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Concerns mayor-in-waiting raised about impact migrants having on state resources branded ‘racist.’

‘…here from Eastern Europe ‘for the handouts.’

Varadkar called on to direct Fine Gael to nominate a different candidate.

Sligo News File

Comments of a mayoral candidate who reportedly claimed that the inflow of non-nationals into the country has placed “a major drain on the state” have been branded as ‘racist.’

Now the pressure is growing to have the councillor’s nomination for the mayoralty of the city rescinded.

Cllr. Stephen Keary, FG,
Limerick Mayoral Candidate.

The burst of political activity came after Stephen Keary apparently remarked at a meeting that people had come here from Eastern Europe “for the handouts.”

According to media sources, Cllr. Keary, the father-in-law of junior minister Patrick Donovan, said Ireland was known as “the home for the handouts,” and that the “influx” of non-nationals has placed “a major drain on the state” in relation to social housing and hospital waiting lists.

The view is not exceptional in parts of the country, but in Limerick, an emotional boil over in some leftist groups has seen the councillor’s comments branded as “racist.”

It appears to have upset some interests that a public representative would speak out as Keary has done, and also stating that welfare recipients from Eastern Europe see Ireland as “easy pickings.” Keary, an engineer and farmer, has apologised. However, there seems to be no assuaging the anger his observations are said to have aroused.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

A petition has been started calling on Taoiseach of Indian origin Leo Varadkar to intervene and direct his party to nominate a different candidate for the mayoralty.

Locally, a newspaper report states that a few Eastern European residents have written to local councillors asking them to reject Keary’s mayoral bid.

However, Keary, while apologising, has said he did not intend his remarks to cause offence. He has indicated that he expects both his party and Fianna Fail to support his nomination.
Last March, a newspaper report revealed that Ireland is at present doling out millions in child welfare benefits to families living in European states.

The payment is made to citizens of European Union states working here who have kids living back in their home countries.

According to the report, 7,938 children currently receive the payments. The payouts have rocketed from €11.85 million overall in 2014 to €13.27 million in 2016.

Poland appears to be the biggest beneficiary. Families of over 4,500 children receive €140 per month from the Irish government – the highest welfare rate in Poland is €30.

Ireland also reputedly supports hundreds of children in Romania and Latvia with payments of €140 per month. The monthly welfare rate in Romania is just €19; in Latvia, it is only marginally more than €34.

The government, says the report, also pays out huge welfare benefits for nearly 2,000 children in the UK.

Currently upwards of 28,000 illegal or undocumented migrants live and work in Ireland.

It is believed that the number of children and young people born in Ireland to parents illegally on Irish soil is as high as 5,000.

Dail selects new Fine Gael Taoiseach

Varadkar homosexual son of Indian immigrant.

Sligo News File

The Dail has selected a homosexual as Taoiseach.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Thirty-eight-year-old Leo Varadkar is the son of an Indian from Mumbai.

He is expected to form a cabinet after receiving the Taoiseach’s seal of office later this afternoon.

Enda Kenny, who is he has taken over from, has gone to the backbenches.

The cabinet is expected to include Mick Ring from Westport.

Ring and Sligo’s Tony McLoughlin were among the first to offer their support to Varadkar.

Fianna Fail is to remain part of the incoming government under a previous confidence and supply pact.

The Soldiers of Destiny apparently prefer to stick with the Fine Gael-led administration fearful that a general election could leave them with still fewer seats.

Varadkar has expressed a preference for people who rise early in the morning.

While in Social Protection he ushered in a campaign asking the public to inform his department where they suspected persons on welfare were collecting more in welfare payments that they should. The cross -party Public Accounts Committee later showed there was no basis for the Indian son’s crusade.

His action was taken by some to also refer to the State pension and benefits for the most marginalised in the country.

He spent a bit of time in health with seemingly little obvious improvement recorded in the service. He slashed millions from the mental health budget. Hospital waiting lists rocketed.

He has advocated outlawing strikes in essential services, something it’s felt could very quickly prove the undoing of his adopted government.

Kenny from Castlebar will be remembered locally for his leadership of a government that left the West and North West in the economic doldrums.

There have been few if any announcements of investment is new manufacturing industry, all while this last few years major production operations have been restricted to Dublin, Cork and a small number of other locations.

Roughly 30% of Sligo’s commercial units are idle, numerous others have changed hands.

Farming is in crisis and set to get worse – two years after Simon Coveney as Minister for Agriculture told farm leaders at a dairy filled breakfast in the Department of Agriculture of an upcoming era of prosperity and jobs for the dairy industry.

Young people continue to exit the region in search of employment on a massive scale.

Even political appointees are leaving. In April, the Chairman of the Western Development Commission Paddy McGuninness contacted Junior Minister Mick Ring requesting not to be considered for reappointment. Reportedly he took the decision because he believed that there was no commitment at either political or administrative level to balanced regional development nor was there any worthwhile plan to redress rural decline.

Meanwhile priorities of political parties – Sinn Fein, Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fail and an assemblage of lefties – are the eighth amendment on abortion and provision of drug injection facilities where young people will be able to legally consume/inject illicit substances obtained from criminal dealers on the street. As
well, the decriminalisation of all drugs, including heroin, cocaine and cannabis, is outlined in the forthcoming Dail National Drug Strategy.

In case people have forgotten, Sligo-Leitrim has four TDs. They are Tony McLoughlin (Fine Gael) Sinn Feiner Martin Kenny and two Fianna Failers, Marc MacSharry and Eamon Scanlon, the party’s  shadow spokesman on small business and the likes.

Varadkar’s partner is Matthew, a Mayo man from Erris.

Currently, long-term economic prospects for the country have a distinctively sickly look about them as the Oireachtas stares down the barrel of Brexit following the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, and its implications for the North and the Irish State.

 

Fine Gael elects homosexual son of Indian immigrant to lead party

Vast majority of ordinary members opt for rival.

Sligo News File.

Fine Gaelers have elected the homosexual son of an Indian immigrant as their party leader.

Leo Varadkar was pulled through by votes of party councillors and members of the Oireachtas.

However, the vast majority of the grass root members declared their support for his rival.

Simon Coveney, who fared poorly at the hands of the elected representatives, secured the backing  of 65% of the party’s  ordinary members.

The event is really only interesting for the fact that the next Taoiseach will be recognised as one of the few homosexuals to head up a government anywhere in the world

On the face of it, the indications are that homosexuality is now widely accepted in Ireland. First, there were the homosexual ‘marriage’ rights, then the right of homosexuals to adopt children and now this.

The world’s media is baffled as to how in a few years a Catholic country has yielded so much to pressures of middle-class entities demanding equal rights for homosexuals.

Varadkar, regarded as a right-wing conservative, was slammed when last month he launched a €200,845 campaign to encourage the reporting of social welfare fraud.

Sinn Fein TD Denise Mitchell reportedly took him to task saying: “It is extraordinary that the Social Protection Minister could take to the national airwaves and start waffling about people wearing false beards and make-up to fraudulently claim welfare payments when the department has no records to back up these assertions.”

Replies to parliamentary questions revealed just one suspected case of identity fraud had been identified in 2017.

Mitchell went on to say that “Leo Varadkar attempted to whip up a frenzy, claiming that people in disguises were defrauding the State. But the figures revealed today show that more focus should be spent on tackling overpayments in the system, which is where the real loss to the taxpayer occurs.”

Proposed legislation prepared by Varadkar is said to contain provisions to publish the names and addresses of people who have been convicted of welfare fraud, and the penalties they incurred.

Local backers of Dublin-based Varadkar include Michael Ring (Mayo) and Tony McLoughlin (Sligo-Leitrim)

Fianna Fáil, the party holding the government together, has come out strongly against a proposal of Varadkar’s to ban workers in vital sectors from striking.

Dara Calleary said his party would not support it.

Fianna Fail has also stated they are ready for a snap election at any time. Selection of candidates could be carried out in a matter of days, they noted.

 

 

Sites identified for construction of Sligo garda headquarters

Existing garda headquarters updated pending development of new premises.

Sligo News File

The Office of Public Works is currently examining sites for the construction a new garda headquarters in Sligo.

Justice Minister
Frances Fitzgerald, TD
Minister for Justice

Responding to a query on the issue, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said that following the placement of a local advertisement in January 2017, a number of suitable sites have been identified.

Pending the development of the new station, she said, “local Garda management and the Office of Public Works have been actively engaged in developing proposals to improve the accommodation situation in the existing station, including relocating certain functions outside the station.

Existing Sligo Garda Headquarters

“In particular, An Garda Síochána and the Office of Public Works have been working closely to reconfigure the existing station to meet the needs of front line operational personnel and address space or health and safety concerns.

Fitzgerald added that she also understood “short-term measures have been taken to address and improve the accommodation situation at the station; for example, works to fully refurbish the toilets above the public office were completed in late July 2016 and a new industrial standard kitchen facility has been installed.”

ICSA warns against unfair BPS penalties for fire damaged lands

Majority of farmers had no hand, act or part in the burning.

Questions over legality of Government threat.

Sligo News File

ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock has questioned the legality of penalising farmers through the Basic Payment Scheme whose land has been burned unless there is absolute proof that the farmer was guilty of causing the fire. 

Seamus Sherlock, Chair, ICSA Rural Development Committee.

“It is abundantly clear that the rapid spread of fires in recent weeks means that the majority of farmers had no hand, act or part in the burning and were in fact, victims of collateral damage caused by the carelessness or recklessness of a few. In fact, we have no proof that any farmer deliberately started a fire.” 

Mr Sherlock was speaking following a statement by Minister of State Andrew Doyle that satellite imagery would be examined to identify land as burnt illegally which would then be deemed ineligible under the 2017 Basic Payment Scheme and other land based schemes.

Mr Sherlock said “Fires are caused by a variety of reasons and can spread into parcels of land owned by many individuals. There is the potential that a cohort of farmers will face penalties through no fault of their own.

“The Basic Payment is too important an income source to be raided in this manner.”

Government cut all support to Ballaghaderreen cigar plant

Company employed thirty-eight.

Sligo News File.

The Government pulled support from a Ballaghaderreen production plant because of its trade in tobacco products.
Exclusive Cigar Manufacturers, which launched in 1978, and employed 38 at its facility on the Charlestown Road, reportedly announced last month that it is to transfer operations to Sri Lanka.

Pat Breen, Junior Minister for Jobs

But now it has been revealed that owing to a treaty on tobacco control the Government had removed all aid to the company.

In the Dail, Junior Minister for Jobs Pat Breen told local TDs that in January 2013 “the Department of Health communicated to all Departments and their agencies the guidelines for the implementation of Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.”

He said Principle 4 of the Convention guidelines stated that “because their products are lethal, the tobacco industry should not be granted incentives to establish or run their businesses.”

For this reason,  his Department and its agencies “are no longer in a position to support companies in this sector,” he said.

The Ballaghaderreen firm started life as Hofnar in December 1978.

Workers stated that they were unaware of the impending closure of the plant.

Dep. Eugene Murphy (Fianna Fail) said ECMI “…is one of the largest private employers in West Roscommon. That might surprise some people, but it is the case.

“The jobs involve a specific skill set and many who are being made redundant will likely have to leave their county to find similar work, and we all know that Dublin is busting at the seams. IDA Ireland has visited County Roscommon only once in 2017 and nearly half the year is gone. From the information I have received, its representatives also only visited once in 2016.

Eugene Murphy, TD, Fianna Fail

“Ballaghaderreen has been dealt several severe blows in recent years. Going back 12 or 14 years, we had the loss of the United Meat Packers, UMP, meat plant, but we have also lost a hotel and several businesses. The reality is that the community in Ballaghaderreen reacted. It built many units which are there for jobs to go into, but the Government has not delivered. There is a huge amount of talk about balanced regional development in the programme for Government, but it is not happening.”

Dep. Michael Fitzmaurice (Ind) said the West of Ireland needed a balance of development which it was not getting.

Michael Fitzmaurice, TD, Independent

“Ballaghaderreen was once noted as a sort of gateway town, especially with Knock Airport located nearby. We need a focus on Ballaghaderreen as well as other towns in County Roscommon and, indeed, the west of Ireland…

“If one looks at all the plans, one will see that there is a focus on building railways out to the likes of the airport and such projects. There should be a focus on putting good infrastructure in place and on ensuring that it is attractive, especially for business people, to move to towns like Ballaghaderreen.

“I am not saying that people can be picked up by the neck and told to set up business there. The town lost the meat factory, and it has lost other businesses. There is scope there.”

Dep. Dara Calleary “The ultimate irony is that Ballaghaderreen is the headquarters of the Western Development Commission whose outgoing chairman, former Fine Gael councillor Paddy McGuinness, declined to be reappointed because he called the Minister of State out, called the Government out and, more importantly, called permanent Government out for their complete lack of interest in and lip service to the challenges facing regional Ireland.

Dara Calleary, TD, Fianna Fail.

“We want the Minister of State to come to West Roscommon and East Mayo and, in terms of Roscommon, focus on west Roscommon. The growth he speaks about is going into the area around Monksland. It needs to be spread across the county. Similarly, the action plan for jobs in the West is a plan for Galway city and the rest of us are being left behind.”

Councillors to hear report of potential new South Sligo food centre

Upwards of twenty jobs lost when Aurivo co-operative transferred South Sligo butter packing operation to Cork last year

Sligo News File.

A meeting of the South and West Sligo Municipal District is to hear a report on the development of a possible new food centre in Achonry.

It comes a year after Aurivo announced the transfer of its butter packing facility from the south Sligo site to Cork with the loss of up to 20 jobs

The meeting will be held at 3 pm on next Monday in Meeting Room 1, Teach Laighne, Tubbercurry. It is open to the public.

Motions down for discussion include:

– Request for drainage at Rockfield Cemetary

– The decision of the Planning Board refusing permission for a new water treatment plant at Lough Talt

– concerns over safety at the entrance to Colaiste Mhuire, Ballymote

– Call to have works carried out on Regional Road at Woodhill   

– repairs to public footpath and installation of lighting at Gallagher      Road, Tubbercurry

– date works to commence at Cashel Gates junction

– whether Clar funds can be used for the provision of bus shelters at Curry Village and

– demand for works at Stirabout Bridge, Cloona

New EU standards set to replace existing Areas of Natural Constraints measures

Eligibity for payments to be based on specified bio-physical criteria

Sligo News File.

Eligible areas of Natural Constraints must be in future classified using what Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has described as bio-physical criteria.

Martin Kenny, TD, Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein spokesman on Agriculture, Martin Kenny asked him about the stage at which it was decided the State could not meet its obligations regarding maps promised in mid-2017 in the review of the areas of natural constraint scheme.

Creed said that from 2018, eligible areas must be designated “using a set list of bio-physical criteria.

“In cases where a Member State does not introduce this new system for payment, the existing scheme, based on a range of socio-economic factors, remains in place but payments must phase out on a digressive basis.”

The bio-physical criteria set out in the legislation to underpin the new system of designation are, he said:

– Low temperature

– Dryness

– Excess soil moisture

– Limited soil drainage

– Unfavourable texture and stoniness

– Shallow rooting depth

– Poor chemical properties

– Steep slope.

EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Hogan

“My Department has commenced work on this project, and relevant technical experts are currently working on sourcing and analysing the data in relation to the new criteria. Department officials have also been in contact with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and DG Agri in the EU Commission in relation to technical issues arising. This analysis will identify areas deemed to be facing natural constraints, which will in parallel be subjected to a refinement process.”

He added that at recent EU meetings, “a proposal to introduce an optional extension of the 2018 deadline was introduced by another Member State. This proposal for an optional extension has not yet been agreed at EU level.”