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 Councillor Kenneth Flood has asked Louth County Council officials if there will be enough water in Drogheda to serve the forthcoming Fleadh. The reply is got has caused him concern.
Cllr Flood said “given the recent drought conditions I asked if our local reservoirs were full enough to meet the projected needs for 400 thousand visitors. I was informed that that the situation was being monitored and further restrictions would be put in place if needed. I feel there needs to be a bit more clarity around that.”
A further concern that Councillor Flood raised was the water main at Staleen Water Treatment Plant. Cllr Flood said “I asked if a contingency plan or a Plan B is in place in case of a repeat of the main bursting again as it did recently and more infamously, last year when we were without water for over a week. Again the answer was there was a plan in place that included distributing bottles of water and they were confident they could repair any burst quickly. Considering the fact we have had two bursts on the same pipe in the same place in less than 12 months I’m afraid I do not share their confidence.”
Cllr Flood said he was hoping for a more concrete answer. “I wanted reassurances that there were advance preparations in place for a disaster that may well happen. I expected to hear that there will at least be tankers on standby to supply the venues and hotels, our 400 thousand visitors and the residents of Drogheda who will be hosting the biggest event in our town’s history.”
Cllr Flood quipped “If this drought continues we may need to add a rain dance to The Fleadh’s Dance Competition.”
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 Councillor Joanna Byrne tabled a motion at the June County Council meeting calling for the collection of plastics from the bring bank centres in the county to be re-introduced for the duration of the Fleadh and requested this include the wider parts of the County that will or may be facilitating visitors for the period.
Cllr Byrne has been a champion on this issue and very vocal on the axing of collections of plastic’s from the bring banks. She tabled an emergency motion at the time calling for the original decision to cease plastics collections to be reversed. The Chief Executive refused to reverse the decision despite Cllr Byrne’s motion being supported by all cross-party councillors. She promised at the time that she would not let this issue drop.
Cllr Byrne said “With licensed premises and restaurants set to distribute plastic glasses and containers in the thousands, and litter already plaguing the town, I have my reservations that our current litter collections will be able to facilitate this waste collection.”
Although Cllr Byrne’s motion was passed without any opposition, she was told that the collection of plastic’s from the bring bank facilities could not be facilitated in the way suggested as to do so would require changes in the current infrastructure and amendments to the service contract currently in place.
However, Paddy Donnelly did re-assure Cllr Byrne that a specific ‘Greening the Fleadh’ initiative had already been established. A Committee has been set up – led and chaired by LCC Environment Awareness team, including staff from Enforcement Section, the Energy Office and other stakeholders such as the Drogheda Tidy Towns Group, V&W recycling centre and Endavar, who all also have reps on the committee.
The purpose of this initiative is to manage waste collection and put an emphasis on recycling and the use of biodegradable cups and packaging on take away foods. The intention of this committee is to increase awareness and to bid in 2019 for Festival Green flag status.
Cllr Byrne welcomed this initiative saying “I am pleased to see the commitment and drive shown by Louth County Council in regards to this issue. In my opinion the axing of the collection of plastics was always a disservice to the people of this county and I had major worries as to where this plastic waste would have ended up. I warmly welcome the ‘Greening The Fleadh’ initiative and hopefully its goals come to fruition and it provides an adequate service in regards to recycling and waste management. I will be monitoring it closely throughout the period of the Fleadh and will have no hesitation calling for changes if I don’t deem it satisfactory.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has hit out at Louth County Council (LCC) for their failure to see through a plan to clean-up graffiti in Drogheda.
Following Cllr. Kenneth Flood’s motion at the July 2016 Municipal District of Drogheda meeting calling on LCC to tackle the graffiti problem in Drogheda, LCC embarked on a clean-up of council owned properties in the town. Cllr Flood said “we were given reports and updates on graffiti removal in Drogheda. We were informed of the number of notices sent to businesses including state and semi-state business, instructing them to clear graffiti from the areas they were responsible for.”
At the same time a comprehensive survey was carried out by Louth County Council’s Community Warden of all areas vandalised with graffiti.
Cllr Flood said “it was a positive step to getting Drogheda cleaned up and free from unsightly graffiti once and for all.”
However, Cllr Flood has noticed a sizable increase in graffiti throughout Drogheda over the past 6-8 months. Cllr Flood was approached by several Drogheda residents and visitors to the area over the St Patrick’s Festival asking what had happened to the initiative and what was being done to continue the work started in 2016.
Cllr Flood raised the issue at April’s Borough District of Drogheda Meeting and “I was frustrated and annoyed to find that Louth County Council not only has ceased to focus on graffiti removal but had also no intention on chasing up on their notices issued to businesses as they had previously committed to.”
Councillor Flood has called on LCC to ensure that the notices are followed up on and that an up to date report is prepared for councillors at May’s Borough District Meeting.
Finally Cllr. Flood said “Louth County Council have dropped the ball on this. They need to up their game to clear Drogheda of all graffiti before the start of the Fleadh and ensure that the town is presented in the best possible light so everyone can see how much Drogheda has to offer.