Ó Murchú meets Dutch Ambassador in Brexit Visit

Cllr Ó Murchú with Dutch ambassador Adriaan Palm

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú hosted the Dutch Ambassador to Ireland, Adriaan Palm, in a visit to Dundalk on Wednesday 21st August.
Following the visit Councillor Ó Murchú said,
“I met with Ambassador Palm in Dundalk to discuss the possible implications of  Brexit on the people of this constituency and across Ireland.
“The Ambassador had met with representatives of Border Communities Against Brexit earlier in the day and he had undertaken a tour of the Louth Armagh border area.
“I think this visit added to Ambassador Palm’s understanding of the particular issues faced here, the unique nature of the border in Ireland and the implications of the imposition of British jurisdiction in part of this country.
“We discussed Brexit in depth, particularly a slide prepared for British Ministers, which was leaked to the media recently.
“This slide predicts chaos in this country following a no deal Brexit.  Cross border agriculture would practically stop within 24 hours, consumer panic and food shortages are indicated along with friction between EU and British fishing vessels.
“Other leaked documents predict a hardening of the border in Ireland in the event of a no deal.  
“In the short term the partial resolution of these issues is the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement along with the Backstop.  However there is no good Brexit for Irish interests.
“Boris Johnson has demonstrated that his only real interest is in the maintenance of his own position.  He does not care about the effects of Brexit on Ireland.
“All facets of life in Dundalk and across Louth from business to agriculture and travel will be affected
“In the event of a no deal Brexit there must be a referendum on the border in Ireland and the Irish Government must urgently begin reunification plans.”

Cllr Pearse McGeough: Privatisation has led to Increased Fly-Tipping

Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough has hit out at those responsible for the latest dumping incident in the county.

Councillor McGeough said “this is beyond a joke. There were over a dozen full black bags dumped over a gate on the Annagassan Road in Kilsaran. It wasn’t a small car that dumped these, it had to have been a van or a large car and they pulled into the gateway, emptied their vehicle and threw the bags over the gate. Someone must have seen them doing it because it would have taken a few minutes.”

Cllr McGeough reported it to the Council to have the unsightly items removed but said “it’s not fair to expect the Council to come along and clean up after people who just treat this county as their own personal skip. The Council have better things to be doing and better things to be spending our money on because make no mistake, it is you and me that are picking up the tab for this.”

“I want to see these people identified and pursued through the legal route, enough is enough.”

Cllr McGeough feels the time has come “to look seriously at bringing domestic waste collections back under the control of Louth County Council. Privatisation has not been successful as there is an argument that costs to households are too high and that is why we have seen an increase in this sort of illegal dumping. Profit must not be put before environment and the cost of waste disposal is an added worry for a lot of families, decent families who do not resort to illegal dumping and expect others to pick up the tab.”

“We need to look at the whole waste management system in the state and ensure that it works for everyone, families, communities, workers and for our environment.”

Government Action needed now Public Liability Insurance – Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has said that government inaction on regulation of the insurance industry could lead to the failure of more local businesses and job losses.

Councillor Ó Murchú made his comments following the campaign to secure insurance for Dundalk based Pelican Promotions.

Ruairí Ó Murchú said:

“The case of Pelican Promotions should sound alarm bells for the Government and should incite immediate intervention by the State to avoid the decimation of the leisure industry.

“The fact that a business, which has been trading for almost 30 years with an impeccable record, would be unable to secure public liability insurance shows a complete market failure.

“This week has also seen the failure of the Government’s plan for a claims database to help reduce fraudulent claims.

“All of this, coupled with the unjustified ever rising cost for motor and other insurances, warrants immediate action.

“The government’s response is the establishment of a review by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, which does not appear to have any indicated date for completion.

“While this may be a move in the right direction, there is a very narrow window of opportunity to rectify the current situation. We are in danger of loosing  small businesses, clubs and community centres as their insurance premiums skyrocket, or they cannot find insurance at all.

“It is clear that the issues affecting the insurance industry are bogus claims, levels of award which are too high and the exaggeration of the number of bogus claims by insurance companies for their own ends.

“To rectify this the government should support Pearse Doherty’s Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill – which is designed to bring the insurance industry to heel and reform the law in respect of insurance contracts.

“The Government should also expedite the establishment of the Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee, as provided for in the recently passed Judicial Council Bill.”

School Transport Chaos affecting Louth families – Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has said that it is ‘ridiculous and unnecessary’ that substantial numbers of school pupils across Louth have been refused concessionary school transport places just weeks before the beginning of the new school term.

Councillor Ó Murchú stated:

“I am working with a number of families who have been refused school transport for the upcoming term.

“In many cases these pupils have received concessionary bus passes for years and families have built their daily routines around this provision.

“Thankfully some of these people have since received bus passes within the last number of days, but not all families are catered for.

“This fiasco occurs every summer and leads to unnecessary stress and annoyance for many families.

“Joe McHugh, the Minister for Education, who has ultimate responsibility for this scheme, indicated in media reports in recent days that the issue could be resolved with an additional investment of €4 million.

“He has said that efforts to agree this investment are being blocked by the Department of Public Expenditure.

“I have written to the Minister for Finance to ask him to re-examine this scheme and the manner in which it is operated by Bus Éireann. Sinn Féin has also called for changes to be made to the scheme.

“We simply cannot allow a system to prevail which causes this much uncertainty and annoyance to local families.”

Munster seeks meeting with minister over Sruthán House closure threat

Imelda Munster TD & Minister Finian McGrath

A meeting between Sruthán House service users and their families and Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath has been urgently requested by Louth TD Imelda Munster as efforts to secure the future of the unit continue.

The Sinn Féin representative has recently contacted the minister asking that he meet with those who use the Dundalk-based respite service which was threatened with closure earlier this summer.

The original decision to close the unit, which has been open for 23 years and has been commended for its high standards of care by HIQA, has been deferred, following outcry in the Dáil from Louth TDs.

Earlier this month, Deputy Munster wrote to Minister McGrath asking that he meet with service users and their families to hear for himself how vital this respite service is for people in the North East.

The Louth TD first raised the closure of Sruthán House with Minister McGrath a day after it was publicly revealed that the HSE had written to dozens of service users telling them the unit would ‘cease residential provision’ by the end of the year.

The HSE admitted that they had not engaged with service users ahead of the closure decision and deferred it in order to start a consultation process.

Deputy Munster said: ‘When people were originally advised that this service was closing, they were told that they could go elsewhere for services, such as Sligo or Roscommon, or to a nursing home.

“This was an absolutely shocking way to treat people who use a service that has been in place for more than 20 years and has been praised, universally, for the standard of care it provides.

“I think it is important that Minister McGrath hears for himself, from a delegation of service users and their families, just how vital this service is for people in the North East and the devastating impact any decision to close it would have. I have requested that he meet us when the Dáil resumes in September after summer recess.

“While I welcomed the HSE decision to defer the closure decision, that in itself provides no guarantee that Sruthán House will remain open and we must continue to highlight the fact this service remains under threat.

“Neither Minister McGrath nor the government can stand over any decision to close or reduce the provision at Sruthán House and he will hear for himself at the meeting just how important it is to those who use it.”