Cllr Antóin Watters: End to Waste Plant Proposals on Carlingford Lough ‘a Huge Relief’

Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has welcomed the withdrawal of the application for a waste plant for hazardous waste which would have been sited on the shores of Carlingford Lough.

Concerns were raised when the application was submitted for Warrenpoint Harbour and last week Cllr Watters had asked that the plans be made available in Dundalk so that concerned residents and stakeholders on this side of the Lough would have access to them and be able to submit any concerns they may have had.

Cllr Watters said “it is a huge relief that following pressure from community groups and environmental activists and concerns raised by Chris Hazzard MP and myself, Warrenpoint Harbour took the decision not to allow the waste facility on its site.”

“Regen Waste then later confirmed that they were withdrawing the application and are ‘no longer advancing plans for such a facility in Warrenpoint Harbour.’ This is a huge relief to all those who value the delicate ecosystem in and around Carlingford Lough.”

Cllr Byrne: Decision not to collect plastics in Louth should be reversed

Following a decision by Louth County Council officials to cease collection of plastics at Bring Centres across Louth, elected Representatives who were not party to the decision, debated the issue for over an hour at this morning’s Council meeting.

Sinn Féin Cllr Joanna Byrne brought an emergency motion to the chamber asking that “Louth County Council reverse their decision to cease collecting plastics from their bring banks, effective immediately.”

The motion was supported by all the Councillors present from all parties and unanimously supported. Almost all the councillors spoke on the issue, raising their concerns and questioning the logic behind the decision.

The Director of Services explained that most Local Authorities have in fact ceased the collection of plastics with the intention of providing additional capacity for glass and can collections.

Following the decision Cllr Joanna Byrne said “we are told to recycle, we are encouraged to recycle and yet they place obstacles in the way of recycling plastic. We were told today that it costs €136,000 pa for this service and people should recycle ‘responsibly’. Surely that’s what people are trying to do by bringing their plastics to the bring banks.”

Cllr Bryne also said “the Green Party Cllr Mark Dearey pointed out to the Chief Executive that this decision was a serious breach of the regional waste management strategy but M/s Martin told him that the strategy didn’t specifically mention bring banks.”

Following the passing of the motion, Chief Executive Joan Martin said “I have listened to the members and took on board their points but as of now I am not prepared to reverse the decision.”

Cllr Byrne said “What is the point of having a waste management strategy if the Council doesn’t support its ethos and takes decisions which will in effect increase fly-tipping as people have nowhere to bring their plastics. The Chief Executive is assuming that people have cars or transport to travel to the recycling centres in Louth and have the money to pay the entrance fees. People are using their green bins responsibly but putting plastics into them will take up room in them and add to the weight which in turn will lead to additional fees on the household.”

All bring banks have ceased collections of plastics from this morning.

Delays in Affordable Housing Scheme is compounding housing crisis – Imelda Munster TD

Sinn Féin TD for Louth, Imelda Munster, has today called on the government to set up an Affordable Housing Scheme as a matter as a priority. The last government announced the scheme in Budget 2016, however it has yet to be set up.

“The state has completely reneged on its duties to provide secure and affordable housing. The homelessness crisis is a national emergency, a fact that the government has not recognised. More families and individuals than ever are homeless.”

“Young people and those on low and middle incomes cannot afford to buy homes. Meanwhile, the private rental sector is seriously under-regulated and only benefiting landlords as tenants are priced out of the market.”

“In my own constituency of Louth and East Meath housing waiting lists have spiralled, with many families waiting up to nine years for a house. There is a chronic shortage of affordable private rental accommodation and the government has yet to open the Affordable Housing Scheme, despite making a commitment to do so two years ago.”

“The government is paying lip service to the housing crisis. They need to fund a proper social housing programme, and to allow those who wish to purchase their own home to do so under an Affordable Housing Scheme rather than relying on the dysfunctional private rental market.”

Cllr Flood: Inoperable CCTV a major cause for concern

Speaking after the quarterly Local Policing Forum Meeting in Drogheda, Chairperson and Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood said that confirmation that the CCTV of the RAPID areas was ‘inoperable’ was a major cause for concern.

Cllr Flood said “The CCTV outside of the town centre is a vital tool in fighting anti-social behaviour, wider criminality and illegal dumping. In recent weeks I have been in touch with the council asking for them to review the CCTV to help fight dumping/fly-tipping. This evening, it was confirmed to me that it was in fact ‘inoperable'”.

“Although we were assured that the system was under review we have not been given a date for the conclusion of that review nor indeed when the CCTV will be operable again”.

“This is simply not acceptable and I will be pursuing the council to finish their review in a timely manner, repair and reactivate the CCTV in Drogheda.”

Cllr Antóin Watters Seeks Warrenpoint Waste Facility Application to be made available in Louth

Plans to put a hazardous waste facility in Warrenpoint, Co Down on the shores of Carlingford Lough has caused concern on both sides of Carlingford Lough.

ReGen Waste plans to develop a new waste management facility in Warrenpoint Harbour but given the delicate ecosystem in Carlingford Lough, unprecedented interest has understandably been sparked.

Cllr Antóin Watters who represents the Dundalk Carlingford area said “I have been approached by a number of constituents who have expressed concern that the plans for this facility were being advanced behind closed doors and away from public eyes. Following contact with our newly elected MP for the South Down area, Chris Hazzard, ReGen Waste representatives assured him that there will be a comprehensive community consultation process taking place over the summer ‘to ensure full transparency around this project and to give stakeholders an opportunity to have any concerns around this proposal addressed.’ I welcome that confirmation.”

“Chris Hazzard MP has called on the people in his area to scrutinize these plans and I am calling on people from North Louth to do the same. In order to help facilitate that scrutiny, I have today asked ReGen Waste to make a copy of the application available to Louth County Council so they can make it available for viewing in Dundalk.”

Chris Hazzard MP

“Given the delicate environmental setting of Warrenpoint Harbour on Carlingford Lough, we need to be very careful and wary of the development of anything that would be detrimental to that.”

Cllr Watters welcomed the fact that the “licence application for this project has been made available to the public in Warrenpoint Town Hall from Monday 10th July. I hope to update the public in Louth as to when it will be available in Dundalk. I would urge as many as possible from North Louth to study this application and I also call on Louth County Council to be very familiar with it as well.”

“We expect that as time goes on this project will attract interest from environmental campaigners from further afield but it is of the utmost importance that local people on both sides of the Lough are familiar with the project and any concerns they have are addressed.”