Ó Murchú Praises Fire Crews Tending Fire At Local School

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has praised the efforts of fire crews from Dundalk and Ardee who attended a serious fire at Dun Lughaidh (St Louis’s) Secondary School overnight.

Cllr Ó Murchú said “I went to Dun Lughaidh School to see the damage for myself this morning. One building, which I believe was a technology block, separate from the main school building, has been completely destroyed. I have been told the building also contained a lot of the students’ coursework which has unfortunately been lost.”

Cllr Ó Murchú said “My heart goes out to the pupils and staff of the school as I know this will be a very stressful time for them especially with exam time looming.”

Cllr Ó Murchú praised the fire crews who “tended the fire in the early hours of the morning and managed to contain the blaze. They did a fantastic job.”

Irish Government must defend Irish interests in Brexit – Adams

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Gerry Adams this morning attended the All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit at DKIT in Dundalk where the EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier made a keynote speech on Brexit.

Mr. Barnier revealed that there remains much to be agreed and that the issue of the border is at the centre of intensive work.

Gerry Adams said:

“I want to welcome the visit to Dundalk of the EU Chief negotiator Michel Barnier. The All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit at DKIT was also a welcome initiative.

No part of the island, but in particular border regions like Louth, will be immune from the economic and political consequences of Brexit. We know from a whole series of reports that our agri-food and agricultural sectors are especially vulnerable.

There is therefore an imperative on the Irish government to defend the two economies on this island and to ensure that any agreement at June’s EU summit, involving the British government, must ensure that the north remain with the customs union and the single market and within the EU legal framework. This is the best way to protect communities on both sides of the border.”

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.”

Adams calls for Civil Registration Office to be reopened

Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has described the current closure of Dundalk Civil Registration Office as unacceptable and has written to the Minister for Health asking for an explanation and for the office to be reopened.

Gerry Adams said:

“The closure, without any notification, of the Civil Registration Services office in Dundalk has proven enormously disruptive for local people wanting to register births, deaths, and marriages. The unannounced closure of this busy office is entirely unacceptable.

I have asked the Health Minister, who is responsible, why this decision was taken? I have also queried what steps Minister Harris plans to take towards the reopening of the office and when members of the public might expect this service to be available once more.

“My party colleague Cllr Anne Campbell has received complaints from constituents who only discovered the office was closed when they went to register.

“It is totally unfair that the constituents of north Louth are now expected to travel to Drogheda to carry out routine registration of births, deaths and marriages.  The distance from Omeath to Drogheda is 59 kilometres. For families who have either just had a birth or death this is an unnecessary burden at what is obviously a stressful time.

“We already know that people are expected to travel to Drogheda to access many types of medical care.  The range of services which had been delivered at Louth County Hospital and then removed have never been replaced in the town and people accessing mental health services such as CAMHS have no suitable premises in Dundalk and they too must go to Drogheda.

“The argument for the removal of medical services to Drogheda has long been that expertise is centred there.  However, there is no rationale for the loss of administrative functions, such as the civil registration office, from Dundalk. The Minister has a responsibility to explain why Dundalk Registration Office was closed without notice and tell us when we can expect that it will be re-opened?”

Cllr Anne Campbell: Delay on MIU Unacceptable

Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Campbell has revealed that the planned reduction in the age limit for treatment at the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at the Louth Hospital is already behind schedule.

In November 2017, Health Minister Simon Harris was visiting Louth and told Fine Gael politicians, that the reduction in age at the MIU, from 14 to 5 years, would happen in February this year.

Councillor Campbell, who is a member of the Regional Health Forum, pointed out this week, “that deadline is now well past. Minister Harris, during a visit to Louth, announced to great fanfare, his confidence that the MIU in Dundalk would see this reduction by February. The latest information I have received is that the age reduction will not now happen until some time in the second quarter of this year. This information was given to Gerry Adams TD following a Parliamentary Question.”

The response, from the RCSI Hospital Group which runs health facilities in Louth, Meath and North Dublin, says: ‘It is envisaged that the Local Injuries Unit at the Louth County Hospital will be in a position to start seeing patients over five years of age with minor injuries in Quarter 2 2018. This change in practice remains dependent on staffing and appropriate staff mix’.

Cllr Campbell said: “I am very concerned at this delay and the fact that the RSCI have not even set a proper date for the age reduction despite the February deadline having already been missed.”

Cllr Campbell also pointed out that “with over-crowding an almost daily occurrence at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, this age reduction will give parents, like myself with children under 14, the ability to get their minor injuries treated in the first-class MIU in Dundalk. The longer the age reduction is delayed, the more pressure is being heaped on an already overstretched A & E in Drogheda not to mention the stress for parents worried about having to take their child to Drogheda with a minor injury.”

Cllr Campbell has called for the “RSCI to now make the age reduction their top priority in this area and to get the staffing they say they need in place – they have already had plenty of time. We want to see Minister Harris follow through on his promise albeit late in the day.”