Antóin Watters Selected for 2019 Local Elections

Louth Sinn Féin have formally selected seven candidates for the Dundalk and Mid-Louth areas for the 2019 Local Council Elections.

In Mid-Louth Pearse McGeough was selected to re-run with his running mate not yet determined.

In Dundalk South, the three current Councillors were selected, Tomás Sharkey, Anne Campbell and Ruairí Ó Murchú, the latter two facing election for the first time having been co-opted within the last 14 months.

In Dundalk Carlingford, the two sitting Councillors Edel Corrigan and Antóin Watters were selected together with a new face, Eugene Garvey, an activist from the St Nicholas’ area of Dundalk.

Antóin Watters was nominated by Jim Loughran from the Campbell Donnelly Cumann. Jim was a former Councillor and retired about 18 months and Antóin was co-opted onto his seat. He was seconded by activist Tommy Eccles.

Antóin has worked tirelessly (no pun intended) since he has taken over. His area has been plagued with tyres and heavy duty fly tipping and Antóin has been devising ways to tackle this scourge, along with a variety of rural challenges that are faced by his constituents. Brexit has also been at the top of his list of priorities as the uncertainty around the effect it will have on the border areas grows at an alarming rate.

Antóin was supported on the night by his beautiful wife Fionnghuala and was upstaged by his new baby Éanna who stole the show.

Speaking after the convention, Watters said “I am humbled and honoured to have been put forward and subsequently selected and look forward to continuing to represent the people of Dundalk Carlingford to the best of my ability. I want to thank Campbell Donnelly Cumann for all their help and especially Jim Loughran who is always there to give me guidance and advice at every turn.”

Watters continued “I want to especially thank Fionnghuala for her unending support and love. She never complains when I’m home late or have to attend yet another meeting. I appreciate everything she does for me, thank you.”

Antóin with the other candidates selected and our 2 TDs

If you would like to help out in Antóin’s campaign please contact him through his facebook page or call into the SF office at 1-2 Crowe Street. Your help would be greatly appreciated and everyone has their part to play, be it leafleting, postering, campaigning, organizing, admin, driving or whatever your skill may be.

Cllr Watters Calls For Cross Border Approach to Deal With Boy-Racers

Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has called for a cross border approach to deal with the on-going problem of ‘boy racers’ in the North Louth / South Armagh area.

Cllr Watters said “everyone has the right to go about their daily business without fear and this nuisance is causing fear. I have received numerous complaints from people in the community about this behavior which appears to be pre-planned events by the boy racers.”

Cllr Watters has been liaising closely with his Sinn Féin colleague in the north, Liz Kimmons who this week welcomed a commitment from the PSNI to tackle the scourge on the north side of the border. However, Cllr Watters feels that needs to be built on. “It is great that the PSNI have taken a pro-active approach in this but the reality is that when these people are stopped their racing in that area, they are going to just rearrange to race in North Louth so we need to have a joined up approach in dealing with the issue rather than allow it to move from one jurisdiction to the other.”

Cllr Watters has requested a joint meeting with An Garda Siochaná and the PSNI, together with Cllr Liz Kimmons and it is hoped several issues relating to these boy racers will be addressed.

“When these boy racers congregate there are a number of things that happen; the noise alone is very disruptive to residents in the area and as these are regular events it has the effect of making people nervous or afraid to leave their homes; the cars are causing an obstruction on the road and other motorists are being forced to try and manoeuver their way through them. I have received a complaint from a female driver in particular who was driving alone and felt very uncomfortable and was quite shaken as she arrived on the scene on her route home. That is not good enough.”

“This is anti-social behavior and an infringement on people just going about their daily business. This behavior is a danger to pedestrians, householders and drivers alike. We need to all work together to tackle this scourge before it escalates even further and ends up in tragedy.”

Cllr Antóin Watters Welcomes Positive Council Response on Waste Awareness

Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has welcomed the response from Louth County Council to his recent motion on the issue at the September meeting.

Cllr Watters said “following the increase in illegal dumping in the north of the County, I put forward a motion asking that Louth Council initiate a county wide awareness campaign to highlight the issue but more importantly to ensure the public are aware of their own responsibilities and the danger to themselves if they use unlicensed waste collectors.”

Cllr Watters explained, “For example, if I pay ‘a man with a van’ to take away a mattress and maybe a settee or some other items and he dumps them at a beauty spot in the Cooley mountains, I am responsible because those items are mine and I did not use someone who holds a waste collection permit. I am responsible and can face fines even though I employed someone in good faith to take away my rubbish.”

“I don’t believe that the public in general are aware this is the law so I have asked for an awareness campaign similar to the one implemented by Meath County Council. I welcome the positive response which stated “The Council’s Environmental Awareness section will liaise with colleagues in Meath County Council to ascertain the effectiveness of their billboard campaign and seek to replicate same if this has proven to have been a successful initiative.

In the meantime, Cllr Watters asked that citizens “use only those waste collectors that hold the appropriate permits and that way you will know exactly where your rubbish is going to end up. Remember, your rubbish, your responsibility.”

Watters: Cross Border Action on Waste is Needed

Cllrs Mickey Larkin & Antóin Watters

Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has welcomed the motion before Newry Mourne & Down District Council (NMDDC) by his Sinn Féin colleague Mickey Larkin.

Cllr Watters who has been to the forefront of the issue said “fly tipping and dumping of toxic materials like tyres and building rubble is a scourge that we can’t ignore. This motion urges greater cooperation between the NMDDC and Louth County Council (LCC). This scourge is relentless and is blighting the Cooley, Mourne and Gullion regions.”

Cllr Watters said “the Slieve Gullion area has the highest level of fly-tipping in the North and I would go as far as to say Cooley and North Louth possibly have one of the highest levels in the South. Because of this, Cllr Mickey Larkin and I have been working closely together on this in an effort to tackle this issue which is a drain on the tax payers finances. Be under no illusion, it is you and I, the average tax payer, who are picking up the tab for these criminals who have no regard for our communities or countryside.”

The Motion by NMDDC mirrors a similar one brought by Cllr Watters to LCC.

Copy of Cllr Mickey Larkin’s Motion

Cllr Watters said “the motion is calling for increased cooperation between NMDDC and Louth County Council in an effort to tackle the issue.  It is also calling for a review of penalties for dumping to reflect the increasing costs to the Council and Rate Payers of the Council district.”

Further actions agreed by the Councillors in NMDDC were:

  • the Council contacting both Louth County Council and Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council with a view to addressing fly tipping in a unified way;
  • addressing enforcement action in conjunction with the NIEA (Northern Ireland Environment Agency)
  • to carry out a fly tipping review and market the message of zero tolerance
  • to write to the relevant Department raising concerns and requesting prompt action.”

Cllr Watters concluded by saying “we can not let this continue. We need a joined up and multi-agency approach on this issue and make sure that the ordinary citizens are aware of their responsibility in waste disposal. The polluters are the ones who should be made pay, not the ordinary public.”

Carlingford Can’t Be Without A Tourist Office – Cllr Watters

Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has sought information from Louth County Council regarding the future of Carlingford’s Tourist Office.

The tourist Office in the village closed recently leaving the area with nowhere for tourists to visit for information.

Cllr Watters said “Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula are bustling with visitors and tourists from all over the world who come to see the stunning scenery and to experience the wealth of history in the area going back 800 years. In 2008 we received Europe’s Destination of Excellence Award and quite deservedly so. We have grown from strength to strength and yet, we no longer have a Tourist Office.”

Cllr Watters said “no matter where tourists go, their first port of call is always to the local tourist office to pick up maps and find out where the local areas of interest are or to get information on where to stay etc. It is essential that Carlingford, being a tourist hub for the North East, provides that service. It is unacceptable that we are left without one and this needs to be redressed as soon as possible.”

“Following the abrupt closure of Carlingford Tourist Office, I have received numerous calls from parties who would be interested in leasing the building itself. It is essential that this building, which is in a prime location in Carlingford Village, remains in use and I have no doubt that there are many local businesses and groups who will be interested in leasing it.”

“In the meantime I will be contacting the Tourism Board to find out the reasons behind the sudden closure and to ascertain any plans for re-opening it albeit at a different location.”