Cllrs Tom Cunningham, Kenneth Flood, Joanna Byrne & Ruairi Ó Murchú with Gerry Adams TD & Imelda Munster TD at Fleadh
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has extended his warmest congratulations to all of those involved in making Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2018 in Drogheda such a huge success.
Teachta Adams said:
“I want to commend the amazing efforts of the Drogheda Fleadh Committee, Drogheda Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Louth County Council, An Garda Síochána and the members of the Emergency Services, and the 1000 local volunteers who all worked hard to ensure that Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2018 in Drogheda was a huge success. I also want to thank all of the sponsors who make events like this possible.
The Fleadh Cheoil is the biggest musical event on this island and is one of the most important in the cultural life of this island.
It was expected that around 400,000 local people and others from across the island and internationally would travel to Drogheda for a week of great music, dance and culture.
The atmosphere was electric with musicians and dancers performing wherever an audience was prepared to stand and listen. The decision to pedestrianise the town worked very well and made it much easier for the huge crowds to move about from the various events.
The Fleadh has also been an enormous boost to the local economy with tens of thousands of visitors coming to Drogheda to enjoy the music and craic.
Drogheda with its rich culture and heritage is perfectly placed to hold the Fleadh and I have no doubt that next year it will be even bigger and better.”
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has expressed his serious concern at the number of vacancies for consultant posts in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. His concern follows the publication of figures released to his party colleague Louise O’Reilly about vacant consultant posts in hospitals across the state.
Teachta Adams said:
“Sinn Féin and hospital consultants and their representatives have been stating for some time that there is a recruitment and retention crisis within the health service. The figures released to Deputy O’Reilly confirm that this is a real issue that affects every hospital across the state.
According to the figures there are at least 349 vacant consultant posts in hospitals. In some areas the number involved is deeply worrying.
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital is among the better resourced but nonetheless there are currently 7 vacant consultant posts within the hospital. All of these impact on essential health services provided in OLOL. There is one consultant less than the number required covering each of the speciality services of dermatology; emergency medicine; geriatric medicine; intensive care; orthopaedic surgery; child and adolescent psychiatry, and psychiatry.
With 2,700 children in the state needing access to Child and Adolescent Psychiatry the lack of 13 such consultant posts in the state, one of which covers Louth and Meath, is a serious concern.
The HSE has tried to paper over the cracks by employing doctors not on the specialist register as consultants and employing locum/agency consultants, but its short term solutions are not working.
The government must urgently address the recruitment and retention crisis affecting consultants and the Minister for Health and the HSE need to engage with representatives of the consultants and draw up a properly resourced plan to fill these posts. The gap in consultants is placing patients and staff under stress and at risk.”
Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has said that she is “seriously annoyed and disappointed” that the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has yet to authorise a driving test centre for Drogheda, despite lengthy waiting lists in County Louth and no driving test service at all being currently available in the town.
The Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport welcomed news that a new driving test centre is expected to open in Dundalk next year, but queried the wisdom of investing in another driver test centre in Dundalk when Drogheda has none at all. Does Drogheda not feature in their business plan at all?
Deputy Munster said:
“I welcome any measures to improve services in Louth. It’s important that service provision is balanced and fair, however, and I have serious concerns that Drogheda is continuously overlooked.”
“I have asked the RSA on numerous occasions to provide a driving test centre in Drogheda, and I am repeatedly told that they have no plans to do so.”
“I find this hard to understand when you take the waiting lists into consideration. In June I received a response to a PQ which showed that people in Louth are waiting up to 15 weeks for a driving test, with an average wait time of 11 weeks.”
“The figures show that 1229 people are still awaiting a test. These figures do not include those customers already scheduled for a test or those who have made it known that they are not available for a test.”
“These figures show a clear need for additional services in the county. We have had an unacceptably long backlog for many months now, and with new legislation to be introduced for learner drivers numbers are expected to increase.”
“I will once again be contacting and calling on the RSA to reconsider the establishment of a test centre in Drogheda to cope with demand. I am looking for an explanation as to why they continue to ignore Drogheda.”
This month’s Municipal District meeting in Drogheda saw Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne hold officials from Louth County Council to account over their commitment to clean the streets of Drogheda.
Councillor Byrne raised her concerns regarding the “filth of our pavements, particularly on the main streets of the town centre”and was given firm plans for a Deep Cleaning Machine to facilitate aggressive surface cleaning of pavements for a one week period commencing Monday 19th June and a further period three week period before the commencement of the Fleadh on August 12th.
On Monday night Cllr Byrne slammed officials over this blasé commitment – “Firstly I want to ask what streets were actually cleaned on this initial one week period? I can’t see any improvements so either it wasn’t done or the machine isn’t an adequate solution to tackling this issue.” She went on to say “I’m all for cleaning the town in advance of the Fleadh but I have said it before and I’ll say it again, we should be doing this regardless for our own people, residents and businesses alike who consistently utilise these areas. Now I’m asking you to extend this pathetic schedule, no time limits, just clean until the job is done, can you give that commitment?”
Senior Engineer Mark Johnson assured Cllr Byrne that the job was done over the initial planned period, the machine was used for three days with effective results, but he could not clarify where exactly it had been used. He went on to inform her of the extensive cost in using this machine, €900 per week, and an additional €300 to get it on-site and that is why there was only limited cleaning scheduled with it.
Cllr Byrne welcomed the official’s clarification that the aggressive cleaning was effective in the small area it was used on, and that this heightened her request to have the schedule for its use extended, which fell on deaf ears as she was told it would be sticking to the original schedule and would not be in use again until the weeks leading up to the Fleadh.
“This is simply not good enough for the people of Drogheda and I am enraged at the unwillingness of the officials to put some pride back into our town, if senior officials put as much effort into doing something as they do into making excuses not to do it we would all be a lot better off!” she concluded.
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the official launch of the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann which will be held in Drogheda between August 12th and 19th.
The Louth TD said:
“I want to commend all of those involved in the planning and organising of Drogheda’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, especially the Executive Committee, the local credit unions and Louth County Council. This is the most important event in the Irish traditional music and dance calendar and it will provide a unique opportunity for the people of Drogheda and Louth, as well as from all parts of the island and internationally to come together to enjoy the best in Irish music and dance. It will also provide a tourist bonanza for the local tourism industry with many thousands travelling from outside Ireland to attend the Fleadh.
“The programme that has been produced is overflowing with amazing talent and artists.
“Drogheda has been looking forward to the Fleadh Cheoil for some time and will provide a warm, inclusive welcome for all of those musicians and artists participating or the tens of thousands who will be there over the week of the Fleadh to simply enjoy the music, dance and craic”.