‘A deeply dishonest and secretive agreement drafted in the interest of big business alone’
Government sought Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism ‘should be cause of alarm for citizens, policy makers and businesses alike.’
Sligo News File Online.
Speaking ahead of yesterday’s presentation on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) by EU Trade
Commissioner Cecilia Malmström to Oireachtas member’s, Sinn Féin Jobs Spokesperson Peadar Tóibín has accused the government of pursuing an agreement that will cost dearly in terms of sovereignty, worker’s rights and decent regulation in multiple areas.
“Political sovereignty is central to Sinn Féin. We believe that Irish people should determine the future of Ireland. Not bondholders, not bankers, not developers, not London nor Brussels or Berlin and certainly not the proposed Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism attached to the EU/US trade agreement currently under negotiations.
“This quasi and covert judicial system supplants existing robust domestic, European and international laws that provide thenecessary protections for investors. Jobs Minister Richard Bruton has actively sought and openly called for the ISDS mechanism to be attached to the TTIP agreement and this should be a cause of alarm for citizens, policy makers and businesses alike.
“TTIP is damaging and will cost dearly in terms of sovereignty, worker’s rights and decent regulation in multiple areas. Big question marks remain around the inclusion of public services including public procurement; state owned enterprises and exactly what services are included in the negotiations.
“It is my firm view that where opportunity exists with regards logical and practical work to make transatlantic trade more accessible and there are clear evidence based benefits to Ireland on such specific areas of trade these opportunities should be pursued.
“However this is not what TTIP seeks to achieve. It will fundamentally undermine sovereignty, public services, hard won workers’ rights and regulations. At its core this is a deeply dishonest and secretive agreement that has been drafted in the interest of big business alone.”
In order to facilitate the installation of the upstream beams, together with other planned excavation works, evening and night time closures are scheduled as follows:
Scheduled evening/night-time road closure:
Sligo Inner Relief Road, from its junction with Lord Edward Street (junction S7) to its junction with Markievicz Road (junction S10), will be closed to all vehicular traffic from 19:30 hrs on Tuesday 31st March until 07:00 hrs. on Wednesday 1st April 2014.
Southbound diversions will be via Markievicz Road, The Slip, Connaughton Road, Lake Isle Road, Bridge Street, Thomas Street and Pearse Road to Carraroe Interchange.
Northbound diversions will be via Wine Street (i.e. turning right off the Inner Relief Road at junction S7), Hyde Bridge and Markievicz Road and re-entering the N4 at junction S10.
Motorists wishing to access the Finisklin / Ballast Quay area will be permitted to travel along the Inner Relief Road as far as junction S8 (Inner Relief Road / Finisklin Road) before turning left onto Finisklin Road.
Traffic approaching Hughes Bridge from Ballast Quay will be diverted via Pirn Mill Road, Finisklin Road and the Inner Relief Road.
Temporary Lane Closures.
Temporary lane closures will be required to allow for the excavation of trenches for traffic signal ducting. Lane closures are expected to be in place during the following dates and times:
• From 7:30pm on Monday evening 30th until 7am on Tuesday morning 31st March • From 7:30pm on Wednesday evening 1st April until 7am on Thursday morning 2nd April • From 7:30pm on Thursday evening 2nd April until 7am on Friday morning 3rd April
During these times, traffic along Hughes Bridge will be reduced to one-lane in each direction.
Full details available on www.sligococo.ie/hughesbridge
N17 WORKS – ENNISCRONE AREA:
Templemanor Estate – N17
Verge improvement works will be carried out on the N17 at Temple Manor Estate. Traffic lights will be in place. Minor delays expected.
N59 WORKS – ENNISCRONE AREA:
Drainage works will commence on the N59 at Lugawarry/Lugnadeffa. Traffic Management will be in place and minor delays can be expected.
Drainage works will continue on the R294 at Lough Talt. Traffic control will be in operation with significant delays expected.
Road works will be continuing on the N59 in Ballysadare (between the entrance to Millview Park and the Ballina side of the current 60 kph speed limit zone), expected completion date is June 2015.
Associated traffic delays should be expected over the course of the contract duration.
Sligo County Council and Gerald Love Contracts will endeavour to minimise the effects of the works where possible and regret any inconvenience which may be caused.
SLIGO CITY AREA:
Footpath works will continue at Lynndale Estate, Maugheraboy. Works expected to last 2 weeks.
A Hoarding and Scaffolding Licence has been granted for Penney’s Store at No. 16 O’Connell Street, Sligo. Pedestrian access will be maintained.
A Scaffolding Licence has been granted for Pearse Road (a property across from the Mercy Primary School), Sligo. Pedestrian access will be maintained.
Scaffolding Licence has been granted for Gilroy Gannon Offices in Stephen Street, Sligo. Pedestrian access will be maintained.
Fencing repairs are to be carried out on the N4 Dual Carriageway south of the Carraroe Interchange. No delays are expected. Work expected to last 3 days
Pothole repair and drainage works will continue in the Ballymote area. Traffic control will be in operation. Minor delays expected.
Pothole repair works will continue in the Enniscrone area. Traffic control will be in operation. Minor delays expected.
Drainage works will continue in the Enniscrone area. Traffic control will be in operation. Minor delays expected.
Drainage works will commence in the Ardnaglass area. Traffic Management will be in operation. Minor delays expected.
Pothole repair works will continue in the Tubbercurry area. Traffic control will be in operation but no delays are expected.
‘Completely intolerable beef industry would be hung out to dry for the benefit of other sectors’ – ICSA President
Sligo News File Online
ICSA president Patrick Kent has said that the report launched today on the impact in Ireland of the proposed TTIP agreement is a wake-up call for all involved.
“According to the report,” he said, “the beef industry stands to lose between €25 and €50 million a year due to increased competition from the US.
“It is completely intolerable that the beef sector would be hung out to dry for the benefit of other sectors, and ICSA will not accept this.”
“The spin on this, of course, is that the agreement would benefit the Irish economy overall, but is that justification for sacrificing any one sector?
“We are now calling on Minister Bruton and Commissioner Malmström to guarantee that the beef sector will be protectedunder the proposed agreement.”
IMPORTANT FARMERS’ MEETING IN ATHLONE
All affected by land eligibility issues urged to attend
ICSA Roscommon chairman Ger Grehan has urged all farmers affected by land eligibility issues to attend a public meeting in Athlone on April 10th, at which MEPs, TDS and local councillors will be present.
“Farmers all over the country have been affected by LPIS penalties, up to 100% of their single payment in some cases, and there are huge concerns about how the Department is dealing with this,” said Mr. Grehan. “We are providing a forum for all farmers to raise these concerns and to share experiences with the public representatives present, and a large turnout of affected farmers would really serve to drive home the anger felt by so many.
“Our West Cork chairman, Dermot Kelleher, will be in attendance at the meeting to outline the proposed legal challenge against the unfairness of these penalties by a group of farmers in West Cork, which will be of interest to anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation.
“The meeting will also discuss the proposed Dublin/Galway Greenway, which is a particular issue for farmers along the route through Roscommon and Galway,” continued Mr. Grehan.
“Farmers have raised a number of major issues with the proposed development, and so far, these seem to have fallen on deaf ears. People’s livelihoods are at stake here, and the matter cannot be ignored by the authorities.
The meeting takes place at 8.30pm on Friday April 10th at the Athlone Springs Hotel, and all are welcome to attend.
Issues raised in the Dail by Fine Gael Sligo-Leitrim TD, Tony McLoughlin.
QUESTION NO: 461
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald) for WRITTEN ANSWER on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015.
To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality her Department’s estimates at present, in relation to the number of illegally owned firearms; her plans to seize these illegal firearms; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
It is impossible to accurately state how many illegal firearms are currently in the hands of criminals in the State. An Garda Síochána tackles the issue of illegal firearms on a daily basis at both local and national levels and in recent weeks alone have successfully removed a number of illegal firearms from criminal hands in ongoing operations throughout the country.
Gardaí tackle the issue of illegal firearms through a range of targeted and intelligence based operations, often disrupting and preventing incidents, as well as detecting and prosecuting those involved. The details of intelligence based operations targeting illegal firearms cannot be made public for operational reasons.
Heavy penalties are provided for weapons offences in our criminal law and mandatory minimum penalties have been introduced for certain firearms offences. The considerable powers already available to Gardaí have been supplemented further by the DNA Database legislation enacted last year, which provides for the establishment of a Database which will have the capacity to link suspects to unsolved crimes using forensic evidence, and will greatly assist Gardaí in investigating a whole range of serious offences.
The various Garda operations which target armed and organised criminals are complemented and supported by Garda engagement with local communities, including a range of community local fora, to address local concerns relating to crime, community safety and the impact of organised crime on community life.
QUESTION NO: 714
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Leo Varadkar) for WRITTEN ANSWER on 24/03/2015
To ask the Minister for Health if he will provide a list of each organisation directly funded by his Department, excluding the Health Service Executive, to provide an advocacy service; the total amount of funding each organisation received for year ended 2014; the number of persons each organisation provided advocacy service for; the issues each organisation addressed for year ended 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter
In 2014 the Department provided three sources of direct funding to organisations providing a range of health related services. One was National Lottery Grants through which the Department provides funding for voluntary and community organisations. Details of payments made from this source are available on the Departments web site www.health.gov.ie. The second source is through administration of a Drugs Initiative which primarily funds community based drugs initiatives supported by Local and Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Forces. Funding from the Drugs Initiative supports local projects set up by Drugs Task Forces in the areas of curbing local supply, prevention and awareness and research. A list of Drugs Task Forces are available on the Department’s website: (www.health.gov.ie/healthy-ireland/national-drugs-strategy/local-and-regional-drugs-task-forces/).
Details of 2014 expenditure are presented in the table below.
Drug and Alcohol Task Force 2014 Expenditure
RDTF- East Coast
LDTF-Dublin North East
LDTF-North Inner City
LDTF-South Inner City
The Department also funds a number or research, consultative, supervisory and regulatory bodies, details of which are set out in the table below.
Food Safety Authority of Ireland
Food Safety Promotion Board
Health Research Board
Institute of Public Health
Health and Social Care Professionals Council
Health Information and Quality Authority
Health Products Regulatory Authority
Mental Health Commission
National Cancer Registry
Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council
Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland
International Society for Quality in Healthcare
The National Treatment Purchase Fund
QUESTION NO: 715
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Leo Varadkar) for WRITTEN ANSWER on 24/03/2015
To ask the Minister for Health when the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 will be published and considered by Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The General Scheme of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill was approved by Government on the 3 February 2015. The Scheme includes provisions for minimum unit pricing, health labelling on products that contain alcohol, restrictions on the advertising and marketing of alcohol and the regulation of sports sponsorship. As part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process, the measures are being debated in detail by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children. The hearings commenced on the 10 March and will over the next few weeks.
The Department of Health is continuing to work on the preparation of the legislation. It is expected that the Bill will be published during this session.
QUESTION NO: 858
To the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government for WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the funding that will be provided in 2015 and 2016 for housing in County Sligo; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly)
The allocation of funding to local authorities for the build and acquisition of social housing units in 2015 and 2016 will be based on the proposals they will be implementing to deliver social housing units in line with the targets of the Social Housing Strategy.
My Department has received proposals from Sligo regarding their planned delivery of new social housing over the next 3 years and those proposals are now being assessed.
Question No. 918
To the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government for WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015.
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in view of the fact that discussions have been ongoing for a number of years regarding the provision of a new fire station in Ballyshannon County Donegal; if he will provide an update as to the current situation surrounding the proposed development for Ballyshannon Fire Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly)
The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs, the provision of fire station premises, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Service Act, 1981. My Department supports the fire authorities through setting general policy, providing a central training programme, issuing guidance on operational and other related matters and providing capital funding for priority infrastructural projects.
Donegal County Council, in partnership with my Department, has made substantial progress in modernising fire stations in Co Donegal and has replaced 12 of the 15 fire stations following investment of some €11 million by my Department over the last decade or so. The following towns in County Donegal are now served by modern fire stations with full facilities: Millford (1998); Buncrana (2000); Letterkenny (HQ) and An Fal Carrach (both in 2003); Carndonagh and Donegal Town (both in 2004); Killybegs (2005); An Clochan Liath, Glenties and Moville (all in 2007); and most recently Gaoth Dobhair and Stranorlar (2009). My Department has channelled significant investment to fire authorities over the last number of years and as a consequence, the high quality of Ireland’s fire service infrastructure is now widely acknowledged.
With regard to the provision of a new fire station in Ballyshannon, while this issue has been the subject of discussions with the Local Authority for a number of years, my Department awaits receipt of a fully updated proposal, taking into account, among other issues, site suitability, fire cover requirements and prioritisation of projects.
In further considering any proposal, my Department must have regard to national priorities for funding in this area and the totality of requests from fire authorities countrywide. The priorities of Donegal County Council, the extent of current and previous investment in Donegal Fire services and the status of existing facilities having regard to area risk categorisation, will also fall to be considered.
Question No: 971
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for the Colloney-Castlebaldwin N4 Route; when funding will be allocated to this for County Sligo and the north west; and if he will make a statement on the matter. For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015.
Answered by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe
As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.
The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects (such as the N4) is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.
Noting this I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NRA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you don’t receive a reply within 10 working days.
ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan has warned farmers to make sure they get the €3 bonus for animals which are under 36 months and from quality assured herds but which do not qualify for the current 12c/kg in-spec bonus.
“We have evidence of farmers who have sold cattle but, whether by accident or design on the part of the factories, have not received this payment,” said Mr. Phelan.
“While the €3 is a completely insufficient payment, farmers still need to make sure they are actually getting what they are entitled to.
“If factories are purposely not paying farmers this bonus, then the Minister must intervene and ensure that the terms of the roundtable agreement are adhered to.”
Second-levels schools from across county take part in Student Enterprise Awards programme
Sligo News File Online
Twenty-nine teams of young young Sligo entrepeneurs descended on the Sligo Park Hotel earlier this month to participate in Local Enterprise Office Sligo’s Student Enterprise Awards, part of the National Student Enterprise Awards Programme.
Increased signs of growth and confidence in enterprise were plainly evident, said the organisers, with students from 29 mini-companies, representing 9 Sligo second- level schools competing in the event.
According to Stephen Walshe of Local Enterprise Office Sligo, “students participating in the competition continue to go the extra mile in generating innovative business ideas for their mini-companies.
He said: “The Network of Local Enterprise Offices promote entrepreneurship in the classroom through the National Student Enterprise Awards Competition, in which the students compete to County and National Level.
“The aim of the Awards is to promote entreneurship, raising the possibility of running their own business in for students as something they could consider in future years even after college or other work.”
“Every year our Sligo County Final exemplifies the tremendous work undertaken by the participating students, who rise to the challenge of setting up and running a business within the timeframe of the competition, and often, they continue to run the business beyond it.
“Each year, we are consistently impressed at the quality of entries, and it is now the norm to see students dealing with suppliers over the ‘phone or via the internet, sub-contracting out the manufacturing of their product, utilising the internet and social media effectively to both market, and in certain cases, sell their product or service.”
Teacher Ruth Tighe is in her first year competing in the Student Enterprise Awards Programme, with a group of first year students from Ursuline College, Sligo. She assists her students as they learn skills such as teamwork, decision making and financial management through the competition.
“A major plus of this Awards Programme is the practical skills the students acquire through participating.” says Ms. Tighe who goes on to explain the “level of work and commitment required by the students in order to compete at a high level.
“We start work in partnership with Local Enterprise Office Sligo in September, looking at areas like idea generation, market research, costing and pricing, among others. They provide a School co-ordinator, who visits the schools and provides guidance to the students. Brian Dolan was this years co-ordinator, and he has definintely played a part in our receiving the Overall Winner Junior Category Award…
“The roles in each company have to be agreed upon and the teams have to work together, meeting deadlines and taking on responsibilities. There is a lot of assistance available in the Student Workbooks, and on the competition website – www.studententerprise.ie. Our groups of students quickly realised they would have to work together outside of school hours in order to get everything done.”
The level of work she speaks of was evident on the day, said Mr. Walshe. “Each team of students from participating schools showcased their mini companies with comprehensive display stands and well prepared interview responses for the judges.”
Judges were Liam Kiely of Local Enterprise Office Sligo and Nicola McManus of Local Enterprise Office Leitrim.
Coola Post-Primary School took the Overall Winner Award in the Senior Category with their The ‘Brain Box’ mini-company. This was selected by the judges “primarily due to the unique nature of their product – a pack of playing cards featuring project maths problems. The cards are a function of ‘tactile learning’ – where students learn by carrying out activities rather than the traditional ‘pen & paper’ method.”
New legislation will see cross border agency tasked with tackling illegal trade
Sligo News File Online
Fianna Fáil Senator Marc Mac Sharry says a new Bill calling for the establishment of a cross-border, multi-agency taskforce has the potential to seriously curtail fuel smuggling north and south of the border. The criminal activity results in losses of around €260m every year to the Irish exchequer, as well as impacting on the environment, and strengthening dissident gangs.
Senator Mac Sharry commented, “Fuel smuggling, and the criminal elements which are run alongside it is not only costing taxpayers in Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan it is severely hampering small traders in border areas, who are seeing their businesses eroded through this illegal activity. Many of these small businesses were already struggling to remain viable in the face of rising rents, insurance and bank charges, and the surge in fuel laundering, and cut price petrol and diesel, is forcing many of them to consider shutting up shop.
“Motorists across the region are also affected, when contaminated fuel wreaks havoc on their car engines costing thousands of euros in repair costs. Insurance companies are refusing to pay out in cases where contaminated fuel has been detected, leaving car owners out of pocket and facing substantial mechanic bills.
“The environmental consequences of fuel laundering cannot be underestimated. The toxic waste produced as a result of the process is regularly dumped in fields and wastelands, often near rivers and lakes, contaminating water supplies and posing a threat not only to public health, but also to our wildlife, agriculture and food chain.
“Our Bill, which proposes the establishment of a cross-border, multi-agency taskforce, will build on the work carried out by the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly, to make it more difficult for these gangs to continue to operate their illegal ventures. We want to see stricter penalties, including longer prison sentences for those found guilty of these illicit activities.
“Illegal fuel smuggling is a scourge that is impacting on communities all along the border, and further afield. This legislation puts forward a concrete framework to effectively tackle this unlawful trade and punishes those involved in it.”