Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has warned that the “housing crisis under this Fine Gael government and its Fianna Fáil partners is driving more and more people into debt and homelessness”.
Teachta Adams called for an “immediate rent freeze on all new and existing tenancies” in an effort to get to grips with the crisis in the rental sector and for a “significant investment in affordable cost rental accommodation and a new build programme for social and affordable housing”.
Gerry Adams TD said:
“The first quarterly Daft.ie rent report for 2019 reveals that the cost of new tenancies continues to increase in Louth and across the state. At the same time the number of properties available to rent is also falling.
According to Daft.ie the average new rent across the state is now €1,366. Every county recorded rent increases above the Rent Pressure Zone cap of 4%. The average rental for Louth is €1206 which is an increase of 7.6% on last year.
Thirteen counties had double digit rental inflation. All counties outside Dublin witnessed rent increases of over 8%, with Waterford hitting 16%, and Galway almost hitting 17%.
It is clear that the Governments rental sector strategy is not working. The Rent Pressure Zones are now effectively meaningless for new renters.
Urgent action is needed. Sinn Féin is calling for a rent freeze for existing and new tenancies. We also want a refundable renters tax credit worth a month’s rent. In addition, there needs to be a major programme of Government investment in affordable cost rental accommodation by Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies
With the recent upsurge in violent crime in Rathmullan Estate, local Sinn Féin Councillor David Saurin has expressed his frustration and anger at what he calls “Louth County Council’s lack of action in dealing with the ongoing anti-social issues in the estate.”
Cllr Saurin said “In recent weeks we have seen explosive devices left on doorsteps, petrol bombings, windows broken in attempts to intimidate a community and to prevent people reporting those responsible for crime to the authorities. The vast majority of people in this area are law abiding citizens trying to live their lives and raise their families to the best of their abilities. As I have said in the past and I say it again, the people in this estate feel abandoned by Louth County Council.”
“Last year a Cross Directive Initiative was launched by the Council to deal with the issues of anti-social behaviour in the estate. To date no measures have been introduced to counter the problem, no new speed ramps, no LED lighting upgrade, no CCTV cameras and no alleyways closed off.”
While Cllr Saurin welcomes initiatives introduced by the Council to deal with the Moneymore Estate he feels that “the residents in Rathmullan appear to have been forgotten, despite the fact that many of the same issues that exist in Moneymore are also prevalent in their estate. It is vitally important that none of our estates are left behind in the fight against anti-social behaviour and drug crime”.
Cllr Saurin is asking that “the Council engage with the residents in the area and listen to the issues first hand from those living in fear in their homes and on the streets of their estate.”
With extra Gardaí allocated to the District, Cllr Saurin welcomed their increased presence in the area and views this as a positive step. “This has provided some comfort to the residents but the fact of the matter is that it is not up to Gardaí alone. This needs to be multi-agency approach between the Gardaí, Louth County Council and the community. Rathmullan Estate needs the Council to step up to the mark and invest in the measures required to help combat this scourge. Rathmullan residents deserve better and refuse to be ignored or left behind.”
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams attended a packed meeting of the Mid Louth Joint Policing Committee in The Market House, Dunleer on Thursday evening.
The meeting was called to demonstrate solidarity with a local family facing extortion and violence from drug gangs; to discuss the drugs crisis facing families and communities; and to hear from An Garda Síochána about their efforts to address the scourge of drugs.
The Louth TD commended Cllr Pearse McGeough and the JPC for calling the meeting and described the briefing from An Garda Síochána as “very useful, informative and helpful.”
Teachta Adams said:
“Along with Cllr Ó Murchú and Cllr McGeough I met the family who have made a stand against threats from a drug gang. They are being very brave and courageous. In my humble opinion they are not just making a stand for themselves. They’re making a stand for the rest of us.
So the question for us is what are we going to do? It is therefore important that when this meeting is over that we have some clear idea about what we are going to do next.
The most important information we were given this evening on this issue from the Chief Superintendent. He said we don’t have enough Gardaí. He told us that last year he was over budget and this year he will be over his budget. He and his colleagues also elaborated on stations that are only part time and why. It is clear that if you want boots on the street and Gardaí in the stations you can’t do if you don’t have the resources.
The Chief Superintendent also said – and I know this myself from battling with the government – that there are not enough resources for the support services for drug addiction. Talk to any of the people at the coal face of dealing with drug addiction and with families suffering as a result of drug addiction, and they will tell you that they don’t have the resources. We don’t have proper mental health resources and our health service is starved of the means of providing a holistic service.
Another striking point made by the Chief Superintendent is that if we fail to tackle the drug crisis effectively “we will lose a generation of our young people”. There is an old expression in Irish – Mol an óige agus tiochfaid siad – praise the youth and they will flourish – so I would like to suggest that we think of actions that the community can undertake to support An Garda Síochána.
The community alert should be reactivated. We also need to reach out to our young people. And we particularly need to do what this family have called on us to do – give any information whatsoever to An Garda Síochána. The message from here should be very clear – we’re not putting up with this – we’re not putting up with what is happening here to a decent family who are doing their best because someone wants to make a profit on the back of an alleged addiction.”
With the introduction of the new speed limits across Louth coming into effect on Friday, 17th May, Sinn Féin candidate Eugene Garvey has accused Louth County Council of ‘leaving behind’ Maxwell Row/St Nicholas Avenue.
Mr Garvey said “The speed limit in St Nicholas Avenue is 30km but along the top, when you exit off Castletown Road into St Nicholas’ Avenue, that part of the street is actually 50km and it remains at 50km as you turn the corner and proceed into Maxwell Row. Not only is this street residential, too narrow for lorries and a thoroughfare for vehicles avoiding the Lower Bridge Street area but it’s wholly inappropriate to be classed as a 50km zone.”
Mr Garvey was reacting to an incident this week when a lorry followed that route and shed part of its load on Maxwell Row which knocked down part of the wall. Mr Garvey said “the load obviously hit the wall with some force to knock it down which would suggest he was travelling at speed, although he was possibly within the legal limit of the road. The driver retrieved his load and promptly left the scene without reporting it.”
The Residents Association and Mr Garvey have called for a reduced speed limit for the area and also for weight restrictions on that road over the years to no avail. Mr Garvey said “what worries me is that someone could have been walking along the footpath there as it is quite busy with pedestrians at times. We are very lucky no-one was hurt. I have reported the accident to the Gardaí. We have CCTV in the area and I would ask the lorry driver to come forward and claim responsibility for the damage caused. I would also ask Louth County Council to reconsider the speed limits and weight restrictions for that road.”
Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adam’s has expressed serious concern at the governments attitude to spiraling costs and its ability to deliver the National Broadband Plan.
Following the recent release of government documents relating to the plan Teachta Adams said :
“The documents released by the Government clearly shows that delivery of broadband services will be left to chance while pumping billions of taxpayers’ money into a black hole deemed a risk to the exchequer.
“Department officials warned that cuts of €1.5 billion may be required from 2020 to 2027 to fund the government’s latest fiasco.
“They also indicated that if the plan goes ahead it could see delay of vital projects such as social housing units, primary schools, primary care centres, flood relief schemes, and local and regional roads.
“We have seen the cost spiral from €500 million, to €3 billion and now a reported €5 billion.”
“Provision of broadband in Louth cannot be left to chance. We cannot see money diverted from housing and health to a private monopoly, which may not even have the capacity to deliver what they are promising.”