Cllr Kenneth Flood Warns of Moneylenders at Christmas

kenneth-floodWith Christmas just around the corner and the costs involved on every family’s minds, a brochure from a money lending company delivered into the letter boxes in Drogheda has prompted Cllr. Kenneth Flood to issue a warning about exorbitant APR rates and dangers of using money lenders.

Commenting Cllr Flood said

“I checked the company’s website and saw that a tempting offer of €600 which would go a long way to covering the costs of Christmas had a massive APR rate of 187.2% which would mean a repayment of €780. While that may be legal it is nothing less than outrageous that rates like that can be charged.

It is also well documented that illegal money lenders have operated in Drogheda and I have heard of interest rates of 50% being charged. It can lead to a financial black hole that people find hard to get back out of.

I would urge anyone who is feeling the financial pressures of Christmas, if you must get access to credit, the best advice is to join your local Credit Union who may be in a position to help.”

Cllr Bryne Calls For Laurence Park clean up

joanna-byrne-1Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has called on Louth County Council to urgently clean up the Bonfire Residue left at St. Laurence’s Park Green.

Following complaints from distressed residents of St. Laurence’s Park, Cllr Byrne brought the issue of the bonfire residue left behind in the green area to the attention of Louth County Council.

It is now two weeks since Halloween and this area needs to be cleaned up with several mounds of ashes and leftover bonfire material scattered throughout the green. The longer this remains fires will continue to be lit and illegal dumping may return which has been a recent issue in the same area.

The council worked hard over the last few months to clean this area up at my request, and it is imperative we do not let the standards slip, for the sake of all residents between St.Laurences Park and also Moneymore.

After speaking to some residents over the weekend Cllr Byrne said

“As time is ticking by, this is of course a contentious issue for these residents, especially those who live nearer the vicinity of the green area. They are anxious that this is cleaned up as soon as possible. Not only is this an eyesore, but the air quality among this vicinity is being affected by the continuing lighting of fires among these leftover mounds.”

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 continue to monitor this area and not allow it to return to a site for illegal dumping”.

Sinn Féin raises awareness of Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)

joanna-byrne-1Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has raised the issue of public information about the Housing Assistance Payments with Louth Co Council officials.

Commenting after Monday’s Drogheda Municipal Districts meeting Cllr Byrne said
“With the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) being applied for by an increasing number of tenants in Louth and in particular the Drogheda area every month, I believed the Council were not being proactive enough in creating awareness in relation to the scheme. I wanted to know if applicants where aware that they are entitled to apply to the Local Authority’s transfer list with any time spent on the Local Authority’s Housing list taken into account?

“Removal from the council’s principle housing list is a condition of the HAP scheme as it deems your housing needs met, but the provision is in place as stated above to alternatively apply for the transfer list.

“I raised the question on this as once again I noticed an increase in the number of applicants for the HAP scheme but no increase on the transfer list to match. I was assured by the SEO for Housing that every applicant for the HAP scheme is made aware of the provision to apply to the Local Authority transfer list, but they just don’t report these HAP transfer figures in the monthly report along with the regular transfer applicant numbers”.

Cllr Byrne accepted this explanation for conflicting numbers but also said “Whereas the HAP scheme may work in the interim for rental payment assistance, but once a family has been accepted onto the scheme it is deemed to have had its housing needs met. This means that at the stroke of a pen, the family is struck off the housing list after years of waiting and is effectively back to square one come the end of their agreed HAP contract time has expired, be it two years or twenty. It is crucially important that these applicants know they can apply to the Local Authority Transfer list and have their length of time waiting on the principle housing list factored into consideration.”

Adams Addresses Friends of SF Dinner on Brexit

DSC_3254_6510Last night – Thursday – Louth TD and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams addressed the annual Friends of Sinn Féin Dinner in New York. It was a packed event.

The Sinn Féin leader thanked Irish America for its crucial support for the Irish peace process describing it as “the driver which kept the peace process on the agenda of the main parties in the USA.”

Gerry Adams spoke of the dangers of Brexit to the process and to the political and constitutional arrangements that are fundamental to the Good Friday Agreement. He said:

“In the June referendum the British state decided leave the European Union. The people of the North voted to remain. This is one of the biggest issues facing the people of the island of Ireland today. But it is also an opportunity. The outcome of the negotiations around Brexit will have profound implications for the Irish people.

Sinn Fein believes that if the British government wants to exit from the EU that is their choice. But London is insisting that when Britain leaves it wil drag the North with them. That is wrong.  What Sinn Fein wants is a Brexit from Ireland.

Brexit will reshape arrangements and relationships between Ireland and Britain and between us and the European Union. Our task must be to ensure that any new arrangements on the island of Ireland are to the mutual benefit of everyone who lives here.

This means that the Irish government must uphold the vote of the people in the North who have refused to give their consent to be taken out of the EU by London. It also means there is an obligation on all of us to explore alternatives to Brexit – and all options available to build support for designated special status for the North within the European Union.”

The Sinn Féin leader spoke of the threat to the Good Friday Agreement. He said:

“As well as the enormous and unprecedented economic challenges that face us, Brexit threatens the entire post-Good Friday Agreement architecture, including planning to scrap the Human Rights Act and to end their relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights. The British government is putting our process of change, our economy and our political institutions, at risk.

So, the choice is simple – acquiesce to the demands of London and allow the North to be dragged out of the EU, at the whim of an English government, or pursue the credible path to argue at European level and with the British government for the North to be designated a special status within the EU. “

Concluding Gerry Adams said: “Just as there are massive challenges, there is also the opportunity to plot a new course forward – a course that will end the partition of our island.

The British government is now obliged to legislate for Irish unity if a majority wants that. The duty of the Irish government should be to achieve this. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

If it was it would mean promoting all-Ireland co-operation and building relationships between our people. It would mean an end to partitionist thinking by policy makers; and yes – in the media also. It would mean enlisting international support for all of these objectives.”

Cystic Fibrosis Sufferers need Orkambi now – Adams

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams met with 14 parents of children with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) in Leinster House on Thursday 3rd November.

Teachta Adams hosted the meeting, along with Sinn Fein’s spokesperson on health Louise O’Reilly TD, following requests from his constituents and other parents, who believe that the new CF treatment, Orkambi, could significantly improve their children’s health and their quality of life.

Gerry Adams said,

“Today I have listened to the personal stories of how CF affects sufferers, the daily regime of drugs, physical therapy and treatments which these children undergo when they are well pales into insignificance in comparison to what they endure when sick.

“Orkambi could change their children’s lives reducing the amount of drugs they need to take and lowering their number of hospital admissions.  They believe that it will significantly extend the life expectancy of their children and give the whole family a chance at a normal life.

“Among the group who came to Leinster House was one woman whose son is currently receiving Orkambi as part of a medical trial.  In the 3 years since her son has been taking Orkambi his health has vastly improved and he has had no further deterioration in his lung function.

“I am aware that the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics is currently engaged in the second round of negotiations with Vertex, the manufacturer of Orkambi, to assess the drugs’ value for money status.  However the efficacy of Orkambi does not appear to be in question and indeed it has been approved for use in America.

“In other European countries patients are receiving Orkambi pending its approval by the European Medicines Agency and in the North of Ireland Orkambi can be obtained if it is clinically recommended.

“I have asked the Minister for Health to meet with this group of parents and I also intend to raise this matter with the Taoiseach and my colleague Louise O’Reilly and I will be inviting these parents back to Leinster House to brief all TDs in the AV room.”