• RoadWork

    €8.5 Million for Regional & Local Roads for Sligo

    I am delighted that my Independent Alliance colleague Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross T.D. has today confirmed details of the Regional and Road Grants Allocations for €8,457,172.

    I am pleased that this funding has allowed for an 11.5% increase in the Restoration Improvement Grant with the Restoration Maintenance Grants being continued at the 2016 level for all counties.

    Minister Ross said that allocations to local authorities will see an increase of about 9% in 2017. The priority this year is safety and the support of job growth in local areas. Therefore the continued maintenance of the existing road network coupled with major rehabilitation and infrastructure improvements is central to this year’s programme.

    Minister Ross confirmed that the funding package announced today will allow approximately 1980 kms of regional and local roads to be maintained and 2035 kms to be strengthened in the coming year.

    Minister Ross believes that Local Authorities are best placed to assess priorities within their own areas and therefore considerable autonomy will be given to them under grant headings to decide their own specific work programmes including up to 15% of the discretionary grant being made available to be used for the Local Improvement Scheme.

  • School Lollipop

    Additional School Wardens

    I recently raised the issue at a Sligo County Council meeting of the need for additional School Wardens for the Sligo town area. I’m delighted to report that Sligo Co Co now hopes to fill these positions shortly.

    For more info please see Ocean FM News Report.

    Oceam FM Article

  • Illuminate Herstory

    Illuminate Herstory & Nollaig na mBan Event

    As part of the Illuminate Herstory Festival and in celebration of Nollaig na mBan, artist Emma Stroude will be exhibiting a series of drawings at City Hall, Sligo. She has worked extensively on portraiture of women from recent Irish history who have made a significant and positive difference to the lives of modern Irish women. The aim of her work is to reignite a presence of these women, some lesser known, to highlight their legacy and to contribute to new conversations on the stories of their remarkable lives.
    On Friday evening at 6.30pm Emma will be giving a talk about the development of her work and the lives of the women she has drawn. You may remember seeing her work during the 1916 Commemorations last Easter as large scale projections of women of The Rising on Rockwood Parade alongside the Garavogue River.

    We will also have some poetry reading and light refreshments.
    All are welcome.

  • Marie Casserly

    Sligo Going Forward

    2017 will be a big year for Sligo as we continue to punch above our weight taking on the title as European Volunteering Capital. Thank you to the army of different types of volunteers who care for our community and those that need their help. I have been astonished and delighted to see that there is a huge amount of good work taking place across County Sligo.

    Sligo as European Volunteering Capital is a major opportunity for Sligo to project itself not only in Ireland but also in Europe and further afield as a holiday destination and as a quality of life region to live, work, study and invest in. Sligo in recent years as host to European Town of Sport, National Fleadh Cheoil, Yeats, Armada and 1916 Commemorations is now beyond doubt a major sporting, cultural, tourism and transport hub in Ireland. Many of these social and economic accolades are attributed to the work of our volunteers who work tirelessly in their local communities and via our Diaspora networks.

    Sligo like many progressive regions is going to be affected by Brexit, no one knows yet what will a Hard or Soft Brexit mean. What is of direct concern to Sligo is to be aware now of the potential scale of difficulty and scale of opportunity that will affect our economy. We must in the meantime act on the basis of greatest difficulty and opportunity at our doorstep. We have an over dependence on markets in the UK and we must engage more with Europe and in it’s Internal Market of 500 million consumers. All the benefits from UK relocating firms should not accrue to Dublin. Sligo must also compete to attract those UK firms engaged in manufacturing and services that need access to the EU Single Market.

    Being European Capital of Volunteering is the rally call for our Sligo Volunteers and our Sligo Diaspora to reach out to investors and start -up companies in the UK to help us grow our creative commercial base, and to contribute to job creation and in turn strengthening purchasing power in our county.

    The events that I have attended and been involved with since becoming Mayor of Sligo have been varied and diverse but without exception, each one has involved people who want to improve the area they live in, either economically or socially. To all those who, in Sligo, through their business, their action or work, have developed projects which contribute to the economic and social life of our country, I hope that their efforts thrive in this achievement

    Our county will be a place to be proud of which is more prosperous, vibrant, healthy, sustainable and where people enjoy a better quality of life. I look forward this year as we continue to make the region a better place to live, work, visit and invest. Together we can do it!

    Most importantly I would like to thank everyone for your continued support and for those who support the local economy through choosing local produce in the supermarkets, butchers, local shops and when eating out.
    Sligo is a great county. I invite you to join me in anticipating what we will accomplish together in the year to come.

    To everyone young and young at heart, I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.

  • Grass

    Call for Increased ANC Payment

    That Sligo Co Co call on the Department of Agriculture for on increased ANC Payment, as my understanding is that there could be a considerable underspend (possibly in excess of €100m) in the Rural Development Program (budget of €580m) which I am asking be now paid out to farmers in the form of a second Areas of Natural Constraint Payment (ANC). This money would go some way towards covering losses farmers are now experiencing through poor market prices and increased costs resulting from poor weather this summer/autumn and Brexit related issues.

    It is my understanding that there could be a considerable underspend (possibly in excess of €100m) in the Rural Development Program (budget of €580m) which I am asking be now paid out to farmers in the form of a second Areas of Natural Constraint Payment (ANC). The original budget for the ANC Scheme of €195m is paid to farmers in light of a recognised constraint on their land and would be paid to all Sligo farmers. The average payment made in Sligo would be just under €2500 and a second payment would average €1300.

    This money would go some way towards covering losses farmers are now experiencing through poor market prices and increased costs resulting from poor weather this summer/autumn and Brexit related issues. The problems Dairy farmers have experienced over the last year has being well highlighted but the two other major farming sectors namely Beef & Sheep are also experiencing major difficulties. Beef prices continue to fall and for farmers selling weanlings (which there a lot of in Sligo) they are seeing prices back at least €100/head. For Sheep farmers factory prices are presently at their lowest in over 5 years at €4.40/kg with a concern that this will fall. Adding to all of this is an increased cost for these farmers through meal and bedding with straw almost €10/round bale dearer than last year.

    Farmers in Sligo and through out the west are under major financial pressure resulting from all this and we need to get money to them asap. An ANC top-up is the fastest and easiest way of doing this and as the money is already included in the Governments budget I believe it can be delivered on the instruction of the Minister for Agriculture.

  • Almost in Sligo

    Pope Francis to visit Ireland

    In December 2015 I tabled a motion which called on Sligo County Council to invite Pope Francis to visit Sligo during his trip to Ireland for the World meeting of Families which will take place in 2018. I spoke on Ocean FM this morning regarding this matter and outlined why I feel it would be beneficial to the region.

    My Motion

    Ocean FM News Report

    Pope Sligo Visit

  • Web Summit 5

    Web & Surf Summit

    There are over 4,400 people working in the tourism industry in Sligo and it’s worth €96m to the local economy, so promotion of the North West as a tourism destination is vital to the overall success of the region.
    The Surf Summit took place in the seaside town of Ericeira on Portugal’s west coast, 35 km from Lisbon, at Ericeira’s World Surf Reserve, one of two in the globally.
    Some of the biggest names in surfing were there for the weekend speaking about the importance of surfing to the tourism industry in the region and also of the importance of preserving and protecting our coastlines for future generations.
    There was a strong emphasis during the surf summit as to how Mafra and Sligo could develop tourism and business links in the future. Food tourism is a very important part of the Portuguese economy and there is a lot in common between Ireland and Portugal.
    Sligo, the North West and the Wild Atlantic Way were promoted through presentations, photos, video and brochures.
    There was an opportunity to visit Mafra’s Municipal Offices, to hear about industry and the local economy and future plans and also a visit to the Innovation Centre, the Surfing Reserve Interpretive Centre, historic sites, and community and sporting facilities.
    During the Web Summit in Lisbon there was an opportunity to speak with and listen to start up companies, designers, engineers, politicians, investors, musicians and economists. There was also an opportunity to discuss and promote the location of Sligo as a tourist destination and promote the Wild Atlantic Way.

    Web Summit 1

    Web Summit 4

    Web Summit 3

    Web Summit 2

    Web Summit 5

  • Sligo Kempton

    Sligo – Kempten Student Exchange Program

    I was delighted to formally welcome three teachers from Fachakademie in Kempten to Sligo last week.

    Sligo College of Further Education has established a partnership with the Vocational College based in Kempten, Germany, twin town of Sligo. This partnership is funded through the Erasmus+ programme and will see an exchange of PLC students between the two colleges for work experience purposes. The three teachers who visited the college last week, made preparations for the first exchange students who will visit Sligo in February and conduct their work experience in local creches throughout Sligo. This partnership will further strengthen the close ties which have been established between the two towns in recent years. The guests were formally welcomed to Sligo by Mayor Marie Casserly.

  • WaterTreatment_image-lightboxLs

    Waste Water Treatment Plants in Grange, Tubbercurry, Ballinafad and Strandhill

    Please find below correspondence from Irish Water re’ my motion dated 4th JULY requesting a status upgrade of the position in relation to the Waste Water Treatment Plants in Grange, Tubbercurry, Ballinafad and Strandhill.

    Since becoming a Councillor in 2014 I have regularly requested updates and investment in the upgrade of these treatment plants in particular Grange Waste Water Treatment Plant. The upgrade of Grange Waste Water Treatment Plant in particular has been due to take place for many years including periods from the mid 2000s when significant central government funds were available to carry out the work, but the urgent upgrades did not take place then.

    In 2015, following a request for progress details, Irish Water informed me that the upgrades would take place in early 2016. In the most recent correspondence from Irish Water (attached) they now state that these works will take place in early 2017. I will continue to keep the pressure on until these works are carried out.
    I have once again proposed a motion for the September meeting of Sligo Council Council to continue this pressure to have these necessary works carried out by Irish Water.
    Motion for September Meeting:

    ‘That Sligo Co Co call on Irish Water to ensure that local tanks and treatment plants in Grange, Cliffoney and Mullaghmore be desludged regularly into the waste-water sludge treatment facility at Sligo Wastewater Treatment Plant. And to call on Irish Water to provide a definitive timeline for the upgrading of the Waste Water Treatment Plants at Grange, Strandhill, Tubbercurry and Ballinafad.’

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  • fblogo

    Leaving Certificate Results

    I wish to congratulate all Leaving Cert students who will receive their results today. It’s a fantastic achievement to get this far, and enjoy your day with family and friends. Not every student will get offered their first choice but there are many opportunities to follow your chosen career path. There are more courses available than ever now and there is often more than one way for the young person to get to where they ultimately want to be job/career-wise. You can still get where you want, you may just need to take a different path.

    There are many progression opportunities available to every Leaving Cert student, whether it be pursuing a third level course, repeating the Leaving Cert, taking a year out to work or travel, or doing a one year Post Leaving Cert Course (PLC). Also, there are now a choice of new apprenticeships in insurance, accounting, ICT and financial services among others, available to school leavers. So there are many options available for young people today.

    Students who are not satisfied with the marks they got in one or more of their Leaving Certificate results can appeal those results to the State Examinations Commission. Before you make the decision to appeal your result(s), you may view your examination script and then make your decision. This can be arranged by contacting your school. Students who have applied to view scripts may bring a second person, normally a subject teacher or parent, with them.

    Now, for those who have applied for third level courses, Round One offers are available from next Monday the 22nd August from 06:00 am online, also issued by post, e-mail and text. Applicants who have not received an offer will receive a Statement of Application Record. Monday 29th August is the Round 1 acceptances closing date. My advice to students who receive an offer is to accept this offer even if it is not their first choice. They may get their first choice in Round two but if a student does not achieve the required points they may not get any other offer. Accepting an offer at this stage does not mean that you will not get another offer in subsequent rounds.

    On Monday the 1st of September, Round 2 offers available from 06:00 online. Monday the 7th September is Round 2 Acceptances closing date. The 14th October is when the offer season ends.
    If you do not receive an offer from the CAO, you can check out the list of vacant places on the CAO website under the heading “Available/Vacant Places”. These are programmes which have not received sufficient applicants to fill the number of places on offer from the college in question. People who have not applied to the CAO may make an application online for a vacant place. If you have applied already, you simply go into your record in the CAO website and place the vacant course at the top of your CAO application list (free of charge). Applicants for available places must meet the normal entry requirements for the course in question.

    The list of vacant-place courses will continue to be published on the CAO website www.cao.ie over the coming weeks, and for as long as course places continue to be on offer.

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