South Armagh Volunteers Day 2018

Martin McGuinness pictured a few years ago at the South Armagh Volunteers Garden

The annual South Armagh Óglaigh na hÉireann Commemoration will take place on Sunday 1st July at 4pm in Mullaghban. Those attending are asked to assemble outside the Community Hall before parading to the Memorial Garden beside Ti Chulainn.

This annual commemoration remembers all those local volunteers who died during the most recent phase of the struggle for Irish freedom and is focussed on offering ongoing solidarity and support to their families and loved ones as well as honouring their sacrifice.

This year we will also honour Martin McGuinness who opened the Memorial Garden in October  2010.  Martin was a Republican leader and internationally respected peacemaker but he was also a great friend to South Armagh and its people.  Martin visited this area many times throughout his life, standing with the people in their struggle with British Army occupation, encouraging support for the Peace Process, assisting local Sinn Fein candidates and, at all times, enjoying the hospitality and warm welcome of the people of South Armagh.

Gerry Adams will deliver the oration at the event, which will be attended by members of the McGuinness family, and a specially commissioned stone will be unveiled in memory of Martin.  There will also be a photographic exhibition in Ti Chulainn reflecting on Martin’s life and the organisers are grateful to local people who have supplied treasured pictures of Martin visiting families and places in the South Armagh area.

The formal events will be followed by music and refreshments in Ti Chulainn and entertainment will also be provided for children.

Adams calls for an accountable DPP

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams, speaking during this evening’s Fianna Fáil Private Members Debate on the Shane O’Farrell case called on the government to establish a Public Inquiry into the case and to take steps to ensure that the DPP is made more accountable for the inexplicable decisions it takes, including in relation to the O’Farrell case.

Gerry Adams said:

“The death of Shane O’Farrell on August 2nd 2011 was a devastating blow to the O’Farrell family. So too has been the catalogue of incompetence, and the appalling decisions made by An Garda Síochána, the DPP and the Justice system which allowed Zigimantas Gradzuiska to be free to kill Shane and then leave this state.

I want to extend my solidarity to the O’Farrell family, particularly Lucia, for their courage and persistence in seeking justice. Like other citizens who suffer an injustice they’ve had to take on the entire state.

Sinn Féin has put down an amendment to the Fianna Fáil motion seeking the establishment of a Public Inquiry. We think that a Public Inquiry is best placed to get all of the facts. I would therefore appeal to Fianna Fáil to accept our amendment and join with us in seeking the best outcome for the O’Farrell family”.

The Louth TD specifically raised the role and accountability of the DPP. Teachta Adams said

“The constant refrain of the government is that the DPP is independent and that it has sole responsibility to decide when and if charges are brought in any given case. But the DPP’s role in the Shane O’Farrell case raises significant concerns about its competence.

In addition, we know that in the case of Crevan Mackin, who shot and killed Garda Tony Golden, that a decision was taken by the DPP not to charge him with offences that he had admitted, including the possession of weapons and explosives.

One of these weapons was almost certainly responsible for the murder of Garda Golden and the grievous wounding of Siobhán Philips.

And then there are the serious questions arising from the DPP’s decision to prosecute people over the incident at Jobstown, involving former Tánaiste Joan Burton.

A Áire there has to be an oversight body which can hold the DPP to account for the inexplicable decisions it takes.

In November 2016 the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny met the O’Farrell family and told them he would ask the Attorney General, and I quote, to “request the Law Reform Commission President Mr. Justice John Quirke to examine how we can reform the law to provide enhanced public understanding for significant decisions made whilst fully preserving the independence of the Director of public Prosecutions.”.

Nothing more was heard of this proposal. I have written to the Minister on this matter. But so far without a reply. Although I have learned prompt and clear replies from this Minister are rare.

Can the Minister clarify the status of the former Taoiseach’s request to the Law Reform Commissioner?

Was the request ever made?

Did the Law Reform Commission President ever agree to undertake this work?

The DPP has to be accountable for its decisions. The government has a responsibility to ensure that this happens”.

Dundalk Primary Care Centre Needed Now – Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has described information regarding the delivery of a Primary Care Centre (PCC) in Dundalk as ‘slow progress.’

Cllr Ó Murchú said;

“The issue of a PCC, with adequate floor space to accommodate community mental health services, has long been requested both by practitioners and by my colleagues Gerry Adams TD and Cllr Anne Campbell.

“Deputy Adams visited the local mental health service at Ladywell and he has written many times to the Health Minister on this issue. Responses indicate that the service will be delivered but there is no timeframe on its delivery. This is unacceptable.

“At The latest meeting of the Regional Health Forum my colleague Cllr Anne Campbell again requested an update.

“The HSE stated that it has received and reviewed Expressions of Interest for the provision of the Primary Care Centre accommodation.

“ It has further been confirmed that a preferred provider and site has been selected and the HSE’s Property Review Group and has approved both.

“The project will then need to go through the planning process so delivery is still many months away at best.

“Citizens in Dundalk deserve to have a Primary Care Centre with a full range of healthcare services on their doorstep and I am going to continue campaigning on this issue until it becomes a reality.

 

Cllr Pearse McGeough New Chair for Ardee MD

Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough has been elected the new Chair for the Ardee Municipal District Council.

Speaking after tonight’s AGM, Cllr McGeough said “I want to thank my fellow Sinn Féin councillor Tom Cunningham for nominating me and also want to thank Independent Cllr Jim Tenanty for his vote. For years there was a pact to keep Sinn Féin out but it’s good to see that pact has been broken tonight.”

“I have been proud to serve the good people of Ardee and Mid-Louth Municipal District for over fourteen years and this is the first time that I will have the opportunity of doing so as Chair. I will serve and represent all the people of the area and look forward to what will no doubt be a challenging but very rewarding time.”

“This coming year is an important one as we are facing into an election next year and Brexit with all the uncertainty that brings with it, is looming. Over the last years we have seen the powers in our municipal Districts stripped and diluted, obviously we need to reverse that trend if we want to affect real change in Mid-Louth. We, as councillors, are accountable to the people so it is up to us to represent those people and help Ardee and Mid-Louth to realise its full potential.”

“There are a few challenges that need to be prioritised this year. We need to appreciate the area’s potential for jobs and enterprise. Sometimes we tend to be overlooked in favour of Drogheda or Dundalk but we have a lot to offer too. I would like to see the Ardee By-pass well underway and to tackle the drugs and alcohol usage and addiction in the area especially among young people. These are projects that will require all of us and multi-agencies working together but if we have the will, it can be done.”

“I also look forward to working with Dolores Minogue as Leas Cathaoirleach in the year ahead.”

Cllr Tom Cunningham Congratulates Clogherhead Bloom Winner Dunne

Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Cunningham has congratulated the 2018 Show Garden winner at Bord Bia’s Bloom.

Andrew Christopher Dunne won the competition for his ‘Sustainable Seafood Garden’ last week.

Seafood Garden Winner (pic via Agriland)

Cllr Cunningham said “well done Andrew. You have done Clogherhead proud. Andrew’s garden tells the story of coastal communities and their way of life and the importance of fish. At a time when coastal communities are under pressure economically and the fishing industry here is facing decimation, Andrew has reminded us of the sustainability of fish and the way of life of these areas. Clogherhead is a very proud fishing village and Andrew has made a beautiful garden feature which reflects the beauty of the area in which we live. A very deserving winner.”

Seafood Garden winner (pic via press reader)

The winning entry was an elaborate water feature with shimmering fish sculptures and an ‘upcycled’ fishing boat which doubles as a kitchen.