Having been approached by several people enquiring about the Christmas decorations and lights this year in Dundalk, Sinn Féin Councillor Jennifer Green put the question to the County Manager and was taken aback at her response.
Green said “in previous years the expense from the tree and shortfall from some of the electricity charges from the lights would have been met from the Dundalk Town Council budget. With DTC abolished I wanted to clarify the situation. The reply I got could be interpreted as a threat.
“The reply was that although it wasn’t their intention to change things, the outcome of the LPT being reduced by possibly 15% could affect this and whether we are still going to have money for this kind of activity in the future.”
Councillor Green continued “Where are all the savings Phil Hogan promised with the reform of Local Government? My understanding of this is if we vote to give the people of Louth a break of 15% on their Local Property Tax then Christmas may be cancelled. People are struggling enough and now this. Ridiculous.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Alan Cassidy has been contacted by a number of pedestrians who feel they are dicing with death when they cross from Grove Hill onto the Bridge of Peace and also drivers who are unhappy with the junction.
Councillor Cassidy said “scarcely a week goes by without some sort of collision at this junction. The layout is sporadic to say the least. Now that the schools are back, traffic volume has increased as has the footfall and a number of parents have expressed concern for the safety of their children. If a car is coming off the dual carriageway and heading up the Rathmullen Road they can not see pedestrians who are forced to dash across the road here because of the dip. Someone is going to get badly hurt or worse.”
Alan Cassidy said “as a father I can’t imagine how scary it is to try and dash across this road with my children in tow just hoping that I can make it across safely. I will be calling for a risk assessment of this junction to be done to see if it can be made safer for motorists and pedestrians alike.”
Grove Hill Junction Drogheda
Sinn Féin Councillor Alan Cassidy has raised concerns about the lack of maintenance and possible neglect of Drogheda’s historical ruins.
Cassidy said “this is an issue that I have always kept an eye on as I have an interest in the subject. All our ruins in Drogheda are protected monuments and I commend our County’s Heritage Officer who has does stalwart work. With the exception of St. Laurence’s gate the onus to protect these monuments fall on the local authority.”
“However” continued Alan Cassidy, “his hands are tied by lack of funding. The Government needs to see heritage as an asset and not a burden. A prime example of neglect and deterioration in Drogheda is St Mary’s D’Urso or the Old Abbey along the walls at Murdoch’s car park. They are in a sorry state with Goat’s Willow having taken over and sprouting from the tops of the walls. Every year that these weeds go unchecked it loosens the mortar and masonry within the structure.”
The Sinn Féin Councillor also said “every year hundreds of thousands of visitors pass through the Bru na Boinne centre, yet for the vast majority of them the only part of Drogheda they see is the bus depot. Why is there no Bus servicing Mellifont or Monasterboice. We have a town and county rich in heritage, let’s start investing in it and capitalising on it.”
The Irish Government are obliged under the European Convention On The Protection Of Archaeological Heritage, Article 4 (ii) which states ‘each party (Ireland) undertakes to implement measures for the physical protection of archaeological heritage, making provision, as circumstance demand for the conservation and maintenance of the archaeological heritage, preferably in situ.’
The deterioration of St Mary’s Abbey, Drogheda
Sinn Féin Louth County Councillor and member of the Regional Health Forum Tomás Sharkey has given a guarded welcome to the information he has received from Margaret Swords, Group Manager – Louth /Meath Hospital Group in relation to the CAWT Ophthalmology project at Louth County Hospital.
Cllr Sharkey has said “Following representations from constituents who are awaiting cataract surgery I once again contacted Margaret Swords, Louth/Meath Hospital Group Manager, for an update on the provision of long promised Ophthalmology services at Louth County Hospital.
“I am giving a guarded welcome to the news in her response that Cataract and other Eye Surgery in Louth County Hospital will commence this month (September). The Ophthalmology service is a cross border initiative supported by CAWT. There are many people, especially older people, who, I hope, will benefit greatly from this service at their local hospital now that staff and equipment are in place”
Sinn Féin Councillor Imelda Munster has appealed to Louth County Councillors to support Sinn Féin’s call for the 15% reduction in Local Property Tax in order to give some relief and to ease the financial burden on taxpayers. The decision was deferred at today’s meeting until Friday.
Councillor Munster said “This year every cent of the Local Property Tax paid in Louth went on the setting up of Irish Water and in 2015 we will only receive 8.4 million euro, a reduction of almost 7 million euro on 2013 despite us being forced to pay this extra tax.”
“I put forward the motion to Louth County Council in order to ease the financial strain that working families are under and it is time that this government stopped going after the same people with their austerity taxes, especially when there are other options like bringing in a wealth tax instead. The public just can’t pay this tax on top of water charges which will take effect in just two weeks time with our first bills due in our doors the week after Christmas.”
Munster explained “having put forward the motion a long discussion took place and a Labour Party councillor who said he wasn’t in favour of giving the reduction to people, proposed we defer the meeting and the decision until this coming Friday the 19th. I am hoping that at least 15 of the 29 councillors will have the courage and the social conscience to back the Sinn Fein proposal for the maximum reduction on 15% this coming Friday. I would call on all Louth County Councillors to support this motion.”