Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú at Carlingford’s D’Arcy McGee International Forum

Gen John de Chastelain, Cllr Ó Murchú & Jane Urquhart

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has paid tribute to the organisers of this year’s D’Arcy McGee International Forum event which was held in Thomas D’Arcy McGee’s hometown of Carlingford.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee born in Carlingford in 1825 . He was a revolutionary Irish nationalist who later became a Canadian parliamentarian and was assassinated in 1868. He was a complicated character containing a lot of the complexities of Irish history.

Cllr Ó Murchú said “it is a great event with a myriad of political opinions, backgrounds and identities all brought together under the roof of the Holy Trinity Heritage Centre. The idea of the forum is to ‘bring together interested parties from across Canada and Ireland, to

Ruairi with Jane Urquhart

discuss and debate, to explore new ideas, and to question old ones.’ This is much needed.”

Cllr Ó Murchú said “This year’s theme was ‘Canada and Ireland – exploring new beginnings in uncertain times’ and with the chaos of Brexit looming, I feel this is very apt.”

The event was opened by Kevin Vickers, the Canadian ambassador. The James M.

Flaherty lecture was given by the Canadian novelist and poet, Jane Urquhart, who spoke

Ruairi with General John de Chastelain

eloquently about her Irish roots and the issue of her Quinn antecedents converting to Protestantism.

Cllr Ó Murchú also paid tribute to General John de Chastelain who will be awarded the Thomas D’Arcy McGee Award. “General de Chastelain

was Chairperson of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning and had the unenviable job of overseeing the weapons issue as part of the Irish Peace Process. He is very deserving of this award and I wish him all the best going forward.”

 

Adams and Ó Murchú Attend Louth Respite Forum

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams and Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú have met with HSE management and families of those with intellectual disabilities to discuss the respite needs of families in County Louth.

The meeting of Louth Respite Forum, which took place on Friday 27th April in Ardee, is the latest in a series of engagements regarding the lack of adequate respite provision.

Following the meeting Gerry Adams said,

“Respite is essential for families caring for loved ones with intellectual disabilities.  These families love their children, that is absolutely without doubt.  They care for them diligently their whole lives, but everybody needs a break.

“In order for these parents to provide this intensive level of care into the future, the Government needs to support them through the provision of respite.  I have met with the Minister for Disability Finian McGrath on many occasions and raised the shocking gaps in provision of respite in Louth.

“I welcomed the Minister’s announcement in December 2017 that additional funding would be made available to the HSE in Louth and I am pleased to see the outworking of this with the recent opening of Bower House in Balbriggan which will provide respite for young adults.

“Although welcome we still have many citizens who are not able to access appropriate respite in Louth.  Older people with intellectual disabilities who live with their elderly parents are in desperate need of a proper respite service.  Dundalk Parents and Friends of the Intellectually Disabled have long made the case for their loved ones who are being treated shamefully at the moment.

“I also welcome the news that the HSE will address this with a new premises in Dundalk which will be operative in the Autumn and I look forward to the delivery of this service.

“I also pressed the HSE on the issue of emergency respite, the lack of which led to the complete cessation of summer respite in 2016.  I received confirmation that the HSE are looking at realistic options in the event of an emergency which would not affect the respite of other citizens.

Councillor Ó Murchú added,

“Louth Respite Forum is a very useful platform for engagement between citizens, politicians and service providers.  There is no doubt that there are gaps in provision in Louth, however this forum enables families to hold politicians to account and to put their queries directly to the HSE.”

Chair of Local Policing Forum Calls For An End to Halloween Nuisance

SF Kenneth & ImeldaThe first meeting of the new Drogheda Local Policing Forum took place on Monday and was dominated by Halloween and the nuisance it can be which takes away from family fun.

Sinn Féin Chairperson Cllr Kenneth Flood said “one issue is the bonfires and the burning of tyres. Sterling work has been done in the past few years by local businesses and Louth County Council to prevent tyres finding their way onto these bonfires and we hope to build on that. Despite people knowing the environmental damage tyres cause when they are burned, not to mention the heavy toxic smell and mess they leave behind, several councillors and multiple citizens have reported seeing them being hoarded for Halloween Bonfires. So I am again requesting that anyone who sees hoards of Bonfire Material to please pass the location on to Louth County Council so it can be removed.”

The second related Halloween issue was the use of fireworks.

Cllr Flood said “although the number of fireworks is well down compared to previous years, they are still being used in the county. I want to remind everyone that these fireworks are illegal and unsafe. As a father myself, I feel sick every year when I read about some poor child that has lost fingers or has been injured in some way by these fireworks. It has to stop. And it’s not only the children that are suffering, the poor animals hate the noise of them and it causes them unnecessary panic and distress.”

The meeting which was held in the Governors House, Millmount, Drogheda also covered other topics such as the need to repair the lighting columns on West Street, the establishment of new neighbourhood watch schemes and tackling burglaries and graffiti in Drogheda and South Louth.
Cllr Kenneth Flood is urging all resident’s groups, voluntary groups etc to register with the PPN (Public Participation Network) and “have your voice heard on all issues facing Drogheda and South Louth. This is your area, you are entitled to have a say in how issues are tackled”.

For further information on how to register your group please go to http://louthppn.ie

Cllr Flood concluded “There will be a public meeting held after these PPN roles are filled and anyone and everyone in Drogheda and surrounding areas can raise any issue they believe needs to be tackled through the Joint Policing Committee.”

Adams welcomes Louth Economic Forum Action plan

Gerry with Padraic White (Chair of Louth Forum)

Gerry with Padraic White (Chair of Louth Forum)

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams today attended the launch in Drogheda of the Louth Economic Forum’s Action Plan to secure greater Foreign Direct Investment for County Louth.

Speaking after the launch Teachta Adams said:

“The Louth Economic Forum is a template for success in planning integrated strategies for investment, training and social and cultural development. I want to commend Louth County Council and the Louth Economic Forum for their production of this very important strategic plan for future jobs and investment in Louth.

“I welcome the recognition by the plan of ensuring that all parts of Louth feel the benefits of this strategy. Key to this is a greater emphasis on collaboration and co-operation by all of the key economic and political partners. The importance of Louth as part of the border region and its central geographical location midway between two international airports and the two biggest ports on this island, is a significant plus in efforts to secure greater Foreign Direct Investment.

“FDI is an integral part of the economic landscape of the island. However more needs to be done to develop FDI in a sustainable and long term manner.

“For example, Sinn Féin believes that much more work needs to be done to increase co-operation between SME’s and indigenous business and Foreign Direct Investment, and we know many of these companies are open to exploring new avenues as to how this can be achieved.

“It is important to remember that in this state small and micro businesses employ 70% of the workforce outside of the public sector. We believe that enterprise policy needs to be much more integrated and that the growth of small indigenous businesses and FDI investment are not seen as competing objectives.

“Finally, the potential to maximise FDI for Louth requires greater co-operation between the development agencies on both sides of the border. It does not make sense that these agencies are in direct competition with the other.”