Lack of Insurance Cover Could Jeopardise hundreds of jobs

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has written to the Minister for Finance regarding the recent decision by AXA XL, the underwriter of Leisure Insure, not to offer cover to Irish companies.

Gerry Adams said;

“The owners of Pelican Promotions in Dundalk have been in contact with my Sinn Féin colleague Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú, to say that they will be unable to renew their public liability insurance when it expires on 13th August.

“The reason for this is a decision which has been made by Axa XL, the underwriter of Leisure Insure which announced it was ending cover this week.

“The majority of Irish operators of inflatables are insured with Leisure Insure and at present there is no alternative provider.

“Pelican Promotions have contacted alternative insurance providers in this jurisdiction and in the north, but none are willing to provide insurance cover.

“This will potentially affect other businesses such as paintball, airsoft sites, pet farms, athletic and dance clubs and outdoor adventure centres.

“It is a huge issue which has the potential to jeopardise hundreds of jobs across the sector.

“I have requested a meeting with the Minister for Finance and I hope to press him to deliver a solution to this issue.”

Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú added,

“Sinn Féin has long been critical of the Government’s failure to regulate the insurance industry.

“Axa XL have stated that following a “strategic review” they have concluded that “current, well-documented market dynamics, mean this business does not fit our business plan going forward”.

“This is proof that the Government needs to support Pearse Doherty’s Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill which will radically reform insurance contracts. 

“It is also further evidence of the need to address truly fraudulent claims to ensure that genuine businesses are not collateral damage to the prevalent ‘claim culture’.

“I hope that a resolution can be found for Pelican Promotions and all of the other leisure providers.”

Cllr Joanna Byrne – Victims should not be treated as Criminals

Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has demanded clarification from Louth County Council (LCC) as to what provisions they have in place to assist victims of criminal attacks on their homes.

Speaking at Monday’s monthly County Council meeting, Cllr Byrne said that “while dealing with a case last week I was advised by the homeless department of LCC that in cases of the recent petrol bomb attacks on houses , the local authority are treating these as ‘Anti-Social Behaviour’ and their policy is to ask tenants to stay with family and friends until their houses are repaired, or alternatively to surrender their tenancy.”

“Let me very clear about this” she said, “An Garda Siochana and our courts system have not found anybody guilty of these attacks as of yet and Louth County Council have not established any evidence to suggest that those targeted are anything other than victims. These people need to be treated like victims of criminal attacks and not culprits of Anti-Social Behaviour.”

“To ask anyone who has narrowly escaped these attacks with their lives intact, to surrender their tenancy is outrageous. They have been through enough trauma without being forced to relinquish their rights to a house they spent many years making a home, a house they’ve reared their children in, and a house that may be just a shell right now but you can be sure it carries its weight in invaluable memories – good , bad or indifferent.”

Cllr Byrne told the meeting that “relying on family and friends to take in these people is not always feasible, particularly in some cases that may run for a period of many months until houses are repaired. I believe there is an inconsistent approach to how these situations are currently being handled, some people being awarded emergency accommodation, some people getting re-housed and some people being offered no assistance whatsoever.”

The Chief Executive of Louth Council, Joan Martin, responded to Cllr Byrne agreeing with her and that clarification was needed. M/s Martin asked to take the issue away and meet with the Director of Service for Housing and his team and will report back to the members.

 

Excessive use charge is backdoor introduction of water charges – Munster

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has criticised the decision of the Commission for Regulation of Utilities to introduce a charging regime for domestic water users for so-called excessive use, calling it “the introduction of water charges through the back door”.

Deputy Munster said:

“This is the introduction of water charges through the back door.

“It is a cosy deal made by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in 2017 to introduce water charges by stealth.

“Sinn Féin is in favour of measures that will reduce water wastage – these charges will not do that that.

“The proposed water allowance will be 146 litres a day. The average person uses 133 litres of water a day.

“People will be liable for bills of up to €500 under this proposal.

“The government is ignoring the real problem here – which is that 43% of treated water is leaking from our pipes.

“There is no credible evidence that people wilfully waste water. People don’t want to be wasteful.

“Either way, this charge won’t help people to conserve water. The fact of the matter is that most people cannot afford to find and fix leaks. The state and Irish Water should be doing that – not punishing those who can’t.

“The government and Irish Water should be working to detect and fix those leaks before they go charging average householders water charges for excessive use that it beyond their control.

“This government always charges ordinary people as a way of shirking their responsibilities. We’re seeing the same lazy, regressive approach with the carbon tax.

“There is nothing stopping the government from reducing how many litres of water a day constitute ‘excessive use’ in the future. I fear that this is the government, in their usual underhand way, sneakily introducing domestic water charges, despite the loud and clear message given to them by the people during the water protests several years ago.

“Fine Gael and Labour did their best to force water charges onto the people, and they failed. Now Fianna Fáil are joining in to sell out the people in a backroom deal with Fine Gael to pave the way for the reintroduction of water charges by a future government.”

Ó Murchú brings Healthcare Support Workers Strike to Louth County Council

Sinn Féin councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has successfully brought a motion to Louth County Council regarding the ongoing industrial dispute between healthcare support workers and the government.

Councillor Ó Murchú said:

“I brought a motion to Louth County Council to demonstrate solidarity with the healthcare support workers.

“This motion was called on the Government to honour commitments made to these workers.

“I joined these staff on the picket line at Louth County Hospital in June.

“The staff I met were healthcare assistants, technicians, porters, cooking and cleaning staff, absolutely essential to the workings of any healthcare facility.

“They did not want to be out on strike, they told me that they hated disrupting the already difficult job of the medical staff, they hated the inconvenience to patients and they really just wanted to get on with their jobs.

“However these people, mostly women, were united in their sense of injustice at the way they had been treated and they felt they had absolutely no option but to send a strong message to the Government by withdrawing their labour.

 

“As part of the outworkings of the Landsdown Road Agreement, they are due a pay increase which the Government does not want to pay.

“I know that SIPTU Health representatives have accepted an invitation to attend the Labour Court on Monday 22nd July and I wish them well in those negotiations.

“Everyone hopes there is no further strike action necessary.

“We stand with these workers and demand that the Government honours agreements already made and pays these workers what they are owed now.”

Government must publish Bill to allow for referendum on Presidential Voting rights – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called on the Taoiseach to honour his commitment to publish the Bill by the end of the month to allow for a referendum in October/November to extend the franchise to elect the President.

Writing in his weekly Blog Gerry Adams said:

“In February An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he wanted to hold the Presidential referendum in October. His proposal was that all citizens, wherever they live in the world, “will be entitled to register to vote for the next President.” It will be a postal ballot for those not living in the state and it would not be linked to a passport because there are citizens who do not have passports. He said: “As a result it will be linked to citizenship”.

Agreeing the date and passing the legislation is only one part of the battle ahead. Holding the referendum is important. Winning the referendum is essential.

The arguments against a referendum and for a NO vote include the claim that the current electorate would be swamped by the diaspora and voters from the North. Of over 120 countries around the world who allow their overseas citizens to vote in elections none has ever raised a concern about this aspect of it. On the contrary the evidence suggests that the relatively small number of citizens abroad who do vote in elections generally follow the pattern of those living within the state.

Another argument heard is a variation on the slogan from the American Revolution’s ‘no taxation without representation’. In this instance it has become ‘no representation without taxation.’ In short if you don’t pay taxes you shouldn’t be allowed to vote. This is a deeply flawed position which if followed through logically would mean that pensioners, citizens on low incomes, parents who stay at home with their children, citizens with a disability, in fact anyone who doesn’t pay taxes for any reason should not have the right to vote.

The Office of the President and the role of the Presidency in the day to day life of the Irish nation is hugely symbolic and important. A successful referendum campaign which actively seeks to encourage those who are unionist to vote for the President would set a powerful example of the kind of shared, fair and equality based society we all want to build on our island.

Finally, in the past, especially around the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement, the role of the diaspora was very important.

One hundred years ago women were denied the vote. Fifty years ago citizens in the North were denied a vote. They are still denied this vote. If former President Mary McAleese had stayed in Ardoyne she could not have voted for herself when she stood in the Presidential election. Martin McGuinness had no vote when he stood. We can now change this. Let’s do it”.