Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Profile for Los Lobos

This user has not yet written a description

Latest comments from Los Lobos (see all)

Los Lobos has commented 80 times (0 in the last month).

  1. Comment on Micheal Martin: “For things to change in the North they require greater generosity and restraint”
    on 5 February 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Well Tyrone and Fermanagh used to be ruled by the Ulster Unionists and Sdlp, now it’s Sinn Fein and the DUP who wear the trousers- that’s a one huge change that has improved people’s quality of life no end!

    Go to comment

  2. Comment on SDLP leader’s register of interest lapse ‘due to an administrative error…’
    on 31 January 2014 at 6:03 pm

    The SDLP have often been likened to Fianna Fail, especially during the Celtic boom when many in the Party were openly touting for a merger with Bertie and his chums. The ‘Brown envelope’ culture that was so prevalent in Fanna Fail could have been the thread that ran through both parties. Corruption didn’t end at the border, the donation secrecy laws that operate in NI means the public have no idea how much big businesses give the parties in NI. This story is a story of greed, greed that permeates the entire body politic at the Executive table.

    Go to comment

  3. Comment on Robinson on the Irish Govt “relations have never been better”.
    on 31 January 2014 at 12:08 pm

    The reneging of the Irish Governments half a billion for the A5 seems to be a distant memory? Still I’m sure the North/South relationship will go from strength to strength.

    Go to comment

  4. Comment on Narrow Water Bridge: “Yet when confronted with a real initiative that would help boost trade, we say no…”
    on 21 August 2013 at 10:58 am

    However there is a wider problem that has not been properly acknowledged since the economic crisis began in 2008 and that is the neglect of North-South projects. Whether it’s the A5 in County Tyrone or the cuts in funding to the Enterprise service to Dublin there seems to be an increasingly worrying trend that joint initiatives are falling by the way side.” What part of the word illegal does Mr Mc Cann not understand regarding the A5? This project was not ‘neglected’, if anything the opposite is the case! It was pushed as hard as it could be, so hard in fact that land owners had their farms illegally vested and in some cases ruined by over zealous contractors who were full sure that the illegal project would go ahead. Mr Mc Cann would do well to look at the judgement of the A5 case before making comments that distort the reality of this cross border project.

    Go to comment

  5. Comment on “You can’t put people in one of two boxes, it is much more complex now”
    on 14 July 2013 at 12:21 am

    I wonder did any of those interviewed ever hear the old saying “its manners to wait until you are asked”? Who in their right mind in the South of Ireland will be up for encouraging the British to ‘off-load’ Northern Ireland to them? FFs, they can’t even divvy up a couple of quid for the bridge into Co Louth, even though the EU are paying for most of it! Time for a reality check for everyone on the Island, and time to look at issues that really matter. Issues that would improve the quality of life for most people, not dumb surveys with loaded questions.

    Go to comment

  6. Comment on NI21 launches – looking for fresh voices rather than defectors
    on 6 June 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Hey, “back on track” McGuinness, maybe they should have called themselves the A5? Cause you sure as hell ain’t going to be doing anything to get that road up and running anytime soon!

    Go to comment

  7. Comment on Gerry Adams says loyalists have much in common with republican neighbours and calls for dialogue
    on 14 April 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Its a pity Gerry Adams didn’t call for the “sniper at work” badges on sale at the conference to be binned! If he had have done so (and thats a big if), perhaps some people could take seriously his comments on loyalists having something in common with the likes of himself. But he didn’t, he preferred to rewrite history to suit his narrow sectarian agenda that gives the Provos the high moral ground and makes the rest of society feel like second class citizens, Statesman he is not!

    Go to comment

  8. Comment on A5 ruling: “They should not be left in any doubt about what may or may not occur…”
    on 9 April 2013 at 11:06 pm

    This may clarify things for anyone interested in the legalities of the situation. PRESS RELEASE 1

    The many supporters of the Alternative A5 Alliance welcome Mr Justice Stephens’s ruling (albeit with a seven day stay) to quash the DRD Minister’s decision to build a new dual carriageway running parallel with the present A5 and thereby providing the predominantly rural area with the luxury of six lanes of traffic from Newbuildings to Ballygawley. Thankfully, the decision based on a breach of the Habitats Directive and on the need to save the protected species including salmon in the Foyle and Finn Special Areas of Conservation, will also save 3000 acres of productive farmland, many businesses and permanent jobs, as well as sparing many householders the devastation that this unnecessary new dual carriageway would have caused.

    The breach of the Habitats Directive affected a major part of the scheme and could not be ignored. Mr Justice Stephens has therefore refused to grant DRD its request for a stay so that it could belatedly undertake an assessment, even though the law requires such an assessment be carried out before the decision to proceed with the road is taken. He has allowed a limited 7 day stay in relation to any appeal to the Court of Appeal.

    Quashing the decision means that the vested lands will be returned to their former owners, who now face the challenge of undoing all the damage caused by six months of preliminary works by Roads Service’s contractors. It means that last December’s undertaking to the Court to pay compensation for such damage must now be honoured and paid in full.

    The AA5A maintains that this road, as conceived, was never truly in the public interest. It was promoted by politicians whose ambitions, aspirations and political compromises it served. Moreover, by pre-determining that the A5 had to be replaced by a dual carriageway, the politicians removed all discussions on the cost effectiveness and environmental impact of other alternative upgrades to the A5. This effectively neutered the Public Inquiry and left it with little to determine other than the exact route of the proposed new road. Public participation was effectively stifled.

    We also maintain that the process contained many other serious and fatal flaws such as the low traffic figures for the route, the many inadequacies of the Agricultural Impact Assessments, the failure to assess the negative economic impacts upon the local community and the inappropriateness of conducting a Human Rights Impact Assessment long before the Public Inquiry even took place. Moreover, as there was no habitats assessment, then the Environmental Statement cannot be fit for purpose either.

    The Court upheld our argument that the specification that the new road had to be a dual carriageway should have been subject to a Strategic Environmental Assessment – another breach of European Environmental legal requirements. The Judge ruled this complaint out of time as we should have challenged the government on this point before the Public Inquiry took place, though he acknowledges that there we ‘may have faced difficulties’. In view of our limited funds such an expectation of a group of ordinary people seems high indeed. It is surely for the Government to comply with its obligations and, with constant access to legal advice at public expense, it should have known what these requirements were. Furthermore, if a Strategic Environmental Assessment was required, then, regardless of time limits for a challenge, the Minister should not have given the scheme the go head in its absence.

    This was a road scheme that would have done far more harm than good but it was left to ordinary citizens to fight a High Court battle to prove that. When in November 2011 the RoI reneged on its commitment to pay half the cost of this unnecessary new road, the DRD decided, nonetheless, to press on with its plan. It did so with no further consultation or meaningful re appraisal of the damage the scheme would do to both the local economy and the environment, including Special Areas of Conservation. This was despite the obvious fact that a partial scheme could not and would not deliver the benefits the Department claimed for the scheme at the Public Inquiry some months earlier. There was no consideration of the long term adverse impact on local businesses including farm businesses or of the indirect adverse consequences for the rest of the rural community. There was no concern for the householders whose homes would be devalued or for the local people who would be forced to make detours and longer daily journeys as their local road was now closed. Indeed the DRD saw the increased expenditure on fuel as a cost benefit of the scheme as it meant more fuel tax for the government.

    Is it too much to hope that Roads Service will now focus on upgrading the existing A5 in line with previously declared Roads Service Policy, so as to deliver improvements to this road that are needed but in a way that is affordable and not unnecessarily destructive of our environment, livelihoods and community? If the Department seeks to waste more tax payers’ money on promoting this scheme, we will continue to oppose it.

    Six months of Preliminary Works on Sections 1 and 3 have caused a lot of avoidable and needless damage to farmland, hedgerows and trees despite the protests of landowners. They have been rightly promised compensation but this could have been an entirely avoidable public expense. Moreover, it is as impossible to compensate for the loss of mature trees which cannot be readily replaced as it is impossible to compensate for the stress and ill health suffered by those directly affected by this scheme.

    So, now land owners will have to argue for compensation to help restore their land to its former state and level of productivity, all because a government Department refused to suspend work until the outcome of the legal challenge was known – as we argued in Court last December. This unpleasant and unjust situation stems from the unsatisfactory Compulsory Purchase Laws which continuously put ordinary citizens at a disadvantage – deluging them with unfamiliar reports and papers with overly short time scales to read, absorb and react to same but with no financial assistance to help cope with the Public Inquiry process. These same processes allow our Government to take over private property without agreeing a fair price in advance or paying before taking possession. This is why its victims feel compulsory purchase is more like confiscation. Since September 2012 Roads Service has constantly asserted its legal ownership of the vested land without paying most of the landowners a penny for it; has carried out extensive and damaging preliminary works on land that has been owned by the same family for generations; has behaved as if the legal challenge was a minor irritant and doomed to failure. Indeed we have recently learnt that Roads Service thought so little of our Court challenge that it has paid over £750,000 of public funds in compensation to a small number of owners. So we have many reasons to feel vindicated and relieved to hear that Mr Justice Stephens has quashed the Minister’s decision.

    We would like to thank our legal team for their dedicated and tireless pursuit of this case on our behalf and in particular Greg Jones QC for his advice and expert presentation of our arguments to the Court. We also commend our solicitor, Roger Watts of C & J Black for his diligence on our behalf, his patience with our queries and his commitment to our cause.

    Go to comment

  9. Comment on Micheál Martin in Belfast: “There is nothing inevitable about peace and progress”
    on 27 February 2013 at 11:01 pm

    As comic sketches go it was quite good, hard to know which line was the funniest, i liked this one. “Regrettably, the Dublin Government has decided that there will not be immediate progress on the A5, citing economic pressures.”

    Go to comment

Copyright © 2003 - 2014 Slugger O'Toole Ltd. All rights reserved.
Powered by WordPress; produced by Puffbox.
46 queries. 1.003 seconds.