Cllr Pearse McGeough: Collon Needs Bottle Bank Replaced

Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough is seeking a bottle bank for the village of Collon following its removal a decade ago.

Cllr McGeough was approached by community activist Lee Hamill who described the area as being “starved of amenities.”

The Mid-Louth Cllr recalled “the original bottle bank that was there was great but unfortunately when the bottle banks were being emptied and lifted onto the lorry they were coming into very close proximity to overhead ESB cables and so it was ruled it unsafe so it had to be removed from that location.

“That being said, an alternative site needs to be sought in the village so the bottle bank can be replaced. It has never been a more appropriate time to have the bottle bank facility in the village as we are now in lockdown. During the first lockdown the Council had to ensure increased emptying of the bottle banks across the county as people used them more frequently as they were spending more time at home.

“Despite my continued efforts Mid-Louth has no recycling centre so villages and towns rely on these bottle banks to dispose of at least some of their recyclable materials.”

Community activist Lee Hamill, who lives in Collon said “in an age of greater awareness about the climate and our environment, residents of Collon should not be forced to drive out to Ardee or Slane to get rid of their bottles and cans. As a student, I do not have a car or drive as do a number of other people in the village. This is a basic service that is lacking in Collon that others have easy access to. On the one hand we are being encouraged to recycle and on the other the facility isn’t available.”

Councillor McGeough will be asking the Council to source an alternative site in Collon with a view to getting the bottle banks replaced.

Repairs at Templetown Rd and Shelling Hill Welcomed by Cllr Antóin Watters

Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has welcomed repair works carried out by Louth County Council on the Shelling Hill and Templetown Road in the Cooley Peninsula.

According to Cllr Watters, “the road leading to Shelling Hill and Templetown beach is one of the busiest roads in Cooley and has high volumes of traffic everyday. Over time the road has started to erode in a number of places and these remedial works were badly needed.”Cllr Watters had requested the remedial works earlier this year following discussions with a number of local residents but unfortunately, although the works had been started, they were temporarily abandoned due to the Covid 19 situation.

“This corner” according to the Peninsula Councillor “was one that was causing major difficulties.”

He went on to praise the operations team and the Council engineers on completion of the task thanking them for “their excellent work. It is much appreciated by myself and the local community.”

Narrow Water Bridge Project: Shared Island Unit

Progress on the construction Narrow Water Bridge will be determined by the Taoiseach’s ‘Shared Island Unit’ that has a half a billion euro to spend over the next five years, Sinn Féin TD Ruairí Ó Murchú has said.

As part of the recent budget announcements, it was revealed that the Taoiseach’s ‘Shared Island Unit’ would receive €100 million a year in funding for the next half a decade.

Arising from the announcement, the Dundalk TD submitted a question for response by Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Wednesday.

Mr Martin said a number of projects are expected to progress because of the new, ring-fenced cash for the ‘Shared Island Unit’. The Taoiseach added that the unit would give a greater degree of certainty to projects that previously had got lost between two stools when handed over to government departments on both sides of the border.

The Sinn Féin TD said Mr Martin had included the Narrow Water Bridge in a list of projects he wants to see progression on, as well as the A5 motorway, and this is ‘welcome news’.

He said: ‘The Taoiseach spoke about the difficulty experienced by the State over the years regarding many projects it agreed to.

‘He talked about cross-border projects, such as the Narrow Water bridge and the A5, and promises that were made. When the projects were left with individual departments, they found reasons, probably genuinely good ones, not to proceed with them. They found other things to do.

‘While I might have difficulties with some parts of the terms of reference of the Shared Island Unit, I believe the unit is necessary if we are to complete some of the cross-border projects.

‘We have all heard tell in the past while of possible high-speed rail, particularly on a cross-border basis. This needs to happen.

‘Many commuters in the likes of Dundalk use the Enterprise train, which runs from Dublin to Belfast and back. The problem is that, in many cases, it only runs every two hours.

‘We need to have a greater level of connectivity and ensure more trips so it will be more possible to use the rail network for commuting. The price can also be a dissuader. We need to examine this. We have to give people opportunities.’

North Louth Councillor Antóin Watters agreed that it was welcome news and repeated that the Bridge “will be good for tourism in the area.”

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.”