Councillor Jim Loughran has called on off road vehicles such as quad bikes and scramblers, to stop causing damage to the Cooley Mountains and worrying sheep in the process.
The Dundalk/Carlingford councillor said “the Cooley Mountains are beautiful at this time of year and we should respect this wonderful gift we have here in County Louth. There are a few people using the mountains as a scrambling track and it is churning up the soil and earth and destroying the area for those of us who appreciate it.”
Jim Loughran continued “we are coming into lambing season which can be a fragile time for farmers. When you think back to the weather we had this time last year, in some parts we had sheep buried in the snow and lambs lost. This year, the sheep on the Cooleys are facing new difficulties with careless and selfish people chasing them on bikes and quads.”
A farming representative said “It is hard to settle sheep on spring pasture when they are being chased like this. Some of the pastures are churned up so badly that it's visible in satellite photos and there are concerns that Single Farm Payments will be affected."
However, this is a cross border problem. Similar damage had been done in the Ring of Gullion on the north side of the border. When Gardai attempt to stop these activities, the groups of people just escape over the border leaving Gardai frustrated.
Councillor Jim Loughran welcomed the fact that a new alliance of farmers, walkers and conservationists have come together to combat the serious damage being done by scramblers and quads in the Cooley Mountains and the Ring of Gullion. “There will be a public meeting on Wednesday 9th April in the Carrickdale Hotel, organised by this new alliance, to discuss the problem on both sides of the border and how we can move forward.”
Sinn Féin Cllr Imelda Munster has publicly called on local Labour and Fine Gael Councillors to come clean on the cost of water charges with the public and not to be withholding this information until after the local elections in May.
Commenting Cllr Munster said “the Government parties’ representatives need to be upfront with people about how much they will be forced to pay for their water as people will be charged from October of this year.”
Cllr Munster continued “at a time when families are pinned to their collar financially paying for the mistakes of others, people are genuinely worried sick about how much this unfair tax will cost them on top of all the other unjust taxes. FG/LAB representatives need to be upfront with people when they are out knocking doors, about how much we will have to pay in standing charges, usage charges and whether or not we will also be charged for repairs of leaks and burst pipes. After all, they are the parties responsible for bringing in and imposing this water tax on homes and families.”
Councillor Imelda Munster, who is seeking re-election to Louth County Council in May, has called the setting up of Irish Water and the introduction of water tax as one of the “biggest scams we have ever seen. The infrastructure owned by our local councils which taxpayers paid for over the years, has now been transferred to this new quango called ‘Irish Water’. I have no doubt that it will then be privatised down the line and people will face increased bills for water year on year, while this new private company makes millions in profit.”
Cllr Munster was angry as she went on to say, “to add insult to injury the money taxpayers paid for the Local Property Tax which we were told was to provide local services like street lighting, libraries, parks and playgrounds etc has now been used to set up Irish Water. This will mean people will pay three times for their water; firstly in general taxation, then through the public funds being invested in Irish Water and thirdly through water charges. People can expect to be charged from October of this year and can expect to receive the first bill coming through their doors in January 2015.”
Cllr Munster stated that the biggest insult of all is that “from January 1st if you have a problem with your water, pipes, leaks or pressure you will now have to ring a ‘Call Centre in Cork’ to report any problems. The people of the County will have a chance to ask FG/LAB about all this when they come knocking their door.”
It seems to be that every time we lift a newspaper or turn on the news there is another story of how someone has ended their life by suicide. Unfortunately these cases are the ones that have made the headlines for one reason or another and they are just the tip of the iceberg.
We hear how the suicide rate is higher now because of the recession; because of a negative view of life; because of drug abuse; because of sexual abuse; because of cyber bullying; because of the lack of mental health services; because of the pressure of Christmas and on and on it goes.
The truth is there is no one reason why someone would want to die by suicide. Suicide is not racist, ageist, anti-women, sectarian and doesn’t care how much money you have or don’t have. We are all in a ‘high risk’ category because suicide can affect any one of us. We have all been touched in some way by suicide.
It can sometimes feel like a losing battle, but it is a battle that we must keep fighting, especially on behalf of those who are too tired to fight anymore. Drogheda Sinn Féin is hosting a PIPS course on Suicidal Awareness Training.
There will be a number of issues covered:
Reduce the stigma, and the myths, around mental health
Increase understanding of mental health, stress and depression
Increase awareness around the extensive support available to those at risk
Help identify warning signs that a person may be at risk of suicide
Develop a clearer understanding of groups who may be at higher risk of suicide
Reduce the fear of helping someone at risk by Talking, Listening and Caring and linking those to available help
Introduce simple ways of developing positive mental health within participants.
This has always proved a popular course (provided by PIPS) and will be held from 10am – 4pm in the Sinn Féin Office in West Street, Drogheda on Saturday 5th April.
All are welcome to attend.
If you are experiencing suicidal feelings there are a number of services that can help: