At the June meeting of Louth County Council, Sinn Féin Cllr. Kenneth Flood tabled a motion requesting that further meetings should be broadcast or streamed online.
Cllr. Flood said “People often complain of a disconnect between politicians and the general public. However, it is not always feasible for citizens to attend council meetings where decisions are taken that can affect their daily lives. So let’s use modern technology and bring the meetings to them.”
Cllr Flood said “We are accountable to the public who pay our wages so it is only fitting they get to see what is happening in the chamber on their behalf. I believe that streaming council meetings will reconnect the Council with the population in Louth. To have transparency is never a bad thing.”
Councillor Flood received cross-party support for his motion and it will now move to the Corporate Policy Group who will examine how it can be implemented.
Dublin Council, Fingal and Dun Laoghaire Councils have been doing webcasts of their Council meetings for some time now so perhaps Louth County Council will be next.
Councillor Kenneth Flood has welcomed the cross Party support he received for his Cannabis Motion at this month’s Louth County Council meeting.
The text of the motion was:
“Louth County Council calls on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, to introduce legislation that will legalise the use of medicinal Cannabis in the treatment of patients with specified medical conditions which have failed to respond to all other previous treatments”
Speaking after the meeting Cllr Flood said “I welcome the support from all parties from all parts of the county. I was especially encouraged by the contributions made during the debate showing how well informed the contributors were on this issue. Now the motion has been passed the letter will go to Minister Harris outlining our support for this legislation and hopefully the Minister will stop dragging his feet on this issue.”
“We all know why this legislation is needed quickly thanks to the campaigning of Vera Twomey for her daughter Ava Twomney, who has a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome. This has brought many others forward to campaign for the medicines that can change their lives.”
The Medicinal Cannabis Bill was passed in the Dail in December 2016 and in March 2017 the HPRA that regulates medicines in Ireland recommended access to medicinal cannabis under a monitored, five-year programme, confined to a number of specific illnesses.
Cllr Flood commented “A dozen EU States have access programmes up and running already. It shouldn’t take the Minister this long to enact the legislation when there are several successful access programme templates that he can replicate. While the minister procrastinates, his hesitance to progress this legislation is driving people like Ava Twomey out of the country to access the cannabis based medicines that can change her quality of life.”
Cllr Flood called on the Minister to make those medicines available here as soon as possible.
Sinn Fein Republican Youth have outlined their concern at the low figures of staffing in the Community Health Organisation of which Louth is a part, following the report published yesterday by UNICEF that saw youth suicide rates in Ireland ranking fourth highest in the EU.
A spokesperson for SFRY said;
“A Vision for Change was a document that provided much hope for young people throughout this county; setting attainable benchmarks for the Government to reach regarding number of staff required to meet demand.
“Unfortunately in the CHO region for Louth only 57% of this figure has been realised. As of April there were 102 Child and Adolescent Mental Health staff employed in the region; with another 76 staff being required to fulfil the 178 recommended in Vision for Change.
“I know I speak for the young people of Louth when I say we feel we have been utterly failed by the services in the area; not because of the staff who do fantastic work, but rather the unwillingness by this Government and the one that went before it.
“Having lost friends to suicide, and knowing so many others who have lost loved ones, it’s frightening to think that what is in effect an epidemic, can be left on the backburner.
“Too many young lives are lost to suicide in Louth annually. We as young people must be protected by the services we require, and not be viewed as just another statistic in the local death notices.”
If anyone is feeling low or experiencing feelings of despair or thoughts which may lead to suicide, please phone one of the numbers below and speak to someone:
SOSAD 041 984 8754
Pieta House (Freephone) 1800 247 247
Text HELP to 51444
Samaritans (Freephone) 116 123
Remember, you are not alone!
At the end of last year, Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough welcomed the opening of the Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme (HAGS) for 2017. Each year a budget is allocated to this scheme which will adapt houses for the disabled or elderly.
Each year, the scheme opened, was flooded with applications and then closed again after a few short weeks. However, this year saw an extension to the submission period with the Scheme remaining open all year round.
Although welcoming the extension at the time, Cllr McGeough has since been left frustrated with the long periods of waiting time some of his constituents have been facing for these adaptations to take place.
He said “I have a lady who is in her late 80’s who made a submission for a small but essential adaptation to her bathroom in 2016. She was marked ‘Priority 1’ which is categorising her as ‘urgent’. 2016 has gone, 2017 applications are in and this lady has now been informed that her work should be carried out in 2018.”
“I raised it at the Ardee Municipal meeting and I reiterated my call at the Louth County Council this week, to apply to the Department for extra funding for this Scheme as there is not enough to meet the needs of Priority 1 cases and that is unacceptable. The Council have agreed to do so.”
“There is no point in opening the Scheme all year round, processing and passing applications only to leave them sitting in a pile somewhere because there is no budget to carry out the works.”
“The applications for this particular Scheme are from some of the most vulnerable in our community. The scheme is intended to make daily life better for those who need a bit of extra help with their physical needs. This could be anything from a downstairs bathroom to a more major refurbishment of their home. These adaptations need to be carried out in a timely manner and waiting two years is wholly unacceptable by anyone’s standards.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has called for Supermarkets to be more pro-active in collection and monitoring their shopping trolleys. This follows a clean-up of the Boyne River by the Boyne Fisherman’s River Rescue Group.
Raising the issue at this month’s Drogheda Municipal Council meeting, Cllr Flood said “I was astounded at the inordinate amount of shopping trolleys that the Group recovered from the Boyne in their recent clean up. I was even more astounded when I was informed that this was only three months’ worth recovered and that they hadn’t even finished yet”.
Praising the Boyne Fishermen’s River Rescue Group, Cllr Flood said they “do a tremendous service putting their lives on the line to rescue people and then go the extra mile doing a huge service to Drogheda by clearing the Boyne like this. There has to be a change in people’s mind sets. Dumping anywhere is unacceptable but dumping for the fun of it in The Boyne is inexcusable”.
“These trolleys are a serious underwater hazard for swimmers in the river and can also destroy the propellers on passing boats. It is estimated that over 1,000 trolleys have been removed from the river over the past six years.”
Cllr Flood called on Retailers to do more to secure their trolleys when they are closed.
“If this was a once in a while occurrence then it may seem unfair to point the finger at supermarkets but this is a daily occurrence and the supermarkets do not seem to be collecting trolleys at the end of each day from around the town. The Council will be writing to supermarkets to remind them of their obligation to secure their property and also to remind them of the fines they could face if they fail to do so.”