Pope, in Philippines, says same-sex marriage threatens family.

“The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage…”

Catholic News Service.

 MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Appealing to the traditional values of Filipino Catholic families, Pope Francis made one of his strongest calls as pope against movements to recognize same-sex unions as marriage.

Pope Francis meets families in Manilla.

 “The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage,” the pope said on Jan. 16, hours after warning that Philippine society was “tempted by confusing presentations of sexuality, marriage and the family.”

 “As you know, these realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation and betray the very values which have inspired and shaped all that is best in your culture,” he said.

Pope Francis made his remarks at a Mass in Manila’s cathedral and then at a meeting with families in the city’s Mall of Asia Arena.

At the latter event, the pope called on his listeners to resist “ideological colonization that threatens the family.” The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said later that the pope was referring to same-sex marriage, among other practices.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, who was present at the reporters’ briefing, cited claims by African bishops that foreign aid to their countries is sometimes offered on the condition that they accept “alien” views of sexuality and marriage.

Civil law in the Philippines does not recognize marriages or unions between people of the same sex.

The pope’s comments came less than a week after a speech to Vatican diplomats in which he criticized “legislation which benefits various forms of cohabitation rather than adequately supporting the family for the welfare of society as a whole,” saying that such legislation had contributed to a widespread sense of the family as “disposable.”

In November, Pope Francis told an interreligious conference on traditional marriage that preserving the family as an institution based on marriage between a man and a woman is not a political cause but a matter of “human ecology,” since “children have the right to grow up in a family with a father and mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity.”

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Jose Maria Bergoglio opposed same-sex marriage in Argentina, calling it an “anti-value and an anthropological regression” and “destructive of the plan of God,” and writing that it expressed the “envy of the devil.” But
he did not repeat such statements following his election as pope.

When asked why he had not spoken about Brazil’s legalization of abortion and same-sex marriage during his July 2013 trip to the country, the pope said the “church has already spoken quite clearly on this. It was unnecessary to return to it.”

In an interview published in September 2013, Pope Francis told Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro: “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things,  and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

The pope’s latest statements come during a year of preparation for the October 2015 world Synod of Bishops on the family, following an October 2014 extraordinary synod on the same topic.

At the earlier gathering, a midterm report stirred controversy with remarkably conciliatory language toward people with ways of life contrary to Catholic teaching, including those in same-sex unions. While such unions present unspecified “moral problems,” the document stated, they can exemplify “mutual aid to the point of sacrifice (that) constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners.”

That language was absent from the final report, which quoted a 2003 document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: “There are absolutely no grounds for considering
homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotelyanalogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”

 In a December interview with Argentine journalist Elisabetta Pique, Pope Francis described the midterm report as “merely a first draft,” and said it had mentioned “positive factors” of same-sex unions in an effort to help families support their gay members.

 “Nobody mentioned homosexual marriage at the synod; it did not cross our minds,” the pope said.

Catholic News Service.

Four out of nine Western Development Commission board members former FG and Labour councillors and candidates – Padraig MacLoclainn TD.

‘Appointments to the Commission by former Minister, Phil Hogan raised with Taoiseach.’

Sligo News File Online.

Padraig MacLoclainn, TD, Sinn Fein, Donegal North East.
Padraig MacLoclainn, TD,
Sinn Fein, Donegal North East.

Sinn Féin TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, in Dail Eireann today, raised with Taoiseach Enda Kenny the political appointments to the board of the Western Development Commission (WDC) by former Minister Phil Hogan. Three of the WDC board members, Chairman
Paddy McGuinness, Eugene Lavin and Gerard Mullaney are former Fine Gael councillors and board members. Michael Frain ran unsuccessfully for both Fine Gael and then the Labour Party in the 2009 and 2014 local elections.

Eugene Lavin and Gerard Mullaney were both appointed only weeks after losing their county council seats in last year’s local elections.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“Today I raised the brass necked appointments of political friends on to the board of the Western Development Commission by former Minister Phil Hogan on behalf of this  Government with the Taoiseach in the Dáil chamber.

“I believe that these appointments smack of cronyism even more so than that uncovered by the John McNulty affair. In particular, the appointments of Eugene Lavin and Gerard Mullaney, only weeks after losing their county council seats in last year’s local elections
should raise eyebrows.

“Last year, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald launched our party’s policy document on corporate governance ‘Good board/bad board -Transparency, accountability and diversity on State boards’. That document called for an overhaul of how Government appoints members to state sponsored boards. Our document and proposals aim to restore confidence in state sponsored boards across all sectors, including charities in receipt of
subsidies from Government and donations from the public”.

“I have today called on the Taoiseach to review his Government’s appointments to the WDC and I have submitted a parliamentary question to the current Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government requesting that he make a statement on these appointments by his predecessor”.


Sligo County Council to shed more jobs.

Plan awaiting government approval.

Sligo News File Online. 

Sligo County Council SignA further forty four jobs will be cut at Sligo County Council as it
battles to reduce its massive debt pile.

CEO, Ciaran Hayes has said the council, which has a debt
overhang of upwards of €150 million, will achieve the reduction in
staff through natural wastage and not filling posts over the next four
years. The move is part of a ten year financial plan awaiting
approval by the government

Cuts of 30% have already been made to the council’s workforce.

Government demands for closure of at least one of the county’s two
motor tax offices is also under consideration. Though local business
figures and councillors are opposing the winding down of services
at Teach Laigne, Tubbercurry, it’s argued that counties much larger
than Sligo have only one tax office.

Meanwhile, the council is seeking a government bailout. At the same time, despite its prevailing debt pile, it is also among one of a number of local authorities reportedly proposing to bailout Ireland
West Airport by way of a shareholding in the development. The airport’s debt is reputed to be around €9 million. It’s believed the
plan, if agreed, could cost Sligo in the region of €2 million euro.

At a meeting of the council in July 2014, Hayes recommended councilors support the airport funding initiative in principle as more formal proposals would be brought before the members at a later date. In December, he described the plan as “an innovative collaboration between the Northwest counties and Ireland West Airport Knock…” that “…will be advanced subject to a Due Diligence report currently being compiled.”
















Consultation part of the Shannon Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Study.

Sligo News File Online.

Flooding - Ireland ICSA Connacht/Ulster Vice-President John Flynn has urged farmers in the Shannon River Basin District to attend and contribute to a series of public consultation days currently running as part of the Shannon Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Study (CFRAMS).

“Between today (Tuesday) and January 29th, farmers in Leitrim, Longford and Roscommon will have the opportunity to share their experiences in relation to Shannon basin flooding with members of the Shannon CFRAM Study Team, and I would urge anyone who has experienced such issues to attend one of the public consultation days,” said Mr. Flynn.

Upcoming Public Consultation Days:

Drumshanbo Co. Leitirim – Aras Padraig, Drumshambo, Co. Leitirim Thursday 29th January 2015 12pm – 7.30pm

Leitirim Village Co. Leitirim – St. Joseph’s Community Centre, Leitirim Village, Co. Leitirim Thursday 29th January 2015 12pm – 7.30pm

Carrick on Shannon Co. Leitirim/ Co. Roscommon – Leitirim Co., Co. Chambers, Aras an Chontae, Carrick-On-Shannon, Co. Leitirim Thursday 29th January 2015 12pm – 7.30pm

Boyle Co. Roscommon – Boyle Library, King House, Boyle Co. Roscommon Wednesday 28th January 2015 12pm – 7.30pm

Longford Town Co. Longford – Longford Library, Town Centre, Longford, Co. Longford Wednesday 21st January 2015 12pm – 7.30pm

Cloondara Co. Longford – Waterways Ireland Meeting Room, Richmond Harbour Lockhouse, Clondra, Co. Longford Wednesday 21st January 2015 12.30pm – 7.30pm

Mohill Co. Leitirim – Mohill Family Support Centre, Cannon Donahoe Hall, Upper Main Street, Mohill, Co. Leitrim Tuesday 20th January 2015 12.30pm – 7.30pm

Dromod Co. Leitirim – The Copper Still Bar, The Copper Still, Dromod Exit, N4 Round-abouts, Dromod, Co. Leitrim Tuesday 20th January 2015 12.30pm – 7.30pm

Portumna Galway – Portumna Town and Community Hall, Clonfert Avenue, Co. Galway Tuesday 16th December 2014 1pm – 7.30pm

Castlerea Roscommon – Castlerea Libray, Main Street, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon Thursday 18th September 2014 1.30pm – 5pm and 6pm – 7.30pm

Athleague Roscommon – Athleague Comminity Centre, Co. Roscommon Wednesday 17th September 2014 12pm – 7.30pm

A full list of dates and venues is available online at

Government announced broadband service to rural Sligo may be years away.

U-turn on undertaking network construction to begin in 2015.

Sligo News File Online.

Current Minister for Communications, Alex White (Lab)
Current Minister for Communications, Alex White (Lab)

Sligo-based business activity has suffered a setback with news that promised early delivery of urgently needed high speed broadband to rural areas of the county has been deferred – if not shelved indefinately in the case of some locations previously identified for connection to the service.

Rollout of the fibre optic technology to every town and village of the county was promised by the government last April, with an undertaking that construction of the network would begin in 2015.

But now the County Council has been informed that provision of
the service to the rural hinterland is being postponed, and for
some places it could be even many years before the technology
is laid on.

A Department of Communications official reportedly told last
Monday’s meeting of the authority that the development was
going to be an extraordinarily large infrastructural development
set to cost hundreds of millions of euro.

Urban areas of high population density such as Sligo town will
have the the high speed service but it will be 2016 before it
happens. However, for rural areas everything is being put on
the long finger, meaning any raised expectations of economic
growth or attraction of enterprise needing the support of the new
technology in order to locate in Sligo’s rural towns and villages
are effectively being dashed by government, as is, by extension,
provision of high speed broadband to householders in the area
for the foreseeable future

Despite the apparent government u-turn on the service to rural
Sligo, councillors have not indicated any intention to seek
a meeting with the Minister on the issue.




Mayo National Citizens Movement hosting major public meeting on water charges in Ballina.

Focus on how campaign of public solidarity will force reversal of water services legislation.

Sligo News File Online.


National Citizens Movement (MAYO) along with Right2Water Mayo will host an open public meeting to launch the “Can’t Pay – Won’t Pay” information and solidarity campaign in the Manor Hotel (formerly Ridgepool Hotel), Ballina, this coming Wedensday night, 21 January, at 7:30pm.

This meeting, say the organisers, “will detail to people of north Mayo the facts about the water charges and how a campaign of public solidarity will defeat the water charges and bring about a reversal of the Water Services legislation and Irish Water.

“We are also hosting another county-level demonstration as our part in the national Right2Water campaign. As January 31st is now a national day of protest once again, Ballina and Castlebar will be marching once again.

“The Ballina march will gather at Diamond’s Car Park, Bury St. at 2:30 pm and the march will commence at 3 pm.

“The Castlebar march is gathering at Castle St. Carpark, Castlebar at 11:30 am and marching at 12 noon.

“With a pending general election, likely to be called at a whim by our current government, the people are now becoming extremely well attuned to the political landscape and citizen movements have a prime opportunity to inform the people of our localities about their rights, protections and options given the current situation the country of Ireland finds itself in.”

Councillor Natalie Treacy – State should protect children suffering with cancer.

‘It is an absolute disgrace that a child with cancer cannot qualify for a medical card.’

Sligo News File Online.

Cllr. Natalie Treacy,  Sinn Fein.
Cllr. Natalie Treacy,
Sinn Fein.

Sinn Féin councillor Natalie Treacy has called on the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar to step in and fix the latest medical card debacle, which involves the non- issuing of medical cards to people especially children who are suffering from cancer.

A heartbroken mum has slammed the HSE for refusing her cancer-stricken daughter a medical card.

Devoted Mother Angela O’Connor revealed how she gave up her job to give  nine-year-old Lucy the full-time care she desperately needs.

But despite Lucy’s serious illness, heartless HSE bosses decided she didn’t qualify for a medical card – even though her parents Angela and Lorcan are struggling to pay the mounting medical bills and their mortgage on just one wage.

And opening up about the heartache of not knowing whether their daughter will survive,  Angela articulated how the battle was tough enough without fighting the HSE as well.

Councillor Treacy said, “It is an absolute disgrace that a child with cancer cannot qualify for a medical card. What is more serious than this? This government should hang their heads in shame for putting any family through this. As a mother I cannot comprehend how the Minister or the HSE cannot help this family and others like them. This is a time when a family should be able to rally around their sick child, not worry about paying medical bills. I would like to know what Minister Varadkar plans to do about this situation.

I urge him to step in immediately and help this family and any others like them in similar situations across the country.


‘…we must have transparency around how the profits from key products like beef, lamb and dairy are shared…’

Sligo News File Online.

Patrick Kent, President, Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association.
Patrick Kent, President, Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association.

ICSA president Patrick Kent has reiterated his call for regulation and examination of margins in the retail food chain which apply to key farm products. “ICSA believes that we must have
transparency around how the profits from key products like beef, lamb and dairy are shared between farmers, processors and retailers,” said Mr. Kent.

“ICSA is proposing that the EU Commission needs to introduce a pan-European regulator which would have power to audit the whole retail chain and discern whether there was a fair share of margins allocated to all parts of the chain.  ICSA argues that the past twelve months provide ample evidence that farmers are not getting a fair share of the final retail price, in beef for instance.  We believe that this must be the business of the EU Commission given that the
success of the CAP is being undermined by farmers losing money in the marketplace.”

Reacting to the launch of a consultation by the Commission on producer organisations, Mr. Kent said that the EU proposals are not going to be effective given the power of a small number of retail giants which dominate the EU retail trade for beef.