Cllr Pearse McGeough: JPC Public Meeting Useful and Progressive

At a public meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC) for Mid-Louth, Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough described the meeting as “very useful” and “a progressive way for the public to have their issues heard.”

The meeting was held at the Grove Hotel in Dunleer at the request of Cllr McGeough who is also Chair of the JPC. There was an attendance of around 40 and the proceedings got underway with a minute’s silence for Cameron Reilly who was from the town and was murdered on 26th May this year.

There were presentations from Louth County Council, An Garda Siochána (crime statistics) and on Cyber Crime.

Cllr McGeough said “I wanted to ensure that the public were heard first and foremost, and all those who attended were able to air their views on issues in the area and had the ear of Chief Superintendent Chris Mangan who I feel listened and took it all on board.”

Various issues were raised from drug taking, drug dealing, car parking, unmanned rural Garda stations to general anti-social behaviour.

Cllr McGeough said “there is a huge deficit in resources needed for the Gardaí to carry out their work effectively. Chief Superintendent Mangan was very forthright on that point. For example, if a murder occurs in the County, that is 20% of his budget gone. That is how much resources go into a murder. Now bear in mind, we have had three murders in County Louth this year and as CS Mangan pointed out, we now have the highest murder rate outside of Dublin, not something we can be proud of.”

Cllr Pearse McGeough & Imelda Munster TD

Also present was Imelda Munster TD who towards the end of the meeting told of her frustrations with the Minister as she was fighting for additional Garda resources in the Dáil. Those frustrations were mirrored by CS Mangan who has to justify his ‘overspending’ on a budget that was insufficient to meet the needs of the County.

Cllr McGeough said “people need to feel safe and in order for us all to live in a community where that can happen we need to be pro-active in looking out for each other and work closely with the Gardaí in reporting crimes and encourage our Community Garda to become integrated into our communities. I want to commend the Community Gardaí that we currently have throughout the county, they do great work and their local knowledge is invaluable in investigating local crimes. We need more of them but again, we are back to a resources issue.”

“In short, if we want to live peacefully and safely in our communities we all need to work together, the public, An Garda Siochana, Louth County Council, business owners and anyone who has an interest in where they live or work. I feel that the public took an active role at the meeting and were listened to, I want to thank everyone who attended.”

Cllr David Saurin: Sum of money for Maintenance is ‘disappointing’

“Disappointing and frustrating” was how Councillor David Saurin described the announcement at last Monday night’s Drogheda Borough Council meeting, that officials from Louth County Council has set aside “a small amount of money” for housing maintenance priority work from Internal Capital Receipts.

Cllr Saurin said “I asked the officials how much money would be made available for housing maintenance priority work and they continuously refused to give the exact figure other than to stress it was a small sum of money. When I asked if the sum of money would be sufficient to cover all existing and any future priority maintenance requests, again no clear answer was forthcoming and officials were unable to guarantee that we wouldn’t  be in the same situation at the next monthly meeting in regards to lack of funds.”

“When I then asked what type of maintenance works would be considered a priority, again I failed to receive a definitive answer. I told the Council that this situation is totally unacceptable and many tenants were becoming very annoyed and angry at being unable to access necessary and essential maintenance to their homes.”

“I would discourage any residents who may be considering withholding their rent as a form of protest and ask them to continue to pay their rent and pursue their maintenance requests with the Council in the usual way.”

 

Louth Sinn Féin supports Raise the Roof Protest

Louth TD Gerry Adams was joined by Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú and Cllr Anne Campbell on Wednesday outside the gates of Leinster House for the Raise the Roof rally to protest at government failure to delivery social and affordable housing.

In his remarks in the Dáil the former Sinn Féin leader criticised earlier comments from An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar describing them as “dishonest”.

Speaking in the Dáil on the all-party motion Gerry Adams said:

“I want to commend all of those who took part in the Raise the Roof protest. It was a great demonstration. Those who assembled outside Leinster House were showing their anger at the government’s shameful attitude to almost 4,000 children in emergency accommodation. They were expressing their outrage against rents that people can’t afford. They were protesting against evictions and they were protesting against this government’s failed housing policy”.

Teachta Adams said:

“According to Daft.ie Louth has witnessed the greatest annual increase in rental costs. The July figures from the Department of Housing revealed that the number of adults homeless in the North-East region, including Louth, has remained unchanged since July of last year. Clearly the government’s housing strategy is not working.

This year, fewer social homes owned by local authorities and approved housing bodies will be delivered by the Government than last year.

The Minister for Housing and his colleagues constantly parrot the claim that their plan is the only plan – that there is no alternative. Yes. There is.

Sinn Féin’s housing plan in our Alternative Budget 2019 proposes the introduction of a temporary tax relief for renters in tandem with a three-year emergency rent freeze.

Sinn Féin would also increase investment in social and affordable housing and tackling homelessness.

This is one of the many difference between Sinn Féin and this government. We believe that citizens have the right to a home. This government doesn’t believe this”.

Finally, Gerry Adams criticised an earlier attack on Sinn Féin by the Taoiseach. Teachta Adams said:

“The Taoiseach responded to a reasonable question from Teachta MacDonald on the government’s failed housing policy by attacking Sinn Féin’s refusal to stay in government in the North with a party which is denying citizens their rights.

The Taoiseach has a duty to uphold the rights of people in the North not to attack them. He also knows the efforts Sinn Féin have made and the reprehensible way the British government and the DUP have responded by refusing rights which he knows are being denied at this time.

He knows the disrespectful way they treat him and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. This has nothing to do with the housing crisis, with the housing emergency in this state, but it is proof how this government responds in a dishonest way and this brings the Taoiseach’s office into disrepute and adds to the sense – and we saw this in the streets earlier on – that this government doesn’t really care about the homelessness crisis.

He also knows the disrespectful way they have treated the Irish government. So for him to respond in this dishonest way brings the office of Taoiseach into disrepute and adds to the sense that this government does not really care about the homeless crisis”.

Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú said: “There are thousands of households on the housing waiting list in Louth. Without the construction of significant numbers of quality, and affordable public housing many will languish on that list for years. We are in the midst of an unprecedented housing emergency. It is a crisis that has this Government has refused to confront.

The current housing crisis is entirely government made. Since the government published its ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ strategy homelessness has increased by 60%, child homelessness has increased by 77% and pensioner homelessness has increased by an unimaginable 80%. All of this has occurred despite the Ministers efforts to fiddle the homeless statistics, including an instruction to Louth County Council in May to exclude 100 homeless households”.

Ó Murchú: Gov Need to Get Realistic over Garda Resources

The lack of resources for policing Dundalk and North Louth, while Gardaí should be preparing for Brexit in less than six months’ time, was “laid bare in a frank and shocking fashion” at the public meeting of the Joint Policing Committee in Carlingford, according to Sinn Féin’s Ruairí Ó Murchú.

“Louth Garda’s Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan was “very forthright” in his assessment of the resources available to Gardaí in this area” Cllr. Ó Murchú said, “and highlighted, a number of times, the ‘deplorable’ state of Dromad Garda station on the border.”

The meeting, which was held in the Four Seasons Hotel, heard from CS Mangan about how he has been ‘forceful’ in his pleas to the Assistant Commissioner for more resources, including better Garda stations, and for more cars, particularly for the community policing units in Dundalk and Drogheda, which currently have none.

Cllr. Ó Murchú said; “CS Mangan was articulate and very forthright in his assessment of the resources needed immediately for policing in Dundalk and North Louth. It was shocking to hear how he has been asking repeatedly for an upgrade for Dromad station, which he said is in a ‘deplorable’ state. In addition, he revealed that he has been involved in planning for policing post-Brexit, which he admitted will take a huge amount of resources.

“And on top of this, this is one of the busiest districts in policing terms in the State.”

Cllr Ó Murchú said “It is clear there are serious problems in this area and Garda management have to listen to what CS Mangan is saying. And more importantly, the government, who are framing the budget next week, have to give proper and realistic regard to the additional resources needed, not only for everyday policing – which is clearly suffering – but also to prepare adequately for Brexit.

“In the wider context, the government needs to ensure there is no intensification of customs and security checks at the border and for this to happen, the experts now widely agree, means the North has to stay within the customs union and the single market.”

Sinn Féin allocates €5 million for state wide Walk-Peer project – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has revealed that the party’s alternative budget for 2019 “recognises the wonderful work of the Walk-Peer project in Louth. In Sinn Féin’s alternative budget for 2019 we propose rolling out the Walk-Peer experience across the state. We have allocated five million Euro to set-up a Walk-Peer programme of employment supports for young people with disabilities in every county.”

The Louth TD said: “Walk-Peer was one of 14 disability activation projects that were originally jointly funded by the Department of Social Protection and the European Social Fund. Its objective was to provide people with disabilities with the means to avail of progression, education and development opportunities within the world of work.

The programme ended three years ago. Since then, along with others, I have lobbied the government to sustain funding for the Louth project because of the exemplary work it does and the help it provides citizens with disabilities.

WALK Peer is a model programme which has dramatically changed the lives of young people with disabilities in my constituency. Scores of young people have availed of the programme, and very positive outcomes have been achieved by all who participated in it. WALK Peer has proven to be a very successful in ensuring that young people with disabilities are afforded equal access to employment, education and training.

Consequently, Sinn Féin now wants to roll the Walk-Peer experience out across the state. In our alternative budget for 2019 we have allocated five million Euro to set-up a Walk-Peer programme of employment supports for young people with disabilities in every county. In addition we will increase by 10% the Wage Subsidy Scheme which supports people with disabilities.”