Flood vows to continue fighting for disability rights and access in Drogheda.

Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has pledged to continue fighting to improve disability access in Drogheda.

Cllr. Flood said “I recently met with Nicola McDonnell from the Irish Wheelchair Association where she highlighted the dangers at the George Street Bus stop. To get there wheelchair users have to go out onto the road into the flow of traffic to access the dipped part of the kerb and then the footpath has a really steep incline that makes it almost impossible for a wheelchair user to keep themselves safe.”

Cllr Flood also noticed that “the marked wheelchair space for those wishing to use the bus is also heavily sloped. I have contacted the Operations Department of Louth County Council, as have the Irish Wheelchair Association, asking that the dipped kerb be moved so wheelchair users can access it without being forced into the flow of traffic and the footpath up to and including the wheelchair space be levelled to make it safer. These works should be carried out as a matter of urgency.”

Cllr Flood has been pro-active on disability access throughout his term on the Council. “The Drogheda Sinn Féin Team have allocated tens of thousands of euros from our Community Allocation fund to address disability access problems in Drogheda including improvements at; Rathmullen Housing estate, the bus stop behind Abbey Shopping Centre, Mayoralty Street (beside Wheel Chair Association), Shop Street, St. Peter’s Cemetery, the Bull Ring at Ollie’s Pub, Mayorality Street / Bachelor’s Lane junction, Twenties Lane, Bog Lane Off Crosslane and Midwifery Education Centre at Hardeman’s Gardens. We have also provided some disabled parking spaces.”

“The work we were able to fund has helped but the real task is to have Louth County Council focused on disability access and for it to be taken into consideration whenever there is road works or footpath
works happening. This is an on-going issue and I will continue fighting for disability rights and access in Drogheda.”


Edel Corrigan Calls for More Care & Communication with Residents

Cllr Edel CorriganWith the increase of road works being carried out around the town lately, Sinn Féin Councillor Edel Corrigan asked the question “is there a monitoring process in place whereby our local authority inspects the standard of work being carried out by these contractors?”

Cllr Corrigan was speaking at the Dundalk Municipal Council meeting this week and commented on “the surge of underground works taking place by Irish Water, facilities, networks and service contractors. While I appreciate the work has to be done, lately it just seems to be a lot of streets or roads are being dug up, along with footpaths to the inconvenience of businesses, traffic and pedestrians alike. I would like to ask how road openings are monitored to ensure safe, secure traffic management systems to facilitate access by people in the area.”

After consultation with several residents Cllr Corrigan said “We need better communication with residents and businesses before their services are disrupted or disconnected for a time. The notice given is inadequate and putting it out on radio or social media doesn’t always reach the people affected.”

“I want to know what measures are in place to ensure, when all works are all finished, that the roads and footpaths will be returned to an acceptable condition. We have many community areas where residents invested money, time and effort in improving their environment only to find that planters and flowerbeds were destroyed following these works and footpaths were left unassailable. In one area residents were left distressed finding exposed live cables.”

Louth County Council Operations Department advised that any concerns or complaints arising from the ongoing road works can be made to Louth County Council who will investigate.

All Schools in Louth must have access to the National Educational Psychological Service – Adams

DSC_3254_6510Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has written to the Education Minister, Richard Bruton TD, regarding damning reports in the media that more than 75% of schools in County Louth do not have access to a National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) psychologist.

Gerry Adams said;

“On 17th January, in response to a parliamentary question tabled by my Sinn Féin colleague Carol Nolan TD, the Education Minister confirms that 57 schools across Louth do not currently have access to a NEPS psychologist.

“On Saturday 21st January the Irish Examiner carried a report which states that 1 in 6 primary schools across the State have no access to a NEPS psychologist.

“This is totally unacceptable.  Often an assessment by the NEPS psychologist is the first stage to a child accessing a range of other services, interventions and supports, without which they may not be able to achieve their educational potential.

“The educational assessment is the gateway through which children must pass to access further educational and social supports so any delay in this assessment is intolerable for these kids and their families and causes much unnecessary stress and worry.  In addition any delay in assessments may have an impact on the child’s teacher and the other children in the class.

“Furthermore NEPS psychologists play a crucial role within schools in the event of a critical incident, for example a tragic death or other traumatic event.  In an occurrence like this the NEPS psychologist guides and advises school staff, who know the children well, to support and assist children and identify children who may require additional support.   I will not stand for children and schools in my constituency not having access to this vital service  

“I have asked further questions of the Education Minister on this issue.  We need to know the locations of the 57 schools in our constituency which are without access to a NEPS psychologist.

“In addition the Minister has stated that any school which doesn’t have access to a NEPS psychologist can access educational assessments through the Scheme for Commissioning Psychological Assessments (SCPA) and the cost will be reimbursed by NEPS.  

“I have requested information regarding the costs in Co Louth of accessing this scheme over the past 5 years and crucially I want to know what the waiting time is for children who need assessments whose schools do not have access to a NEPS psychologist.”

Boyne Business Park Pedestrian Update

Kenneth FloodCllr. Kenneth Flood has welcomed the update on the much needed footpath to The Boyne Business Park but has stated that this project must progress as a matter of urgency due to the safety concerns attached.

Cllr Flood said “as far back as January I brought a motion to the Drogheda Municipal Council which was passed which said would provide pedestrian access through the Boyne Business Park. At last night’s meeting of the Municipal Council it was confirmed that the Council have prepared plans for a new link road between Newtown Link Road and to connect to existing road on third party lands through to Newtownstalaban at Boyne Business Park to provide safe, secure pedestrian and vehicular access.”

“The update includes costs for the new road which are estimated at €258,000 and there are ongoing meetings regarding the legal end including access and taking-in-charge through third party lands adjacent to the site. When the new road is available, use of the existing road should discontinue.”

Cllr Flood said the ‘overdue update that will be welcomed by the business and staff of The Boyne Business Park and by the public who need to access the services there.”

Disability Access Improvements For Dundalk – But Not For Drogheda – Imelda Munster

imelda photo orangeSinn Féin Councillor Imelda Munster has congratulated councillors in Dundalk for putting their discretionary fund allocation towards a project that benefits their entire town and surroundings areas.

Councillors in Dundalk had voted to use € 49,000 of a discretionary fund to ‘improve disabled access’ throughout the north Louth area last month.

Cllr Munster said “This will make a huge difference to everyone in the area. Last Monday evening, Dundalk councillors were given a list of 37 projects of works due to be started which will see improvements throughout Dundalk, Knockbridge, Carlingford, Blackrock and Omeath. The permanent infrastructure will enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities making access to footpaths and roads safer for wheelchair users, people on mobility scooters and parents with prams or trolleys.”

“The best part about this list of works is that not one cent from their discretionary fund is being spent on planners, reports or bonuses, every bit of it is going into the works to benefit the people of the area.”

The Drogheda Councillor went on to explain “this is a discretionary fund of €50,000 that is given to the three Municipal Councils and it is up to the councillors how they wish to spend it. Unfortunately in Drogheda, Sinn Féin’s proposal to make Drogheda a ‘Disabled Access Free Town” was voted down.  The discretionary fund will instead be diluted down into 10 parcels of €5,000 for each councillor to add to their community allocation grants.”

Each Councillor already gets almost € 3,000 annually  to donate to community groups and charities.

“The discretionary fund would have afforded Drogheda Council the opportunity to spend it on something that would benefit everyone rather than have it spread so thinly that it’s not going to make much of a difference. The Councillors will now have €8,000 to donate to community groups and charities. This was a chance to get away from dividing the money up for pet projects and a chance to make a real difference. Once again, I congratulate councillors in Dundalk who are working together for their constituents who are going to get great value for money with improved infrastructure. I’m just sorry I haven’t the same good news for Drogheda.”