Cllr Anne Campbell: Ard Dealgan Nightmare Coming to an End

It seems the Ard Dealgan nightmare is coming to end says Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Campbell. Following a request for an update at the monthly Council meeting, Cllr Campbell welcomed the news that “contractors are already on site at Ard Dealgan and work is beginning to bring the complex up to a standard where it will provide much-needed accommodation for 68 families.”

Cllr Campbell also explained “the expected time-frame is between 12-14 months. I understand the work will be done on a phased basis and it’s conceivable that people from the housing list could be in their new homes for Christmas next year.”

Ard Dealgan has been a magnet for anti-social behaviour since it was built and subsequently abandoned due to health and safety concerns in 2009. Nearby residents have been under siege as anti-social elements were attracted to the complex and have witnessed fire crews dealing with numerous fires at the Quay Street complex.

Cllr Campbell said “Ard Dealgan has been a nightmare for residents in the surrounding area. Sinn Féin have been lobbying on this issue for years as we have seen the complex abandoned, sold on to anonymous, faceless consortiums by NAMA and now eventually after all that, we can see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Councillor Anne Campbell said she would continue to monitor the progress and has called on the Project to ensure there is adequate security on site for the duration of these works. “We want everything to go according to plan. No more obstacles or hold ups.”

Cllr David Saurin: Louth County Council Putting Tenants in Arrears

Sinn Féin Councillor David Saurin has criticised Louth County Council for the delays in the processing of rent reviews and accused them of being responsible for putting some tenants into arrears.

Cllr Saurin said “I have been contacted by tenants of Louth County Council who through no fault of their own have been issued with large bills for rent arrears, in some cases running into thousands of euro. This is due to the fact that it can take up to twenty weeks from when a tenant submits a form for rent review to the case being processed. If that review then shows there should be an increase in their rent, it is being backdated 20 weeks and the tenant is handed a huge bill.”

“This delay means that Louth County Council is effectively responsible for putting their own tenants in arrears.”

Cllr David Saurin raised the issue at the last Drogheda Borough Council meeting and was reassured that this delay in processing submissions should be resolved in the first few months of the new year. However. “That is of little comfort to people who have received demands for rent arrears through the Council’s  own system failure, these notices of arrears have caused distress and anxiety to people who have done nothing wrong, in fact who have tried to do the right thing.”

Cllr Saurin said “I asked at the Drogheda Borough meeting that the Council act to reassure those who they’ve caused to go into arrears that their cases will be dealt with favourably and with a large degree of understanding when it comes to resolving the issue of their arrears. Also to reassure people that it will not impact negatively on their rights or requirements as tenants.”

Cllr Flood Welcomes Joint Submission in Drogheda Port Public Consultation Process

Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has welcomed the passing of his council motion which will see the Borough District of Drogheda Councillors make a joint submission to the forthcoming public consultation process on Drogheda Port.

Cllr Flood said “At the Oireachtas Transport Committee, Imelda Munster TD sought answers from the incoming Chairman of Drogheda Port, Dr Joseph Hiney. The questions centred around on the Port Company’s future and on the issues surrounding it in Drogheda. The answer to each question was that there would be a master plan and a public consultation process in the near future.”

Cllr Flood then explained that “The Port Company have now confirmed they are finalising an ‘Issues Paper’ for circulation to all the stakeholders of Drogheda Port and a public consultation process will follow early next year.”

Cllr Flood & Imelda Munster TD at Drogheda Port

The Drogheda Councillor who has been outspoken on this issue said “I have not seen many of the Councillors as animated in the past when we’ve discussed important issues for Drogheda. There is universal agreement that as Louth County Council is now a shareholder in the Port Company we must use this opportunity to try and resolve some of the serious and long-standing issues surround the Port in Drogheda: the car parking regime: the neglect of Donors Green and the buildings on the North Strand: the lack of a formal system of consultation with local representatives. These must all be addressed. We have not had this opportunity before and we must speak with a unified voice for Drogheda to resolve these issues.”

Cllr Kenneth Flood then thanked the Drogheda Councillors for supporting his Council motion and looks forward to “bringing the energy from the debate into the consultation process itself.”

Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú: Hard Border Brexit would be like the Germans rebuilding the Berlin Wall

Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has called on DUP voters, Unionist farmers and businesses to challenge and confront the DUP on their Brexit stance following the debacle on Monday which seen the Brexit negotiations deteriorate into a farce.

There appeared to be agreement to move forward but following a phone call between DUP leader Arlene Foster and British Prime Minister Teresa May, those plans were scuppered.

Cllr Ó Murchú said “The DUP are being reckless in their quest to copper fasten their Britishness. The north should not be removed from the Customs Union and the Single Market. It is hard to see a solution which works for the people of the border region and across Ireland other than the North remaining within the EU. Sinn Féin has consistently sought a Designated Special Status for the north within the European Union and this makes the most sense economically.”

The Louth Councillor went on to say “People will not accept the return of border installations to this part of Ireland. There can be no removal of the rights and protections contained within the Good Friday Agreement. Trade, healthcare and communities would be greatly impacted by a return of border checks and stops. Economic devastation to Co. Louth is the only guarantee of a Hard Border Brexit. A Hard Border Brexit would be as absurd as the Germans rebuilding the Berlin Wall.”

Cllr Ó Murchú called on the Irish government to remain firm on the issue of the border and is encouraging all those who live in Co Louth and beyond to attend a ‘go-slow’ protest at the border at Carrickarnon (just past the Carrickdale) on Saturday morning at 11am. There will be a mock customs post erected and people can see for themselves the absurdity and effects of a hard border.

Everyone is welcome.

 

Cllr Joanna Byrne: Lets Work Together to bring Rough Sleeper Count to Zero

At Monday’s meeting of the Drogheda Municipal District, Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne expressed her shock at the results of this years Rough Sleeper Count.

This count took place unannounced by Louth County Council at 2.30am on Wednesday 15th November in both Dundalk and Drogheda and no persons were found to be sleeping rough.

Following Cllr Byrne raising this issue at the start of the meeting and asking questions regarding the zero count, which sparked wide debate, Senior Executive Officer Aoife Lawlor confirmed to the meeting that she herself had participated in this Rough Sleeper count and she could categorically say that there was not one person sleeping rough on these streets between the hours of 2.30am and 5.30am.

Rough Sleepers in Drogheda earlier this year

Cllr Byrne says ” To be honest I am shocked at this result returning at a count of zero, most people in this room knows of somebody somewhere sleeping rough in this town, a small number of people it may be, but is still a number.

“My understanding of this rough sleeper count taking place in the first place is to get a clear assessment of the problem, understand the magnitude of it, and allow the local authority to make provisions to provide effective and safe accommodation to these people to help deal with the issue.

“A zero count on the night, in my view, does not portray a clear image of the situation.”

Cllr Byrne stressed that whilst she was shocked by the result she did not doubt the merits of it, but made the suggestion that perhaps the local authority should liaise with the public reps in each area in advance of future rough sleeper counts to be aware of the hotspots known to the members and to include them on their route going forward.

“Let us all share our knowledge and work together to try bring that number down from the handful it probably is, to a realistic zero.