MacSharry: Minister must realise that it’s his responsibility to fix health service

‘Varadkar more content sitting back and giving running commentary, rather than addressing the issues’
‘Lurching from one crisis to the next, all the while telling the public the situation will get worse before it gets better’
‘Fair Deal crisis has escalated to point older people are waiting almost 3 months for a bed in a nursing home, overcrowding has reached levels never seen before and waiting lists have spiralled out of all control.

Sligo News File Online

Senator Marc MacSharry
Senator Marc MacSharry,
Fianna Fail

Fianna Fáil Senator Marc Mac Sharry  has called on the Health Minister to wake up to his responsibilities and take charge of the health system.  The Sligo based Senator made the comments following Minister Leo Varadkar’s latest media appearance, where
he once again gave a running commentary about the problems within the system, without proposing any concrete plans to fix them.

Senator Mac Sharry stated, “It’s becoming ever more obvious that Minister Varadkar is more content sitting back and giving a running commentary on the health service, rather than setting about addressing the issues and finding solutions to fix the problems.

Logo Department of Health

“Since being appointed as Health Minister last summer, Leo Vardakar has found himself lurching from one crisis to the next, all the while telling the public that the situation will get worse before it gets better.  It is completely unacceptable for a Minister to shirk his responsibilities in this way, when he is the very person who can implement the changes needed.

“Under Minister Varadkar’s watch we have seen the Fair Deal crisis escalate to a point whereby older people are waiting almost 3 months for a bed in a nursing home, overcrowding has reached levels never seen before and waiting lists have spiralled out
of all control.  The Minister has blatantly ignored warnings from my party, health unions and the former chairman of the Emergency Department Taskforce Tony O’Connell about the gravity of these situations and has blamed a ‘dysfunctional’ health system for the
deterioration in services.

Speaking during a Fianna Fáil Private Members motion on health in the Seanad, Senator Mac Sharry called on the Minister to come up with more imaginative solutions to deal with the problems facing him.

 He stated, “Minister Varadkar needs to begin thinking outside the box. The government could explore the possibility of abolishing the means test on the Carers’ Allowance, which together with other supports could provide a solution to the inordinate delays in hospital
discharges for ill, elderly and disabled people, while also helping to alleviate the exceptionally high waiting lists for the Fair Deal scheme.  The crisis demands initiative and innovation.  The ‘worse before better’ rhetoric is an abdication of responsibility.

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar
Minister for Health,
Leo Varadkar

“We need to see less spin and more action from Minister Varadkar.  It is increasingly clear that his main goal is to get to the next General Election without rocking the boat.  This is not an acceptable position; it is a total betrayal of the voters who were promised positive change in the health system”.


Housing Adaptation Grants to Increase By 10% in 2015 – McLoughlin

‘Three separate schemes on stream this year’

Sligo News File Online 

Adaptation Grants McLoughlinFine Gael TD for Sligo-Leitrim, Tony McLoughlin, has welcomed the recent commitments he has received from the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly T.D., that the Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People or People with a Disability will not only be reintroduced in 2015, but that they will also be increased by 10% by the Department.

“This increase in Government funding for this scheme in 2015 is very much welcomed”, stated Deputy McLoughlin.

“I asked Minister Kelly, via Parliamentary Question last week, that in view of the increasing demand for access to the housing adaptation grant from many people in my constituency during 2014, what plans were in place to reintroduce the scheme in 2015 and if he would make a statement on the matter.

“He outlined to me in his reply that three separate schemes would be available to the public in 2015. They are: The Housing Aid for Older People Scheme, the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with Disabilities and the Mobility Aids Grant Scheme, all of which will be administered by Sligo County Council.

“During 2014 alone, €654,876 in grant assistance was made available to people in Co. Sligo and I want to see this increased further in 2015 as these grants often make the difference between people remaining in their homes on not” concluded Deputy McLoughlin.

EU transfers multi million euro BMW Regional Operational Programme funding

Focus on jobs and regional development.

Sligo News File Online

BMW OfficesEU funding of a €320 million development programme for the border, midlands and west has been finalised.

The European Commission and the Irish Government completed the signing of the BMW Regional Operational Programme 2014 – 2020 in Brussels.

Managed by the Ballaghaderreen-based Northern and Western  Regional Assembly, the programme is geared to regional development and creation of new jobs in the micro-enterprise and SME sector.

Funding of €480 million has been allocated to the South East.


Enniscrone Community information on personal safety – and more.

Ocean Sands Hotel. Free. Everyone welcome

Sligo News File Online

Enniscrone PicEnniscrone and Districts Community Alert are hosting a community information event in the Ocean Sands Hotel tonight.

Personal safety, healthy eating, simple exercise, independent living …and a chance to be involved in Sligo Age Friendly consultation.

The event gets underway at 7pm. Come along and also call your friends to be there. All are welcome. It’s free…and there’s a cuppa as well!

Gerry Adams TD disappointed at Kenny response on Bus Éireann cuts

‘Fine Gael/Labour Government a disaster for rural Ireland’

Sligo News File Online

Gerry Adams, TD, Leader, Sinn Fein
Gerry Adams, TD,
Leader, Sinn Fein

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has expressed deep disappointment at the Taoiseach’s refusal to review Bus Éireann’s decision to axe almost 100 routes on its Expressway service or to take measures to ensure the continuation of vital routes.

Raising the issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil today, Mr Adams said the Fine Gael/Labour Government has been a disaster for rural Ireland.

Deputy Adams said:

“Bus Éireann’s decision to axe almost 100 routes on its Expressway service represents a huge setback for the people of rural Ireland. Fifteen communities are now to be left without any direct bus services. Dozens more will experience drastic cuts to vital bus links.

“If these cuts go ahead, the major routes affected – Dublin-to-Cork via Kilkenny, Dublin-to-Waterford via Wexford, and Athlone-to-Westport will see 198 services-a-day fall to 105. This is a direct result of years and years of underfunding of public transport by the present and previous Government.

“The Fine Gael/Labour Government has privatised 10% of Bus Éireann routes. They are making it harder and harder for the company to provide links which are economically and socially essential to rural dwellers.

“Bus Éireann has said very clearly that these routes need Government funding in order to survive. Farming and rural community groups have condemned the latest cuts as a further attack on rural Ireland.

“Considering the vital social and economic benefit of linking the affected towns to major public transport routes, the Government and the Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe must, as a matter of urgency, review the latest drastic decision by Bus Éireann and take whatever measures are necessary to ensure the continuation of these bus services.

“I am very disappointed in the Taoiseach’s response to my raising of this matter today. Citizens have rights. These include the right to public services no matter where they live.

“This Government has been a disaster for rural Ireland. It is cutting their services – rural schools, Garda stations, health services and post offices. Small and medium business have been starved of credit and neglected by the Government so that many rural towns are simply dying on their feet. Rural areas are going to be left without doctors in the coming years.

“This government has consistently made living in rural Ireland more difficult. It has cut rural transport services, including Iarnród Éireann and increased costs for private car users.

“Bus Éireann is an essential part of our public transport network and provides a good quality service to a huge number of towns and villages that would otherwise be isolated. The private model will not work in the interests of rural communities. The outworking of this will mean a less efficient and less reliable service.

“It will mean reduced wages and conditions for employees, an increase in fares and no pension arrangements for workers.

 “It is clear from what he said today, that Government is not prepared to adequately fund Bus Éireann and the maintenance of vital public transport links for our small towns and rural communities.”

McLoughlin slams MacSharry statements on Sligo library services

‘Comments Only Draw Attention to Fianna Fáil’s Destruction of Irish Economy’

Sligo News File Online.

Tony McLoughlin, TD. Fine Gael.
Tony McLoughlin, TD.
Fine Gael.

Fine Gael TD for Sligo-Leitrim, Tony McLoughlin, has accused Fianna Fáil Senator, Marc MacSharry of rank hypocrisy, after the Senator sought the need to advise him on where the real issues lay with Sligo County Council’s lack of resources.

Responding to the comments made by MacSharry in the Seanad this week about the concerns surrounding the future of a number of Sligo’s Libraries, Deputy McLoughlin has stated that “Under Fianna Fáil, Sligo County Council’s rate base collapsed, and that MacSharry is only attempting to pin this local issue on the current Fine Gael led  Government, in order to cover up for the years of abuse which his own party Fianna Fáil were responsible for”.

Library Ballymote

“Every time that Marc MacSharry bemoans the amount of moneyavailable to Sligo County Council, he only draws attention to his own Party’s destruction of the Irish economy. Does he think that the people of Sligo have forgotten that Marc MacSharry was a prominent Fianna Fáil Oireachtas member during that terrible period for our country”?

“Under Fianna Fáil this country was wrecked, and the collapse of the economy in 2008, and its longstanding effects, have led to the significant amounts of Sligo firms going out of business, ultimately leading to many empty retail units sitting idle in Co. Sligo. This
reality has impacted hugely on the amount of rates which Sligo County Council can collect, ultimately leading to financial difficulties for the Council.

Senator MarcMacSharry, Fianna Fail.
Senator MarcMacSharry,
Fianna Fail.

“Furthermore, over 300,000 jobs nationally, were lost under the last Fianna Fáil government and thousands of shops and companies went out of business. With those jobs, went a massive amount of the Government’s tax income and ultimately the funding that it could provide to local Councils decreased significantly.

However whilst understanding this, I firmly believe that the people of Sligo are entitled to have this vital library service and I have expressed these strong opinions to the CEO of Sligo County
Council, Ciaran Hayes, just last week. It is not acceptable that they are under threat”. “The staff in the Sligo libraries in Tubbercurry, Enniscrone, Ballymote and Sligo have always given a great
service to the people of Sligo under the stewardship of Mr. Donal Tinney and this should continue.

Despite Senator MacSharry’s comments, I remember that even during the years of great wealth and the Celtic Tiger, funding was always hard to obtain for Sligo’s Libraries. My former colleague
Joe Leonard always had to fight hard to obtain extra funding for books and such”
“Our boom time taxes should have been generating long term, sustainable, enterprise driven jobs, similar to the jobs which Fine Gael in Government are creating as our country recovers. Instead
Marc MacSharry and Fianna Fáil spent a decade indulging in giveaway budgets in order to win elections; had an economic model that was based on the construction and sale of houses; and
turned a blind eye to the lack of financial oversight of our bank which bankrolled our so called property boom” concluded Deputy McLoughlin.


‘Cuts coming on top of bank, post office and garda station closures’

‘Old people and families with school going children particularly affected’

Sligo News File Online.

Billy Gray, chairman,  ICSA National Rural Development Committee.
Billy Gray, chairman,
ICSA National Rural Development Committee.

ICSA rural development chairman Billy Gray has denounced proposed cuts to Bus Éireann routes as “a further attack on rural Ireland.

“These cuts will, yet again, disproportionately affect rural dwellers in many parts of Ireland, and on top of bank, post office and Garda station closures, constitute a further attack on rural Irish society,” said Mr. Gray.

“Older people who may not have any other means of transport will be particularly affected, as will rural families with children going to college. Many farming families, already under pressure due to low incomes, will be forced to sacrifice valuable working time in order to transport their children to the next town with a bus service.”

“It’s inconceivable that towns like Bunclody, Castlecomer and Ballyporeen will have no direct service to Dublin, while in the west, Roscommon and Castlerea, among others, will be cut off from
Westport.  ICSA is calling on Bus Éireann to immediately reverse the decision to cut these services and to open negotiations with the Government on ways to make them viable.”

Bus Eireann Logo



Students rescued from Sligo cliffs.

Two said to have slipped during descent in poor weather conditions.

Sligo News File Online.

Emergency services had to be mobilised after university students
went exploring a cave above Gleniff, County Sligo. Two are said
to have slipped and fallen during descent in poor weather
conditions with snow lying on the mountains. Four others got
stuck on a ledge.

It is not known why they decided to climb in such bad weather.
The ground is understood to have been steep and slippery owing
to overnight snowfall.

Sligo-Leitrim Mountain Rescue Team and rescue teams from
Donegal and North West helped them down off the cliffs. An
Irish Coastguard helicopter was also involved.

One of the rescued was removed to hospital.