Cllr Byrne: Drogheda Parking Issue Dismissed with a Shoulder Shrug

The issue of parking remains to be a bone of contention in Drogheda especially around the Lourdes Hospital. At April’s Drogheda Municipal meeting the issue was raised and it was agreed that it should be ‘addressed urgently by the Council and the HSE’. The same issue subsequently dominated a special sitting of the parking committee made up of members and officials from Louth County Council some two weeks later.

As a result of the frustrations of the members over the heightened congestion in the area, and the concern’s raised by local residents in the vicinity the then Director of Service’s for Operations, Catherine Duff, under took to seek an immediate meeting with the HSE to discuss options to maximise the use of their own HSE carpark on both the Crosslanes and indeed on the hospital grounds also, with a view to alleviating some of the congestion in the surrounding areas.

Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne, at this month’s Municipal meeting sought an update on the issue.

An outraged Joanna Byrne said “I only discovered that no such meeting has taken place, but it hadn’t even been requested. In the interim Catherine Duff has been replaced by Willie Walsh as the Director and he simply shrugged his shoulders stating that he didn’t ‘deem it necessary’ as the local authority would have no control over the actions of the HSE and he could not guarantee any co-operation from them.”

This was like a red rag to a bull to Cllr Byrne who replied to him, “With all due respect Mr. Walsh, we are sitting here six weeks later from when this was requested and agreed to by the members, you yourself sat at the subsequent parking meeting where we delved into this in some depth and now you are telling us that you do not deem it necessary? Whether you deem it necessary or not is simply irrelevant. It is complete disregard on your part for previous agreements made on such an important issue, and complete disregard for the will of the members. I am re-iterating the request that this meeting is sought immediately and a report on the same circulated to the members. I do not wish to return again next month to the same laidback, uninterested approach from officials on this matter!”

Following the meeting, Cllr Byrne wrote to the Director of Services expressing her dissatisfaction that there was no follow through on this, especially considering the parking issues that is troubling all of the constituents of Drogheda at present, once again laying down her expectations that officials get on board with the members and endeavour to work with them in fixing this debacle.

Cllr Antóin Watters Calls For Pro-Active Approach to Dumping

Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has requested that Louth County Council to explore the option of installing height restriction barriers at litter hot spots in North Louth.

Cllr Watters made the request at this month’s Municipal meeting in Dundalk following and escalation in dumping incidents around North Louth since Christmas.

Councillor Watters said “since Christmas we have had tyres and building rubble dumped which are very costly to remove. While I welcome the funding for the County from the Government’s Dept of Climate Action and Environment through their Anti-Dumping Initiative (ADI), it is not going to solve the problem.”

In April Minister Denis Naughtan TD announced Louth would receive €76,300.

Antóin Watters explained that this sum was to cover the whole county and included Carrickarnon Laneway, Ravensdale. “I spent last weekend helping in the annual spring clean at Rathcor. The spirit and pride of the community in their area was evident as it is in other areas. People who are dumping rubbish are not wanted in the area. They do not care about the people or the area.”

Antoin Watters at Rathcor Clean up

“This money from the ADI will be used up just cleaning up after these people. We need to think more long-term and be more pro-active in tackling this issue once and for all. This is a war on dumping. We need to fund initiatives like amnesties for tyres and larger items like mattresses or suites of furniture. We need to make it difficult for dumpers to drive their vans to these hotspots and that’s where the height restriction barriers would help. We could use CCTV at these spots and even drone technology.”

Councillor Watters has been liaising with Louth County Council and Coillte on an on-going basis since Christmas on this issue and said “Coillte removed a further 260 tyres from its land last week and that is eating into their already tight budget. They shouldn’t have to spend their budget or their time on cleaning up rubbish, they were established for forestry works and illegal dumping is taking them away from that.”

Councillor Watters also said “the greatest resource that we have against these people are the communities themselves. I would again appeal to people to remain vigilant. If they see anyone dumping or if they see strange vehicles acting suspiciously around litter hotspots take note of them and report them to Louth County Council.”

“This is our county, our area, our community and we are proud of it. We are not going to let people treat it like their own personal rubbish tip. The money spent on cleaning up after these despicable people could be better spent elsewhere.”

Tomás Sharkey: Dumping of Dead Cattle a New Low

Cllr Tomás Sharkey

Sinn Féin Councillor Tomás Sharkey has hit out at the dumping of dead cattle on the roadside in North Louth.

“Rassan is a rural area on the N53 between Dundalk and Culloville. This weekend we witnessed a disgusting act of dumping and endangerment of public health. Amongst the items dumped on the roadside was a dead and rotting calf. I witnessed the site. It was disgusting. The smell was putrid and bluebottles were crawling over the carcass.

“There is a lot of waste on the adjacent site. Last year the Council attempted to establish the ownership of the site and ran into difficulties. This recent event is a new low.

“I am asking everybody to be vigilant for this type of dumping and contamination.”

Rotting carcass of a dead calf

This is the latest incident in what seems to be a huge increase in dumping in County Louth. Since Christmas we have had tyres dumped on several occasions at beauty spots at Edentubber and North Louth and just recently over a dozen mattresses were dumped along a main road outside Ardee.

This latest act was despicable given the nature of what was dumped and the threat to public health is evident.

We need to stamp out this growing trend and let these people know that we are proud of our community and our County and there is o place for these sort of incidents. If anyone has any information or witnesses any kind of dumping please notify Louth County Council with as much information as possible.


Ó Murchú welcomes Criminal Assets Bureau Presentation to Dundalk

The Criminal Assets Bureau will make a presentation at Louth County Council offices on Monday 30th April at 5.30pm at a combined meeting of the Ardee, Drogheda and Dundalk Joint Policing Committees. (JPCs). JPCs consist of senior Gardaí, elected representatives, the local authority and some community representatives. They deal with crime and policing issues in the particular area.

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí O Murchú stated that “Sinn Féin have a very positive engagement with JPCs. We would like there to be an extension of their powers and greater community involvement.”

“It is a very encouraging move to see the Criminal Assets Bureau make this presentation in Dundalk. They have operated over the years as a serious tool against organised crime. They were introduced following the murder of Veronica Guerin in 1996. In the last period we have seen them in operation against criminals involved in the Kinahan Hutch feud and recently witnessed a major operation across Louth, Meath and Dublin.

Cllr Ó Murchú said “We have a serious problem with organised drug gangs across this county and in particular, Dundalk and Drogheda. The community suffers terribly from the drug dealing, intimidation, arson and the violence of these gangs.  Their extortionate means of drug debt recovery from the families of addicts, backed up with brutality and terror is a huge issue. The public want to see action. We welcome measures taken by the Gardaí and the local authority in the last period against these gangs. We call on greater resources to allow for the deployment of the promised Drugs and Organised Crime Unit and a strategy to deal with these criminal elements. This unit for the County was talked about at the last Dundalk JPC meeting.”

Cllr Ó Murchú said “I would hope that we could see the Criminal Assets Bureau operating local operations in tandem with the Gardaí. Successful arrest operations can be difficult in a ‘subcontracted criminal enterprise’, where main players use vulnerable people as their ‘cut outs’ and keep themselves ‘clean’. Many drug dealers are living cash rich and many without intricate money laundering systems and so we would hope this weak point could be used by CAB to disrupt, impact and possibly shut down some of their operations.

“I will be calling for CAB to become more involved across Louth and in Dundalk and Drogheda.”

Watermain Stress Testing Cause Residents’ Stress

Sinn Fein Councillor Kenneth Flood has slammed Louth County Council following two unannounced water outages on two consecutive days in the Newfoundwell/Termonfeckin Road area.

Councillor Flood said “In the early afternoons of Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st of March I was inundated with calls from residents of several estates asking why there was no water in the area. I contacted Irish Water to query this on both days and was told on both days that they had no information.”

Councillor Flood then proceeded to contact Louth County Council who informed him they were ‘aware of an issue and it would be resolved soon.’

Cllr Flood was told on the second day of the water outage “that contractors were stress testing the new water-main for the Newfoundwell/Termonfeckin Road area, but that the water was only supposed to be off for 15 minutes. This was not the case. Residents were without water for up to 5 hours and when supply did eventually return it was murky and undrinkable.”

Councillor Flood said “They must be detached from reality not to think of the thousands of residents who were plagued by water outages for years until the North Quay watermain was replaced. Their unannounced testing caused severe stress and concern among residents. I shared the information via social media and then spent hours phoning residents back to tell them what had happened. Again, a lack of information and communication from Louth County Council.”

Kenneth Flood had harsh words with Louth County Council about these unannounced water outages and told them “they must take heed that this situation cannot be allowed to occur again.”