Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called on the government to “demand the complete closure of the Cumbria Sellafield nuclear plant.”
His call follows a BBC Panorama report which revealed that radioactive materials have been stored in degrading plastic bottles, that too few staff operate the site, and that there is a real fear of a fire that would create “a plume of radiological waste that will go across western Europe.”
Teachta Adams said:
“Louth is in the front line of any threat posed by Sellafield. Sinn Féin has repeatedly called on the Irish government to mount a campaign to have it closed and to oppose the construction of other nuclear plants across the Irish Sea.
While Sellafield may no longer generate energy it is a major nuclear installation with huge amounts of nuclear materials stored on site.
In 2011 this was the first issue I raised in Leaders Questions with Taoiseach Enda Kenny following the general election. In the previous months there had been another in a long list of contamination incidents at the British plant and two earthquakes had occurred in the north of England, including a 3.6 magnitude earthquake in Cumbria.
The BBC report revealed that between July 2012 and July 2013 there were 97 incidents where there too few workers available.
These and the concerns raised in the BBC programme show that Sellafield presents a direct threat to the health and safety of staff and of communities, including the people of Louth.
The government should now publish in full its 2011 report which concluded there was no health risk from Sellafield but that a severe incident would have an impact on tourism and exports of Irish food.
It should also mount a vigorous campaign to demand that Sellafield be closed.”
Sinn Fein TD for Louth Gerry Adams has criticised the lengthy therapy waits experienced by adult survivors of childhood abuse.
The TD made the following remarks on receipt of a response to a parliamentary question on the issue which indicated a waiting time in Louth of 6 weeks for initial assessment and 13 months for counselling.
Gerry Adams said;
“The HSE’s National Counselling Service was established in September 2000 and it primarily caters for adults who experienced abuse as children while in the care of the State.
“The response which I have received from the HSE indicates a wholly inadequate service to vulnerable people who have already been failed by the State.
“Across the State the waiting times for initial assessment vary between 4 weeks and 9 months while the waiting time for counselling varies between 6 and 16 months. It seems that in recovery Ireland access to necessary services for those abused as children is determined by location rather than need.”
“This PQ response further indicates that there is an issue in certain areas regarding staff vacancies with counsellors being redeployed to other areas as needed, thereby reducing overall provision.
“This is simply unacceptable and I have written to the Health Minister on foot of this response to find out what staff vacancies exists across this service, where vacancies are located and the reasons for the failure to recruit adequate staff numbers to perform this vital service.
“Adults who experienced abuse as children while under the protection of the State are a highly vulnerable cohort of citizens. They must not be further victimised through delays or denials of essential services.
“The HSE’s Mental Health Division has informed me that priority long waiters will be addressed through Programme for Government funding in 2016 and I have asked the Minister for further details on how this will impact on the Louth waiting times.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Cunningham has called for continued updates and an open line of communication on the works due to be done on the Main N2 road at Blakestown Cross just outside Ardee.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland has allocated €1.6 million for realignment work to be done on Blakestown Cross to make it safer following a number of fatal accidents in the past.
Welcoming the funding and the news the work was due to begin at the latest in early 2017, Cllr Tom Cunningham said “this work promises to improve visibility for drivers as the hill will be taken away and will make it safer for those turning onto the main road on both sides.”
The works will mean a full road closure of three months and Cllr Cunningham said “we need to ensure certain basic precautions are in place before this goes ahead. My colleague Pearse McGeough and I had a meeting with Louth County Council officials and gave put these forward. For example, there will be weight restrictions of HGVs but we need to ensure gardaí are prepared and ready to enforce these. We are talking about rural roads here and they were never built to accommodate huge weighty trucks even for a short time let alone cope with the increase in the numbers of general traffic that will occur.”
With the time of year in mind Cllr Cunningham also said “we will be into the dark nights so we need to increase visibility on the alternative route as much as we can and that will mean keeping the hedges cut back. In the cold weather we need to make sure the alternative route is well gritted to avoid any further accidents. These are a few basic precautions but I think most importantly all local councillors should be kept updated on the works at every stage because like it or not, there is going to be disruption to the locals of the area and we need to keep them informed. I have also asked for an ‘on-site’ contact so that any issues that arise can be communicated directly to the contact on-site and dealt with expeditiously.”
Concluding Cllr Cunningham said “These are essential works and very welcome to make a dangerous stretch of the road safer but disruption should be kept to a minimum and sometimes communication and consultation can go a long way towards alleviating some of the stress of the situation.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has called on Louth County Council to address the growing trend of illegal dumping on St. Laurence’s Park Green.
Following complaints from several distressed residents of St. Laurence’s Park, Cllr Byrne brought the issue of a growing trend of illegal dumping in the estates green area to the attention of Louth County Council.
The recent weeks have seen the situation escalate from rubbish bags being dumped, which are in turn ripped to shreds by cats and dogs, but now people are physically wheeling their bins directly onto the green areas and emptying them. There is an increasing fear amongst residents that this rubbish will in turn lead to fires which could cause damage to the surrounding area.
After speaking to some residents over the weekend Cllr Byrne said
“There are a few areas of concern on this particular issue, there is of course the obvious issue of the eyesore of the dumping itself, the environmental implications of this action and also the risk of in time youths starting fires. The area involved is in the vicinity of a children’s playground and local children have the right to play in safety.
I have contacted the council and have asked them to act as a matter of great urgency and I am now calling on them to immediately tidy up this area as it is a main walk through between Moneymore and the St. Laurence’s Park & Drive area. I have also asked them to monitor this as ongoing situation before it escalates.”