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TD relieved VAT on vitamins has been suspended

Spiralling cost of insurance may force businesses to close.

Three billion to install rural broadband.

Sligo News File.

Sligo Fianna Fail TD Marc MacSharry says he is pleased a Revenue proposed VAT on vitamins/food supplements has been suspended.

“My constituents in Sligo-Leitrim who use these products were facing significant cost increases,” he said.

In Ballymote, party colleague Eamon Scanlon is troubled about the failure of the Fianna Fail-backed government to tackle cost increases in the insurance market.

Small businesses, farmers, livestock marts and community organisations are, he said, being hammered by spiralling insurance rates “and some smaller family run companies say they may be forced to close if premiums continue to increase.”

As well, he wants licenses for further conifer planting in Leitrim to be put on hold “until the government commissioned report on forestry in the county is completed.”

It has emerged, meanwhile, that extending broadband to rural areas of the country may now cost €3 BILLION or more.

Spanish-owned Avantcard to create additional 40 jobs between Carrick-on-Shannon and Dublin

New staff will be engaged on the rollout of personal loan and credit card product.

Sligo News File.

A Spanish owned company is expanding its Leitrim-based operations. 

Avantcard says the development will result in the creation of an additional 40 jobs between Carrick-on-Shannon and a satellite office in Dublin.

The newly recruited employees will be engaged on the rollout of a new personal loan and a new credit card product with An Post.

It’s not clear how many of the new workers will be located in Carrick, where the company has its Irish headquarters.

Avantcard launched in Ireland in 2012.

Planning Board to rule on use of Rooskey hotel as a migrant centre

Decision not expected until July.

Controversial Antifa banner placed near the hotel.

Sligo News File.

An Bord Pleanala is being asked to decide if a hotel which the government is proposing to operate as an accommodation centre for migrants must have permission for change of use.

Shannon Key West, a luxury hotel on the banks of the Shannon at Rooskey has been earmarked for the housing of some 80 persons understood to be mainly from Africa. 

Since the announcement, the hotel has been damaged by fire on two separate occasions.

Now, the Planning Board has been called on to determine if the premises as intended to be utilised by the government constitute exempted development or need planning permission. A decision on the request is expected to issue in July.

This weekend, pro-migrant banners have reportedly appeared on a bridge to the front of the hotel. One of them is said to be a strip featuring a symbol of Antifa, a radical, left-wing organisation based in the United States and active cross channel in the UK if not also in Ireland. Wikipedia gives an account of the Antifa movement in America.

The banners are understood to have been placed on the bridge during the night hours.

Brexit sparking turmoil in the farming sector

‘Government aid will not cover losses.’

Sligo News File.

State aid will not cover losses incurred by beef farmers in the event of a no-deal Brexit and the imposition of tariffs on Irish beef imports to Britain.

That’s the view of a Leinster-based farm body who have indicated that the government will have to seek a substantial EU aid package.

The IFA is of a similar mindset stating that the State aid limit will be inadequate.

President of the association said that “in a ‘no deal’ Brexit, State Aid limited to €8,300 per year will not be enough given the losses that farmers have already encountered and
will be facing in such a scenario.

“Talking about solidarity between the EU-27 is fine but meaningless unless it is backed up by extra funds,” he added

Fine Gael women to contest Brussels parliament elections

One of the two candidates an American from Boston.

Sligo News File.

Fine Gael have selected a couple of women to contest the elections for the parliament in Brussels in May.

Mairead McGuinness is currently a sitting MEP while an American named Maria Walsh is originally from Boston.

The two were selected at a party selection convention in Mullingar last night.

Meanwhile, Sligo Fine Gael TD Tony McLoughlin has been appointed an assistant whip with an annual allowance of €15,000. 

Fianna Fail TD calls on government partners to give farmers more money now

Risk of no deal Brexit ‘real possibility.’

Sligo News File.

Fianna Fail wants its Fine Gael-led government partners to roll out more money to farmers.

Party TD Marc MacSharry said Agriculture Minister Michael Creed “must fulfil his commitment that money would be available to protect those in our biggest indigenous sector.

“Grants should be made available now in advance of Brexit to allow those in the sector to prepare,” he stressed.

“There are 35 days until the UK is scheduled to leave the EU and at this juncture, the risk of a no deal Brexit is a very real possibility.

“If this comes to pass and Irish beef is forced to compete in the UK market against cheaper imports from other countries thousands of jobs will be lost in both islands,” he warned.

Every effort must be made to safeguard this industry and, he added “the hundreds of thousands of people employed in it, both directly and indirectly.

“We are neglected by the government in the North West region and are most at risk from the consequences of a no deal Brexit.”

Sligo firm to expand operations

American owners say it plans to create 200 jobs.

Sligo News File.

An American owned Sligo firm is expanding its operations in the town.

GW Plastics acquired Finisklin-based Avenue Mould Solutions in 2017. Supported by the government through the IDA, it now plans to extend its moulding activities with the addition of, it says, 200 jobs.

The primarily specialist positions will be in production, quality and engineering.

GWS has its headquarters in Vermont.

Varadkar, the Taoiseach was on hand to say: “Under the government’s national development plan, Project Ireland 2040, Sligo is recognized as a major regional centre and a driver of economic development.”

During the day, Varadkar joined Ross the Transport Minister to mark the start of the work on the Ross sanctioned N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin road and the Western Distributor Road on the outskirts of Sligo town.

Beef trade in crisis

Prices, demand and Brexit sparking deep unease.

Sligo News File.

The beef trade is in chaos with both prices and demand at virtually rock bottom.

Farm bodies are also concerned about a glut of dairy calves.

By far the greatest worry, however, is the catastrophe likely to arise in the event of a no deal Brexit.

UK government threats to grant tariff-free quota status to beef imports from Brazil while slapping hefty tariffs on beef from Ireland has the potential to wreck the Irish beef industry.

As of now, one farm organisation is saying it needs answers from processors “on whether there is any reason for farmers to feed cattle over the coming twelve months.”

The prevailing situation “is unacceptable,” said a spokesman.

Meanwhile, Sligo farming and business interests are being invited to hear Tanaiste, Simon Coveney discuss the government’s response to the Brexit crisis at a meeting in the town’s Institute of Technology this Thursday evening, commencing at 8 pm. A panel will include experts in the agriculture, business and freight transport sectors.