Ó Murchú: Latest Brexit Proposal is Absolute Farce

Cllrs Ó Murchú & Campbell with Thomas McEvoy (Louth LEO)

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has hit out at the latest Irish Border Crossings Proposal being considered by British Government as “an absolute farce and it flies in the face of the December agreement”

The British government is considering a ‘Brexit proposal’ for people to pre-register to facilitate fast track technological checks at the Irish border.

Cllr Ó Murchú has said “This would be unwieldy, unworkable, expensive and above all, unacceptable. Anyone not having this pre-clearance would have to use designated crossing points or would be considered to have entered the state ‘irregularly’. The proposal requires substantial technological infrastructure and physical barriers at some border crossings. Basically, a hard border!

This proposal is contained within ‘Smart Border 2.0: Avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland’, a report produced by an EU parliamentary committee.

Ó Murchú explained that “this reports talks of CCTV, vehicle tracking, technology that interacts with mobile phones and ‘specially enhanced licences’, different lanes for people who don’t have Irish or British citizenship and aren’t covered by the Common travel Area. Within it there is mention of a ‘trusted traders database’.

Ó Murchú, who is seeking election at the next General Election finds it “difficult to see how this sort of solution doesn’t involve physical custom and passport checks, particularly at major crossings like Carrickarnon on the N1 and Rassan on the N53 Castleblayney Road. Not everyone can be pre-registered, documents and licences can be mislaid or damaged, machines can go down and it is inconceivable that there wouldn’t be some sort of spot checking. Also this is a ‘solution’ in a world of complicated tariffs and compliance rules”.

“Simply, it just won’t work.”

This comes on top of Theresa May’s rejection of the legal text of the backstop deal with the EU, which she agreed to in December.

“While there are obviously elements of muscle flexing, posturing and negotiating gambits, it is becoming more likely that we are facing the prospect of a hard Brexit.”

“The Dublin government and the EU need to ensure that this doesn’t happen. There needs to be regulatory alignment on the island of Ireland. The island must stay within the Customs Union and the Common Market and ensure the rights and protections contained within the Good Friday Agreement are protected. The best way forward is for the North to have designated special status within the EU.”

“The deadline is 11pm March 29th 2019. Solutions need to be in place long before that. This is a countdown to chaos, a hard border is inconceivable and unacceptable.”

Businesses Should Prepare for Brexit – Cllr Ó Murchú

Cllrs Ó Murchú & Campbell with Thomas McEvoy (Louth LEO)

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has warned that Companies and businesses especially in the border area need to prepare for Brexit.

“While the emphasis needs to be on an EU and governmental solution to Brexit, small and medium enterprises should prepare for a worst case hard Brexit situation.

“Only 6% of SMEs in the South and 2% of SMEs in the North have a plan in place to deal with the possible impact from Brexit according to AIB’s fourth quarter 2017 Brexit Sentiment Index.”

Cllr Ó Murchú said “Thomas McEvoy, Head of Enterprise, and the Louth Enterprise Office have been briefing Louth County Council on the twists and turns of Brexit and they were instrumental in putting on the truly informative ‘Post Brexit International and Cross Border Conference’ in the Carrickdale Hotel recently.

“Not only were the obvious dangers to the economy across the island highlighted but also the varied facets of the impact of Brexit; it will have a bearing on taxation, employment, trade, customs, transport and logistics, compliance rules, legislation, importation, exportation etc. During council briefings and this conference there has been a strong emphasis on Brexit preparation programmes that are being put on offer for companies.”

Cllr Ó Murchú advised that “here is a necessity to draw the business community’s attention to these Brexit preparation aids. InterTrade Ireland has a ‘Brexit Voucher’ system which allows companies to engage a professional, to the value of €1,250 to evaluate its exposure to Brexit. Enterprise Ireland offer ‘Be Prepared Grants’ for SMEs who would benefit from further research and may need specialist services in developing their Brexit plan. This grant can be up to €5,000.

“Any measures which may mitigate some of the negatives of the Brexit process on Irish companies are to be welcomed. I would encourage companies and businesses in Louth to seek further information on ‘Brexit Vouchers’ and other related programmes from the Local Enterprise Office. We are very unprepared for Brexit and we are just over a year away”

For information on the Brexit Vochers or other related help go to localenterprise.ie/louth.


Sinn Féin Councillors meet disABILITY Louth

A Sinn Féin delegation met with the local umbrella group disABILITY Louth Forum . The delegation included Cllrs Ruairí Ó Murchú and Antóin Watters, who welcomed the opportunity to discuss the challenges facing people with disabilities in County Louth.

DisABILITY Louth was launched in June 2017 in response to the challenges faced by people with disabilities in County Louth and now enjoys the support of over thirty local disability groups and is working to raise awareness, and bring about meaningful changes for people in the county.

Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú welcomed the opportunity to meet the group saying, “Disability is a societal issue affecting people of all ages and their families, directly and indirectly. Sinn Féin have, through the Dáil and at County Council level, consistently highlighted the lack of adequate services, funding, supports and future planning to meet the needs of people with disabilities. We are looking forward to working closely with disABILITY Louth to further this work in Louth and would encourage other local politicians to get on board”.

Cllr Ántoin Watters made a presentation to the group setting out Sinn Féin priorities for people with disabilities. He outlined the need for the recent ratification of the UNCRPD (the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) to be followed up by necessary laws, funding and swift action from Louth County Council to implement it. Cllr Watters said “Sinn Féin put a motion to the council to support this long awaited convention. We all welcome its ratification but without the necessary laws, funding and guidelines for local councils it means little to people with disabilities. The Sinn Féin team in Louth will continue to press the government to follow through on these measures without delay”.

Cllr Anne Campbell Welcomes End to Ard Dealgan Nightmare

Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Campbell has welcomed the signing of a contract between Louth County Council and Tuath Housing Association which marks the beginning of new work to provide social housing in the complex on Quay Street.

Councillor Anne Campbell said “this marks a new beginning for the people of the Quay Street, Peter Street and Barrack Street areas. Dundalk Sinn Féin and former councillor Jennifer Green have campaigned on this issue for a number of years and at last we can look forward to an end to the nightmare.”

The Ard Dealgan complex which was abandoned in 2009 following health and safety concerns has been a magnet for anti-social activity in the form of drug dealing, parties into the night

Cllr Campbell inside Ard Dealgan

especially in the summertime and a regular number of fires taking place endangering the lives of the front line services that sometimes needed specialist equipment to reach the fire.

Councillor Campbell said “we can now look to the future. The residents in the surrounding areas don’t need to fear and dread the summertime coming this year, work should be well underway by then as it is expected that the 68 units should be completed by the end of 2019.”

“The residents will be taken from the housing list and a care-taker should be living on site. There will be 68 units in total on completion:

  • 46 x two bed homes
  • 10 x one bed homes
  • 7 x three bed apartments
  • 3 x two bed duplexes
  • 2 x four bed duplexes

This will provide a good mixture and I look forward to seeing people and families who have been waiting for years on the housing list, settled into their new homes by the end of next year.”

Councillor Campbell also gave an outline of the work involved. “The apartments will have a turnkey finish as they will be fully furnished with new electrical and plumbing works to the highest standard. There will also be landscaped gardens and around 70 underground car parking spaces.”

Cllr Campbell was also pleased that “the Council have given a commitment to improve the public road outside the new complex. That part of the road in Quay Street has become quite dangerous with the amount of pot-holes and cars can often be seen swerving around them and it can look like they are driving erratically.”

Cllr Anne Campbell also said “the council will allocate the housing mainly through the Choice Based Letting system and accommodation will be provided for those with disability or experiencing homelessness.”

In addressing the issue of anti-Social behavior “Tuath don’t anticipate any problems with anti-social behaviour at the new complex as they have experience of running large apartment buildings around the country and are confident that this one will be a place where people want to live.”

Imelda Munster TD calls for road repair plan from Department of Transport

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD has today called on the Minister for Transport to ensure that damage caused to roads during Storm Emma is quantified and a plan, including details of additional funding, is put in place to allow for the repair of damaged roads in the very near future.

Deputy Munster said:

“There has been widespread damage caused to roads due to snow and ice in the past week. The extent of this damage will become clearer in the coming days and weeks, but it is important that the Department of Transport has assessed the road network, and has made provision for all required repairs and maintenance.”

“It is important that the Department has a plan for assessing the damage to transport infrastructure, and I would like to hear detail on plans to carry out repairs including how they will be funded.”

“The Department of Transport and the Department of Housing, Local Authorities and the TII are all on the same page in this regard. “

“After a very difficult week for most people during Storm Emma, the Department must ensure that roads are brought back to a decent condition to ensure that the legacy of Storm Emma does not drag on for months or even years, as has unfortunately been the case after previous extreme weather events.”

“The Department has a very poor record indeed on this, and I am sure that we are all aware by this stage that our roads have been significantly underfunded for the past decade.”

“I am calling on the Minister to review the funding situation for our roads, both this year, in the aftermath of the storm, and in the coming few years to bring funding to the required level to ensure the viability and safety of the network.”