SF Councillors Stand with Irish Life Staff

Cllrs Ó Murchú & Campbell with staff from Irish Life

Dundalk councillors Ruairi O Murchu and Anne Campbell have given their support to the striking workers at Irish Life.

A majority of the 180-strong Dundalk workforce at the country’s largest pension provider took part in the one-day stoppage, along with their colleagues in the Irish Life centre in Dublin, in protest at plans by the multi-million euro firm to take employees out of the defined benefit pension scheme and put them into the defined contribution one instead.

The Sinn Fein councillors spent time with the striking workers, who are members of the Unite union, hearing how the proposed changes will affect the employees in Dundalk, some of whom have been with the company since it first opened here nearly 17 years ago.

In a joint statement, Cllrs. O Murchu and Campbell said: ‘We went to the Irish Life picket line today to support the Dundalk workers of the company who are facing a situation where they believe they could lose 30% of their pension entitlements.

‘It was clear to see that the strike was being well-supported by the local community, judging by the sounding of car horns and waves from those driving by on the Inner Relief Road.

‘We spoke to a number of the workers, some of whom joined the company after 2007 and were put into the defined contribution scheme, and they were very supportive of their colleagues who face losing their defined benefit pension.

‘Some of them told us that the defined benefit pension promise was one of the reasons they had remained at the company for so long.

‘Sinn Fein stands with the Irish Life workers and we call on the company, which made around €200 million profit last year and which is, ironically, Ireland’s biggest pension provider, to engage with the Dundalk and Dublin workers immediately in a bid to come to a properly-negotiated and fair settlement’.

 

Cllr Anne Campbell: Delay on MIU Unacceptable

Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Campbell has revealed that the planned reduction in the age limit for treatment at the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at the Louth Hospital is already behind schedule.

In November 2017, Health Minister Simon Harris was visiting Louth and told Fine Gael politicians, that the reduction in age at the MIU, from 14 to 5 years, would happen in February this year.

Councillor Campbell, who is a member of the Regional Health Forum, pointed out this week, “that deadline is now well past. Minister Harris, during a visit to Louth, announced to great fanfare, his confidence that the MIU in Dundalk would see this reduction by February. The latest information I have received is that the age reduction will not now happen until some time in the second quarter of this year. This information was given to Gerry Adams TD following a Parliamentary Question.”

The response, from the RCSI Hospital Group which runs health facilities in Louth, Meath and North Dublin, says: ‘It is envisaged that the Local Injuries Unit at the Louth County Hospital will be in a position to start seeing patients over five years of age with minor injuries in Quarter 2 2018. This change in practice remains dependent on staffing and appropriate staff mix’.

Cllr Campbell said: “I am very concerned at this delay and the fact that the RSCI have not even set a proper date for the age reduction despite the February deadline having already been missed.”

Cllr Campbell also pointed out that “with over-crowding an almost daily occurrence at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, this age reduction will give parents, like myself with children under 14, the ability to get their minor injuries treated in the first-class MIU in Dundalk. The longer the age reduction is delayed, the more pressure is being heaped on an already overstretched A & E in Drogheda not to mention the stress for parents worried about having to take their child to Drogheda with a minor injury.”

Cllr Campbell has called for the “RSCI to now make the age reduction their top priority in this area and to get the staffing they say they need in place – they have already had plenty of time. We want to see Minister Harris follow through on his promise albeit late in the day.”

Cllr Anne Campbell Welcomes End to Ard Dealgan Nightmare

Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Campbell has welcomed the signing of a contract between Louth County Council and Tuath Housing Association which marks the beginning of new work to provide social housing in the complex on Quay Street.

Councillor Anne Campbell said “this marks a new beginning for the people of the Quay Street, Peter Street and Barrack Street areas. Dundalk Sinn Féin and former councillor Jennifer Green have campaigned on this issue for a number of years and at last we can look forward to an end to the nightmare.”

The Ard Dealgan complex which was abandoned in 2009 following health and safety concerns has been a magnet for anti-social activity in the form of drug dealing, parties into the night

Cllr Campbell inside Ard Dealgan

especially in the summertime and a regular number of fires taking place endangering the lives of the front line services that sometimes needed specialist equipment to reach the fire.

Councillor Campbell said “we can now look to the future. The residents in the surrounding areas don’t need to fear and dread the summertime coming this year, work should be well underway by then as it is expected that the 68 units should be completed by the end of 2019.”

“The residents will be taken from the housing list and a care-taker should be living on site. There will be 68 units in total on completion:

  • 46 x two bed homes
  • 10 x one bed homes
  • 7 x three bed apartments
  • 3 x two bed duplexes
  • 2 x four bed duplexes

This will provide a good mixture and I look forward to seeing people and families who have been waiting for years on the housing list, settled into their new homes by the end of next year.”

Councillor Campbell also gave an outline of the work involved. “The apartments will have a turnkey finish as they will be fully furnished with new electrical and plumbing works to the highest standard. There will also be landscaped gardens and around 70 underground car parking spaces.”

Cllr Campbell was also pleased that “the Council have given a commitment to improve the public road outside the new complex. That part of the road in Quay Street has become quite dangerous with the amount of pot-holes and cars can often be seen swerving around them and it can look like they are driving erratically.”

Cllr Anne Campbell also said “the council will allocate the housing mainly through the Choice Based Letting system and accommodation will be provided for those with disability or experiencing homelessness.”

In addressing the issue of anti-Social behavior “Tuath don’t anticipate any problems with anti-social behaviour at the new complex as they have experience of running large apartment buildings around the country and are confident that this one will be a place where people want to live.”

Cllr Anne Campbell: Ard Dealgan Nightmare Coming to an End

It seems the Ard Dealgan nightmare is coming to end says Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Campbell. Following a request for an update at the monthly Council meeting, Cllr Campbell welcomed the news that “contractors are already on site at Ard Dealgan and work is beginning to bring the complex up to a standard where it will provide much-needed accommodation for 68 families.”

Cllr Campbell also explained “the expected time-frame is between 12-14 months. I understand the work will be done on a phased basis and it’s conceivable that people from the housing list could be in their new homes for Christmas next year.”

Ard Dealgan has been a magnet for anti-social behaviour since it was built and subsequently abandoned due to health and safety concerns in 2009. Nearby residents have been under siege as anti-social elements were attracted to the complex and have witnessed fire crews dealing with numerous fires at the Quay Street complex.

Cllr Campbell said “Ard Dealgan has been a nightmare for residents in the surrounding area. Sinn Féin have been lobbying on this issue for years as we have seen the complex abandoned, sold on to anonymous, faceless consortiums by NAMA and now eventually after all that, we can see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Councillor Anne Campbell said she would continue to monitor the progress and has called on the Project to ensure there is adequate security on site for the duration of these works. “We want everything to go according to plan. No more obstacles or hold ups.”

Cllr Anne Campbell: Celebrate our Older People

Sunday 1st October marked International Day of Older Persons, a United Nations designated day in which we should celebrate the contribution older people make to our society and to ensure the conditions exist to facilitate the active participation of our older citizens in all aspects of life.

Councillor Anne Campbell explained “the theme for this year International Day of Older Person is ‘Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society’. There are 16,077 people in Louth who are over 65 according to the 2016 census and Sinn Féin wants to see their contribution celebrated and this increased longevity continuing.”

“Sadly for some of our older citizens who wish to remain or to be cared for in their own homes, the lack of homecare services which would enable them to do so is turning their later years into a challenging time in their lives. Home care delivered at home is the preferred option for most older people and their families. However, the current government policy has an emphasis on nursing homes as the solution to providing long-term care for our older citizens.”

“We are committed to ensuring that those 16,000+ older people in Louth can live with dignity and continue to contribute to society and we see it as fundamental that they should live independently for as long as possible. So Sinn Féin has put forward costed proposals in our alternative budget for 2018 that would see home help hours increase by 20% which would enable more older people to remain independent in their own homes for longer.

“To prevent the knock on effect of increased trolley and waiting list crises that having older people ‘stuck’ in hospital because of the lack of homecare packages, we are proposing that they are increased by 15%. In real terms that would be an extra 2,485 home care packages across the state.”

Cllr Campbell said “Our older people deserve to have respect and dignity and to be celebrated. Sinn Féin is on their side and I would encourage the government to invest in our older citizens needs in Budget 2018.”

To read our full alternative budget 2018 please visit www.sinnfein.ie