Cllr Joanna Byrne: Windmill Road Residents Deserve Better

                         Cllr Joanna Byrne & Windmill Rd Residents

 

Last week’s Municipal District meeting of Drogheda saw a furious Joanna Byrne take the council officials to task over the delay of implementing ‘Resident’s Only’ parking on the Windmill Rd. 

Demanding answers on the delay, the Sinn Féin councillor also slammed Louth County Council for failing to engage with the residents of the area at any stage throughout the process.

Cllr Byrne said, “Following a long , hard-fought campaign by the residents of the Windmill Road area, the committee were here on 2nd September to witness the passing of the amended Bye-Laws which would see the introduction of Resident’s Only parking on the West Side of the street and an increased rate of parking fees on the rest of the street. This increase would reflect the rates of the Hospital car-park to encourage visitors to utilise that facility and therefore relieve congestion on the Windmill Road. This was given a commencement date of October 10th.

“Over a month later, no such Residents Only parking has been introduced. Ironically though, the increased parking rates have.”

Cllr Byrne was advised by a Council Engineer present at the municipal meeting, that the delay was due to the signage not arriving on time although it had been ordered, and the Residents Parking Only would be implemented in due course when it arrives.

Cllr Byrne said “Delays happen with orders, that I understand, but here we are a month later and not one level of engagement or communication has been fed down to the residents to inform them of this. We are now entering the winter season which unfortunately always leads to a busier hospital, all the residents here can see is congestion building, increased parking rates and no sign of their parking being introduced. After the hard work and perseverance they put into this campaign, frankly they deserve a lot better from Louth County Council.”

Cllr Byrne who worked closely with the residents of Windmill Road on this campaign urged the Council to follow up on the signage as a matter of urgency and to “not let this drag into another month before any work commences.”

Launch of Pat Finucane Booklet in Dundalk

The son of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane was in Dundalk on Saturday to launch a booklet written by Louth TD Gerry Adams about the lawyer.

John Finucane, who is mayor of Belfast, took time out from canvassing in the Westminster election, to join Mr Adams at the County Library in Dundalk for the event, which was chaired by Cllr. Ruairí Ó Murchú.

The booklet includes speeches from John Finucane and his sister, Katherine, along with a contribution from Mr Adams, and an introduction by Joe Austin, which were part of an event in Belfast marking the 30th anniversary of the murder, marked earlier this year.

It sets out in detail the political context of Pat Finucane’s murder, the role of the RUC and RUC Special Branch, the British Army’s Force Reconnaissance Unit and British agents operating within the unionist paramilitary Ulster Defence Association.

The Sinn Féin TD, who compiled ‘Pat Finucane 30th Anniversary – A Community Reflects’, told the large audience at the library about how the solicitor represented hunger striker Bobby Sands and how the Finucane family’s quest for justice is now entering its fourth decade.

John, who is running in North Belfast in the upcoming British general election, spoke powerfully about how his father was murdered while the family sat eating their dinner at their kitchen table on February 12 1989.

He praised his mother, Geraldine, who was also shot during the attack, for her tenacity in raising three children and leading the family’s campaign for justice. John gave an outline of the path the family’s quest for answers has taken and how it continues.

Mr Finucane and Mr Adams spent almost an hour signing copies of the booklet for audience members.

Government should implement Barron report and end trauma for Ludlow family – Adams

This week, 14 years ago, (3 November 2005) the Interim Report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the murder of Seamus Ludlow was published. The following March 2006 the final report by the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence & Women’s Rights was published.

That report recommended that the government establish two Commissions of Investigation into the Murder of Seamus Ludlow. The government has refused. The family took their case to the High Court seeking a Judicial Review of the Minister’s decision which they lost. Their appeal will be heard in the New Year.

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams today called again on the Government to establish the two Commissions of Investigation recommended by the Final Report on the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Murder of Seamus Ludlow.

Gerry Adams said:

“The family of Seamus Ludlow have been campaigning for truth about his murder for over 40 years. They have been frustrated in this by the British government and its state agencies who colluded in the murder. They have also been blocked by the failure of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael led governments that have refused to honour the recommendations of the Barron report and the Joint Oireachtas Committee.

      Members of the Ludlow Family on a recent visit to Leinster House

 

Seamus Ludlow was shot dead by a UVF/Red Hand Commando/UDR (Ulster Defence Regiment) gang in May 1976. He was aged 47. His body was thrown into a ditch near his Thistle Cross, Dundalk home. 

In 1979 the RUC identified four suspects it believed were responsible for the killing. Nineteen years later, in February 1998, the four were finally arrested. Two confessed to killing Seamus Ludlow during interviews with the RUC. They were released without charge. The North’s then Director of Public Prosecutions decided in 1999 not to prosecute the four. Among the four men were two serving officers in the Ulster Defence Regiment.

The Gardaí never interviewed the four men and never told the family. The first the family heard of the four suspects was in a newspaper report.

The Ludlow family earlier this year went to the Belfast High Court and successfully challenged the decision not to prosecute and the failure to provide reasons for this.

The Irish government should now move to establish the two outstanding Commissions of Investigation – which it has thus far refused to do – which were recommended by the Final Report on the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Murder of Seamus Ludlow by the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence & Women’s Rights in March 2006. That report expressed its “disappointment at the lack of co-operation from the British authorities … the role collusion played in the murder of Seamus Ludlow.”

Note to Editor:

The Sub-Committee recommends that a commission of investigation be established to investigate the following:

  • Whether the evidence collected at the scene of the murder of Seamus Ludlow in 1976 was available in 1979 and if not, why not?
  • Why were credible leads given to the Gardaí by the Northern Ireland police force not followed up?
  • Why were the four named suspects not interviewed?
  • Was there a policy in existence not to interview suspects in Northern Ireland for crimes committed in this jurisdiction?
  • Was a decision taken not to actively pursue the investigation of the murder of Seamus Ludlow and if so, who took that decision and why?

 

The Sub-Committee recommends that a commission of investigation be established to investigate the following:

  • What documents were created or maintained by An Garda Siochana including security intelligence C3 Section in relation to the murder of Seamus Ludlow?
  • Where are those documents?
  • If those documents are not available for inspection what is the reason for this?
  • What documents were created or maintained by the Department of Justice (and Departments of An Taoiseach, Foreign Affairs and Defence, in respectof the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Security), in relation to the murder of Seamus Ludlow?
  • Where are those documents?
  • If those documents are not available for inspection what is the reason for this?

Minister’s commitments to Sruthán House welcome – Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin general election candidate Ruairí Ó Murchú has attended a visit to Sruthán House by Minister of State for Disabilities, Finian McGrath. 
 
During the Ministerial visit, which took place earlier today, Minister McGrath voiced his commitment to keeping Sruthán House open. 
 
Councillor Ó Murchú said,
 
“I have fully supported the campaign for the retention of respite services at Sruthán House. 
 
“The people who stay in Sruthán House and their families are a community and since closure was threatened they have voiced their overwhelming support for the facility. 
 
“Last month I attended a specially convened meeting during which the HSE confirmed that, following a period of consultation, the decision had been made to keep Sruthán House open. 
 
“The Minister’s visit and comments today have further demonstrated the success of the campaign mounted by service users when faced with the possibility of closure. 
 
“I understand that there are a number of actions which the HSE will now undertake to ensure that Sruthán House will provide the optimum service and value for money. 
 
“I will do everything I can to ensure the excellent service provided by staff at Sruthán House is maintained and enhanced.”

Imelda Munster: Gardai budget in Drogheda runs out as drug feud escalates

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath has condemned the murder of a man in Bettystown yesterday evening, and has called on the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner to commit to secure the continuation of funding, which has run out as of November 4th.

Deputy Munster said:

“This is the latest in a series of violent attacks in Drogheda and East Meath in the last year or so.

“What is crystal clear is that this feud is ongoing, and is nowhere near being stamped out.

“It was another night of heightened fear and terror for people living locally.

“Just yesterday I attended the Drogheda Joint Policing Committee meeting, where serious concerns were raised about the fact that the funding for the ongoing Garda operations to tackle this feud has run out.

“We are in the height of a drug gang feud and the budget is gone.

“The Gardaí desperately need the continuation of this funding if they are to bring an end to the drug dealing, attacks and shootings that are continuing to plague the area.

“The Gardaí have made inroads, but without the funding and additional specialised units in Drogheda this feud is set to continue, with the potential of it escalating, and all of the investigative work done thus far will be for nothing.

“This week the Gardaí will be sending in an application seeking a commitment from the Garda Commissioner to secure the continuation of this funding.

“The ramifications of not securing this funding are obvious.

“The Minister for Justice also needs to ensure that the Garda Commissioner recognises that without this funding the violence will be ongoing, and ordinary people going about their daily business will continue to have their rights to live without fear denied.

“There is an onus on the government and the Garda Commissioner to ensure this funding is secured as a matter of urgency.”