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.”

Threatened services at Daisy Hill jeopardises Cross Border Healthcare – Adams

Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has said that any reduction in services at Newry’s Daisy Hill Hospital will have a detrimental impact on his constituents and on healthcare provision in Louth.

Gerry Adams said;

“The Southern Health and Social Care Trust have stated that the temporary overnight closure of the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill Hospital is being considered due to staffing issues.

“People living in the Newry, South Armagh and Down areas are naturally concerned that if this happens it will be the thin end of the wedge for further closures and diminishment of services at Daisy Hill, which may result in the eventual closure of the hospital.

“In Louth we have witnessed a similar chain of events which has resulted in the closure of the Emergency Department and a host of other services at the Louth County Hospital in Dundalk.

“The corollary of this is a massive increase in demand placed on Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, where sufficient extra capacity was not introduced. This is now manifest in increased waiting times for in patient and outpatient treatment, huge numbers of people on trollies, long waits for emergency treatment, stress for patients and staff and staff shortages.

“There are a significant number of people from Louth and across all of the border counties who, through the EU funded Cooperation and Working Together (CAWT) project, access treatment at Daisy Hill Hospital.

“Arrangements are in place for cross border ENT, Urology and Vascular treatment as well as Kidney Dialysis and of course the Emergency Department.  This is all in jeopardy in the event of service reduction in Daisy Hill and this will place even more of a strain on Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

“I have written to the Health Minister Simon Harris to alert him to this situation and I have also written to the Chairperson of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Roberta Brownlee, to urge a swift resolution to this matter and the full retention of services at Daisy Hill Hospital.”

Brexit threatens cross border Health projects and requires a National debate – Adams

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has warned that Brexit threatens cross-Border health care agreements.

Teachta Adams said: “Patients from this state have been availing of health services in the North under the EU cross-Border directive. It meant that where there was an overly long waiting list, people could travel with relative ease to receive the treatment that they needed. The waiting lists are not going away; neither are the demands. Going North across the Border was manageable, but it may now become unmanageable. This is a priority area of cooperation that the government and the Executive must address as they seek to coordinate their response to Brexit.”

In this context the Louth TD and Sinn Féin party leader has called on the Irish government to consider establishing a National Forum to discuss how the vote of the clear majority of citizens in the north who want to remain in the EU can be respected and defended.

The purpose of this Forum would be to bring together all of the different strands of opinion on the island of Ireland to discuss our future in the EU following the Brexit vote.

Gerry Adams said:

“I have written to the Taoiseach to ask him to consider establishing a Forum to discuss the future for the people of this island – North and South – and the European Union following the Brexit vote. I have asked him to meet with me and other political leaders to discuss this proposal.

“This Forum should aim to have island wide participation and involve the Assembly parties, the Oireachtas, European Parliament and civic society.

“The vote of the clear majority of citizens in the north who want to remain in the EU must be respected and defended.

“The Remain vote brought together unionists, nationalists, republicans and others in common cause on the same platform. Those who campaigned for a Leave vote should also be invited. There is an imperative on all of those who are concerned about the consequences of the Brexit vote to work together in the time ahead.

“There is a particular onus on the Irish government to defend the Good Friday Agreement and its institutions, and to work closely with the Executive to achieve maximum co-operation.

“A Forum, similar to the New Ireland Forum and the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation, should be open to all political parties on the island. It would have the clear objective of discussing the implications of Brexit and producing papers on strategies and policies that might assist in coordinating efforts in the time ahead.

“Such a Forum could be invaluable in providing information both to the public and to all of those sectors of our society likely to be affected by Brexit.

“The Forum could reach out to those in Scotland who voted to remain in the EU.

“It could also hold plenary sessions to which experts on aspects of EU policy could give evidence.

“Critically, the agenda for such a Forum would need to be agreed with the participants to ensure maximum buy-in.”

More To Be Done to Tackle Cross Border Crime

More work to be done with local communities

More work to be done with local communities

Louth County Cllr Edel Corrigan along with Conor Murphy MP, Megan Fearon MLA for Newry and Armagh and Declan Murphy Louth Sinn Fein Constituency Manager, recently met with senior members of E Districts PSNI and Assistant Chief Constable, George Hamilton in regards to a number of issues, including Cross Border crime and communications between members of the PSNI and An Garda Síochána.

Although there appears to be better communication between the PSNI and An Garda Síochána in a number of areas, more still needs to be done to tackle the issues of cross border crime such as car theft, house break ins, burglaries and there are a large number of issues around stolen farm plant and equipment. Cllr Corrigan said “Cross border crime needs to be tackled, and we appreciate this is difficult considering the lack of resources provided. All the more reason then, that An Garda Síochána and the PSNI should communicate, co-ordinate and work with the local communities North and South.”

Cllr Corrigan continued, “I would like to see both the PSNI and An Garda Síochána work together to share initiatives like local community policing plans, Community Restorative Justice programmes and education programmes rolled out in some areas with youth, particularly around topics such as anti-social behaviour, bullying, criminal damage, e-safety, and the Be SMART Anti Rape Campaign.”