Unfair charges require Short Hop Zone extension to Laytown

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has called for an increase in the commuter rail Short Hop Zone boundaries in the Dublin region to include Laytown.

Deputy Munster said:

“The boundaries between intercity and commuter areas on the Dublin/Belfast railway network urgently need to be reviewed.”

“The population of the area served by Laytown train station has almost doubled since 2002 and the majority of those people commute in and out of Dublin to work every day on trains that are packed to the hilt at rush hours.”

“The current boundary of 35km may have been viable sixteen years ago however with the massive movement of people from Dublin to surrounding villages, Laytown, Bettystown, Mornington and Donacarney,  this now needs to be taken into account.”

“The National Transport Authority’s (NTA) constant reiteration that the boundary must end somewhere and that they have no intention of increasing it beyond the 35 kilometre mark must be challenged to reflect today’s reality and the needs of hard-pressed commuters who are being charged exorbitant cost to travel to work.”

“An adult monthly ticket from Laytown to Dublin Connolly costs €237 compared to €154 from Balbriggan, a mere 10km along the track.”

“This matter needs to be addressed. I have raised it once again with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and the NTA and will pursue this issue until the unfair anomaly is addressed.”

Munster: Lack of funding leaves elderly prisoners in their own homes

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has hit out at the government for their practice of leaving elderly people and those with disabilities to languish as prisoners in their own home.

Highlighting figures that show that the total budget allocation for Housing Adaptation Grants for Louth is down almost half a million euro on last year Deputy Munster raised the matter in the Dáil today.

Deputy Munster said:

‘We’re halfway through 2018 and there are already 267 applications so far plus 95 carried over from 2017 making a total of 362. The allocated budget will only cover 123 of these which means that Louth County Council will need extra funding of €1,840,004 to clear the remaining applications.

Despite claims in their Programme for a Partnership Government that they value and will facilitate the continued independent living in their own homes for the elderly and People with a Disability they are slow to release the necessary funds. Instead they leave hundreds of people to struggle for survival in their substandard homes.

This is reflected in almost daily representations being made in my Drogheda constituency office as in constituency offices all over the country by elderly and disabled people, or their families on their behalf, for downstairs bathrooms, stair-lifts, bedrooms or wet rooms to enable them to continue living in their own homes.

Additional funding needs to be released immediately to Louth County Council to clear these remaining applications.’


Munster: Welcomes Opening of Boyne Primary Care Centre

Sinn Féin’s Imelda Munster has welcomed the opening of the new Primary Care Centre in Patrick’s Street, Drogheda. 

Deputy Munster said: 

The “Boyne Primary Care Centre” will replace the Peters St facility based in the Laurence Town Centre and it is due to open to the public on Wednesday 4th July 2018 at 9am. It will incorporate primary care services and dental services as well as civil registration.

The HSE will provide a full range of primary care services from the centre including: Public Health Nursing (Child Child Health and Welfare and Care of the Older Person); PsychologySpeech and Language TherapyPhysiotherapyPodiatryWound ManagementPhlebotomyOccupational TherapyDietetics and Nutritional advice and support and Schemes Support (Medical Cards, EHIC, LTI)

Having raised the issue of the lack of dental services in early 2017 the full restoration of this service to the Drogheda area is very welcome as it means patients will no longer have to travel for treatment.

The Peters St facility will continue to be used by the HSE and I am advised that planning is at an advanced stage with an announcement pending from the HSE.

Boyne Primary Care Centre will supplement and support the extensively refurbished Ballsgrove Primary Care Centre that was re-opened in January 2018 following the malicious fire on St Stephen’s night 2016.

Cllr Tom Cunningham: Good Weather Brings Beach Headaches

Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Cunningham has asked people who are frequenting the beach at Clogherhead to be considerate of residents and to look after the beach.

Cllr Cunningham said “The good weather is very welcome as are the crowds who come to our beautiful Blue Flag beach, but unfortunately that brings its own headaches.”

The issue was raised a few weeks ago about parking in the area and unfortunately it hasn’t improved. The problem is when vehicles are heading to the beach down Crooked Street/Strand Street. It is a narrow enough road without having cars parked on both sides effectively making it a very narrow one way street.

The worrying thing about this is a health and safety one. If there is an emergency on that street, emergency services would be unable to reach the incident in a timely manner. “This week”, Cllr Cunningham said “there was a fire on that road and thankfully the fire occurred during the week when traffic was light. If it had happened at the weekend then property would surely have been lost.”

Cllr Cunningham raised the issue at this month’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting and was supported by the Superintendent who shared his concerns. “The problem is that the Gardaí don’t have the manpower to stand at the road to the beach and direct traffic. They are, however, sending a report to the Council. I have since raised it again with Ardee Municipal Council and various options were discussed, bollards and a one way system being two of them. In the meantime, I have asked the Council to erect extra signage to advise motorists that there is extra parking nearby and not to be causing an obstruction on the road.”

Another headache that comes with the good weather is the litter being left behind at Clogher beach. Cllr Cunningham said “we are very proud of our Blue Flag Beach and I would ask that all visitors to the beach respect it and leave it as they find it. There has been an increase in plastic bottles/containers being left behind and in fairness to some, they have tried to bin their rubbish but unfortunately the bins aren’t being emptied regularly enough and rubbish is being left beside the bin.”

Cllr Cunningham has asked that if “you find the bin full and you have plastic bottles then please bring them home with you. I know it’s not ideal, adequate bins should be provided, but please don’t leave your rubbish behind you either on the beach or beside the bins. We all know the danger of plastics in our seas and oceans so I am asking people to be responsible and respectful of the beach and of Clogherhead. In the meantime, everyone is welcome to enjoy our beautiful village and beach, but leave it as you find it for the next family to enjoy.”

Cllr Joanna Byrne to LCC – Clean Drogheda’s Filthy Streets

This month’s Municipal District meeting in Drogheda saw Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne hold officials from Louth County Council to account over their commitment to clean the streets of Drogheda.

Councillor Byrne raised her concerns regarding the “filth of our pavements, particularly on the main streets of the town centre”and was given firm plans for a Deep Cleaning Machine to facilitate aggressive surface cleaning of pavements for a one week period commencing Monday 19th June and a further period three week period before the commencement of the Fleadh on August 12th.

On Monday night Cllr Byrne slammed officials over this blasé commitment – “Firstly I want to ask what streets were actually cleaned on this initial one week period? I can’t see any improvements so either it wasn’t done or the machine isn’t an adequate solution to tackling this issue.”  She went on to say “I’m all for cleaning the town in advance of the Fleadh but I have said it before and I’ll say it again, we should be doing this regardless for our own people, residents and businesses alike who consistently utilise these areas. Now I’m asking you to extend this pathetic schedule, no time limits, just clean until the job is done, can you give that commitment?”

Senior Engineer Mark Johnson assured Cllr Byrne that the job was done over the initial planned period, the machine was used for three days with effective results, but he could not clarify where exactly it had been used. He went on to inform her of the extensive cost in using this machine, €900 per week, and an additional €300 to get it on-site and that is why there was only limited cleaning scheduled with it.

Cllr Byrne welcomed the official’s clarification that the aggressive cleaning was effective in the small area it was used on, and that this heightened her request to have the schedule for its use extended, which fell on deaf ears as she was told it would be sticking to the original schedule and would not be in use again until the weeks leading up to the Fleadh.

“This is simply not good enough for the people of Drogheda and I am enraged at the unwillingness of the officials to put some pride back into our town, if senior officials put as much effort into doing something as they do into making excuses not to do it we would all be a lot better off!” she concluded.