Cllr Pearse McGeough Warns of Scam Texts from Banks









Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough has warned people not to click into any link in a text message purporting to be from a bank or a financial institution.

Cllr McGeough said “I received a text today telling me that my PTSB online access was frozen and if I wanted to recover my account I had to click a link. I do not bank with PTSB so I was immediately wary but I have to say, it was believable and if I was a PTSB customer I may have been tempted to click it. About an hour later a constituent told me of a text she had received from Bank of Ireland which was very similar so this seems to be the latest scam doing the rounds.”

 Scam Text Received by Cllr McGeough

Earlier, Bank of Ireland announced that they were aware of the smishing (SMS Phising) scam and were set to conduct a review after several customers were conned out of thousands of euro.

According to Cllr McGeough “apparently the tactic involves the scammers sending bulk texts randomly to mobile phone numbers all saying the same thing. It only takes a few people to respond and the scammers are quids in. These scammers are professional at this and are very believable when they get you on the phone.

     Scam text received by constituent

“I want to warn people firstly that this particular scam is doing the rounds and secondly to remind people never to divulge any personal banking details over the phone to anyone, a genuine call from a bank or financial institution will never ask for log in details or passwords. If you are concerned or worried about a call, hang up and dial the bank directly yourself or call into your branch and speak with someone.

“In this day and age you are more likely to be robbed digitally than being mugged on the street. I’m warning people to be aware and assume it’s a scam unless the caller can prove otherwise. These people are very good at what they do and they only need a very small percentage to fall for it and it’s a good payday for them.”

Cllr Pearse McGeough – Mystery of the Dog Poo Bin

Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough has been trying to solve the case of the missing dog poo bin in Castlebellingham. The bin went missing a number of weeks ago from the entrance to Castlebellingham Children’s playground.

Councillor McGeough said “I had a few dog owners on to me about the dog poo bin not being there anymore and asking it had been moved somewhere else. The majority of dog owners in the Castlebellingham area are responsible owners and used the bin regularly while walking their pets.

“I went down to the playground to see for myself as I thought it may have been vandalised but sure enough, it was gone and not only that but someone had taken the trouble to actually unscrew it from the post to remove it.

“I contacted the local Tidy Towns who do a great job keeping the village looking well but they hadn’t removed it for any reason and indeed, they want it replaced. I then contacted Louth County Council to see if they removed it for any reason  but no, they hadn’t either but they also added that there was no plans to replace it and advised that as long as the dog waste was bagged, owners could dispose of it in public bins.”

Councillor McGeough is calling for the bin to be replaced as it was in regular use and is missed in the village but also said “in all my years as a councillor, I never thought I would be asking people to leave dog poo bins alone and not to be stealing them. What is more worrying is that the contents of the bin appear to have been stolen as well as they certainly weren’t left behind. The mind boggles.”

Cllr McGeough concluded by saying “in this case I am not making a request for the return of the stolen item or its contents.”

Crimes in Society Laid Bare by Covid: Ruairí Ó Murchú

The ‘crimes’ in Irish society – which includes the housing crisis, mixed messages on foreign travel and the reliance on cheap food at the expense of workers’ rights – are now coming home to roost because of Covid-19, according to a Dundalk TD.

Ruairí Ó Murchú said the ‘perfect storm’ is brewing now as ‘all the crimes and injustices in society are being laid bare by this ongoing Covid-19 crisis’.

The Sinn Féin deputy said: ‘It seems like we are being made pay for every weakness that we have in the economy and which we knew about already, because of this crisis.

‘We were aware of the pressure that family farmers are under, how the meat industry has been less than considerate of workers’ rights and how, because of the housing crisis, workers are living in cramped and overcrowded conditions.

‘Immediately, there is a need to get the very basics rights – test, trace and isolate – and to give clear, unambiguous advice about foreign travel.

‘There clearly needs to be more unannounced inspections of workplaces by the Health and Safety Authority and in order to do this, they need to ensure there are sufficient inspectors.

‘We have been aware of the pinch points for a long time: but the difficulties continue, particularly with test results for nursing homes, which I have asked Health Minister Stephen Donnelly about, and about which I have not received reassurance from his office.

‘I have also raised with him the necessity for the robust test, trace and isolate procedures in order to ensure that schools are able to open on time and stay open.

‘We need to make sure that we have the capacity and protocols to test, trace and isolate cases in all at risk sectors – from meat factories to nursing homes and schools.

‘And we have the ludicrous situation where we have overcrowded classrooms in some schools in Louth, while at Rampark NS, which I visited with Cllr. Antóin Watters last week, there will be an empty classroom because they fall slightly short of the required level of pupils for additional teachers.

‘There is a clear need for the ‘wet pubs’ to be supported and be given grant aid by the government of either €12,000 or €25,000 depending on their size.

‘Overall, there is an urgent need for a real conversation about how we are we are going to forwards in the long term as we live with Covid-19, rather than backwards’.

Munster calls on Minister to ensure no school lose a teacher

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has called on the Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, to ensure no primary school should lose a teacher ahead of the planned reopening of schools at the end of the month, given the enormous challenges facing schools as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

Deputy Munster raised the issue after concerns were raised in recent weeks that several schools in Louth would be losing teachers as a result of changes in enrolment numbers for the coming  academic year.

Deputy Munster said:

“I have received correspondence from parents at St. Patrick’s National School, Harestown, Monasterboice and the  Rampark National School in Jenkinstown, Dundalk  who are very concerned that their schools are due to lose teaching positions ahead of the new school term.

“In St Patrick’s NS in Harestown one teaching position will be lost, which will result in mixed level classes of up to 31 children. Parents have said that this will make physical distancing impossible. This teaching post must be reinstated.

“In Rampark NS, two teaching positions have been lost since last September. The school is six pupils short of retaining both teaching positions. This has left the school in a position where the pupil to teacher ratio in classrooms from first class up to sixth class is 32:1

“Both of these schools will now be operating well above the recommended pupil to teacher ratio of 26:1. This is too high in normal circumstances, but it is completely unacceptable in the midst of a pandemic where physical distancing is central to ensuring the safety of children and staff.

“I raised the situation at Harestown with Minister Foley, and received a response from her office outlining why the school was not eligible to retain its existing staff. It is clear from the response that the department is not taking the additional challenges caused by the current crisis into account in its decision making on staff allocations.

“The views expressed in the response I received from her office do not correlate with statements made by the Minister on this very matter prior to her appointment as Minister for Education. On June 8th in the Dáil then-Deputy Foley highlighted the need for a safe environment for our children, and said ‘under the current guidelines we need more, not fewer teachers. I am calling on the Minister and the Department to include additional places for teachers to reflect the current circumstances.’

“I would suggest that the Minister revert to her previous position on this matter and introduce a freeze on staffing levels this year in all primary schools. The positions due to be lost in St Patrick’s NS and Rampark NS must be reinstated immediately to give both schools every opportunity to reopen safely at the end of the month. This is a matter of public safety and the issue must be rectified immediately.


Cllr Antóin Watters: Cross Border Approach needed For Boy-Racers

       Liz Kimmons MLA, Cllr Antóin Watters & Cllr Roisin Mulgrew (Newry)

Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has condemned the actions of those involved in serious anti-social behaviour at Carrickarnon, North Louth/South Armagh border. There was estimated to be over 100 cars gathered causing a serious issue for residents and passing traffic in the area.

Cllr Watters said “this issue has been on-going for quite some time now but it has seriously escalated over the past number of weeks. Last night at Carrickarnon was just ridiculous with the excessive noise, cars driven at high speed and drifting. (Drifting is a driving technique where the driver intentionally oversteers, with loss of traction, while maintaining control through the entirety of a corner).

“This is a very dangerous practice and drifting obviously can result in crashes or the vehicle flipping over, there is very little control of the vehicle and with so many young people present watching, it is a tragedy waiting to happen, not to mention the public who happen to be driving through the area or the people living there.”

Councillor Watters has been working towards a resolution to this issue for some time and said “Ruairí Ó Murchú TD and I have been liaising with the Gardaí Road Policing Unit in Louth and our colleagues in the north Cllr Roisín Mulgrew and Liz Kimmons MLA have been liaising with the PSNI, what we really need is resources for a joined up approach, a cross border unit to focus solely on this issue and resolve it once and for all.”

Cllr Watters said “residents north and south have had enough of this activity. They are at their wits end. Make no mistake, this is anti-social behavior and a danger to pedestrians, householders and drivers alike. There is a meeting planned with residents of the area in the coming weeks and I really hope there isn’t a tragedy before that.”