Cllr Edel Corrigan’s Motion on International Women’s day Passed at Louth County Council

Cllr Edel CorriganSinn Féin Councillor Edel Corrigan has welcomed the decision of Louth County Council to pass her motion calling on local authorities to mark International Women’s Day each year. This is Councillor Corrigan’s third attempt in getting this motion passed and says she “is pleased to have a commitment from Louth County Council to run events.”

The motion itself said:

‘That Louth County Council mark international women’s day (March 8th) each year. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing attention on areas requiring further action.

The theme of International Women’s Day in 2014 is “Inspiring Change”, however, a number of groups select their own International Women’s Day theme, specific to their local context, and I propose that in the Louth Local authorities select a theme relevant to Local Community on an annual basis.’

Louth Sinn Fein will be hosting and co-ordinating with other local groups in marking international Women’s Day. On Friday 7th of March Sinn Féin Vice-President Mary-Lou McDonald will be visiting Drogheda and Dundalk to meet with a number of community groups and organisations to discuss the role of women in ‘Inspiring Change’ in their communities.

Corrigan said “we are very pleased to announce that Mary-Lou will be taking part in a panel discussion in DKIT on Friday the 7th March between 12 – 1pm and all interested members of the public are invited to attend.

“There will be a reception following this at the Sinn Féin office in Crowe Street, Dundalk with Mary-Lou, from 4.15pm – 5.30pm and again, all members of the public, community groups and local businesses are invited to attend, to help mark International Women’s Day.”

Edel was quick to point out that  “while this is an event to mark International Women’s Day, we at Sinn Féin encourage men to attend these events also, which will hopefully show them ways in which they too can help support women and celebrate their achievements.”

Edel Corrigan has always been at the forefront of women’s issues and continued, “It is very fitting that both Sinn Féin Party President Gerry Adams TD and Vice President Mary-Lou McDonald will be in Louth to mark the celebrations as both are a prime example of how we can ‘Inspire Change’.

“Sinn Féin core beliefs are based on equality for all, modern day republicanism and supporting women goes naturally hand in hand. Both Mary-Lou and Gerry are a great inspiration to people, and follow through on their commitment of empowering women in their roles. Both Gerry and Mary-Lou have been a great support to me and all females in the party.

“I had spoken to Mary-Lou a number of months ago about my plans to hold a series of events this year to help encourage and support women in taking on the role of social leadership in their areas of interest, she immediately committed herself to help and support this in any way that she could. So I am delighted that she will be joining us on March 7th to celebrate International Women’s Day, here in Dundalk.”

Sinn Féin currently have the greatest female representation on Louth local authorities councils; Cllr Jennifer Green is current vice chair of Dundalk town council, Cllr Imelda Munster on Drogheda Borough council and both Cllr Edel Corrigan and Cllr Imelda Munster being the only two female representatives elected onto Louth Council Council in 2009.  All three will be running in May’s Local Government Elections.

Cllr Corrigan has been working hard on women’s issues over the past number of years and has held a number of events to mark International Women’s Day in the past. She has worked as a mentor to a number of young woman on a one to one basis, to support them to achieve their goals of setting up community projects, social enterprise, facilitated workshops on how both men and women can support women in their chosen roles, and currently is a member of a small group established by a committee of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, to help encourage younger women to become involved in politics.

“I have always had a great support network of strong women in every aspect of my life and always try to help pass on that support to women in our community through my work as an elected representative.”

Councillor Edel Corrigan has kindly provided the reply she received from Louth County Council after her motion was passed which is reproduced below setting out events they are hosting in Dundalk and Ardee Libraries.

 ‘Louth County Council do intend to mark International Women’s Day as set out below. We will also explore the option to mark the day through the Age Friendly Initiative.

International Women’s Day – March 8th 2014 – Celebrating the Social, Political and Economic achievements of women.

Dundalk Branch Library

Feb 27th ‘The EU and You’ – Lifestyle, Equal Opportunities, Education and Women in the EU. – Keynote Speaker –with a panel of speakers to be confirmed

March 8th ‘Women Celebrating Diversity ( event to be confirmed in co-operation with the Polish community and / or African community in Dundalk)

March 11th ‘Women in Business in County Louth’ – Recognising the Achievement of Women in County Louth – a lively panel discussion with women from a broad range of business backgrounds (speakers to be confirmed)

We may also look at a daytime event for Secondary Schools on local women as role Models

Ardee Branch Library

March 8th ‘Women & Health’ – A talk with expert advice on all aspect of women’s health.

All branches will also have relevant book displays highlighting different themes to coincide with the day including women’s authors, influential women over the last century, women’s health issues etc.’

 

Munster Shocked At MABS Waiting Times In Drogheda

People awaiting the service may be distressed

People awaiting the service may be distressed

Shocking figures reveal Drogheda has 3rd highest waiting list and 5th longest waiting time for appointments for MABS (Money, Advice and Budgeting Service)

Figures have been released showing that Drogheda has the 5th longest waiting time for an appointment with MABS (Money, Advice and Budgeting Service). The town also has the 3rd highest number of people waiting for an appointment with a 9 week wait and 92 people still waiting to be seen.

On seeing these figures, Sinn Féin Councillor for the area Imelda Munster, said she was ‘shocked’ and “from these figures it shows that they (MABS) have been given insufficient staffing levels and resources to cope with demand as over 20,552 clients in financial difficulty presented to MABS in 2013.” The Citizens Information Board has responsibility for MABS.

Commenting Cllr Munster said “When people make up their mind to approach MABS, they are more often than not in a desperate place. For most, they’ve gone beyond accessing self-help guidelines on the web or using a phone service. They have reached a point where they need to sit down with someone, who will thoughtfully and patiently explain their financial situation to them and help them process their options.

“The waiting times and waiting lists are shocking in areas and in particular Drogheda. It’s hard to imagine what someone, who is in such a desperate state, must feel when they hear how long they will have to wait for an appointment.

Cllr Munster concluded by saying “The program for Government promised to strengthen MABS but clearly this has not materialised. Minister Burton needs to examine this situation immediately and ensure the service is operating efficiently for all those families who find themselves no longer able to cope financially, as long waiting times only serve to add to the stress people are already under.”

 

MABS Client Waiting Times & Numbers at 31 December 2013

Company/Area Average Waiting time in Weeks Number awaiting first   appointment
Blanchardstown

9.4

68

Donegal North

26.2

121

Drogheda

9.0

92

Dundalk

1.0

Limerick

8.2

48

Mayo South

14.4

47

Meath

10.2

43

Monaghan

3.0

5

Mullingar

1.8

2

 

We have reproduced a table above to compare some other areas. A full table is available on request.

Louth/Meath Laundry To Be Outsourced – Sharkey

SF Tomas Sharkey 3Sinn Féin Councillor Tomás Sharkey has learned that the HSE plan in outsourcing hospital laundry for the Louth/Meath area.

“More than a year ago the laundry in Dundalk’s hospital was closed because a boiler was broken and the HSE would not fix it. Since then all laundry has been transported to Drogheda.

“Today I learned that the decision has now been made by the HSE not to reinstate laundry services to Dundalk and also to cease laundry work in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. The HSE want to outsource the work.

“The amazing part of this story is that the HSE manager I met on the issue on Thursday doesn’t know how much it will cost to put the work out to private tender. Approximately 2,700,000 (2.7m) items are laundered between our hospitals each year.

“It is beyond belief that at a time when costs need to be cut to save money and protect patient services that the HSE hasn’t fixed a broken boiler in Dundalk. Privatising laundry services for our hospitals will create a new bill each and every year and will cost more in the long run than fixing and replacing existing equipment.”

Dundalk Rent Collection Irregularities – Sharkey Asks Tenants To Check Receipts

Second on-going investigation

Second on-going investigation

Councillors in the Dundalk area have been notified that an investigation has begun into
irregularities with the collection of rents in an area of the town. The Gardaí
have been informed of the investigation and a member of staff has been
suspended. The irregularities are specific to the 2009-2012 period.

Tomás Sharkey said, “At this point, all Sinn Féin Councillors are asking Council tenants to check your rent statements, and look back over your receipts to make sure your payments have been properly accounted. As a team of Councillors, we are going through our records of representations and will contact constituents who came to us with concerns about rent payments and balances.

“This is the second investigation on-going in Louth Local Authorities. We have yet to receive the findings of an Inquiry into house purchases from council housing staff. Two members of staff are suspended in relation to that investigation”.

The Sinn Féin County Councillor, who was instrumental in highlighting the house purchase issue said, “the public need to have confidence in public services. High taxes are being paid by hard pressed families. On a weekly basis families struggle to pay rent and bills. We all deserve to know that taxes and rents are collected fairly and spent wisely. Therefore we hope this investigation makes its findings quickly. We want to make sure that anybody effected by irregularities see things put right swiftly.

“We want the public to know that our door in Sinn Féin is always open. Our Councillors are here to help anybody who comes to us.”

Jennifer Green Welcomes Consultation With Disabled Groups On Refurbishment of Clanbrassil Street

'walkaround' opened my eyes

‘walkaround’ opened my eyes

Councillor Jennifer Green welcomed the decision of Dundalk Town Council to do a refurbishment of Clanbrassil Street but has asked the Council to ensure that her concerns are addressed.

The news was announced at last night’s Town Council meeting and Councillor Green, who has done a ‘walkaround’ Dundalk with wheelchair user John Morgan, once again raised questions about accessibility in the town.

Green said “when I was with John Morgan, I was utterly shocked at the state of some of the pavings and kerbs in some parts of the town and how difficult these errors make it for wheelchair users to get around.

“In Anne Street, in particular, John had to drive down the road in order to cross from one side to the other as the kerbs were just too high for his wheelchair to access which in this day and age is just ridiculous and so dangerous. I didn’t appreciate how bad it was until I looked at it through John’s eyes. The square was refurbished and although it looks well, John found it difficult to pass over the silver bumps and it was very uncomfortable for him. These are things we don’t appreciate and why we need to involve all parts of the community in the decision making process.”

The Sinn Féin Councillor asked ‘would this refurbishment make the area more user friendly for people with disabilities, particularly wheelchair users?’

The response was positive and officials in the Council said they have set up direct contact informing the various registered disability groups about the plans which will include ‘drop kerbs’ which will make the area more accessible.

“This is very welcome news and I hope that wheelchair users like John Morgan, will feel they were listened to and that Dundalk Town belongs to all of us. The plans go on public consultation this week and can be viewed in the Town Hall. I would urge all interested parties to view them and all recommendations to the plans are welcome.”