Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has called for a Director of Services to be appointed to Drogheda Municipal District.
Speaking on the reasons for this request, Cllr Flood said “I have a list of examples where I have contacted council officials and my emails and calls have been ignored and gone unanswered. When the borough council was abolished we were assured there would be no decline in the services for Drogheda despite officials being relocated to Dundalk. That has not been the case”.
Cllr Flood cited a breakdown in communication between officials and Drogheda Councillors and claimed it has been getting steadily worse over the last year.
“The recent cancellation of the JPC public meeting was a very public example of that break-down in communication. The system of having directors of services sitting in Dundalk is just not working for Drogheda or South Louth and until such times as it can work, we need a Director of Services for Drogheda.”
Other councillors from other parties in Drogheda were agreeing with Cllr Flood as some had similar experiences with Council officials.
At the last Municipal District of Drogheda Council Meeting, the rough sleeper count which was conducted on the night of 30th November came back as zero.
Councillor Kenneth Flood said “the definition of a ‘rough sleeper’ is so narrowly defined it almost renders the term meaningless.”
The definition of a ‘rough sleeper’ is ‘people sleeping, or bedded down, in the open air such as on the streets or in doorways, parks or bus shelters; people in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats or stations).’
Cllr Flood pointed out that ‘because a rough sleeper on 30th November which was quite a cold night, crawled into a derelict building for some degree of shelter from the elements, they are not counted. This is simply not a true or accurate reflection of the situation.”
Councillor Flood also pointed out that he didn’t want the public “thinking this figure meant there wasn’t a homeless problem in the area. This count simply covered the people within that narrow definition, they were not referring to people who are ‘homeless’.”
Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth/East Meath Gerry Adams said in the Dáil this week that the Government is responsible for a health service in complete chaos and that patients are being treated like ‘second-class’ citizens.
Raising the case of Louth woman Denise Tuohy, Deputy Adams said:
“I spoke with Denise Tuohy this week, who spent four days on a trolley in A&E in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda for which she has been charged €75 a day. To make matters worse, Denise’s son Jake has a rare genetic condition, but he doesn’t have a medical card.
“I also spoke this week with Daniel Long, the father of Orlaith – a six-week old baby girl who was forced to wait 11 hours in A&E for a bed at Cork University Hospital.
“Their cases are just two examples of how this Government, led by Fine Gael, has failed to adequately resource our hospitals because it doesn’t believe in universal public healthcare.
“Denise said the nurses are fabulous, but the system is letting patients down. She’s right.
“The unfairness with which citizens like Denise and Orlaith have been treated is no longer unusual. It’s the norm. This Government is presiding over a health service in complete chaos.
“The A&E overcrowding problem is getting worse and patients, including Denise, her son Jake and a little baby like Orlaith are being treated like second class citizens in this Government’s two tier health system”.
Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has hit out over the cancellation of the first public meeting of the Joint Policing Forum which was scheduled for Tuesday evening 1st December. The meeting was to have been held in the Westcourt Hotel and was cancelled because ‘no Garda were available to attend.’
Cllr Flood, who is the chair of the Forum was incensed as he said “We have not had a public meeting since November 2013. This meeting was hailed as a vital link between the public, the Gardaí and public servants. It was organised and advertised by Louth County Council but they apparently forgot to confirm the Gardaí’s availability for the meeting.”
Councillor Flood contacted the Superintendent following notification of the reason for the cancellation and reported “after speaking to the Superintendent for Drogheda and South Louth I was told he only knew of the date of the meeting when he read it in the media after the public notice was published. He contacted the Council several times to inform them the date was unsuitable as that night Drogheda Gardaí had other commitments. Any other date would suffice.”
The Dundalk based official responsible for organising the meeting was unavailable to take the calls which resulted in the last minute cancellation of the meeting.
Cllr Flood made no bones about where the blame lay. “The blames lies squarely with Louth County Council officials in Dundalk who treat Drogheda as an after-thought. I am furious about this lack of respect for the people of Drogheda. We are now down to three community Gardaí from ten a few years ago. Local reps and Gardaí are trying to improve our town and make citizens feel a bit safer in their areas and then something like this happens which only helps to widen the perceived disconnect between the public and the Gardaí. We need to get down to business and stop messing about.”