Absence of Winter Initiative shows chaos in Health – Adams

Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has described the fact that the Minister for Health has not yet produced a Winter Initiative for 2018/19 as ‘ominous’.

Deputy Adams said;

“It is clear that many years of underinvestment in frontline health services and staff have resulted in what can only be described as a permanent state of crisis in our healthcare system.

“In our hospitals, which provide acute care to the most vulnerable people, we witnessed record levels of overcrowding during the summer due to a shortage of beds and inadequate care availability in the community.

“Relentless pressure on staff has led to a crisis in the recruitment and retention of nurses.  

“Just yesterday nursing and midwifery delegates belonging to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and the Psychiatric Nurses Association voted to reject government proposals which do not sufficiently deal with the issue of pay, setting the scene for industrial action.

“The Minister is well aware that the winter presents increased challenges to Emergency Departments, yet in a reply to a parliamentary question which I tabled earlier this month, he admits that preparations have only begun at hospital and local level.

“In 2016 the Winter Initiative was published on 9th September.  But this year Minister Harris has confirmed that he has not yet even met with all of the chairpersons of the hospital groups.

“Coupled with the ominous absence of a winter initiative, there are currently 169 staff vacancies across Emergency Departments.

“The Minister has informed me that he has filled these vacancies through the use of expensive agency staff and overtime arrangements – this is not acceptable and it is not sustainable.

“The Minister has been in situ for over two years, he must step up to the mark to ensure safe levels of care in our hospitals this coming winter.”

Brexit Should Not Cost Lives

L-R SF Cllrs Antóin Watters, Mickey Larkin, Roisin Mulgrew, Edel Corrigan & Pearse McGeough

The Cross Border Fire and Ambulance Services gave a presentation to Councillors and members of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) this week.

Sinn Féin councillors from Louth, Armagh and Down expressed concern that the current Memorandum of Understanding between Louth County Council (LCC) Fire & Rescue and NI Fire that has been in place since 2012 would be in jeopardy post Brexit.

Councillor Antóin Watters had raised the issue a few weeks ago following an accident on the main A1 dual carriageway just north of Dundalk. LCC Fire and Rescue were called to assist the Newry Fire Services following a car accident.

Sinn Fein councillor for the Slieve Gullion Area Mickey Larkin said “We need to ensure that this cross border co-operation continues after Brexit. We received a very valuable presentation from Joe Lumdsen for LCC Fire and rescue which related to Cross Border Emergency Planning.  He informed us that they have been mobilised to 31 incidents on both sides of the border since the Memorandum of Understanding started in 2012.”

Cllr Watters said “Let’s face it, people from the remote part of North Louth, like Omeath and Edentubber would get an ambulance much quicker from Newry than they would from Drogheda. People in these areas need to be able to rely on these vital cross border services. There is so much uncertainty around Brexit but this is one issue that we need confirmation and clarity on.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Edel Corrigan who is joint Chair of the MOU said “We must ensure that response times and access to both sides of the border is not affected. Brexit should not cost people’s lives and with all the uncertainty around the issue and the possibility of a hard border, we in Sinn Féin are calling on the Irish and British Governments to ensure this vital co-operation continues.”

Kenneth Flood Welcomes Gardaí Contact facility for Elected Representatives

Councillor Kenneth Flood has welcomed a new dedicated email facility set up by Gardaí for elected representatives.

Cllr Flood who is Chairperson of the South Louth Joint Policing Committee said “As Sinn Féin public representatives we listen to and work closely with the public, community groups and clubs throughout the county. In the course of our work we have received many complaints that non-emergency calls to the Garda went unanswered or were not followed up.

“We, as Councillors, would get a range of reports that have concerned citizens and they either haven’t reported it to the Gardaí or have received no response and have been left frustrated.

“For instance, a resident may want to report a car or individuals acting suspiciously on an-ongoing basis; Strange callers to an elderly relative’s house or people behaving in an anti-social manner on a street corner, lane-way or green-space close to their homes; A person may suspect criminal behaviour but not witness a criminal act first hand.

” Now there is this new dedicated email facility for public representatives. We can report the concerns of the men and women in Louth that come to us and know it will be reported to the Garda responsible for that neighbourhood and Gardaí up the chain of command and all the way to The Chief Superintendent.”

“I would urge anyone who has any on-going community policing concerns to contact their local Sinn Féin Team so we can help in reporting it and resolving it through contact with the Gardaí. But please remember, if it is an emergency situation please dial 999.”

 

Emergencies:

You should call 999 or 112 in the case of an emergency. An emergency is any incident which requires an immediate Garda response. Examples of emergencies are:-

  • A danger to life
  • Risk of serious injury
  • Crime in progress or about to happen
  • Offender still at scene or has just left

 

Non-emergencies can be reported on:

Drogheda Garda Station – (041) 987 4200

Dundalk Garda Station – (042) 938 8400

Ardee Garda Station – (041) 685 3222

Carlingford Garda Station – (042) 937 3102

 

 

Adams backs emergency call staff

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams TD has urged BT/Conduit Global to “resolve the ongoing industrial dispute at their 999 centres by accepting the need to pay workers a living wage standard.”

Teachta Adams said:

“On Thursday April 7th staff at the 999 emergency call centre in Navan took part in a 12-hour strike. This strike and the industrial action involving workers at all three call centres in Dublin, Navan and Donegal is clearly an issue of concern for the people of Louth.

These 999 emergency call centres provide an essential service and is the first point of contact for people in the event of a life threatening emergency.

The 60 staff in the three centres deserve to be paid a living wage.

Currently there is a 50 cent an hour gap in pay which BT/Conduit Global should move to close. The employers should also recognise the right of the workers to be represented by their Union.”

Cllr Flood Commends Drogheda Emergency Services

Kenneth FloodDrogheda’s fire service was once again called to a major fire, this time in a disused industrial unit at Greenhills. The fire on Tuesday night took several hours to get under control.

Sinn Féin councillor for the area, Kenneth Flood who attended the scene said “I can’t praise the fire service enough. There were three units in attendance and they did their usual professional, superb job. As if the fire wasn’t frightening enough, there was a possibility of a rough sleeper in the area but thankfully that did not turn out to be the case.”

Drogheda Fire Service tended to the fire for almost ten hours before leaving at around 7:30am on Wednesday morning.

Cllr Flood said “We have to remember that the cause of the fire has yet to be established despite some on local media falling over themselves to condemn the fire as a malicious act. Until the cause has been established maybe we should focus on how lucky we are that no-one was hurt or worse.”

Earlier this month, Drogheda fire service was called to a major fire at the Dawn paper factory which Gardaí are treating as arson.