Homeless crisis in Louth deepens – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has described the homelessness figures for June as “deeply disturbing and evidence of a government and of a Housing Minister failing to properly address the crisis in housing and homelessness.”

Teachta Adams said:

“Minister Eoghan Murphy has now been in office for a full year. Despite claims of progress the housing figures for last month are evidence of a Minister failing to do his job.
 
Last June there were 115 homeless adults in the North East region of whom 110 were in Louth. There were 14 families and 40 children.

12 months later the number of homeless in the North East region has jumped to 129, of whom 125 are in Louth. There are now 24 families and 54 children.

This is a significant increase which would have been greater but for the Minister’s instruction to Councils to exclude some categories of homeless on spurious grounds.

Across the state there are now 9,872 homeless persons – an increase of almost two thousand on this time last year.

June has seen increases in the numbers of families and children accessing emergency accommodation in Louth and in the state.

The reality is that without the right kind of action this crisis is not going to end. The government, for example, should move to amend the Residential Tenancies Act to prevent buy-to-let landlords who benefit from tax breaks from issuing vacant possession notices to quit when selling a property.” 
 

Cllr Anne Campbell Calls for Optimisation of Surgical Beds

Sinn Féin held the second of their monthly hospital protests on Friday, this time highlighting the need for more surgical beds in Louth County Hospital.

Councillor Anne Campbell who led the protest said “we plan to be here each month until Louth Hospital starts to serve the people of Dundalk to its full potential.”

The protest which was attended by Gerry Adams TD, Cllrs Pearse McGeough and Ruairí Ó Murchú was highlighting the need for surgical beds. “At present, there are eight surgical beds in a day ward that are only doing very routine procedures. These beds are not always in use and are only available from 9am until about 4pm. Sinn Féin is calling for the use of these beds to be optimised and used 24hrs per day even if it’s only Monday to Friday. This would involve the presence of a clinician. At the minute, if there are any complications with a minor day procedure, the patient is ferried by ambulance to Drogheda where they will obviously be left on a trolley until they are seen, adding to the already overburdened workload at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.”

Cllr Campbell said “there are a number of very simple things that could happen at the Louth Hospital to ease the pressure on Drogheda and also ease the burden on patients in the Dundalk area and this is only one of them. We need to tackle the spiralling waiting lists in Louth and opening up these beds would certainly be a good start.”

In the meantime, Cllr Campbell who has been keeping the Minor Injuries Unit age reduction issue very firmly in the public eye has said she is waiting ‘impatiently for September’. Cllr Campbell is determined to hold the Minister to his promise of an age reduction of those being treated for minor injuries to 5 years from 14 years. Despite promises made by the Minister almost 2 years ago, it hasn’t happened yet and the date for implementation has been postponed a number of times. The latest date given to Cllr Campbell is September. “It would be so much easier for families with younger children if they could visit their local hospital with minor injuries instead of having to go to Drogheda Hospital and again, it would ease the burden on Drogheda. This is a very simple thing to do and I’m not letting the Minister of the hook here. I am waiting impatiently for September.”

The Dundalk South Councillor also promised to be at the hospital gates again next month and has invited people to join her on Friday 31st August at 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Cllr Antoin Watters Incensed by ‘Dirty Dumpers’

Hundreds of tyres were dumped

Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has hit out at what he describes as ‘dirty dumpers’ following the latest incident of illegal dumping of tyres, this time along the main stretch of motorway just before Junction 20 north of Dundalk, at the old customs weigh bridge.

Cllr Watters said “I got a call early on Saturday morning to say there was a pile of tyres dumped along the side of the motorway. I went to see for myself and to be honest was expecting maybe half a dozen or so and was hoping they would be easily spotted because of the rain. I had no trouble finding them. There was a massive load of hundreds of tyres blatantly dumped on the side of the motorway road.”

Cllr Watters who has been faced with this issue in his area on multiple occasions since

Cllr Antóin Watters

the new year said “to say I was incensed is an understatement. I was speechless. It is like Groundhog Day but this time they didn’t even bother to hide up a mountain road, they pulled up along a busy motorway and they had to have had a truck of some kind.”

“With a heavy heart I contacted Gardaí, the Council and Motorway Maintenance. Somebody must have seen something. I am asking everyone to please try and recall if you were driving along that stretch of the motorway last night if you saw a lorry or truck pulled in. Please check your dashcams, you never know, maybe you were driving behind a truck last night carrying tyres. I have asked Gardaí to check any CCTV along that route, be it from businesses or the motorway itself.”

Last month Councillor Watters had a motion before the Council calling for Cross Border co-operation with Newry, Mourne and Down Council on this very issue. “These people are using the border to their advantage and that needs to be addressed. We need a cross border joined up solution to this cross border problem.”

Tyres dumped along the busy motorway

Next month, Councillor Watters has a further motion on waste disposal to initiate a billboard/advertising campaign to raise awareness on the dangers of using non-licensed waste collectors. “The dumping of heavy duty waste has become rampant in this part of the county and I believe it is from the same small number of criminals, and that is what they are.”

Cllr Watters warned “this issue will be resolved, I am not letting the beautiful part of north Louth become a rubbish tip and Cllr Mickey Larkin in Slieve Gullion is fighting the same battle on his side of the border. It’s time for investment into this problem before it’s too late. It’s not good enough to spend money cleaning up after these dumpers, we need to take a pro-active approach to this and stop citing economics as a reason to do little or nothing.”

“In the meantime, if anyone has any information or has seen anything no matter how insignificant you may think it is, please contact Dundalk Gardaí on 042 93 88 400”

The tyres were set alight (Pic courtesy of LMFM)

 

UPDATE: On Saturday night/Sunday morning, the tyres were set alight and fire crews were called. They managed to control the blaze and were able to prevent it from spreading.

Adams Meets Loughs Agency

Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has met with the chief executive and staff of the Loughs Agency along with Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú and Matt Carthy MEP. 

The meeting, which took place in Carlingford on Friday 27th July, had a number of objectives as Deputy Adams outlines;
“The Loughs Agency was established in 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

“It is a cross border body with a remit for the promotion and development of Lough Foyle and lands surrounding it in Donegal and Derry and for Carlingford Lough and it’s hinterland in Louth and Down. 

“The remit of the Loughs Agency is the development of these areas in terms of marine aquaculture, conservation and promotion and I was heartened to hear of the team of scientists who monitor and manage fish stocks in the Loughs.

“The Loughs Agency has identified the challenges and opportunities which Brexit has presented for them and I have pledged to work with the Loughs Agency to assist in the development of the agency. ‘

Sinn Féin Louth Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú added;

“The Loughs Agency Chief Executive has indicated issues with office premises and storage facilities in the Carlingford area.

“I have committed to raising this with Louth County Council to find appropriate space in the Peninsula to enable the Agency to develop to its full potential in Louth and promote this county as much as possible.”

Minister for Justice failing to tackle crime – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams commenting on recent statistics from the Central Statistics Office on recorded crime said:

“The CSO recently released its recorded crime statistics for the first three months of this year. The statistics reveal a depressing increase in all crime categories, except murder.

Because of significant concerns about the accuracy of the statistics being recorded by the Garda’s PULSE database it was only decided to release these figures under the category of ‘Statistics Under Reservation’. In other words, the Garda figures cannot be trusted as accurate. This is scandalous.
There is also a widespread belief that the CSO figures underestimate the real level of crime.

The Recorded Crime statistics for Q1 2018 reveals that from sexual offences to assaults, harassment, burglary, fraud and theft there has been a dramatic increase across every category of crime.

Rural communities in Louth are especially vulnerable to burglary and theft. I have attended meetings in the past in the Cooley and Castlebellingham areas where local residents spoke of their experience of being burgled.

In the first three months of this year there were almost 19,000 burglaries, and almost 70,000 thefts across the state, an increase of 8% over last year. There were over six thousand fraud and deception offences – an increase of 16% on 2017.

It is unacceptable that the Garda statistics on crime are so inaccurate that the Central Statistics Office will only publish them with a serious health warning. I have written to the Minister for Justice asking how long he expects this disgraceful situation to continue and when can we expect the public to be given accurate crime statistics?”