Cllr Flood: Reduction in Drogheda’s funding yet another slap in the face.

Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has reacted angrily to the decision taken by the Chief Executive of Louth County Council to cut Drogheda’s Municipal district funding from €75,000 to just €60,000.

Cllr. Flood said “The Chief Executive stated that she took this decision because Councillors did not agree to increase the Local Property Tax (LPT) this year and she needed to balance the books. This is news to us.

“At the LPT Meeting the Chief Executive said she was seeking an increase in LPT to put it into the counties roads. We all know that hundreds of millions of our road taxes have been ploughed into the failed entity that is Irish Water instead of being spent on our roads. At no point was it stated that a consequence of not agreeing to a tax increase would mean a decrease in Drogheda’s Budget.”

Cllr Flood explained that “Councillors are excluded from formulating the budget. Not even the Economic Special Policy Committee has any meaningful input into the budgetary process. Yet, we are expected to rubber stamp any budget that is put before us without complaint.

“I have stated it before and I will state it again, that must change!

“The funding made available for each district, meagre as it is, has been used by councillors to fund various groups and projects throughout Drogheda. For the last two years the Sinn Féin team have pooled our allocations to make Drogheda a more disability friendly town.  This year we have helped fund various local groups and charities. Now our ability to assist Drogheda’s Groups and Infrastructure has been curtailed by an unfair and arbitrary decision taken by the Chief Executive.

“With Drogheda’s exclusion from the living cities initiative, and the inexplicable overlooking of Drogheda in the Draft National Planning Framework this reduction of the meagre funding made available to us is just another slap in the face.”

Finally Cllr Flood said “we did not accept the Chief Executive’s position on our budget and made our position clear to her. Drogheda councillors have actually passed a motion calling for an increase in our budget and we will continue to push for this right up until 20th of November when the Chief Executive will present the annual budget for Louth.”

 

Pearse McGeough Welcomes Proposed 50% for Housing Adaptations in SF Alternative Budget

Councillor Pearse McGeough has welcomed the provision of a 50% increase in Housing Adaptation Grants (HAGs) in Sinn Féin’s alternative Budget for 2018.

In June of this year, Cllr McGeough asked Louth County Council to apply for extra funding for this Grant scheme after it was announced that the Scheme was to be kept open all year round.  Each year a budget is allocated to this scheme which will adapt houses for the disabled or elderly.

Cllr McGeough said “Each year, the scheme opened, was flooded with applications and then closed again after a few short weeks. However, this year saw an extension to the submission period with the Scheme remaining open all year round. That has had the effect of citizens being left frustrated with the long periods of waiting time for these adaptations to take place.”

He said “I have a lady who is in her late 80’s who made a submission for a small but essential adaptation to her bathroom in 2016. She was marked ‘Priority 1’ which is categorising her as ‘urgent’. 2016 has gone, 2017 applications are in and this lady has now been informed that her work should be carried out in 2018.”

“There is no point in opening the Scheme all year round, processing and passing applications only to leave them sitting in a pile somewhere because there is no budget to carry out the works.”

“The applications for this particular Scheme are from some of the most vulnerable in our community. The scheme is intended to make daily life better for those who need a bit of extra help with their physical needs. This could be anything from a downstairs bathroom to a more major refurbishment of their home. These adaptations need to be carried out in a timely manner and waiting two years is wholly unacceptable by anyone’s standards.”

“I welcome Sinn Féin’s proposal that the allocation for this Grant Scheme be an extra 50%. We could perhaps clear the backlog and not leave our vulnerable citizens trapped in unsuitable accommodation.

For our full Alternative Budget please go to sinnfein.ie

Cllr Kenneth Flood Calls For Inclusion in Budget Process

Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has called on the Chief Executive of Louth County Council to include Councillors in the budget process.

Cllr. Flood said “during the debate on deciding this year’s Local Property Tax (LPT), Sinn Féin again proposed a 15% reduction, the maximum allowed under the relevant legislation.”

The Chief Executive responded by demanding that if Sinn Féin were proposing any cut in the LPT then they should identify where in the budget it should come from.

Kenneth Flood said “In the pre-budget workshop I had asked questions on the cost to the council of contractors, consultants and third parties writing council policy documents, like the Community Safety Strategy document etc. I did not get that information from the executive. I appreciate there are times when the Council need to employ consultants from time to time but as it is public money being used then the Council is accountable to the public.”

“We in Sinn Féin are more than willing to examine the council’s proposed spending and if the Chief Executive afforded us the opportunity to review the proposed budget in detail, then I am certain that we can identify areas where savings can be made. The process needs to be more inclusive of Councillors from all parties.”

“The LPT is an unjust and regressive tax and we need to ease the burden on homeowners and give families a break.”

 

Pearse McGeough Seeks Budget Increase in Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme

At the end of last year, Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough welcomed the opening of the Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme (HAGS) for 2017. Each year a budget is allocated to this scheme which will adapt houses for the disabled or elderly.

Each year, the scheme opened, was flooded with applications and then closed again after a few short weeks. However, this year saw an extension to the submission period with the Scheme remaining open all year round.

Although welcoming the extension at the time, Cllr McGeough has since been left frustrated with the long periods of waiting time some of his constituents have been facing for these adaptations to take place.

He said “I have a lady who is in her late 80’s who made a submission for a small but essential adaptation to her bathroom in 2016. She was marked ‘Priority 1’ which is categorising her as ‘urgent’. 2016 has gone, 2017 applications are in and this lady has now been informed that her work should be carried out in 2018.”

“I raised it at the Ardee Municipal meeting and I reiterated my call at the Louth County Council this week, to apply to the Department for extra funding for this Scheme as there is not enough to meet the needs of Priority 1 cases and that is unacceptable. The Council have agreed to do so.”

“There is no point in opening the Scheme all year round, processing and passing applications only to leave them sitting in a pile somewhere because there is no budget to carry out the works.”

“The applications for this particular Scheme are from some of the most vulnerable in our community. The scheme is intended to make daily life better for those who need a bit of extra help with their physical needs. This could be anything from a downstairs bathroom to a more major refurbishment of their home. These adaptations need to be carried out in a timely manner and waiting two years is wholly unacceptable by anyone’s standards.”

Sinn Féin’s alternative budget will benefit Louth – Adams

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget – Delivering a Fair Economy – which was published on Thursday by the party – presents a real opportunity for the people of Louth.

Teachta Adams said:

“The Sinn Féin alternative budget is fully costed and meets the fiscal rules. It is a comprehensive budget which tackles the crisis in our health service, tackles housing need and homelessness, refuge services, and childcare provision.

“With rural communities fearful of rising crime Sinn Féin would recruit over 1000 new Garda next year to protect local communities.

“On the day we published our alternative budget Our Lady of Lourdes again had the largest trolley numbers in its emergency department in the state which almost doubled by late that night forcing the hospital to call off call temporarily stop taking in patients.

“All of these difficulties are a response to the government’s austerity policies which have seen Garda numbers cut, Garda stations closed and our health service unable to cope with the demands being placed upon it.

“Fine Gael and Labour are wedded to unfair austerity policies. Families and workers in county Louth on average wages, the elderly and young people have paid the cost with unfair taxes, emigration, and wage and welfare cuts. They have also been hit hard by the governments cut to respite care grant, the loss of guidance counsellors in schools, and the imposition of water charges and the family home tax.

“Sinn Féin’s alternative budget offers a different choice – a fair choice. We will put between €600 and €2,000 back into the pockets of the average worker in county Louth, depending on their wage and family circumstances.

“We would do this by abolishing the family home tax, stopping domestic water charges, removing over 100,000 workers across the state out of the USC, expanding access to childcare, reducing the cost of healthcare, increasing the minimum ware and child benefit and assisting with education costs.

“Sinn Féin would prioritise investment in health. In our alternative budget Sinn Féin will prioritise an additional 500 nurses and open further beds across the system, including in Drogheda and Dundalk. We have also provided for additional nursing home beds, home help hours and home care packages all of which will relieve pressure on the emergency departments.

“Our budget will also increase the number of medical cards available to sick and vulnerable citizens and the funding for disability services.

“The Sinn Féin alternative budget would increase funding to build social houses and to tackle the homeless crisis.

“It seeks to ease the burden on the average worker including the self-employed and farmers while asking the top 5% who earn the most to pay their fair share.

“Overall Sinn Féin would invest €1.7bn or twice what the government plans in public expenditure, in prioritising health, education and childcare and delivering more gardaí, nurses, midwives, and teachers. We also propose an ambitious additional capital expenditure programme of €400m

“Sinn Féin wants a recovery that is fair and that benefits all sections of Irish society. Our budget proposals are grounded firmly in the republican principles of fairness and equality for all citizens.

SF Budget pic Oct 2015