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 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.”
Sinn Féin TD for Louth/East Meath Imelda Munster has welcomed the completion of the refurbishment works in Ballsgrove Primary Care Centre.
Deputy Munster said:
“The centre has been completely ungraded following fire damage in December 2016 to a fully modern state of the art Primary Care Centre to meet the needs of the local community.”
“It is understood that the refurbished Primary Care Centre will be staffed by two Primary Care Teams comprising of Public Health Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Psychologists, and other supporting healthcare professionals. The Public Health Nursing service based in the Primary Care Centre is expected to continue to provide a wide range of services to the centre’s users including a very valuable Tissue Viability Service.”
“It is my understanding that the HSE intend to have Ballsgrove Primary Care Centre the main hub for the delivery of its Immunisation Programme for South Louth with Senior Area Medical Officers based on site.”
“The restoration of this facility to the local community is very welcome and I wish all involved continued success.”
Sinn Féin Drogheda Councillors, Kenneth Flood, Joanna Byrne and David Saurin have welcomed the completion of a comprehensive list of disability access improvements in Drogheda that they paid to be done through their discretionary fund allocation.
Cllr Kenneth Flood explained “We met with Louth County Council Officials to decide, in collaboration, where the funding would be best spent. It was decided to work through a list of needed disability access improvements provided to us and Louth County Council by The Irish Wheelchair Associations, Drogheda Branch, based in Mayorality Street.”
“In the past two years there have been disability improvement works completed at:
- Rathmullen Housing estate.
- The bus stop behind Abbey shopping centre.
- Mayoralty Street beside Wheel Chair Association
- Shop Street
- St. Peter’s cemetery.
- The Bull Ring at Ollie’s Pub
- Mayorality Street / Bachelor’s Lane junction
- Twenties Lane
- Bog Lane, Off Crosslane
- Midwifery Education Centre at Hardeman’s Gardens
Cllr David Saurin said “These infrastructure improvement works will enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities making access to footpaths and roads safer for wheelchair users, people on mobility scooters and parents with prams or trolleys. The best part about this list of works is that not one cent from the discretionary funds was spent on planners, reports or bonuses, every bit of it went into the works to benefit the people of the area.”
Cllr Joanna Byrne concluded “We did want the dipped footpaths in the town centre at Peter Street and Fair Street worked on to make them safer for electric wheel chairs users and we were disappointed when we were informed that the council would not be looking at that area. We are happy we could play a part in improving disability access in Drogheda and now we will be examining where next in Drogheda and South Louth we can use our discretionary funds.”
L-R Cllr Kenneth Flood, Geraldine Lennon from Irish wheelchair association, Nicola McDonnell & Cllr David Saurin at the disability access improvements done at St Peters Cemetery, Crosslanes Drogheda.
Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster has welcomed the news that the contract has been signed to expand and upgrade the Staleen Water Plant in Drogheda.
Commenting Deputy Munster said “following on from the mayhem caused during July when 200,000 people were left without water for six days it is good news to hear that the water plant at Staleen is finally to be upgraded and modernised to make it fit for purpose.
“It should have been invested in and upgraded over the years instead of waiting for a crisis of this magnitude to happen. The contract will include the replacement of the rising main which contributed greatly to the cause of the water shortage crisis. With the contract signed for the expansion and upgrade of the plant work is expected to begin before the end of this year”.