Transport discrimination for disabled, form of apartheid – Munster

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD has urged the government to commit to improving public transport for people with disabilities, in order to put an end to the ongoing discrimination experienced by disabled passengers.

She was speaking during a Sinn Féin Private Members bill which called on the government to  to undertake the ratification of the Optional Protocol of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities so that no longer will people with disabilities be denied access to the key mechanism for address and redress of the denial of their rights under the Convention.

Deputy Munster said:

“The government previously gave a commitment to ratify both the Convention and the Optional Protocol. They have now reneged on ratifying the Optional Protocol, which gives people with disabilities access to the mechanism for the redress of the denial of their rights under the Convention”.

“There are over 650,000 people in this state living with a disability. Most of this number rely on public transport to access work, healthcare and social and community activities”.

“Currently disabled people travelling on coaches or trains have to plan journeys days in advance. They have to deal with unmanned train stations, bus stops that are unsuitable for ramps and lifts and coaches which are inaccessible due to stairs.”

“It is unacceptable that prior notice for travel is still required.”

“These problems are easily remedied, but that requires political will and funding from government”.

“At my constituency clinics in Louth and East Meath I regularly deal with cases where people are left at the side of the road, or on platforms, because transport providers let them down. It’s humiliating for the people involved, but it’s the state and the NTA who should be ashamed of themselves”.

“This has been described by disability activists as a form of apartheid. There is a separation of rights, and disabled people have been left out in the cold”.

“The government claims it is in favour of people with disabilities having equal access to work and participation. If they are serious about this they need to prove that by addressing the ongoing issues that are currently having a detrimental effect on the day to day lives of people with disabilities”.

Cllr Joanna Byrne: Dismay at Drogheda Losing Yet Another Car Park

Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has today condemned the Local Authority for their plans to remove yet another public carpark in Drogheda.

A recent announcement was made by Louth County Council that they intend to take possession back of the previous O’Reilly’s unit on Narrow West to facilitate the relocation of council staff from Fair St for the duration of the redevelopment of the Council Office’s.

Following this Cllr Byrne sought clarification from the Local Authority as to what this meant for the 40+ public car-parking spaces at the rear of this building, only to be told that this will be used for staff parking.

Cllr Byrne has expressed her utter dismay at this decision.

She says “The decision to close another carpark in the centre of the town in the coming months has been made with no regard to the people of this town who use it, and no regard for the implications of the same to the trade in the town. This carpark is

40+ Car Park spaces are to be taken over by the local authority for staff parking

specifically central to Doctor’s, Dentist’s and Pharmacies, and is also the closest carpark to West St, the main thoroughfare of the town. Parking is already a nightmare in Drogheda at the best of times, never mind the chaos that is currently ensuing over the parking bye-laws debacle, and now this. It is simply unacceptable, especially considering the O’Reilly’s building was originally bought for the purpose of parking, which of course never transpired.”

Cllr Byrne has already expressed her dissatisfaction about this decision to The Director of Corporate Services for Louth County Council and will be raising this further at the next sitting of The Municipal District of Drogheda.

Cllr Joanna Byrne: Comply with Housing Needs Assessment

Sinn Féin Councillor and Chairperson of The Housing Strategic Policy Committee Joanna Byrne is urging all applicant’s on Louth County Council’s housing waiting list to comply with the upcoming housing needs assessment due to be carried out by the Local Authority.

Louth County Council will write to applicants who were qualified on the social housing waiting list with Louth County Council prior to 21st April 2017.  Households that have been included on a Council Transfer List and those in accommodation provided under RAS or HAP will not be required to update their files and, therefore, will not receive any correspondence in this regard.

Housing list applicants who receive this letter will be asked to complete a form, provide documentary evidence of any changes in their circumstances and return this information to Louth County Council.  The information provided by each applicant will be reassessed under the Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011 (as amended) taking into consideration the applicant’s eligibility and need.
The completed form and all relevant supporting documentation must be returned to Louth County Council before  close of business on Friday, 13th April 2018.
If you fail to return the completed form and all supporting documentation within the specified timeframe, your application for social housing support will be terminated.
Cllr Byrne said: “The last Housing Needs Assessment which took place in 2016 saw 1241 applicants cases closed, some due to change of circumstances but 752 of these were due to people NOT returning the forms. All their waiting time on the list gone, for not filling out a form. I am urging anyone and everyone who gets these forms to promptly return them along with any documentation required. Do not allow yourself end up in that position. I cannot stress enough how important this is.”
If you have any queries regarding completion of the form or the supporting documentation required, please contact Louth County Council on 1890 202 303 or email hau@louthcoco.ie

Cllr Flood Warns of Bogus Callers in Termon Abbey Area

Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has issued a warning to residents about a bogus caller claiming to be contracted by Louth County Council.

Cllr Flood, who is also Chairperson of the Drogheda Joint Policing Committee, said “I was contacted by residents in Termon Abbey about a man dressed in black, in his thirties,  claiming to be from Louth County Council. He called to their doors after 8pm on Wednesday and again on Friday afternoon claiming he needed to access their house as Louth County Council were going to replace their boilers”

Cllr Flood explained “the residents who contacted me were wary of him as these were privately owned houses and not local authority homes. He was fairly insistent that he needed to see the heating clock by the boiler as that was what he was going to replace.”

“Thankfully the residents I spoke to sent the man away, but others may not have been so lucky.  I contacted the director of services for housing to confirm if there were any Louth County Council contractors in Termon Abbey looking to replace boilers in private houses. He confirmed there were not.”

Kenneth Flood is warning residents of Termon Abbey and all surrounding areas that “this guy knocking doors in Termon Abbey is a bogus caller. Both I and Louth County Council have informed the Gardaí and they are investigating.”

The Drogheda Councillor is urging all residents “to take extra care when opening your door and please keep a particular eye on elderly or vulnerable neighbours who may be having work done. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, genuine tradesmen will be happy enough to answer any queries and identify themselves. If you have any doubts then please contact the organisation they say they are representing and they should be able to confirm if they have tradesmen working in the area.”

Watermain Stress Testing Cause Residents’ Stress

Sinn Fein Councillor Kenneth Flood has slammed Louth County Council following two unannounced water outages on two consecutive days in the Newfoundwell/Termonfeckin Road area.

Councillor Flood said “In the early afternoons of Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st of March I was inundated with calls from residents of several estates asking why there was no water in the area. I contacted Irish Water to query this on both days and was told on both days that they had no information.”

Councillor Flood then proceeded to contact Louth County Council who informed him they were ‘aware of an issue and it would be resolved soon.’

Cllr Flood was told on the second day of the water outage “that contractors were stress testing the new water-main for the Newfoundwell/Termonfeckin Road area, but that the water was only supposed to be off for 15 minutes. This was not the case. Residents were without water for up to 5 hours and when supply did eventually return it was murky and undrinkable.”

Councillor Flood said “They must be detached from reality not to think of the thousands of residents who were plagued by water outages for years until the North Quay watermain was replaced. Their unannounced testing caused severe stress and concern among residents. I shared the information via social media and then spent hours phoning residents back to tell them what had happened. Again, a lack of information and communication from Louth County Council.”

Kenneth Flood had harsh words with Louth County Council about these unannounced water outages and told them “they must take heed that this situation cannot be allowed to occur again.”