As the issue of Drogheda’s parking problems came to the fore this week, Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood asked if Louth County Council was serious about tackling the issue.
Wheelchair users took to social media with pictures of inconsiderate car drivers parking on footpaths in Drogheda forcing them to abandon their journeys and return to their homes.
Cllr. Flood said “In 2016, following my motion regarding car-parking, it was agreed during the ensuing discussion that Drogheda’s Councillors would meet with Louth County Council officials to discuss ways of tackling the parking problems facing the town.”
The meeting took place on 27th January 2017 in Fair Street Council Building.
“I and all the councillors present raised a number of issues and offered possible solutions to car parking in various parts of the town. Among the issues raised were the lack of park and ride facilities in the town and we also queried the millions of euro spent in the past for car parking facilities that have never materialised.”
Cllr Flood went on to say “Since then, despite repeated queries to the same Louth County Council Officials, not a single query has been answered and there has been no action taken on parking. I have asked for a further meeting to tackle the parking issue but again, no date has been forthcoming. The issue of parking in the estates surrounding Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital was raised at that meeting and because of Louth County Councils inaction, this week we have seen Drogheda residents who use wheelchairs not being able to get to where they need to be in the town.”
“I am repeating my statement from the beginning of the year that there cannot be a piecemeal approach to Drogheda’s parking problems anymore. Drogheda’s residents and visitors need to know that our parking problems can and will be resolved, but to do that we need Louth County Council to start taking this issue seriously.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Cunningham has welcomed the launch of the new Hippocampe Beach Wheelchair at Clogherhead Beach.
Speaking today, Cllr Cunningham, who secured funding for the project, praised Sinn Féin Deputy Imelda Munster who was responsible for bringing the Beach Wheelchair to the County. “The last thing Imelda Munster did before she left Louth County Council to become a TD was to bring forward a motion calling for disabled persons to be able to go to a beach and to enter the sea like their able-bodied counterparts, something most of us take for granted. The motion received unanimous support across the Council and today we have our Beach Wheelchair. I can’t tell you how proud I feel today.”
The Beach Wheelchair will be managed by Celtic Adventures who are based at the beach in Clogherhead.
Cllr Cunningham said “I know County Wexford has one and as far as I am aware, Louth is the second County in the State to have one so we are very lucky. The Chair can be used on land and also in the sea and can accommodate adults and children alike. Can you imagine the freedom it would give a disabled person, young or old, to be able to go into the sea without having to be helped or carried, something they would not have been able to do before. And also the fact that it can go across the sand, parents or carers can now wheel their child across the sand instead of sitting on the sidelines.”
Cllr Cunningham also pointed out that “this can only benefit tourism in Louth as families with someone who is disabled are very limited in their choice if they want to visit a beach. Louth and Clogherhead is only too happy to welcome them.”
The Hippocampe All Terrain Chair
Imelda Munster TD said at the time “there is an onus on local authorities to ensure equal access to services and amenities for every citizen.”
The Beach Wheelchair is available from today at Clogherhead Beach. Celtic Adventures anticipate a demand for its use and have asked that people who are interested in using the chair, which will be free of charge, pre-book to avoid disappointment.
To book the chair please call Dave on 085 875 2767
Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough has welcomed the re-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.
Cllr McGeough said “Applications will be accepted from the end of this month. 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.”
Following January’s full Council meeting, Cllr McGeough also welcomed an extension of the submission period. “Each year, the Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme would open, be flooded with applications and then would close within weeks. I was told that his year the Scheme will be open all year round which will be of great benefit to citizens who were always waiting for this small window of opportunity to make a submission.”
Cllr McGeough is awaiting clarification from Louth County Council as to whether applicants from 2016 who whether they would be considered or would have to apply. Cllr McGeough was promised clarification very shortly.
Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has welcomed the passing of his motion at last night’s Drogheda Municipal meeting on the provision of safe access to Boyne Business park.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Flood said “Currently there is no footpath or safe pedestrian route to the business park and there is a 45 degree blind bend to access it. Ironically, the Boyne Business Park houses the HSE Early Intervention Centre and this is where physical and sensory disability services are delivered. People without transport have to walk this road as it has no bus service and it just isn’t safe in its current form. Hopefully this motion will see that rectified.”
Copy of the motion reads –
This council will install a footpath to the Boyne Business Park, where the HSE Early Intervention Centre is, from The Newtown Link Road, or liaise with the HSE, Boyne Business Park Businesses and The Mill Enterprise Centre to provide funding for pedestrian access to the Boyne Business Park or contact the private land owners bordering the Boyne Business Park on the Termonfeckin Road or Newtown Link Road and seek agreement on a pedestrian route through to the Boyne Business Park
The Road in Question, no footpath
Sinn Féin Councillor Imelda Munster has welcomed the unanimous support received for her motion calling on Louth County Council to provide free to use Hippocampe All Terrain Beach Wheelchairs at Blue Flag beaches in Louth to facilitate people with disabilities to access amenities similar to their peers in society.
Cllr Munster said she was “pleased her motion got the support of all the elected representatives” and said “there is an onus on local authorities to ensure equal access to services and amenities for every citizen and given that this year is the centenary of 1916 it is vitally important to ensure equality for all. The beach wheelchair would allow people who normally would not be able to access a beach or the waterfront the option of doing so, as it allows a more comfortable crossing of sandy terrain on beaches and it can be used solo or with a companion”.
Cllr Munster stated that “Wexford is currently the only council to provide a beach wheelchair at Curracloe Beach and they already have plans to provide a second one at Rosslare Beach so there is no reason for Louth County Council not to provide the same as we have some of the best beaches in the country”.
The beach wheelchair costs €3,000 along with civil works at the beaches.
“This is a minor cost for an important facility for people with disabilities who currently are denied access as it would make it much more comfortable and accessible to get on to the beach and to the water’s edge, something most of us take for granted.”
Following the passing of the motion the Chief Executive has committed to contact Wexford Council to assess the viability and success of their pilot scheme and come back to council with report on plans for same.
The Hippocampe All Terrain Chair