The wind and rain on Friday afternoon didn’t deter around 50 residents joining Sinn Féin councillor Jennifer Green at a picket at the Ard Dealgan complex on Quay Street.
Ard Dealgan was built by controversial developer Tom McFeely. The complex has remained unoccupied since 2009 due to health and safety concerns and has deteriorated ever since into the dilapidated eyesore they are now.
Councillor Green said “This development has become a nightmare for the residents of the area as it is attracting anti-social elements from all over. We have had a number of fires in the complex, the place has been stripped and wrecked and residents are afraid to let their children out because it is just dangerous. As a mother of two boys, I know how curious they can be and how adventurous but the complex is not secured in any way to keep anyone out despite Dundalk Town Council putting money into it a few years ago to do just that. I really dread to think what could happen.”
A ‘Derelict Site’ notice was issued last November to developer McFeely and also to the Beltary Property Finance Ltd Company who currently hold the mortgage. There has been no communication received from either.
Jennifer Green explained “Between development fees, securing the property, fire services and ambulance call-out charges and the derelict site levies, the Council are owed the guts of €1,000,000 so I can’t understand why they are not aggressively seeking to find out who has responsibility for the complex and attempt to recoup this money”.
“We want someone to take responsibility for this building. The complex needs to be demolished as it can’t be restored at this point. There were 73 apartments in the complex, that is 73 families which could have been housed. We have a shortage of social housing in this county, demolish Ard Dealgan and build proper social and affordable homes in its place. The people of the Quay are entitled to live in a safe environment without fear of letting their children out to play or without fear of abuse when they are walking to the shop.
“Today’s picket shows the anger and determination of this community who came out in their numbers in the wind and rain, to show that they are sick of being ignored and being held to ransom by Ard Dealgan. We need this issue resolved as a matter of urgency”
Sinn Féin was represented in Los Angeles by Louth Councillor Edel Corrigan at a conference to encourage women into taking up apprenticeships in the building industry.
The Women In The Building Trades Conference was held on May 1st and was hosted by the American Building Trades Unions who hope also to have those same women participate fully in the relevant union.
Councillor Corrigan explained how she had been asked to attend. “I was invited by Patti Devlin, one of the organisers of the Labourers International Union of North America. She invited me because of my background and experience in construction as an on-site Health and Safety officer. I was delighted to be one of over 1,000 delegates from all over America and abroad”.
The Louth Councillor continued “America has always been very interested in Irish Republicanism and our struggle for equality and were eager to hear about what life was like in Ireland for workers and their rights in these times of austerity that are being imposed upon us”.
Edel received a great welcome and there was quite a bit of interest as she pointed to “the common causes shared by workers worldwide, particularly women, which include a living wage, equal pay and the right to join a union”.
“Many of the difficulties women workers face here are no different than in America. Women are generally found doing low paid work, forced to accept zero or low hours contracts which only emphasise the need for strong union rights and representation. There was a lot of interest in Sinn Féin in general and our vision Ireland”.
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams today hosted the GAA Healthy Club project from Croke Park to the Dáil.
The Sinn Féin leader invited the GAA Community and Health team into Leinster House to brief Oireachtas members of the project.
The briefing was presented by Colin Reagan, the GAA Community and Health Manager and his colleagues Stacey Cannon, Emmet Haughian and Brid Traynor. It was attended by around two dozen TDs, Seanadoirí and staffers.
Gerry Adams said:
“I want to commend the GAA and its Community and Health team on this remarkable initiative . I first became acquainted with this wonderful project as a result of the hard work and effort of St. Colmcilles GAC in East Meath
Healthy Club is a partnership effort involving the GAA, Healthy Ireland, the Health Service Executive and the National Office for Suicide Prevention. It is funded by the HSE and Irish Life have donated €1 million over three years.
Healthy Club is rooted in the volunteer spirit of the GAA and is about health promotion. It involves a wide range of specific initiatives including mental health, health screening, bullying, diet and nutrition, inclusion and community outreach, drug and alcohol awareness, life skill and personal development, anti-smoking, facilities development and engagement with older community members.
The GAA and clubs like St. Colmcilles are making a real and positive difference in peoples’ lives. They contribute freely of their time and talent and they deserve our thanks, our solidarity, our support and our encouragement to continue to do what they do.”