Repeal the 8th Amendment – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called for a YES vote in the forthcoming Repeal Referendum on May 25th.

His Louth colleague Ruairi Ó Murchu has said that “there is a need to trust women.”

Gerry Adams said:

“The 8th Amendment has no place in a constitution. Doctors and nurses constantly work in the shadow of a constitutional amendment that criminalises their actions, damages the health of women and forces many to flee to other jurisdictions. Some women have died as a result. This is not right.

Deciding where you stand on the 8th Amendment is not easy choice. This is a hugely emotive and difficult issue, but I believe that society must trust women, recognise that they must have the right to control their own bodies, and allow doctors to do their jobs. This is about women’s access to healthcare when they need it.”

Councillor Ruairi Ó Murchu said

“Sinn Féin will campaign passionately for the removal of the 8th Amendment. We respect the views of everyone, including those citizens who seek to retain the 8th amendment. But for Sinn Féin the critical issue is the need to trust women; to protect women; and to ensure there is empathy and compassion in our health system.”

Adams calls for review of Garda facilities for victims of domestic violence

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams this evening called for a review of facilities at all Garda stations to ensure that victims of domestic violence are interviewed in therapeutic and comfortable surroundings. He cited the experience of the Philips family in 2015 two days before the incident in which Garda Tony Golden was murdered; Siobhán Philips seriously wounded and Crevan Mackin took his own life.

Gerry Adams said:

“The Domestic Violence Bill is an important piece of legislation which is urgently needed. One stark statistic highlights its importance. From 1996 over 200 women have died violently as a consequence of domestic violence. Countless thousands more women and children have been the victim of physical and mental abuse.

Among these victims is Siobhan Phillips, a young woman who was shot and grievously wounded in October 2015 in the same incident which saw Garda Tony Golden murdered and Crevan Mackin take his own life.

Siobhán was the victim of sustained domestic violence. Two days before she and Garda Golden were shot she went with her family to Dundalk Garda station. She had been the victim of two days of a sustained assault by Crevan Mackin. She had been beaten and slashed and was in a distressed physical and emotional state.

According to her family’s account, and despite Siobhán and her father telling the Garda that Mackin had threatened their lives, the Officer refused to take a statement and insisted that Siobhán go to Omeath the next day and speak to Garda Golden.

The family was also deeply upset because their conversation, which was of a very intimate and personal nature, had to take place in the very small public hallway of the Dundalk station in front of other members of the public.

I made numerous representations to the Minister on this and to the last Minister and was advised last December that the policy of An Garda Síochána on Domestic Abuse Intervention had been revised. Minister Flanagan wrote to me to say that An Garda Síochána had established Divisional Protective Services Units in three Garda Divisions, including Louth.

When I subsequently raised this issue with the senior Garda in Dundalk they acknowledged that the station was still inadequate for dealing with this kind of situation. They told me that they had applied for funding to correct this so that Garda could meet victims in a proper, fitting and more therapeutic environment.

The funding was refused they said. I have no doubt about the sincerity of the Minister in respect of this Bill but a genuine commitment to the victims of domestic violence to report their abuse and to seek help it must also ensure that not only is this Bill passed but has the financial supports needed to ensure that it can be implemented effectively.

I would appeal to the Minister to order a review of the existing facilities in Garda stations for the victims of domestic violence to tell their story.

Finally, I want to commend Safe Ireland, Women’s Aid and all of those statutory and voluntary activists who work to provide a safe place and a space for victims of domestic violence and who campaign every day in support of victims of domestic violence. I also want to acknowledge the bravery and strength of those victims who speak out against their abusers.”

Pearse McGeough: Annagassan Silt Build-up an accident waiting to happen

Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough has called on Louth County Council to address the build-up of silt at Annagassan Harbour once and for all following an incident on Saturday.

Councillor McGeough said “Saturday was the first decent day that we have had this year weather wise and I was sickened to hear that a young child who was walking along the sand at the Harbour accidently walked onto the silt and got stuck. The person who was with the child managed to get them free with much difficulty but not before the child had sunk into the silt almost to their shoulders.”

Councillor McGeough has been calling on Louth County Council to address the issue of silt build up for a number of years. “The silt was so bad in 2012 that four berths at the end of the Harbour were reduced to three and that remains the case even today.”

Cllr McGeough said “this is a health and safety issue. If we are lucky enough to get a decent summer this year, you are going to have children playing or pets being walked. If they go into the water at all there is a chance they could get stuck and not come out of the water. Louth County Council needs to take what happened on Saturday as a warning and address the build-up of silt as a matter of urgency.”

Where the sand meets the silt. Children or animals wouldn’t notice the difference

Councillor McGeough contacted the Council this morning and asked for additional signage to be erected immediately. “That won’t stop young children or dogs going into the silt accidently or unknowingly but at least adults will be more aware of the danger until such times as the issue is addressed.”

“Despite remedial work being done at the Harbour since 2012, the silt is back with vengeance and needs to be dredged on an on-going basis, not just when it gets dangerously built up. Although there is no actual policy on harbours, Drogheda Port is dredged regularly to allow ships to get up the Boyne. Surely there should be a certain amount of maintenance work done on other harbours where the public are visiting or people are working. It is basic health and safety.”

Concluding, Pearse McGeough said “we should not be waiting for a tragedy to happen to act. We have had a warning of what could possibly happen if this silt is not dredged. It is not good enough to say there is no money or no funds. The Chief Executive was able to come up with €300,000 to cover an ‘administrative error’ over the Drogheda parking shambles, I’m sure if she tried hard enough she could come up with the funds needed to address this silt build up as it’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Response to Omeath shooting deeply disappointing – Adams

The inquest for Garda Tony Golden is scheduled to begin today (Monday 23rd April) in Dundalk. Commenting on the RTE Prime Time programme which was broadcast last week and looked at this case Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams said:

“The response of the Government and of An Garda Siochána to the shootings in Omeath in October 2015 has been deeply disappointing.

The Prime Time report and the recently published Report of the Review by An Garda Síochána into the events at Omeath in October 2015 have again highlighted serious questions which the Minister for Justice and An Garda Síochána have refused to answer.

Some in the Gardaí clearly knew that Crevan Mackin had imported six weapons of which only two were handed over by him at the time of his arrest. Four weapons remained in his possession, including the same model handgun used in the murder of Garda Golden, the attempted murder of Siobhan Philips and the suicide of Mackin. Why were these weapons not recovered by the Gardaí, and why was Mackin only charged with a less serious offence and not with the possession of weapons and explosives which he had confessed to?

GSOC have admitted that they do not have the resources to properly investigate this case and many others in the short term. The Minister for Justice claims it has. The starkly different positions of the government and GSOC mean that families and victims have no clarity about when their cases will conclude? This is unacceptable.

Finally, we now know that the criminal investigation into the Omeath shooting concluded in May of last year. Neither the family nor I were told this. On the contrary I was told in writing and at a meeting with the Minister in December that the investigation was still ongoing. Why?

Finally, I wrote to the Minister on February 8th raising detailed concerns with him about domestic violence and the experience of the Philips family. I have yet to receive a reply. I also wrote to the Minister on February 9th asking about the Review Process and the role of the CHIS or Covert Human Intelligence Sources system which manages agents and informers. I have yet to receive a reply. And finally, I wrote again to Minister Flanagan on March 29th on the back of the publication of the review report. I have yet to receive a reply.”

 

Update:

Sinn Féin TD for Louth, Gerry Adam’s TD, commenting on the inquest into the death  of Garda Tony Golden which opened in Dundalk this morning has said:

“The evidence at today’s inquest into the death of Garda Tony Golden vindicates the Philips family’s call for a public enquiry.

“The Minister for Justice should establish this without delay.”

Tomás Sharkey: Dumping of Dead Cattle a New Low

Cllr Tomás Sharkey

Sinn Féin Councillor Tomás Sharkey has hit out at the dumping of dead cattle on the roadside in North Louth.

“Rassan is a rural area on the N53 between Dundalk and Culloville. This weekend we witnessed a disgusting act of dumping and endangerment of public health. Amongst the items dumped on the roadside was a dead and rotting calf. I witnessed the site. It was disgusting. The smell was putrid and bluebottles were crawling over the carcass.

“There is a lot of waste on the adjacent site. Last year the Council attempted to establish the ownership of the site and ran into difficulties. This recent event is a new low.

“I am asking everybody to be vigilant for this type of dumping and contamination.”

Rotting carcass of a dead calf

This is the latest incident in what seems to be a huge increase in dumping in County Louth. Since Christmas we have had tyres dumped on several occasions at beauty spots at Edentubber and North Louth and just recently over a dozen mattresses were dumped along a main road outside Ardee.

This latest act was despicable given the nature of what was dumped and the threat to public health is evident.

We need to stamp out this growing trend and let these people know that we are proud of our community and our County and there is o place for these sort of incidents. If anyone has any information or witnesses any kind of dumping please notify Louth County Council with as much information as possible.