Dáil Motion on Seamus Ludlow case prepared

At the press conference at which the family of Seamus Ludlow launched their leaflet campaign Louth TD Gerry Adams  offered to seek support for a Dáil motion in support of the campaign.

Following discussions with the family of Seamus Ludlow they have agreed the text of a draft  motion which is being shared with other Dáil parties and Louth representatives.

Gerry Adams said:

“I want to commend the courage and resolve of the family of Seamus Ludlow who have been campaigning for truth and justice for 43 years.  Despite the many lies that were told and the obstacles that have been placed in their way the Ludlow family have remained steadfast.

The report by the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence & Women’s Rights into the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Murder of Seamus Ludlow (Barron Report) published in March 2006 called for two Commissions of Investigation to be established.

Sinn Féin has begun the process of speaking to the other Dáil parties seeking their support for the motion. Our objective is to secure cross party support for the motion which is calling on the government to implement the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee for two Commissions of Investigation.”

HSE Paediatric dentistry waiting lists out of control in Louth

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has said the waiting lists for children from Louth and Monaghan to access HSE orthodontic services are unacceptably long.

Gerry Adams said: “The Dental Health Action Plan, published in 1994 set out the statutory entitlement to three routine dental screenings during primary school, in 2nd, 4th and 6th class, and Health Minister Simon Harris confirmed in the recently launched ‘Smile agus Slainte: National Oral Health Policy’ that “the existing criteria for accessing publicly funded oral healthcare services will remain: all children up to their 16th birthday.”

“Yet despite all of these promises and commitments over the decades, current figures revealed to me by the HSE indicate that in Louth and Meath 13,485 school children in these target classes remain to be screened before the end of the school term.

“The HSE has further confirmed that once the current school term ends and these children leave 2nd, 4th and 6th class, this cohort of children are no longer deemed to be waiting as they are no longer eligible for an assessment.

“I have submitted further parliamentary questions regarding the numbers of staff employed to undertake dental assessments in Louth and Meath and to ascertain how many children leave school without ever having a dental assessment. “I have also received information from the HSE which states that in Louth and Monaghan there are currently 748 children on the orthodontic treatment waiting list. “These children have been assessed and referred for orthodontic treatment such as braces. “The figures indicate that 316 of these children have been waiting over 18 months for treatment. “This is completely unacceptable – the oral health of children in Louth is being compromised because the government refuse to invest in dental services. “For years the public dental service suffered huge cuts and a serious lack of resources is what is causing these huge waiting lists. “We need to see targeted investment in the dental services across the State, but also here in Louth – our children and young people cannot be left behind.”

Louth Garda Anti Drugs operation welcomed

Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the recent action by An Garda Síochána against “drug related intimidation behaviours.”

Gerry Adams said; “Two weeks ago I met a family in mid Louth that was living under constant threat of violence following their refusal to hand money over to drugs gangs.

“Following this meeting I raised the issue of drug related intimidation with the Justice Minister and I demanded that Gardaí in Louth be provided with the resources to protect this family and address the drugs epidemic in the county.

“I wish to commend the work of An Garda Síochána in Louth. “I again call on the Justice Minister to allocate the appropriate resources to deal with this.

“I have also asked him to introduce or support legislation to ensure proof of identity will be required in the purchase of mobile phones as this is the method of communication used in this intimidation.

Cllr Ó Murchú

Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú added: “I have been liaising with the Gardaí in Louth on the issue of intimidation of families by drugs criminals for some time now. “These gangs are targeting the family members of people they deem to owe drug debts.

“I have dealt with numerous families across Mid Louth and Dundalk who have endured intimidation and attack.

“In some cases families have feared for their lives due to a consistent campaign of intimidation by gang members.

“An Garda Síochána have stated that today’s operation occurred as part of an ongoing investigation into drug related intimidation in the Drogheda and mid-Louth area.

“I welcome this and I hope that those involved in drugs crime face the full rigours of the justice system.

“I also want to condemn the actions of criminals who set fire to cars belonging to off duty gardaí in Knockbridge yesterday. This type of intimidation of members of An Garda Síochána is not acceptable.”

Louth Family threatened by Drug Gang

Sinn Fein Louth TD Gerry Adams today questioned the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan in the Dáil, on the issue of Drug Related Intimidation against families in County Louth.

The Louth TD specifically raised the case of one family whose home was fire-bombed over St. Patrick’s weekend. Teachta Adams expressed his disappointment at the Minister’s refusal to answer the questions he asked, specifically around the provision of additional resources for the Louth Division of An Garda Síochána.

The Minister also failed to inform the Dáil when the evaluation of the Drug Related Intimidation Reporting Programme by An Garda Síochána will finally be published.

Gerry Adams said: “There is a growing problem of extortion with violence and threats by drug gangs in County Louth. These gangs are demanding that the families of those who they claim owe them money must now pay the alleged debt. I am also told by party colleagues that this is a serious problem in Dublin and elsewhere. Last week, accompanied by Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú and Cllr Pearse McGeough, I visited one family in Louth who are quite simply living in terror.

“Over the space of 6 months this family paid a drug gang a total of three thousand seven hundred euro for debts allegedly owed by their son. The drug gang has targeted this family in a sustained campaign of intimidation and threats and attempted extortion. The drug gang are now demanding another eight thousand euro.

“However, this family is demonstrating remarkable courage in the face of threats, and is standing firm and rejecting the drug gang’s demand. When I visited the home, the family were clearly very anxious. Their fears are well founded. Over the St Patrick’s weekend their home was petrol bombed while they slept in their beds. Luckily the impact of the bomb breaking a window woke the family and they extinguished the fire before anyone was hurt.

“This family are working closely with the Gardaí whom they have praised highly to me. Other families have also been targeted. Other homes have been attacked. Cars have been destroyed. Families have fled their homes.

“Last Friday I spoke to the Chief Superintendent of the Louth division. I want to commend the Gardaí for their actions and efforts to date. During my last meeting in Dundalk Garda Station in January the officers informed me that the Louth Drugs and Crime Unit is now up and running with 3 extra staff in Dundalk and 5 in Drogheda. This is a good start but these numbers are still far too low to deal with the scale of the problem There are other cases which have come through my office and no doubt many more which I am unaware of.

“It is my belief that most of this intimidation can be traced to two drug gangs in Drogheda where local families have been subject to similar threats of intimidation over drug debts allegedly owed by family members. I want to commend the neighbours and friends of the family I visited. This local community is 100 per cent behind them. Drug gangs will not intimidate the people of Louth. But it should not be left to the community or An Garda Síochána.

“I am disappointed that the Minister did not deal with the questions I raised, including the allocation of additional resources for the Louth division of An Garda Síochána to support the work of its drugs unit. I also asked the Minister if he will consider introducing or supporting legislation to ensure that proof of identity is required for the purchase of mobile phones. Mobile phones are frequently used in the illegal drugs trade and many of the threats issued to the family being victimised in this case were by mobile phone.

“There is a need for a well-resourced, holistic, multi-agency approach bringing together all of the stake-holders in the state, community and voluntary sectors to tackle the scourge of drugs and its associated health and criminal issues.”

Concluding Gerry Adams TD said: “I have submitted Parliamentary Questions regarding the ongoing evaluation of the Drug Related Intimidation Reporting Programme by An Garda Síochána, and the work of the Family Addiction Support Network. Last year the Minister told me that this evaluation would be completed by the end of 2018. We are now well into 2019 and it hasn’t been published.”

Sinn Féin Jobpath motion passes Dáil

Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed Thursday’s Dáil vote which saw the party’s motion to end the Jobpath scheme pass.

Gerry Adams, who spoke in the Dáil during the debate, said: “Jobpath was introduced in 2015 by the then Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Burton. Sinn Féin believed then and we have been proven right, that this scheme is more about massaging the unemployment statistics than delivering for those seeking employment. It is also about privatising public services. And it should end.

Sinn Féin has consistently highlighted serious concerns about the processes used within the Jobpath scheme. We have repeatedly expressed our concerns about the delivery of JobPath by two private companies, Turas Nua and Seetec. Figures released late last year revealed that of almost 200,000 people referred to JobPath, only 9% had secured employment for at least one year. That is an appalling record of failure at a significant cost to the taxpayer. The only beneficiaries of JobPath have been the two private companies. Turas Nua has received €76 million and Seetec €73 million of the people’s money. The experience has been deeply unsatisfactory for the thousands who have been forced through this scheme. I have heard first-hand accounts from citizens in my own constituency of the hurt and stress they have faced as a result of this bad scheme.

In one instance, a mother with young children was required to organise and pay for childcare to attend JobPath offices just to do an Internet job search. Another woman had her jobseeker’s payment cut by €25 for not signing a personal progression plan, despite having attended all the sessions in the course.

That makes €76 million for Turas Nua and €25 taken from a young woman. These cases are not unique to Louth.

Reseach by Dr. Ray Griffin and Dr. Tom Boland from the Waterford Un/Employment Research Collaborative, concluded that the impact of JobPath on individual lives is decidedly negative. Not one of the 121 people interviewed by the Waterford researchers reported a positive experience. On the contrary, they describe a scheme that is patronising, threatening, bullying and manipulative.

JobPath should be ended and funding should now be provided to those organisations like community employment, the Local Employment Service Network and adult guidance services which have a much better record of assisting citizens in search of employment”.