Adams welcomes High Court decision to back GSOC in Omeath case

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the decision by the High Court to instruct the Special Criminal Court to hand over transcripts of proceedings before the Special Criminal Court relating to Adrian Crevan Mackin who shot dead Garda Tony Golden in October 2015.

Teachta Gerry Adams said:

“Crevan Mackin shot dead Garda Tony Golden in October 2015. He also shot and grievously wounded Siobhan Philips, before killing himself.

Crevan Mackin was previously arrested in January 2015 in possession of explosives and firearms, which he admitted. He was not charged with these offences but instead with an offence he had denied. He was granted bail in the Special Criminal Court.

I have raised my concerns about the manner in which Adrian Crevan Mackin was dealt with by the Garda, the many offences which he admitted to but he was not charged with, the low bail that was set, and his access to other weapons, with the Minister for Justice and An Taoiseach.  

In April the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) agreed to initiate a public interest investigation into these matters after I wrote to it and presented it with papers that I had received relating to the case.

At the time I gave these papers to the investigating officer in the Garda, to GSOC, to the former and current Taoiseach and to the former and current Minister of Justice.

The decision by the Special Criminal Court to refuse to hand over to GSOC the transcripts of proceedings involving Crevan Mackin was incomprehensible. That one part of the justice system would refuse to cooperate with another is a matter of grave concern.

Public accountability and public confidence in the rule of law and the institutions of policing and justice are essential. GSOC should never have been forced to go to the High Court”.

Louth faces environmental threats – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called for urgent action from the government to “end the environmental and health threat that faces thousands of citizens in Louth at risk from the discharge of raw sewage and the non-compliance of EU regulations in the treatment of urban waste water”.

Teachta Adams said:

“The recently published Urban Waste Water Treatment in 2017 report by the Environmental Protection Agency makes depressing reading.

The government and Irish Water are failing to meet their commitments on investment in water treatment. 13 years after the final deadline to meet treatment standards there are still 28 towns and cities in this state, one of which is Omeath, discharging inadequately treated sewage. The EPA warned that this is “putting our health at risk and is having an impact on our rivers, lakes and coastal waters.” This amounts to raw sewage from the equivalent of 88,000 people in 38 towns and villages flowing into the environment.

According to the EPA report there are 132 urban areas where improvements are needed to resolve environmental priorities. Seven of these are in Louth at Ardee, Blackrock, Castlebellingham, Dundalk, Dunleer, Omeath and Tallanstown.

In addition, there are 28 large urban areas that have failed to meet the EU’s legally binding standards for the treatment of urban waste water. Ardee and Blackrock failed the secondary treatment requirements, while Dundalk failed the more stringent treatment requirements.

The EPA also identified 57 areas across the state where waste water discharges are the sole significant pressure on water bodies at risk of pollution and not meeting their environmental objectives. Five such areas are impacted in Louth. These are Inner Dundalk Bay, Gldye, Castletown Estuary, White at Dunleer and the Glyde at Tallanstown.

The fact is that the government’s short and long term strategies for providing a safe environment and clean water is failing to deliver for many citizens.

More resources are urgently needed to target those areas which are currently not meeting basic environmental standards.

Progress requires increased investment in and delivery of major capital infrastructure. There also needs to be a substantial improvement in how the existing treatment systems are managed and maintained. This is a government that must do better for the people of Louth and of the state.”
 

Adams calls on Government to support Dundalk workers

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams speaking in the Dáil has expressed his grave concern at the impact of the closure of the Authentic Food Company on the almost 200 workers employed there. The workers have received “no notice pay, no P45, no reference, and no redundancy payment. They will receive no wages during the 30 day consultation period or the two week notice period. This means that families with mortgages and other financial bills will have no money for six weeks.”

Gerry Adams TD called on the Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty to “take urgent action to ensure that workers from the Authentic Food Company have access to social welfare”.

Teachta Adams also urged the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphrey’s “to investigate whether the closure of this business was a tactical insolvency by the British based company, and what steps she is taking to ensure that either a new buyer is found for the plant or the workforce is reemployed as quickly as possible.”

On Wednesday Gerry Adams TD met with the Liquidator, spoke to Enterprise Ireland and met with representatives of the UNITE union.

Speaking in the Dáil Gerry Adams said:

“I first wrote to the company on 21 September having been contacted by workers and their representatives about rumours that Authentic Food was closing. The company did not respond to my initial correspondence or to representations from Sinn Féin Councillors Ruairí Ó Murchú and Anne Campbell.

Instead on 19 October the company went to the High Court. Staff at Authentic Foods then received notice that the company was allegedly insolvent and unable to pay wages,

The Managing Director of Authentic Foods, Nik Basran, claims that the management carried out a comprehensive review of the business to try and find a way to make it profitable over the long term but he said this was not possible.

The Minister has a responsibility to ask what type of review is it that excludes the workers’ representatives, that refuses to engage directly with UNITE. What kind of review is it that can be manipulated by employers so that these workers have no notice pay, no P45, no reference, and no redundancy payment. This is very calculated. It is sharp practice.

Will the Minister give the Dáil a commitment that she will investigate whether this is a tactical insolvency? We need to establish if the British based Authentic Food Company deliberately wound down the Dundalk plant.

The work force has been treated shamefully. They can’t access social welfare. I would urge the Minister for Social Protection to use her discretion to ensure that workers get their social welfare payments as soon as possible.

I would ask the Minister for Enterprise to do everything possible to have this workforce reemployed as quickly as possible. The government needs to make it very clear that it does not countenance companies refusing to talk to trade unions in situations involving a restructuring or a closure.

There is also an urgent need to prevent liquidations being used in a tactical manner to the advantage of the companies and the disadvantage of workers, their families and community.

Let me remind the Dáil that Sinn Féin has already introduced a Bill that would give trade unions “the right to be heard” in matters of industrial relations – the 2018 Trade Union Representation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2018

We have also had a bill passed at second stage that would address the issue of tactical insolvencies – the 2016 Protection of Employees (Collective Redundancies) Bill.

Despite the fact that it was passed unanimously by the Dáil at second stage the government decided to block it from going to third stage committee via a money message. I ask the government to ensure government support for this Bill.”

Dundalk workers treated shamefully – Adams

Louth TD Gerry Adams this morning met with the Liquidators appointed on Friday in relation to the closure of the Authentic Food Company in Dundalk.

Mr. Adams also spoke to Enterprise Ireland and held a meeting with UNITE this afternoon.

The Louth TD, along with party colleague Imelda Munster, will be raising this issue later this afternoon in the Dáil with the Minister responsible under Topical Issues.

Gerry Adams said:

“I first wrote to the company on 21 September having been contacted by workers and their representatives about rumours that Authentic Food was closing. The company did not respond to my initial correspondence or to representations from Sinn Féin Councillors Ruairí Ó Murchú and Anne Campbell.

Instead last Friday the company went to the High Court, a Liquidator was appointed and staff were told that the company was insolvent and unable to pay wages”.

The Louth TD has accused the Company of treating the workforce shamefully. As a result, and on the cusp of Christmas they are “caught in a limbo. Technically they are still in the employment of the company though they will not be paid a wage. They can’t get their P45 to secure alternative employment, and they can’t access social welfare.

The Minister for Social Protection must use her discretion to ensure that workers get their social welfare payments as soon as possible.”

Concluding Teachta Adams said:

“The Minister must do everything possible to have this workforce reemployed as quickly as possible. She also has to take steps to prevent liquidations being used in a tactical manner for the benefit of a company and to the disadvantage of workers, their families and community”.

Cllr Watters Calls For Cross Border Approach to Deal With Boy-Racers

Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has called for a cross border approach to deal with the on-going problem of ‘boy racers’ in the North Louth / South Armagh area.

Cllr Watters said “everyone has the right to go about their daily business without fear and this nuisance is causing fear. I have received numerous complaints from people in the community about this behavior which appears to be pre-planned events by the boy racers.”

Cllr Watters has been liaising closely with his Sinn Féin colleague in the north, Liz Kimmons who this week welcomed a commitment from the PSNI to tackle the scourge on the north side of the border. However, Cllr Watters feels that needs to be built on. “It is great that the PSNI have taken a pro-active approach in this but the reality is that when these people are stopped their racing in that area, they are going to just rearrange to race in North Louth so we need to have a joined up approach in dealing with the issue rather than allow it to move from one jurisdiction to the other.”

Cllr Watters has requested a joint meeting with An Garda Siochaná and the PSNI, together with Cllr Liz Kimmons and it is hoped several issues relating to these boy racers will be addressed.

“When these boy racers congregate there are a number of things that happen; the noise alone is very disruptive to residents in the area and as these are regular events it has the effect of making people nervous or afraid to leave their homes; the cars are causing an obstruction on the road and other motorists are being forced to try and manoeuver their way through them. I have received a complaint from a female driver in particular who was driving alone and felt very uncomfortable and was quite shaken as she arrived on the scene on her route home. That is not good enough.”

“This is anti-social behavior and an infringement on people just going about their daily business. This behavior is a danger to pedestrians, householders and drivers alike. We need to all work together to tackle this scourge before it escalates even further and ends up in tragedy.”