Cllr Flood Condemns Those behind Suspect Device

Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has condemned those who left a suspect device in Drogheda yesterday.

Cllr Flood who is also Chairperson of Drogheda’s Joint Policing Committee said “The fact that the device turned out to be non-viable is immaterial. It was left in the open on Duke Street and caused alarm and disruption to those in the area.  It diverted the Gardaí and Army EOD Team whose time and resources could have been better spent elsewhere.”

Cllr Flood commended “our thinly resourced Gardaí for their swift action. This selfish act caused traffic chaos, terrified afternoon shoppers and meant workers in the area were unable to leave their workplaces to go home. What did all this achieve for those who left the device? Let’s hope the culprits were captured on CCTV and that an arrest and prosecution is imminent.”

Gerry Adams: Thoughts on Repeal, an Opinion Piece

Today citizens in the south will have an opportunity to remove the eighth amendment. That is citizens will, if they wish to, remove this amendment from the Irish constitution or leave it in. This amendment was originally proposed by Fianna Fáil Taoiseach Charlie Haughey in 1982. The referendum on this was subsequently held under a Fine Gael/Labour coalition government in September 1983.

The Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in 1982 took the decision to oppose this amendment. This was four years before Sinn Féin ended our abstentionist policy to the Oireachtas. So, the Ard Fheis decided not to campaign against the amendment, though individual party members, especially women activists, did. In the decades since then Sinn Féin has constantly revised party policy on the role and rights of women in Irish society.

35 years after the 1983 referendum the people of the south now have the opportunity to vote again on this issue and to right a wrong done at that time. The question we are being asked to decide on is whether a woman has the right to a public health service that allows her and her doctor to take decisions on her health if she has a crisis pregnancy. Or are women inferior, are they suspect, are they not to be trusted, are they to be criminalised, and should there be a constitutional bar that puts women’s lives at risk?

Like everyone else I have been on a learning curve on this issue. I grew up in the fifties and sixties and I am from a family of 13. I have 5 sisters. My mother had 13 pregnancies. 10 of us survived. Three little brothers died either directly after they were born or were still-born. It was a household of its time. I was reared in a largely Catholic culture with all the strengths and shortcomings of that experience. Taught by the Christian Brothers I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. So I have a good sense of the matriarchal nature of Irish society, as opposed to the patriarchal nature of the state. The two states on this island are very patriarchal and very conservative.

In those days – if he had a job – the man brought home the wages and the mother usually did all of the rest – managing the household finances, cooking, cleaning, running the household, looking after the children, everything you could conceivably think of. Women were the home managers. The pawn shop was an essential part of this. We were poor. But so was everyone we knew. We were also homeless, living with my father’s mother or in a slum tenement. For much of those years we relied in my Granny’s on an outside toilet. There was a single water tap in the yard. Because of our family’s politics we had a slightly different attitude to the Catholic Church, on account of the hierarchy’s shameful attitude to the national question, and the way uncles of mine had been excommunicated.

As I became an adult I was also influenced by people like Fr. Des Wilson, who was very radical and progressive. My views were also influenced by the discriminatory manner in which women were and still are treated by the state, by the Catholic Church, by sections of the media, in business, and so on. The older I get the more I resent the undemocratic nature of the Catholic Church and its deeply unacceptable attitude to women.

I have come round to a position that it doesn’t really matter what position I, as an individual may have on abortion. This referendum isn’t about whether you are pro-abortion or anti-abortion. What you must be is pro-woman. And you have to set aside whatever position you may have yourself because we need to trust women to make the best decisions for themselves and their families and we need to enable health professionals to do their jobs.

I have listened to the testimony of women who had fatal foetal abnormalities, to the stories of women and their partners who had to go to England for an abortion, and to our own Ard Fheis discussing this issue for almost 30 years.

I have many women in my life. Colette, our granddaughters. Their mother. My sisters, sisters-in-law, nieces, grand nieces, many women friends and comrades.

Any of them – though I hope it never happens –might find themselves in a crisis pregnancy. The only way to help women who are seeking a termination because they are pregnant as a result of rape, or who have received a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality, is to vote YES on Friday.

I also have this abiding notion that if men could get pregnant this would not be an issue.

When I learned about symphysiotomy – when I learned about the Magdalene’s – when I heard about the horror of the Mother-and-Baby-Homes, about the Tuam babies, and how women were shamefully and disgracefully treated, then I have become more and more convinced that this is an issue of equality and an issue of rights. Whatever decision a woman takes that it is for her to take and the doctor and medical staff must be protected.

This is an issue for everyone. It is unthinkable that if the No vote wins that women could be saddled with the status quo for the next 30 years or so.

And what is the status quo? It is legal for a woman to go and have an abortion elsewhere but it’s not legal to have one in the 26 counties. So we have opted out. We export this issue. An English solution for an Irish problem. It means if you have the money, or can find the money, to travel to what is a strange place, generally on your own, then you can have an abortion. That’s not right. If a woman has the right to travel to terminate a crisis pregnancy, she should have the same right in her own place.

I know friends who have carried full term in the knowledge that the child would not live and that’s their right. And I know others who have had terminations because they couldn’t face the trauma. I think in both cases we have to respect the decision of those affected.

It’s also ridiculous and dangerous and illegal for a woman to take pills bought on the internet with no medical supervision. She is risking her health and a fourteen-year prison sentence. Society is forcing her into a very lonely, desperate place. This is not acceptable. I recently heard an interview given by a woman who was in a crisis pregnancy. She lived in a one-bedroom flat with her mother, and didn’t want her mother to know she was pregnant. She took a pill on her way home on the bus and became very ill. No one should be put in that position.

So, today, on Friday May 25th I am appealing for people to vote YES. I am especially asking men to trust women and to go out and vote YES for their wives, their partners, their sisters, their daughters, their nieces, their granddaughters, their friends.

Flood Seeks Public Assistance Identifying Graffiti Vandals

Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has asked for the public’s assistance in identifying graffiti vandals that have targeted Drogheda in the last week.

Cllr Flood who has been very vocal on this subject said “I am on record stating I am frustrated and annoyed to find that Louth County Council not only has ceased to focus on graffiti removal but had also no intention on chasing up on their notices issued to businesses which instructed them to clear graffiti in areas for which they were they were responsible.”

Cllr Flood has sought a report on the Council’s work done on graffiti removal at this month’s Municipal meeting but “my exasperation with this lack of focus increased when there was no report on tackling  graffiti produced despite the request having been made a month before. I have contacted the Chief Executive to state on the record that this lack of focus cannot be allowed to continue.”

Following Cllr. Kenneth Flood’s motion at the July 2016 Municipal District of Drogheda meeting calling on Louth County Council to tackle the graffiti problem in Drogheda, LCC embarked on a clean-up of council owned properties in the town.  At the same time a comprehensive survey was carried out by LCC’s Community Warden of all areas vandalised with graffiti.

Cllr Flood said “it was a positive step to getting Drogheda cleaned up and free from unsightly graffiti once and for all. We were finally getting to grips with it and we can get there again but there has to be a willingness from the officials to tackle this issue.”

“In the past year we have had sterling work done by local volunteers and community groups in cleaning up the lane-ways of Drogheda, removing and painting over graffiti. Several areas were cleared of graffiti due to community minded volunteer groups.  However a lot of these good works were undone in the last week when a vandal or vandals targeted the newly cleared Highlanes and Meatmarket Lanes areas and saturated them in graffiti and tags again. I am asking for the public’s assistance in identifying these vandals so they can be fined and prosecuted. They have defaced our town and undone hundreds of hours of unpaid community work.”

“With the Fleadh just around the corner do we really want our town to be presented in this state? We need to ensure that the town is presented in the best possible light so everyone can see how much Drogheda has to offer.”

“There are areas of the town such as The Bridge of Peace where street art add to the character of the town. But the tagging that is happening on our lanes and elsewhere is more about vanity than art. If would be street artists are truly interested in art then I would urge you to get involved with one of the youth projects and do it the right way. Check your ego and stop tagging.”

 

Support the People of Palestine – Ó Murchú

Dundalk Sinn Féin held a protest on Friday at the Market square in solidarity with the people of Palestine. Speaking at the event Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú repeated calls to expel the Israeli Ambassador out of Ireland and formally recognise the State of Palestine.

“There have been mass killings of Palestinians this week by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and the world is standing by. Turkey have recalled their ambassador and sent the Israeli Ambassador home. We need to do the same.”

Earlier this week Taoiseach Leo Varadkar claimed that to expel the Israeli Ambassador was against the principle and imperative of dialogue. Cllr Ó Murchú refuted that claim and said “the Irish government only recently expelled a Russian diplomat on no evidence whatsoever, just at the behest of the British Government, who let’s face, are not exactly a reliable source. So when they are faced with all this evidence of brutal slaughter of innocent Palestinians, suddenly they have a problem expelling the Israeli ambassador?”

“We need to stand with the people of Palestine and the onus is on our government to formally recognise the state of Palestine as agreed by the Dáil and the Seanad. Israeli settlers are stealing and living on Palestinian land and it seems that the world is standing idly by.

“Palestinians are living under constant siege. Remember, Gaza is about the same size as County Louth.

  • 95% of their water is undrinkable
  • They are ‘allowed’ 4 hours per day of electricity
  • 45% unemployment
  • 46% of children suffer acute anemia
  • 2 million people are denied freedom of movement

And the worst point of all, and the most shocking, is that 50% of children have expressed no will to live.

Councillor Ó Murchú has a motion before Louth County Council this month calling for Louth to be free from goods and services produced in illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land.

Young Activist at a previous protest

He said “I am asking everyone who supports Palestine and opposes the slaughter that is happening, to boycott Israeli goods. We opposed apartheid in South Africa through boycott and now we can oppose apartheid in Palestine through the same method.

“Check your produce when you are shopping. Fruit and vegetables origins are stated on packaging and Israeli bar codes start with 729. Show your support, do your bit, stand against apartheid and slaughter, stand with Palestine.”

Local Activist Warns of Drug Paraphernalia

Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú and activist Eugene Garvey pictured at a previous dumping incident

Local Sinn Féin activist Eugene Garvey from St Nicholas’ Avenue area has advised residents in the area to resist the temptation to dispose of any drug paraphernalia they might come across.

Speaking today from the area, Eugene Garvey said “In this good weather we have a lot of people using the path down by the river for walking their dogs or just out enjoying the good weather. Unfortunately they aren’t the only people using the path and some drug paraphernalia was found there today at the green. There are needles present which can be very dangerous if you accidently prick yourself attempting to clean them up.”

Mr Garvey contacted Louth County Council and has been advised that they will ‘get it cleaned up as soon as possible’.

Drug paraphernalia found today

Garvey who lives in the area said “St Nicholas Avenue is a great place to live, the residents look after their area and any dumping of unwanted paraphernalia or rubbish will be reported and followed up on. I would ask residents that if anyone sees anyone dumping anything, to please contact Louth County Council immediately.”

Do not attempt to dispose of it yourself