Cllr Tom Cunningham: ‘Lessons Have Not be Learned’

Sinn Féin councillor Tom Cunningham has found himself once again demanding extra bins for Clogherhead Beach as the good weather promises to bring people flocking to the area.

Overflowing bins at Clogherhead Beach

An angry Cllr Cunningham who hails from Clogherhead said “we had this problem last year and we have learned nothing. Once again, after just a few days of fine weather, we find ourselves with overflowing bins and inadequate recycling facilities.”

Clogherhead is a ‘Blue Flag’ beach and Cllr Cunningham pointed out that “under the environmental management section of the criterion it clearly states that ‘the beach should be clean’ and ‘waste disposal bins/containers must be available at the beach in adequate numbers and they must be regularly maintained.’ It also requests that ‘facilities for the separation of recyclable waste materials should be available at the beach.’ Take a look at what is left behind after a few days. Bins are overflowing onto the beach itself and recyclables are clearly not being separated as there is no facility for doing so. This is unforgivable.”

Cllr Cunningham said “we need better waste management; bins are emptied on a Monday and are filled to capacity and overflowing by a Friday. We need to have them emptied at least twice a week all year round with extra collections during the good weather and also have extra bins provided as well.”

Blue Flag encourages local authorities to promote recycling at its beaches but Cllr Cunningham questioned the Chief Executive’s commitment to this. “In July 2017, the Chief Executive took the inane decision to cease all plastic collection in bring banks at a time when we are fighting a losing battle against plastics in our oceans. On 10th May this year, Ireland declared a Climate and Biodiversity emergency. Louth County Council doesn’t even provide adequate bins on our Blue Flag beach. It is just crazy.”

Cllr Cunningham fears that the lack of an adequate waste management plan will jeopardise the Blue Flag. “We have a beautiful beach here and it is worthy of the Blue Flag but we need to maintain it. We look forward to welcoming visitors to Clogherhead but how can we advertise ourselves as exceptional when the beach is littered with rubbish. We need more bins, adequate recycling facilities and proper maintenance or emptying of those facilities or we are in danger of losing our valued Blue Flag and the fault for that will lie at the feet of the Chief Executive and the officials at Louth County Council.”

Cllr Flood: Drogheda Needs a Bigger Library

Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood is calling for an extension to the Drogheda Library on Stockwell Lane as it is now too small for a town of Drogheda’s size.

Cllr Flood said “During our recent canvass, parents and students have raised the issue of the library several times. Drogheda’s population has expanded significantly in the last 15 years but the library has not. Students who need a quiet place to study are arriving there in the morning to revise for exams only to find there are no places left for them to do so. It is exam season and students are stressed enough without having to forego the quiet library environment and return to a home where siblings may not appreciate that quiet is needed.”

Cllr Flood recalled “It’s over 20 years ago but as the seventh of nine children I remember the stress of the leaving cert and if I did not have a quiet spot in the library, I would not have had anywhere appropriate to revise. I have listened to both parents and students’ concerns about the size of the library in Drogheda and I am committed to pressure Louth County Council to either expand the size of the existing library or to open a second one in the town.”


Cllr Joanna Byrne: ‘Bring Our Merryweather Home’

This month’s council meeting of the Municipal District of Drogheda saw Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne table a motion calling for Louth County Council to source an indoor exhibition space to facilitate the return of The Merryweather Fire Engine. The fire engine is currently in storage in Dundalk and Cllr Byrne feels it would be better served here in the town as part of Drogheda’s proud history rather than allowing it to fall into a state of neglect.

Taking the floor on her motion Cllr Byrne stated that “the popular Green Machine is of historic importance to the town”. She reminded the chamber that during World War II (1941), together with an engine from Dundalk, The Merryweather from Drogheda responded to Belfast’s may-day call during the blitz.


Impassioned words from Cllr Byrne cited “Not only is this machine of historic importance to our town, but it is also of sentimental value to many Firefighters who served on this machine, children who watched their parents serve on this machine, and townspeople who took great pride in this machine, and still do.


The Merryweather before and after restoration in 2016

“The Merryweather was restored in recent years and for it to now be lying in somebody’s shed at the far end of this County is a crying shame! The Local Authority needs to source an indoor exhibition space, bring our Merryweather home, put in on proud display and let the Fire Service showcase it at events. Anything less would be dishonourable to the more recent history of Drogheda.”


In response to Cllr Byrne’s initial request, Louth County Council have sourced a protective breathable cover for The Merryweather whilst it remains in storage. They also replied “That this Council will commit to seeking an indoor exhibition space for The Merryweather Fire Engine in Drogheda and return it back to the town for display to the townspeople and the use of the Fire Service for events when required.” 


Cllr Byrne said “I will be monitoring this very closely and will not rest until The Merryweather is back where it belongs.”

Right to a home should be in Constitution – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams, speaking in the Dáil on his Bill [The Thirty Fifth Amendment to the Constitution (Right to a Home) Bill] to include the right to a home in the constitution accused the establishment parties of “not believing in the right of people to a home.”

Commenting on the government’s housing strategy Teachta Adams said; “No amount of fancy words, spin or plamás can disguise the government’s disastrous housing policy. By any measure the government has failed. You have failed families. You have failed families. You have failed pensioners. You have failed children.”

The former Sinn Féin leader also urged people to support the Raise the Roof demonstration in Dublin on Saturday.

Gerry Adams said:

“In January, with great pomp and ceremony in the Mansion House we marked the meeting of the First Dáil, and in particular the Democratic Programme of the Dáil. It’s worth recalling what the programme said on the issue of housing.

It said: “…we reaffirm that all right to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare.”

One hundred years later citizens in this state have no legal right to a home.

And James Connolly the great Irish revolutionary in 1899 predicted all of this. He wrote: “After Ireland is free, says the patriot who won’t touch socialism, if you won’t pay your rent you will be evicted same as now. But the evicting party, under command of the sheriff, will wear green uniforms and the Harp without the Crown, and the warrant turning you out on the roadside will be stamped with the arms of the Irish Republic.”

Today, the courts regard a lending institution as having superior rights over the occupier or home ‘owner’. Citizens and families in crisis have had no effective remedy through the courts.

In the Programme for Government it says that the government will be judged, and I quote; “in how we address the issues of housing and homelessness”. Out of your own mouths you are condemned. No amount of fancy words, spin, or plamás can disguise the government’s disastrous housing policy;

Its failure to prevent increases in rents; To end evictions; The huge numbers of people on the housing waiting lists; The fiasco of local councils refusing to draw down available funds for housing for Travellers; And the number of citizens, and especially children, who are homeless; These all expose the inability of this government to govern in a fair way.

By any measure this government has failed. You have failed families. You have failed pensioners. You have failed children. The March figures are the worst ever for homelessness. In March 2018 there were 60 people homeless in Louth, Monaghan and Cavan. In March 2019 that figure is 173.

The government’s housing strategy – Rebuilding Ireland – is not working”. 


Taoiseach commits to additional Garda resources – Adams

Louth TD Gerry Adams today raised with the Taoiseach the issue of insufficient Garda resources in Louth and asked the Taoiseach if he would commit in the upcoming budget to allocate additional funding to An Garda Síochána.

Gerry Adams TD:

In the Programme for Government it states that the government will prioritise the prevention and reduction of crime by providing investment in An Garda Síochána.

Last week I attended a public meeting of the Mid Louth Joint Policing Committee to discuss the drugs crisis and threats against a local family.

I want to commend that family for their courage to the thugs who have already attacked their home.

Christy Mangan, the Chief Superintendent of the Louth Division told us bluntly that Louth doesn’t have enough Gardaí.

He told us that he did not have enough Gardaí to secure a crime scene recently.

He says he is also unable to open some stations, like Ardee, as often as he would like.

The Chief Superintendent also said that there are not enough resources for the support services for drug addiction, including mental health services.

He warned that if we fail to tackle the drug crisis “we will lose a generation of our young people”.

Negotiations around the next budget will commence shortly. Will the Taoiseach commit to providing a significant increase in additional Gardaí and financial budgets in the next financial year? And will he commit to standing shoulder to shoulder with citizens making a stand for themselves and the rest of us”.

In response to Teachta Adams the Taoiseach said: “The job of government is to provide additional resources for the Gardaí … There will always be a need for additional resources and there will be additional resources in the next budget to the extent that we can afford it.”