Small businesses in Louth must get Brexit ready – Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú attended a Brexit briefing event on Wednesday morning in the Imperial Hotel, Dundalk, hosted by ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprise representative body. 

Councillor Ó Murchú said,

“The Brexit briefing was well attended. I spoke to a number of these business people and I know they found the session useful and informative. 

“InterTradeIreland have reported that only a tiny percentage of businesses are prepared for Brexit. I can understand that owners of small enterprises are often busy juggling many roles within the business and don’t necessarily have the luxury of employing a Brexit co-ordinator  or contracting in specialist assistance.  

“The message from ISME’s Neil McDonnell is that small firms need to examine supply chains two suppliers up, and two customers down and plan accordingly.

“InterTradeIreland’s Denise Marron highlighted to attendees their Brexit voucher scheme, valued at €2,250 which is available to SMEs to purchase specialised expertise. I encourage business owners to follow up on this as it could save them money and add to their Brexit preparedness.

“Businesses should contact the Local Enterprise Office or InterTradeIreland in relation to this or other Brexit aids.  Info relating to these combined with other Brexit preparation resources are easily available on the LEO, InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland’s websites. 

“The event also focused on the customs implications of a no deal Brexit.  

“This scenario looks increasingly likely following Boris Johnson’s dreadful decision to suspend the British parliament for 5 weeks. 

“The advice from Customs Broker, Derek Dunne is that businesses involved in cross border and cross channel imports and exports need to prepare for the customs declaration system they will have to operate. 

“The requirements will be to have a EORI number (European Union registration and identification number) alongside a ROS digital certificate from Revenue. They also need to identify their commodity codes to know the appropriate tariffs applicable to the goods they use. People should use the tariff checker facility on the InterTradeIreland website.

“Irish businesses should not trust in the promises of British politicians regarding the free flow of goods and services across the border after Brexit, particularly after the recent leaks from the British side.

“There is no good Brexit for Irish business but I urge companies to do all they can now to mitigate against the known issues Brexit will present.”

Any Reduction in Louth Garda Provision Unacceptable – Adams

Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has commented on the plan announced by the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to amalgamate Louth and Cavan Monaghan Garda Divisions.

Teachta Adams said;

“This amalgamation is just one concerning component of the radical reform strategy announced by Commissioner Harris recently.

“Along with the geographical changes, reports indicate that staffing levels could also be affected, with each merged division having only one Chief Superintendent.

“There are currently seven Superintendents across Louth and Cavan-Monaghan.  These new proposals indicate only three Superintendents per division and one civilian manager.

“These proposals will reduce the provision of Gardaí in my constituency of Louth and this is unacceptable.

“This constituency faces significant challenges in terms of community safety, drug criminality and intimidation, with the ongoing, violent feud in Drogheda requiring huge efforts from an already stretched An Garda Síochána.

“In addition, Louth is a border constituency and the implications of Brexit will have far reaching effects, not least for An Garda Síochána.

“Rural crime is an ongoing concern for people living across Louth and in these rural communities Garda provision has already been reduced and stations closed.

“I have continually lobbied for additional garda resources for Louth. Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú and I have also met locally with senior Gardaí and in all of our conversations they have identified a lack of resources, especially of Garda personnel, on the ground as a matter of serious concern.

“Gardaí in Louth need additional personnel, vehicles, premises and equipment.

“I have written to the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Justice on this issue.

“I have requested a full explanation of the proposed revision of Garda structures and resources as they impact on Louth.

“I have also queried what, if any, consultation process was held internally to discuss these far reaching changes.”

Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú said,

Cllr Ó Murchú

“We cannot permit a scenario in which Louth Garda services are coordinated from afar.

“An ‘arm’s length’ approach will not work for local policing.  I work with victims of intimidation and crime every day in Dundalk, people in these communities need a comprehensive police service available to them.

“The Brexit crisis, created by the Conservative Party and the DUP mean that it is an absolute necessity for the Border area to retain its full complement of Garda resources.”

Ó Murchú meets Dutch Ambassador in Brexit Visit

Cllr Ó Murchú with Dutch ambassador Adriaan Palm

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú hosted the Dutch Ambassador to Ireland, Adriaan Palm, in a visit to Dundalk on Wednesday 21st August.
Following the visit Councillor Ó Murchú said,
“I met with Ambassador Palm in Dundalk to discuss the possible implications of  Brexit on the people of this constituency and across Ireland.
“The Ambassador had met with representatives of Border Communities Against Brexit earlier in the day and he had undertaken a tour of the Louth Armagh border area.
“I think this visit added to Ambassador Palm’s understanding of the particular issues faced here, the unique nature of the border in Ireland and the implications of the imposition of British jurisdiction in part of this country.
“We discussed Brexit in depth, particularly a slide prepared for British Ministers, which was leaked to the media recently.
“This slide predicts chaos in this country following a no deal Brexit.  Cross border agriculture would practically stop within 24 hours, consumer panic and food shortages are indicated along with friction between EU and British fishing vessels.
“Other leaked documents predict a hardening of the border in Ireland in the event of a no deal.  
“In the short term the partial resolution of these issues is the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement along with the Backstop.  However there is no good Brexit for Irish interests.
“Boris Johnson has demonstrated that his only real interest is in the maintenance of his own position.  He does not care about the effects of Brexit on Ireland.
“All facets of life in Dundalk and across Louth from business to agriculture and travel will be affected
“In the event of a no deal Brexit there must be a referendum on the border in Ireland and the Irish Government must urgently begin reunification plans.”

Cllr Pearse McGeough: Privatisation has led to Increased Fly-Tipping

Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough has hit out at those responsible for the latest dumping incident in the county.

Councillor McGeough said “this is beyond a joke. There were over a dozen full black bags dumped over a gate on the Annagassan Road in Kilsaran. It wasn’t a small car that dumped these, it had to have been a van or a large car and they pulled into the gateway, emptied their vehicle and threw the bags over the gate. Someone must have seen them doing it because it would have taken a few minutes.”

Cllr McGeough reported it to the Council to have the unsightly items removed but said “it’s not fair to expect the Council to come along and clean up after people who just treat this county as their own personal skip. The Council have better things to be doing and better things to be spending our money on because make no mistake, it is you and me that are picking up the tab for this.”

“I want to see these people identified and pursued through the legal route, enough is enough.”

Cllr McGeough feels the time has come “to look seriously at bringing domestic waste collections back under the control of Louth County Council. Privatisation has not been successful as there is an argument that costs to households are too high and that is why we have seen an increase in this sort of illegal dumping. Profit must not be put before environment and the cost of waste disposal is an added worry for a lot of families, decent families who do not resort to illegal dumping and expect others to pick up the tab.”

“We need to look at the whole waste management system in the state and ensure that it works for everyone, families, communities, workers and for our environment.”

Government Action needed now Public Liability Insurance – Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has said that government inaction on regulation of the insurance industry could lead to the failure of more local businesses and job losses.

Councillor Ó Murchú made his comments following the campaign to secure insurance for Dundalk based Pelican Promotions.

Ruairí Ó Murchú said:

“The case of Pelican Promotions should sound alarm bells for the Government and should incite immediate intervention by the State to avoid the decimation of the leisure industry.

“The fact that a business, which has been trading for almost 30 years with an impeccable record, would be unable to secure public liability insurance shows a complete market failure.

“This week has also seen the failure of the Government’s plan for a claims database to help reduce fraudulent claims.

“All of this, coupled with the unjustified ever rising cost for motor and other insurances, warrants immediate action.

“The government’s response is the establishment of a review by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, which does not appear to have any indicated date for completion.

“While this may be a move in the right direction, there is a very narrow window of opportunity to rectify the current situation. We are in danger of loosing  small businesses, clubs and community centres as their insurance premiums skyrocket, or they cannot find insurance at all.

“It is clear that the issues affecting the insurance industry are bogus claims, levels of award which are too high and the exaggeration of the number of bogus claims by insurance companies for their own ends.

“To rectify this the government should support Pearse Doherty’s Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill – which is designed to bring the insurance industry to heel and reform the law in respect of insurance contracts.

“The Government should also expedite the establishment of the Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee, as provided for in the recently passed Judicial Council Bill.”