to allow to needlessly die before they act and, too, curtail with urgency the almost free-for-all movement of people still travelling into the State by air and sea ports? Shockingly, tens of thousands were permitted to enter from some of the most Covid-19 affected countries in the world with minimal restrictions in the less than three weeks up to the beginning of January.

The people need protection, not relentless funerals and the huge number of people daily being infected with a dangerous disease, the health effects of which many may not ever fully recover from.


Wheelchairs escape regulation for speed

No measures in the pipeline

Sligo News File

Wheelchair users will be relieved that their transport is not about to be included on the list of speed-controlled vehicles.

The issue was raised by TD David Cullinane who asked Transport Minister Eamon Ryan “the legal speed limit for powered wheelchairs” and “his plans to legislate in this area.”

Ryan, in a written parliamentary reply, said there was no legal speed limit for wheelchairs and he had “no plans to legislate for a speed limit to be introduced.”


Aer Lingus pulling out of Ireland

United States service to be operated from Manchester

Sligo News File

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has said Covid-19 is having a devastating impact on aviation when he confirmed in a parliamentary reply that he is aware of Aer Lingus’s plan to move operations to Manchester.

Eamon Ryan, Minister for Transport

His statement followed a query from TD Darren O’Rourke who asked the Minister for “his views on the loss of air connectivity by Ireland in the wake of Covid-19” and “if his attention had been drawn to the fact that services are being transferred abroad.”

Ryan said COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on aviation, not just in Ireland but globally. “Air services around the world have been reduced significantly, and thousands of aircraft remain grounded. As an island nation, this drop in connectivity has hit Ireland especially hard,” he said. “While the loss of air services is a concern it is, unfortunately, an unavoidable consequence of the public health measures that are necessary to reduce transmission of COVID-19.”

“I am aware,” he said, “of Aer Lingus’s plan to begin operating air services from Manchester to the United States through a subsidiary.” However, he added that he did not accept it was “correct to say that services are being transferred abroad. I understand that Aer Lingus is fully committed to rebuilding services to/from Ireland when circumstances allow. The Deputy will no doubt also be aware that the Government has made provision this year’s estimates for €20m to incentivise the restoration of connectivity.”





Cutback on livestock a condition under which farmers were granted payments under the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure – Minister

More than 34,000 farmers have received the aid of €77.72 million

Sligo News File

Farmers agreed to reduce the production of bovine livestock nitrogen on their holding when they applied for payment under the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said in reply to a parliamentary question.

Sean Canney, TD

Pressing the Minister about his plans concerning the 5% reduction in livestock, a condition under which the aid was awarded to applicants, Sean Canney TD told him that many farmers were unable to sell stock owing to Covid-19 restrictions “including travel restrictions, and lockdowns” and, too, were unable to sell stock online.

McConalogue said the “Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) provided temporary exceptional adjustment aid to farmers in the beef sector in Ireland, subject to the conditions set out in EU Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1132.

“BEAM was funded by a combination of EU aid and Exchequer support. It was provided to support Irish beef farmers who saw beef prices fall in light of the Covid-19 market disturbance.

“One of the conditions under which the €50 million was granted by the EU was that there had to be an element of reduction or re-structuring built in to the scheme. Accordingly, in applying for BEAM, participants agreed to reduce the production of bovine livestock manure nitrogen on their holding by 5% for the period 1st July 2020 to 30th June 2021 as compared with the period 1st July 2018 to 30th June 2019.

“Obligations under the measure were developed based on analysis of the herd profile and nitrates profile of the national herd. It was designed, in consultation with farmer representative organisations, to make the measure as easy to participate in as possible, whilst maintaining the requirement under the implementing regulation for temporary market adjustments.”

 “Since 2019, 34,345 farmers have received some €77.72M as part of the scheme,” he added



Traffic News – Sligo Urban Area

List of works in the Sligo Urban Area below



 N4-N15 Sligo Urban Improvement Scheme:

In order to facilitate major road realignment works at the Duck St (N16)-Barrack St and the N4/N15/N16 Junctions, the following road closure and associated diversions will be implemented on Monday 25th January until the 5th March 2021 (6 Weeks).

N16 Westbound Diversion

The Westbound lane of Duck St (N16) will be closed to through traffic between the N4-N15 junction and the mini-roundabout.

  • Traffic will be diverted via Ballytivnan-Elm Gardens-N15
  • Local Access will be maintained to premises along this section
  • Traffic travelling from the N4/N15 onto N16 Duck Street will not be impacted by the diversion

Closure of N16/Barrack Street Junction

Barrack St will be closed to through traffic between the Duck St (N16) junction and Holborn Hill junction.

  • Northbound traffic on Holborn Street will be diverted via Holborn Hill to the N16 mini-roundabout
  • Access to Barrack St for N16 traffic will be via N16 mini-roundabout onto Holborn Hill, onwards to Holborn St and onto Barrack St.
  • Local Access will be maintained

See attached Maps and letter Drop By Fox Contracts for Barrack Street Closure.

Diversion for N4 southbound traffic accessing the R870 Markievicz Road

The Left Turn exit slip from the N4 Southbound onto Markievicz road will remain closed and all N4 southbound traffic looking to access the R870 Markievicz Road will continue to be diverted via

  • The N4 Inner Relief Road, R292 Lord Edward Street/Wine Street/Lower Knox Street and the R286 Markievicz Road.
  • Traffic travelling from the R870 Markievicz Road onto the N4 will not be impacted by the diversion.

Traffic Diversion on the N4 Northbound lane in place as follows:

  • The Right Turn for N4 Northbound Traffic entering Markievicz Road remains closed.  A Traffic diversion is in place via N16 Duck Street / Holborn Hill and R286 Connughton Road.

 Lane Narrowing / Closures:

  • N4 Northbound Lane Closure on the N4 approaching the Ballast Quay junction and continuing past the Duck St (N16) Junction.
  • N4 Southbound Lane Closure remains in place on the N4 from Duck St junction to Markievicz Road junction.

 Pedestrian Diversions:

  • West Footway closure is in place on the N4 between Hughes Bridge and the N16 Duck Street Junction with diversions in place onto temporary East Footway .
  • Localised Footway diversions will be in place at Markievicz Road junction to facilitate drainage and pavement works. 
  • The Footway diversion between the N16-Duck Street junction to the Rosses Point junction is using a new temporary footway alignment.
  • North Footway is closed on Duck St between the mini-roundabout and the junction with the N4.  Pedestrians to use diversion on the South footway.
  • Pedestrian diversion North of Rosses Point junction is via the new West footpath up to the Circle K Service station, and onwards from Circle K Service station to Horkans Garden Centre/Texaco Service station.  The opposite footpath is closed to facilitate service ducting and footway works.  Temporary access to/from Cartron Estate will be maintained.

Sligo County Council apologises for any inconvenience arising from these works.

Planning approval expired on Ballina IDA site

‘Marketing of site continuing’

Sligo News File

Planning permission for IDA lands on the outskirts of Ballina has expired, local TD Dara Calleary has been told in response to a parliamentary question.

The lands at Quignashee, zoned industrial, and purchased by Mayo County Council in 2001 are earmarked for development as a business and technology park. 

Tanaiste and Minister for Trade Leo Varadkar said the IDA is continuing to market the 10.6-acre site to prospective investors.

The agency, he added, has now appointed an engineering firm to undertake detailed technical due diligence, review the master plan design and submit an infrastructure application which the IDA expects will be ready for submission in the third quarter of 2021 “subject to on-going review.”



Employer’s responsibility to pay statutory redundancy payments to eligible employees

Debt is raised against the employer where redundancy payment made from Social Insurance Fund

Sligo News File

Tanaiste and Minister for Trade Leo Varadkar has told a Sligo-Leitrim TD that “under the provisions of the Redundancy Payments Act 1967, it is the employer’s responsibility to pay statutory redundancy payments to eligible employees.

“However, in situations where an employer cannot sustain the cost of redundancy payments due to financial difficulties, the Department of Social Protection provides a safety net for both employers and employees and can make the statutory redundancy payment to eligible employees from the Social Insurance Fund on behalf of the employer.

“When such a redundancy payment is made from the Social Insurance Fund, a debt is raised against the employer. The Department of Social Protection is legally obliged to make every effort to recover the debt owed to the Social Insurance Fund,” he added.

The TD raised the issue in a parliamentary question.

China hit with further outbreak of Covid-19

Cluster discovered at large-scale chicken plant

Sligo News File

Authorities in China are reportedly investigating a cluster of Covid-19 cases at a major chicken processing plant in the North East of the country.

According to media outlets, 10 symptomatic incidents and more than 30 asymptomatic infections have been recorded at the Thai processing conglomerate.

Authorities, it’s stated, have embarked on emergency measures to control the outbreak.

Two hospitals in Shanghai, it’s also said, have gone into lockdown after they were linked with a number of new cases in the Chinese city.


ICSA calls for trailing shoe/protected urea as option in lieu of 5% BEAM reduction

‘Would avoid hard-pressed farmers being asked to return up to 100% of the BEAM money already received which in certain cases is a €10,000 penalty’

Sligo News File

 A compromise could be found to the issue of the 5% BEAM scheme stocking reduction, says chairman of the ICSA Edmund Graham.

Edmund Graham,
ICSA Beef Chairman

The ICSA he said, “is asking the Minister to negotiate an option for carbon reduction involving trailing shoe and/or protected urea as an option for those who cannot meet the 5% reduction in organic nitrogen.

 “This would avoid the appalling vista of 8,000 hard-pressed farmers being asked to return up to 100% of the BEAM money already received which in certain cases is a €10,000 penalty. The reality is that not only are farmers struggling with the complexity of this requirement but neither Teagasc nor the Department have the tools to advise farmers of where they stand in a timely and accurate fashion.

“The option to allow farmers who can’t meet the 5% requirement to use trailing shoe and protected urea as an alternative is win-win as it delivers carbon mitigation and is in line with the national strategy to deliver carbon reduction in Irish agriculture. Therefore it should be a very welcome proposal in Brussels. I am calling on Minister McConalogue to tackle this as a matter of urgency,” he added.  


Questions after thousands of Israeli’s reportedly test positive for Covid–19 following Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination

Some said to be infected after the second jab

Sligo News File

More than 12,000 Israeli’s have tested positive for Covid-19 after being inoculated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, media outlets have reported

Accounts attributed to the Israeli Health Ministry report that 6.6 percent of 189,000 vaccinated for the coronavirus later tested positive for the virus. Some 69 of them are said to have been people who had been inoculated for the second time.

Reports state that the majority were seemingly infected soon after being administered the first of the two-part vaccine. This is a period when the vaccination isn’t expected to have yet taken effect. However, it’s stated that 1,410 tested positive two weeks after the first jab when limited immunity should have occurred.

Pfizer is reported to have said that a spike in immunity occurs between Day 15 and Day 21 after the first vaccination when its effectiveness increases from 52% to 89%.

Israel’s government advisor on coronavirus Professor Nachman Ash is stated by i24 NewsTV to have told Army Radio that the first dose was “less effective than we thought” and “lower than (the data) presented by Pfizer.”

However, it adds that current data suggests “two doses of the vaccine still offer 95 percent protection against Covid-19.  



Ballina and Area People – another captivating work from the pen of distinguished writer and historian Terry Reilly

Engrossing production takes readers on a journey of discovery with compelling and thought-provoking volume

Page after page of enrapturing detail

Sligo News File 

Fresh from the publishers, Ballina and Area People is yet another captivating work from the pen of distinguished writer and historian, Terry Reilly. Full of intrigue, the author – renowned for his numerous and engrossing productions on the history of Ballina and its region –  this time takes readers on a journey of discovery with a compelling and thought-provoking volume they will find hard to put down.

Fascinating chapters focus on such as the ‘disappearance’ of Ballina Stephenites’ greatest ever captain; the life and place of the Mayo ancestors of US President-elect, Joe Biden, and the famed Jim Donnelly, coach to famous European soccer teams.

Page after page is packed full of enrapturing detail:

 Could Alexander Fleming have made his discovery without the help of his Kilfian-born wife, Sarah McElroy?

Who is a much-decorated US songwriter and Grand Ole Opry Hall of Famer, Rory Bourke?

What Mayo man served late-night drinks to Winston Churchill’s daughter, Sarah?

Who was Mayo’s most outstanding all-round athlete?

Rosary priest Fr Patrick Peyton and helping hand from US CIA

The area’s great missionaries and Robben Island anecdote

What Ballina man was a  pioneer in abolishing slavery in California

And that’s not the half of it….

It’s a limited edition, hardcover, price 20 euro, with an illuminating bookmarker.

Amongst those featured are: 

President Joe Biden, 46th President of the USA; Rory Bourke, top songwriter in the USA;

Jackie Clarke and his truly amazing collection; Cyril Collins, prime enhancer of Belleek Wood; Andy Corcoran, great Stephenite captain, lost and now found; Jim Donnelly, extraordinary footballer and international coach; Monsignor Fachtna Joseph Harte, builder of beautiful Basilica; Dick Hearns, athlete, footballer, boxer, trainer; Patrick Hennigan and friends in WWI trenches (amended to Bravery in WW1 & India); Pat Herbert, collector of radio oddities and acquaintance of Winston Churchill’s daughter; Richard M. Hooley, theatrical entrepreneur in the US + Jack Cunningham and Paddy Stephens; Dr Kathleen Lynn, her role in 1916 Rising and children’s hospital; John McDonnell, most successful ever US college athletics coach; Sarah McElroy, the woman behind Sir Alexander Fleming;  Sr Mary McNulty and others on mission fields; Arthur Muffeny, one of Ballina’s greatest campaigners; Fr Patrick Peyton, Rosary Crusader, preached to over 28 million; Sr Alphonsus Preston, legendary matron Ballina Hospital; Jimmy Ralph, one of nature’s loveable  gentlemen; President Mary Robinson, Ireland’s first woman president; PJ Ruttledge, freedom fighter and Government Minister; William Joyce Sewell, decorated US Civil War hero; William E Shannon, leading abolitionist in California; Leslie Stuart, another famous musical figure; William Vincent and Eliza Wallace,  Rock Stars of the 19 century; and  Edward Whelan, Father of Canadian Confederation. 

Signed copies of this limited hardcover edition available online from author (click on Bookstore) and

Outlets include Easons, and Ernie Caffrey, Garden Street, Ballina,  Jackie Clarke Collection,  Ballina Tourist Office, Mayo Books, Castle Street, Castebar, etc.  For further details email  Price 20 euro.

Terry Reilly is author of Mayo’s Forgotten Famine Girls, Sent to Australia 1848-50, the central character in the book is Winnie Nealis who was born in Skreen, Co Sligo and ended up in Ballina Workhouse before being sent to Australia. Limited copies are still available. Other books by the author include Dear Old Ballina, On A Wing and a Prayer (Monsignor Horan and the building of Knock Airport), Amazing Mayo Stories, Ballina, One Town, Three Wars & More. 


Allergic reactions lead to California calls for a pause in the use of a huge batch of Moderna vaccines – report

Affected lot said to include more than 300,000 doses

Ireland has administered first doses of Moderna in the last few days

Sligo News File

California’s State Epidemiologist is reportedly warning health providers to pause using a batch of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine “due to possible allergic reactions that are under investigation.”

The statement is understood to have been issued by Dr. Erica S. Pan, and referring to lot 41L20A of the Moderna vaccine states: “A higher-than-usual number of possible allergic reactions were reported with a specific lot of Moderna vaccine at one community vaccination centre.

“Fewer than 10 individuals required medical attention over the span of 24 hours. Out of an extreme abundance of caution and also recognising the extremely limited supply of vaccines, we are recommending that providers use other available vaccine inventory and pause the administration of vaccines from Moderna Lot 041L20A until the investigation by the CDC, FDA, Moderna and the state is complete.

“All appeared to be experiencing a possible severe allergic reaction during the standard observation period – a type of adverse event that the CDC reports some people have experienced when receiving a Covid-19 vaccine.

“While no vaccine or medical procedure is without risk, the risk of a serious adverse reaction is very small. While less data exists on adverse reactions related to the Moderna vaccine, a similar vaccine shows that the expected rate of anaphylaxis is approximately 1 in 100,000.”

It’s stated that more than 330,000 doses from this lot have been distributed to 287 providers across the state, the shipments had arrived in California between the 5th  and 12th January. The state, it goes on, has not been notified of any other cluster or individual events related to the lot.

“The manufacturer, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reviewing the lot and related medical information,” the statement concludes.

Ireland has administered its first doses of Moderna in the last few days.


Face masks not mandatory in financial institutions, says Donnelly

Security requirements to ensure the identities of people entering premises

Sligo News File

Banks, post offices and other financial institutions are sectors where the public are not required to don face masks. That’s from the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly in response to a parliamentary query on the issue.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly

He said: “The wearing of face coverings are not mandatory in premises such as bank branches, credit unions and post offices for both public health and security reasons. By their nature these locations are controlled environments where social distancing for members of the public should be attainable.

“There are also security requirements in terms of ensuring the identities of people entering a financial institution,” he added.

Meanwhile, cross channel, some UK banks have warned that customers face having their accounts cancelled if they refuse to wear face masks in branches.