Lives Remembered – Martin John McGowan, West Sligo

Martin John McGowan

Doyen of West Sligo’s business community, Martin John McGowan recently passed away.

Martin John McGowan, Cabra

Martin John was born into the popular McGowan family who operated a prominent seed potato exporting enterprise at Cloona, Enniscrone. With his knowledge and skills in business activities, he went on to establish his own successful operation and later took over and expanded a general merchant, public house and funeral undertaking service in Easkey previously owned by a prominent Mayo family, making him director of one of the area’s largest business operations.

Michael, his late brother, after whom a sports park near Enniscrone, of which he was chairman, is named, was a widely respected figure in the retail meat trade in the town.

Son of Michael John, David is one of Ireland’s leading funeral undertakers, and widely acclaimed for his efforts to put Enniscrone on the tourism map with the development of a nearly €5 million euro Quirky Nights Glamping Village project on the Western end of the Wild Atlantic resort, fronting Killala Bay.

Martin John is predeceased by sisters Evelyne and Sr. Maureen and brothers Mike and Bill. He is sadly missed by his wife Annie May, nee Hallinan, daughters Roseanne, Susan, Caroline and Jane, sons Martin, David, Ronan and Liam, sisters Sr. Gretti, Nora and Ann, brothers Seamus, and Fr. Tom and other relatives and friends.

Lives Remembered – Milo Browne, Leeds and formerly Crossmolina and Easkey


Milo Browne who recently passed away in Leeds was a member of the well-known Browne family of Crossmolina. Son of the late Paddy and Mary Browne, he was a grandson of the late Patrick Browne TD and nephew of the late TD Miko Browne, Ballina.

Milo, a popular Sligo figure, resided for some time in Easkey where his parents carried on a substantial business and undertaking service. He was involved in the engineering profession in England.

Preceded in death by his parents, Paddy and Mary, sisters Christina (Woodhead) Vivienne (Hennessy), brothers Padraic, Noel and Terry, he is survived by his loving wife Angie (Irwin, formerly Carra) daughters Natasha, Samantha, sons Michael and Kieran, grandchildren Betsy, Aine, Conor, William, Milo, sisters, Barbara (Maloney) Mary (Stokes) and Kay (Connolly)

Sligo was ‘shafted’ on provision of new garda headquarters, TD tells Dail

‘Some €1.325 million of public’s money spent to procure a site now lying idle’

Sligo News File

A local Deputy has told the Dail how Sligo was ‘shafted’ over the provision of a new garda headquarters.

This is what Marc MacSharry had to say following opening remarks about Sligo being the divisional and regional headquarters for the north-west.

Marc MacSharry TD

He said: “With the new Commissioner getting all the blame…and the phase ‘operational reasons being cited as the answer, we had a peculiar change where the divisional headquarters went to Letterkenny and the regional headquarters went to Galway, all of which is not in keeping with Project Ireland 2040 or the plans for that region in Sligo being a growth centre.

“Worse than that, however, sites had been purchased and procured in Sligo, Clonmel and Macroom and were to form part of a public-private partnership for the development of three new garda stations.

“These garda stations were announced approximately ten times by the previous government. Indeed, anytime a Minister was on tour for a photocall, he or she would be wheeled up in front of Sligo’s existing garda station, which goes back to the 19th century, to advise us about this new station.

“In advance of the election last year, it emerged from my sources that the government had moved the goalposts, and through a little bit of political engineering at Cabinet, the restructuring was about to shaft Sligo, Clonmel and Macroom. This was denied by the outgoing Minister with responsibility for justice at the time but, lo and behold, last December, before the new government took over, the then Minister advised that due to operational reasons it was decided the government was going to do up Sligo instead.”

Asking the Minister of State present in the Chamber James Browne (FF) to “look into this matter,” he went on: “We dished out €1.325 million of the public’s money to procure this site in Sligo. I do not know what the status of Macroom and Clonmel is now because they were linked together.

Existing Sligo Garda on Pearse Road

“As a growth centre, if the Minister of State saw where existing gardai are forced to work in Sligo, in such a large urban centre, he would be shocked. Indeed, the Minister’s announcement at the time focussed on the fact there were detailed plans for a total refurbishment of Sligo station. The authorities within An Garda Siochana locally have heard nothing about this. Nobody has visited to plan or engage to see what is required, Yet ten years between site purchase, the involvement of various political entities and 100 announcements by the previous government we will now have no garda station and an expensive site sitting idle.

“I ask the Minister of State to address this matter and come back to me.”

MacSharry raised the issue during a debate on the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Bill.


Highly dangerous UK variant of Covid-19 has mutated again sparking concern about efficacy of existing vaccines to control the mutation

Genetic change called E484K

Sligo News File

A UK variant of Covid-19 which is said to be already up to 70% more transmissible and associated with a higher degree of mortality has mutated again, according to a report

The British variant is already spreading rapidly and has been detected in high numbers throughout Ireland.

Now the highly contagious and deadly British variant has mutated again, raising concerns among other things about how the change might impact the effectiveness of existing vaccines.

Scientists cross channel, it’s reported, have observed new genetic changes in the Covid-19 variant with latest tests showing a mutation called E484K, a mutation already seen in South Africa and Brazil variants of the Covid-19 virus.

Dr. Julian Tang, a virus expert at Leicester University, described the finding, says a BBC report, as a ‘worrying development’. Urging people to follow the lockdown rules to prevent opportunities for the virus to mutate further he said, ‘otherwise not only can the virus continue to spread, it can also evolve.’ Allowing spread could allow a ‘melting pot’ for different variants.


Reports of Foreign Affairs Minister journeys to meetings abroad while country at home under lockdown

Claimed Videolink used for EU meetings by other high profile ministers

Sligo News File

While the people of Ireland are under lockdown, and threatened with jail and fines if they travel outside 5Km of their homes, it looks from reports that Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney doesn’t seem to be subject to any such restrictions.

If accounts are to be believed, the Cork Fine Gael TD has been journeying to Brussels and Turkey while, it’s claimed, other high profile ministers are sticking with EU meetings via Videolink. Visits to Tehran and Moscow are also said to be on the cards.

If true, surely there is now an onus on him to explain what special biological immunity or shield he has that protects him any more than the rest of the Irish population from the dreaded Covid-19 virus, or the spreading of the disease.

There can hardly be one rule for members of government laying down the prevailing restraints and another for the people who as a result of them are prohibited from attending Mass or funerals or even allowing people in their home? It doesn’t add up.Or does it?

Perhaps the minister will clear the air with a statement in Dail this week?

Covid vaccines on the way – millions more for delivery within next few months

New cases of the virus takes total to nearly 200,000 while over 3,300 people have lost their lives to the disease

Sligo News File

Some light at the end of the tunnel in the vaccine affair – reports are that AstraZeneca has now committed to rolling out 9 million additional doses to EU States…in the first quarter of 2021. Yes, that’s it, the first three months of this year. Nine million.

The ‘breakthrough’ has come in the wake of a row between the EU’s executive and the company. It’s understood use of an Article of the Brexit agreement was considered, the effect of which would have been to block vaccines leaving the bloc. However, because of the potential implications this would have, and the uproar in Dublin and Belfast, the plan was quickly shelved.

Today, meanwhile, it’s reported that 1,247 more have been infected with Covid-19 and tragically 15 more patients have died of the disease.

The total number of cases of the virus has now rocketed to 196,547 and the number of deaths to 3,307.

Under draconian laws introduced by the government to prevent the spread of the disease, it is now a criminal offence to travel outside a few metres of home or residence punishable with fines and, on conviction, jail time. Similarly, fines and jail are penalties where people fail to don masks in shops and on public transport. It looks that members of elite sports are exempt from the various enactments.


Ministerial move on Roscommon flooding following Dail Deputy’s call on Taoiseach to intervene

Engineering solution proposed

Sligo News File

Some activity has been reported about the flooding of homes and lands in the vicinity of Lough Funshinagh in Roscommon after the issue was raised in the Dail by local TD Claire Kerrane.

Claire Kerrane, TD

The Sinn Fein Deputy, in hitting out over the threatened state of the area, told the Taoiseach that the flooding, an ongoing occurrence, was having a devastating effect on homes and lands in the vicinity of the lough, an SAC designated turlough or disappearing lake. She said 600 hectares – about 1500 acres – of the surrounding farmlands lands were currently under water.

The County Council is also said to have pressed state bodies for action on the crisis.

Now it looks that the Minister with responsibility for the OPW has intervened. And from accounts, it appears Patrick O’Donovan sees the provision of an overflow pipe for the turlough as a solution to the disaster.

Patrick O’Donovan, Minister of State.

He is understood to have informed the council that he and the government are committed to finding a sustainable fix as soon as possible, but for it to progress, the council must initiate a planning process based on an engineered solution  which engineering staff of the OPW are available to support the authority with.






Garda continue with crackdown on suspected illicit drug activity

Recent seizures in Sligo, Monaghan, Louth

Sligo News File

Communities will welcome the increased garda drive against the scourge of drug trafficking and the news that more and more of those involved in the activity are being collared and removed from the streets and housing estates of the country.

The number of seizures, big and small, is way up, showing how extreme and family wrecking the illegal trade has become over the years.

This week, five searches in the North West capital, Sligo, captured more than €45,000 worth of suspected illicit substances, suspected to contain cocaine, as well as tablets and cannabis. The finds are subject to forensic analyses.

There have also been seizures in Monaghan and Louth where a haul of suspected cannabis with an estimated street value of €1,120,000 was discovered.

Head of the Organised and Serious Crime Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll said the dismantling of crime groups and reducing availability of illicit drugs will continue to be a priority of the gardai.