Ó Murchú: Hill Street Grow House Discovered

A house on the outskirts of Dundalk was turned into a ‘sophisticated, expansive’ cannabis-growing operation that went on for a number of months, according to Sinn Féin TD Ruairí Ó Murchú who attended the scene.

Pictures from the search by Gardaí, which took place on October 5, show how the house in Hill Street had been turned into a cannabis growing factory.

Mr Ó Murchú said he had been alerted to the situation at the house when he was contacted by the landlord, and the TD called Gardaí.

The Dundalk deputy said: ‘This property was unwittingly rented out at the start of the year. The landlord was appalled that almost every room in the house had been cleared of furniture and fittings and turned into a cannabis grow house.

‘The walls of the rooms were covered in silver insulation material, while there were air extraction and irrigation systems fitted.

‘It was a sophisticated and expansive operation that involved every available space in the property being used to grow cannabis. It was clear that the plants, which were estimated to have a value of around €23,000, had been stripped of their leaves before the Gardaí arrived’.

Mr Ó Murchú raised the issue at last week’s JPC meeting between political representatives and Gardaí.

He said: ‘No arrests have been made and I would reiterate the Garda appeal for anyone with information about this cannabis growing operation to come forward or contact the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

‘This is yet another side to the lucrative drugs trade in Dundalk and the wider constituency and shows how people are willing and able to go to considerable lengths to make money from it’.

 

Ó Murchú:Dealgan House were ‘Overwhelmed’

In response to the new information contained in Freedom of Information documents from the HSE, Dundalk TD Ruairí Ó Murchú said it was clear “that Dealgan House Nursing Home was absolutely overwhelmed and residents were suffering.”

The Sinn Féin representative said the release of information from the HSE was “by far the most detailed information received by families of those who died in Dealgan” about what was happening inside the nursing home before it was taken over by the RCSI Hospital Group.

Deputy Ó Murchú described the information as “deeply sad and distressing for families to read”, but said it “can only strengthen the already widespread calls for a public inquiry.”

He said: “This information is released thanks to the persistence of family members who are tenacious and courageous in their efforts to get to the truth.

“It comes at a time when there are hundreds of new cases of Covid-19 in the community across the island and already, further outbreaks in nursing homes in the State.

“The Freedom of Information release shows how health authorities, at high levels, were aware of what was happening in Dealgan House and were struggling to respond.

“No matter what else happens from now on, the HSE, HIQA and the Department of Health have to learn, and learn fast, from what happened at places like Dealgan House to ensure that no other family of a nursing home resident goes through what the Dundalk families went through and are still enduring.

“We have been with them from the start of this process and we are determined to see their wish for a public inquiry fulfilled. Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and his predecessor, Simon Harris, have said the Dealgan families need answers to their questions.

“This latest release of information lays bare not only the scandalous and horrifying situation at Dealgan House at the beginning of April but also the State response to it.

“Now, more than ever, the government needs to step up and give them what the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response last week recommended – a public inquiry into what happened in nursing homes and the State response.”

Cllr Pearse McGeough seeking Safety Measures for Border Bridge

Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough welcomed the passing of his motion at this month’s Ardee Municipal Council meeting.

He is seeking safety measures for the bridge which straddles the border between County Louth and County Monaghan which he says “is unsafe in its current state. As you come round the bend from the N2 you come upon it very quickly and there is a hump in the road which can be very deceiving and dangerous.”

Indeed one of the other councillors present admitted that he had at one stage hit the hump.

The Bridge is located on the road between Lannat Cross and Roes Cross and the response Cllr McGeough received was that the bridge is in County Monaghan and therefore falls under their remit.

Cllr McGeough disputed this advising that the bridge is actually right on the border.

Following the meeting Cllr McGeough liaised with his fellow councillors in Monaghan and said “they will raise it at the next Carrickmacross/Castleblayney Council meeting. One way or another, this bridge needs to be at least looked at by engineers and to have safety measures assessed.”

The actual wording of the motion was as follows:

That LCC in conjunction with Monaghan CC should carry out safety measures on the bridge that straddles the border on the road between Lannat Cross and Roes Cross. This bridge is extremely dangerous in its current state.

UPDATE:

Louth County Council responded to Cllr McGeough after investigating the location and ownership of the bridge in question and confirmed he was in fact correct in his assertion that it straddled the border between both counties.

Louth Council will lisiase with Monaghan Council to improve safety measures at the bridge and in the meantime, until resources are found to address the issue long-term, extra signage and road markings will be added to prevent future accidents.

 

Cllr Joanna Byrne calls for footpath extension in Upper Mell

At September’s sitting of the Municipal District of Drogheda Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne requested that Louth County Council extend the footpath from the recycling centre up to the M1 Retail Park.

Cllr Byrne stated that “if somebody coming from the Cement Road heading towards the Retail Park perhaps with a buggy or in a wheelchair, they have to cross a very busy road three times to be able to continue using the footpaths currently provided. 

“This is a very busy road in and out of the north side of town. At present footpaths from the Aldi junction up to the Retail Park are staggered on both sides of the Road. Anybody looking to make use of the footpaths have to cross this road a number of times over and back and this poses major difficulties to all pedestrians never mind anybody with a buggy or in a wheelchair.”

As it stands there I are no traffic lights or pedestrian crossing on this road to facilitate those needing to cross. 

“I’m asking to the Council to extend the current footpath on up by the recycling centre by whatever means necessary, even if that means acquiring lands to do so. This area is also earmarked for a new driving test centre which will only bring additional cars onto this road. This footpath needs to happen before a serious accident occurs.”

Senior Engineer Mark Johnson told Cllr Byrne this could potentially be facilitated under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and he would assess and explore avenues for funding. 

Cllr Joanna Byrne:Louth County Council stands in Solidarity with Palestine

Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne passed a motion at Monday’s meeting of Louth County Council calling on the Government to recognise the state of Palestine.

Speaking on her motion Cllr Byrne stated “This government needs to send a strong message of its opposition to the proposed annexation of the West Bank which is in violation of International Law and will in effect make a two state solution in the area unviable.

“The Programme for Government commits to play a strong role in promoting peace and international partnership through the United Nations and other international organisations and to protect human rights in every state. In that context Ireland needs to ensure we use our position on the UN Security Council to challenge in the strongest terms the proposed annexation of Palestinian lands by Israel which has been roundly condemned as a flagrant violation of international law.”

Cllr Byrne went on to say that since originally submitting her motion “a deal had been brokered with Israel and the United Arab Emirates whereby Israel agreed to take annexation off the table in return for diplomatic acceptance and a normalisation of relations between Israel and UAE. However, on August 13th Israel’s Netanyahu reneged and said he didn’t agree to take annexation off the table, merely to just put it on hold but it is his intention to go ahead with it at a later date.”

Very firm in her statements Cllr Byrne told the chamber that “In the meantime, Israel has maintained sustained attacks on Palestine and the Israeli blockades on fuel supply have forced the closure of Gaza’s only power supply plant. The economic crisis is deepening, the destruction of homes continue and land seizures in East Jerusalem continue.”

The Palestinian Government have outlined that annexation will mean:

  • The removal of the asset and resource rich Jordan Valley from the State of Palestine;
  • The isolation and suffocation of East Jerusalem, the Palestinian capital;
  • The denial of Palestinian control over use of land and natural resources;
  • The prevention of efficient and free movement of people and goods;
  • An increase of violations of Palestinian rights; 
  • The end of the two-state solution

“We need to stand with the Palestinian people, they need help, this is a major humanitarian crisis and I’m asking the members of Louth County Council here today to stand in Solidarity with Palestine and urge our Government to do the same.”

Councillor Byrne’s motion passed without any opposition.

Text of the Motion:

The members of Louth County Council call on the newly formed Irish Government to make a principled stand for peace and progress in the Middle East by enacting the democratic motion from 2014 to recognise the State of Palestine.

We also urge as a matter of priority, the Government pass the Occupied Territories Bill which was passed in the Seanad in December 2018 and passed the second stage in the Dáil in January 2019 which prohibits ‘the import and sale of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories.