Cllr Joanna Byrne Calls For Legislation To Protect Emergency Services Frontline Workers

Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has welcomed the passing of her Council motion calling for any future sentencing guidelines to consider assaults on frontline worker’s as ‘aggravating factors’, potentially leading to more severe punishments issued by the courts. Her motion was successfully passed with cross-party support.

The motion read as follows:

“Louth County Council recognises the essential role carried out by emergency service workers including Ambulance, Fire Service, Gardaí and Customs, and the risks that these frontline workers take in the service of the public.
We also recognise that assaults carried out upon such emergency services in the course of their duties, can hamper, delay, and prevent these services coming to the assistance of the public, often during situations and events of serious duress and danger.
– Therefore, we consider the nature of such assaults as serious, and it should be considered an aggravating factor, where any assault is made against a frontline worker during the commission of their duties, and that any review or future sentencing guidelines should provide that it would be considered an aggravating factor.”

Cllr Byrne gave a passionate speech to the chamber while delivering her motion. “There is unprecedented levels of violence occurring in the line of duty for these workers and the worrying trend of callout crews being targeted shows no sign of abating, including here in Louth. Crews have come to accept these attacks as an ‘occupational hazard’ which is just wrong; violence against any emergency service worker should never be accepted at any level, let alone expected.”

Cllr Byrne also recognised the need for “specific legislation to protect emergency personnel and send a firm message to the perpetrators that the law will no longer be as lenient.”

Cllr Byrne was able to state cases of a paramedic being assaulted while treating a cardiac patient on a bus, during which he lost his two front teeth whilst his colleague had blood spat in his face. In another case she told of a firefighter losing part of his ear through being bitten, amongst others, and all the while highlighting the impact that these attacks could potentially have on the lives of the people these workers were trying to save.

Cllr Byrne also explained that ‘The Irish Fire and Emergency Service’s Association’’, the Union for 999 personnel, claims that “assaults like these are much more common than statistics even suggest, considering they are only recorded when an injury occurs, incidents with physical contact but yet no injuries are not recorded.”

Cllr Byrne said “We cannot sit idly by just expressing sentiments of thanks to these valuable frontline services, it’s time to support them properly and do our utmost to ensure their safety at all times, only then can they focus on their duties and continue to protect and save the lives of us all in this country.”

Notification of this motion being passed will now be sent to the Minister for Justice, Charles Flanagan, for his Department to consider when next reviewing sentencing guidelines.

Gerry Adams TD: Cladding concerns at Our Lady of Lourdes

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has written to the Minister for Health Simon Harris following media reports that specialist cladding inspectors have been brought in to investigate Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and four other hospitals following the Grenfell fire in London.

Teachta Adams said:

“People were horrified by the disastrous fire in June 2017 in London which killed 71 people. The fire was linked to cladding used on the outside of the block of flats.

“The news that the HSE has confirmed that Our Lady of Lourdes is one of five hospitals in the “highest risk” category is a matter of great public concern.

“I welcome the fact that the HSE has now decided to initiate this investigation, following an evaluation process, but I am concerned that this is only taking place now over a year after the Grenfell fire occurred.

“I have written to the Minister asking for detail about the on-site inspections that have taken place; what remedial action, if any, has been taken in respect of hospitals in Louth; and when he expects to complete the investigation into Our Lady of Lourdes and the four other hospitals.”

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.”

Munster Condemns Attack in Drogheda

imelda photo orangeSinn Féin Cllr Imelda Munster has condemned an attack in the Ballsgrove area of Drogheda in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Cllr Munster said “there were two devices thrown into a house where children were residing and that is unacceptable. This took place in a terraced row so not only was the family inside the house at risk but also the families nearby. Thankfully no-one was injured in this attack but that is sheer luck rather than design.”

Gardaí are investigating the attack and are treating it as criminal damage and arson.

Councillor Munster has called on anyone who witnessed anything in the area or who may have information on the incident to contact Gardaí in Drogheda on 041 9874200.

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.