Cllr Antóin Watters Tells Bus Eireann Management – ‘You are playing with People’s Lives’

Antoin Watters Council PicWith Bus Eireann workers being left with no option but to strike from next Monday, Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has called for the management to reconsider their position and think of “the inconvenience it will cause to those in rural areas who are dependent on this transport”.

Cllr Watters said “I have been speaking to concerned citizens who already feel isolated in rural areas and now they are facing their lifeline being cut off. They depend on the bus service to take them to doctor’s appointments, hospital appointments, shopping and much more. These are citizens that have seen their rural way of life become more challenging with cuts to what little services they had”.

Cllr Watters said “Bus Eireann Management have no idea what effect their decision will have on ordinary people; the disruption it will cause to school children and workers getting to and from work; the further isolation of our older people and the vulnerable.

“Do not underestimate the value of the rural bus service. Bus Eireann management have shown a total disregard to the people of Cooley and other rural areas. We need to oppose this Government’s policy of privatising our public transport or we face losing our bus services altogether.”

Cllr Watters had a final message to Bus Eireann management, “Get your act together and get this sorted, it is not the fault of the workers, perhaps you need to look closer to home. You are causing massive inconvenience to people in rural areas. You are playing with people’s lives, stop it!”

Imelda Munster: Publish St John of Gods Audit

imelda-munster-tdSinn Féin TD Imelda Munster has called on the Taoiseach to publish the audit of St. John of Gods as soon as it is completed.

Deputy Munster said “Given the financial misappropriations that have come to light in recent years whereby money was taken from residents own bank accounts on numerous occasions to pay for medical devices that should have been supplied by St. John of Gods and other incidents where personal funds of a resident were used to buy cutlery, soft furnishings and a fireplace, we need the audit published.

“These shocking revelations have come to light and we still do not know the full extent of this practice.

“It is clear that there has been little or no detailed oversight or scrutiny by the HSE despite the fact that this large organisation has been given vast amounts of public money. It is also clear that the charity handed over almost €650,000.00 to a single executive to buy out a pension liability and at the same time saw fit to take money from resident’s personal bank accounts for medical devices and aids that they should have supplied to residents.

“The audit is currently being conducted on the finances of St John of Gods and I have asked the Taoiseach to give a commitment to publish the audit on completion, so the public can see the full extent of the financial misappropriations and irregularities and see exactly where and how the millions of taxpayer’s money has been spent”.

Gerry Adams continues Louth Mental Health Campaign

DSC_3254_6510Louth and East Meath Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams met with representatives of the HSE Louth Meath Mental Health team at the Singleton House Community Mental Health facility in Drogheda on Friday 24th February.

Speaking after the meeting Teachta Adams said;

“I was delighted to visit Singleton House this morning as part of my commitment to lobby for additional HSE spend on mental health in my constituency.

“Ladywell premises in Dundalk, which provides out patient mental health services for the north of the county needs to be replaced with a Primary Care Centre.

“The staff at Ladywell are superb however the premises are totally unacceptable, they are outdated, unsuitable, damp and urgently need to be upgraded.

“The difference in Singleton House and Ladywell is stark.

“Singleton House is a state of the art, bright and modern facility which staff I met are rightly proud of.

“There are treatment rooms and therapeutic rooms and larger rooms for staff training and other activities.

“The contrast with the Ladywell premises could not be more pronounced.

“It is unconscionable that citizens in the north of the county, which has the highest indices of deprivation, are not afforded a similar level of service as those citizens in south Louth.

“Louth has the lowest per capita spend on mental health across the State.

“This must be rectified and the development of suitable mental health premises, whether that be within a Primary Care Centre or via the upgrade of the Ladywell site, would be an appropriate starting point.

“I have written to Minister of State for Mental Health Helen McEntee to raise my concerns about the need for capital investment in Dundalk to service north Louth and I again urge her to visit Ladywell so that she can meet the staff there and help move this project forward.”

Adams meets Speaker of German Parliament

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD attended a meeting in Dundalk on Friday with the Speaker of the German Bundestag Prof Norbert Lambert. The meeting was organised by An Ceann Comhairle  Sean O Fearghaíl.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the impact of Brexit on the Memorandum of Understanding between Newry and Mourne and Louth County council.

Gerry Adams said:

The Dáil has now voted in favour of the Sinn Féin position that argues the case for the North to be designated Special Status within the EU – which should now become official Government policy.

Sinn Féin is concerned about the entire island of Ireland and what we need now is a White paper which sets out the Governments political and policy approach to the EU negotiations over the next 2 years relating to the border, free movement, trade, investment, [tax policy i.e Apple (EU v Irish Govt], competitiveness, Agri food, energy, GFA human rights safeguards, EU funding and all other relevant matters.

The island of Ireland and especially the border corridor, will be disproportionately impacted both economically in terms of competitiveness and politically in terms of the GFA constitutional and institutional arrangements and the impact of a land border.

The EU has been a critical partner for peace providing political and financial aid and it is crucial that we maintain this relationship.

Brexit now demands that the Irish Government reshapes future foreign policy both with Britain and the EU itself. The withdrawal of Britain presents an opportunity to now Reform the EU, including the strengthening of the role of smaller Member States within it.

 

Louth Sinn Féin Ask for Public Help to Identify Vacant Houses

With the housing crisis in County Louth at critical point Sinn Féin have launched a new campaign targeting vacant and abandoned homes and are asking the public to get involved.

Dundalk Councillor Kevin Meenan said “There are over 1,100 families on the housing list in the Dundalk area alone as at the end of December with another 704 on the transfer list. It is heart breaking to have vacant or abandoned properties lying idle while there are families in need of a home.”

“What we are asking the public to do is if you know of a vacant/abandoned property in your area or community, please let us know and we can pass the information onto the relevant department in Louth County Council. The Council can attempt to take possession of the property through a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) and hopefully it will become a home for one of these families.”

“The area will also benefit as vacant/abandoned properties can detract from a community. They can give a ‘run-down’ look to an area and attract vermin or anti-social elements.”

If you know of a vacant/abandoned property in your area please email the full address to:

LouthVacantProperties@gmail.com

Cllrs Joanna Byrne and Pearse McGeough will be leading the same campaign in Drogheda and Mid-Louth respectively