Concerns over breaches of 5km restrictions.

Sligo News File.

Beaches are closed.


Sligo County Council is restricting access to a number of public amenities including beaches in a bid, they say, to halt the spread of Covid-19 in the community.

A statement on the Council’s website reads: “Arising from concerns expressed by the Government and HSE on the ‘rampant transmission of the Covid-19 virus’ in the community, a number of measures are being introduced in the interests of public health and safety. Concerns have risen over the weekend of large numbers of people travelling beyond the 5km limit to exercise and social distancing not been adhered to.

“Sligo County Council is working with An Gárda Siochána to restrict access to amenity areas across the county in order to prevent large numbers congregating, including Enniscrone, Mullaghmore, Streedagh, Culleenamore, and Rosses Point beaches.  Other amenities affected include Half-Moon Bay in Hazelwood, Dooney Rock, Slish Wood, and Union Wood, Benbulben scenic walk at Gortarowey, Mitchell Curley Park and Strandhill Promenade.  

“We hope that these actions will prevent further widespread community transmission and aid in all of efforts to save lives,” the statement adds.

Castleconnor GAA team of the past


The Castleconnor GAA senior team pictured before lining out for an encounter 64 years ago, in 1957, at Maye’s field in Rathglass.

Front- left to right – Sean Finnerty, Christy Barrins (RIP) Jim Curran, Joe McManamon, Liam Boland, Edward Forde (RIP) Martin (Atty) Boland (RIP)

Back: Seamus Barrins (RIP) Bert Barrins, Paddy McHale (RIP) John Reape, Paddy Maye, Leo Boland, Joe Finnerty (RIP) and Leo Flynn

It would be many more years before the foundations were laid for the registration of a GAA club and construction of a sports centre in the West Sligo parish. 

Basta under new ownership

Company acquired by Dublin construction materials group.

Sligo News File

Tubbercurry-based door lock and handle manufacturer Basta has been sold, two years after the Ardale Group purchased the company out of examinership in 2018.

The firm, which was established by the Gallagher Brothers in 1955 is understood to have been acquired by the Dublin headquartered construction materials group, Laydex Building Solutions. Details of the price have not been disclosed.

Laydex, founded in 1995, supplies roofing, flooring, fire protection, radon and gas equipment and other products to the construction industry.

It’s believed staff  at Basta are to be retained under the new ownership


The Best of Sligo Weekender

Compilation of social accounts featuring notable Sligo people whose lives and contributions help foster the distinctive character of North West.

Sligo News File.

New to the bookshops: The Best of Sligo Weekender is a selection of compelling social stories about some of the remarkable men and women who, as the book relates, make the North West such a special place.

Published by the popular Sligo Weekender, the truly unputdownable read features engrossing accounts gleaned from interviews with many of the engaging figures it has encountered over the years. Brilliantly written, the nearly 300 page work has been put together and distributed by the Weekender team, a weekly now proudly standing as one of the very few privately owned regional newspapers in the country.  

Copies of the book are on sale in bookshops or may be obtained from the offices of the Sligo Weekender at Innisfree House, 44-45 High Street, Sligo F91 WC79.

The good news is that production of a second publication, Volume 2 is being considered for release sometime in the future.

A contribution from the proceeds of the current publication is being made to the important suicide prevention work of North West STOP.


Johnson applying for French citizenship – father of British PM says mother born in France

The former MEP opposed the ‘leave’ campaign in the UK’s 2016 EU referendum.

Sligo News File

Stanley Johnson.

As the UK celebrates its restored independence from the EU it looks that some high-profile figures are seeking citizenship of countries within the Union, one of the latest, it’s said, the father of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Stanley Johnson, according to reports has announced that he’s applying for citizenship of France.

The 80-year-old author, a former MEP has been speaking on French radio about his family’s ties with République française, saying his mother was born in France with a French lineage extending back to her grandfather.

 He voted against the ‘leave’ campaign in the UK’s 2016 EU referendum.

Applications for Irish passports from UK citizens have soared from 7,372 in 2015 to 54,859 in 2019. 

UK passport holders will be subject to new EU restrictions after Britain formally withdraws from the bloc this evening.

‘Possibility of restoring water charges should be explored – Green Minister

Charges were dropped following national campaign against the levies.

 People already being hit with massive Local Property Tax and wave of carbon levies on heating oil, gas, turf, petrol, diesel, oil and much else.

People Power – Remember it?


Sligo News File.

Water charges which met with almost countrywide resistance when hundreds of thousands took to the streets to oppose them may be on the way back.

Although the threat stands inactive, it now seems a Green member of the government is reportedly proposing a revival of the abhorred payment regime.

From a report in the Sunday Independent, it appears the national water utility, Irish Water is encountering some problems in carrying out its work programme, a situation which has apparently led to a junior Green minister in the government housing department commenting that the ‘possibility of water charges should be explored’ within the term of the current administration.

It looks that the Green minister believes the issue could be put to the people during a referendum which is to be run to lock the national water utility into public ownership. Irish Water was established in 2013.

As of now, water connections to domestic dwellings or new builds can cost thousands of euro, with the price depending on the distance the connection is from the mains. Under the old private group water scheme, connections were made from, in cases, as low as only €700, many times less than today’s level – and without a stack of bureaucratic requirements to contend with.  

Irish Water is a subsidiary of Ervia, a multi-utility semi-state company involved in the distribution of water services, pipeline natural gas and dark fibre services in Ireland. Ervia and Irish Water have separate boards of directors. The current executive members of Irish Water are:

Cathal Marley (Chairman and Ervia Group CEO)
Eamon Gallen (General Manager Irish Water)
Niall Gleeson (Managing Director Irish Water
Yvonne Harris (Irish Water)
Brendan Murphy (Ervia)
Maria O’Dwyer(Irish Water)

Ervia consists of ten non-executive directors who are appointed by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, currently Daragh O’Brien, Fianna Fail. 

The members of the Ervia board, are:

Tony Keoghane (Chairman)
Cathal Marley
Chris Banks
Fred Barry
Celine Fitzgerald
Keith Harris
Sean Hogan
Mari Hurley
Finbar Kennelly and
Joe O’Flynn.

As well, Ervia has four board committees:

Keith Harris (Chairperson) Fred Barry (Chairperson) Tony Keohane (Chairperson) Celine Fitzgerald (Chairperson)
Mari Hurley Cathal Marley Mari Hurley Joe O’Flynn
Finbarr Kennelly Chris Banks Finbarr Kennelly Fred Barry
Sean Hogan Joe O’Flynn Keith Harris Keith Harris
      Chris Banks

According to the Ervia 2018 report, there were 822 employees aboard Irish Water. The 2019 report states that 574 employees in Central Services also supply services to Irish Water.

Ervia has a team of 11 executives:

Cathal Marley, Group Chief Executive,
Niall Gleeson, Managing Director,
Orlath Blaney, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer,
Liam O’Riordan, Company Secretary,
Michael G. O’Sullivan, Director of Business Services,
Brendan Murphy, Group Commercial Regulatory Director,
Claire Madden, Chief Legal Officer,
DawnO’Driscoll, Group HR Director,
Denis O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Gas Networks,
Ronan Galwey, Acting Group Finance Director and
Liam O’Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer

The managing director of Irish Water is believed to be on a salary of €200,000. Pay of senior staff reportedly is from €200,000 to €99,000, depending on work responsibilities. For some other employees, the rate varies from €50,000 to €100,000 while on the lower end of the Irish Water scale the rate is up to €39,000. All but a few are also on performance-related bonuses.

Danger EU heading to be ‘economic and technological backwater…’ warns Neil

The EU is at risk of collapse, says former editor of The Sunday Times and long-time BBC political presenter Andrew Neil.

Reportedly responding to a tweet that Britain will rejoin the Union at some future date,  Neil has said in a post:

“There’s a real danger that the EU will be an economic and technological backwater in 15 years time and today’s young Brits will be doing flourishing business in Hanoi and Djakarta. This summer Asian GDP over took the rest of the world put together.”

Andrew Neil @afneil






Triumphant British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leads Britain back to independence

‘The deal is done!’ Boris Johnson tweets triumphant photo after Brexit agreement struck

Sligo News File

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pictured in a jubilant mood after Britain finally striking a parting trade deal with the EU, 47 years after joining. But where now Ireland with the result a major blow for agriculture and fisheries, and higher costs for consumers? Indeed, has the country been left greatly short-changed by government, and what will be the price and loss the people will have to endure for it in the years ahead?

Where to now as politicians celebrate Christmas Eve UK-EU post Brexit deal?

No joy for Irish fishing or agriculture.

Sligo News File.

Politicians are jubilant, a Brexit UK-EU trade deal has been struck. However, much is not yet known publicly about it. The people will have to wait until the publication of the full Agreement in Principle to get a clearer picture of the implications the agreement will have for Ireland.

However, from information garnered from documents, it looks that the deal spells near disaster for the Irish fishing sector with industry representatives saying it has failed Irish fishermen. A source reportedly stated that repeated guarantees have “effectively been shredded.”

The reaction in farming circles is said to be relief that agreement has been struck but given the difficulties ahead for the agri-food sector there is little to cheer about.

Britain and EU close to deal

Announcement expected today.

Sligo News File.

Still not there…the expected announcement of a post-Brexit deal has been further delayed owing to what has been described by Irish minister Coveney as the “small text” of the fisheries agreement.

But by all accounts agreement is on the horizon with the prospect of confirmation sometime later today. Watch No. 10.

How Ireland has emerged in the process will become clearer over the next while but the usual propaganda painting over any cracks can be expected to be ramped up in coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the country’s business sector is heading into mass lockdown as a new and more sinister strain of the Covid virus is taking hold across the country. Precautions are being driven in overtime, and with worries as to whether the vaccine about to be distributed will provide protection against the new variant.

Hundreds of millions for agriculture – but Green leader insists national herd must be downsized

‘Far more for forestry with smaller, less intensively operated farms.’

Sligo News File.

Reports that the government is proposing to pump hundreds of millions of euros into farming will come as welcome news to the sector.

According to accounts, plans for the investment or allocation are already being worked on by the Department of Agriculture.

However, many will wonder if the intended bonanza is for the purpose of expanding the industry or is actually ‘compensation’ for among other things a downsizing of the national herd being demanded by green supremo, the Minister for Transport Eamonn Ryan.

While newly arrived Fianna Fail Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConologue has gone on record to publicly register his objection to any reduction in the livestock population, saying there is no justification for it, Ryan, on the other hand, is reportedly adamant that the herd has to be reduced if Ireland’s carbon emission targets are to be met.

Interviewed by the Irish Times, Ryan is said to have dismissed McConologue’s recently produced plan as an “old one” which will be superseded next year by a plan that will result in a smaller herd.

He is quoted as saying: “We have to double the ambition. Agriculture can’t be absolved and cannot be an opt-out….” The statement further reads that “we are going to do significantly more and Charlie McConologue knows that. The idea of pumping up the volume and massive expansion of the herd makes no sense.

“It does make sense to move to a less intensive system of farming and have a smaller herd.”

Farmers will get paid for the ecological services they provide in the future. 

If there are smaller, less-intensively operated farms, then there will also be far more forestry.

As well, he is said to have declared that some 140,000 hectares of bog throughout the State will be re-wetted within a decade, this being done by removing the drains. They will become a carbon sink. Work on this has already begun.

Meanwhile, McConologue is understood to be self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19


Garda seizure of suspected cannabis and shotgun in Sligo and Leitrim

Man helping gardai with their inquiries.

Sligo News File.

Suspected cannabis with an estimated street value of €360,000 has been seized following searches by gardai in Sligo and Leitrim. The search, during which a shotgun was also found, was carried out following the confiscation of a vehicle in Sligo for breaches of the road traffic legislation on Sunday.

A man in his 40s is being detained at Ballymote Garda Station.

Hayes steps down as CEO of Sligo County Council

Leaving to take up university role in the United States.

Sligo News File.

Ciaran Hayes

Sligo County Council chief executive Ciaran Hayes has resigned to take up a fellowship with an American university.

Dublin-born Hayes has headed up the council’s managerial operations for the last six years since his appointment as CEO in 2014 when he succeeded former county manager Hubert Kearns

Signing off at a meeting of the authority, Hayes praised the contribution of voluntary and business groups in the town and county, and also acknowledged the input of staff and councillors to the running of the council. He also paid tribute to his wife, Joan and family for their support during his tenure as chief executive in the area.

Sligo, he said, had seen a ‘transformation’ in recent years. What had been achieved was “extraordinary.” 

Hayes heard tributes from the chairman, Dara Mulvey and other councillors, with all joining in wishing him well in his career ahead.

Government bans travel from the UK fearing spread of more virulent strain of Covid related disease to Ireland

Clampdown in force from last night.

Sligo News File.

Ireland has closed its borders for travel from the UK in a bid to prevent a new strain of the Covid virus currently rapidly spreading throughout parts of England from taking hold in the State.

Health authorities have revealed that the recently identified variant is a much more contagious form of the disease.

The two-day ban on travel between Ireland and the UK announced by the government came into force last night and affects air and ferry operations, excepting those involved in the provision of essential services.

 Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria and Canada are among other countries said to have also shut down passenger travel from the UK. No cases of the mutant, understood to have been identified as SARS-CoV-2, have so far been detected in Ireland but some have reportedly been found in some European States.

SARS-CoV-2 is described as a strain of severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARSr-CoV) of believed zoonotic origins with a close genetic similarity to bat coronaviruses, suggesting it has emerged from a bat-borne virus.

The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, and a loss or change in sense of smell or taste.