Cllr Ó Murchú Urges People to Support Palestinian Child Prisoners

Dundalk Sinn Féin will hold an awareness/solidarity protest at the Market Square in Dundalk on Saturday 17th February at 1pm to highlight the plight of Palestinian child prisoners that are being held in Israeli detention.

Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú said “every year there are approximately 500-700 Palestinian children detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system. Some of these children are as young as twelve and the most common charge levied against them is stone throwing and three out of every four children experience physical violence through their arrest, transfer or interrogation. For a child convicted of stone throwing, the potential maximum sentence they face is 10 – 20 years depending on their age.”

Cllr Ó Murchú is asking everyone to attend the protest on Saturday 17th February and show their support for these children.

As of December 2017 there were 350 Palestinian children in detention and interestingly, not one Israeli child has ever come before this military court system.

16 year old Ahed Tamimi under arrest

Cllr Ó Murchú said “among these 350 Palestinian children that are currently being held is a young lady called Ahed Tamimi. Just before Christmas Ahed’s cousin 15 year old Mohammed Tamimi was shot at close range with a plastic bullet fired by an Israeli

15 year old Mohammed Tamimi

soldier. The bullet entered his skull leaving Mohammed in an induced coma and facing a seven hour operation.  About an hour later a very brave 16 year old Ahed Tamimi challenged heavily armed Israeli troops that were on her family’s land and slapped one of them. Ahed Tamimi was arrested and is in custody awaiting a military trial. If convicted she faces between 10 – 14 years in an Israeli prison. Ahed turned 17 a couple of weeks ago.”

“We are asking everyone to look at their own children, imagine if that was happening here in Dundalk. Imagine you had no voice to cry out against the injustice of it. Come to the Market Square on Saturday 17th February and show your support for Ahed and all the children that are being held. We need to be their voice.”

Cllr Ó Murchú also called on the Irish Government to “implement the Oireachtas decision taken in 2014 to recognise the State of Palestine and to upgrade the Palestinian Mission in Dublin to that of a full Embassy. If we are to make a meaningful change to what is happening in the Middle East then Governments need to speak up as do the international community.

Cllr Kenneth Flood: In the Dark on Street Lighting

At this month’s Drogheda Borough Council meeting, Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood raised the issue of the number of street lights that were out of order.

Cllr. Flood said “As I go about my business in Drogheda, be it on the school run or just going to the shops I always note out of order street lights and report them to Airtricity to repair. They have an online street map facility where you can see the exact streetlight that you are reporting and you just click on it. Airtricity are contractually obliged to repair the streetlight within 10 working days and up to now, I had always found them to be quick and efficient in their repairs.

But the reason Cllr Flood was raising the issue at the Council meeting was that he “noticed that street lights I reported as out in January had not been repaired within the usual ten day time frame. I contacted Airtricity directly to query this and was told that there was a nationwide shortage of a particular type of bulb and that they had made Louth County Council aware of this late last year.”

Councillor Flood asked for clarification on this matter at the Council meeting and the Council confirmed to him that they had indeed been briefed along these lines and informed Cllr Flood that Airtricity are actually phasing out this particular type of bulb over the next two years.

Cllr Flood said “This means that Louth County Council will have to go to the expense of replacing certain lamps with newer, more efficient LED Lamps.  Both Louth County Council and Airtricity officials have assured me that no light will be left unrepaired and that it should happen in the usual ten day time frame.  However, this is a transitional period and unfortunately I have already seen lights being left unrepaired for much longer than the usual time frame. I have followed up on any I have noticed, to have them repaired.”

The Sinn Féin Councillor urged any member of the public who notices a streetlight out and feels it needs attention, “please contact us so we can chase it up with the relevant authorities”.

The website for reporting out of order street lights is: www.airtricitysolutions.com

In conclusion Cllr. Flood said “Public representatives should have been briefed on this when Airtricity contacted the council last year.  I don’t know whose bright idea it was to leave us in the dark about this transition but it shouldn’t happen again.”