Sinn Féin Stand their Ground Despite Threat of Removal from Office
Sinn Féin Group leader in Louth County Council, Tomás Sharkey said:
“This Thursday Louth County Council is being recalled in another effort to have a faulty budget adopted. Sinn Féin will maintain our opposition to it.
“Louth County Council finances are in disarray. There is an incomplete register of assets. Projected expenditure on miscellaneous items is unsatisfactory. Tenants are being put into arrears. Businesses are unsupported. There is a lack of innovation and entrepreneurship in the document.
Council Group Leader Tomás Sharkey
“The lack of fresh thinking has become culture in the organisation. Culture eats strategy. The structures have failed to learn from a house purchase scandal, write off of 45% outstanding rates, the Narrow Water Bridge debacle, rent collection crisis and waste mismanagement.
“New leadership is needed to fix Louth.
“Sinn Féin is the largest party in Louth Council chamber. We hold 10 of the 29 seats. We take this responsibility seriously. We have been working hard to represent all the people of Louth.
“Sinn Féin does not have confidence in the estimates being proposed on Thursday. We do not have confidence in the way the Council is being managed.
“If and when the budget is defeated Minister Murphy may remove all 29 Councillors from office. He would be mistaken. Councillors have been drawing attention to the problems in Louth for years. The minister should not sack the messengers when the problem remains.
“We want to be clear. We want new leadership and accountability in the County Council. We intend to ask for a new Chief Executive.”
Martin Tedham (Wasdell CEO), Cllr Ó Murchú & Mark Daly (Wasdell Project Manager)
Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has welcomed 300 new jobs to Dundalk. Cllr Ó Murchú who attended the IDA announcement in Crowne Plaza said:
“This is a welcome boost for Dundalk from Wasdell, a pharmaceutical packaging company. There will be a wide variety of jobs available at all levels: IT, management, Human Resources, production etc. They will be seeking suppliers to make contact immediately and are wasting no time in seeing this project get underway.”
The timescale for the company to begin will be quite soon. Cllr Ó Murchú said “They will start building in March and should be ready by October and then these initial 300 jobs will commence with a possibility of expanding later to 500 jobs.”
“With the upcoming challenges of Brexit we know the border areas will be detrimentally affected so this news today is very welcome.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Edel Corrigan is encouraging groups who may be interested in initiating an energy upgrade project to consider applying for up to 50% Better Energy Community Funding.
Councillor Corrigan said “Louth County Council are facilitating community applications to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) who provide funding for community groups, sports groups, private businesses and even public sector groups who wish to explore or develop an energy upgrade project.”
“Louth County Council at the minute are taking applications but the closing date for the final application is 26th January 2018. This means that the Council would need to finalise the beneficiaries for the funding by 15th January at the latest.”
Councillor Edel Corrigan is encouraging those interested or who may represent anyone in this field to “consider putting an application forward. Contact the Council’s Sustainable Energy Team directly on HYPERLINK “mailto:Padraig.firstname.lastname@example.org” Padraig.email@example.com for more details or to submit your application.”
“We are always seeking new ways to be more energy efficient and to reduce our carbon footprint and Louth County Council and SEAI recognise that and want to encourage it.”
Speaking after Louth County Council’s rejection of Budget 2018, Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to request that the Minister appoint a strong team to go to Louth to listen to concerns and to examine the dysfunctionality of the County Council.
Speaking in the Dáil this week, Deputy Munster said:
“This day has been coming for a long time. The fact that 75% of members opposed the draft Budget should be a wake up call. It was a lack of accountability and transparency that led to this. There were many contributory issues, including the removal services such as the bring banks, no proper assets register, audits of house purchases never published, poor public services, poor amenities leaving parts of the county, especially Drogheda, badly neglected”.
In response to Deputy Munster raising the matter with the Taoiseach, he responded that he was aware of the matter. He outlined the various options that are available to the Minister, which are: the appointment of a Commissioner, a new election or the council may attempt to put another budget together. The Minister is currently examining the legal options with the Attorney General.
Deputy Munster said:
“It’s clear that the Minister needs to be made aware of the lack of accountability, transparency and poor service provision, and even a neglect of certain areas within Louth County Council which is felt by the elected members. The Minister needs to recognise that the rejection of the Budget is part of ongoing wider problems that need to be addressed.”
At last week’s Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, the Party overwhelmingly supported a motion brought by Drogheda’s Bobby Sands Cumann calling for City Status for Drogheda.
Councillor Kenneth Flood and Imelda Munster TD both spoke on the motion.
Cllr. Kenneth Flood said “I was honoured to propose and speak on this motion for Drogheda at our Ard Fheis. It is my opinion that local representatives have a duty to bring issues as important as this to their parties National Conferences or Ard Fheisenna and to seek their parties support.”
Cllr Flood excplained “A report by Dr Brian Hughes, a lecturer in urban economics which was commissioned by the Drogheda City Status lobby group said that ‘the population of the municipal borough of Drogheda, along with the neighbouring rural areas of Louth and Meath, has increased by almost 80 per cent over two decades, rising from 46,451 to 83,042 in the 2016 census.’ We cannot administer an urban centre with such a population with the powerless and fragmented local government we have at the moment.”
“Drogheda was stripped of its Borough Council in 2014, we were denied our rightful place in the 2002 National Spatial Strategy, left out of the Living Cities Initiative in 2013 and now we seem to have been forgotten when it comes to the current Draft National Planning Framework which will plan for the 26 counties for decades to come.
Drogheda needs City Status and a City Council to administer it. That is now Sinn Féin’s Ard Fheis approved position and we will continue to lobby and fight for it until it is achieved.”