Cllr Joanna Byrne: Extra Hostel Needed for People with Addictions

Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has welcomed the passing of her Drogheda Council motion calling for additional homeless services to be provided in Drogheda to facilitate those with entrenched Alcohol and Drug issues.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Byrne said whilst she recognised the phenomenal work Louth County Council and their Homeless liaison team do, she felt there was “an over-reliance” on the NGO’s in the town at times.

Cllr Byrne said “Louth is experiencing much higher presentations of homelessness than our neighbouring counties, but I fear this is not a true reflection of how prevalent this issue is as many homeless people do not meet the criteria and rules of current solutions offered by the Local Authority, mainly down to battling addictions and therefore ending up on the streets. They are not included in any figures or homeless reports.”

In a written response to her motion, Cllr Byrne was told that a multi-agency review for a low threshold hostel in Drogheda has now been listed as an action in the draft Homeless Action Plan 2018-2020, and if the need is confirmed in the review to be undertaken by the HSE and the Local Authority, steps will be taken to open one. Cllr Byrne pushed this with the Director of Service for Housing, Paddy Donnelly, asking how long it would take. “This is urgent, it can’t be allowed to drag on for years.”

Mr. Donnelly advised that the Council recognised the need and assured Cllr Byrne this would be a priority in 2019.

Cllr Joanna Byrne express her thanks for the cross-party support for her motion and re-iterated the fact that “there are people sleeping rough in the doorways and parks in Drogheda and this is solely down to them battling addictions  like alcohol or drugs.”

She added “The current set-up of just a ‘dry facility’ in this town is no longer adequate, we need to be broad-minded enough to recognise Drogheda is evolving and so is our homeless situation, we also need a ‘wet facility’ to ensure we are meeting the needs of everybody experiencing homelessness, and can no longer leave anybody to sleep on our streets. If they have a roof over their heads they can then begin to access other services to help them with their other issues but this is the first step. A roof is a basic human right and the onus is on us as a Local Authority to provide that!”

 

The actual text of the motion said:

“This Council calls for a Homeless Hostel in Drogheda to assist Homeless people with entrenched Alcohol & Drug issues.

We recognise these addictions are significant contributing factors to making these people homeless and at present we do not have the provisions in place to alleviate these issues and assist those in our town who need it.”

 

Figures from the Department of Housing for October showed:

133 people accessed emergency accommodation in the whole of the North east Region

124 of these were in Louth

7 were in Cavan

2 were in Monaghan

Adams calls for implementation of UN Con. on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams joined with party colleagues on Tuesday evening in the Dáil in demanding that the government do more to deliver on the rights contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He commended Louth Groups and individuals who advocate their services for citizens with disabilities.

He said: “They provide much needed supports for citizens in this constituency with disabilities and have fought a battle a day with successive governments over the lack of funding, planning and resources. It took 11 years for the government to ratify the UN Convention. This is totally contrary to the Convention and is unacceptable.”

In March this year, 11 years after the state signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Government finally ratified the Convention.

On Tuesday, at a briefing with a range of disability groups the difficulties confronting citizens with disabilities, including the lack of planning, resources and funding, were discussed.

Gerry Adams TD said:

“The eventual ratification by the government of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was an important step forward. However, it is meaningless if the Convention is not implemented in full and if the legislation needed to achieve this is not enacted by the Oireachtas.

That means that the Government must ratify the Optional Protocol, as they had previously promised. In addition, the Assisted-Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 remains at a standstill with the essential establishment of a Decision Support Service still awaited. We also need progress on the enactment of the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016.

Today in a briefing organised by Teachta O Caoláin, Shelley Gaynor and James Cawley from Independent Living Movement Ireland; Sarah Lennon, Inclusion Ireland; Kathy Moore, Rehab Ireland; Allen Dunne, Disability Federation of Ireland and Joan Carthy, Irish Wheelchair Association; told us that without adequate services citizens living with disabilities are like prisoners.

In Louth I work with many groups and individuals who advocate for services for people with disabilities; groups like the Parents and Friends of the Intellectually Disabled; Louth Respite Group; WALK Peer, and others. I commend them all”.

Joanna Byrne Selected for Drogheda Urban in 2019 Elections

Sitting Councillor Joanna Byrne has been selected to run in the 2019 Local Government Elections for the constituency of Drogheda Urban.

Joanna was nominated by the Chair of the Bobby Sands Cumann Hughie McShane who said “I am very proud to stand here in front of you all to nominate Joanna. The Cumann has come a long way and we now have Imelda Munster as a TD who we are very proud of and Joanna who has been an outstanding councilor and we know she will continue to be just that. Joanna brought a fresh approach and a new enthusiasm to the Cumann when she joined it and is always ready for a challenge. She is a strong defender of the rights for all, following in the footsteps of Imelda. I am very proud of them both.”

Joanna accepted the nomination and paid tribute to Hughie who she described as the “driving force behind the cumann. The last 2 years have been a whirlwind and there

The team with Hughie McShane far right

have been plenty of highs and lows and challenges but it has been a great experience and I couldn’t have done it without Kenneth (Flood) and Imelda and more recently David (Saurin). Imelda keeps us a very tight team and her precedence on the Council is so appreciated. She taught us that we can debate an issue but we go into the chamber as a unit and we stand as one.”

Joanna also paid tribute to her Mam Martina “she is always by my side and the support

Joanna and her Mam, Martina

I get from her and my siblings is unbelievable. She is doing work that no-one else sees, out in all weathers leafleting and supporting me and guiding me. I appreciate that Mam and of course, she looks after me which can be the biggest job of all.”

Joanna also welcomed Tom Cunningham to the Drogheda team from Mid-Louth.

Imelda Munster TD rounded the evening off by thanking the “grassroots members who a the ones that have helped the party grow from strength to strength by talking to people and communities and relaying that back to the reps. I have always said that if we lead, people will follow but we have to provide that leadership. We need to stay true to who we are, we hold officials to account for the betterment of our communities, we are always pushing for the best interests of the people. We can’t fail if we speak for the people. Despite the challenges thrown at us, the attempted isolation of us by other parties and large sections of the media, just look at what we have achieved. People aren’t stupid, they see through all their dirty tricks. We started with 5 Cumann members and we worked hard over the years and people see that.

“People will be proud to vote Sinn Féin, they know we are not afraid to speak out, they know that their voice will be heard through us. The hard work starts now though. We are a unit on Louth County Council, we are committed and true and we will build and build and continue to build after that.”

The new line up so far in Drogheda

 

Kenneth Flood Selected to Run in 2019 Elections for Drogheda Urban

Kenneth Flood with his wife Jenny and son.

Sitting councilor Kenneth Flood has been selected by Sinn Féin to run in the 2019 local elections for the Party.

Imelda Munster TD proposed Kenneth and said “Ken is always in touch with and communicating with people on the ground. He is diligent and hard working so I have no problem standing here to propose him. Kenneth is meticulous in his research of an issue, to the point of being a nerd, which is a good thing and stands to him. The Drogheda team have always

Kenneth with his proposer Imelda Munster TD

worked well together and Kenneth is not afraid to hold management of any organization to account and he’s not afraid to take on officials. He always represents the people and has never forgot that is what he is there for.”

Kenneth Flood then accepted the nomination and thanked “the Bobby Sands Cumann who have been a great support. We work hard in communities because that’s where we are from and we want to better them for everyone. The Cumann and I do the work where and when it needs done, that’s what we do and that’s what I hope to continue to do after next year.”

The new line up so far in Drogheda

David Saurin Selected to Run in Drogheda Urban in 2019

David and daughter Leanne

Sitting Councillor David Saurin was selected last night to run for the Drogheda Urban constituency for the Party.

David was proposed by Nikki Gavin from his Cumann in Drogheda who commended him on the work he has done until now and wished him well for the future.

David was seconded by his daughter Leanne who assured the room she was in no way biased. “I am very proud of you Dad. Dad works hard for his constituents since taking over from former Cllr Alan Cassidy who had to stand down for health reasons. On top of all this Councillor work, Dad also does shift work and he does it all without complaint. I am so proud of him and everything he has achieved and how hard he works and I look forward to campaigning for him when the elections are called.”

David commended former Cllr Alan Cassidy and admitted he “didn’t realise just how much work was involved when he took it on. I didn’t appreciate just how hard the council team actually worked but I certainly do now. It is 24/7 and I am grateful for the team around me. Kenneth Flood and Joanna Byrne have been a great support and help to me here in Drogheda and together we do trojan work. It’s all about bringing the Republican agenda to the people and I, along with the Colonel Leonard Cumann strive to do that on an on-going basis. We have to continue to build up the vote, we can see how it has increased over the years but that doesn’t happen easily. it is hard work and I am prepared to continue to give it 100%”

The new line up so far in Drogheda