Munster: Utmost priority must be given to Northern Cross Route application by Louth County Council

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has called on Louth County Council to give the utmost priority to the application for funding for the Northern Cross Route under the LIHAF programme.

The window for applications opened on 1st February, and is due to close on 31st March.

Deputy Munster said:

“This is the third opportunity to apply for funding, with the council previously submitting two unsuccessful applications.

“The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, following a proposal I made to the Minister after the last unsuccessful application, organised a workshop on the 5th February last, and I was glad to hear that two senior staff members of Louth County Council were in attendance.

“It is imperative that the new application fits the new defined criteria, and it’s also imperative that this is a case of third time lucky for the application.

“Once Louth County Council have confirmed that the application has been submitted, and once I have seen a copy of same, I will pursue it with the Minister to ensure that this vital piece of infrastructure, that has been in planning since 2006, can finally get the go-ahead from government.

“We can no longer put up with daily gridlock in Drogheda. This is about a vital piece of infrastructure and sustainable planning, and it is a must for Drogheda.

“We’ve waited long enough.”

Kevin Meenan Co-opted onto Louth County Council

Kevin Meenan officially became a Cllr at this evening’s inauguration at Louth County Council offices.

Following glowing tributes and congratulations from all parties towards Ruairí Ó Murchú TD whose seat resulted in the casual vacancy, Kevin Meenan was proposed by Sinn Féin group leader Cllr Pearse McGeough who said “it’s a privilege and an honour for me to propose my friend Kevin Meenan as a councillor for the Dundalk South area.

“Kevin has a long history of community engagement and working for those who are voiceless. He has always been an outstanding advocate for his constituents and when he spoke in the chamber it was obvious that everyone listened and he was respected by all. It is great to see him rejoining our group of Councillors and I would also like to take this opportunity to thank his partner Paula and his daughter Caithlain for supporting him in this decision.”

Cllr Kevin Meenan also paid tribute to Paula and Caithlain and said  “I’ve always had a good working relationship with councillors and officials alike and look forward to getting stuck in again. I feel there is unfinished business for me to do and I am humbled and honoured to be here once again. I feel that I have grown up here, I have spent most of my working life as a councillor and now I’m back.”

Cllr Meenan also thanked those Councillors in the chamber who took time out to attend the event, especially as it was the only order of business.”

Cllr Corrigan: Scoil Phádraig Naofa Works Completed

 

 

Sinn Féin Councillor Edel Corrigan has welcomed the completion of vital safety works carried out at the Scoil Phádraig Naofa in kilcurry.

Cllr Corrigan said “the application for these safety measures was made and approved as far back as 2017. It has been almost three years but this weekend sees the completion of the works and when the children return on Monday it will be a much safer environment around the outside of the school for them.”

The delay in getting these works done according to Cllr Corrigan was that initially only two tenders were received for the work, both in excess of the funding allocation so the works were put on hold until a second round of tendering could be completed seeking a more reasonable quote.

Cllr Corrigan said “there are now ramps which will slow traffic down and crossing lights which will make drivers more aware of schoolchildren crossing.

“Anything that improves the safety of our children especially around school areas is to be welcomed. These works have been a long time coming but at long last they have been completed.”

Munster outlines Sinn Féin’s plans to reduce cost of childcare for working families

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has outlined her party’s plans to address the crisis in the childcare sector. At present, childcare is unaffordable for many parents, despite the fact that workers in the sector are underpaid.

Deputy Munster said:

“There is a crisis in the Early Years sector.

“Early Years professionals deserve to be paid a decent wage in financially sustainable services. 

“Parents deserve a high quality, affordable childcare service that to look after their children. At the moment childcare is as expensive as a second mortgage for many families. This is a totally unsustainable situation.

“Sinn Féin has a fully costed childcare plan which we would see us reducing the cost of childcare by an average of €500 per month per child in government.

“We would cap and reduce fees whilst increase funding for the sector. We would also ensure improved pay and conditions for childcare staff.

“We would also extend paid maternity leave to 52 weeks, and increase maternity benefit by €50, to ensure that every child can be looked after by a parent in their first year of life, should that be the wish of the parents.

 “SIPTU/Big Start, the Federation of Early Childhood Providers, the Association of Childhood Professionals, the National Community Childcare Forum and the National Childhood Network have convened an ‘Early Years Alliance’ to highlight the crisis in the sector and demand increased funding in the sector, better pay and recognition the profession deserves. 

“Sinn Féin is fully behind this initiative. We recognise the need to support workers in the sector. We also understand the pressures that working parents are under, and we want to ease that burden to make childcare more affordable, and to ensure a high-quality childcare service across the state.  

Adams ‘emotional’ at stepping back as TD for Louth

Former Louth TD Gerry Adams has confessed to being “emotional” at the prospect of stepping back as a TD for Louth.

Gerry Adams was addressing a party meeting in Dundalk where he briefed activists on the successful negotiation to restore the political institutions in the North.

Gerry Adams said:

“As my term as a TD for Louth comes to an end I have to confess to being emotional about departing after serving the people of this constituency for nine years.

I am deeply indebted to the citizens who elected me in 2011 and again in 2016 with Imelda Munster. I want to thank all of them and also my comrades in Sinn Fein.

Throughout my nine years in Louth my endeavour was to keep a national focus while delivering locally.

This included developing alternatives to Brexit, advancing the national cause, co-operating with neighbouring border counties and campaigning for projects like Narrow Water Bridge which as recently as last week we succeeded in getting into the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ agreement which enabled the re-establishment of the power sharing government at Stormont.

Locally we concentrated on improving the provision of public services – particularly the provision of a Primary Care Centre in Dundalk, Mental Health services, housing provision, a new county ground for the GAA, and much more.

Sinn Féin, along with civil society and organisations like Border Communities Against Brexit have worked hard to ensure that there will be no physical infrastructure reinforcing the border dividing Ireland.

But there is much more work to been done to protect our economies North and South and to oppose the efforts by the British to dilute the rights agenda in the North.

I have mixed feelings about Leinster House. Obviously Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have a common agenda of outright hostility to Sinn Fein because we are United Irelanders and because of our commitment to equality, fairness and our core republican values. But in the last term they took this to the extreme of turning Leinster House into a Do Nothing Dáil.

The partnership between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael smothered and limited the potential for real solutions to the crises in housing and the health service. It also undermined the potential for advancing the search for Irish Unity in line with the Good Friday Agreement.

Votes against the government were rendered meaningless as they were ignored by the Taoiseach with the active support of the Fianna Fáil leader.

I also want to thank everyone who works in Teach Laighean to provide services and support for Oireachtas members.

The catering staff, the ushers, the civil servants and cleaners, the librarians and research staff, An Garda Síochána and everyone else who ensure that the place functions, have been wonderful to work with.

So too have my comrades in Sinn Féin’s Oireachtas team led by Mary Lou. I wish them well.

I welcome the calling of the election and the opportunity for Sinn Féin to persuade voters to elect an even stronger Sinn Féin team. Sinn Fein has strong, costed policies to end the crisis in housing and health, provide childcare, tackle climate change and poverty, and give families and workers a break. We also have a clear strategy to win support for Irish Unity. This has been enhanced by the establishment of the power sharing government in the North and I am pleased to have been part of that endeavour.

If we had listened to the propaganda from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil the durable basis for the Assembly would not have been secured.

So there is a lot to be done. In Louth Sinn Féin is standing two excellent candidates – Imelda Munster and Ruairí Ó Murchú – who in their time on Louth County Council, and in Imelda’s time in the Dáil, have proven to be very effective public representatives. I appeal to voters of Louth to return them both.

I appeal to voters across the state to return an even stronger Sinn Féin team.

On 8 February the electorate will have the opportunity to vote for fairness and decency and for Irish Unity and to end the tweedledee and tweedledum politics of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.”