Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has welcomed the passing of his council motion which will see the Borough District of Drogheda Councillors make a joint submission to the forthcoming public consultation process on Drogheda Port.
Cllr Flood said “At the Oireachtas Transport Committee, Imelda Munster TD sought answers from the incoming Chairman of Drogheda Port, Dr Joseph Hiney. The questions centred around on the Port Company’s future and on the issues surrounding it in Drogheda. The answer to each question was that there would be a master plan and a public consultation process in the near future.”
Cllr Flood then explained that “The Port Company have now confirmed they are finalising an ‘Issues Paper’ for circulation to all the stakeholders of Drogheda Port and a public consultation process will follow early next year.”
Cllr Flood & Imelda Munster TD at Drogheda Port
The Drogheda Councillor who has been outspoken on this issue said “I have not seen many of the Councillors as animated in the past when we’ve discussed important issues for Drogheda. There is universal agreement that as Louth County Council is now a shareholder in the Port Company we must use this opportunity to try and resolve some of the serious and long-standing issues surround the Port in Drogheda: the car parking regime: the neglect of Donors Green and the buildings on the North Strand: the lack of a formal system of consultation with local representatives. These must all be addressed. We have not had this opportunity before and we must speak with a unified voice for Drogheda to resolve these issues.”
Cllr Kenneth Flood then thanked the Drogheda Councillors for supporting his Council motion and looks forward to “bringing the energy from the debate into the consultation process itself.”
Speaking after Louth County Council’s rejection of Budget 2018, Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to request that the Minister appoint a strong team to go to Louth to listen to concerns and to examine the dysfunctionality of the County Council.
Speaking in the Dáil this week, Deputy Munster said:
“This day has been coming for a long time. The fact that 75% of members opposed the draft Budget should be a wake up call. It was a lack of accountability and transparency that led to this. There were many contributory issues, including the removal services such as the bring banks, no proper assets register, audits of house purchases never published, poor public services, poor amenities leaving parts of the county, especially Drogheda, badly neglected”.
In response to Deputy Munster raising the matter with the Taoiseach, he responded that he was aware of the matter. He outlined the various options that are available to the Minister, which are: the appointment of a Commissioner, a new election or the council may attempt to put another budget together. The Minister is currently examining the legal options with the Attorney General.
Deputy Munster said:
“It’s clear that the Minister needs to be made aware of the lack of accountability, transparency and poor service provision, and even a neglect of certain areas within Louth County Council which is felt by the elected members. The Minister needs to recognise that the rejection of the Budget is part of ongoing wider problems that need to be addressed.”
Sinn Féin TD for Louth/East Meath Imelda Munster has welcomed the completion of the refurbishment works in Ballsgrove Primary Care Centre.
Deputy Munster said:
“The centre has been completely ungraded following fire damage in December 2016 to a fully modern state of the art Primary Care Centre to meet the needs of the local community.”
“It is understood that the refurbished Primary Care Centre will be staffed by two Primary Care Teams comprising of Public Health Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Psychologists, and other supporting healthcare professionals. The Public Health Nursing service based in the Primary Care Centre is expected to continue to provide a wide range of services to the centre’s users including a very valuable Tissue Viability Service.”
“It is my understanding that the HSE intend to have Ballsgrove Primary Care Centre the main hub for the delivery of its Immunisation Programme for South Louth with Senior Area Medical Officers based on site.”
“The restoration of this facility to the local community is very welcome and I wish all involved continued success.”
Louth TD and Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Toursim and Sport Imelda Munster TD has quizzed Dr Joseph Hiney, Chair Designate of Drogheda Port Company on issues surrounding the companies future.
Deputy Munster said “With the formal share transfer of Drogheda Port from the Department of Transport to Louth County Council, we now have a new opportunity to address the many issues the residents of Drogheda have around the port. Myself and the Drogheda Team of Sinn Féin Councillors are contacted on a regular basis regarding issues with the port. I put those concerns, the concerns raised by the public, to Dr Hiney and asked him for a commitment on resolving them. The response was everything could and would be considered under the public consultation process. I would urge any and all residents of Drogheda and South Louth to have their say during that process.
We all know how detrimental to Drogheda it is to have two separate parking regimes in the town centre. We know how unkempt the North Strand/North Quay area has become. With the transfer to Louth County Council we have an opportunity we did not have previously to resolve those issues. But we also need local over-sight and cooperation to ensure local concerns are addressed and I asked that a formal protocol be put in place to ensure cooperation between the local councillors and the port. Be it through a place on their board or a new forum. If that cooperation was realised then we could see some of the council motions regarding the port and Boyne estuary over the years finally resolved. For example Cllr Kenneth Flood had a motion passed that called for a bird watch hide on the Boyne Estuary. I asked the port chairman to realise the eco-tourism potential of The Boyne and consider, in conjunction with Louth County Council, a bird watch hide where tourists could view the protected species in the Boyne Estuary.
I look forward now to the public consultation process and hopefully we will see Drogheda Port prosper and pay a dividend to Louth County Council as it’s shareholder.
Imelda Munster TD is outraged at recent HSE correspondence to haemochromatosis patients who attend the venesection clinic in Louth advising that from 1st September 2017 a charge of €80 per visit would begin with a maximum charge of €800 annually.
The Sinn Féin TD said: “Whilst medical card holders are exempt from this levy, it puts an unfair burden on people who have been diagnosed with this condition. The financial means of these patients are not taken into account, though they may be just over the limit required for access to a medical card”.
Imelda Munster explained that “Haemochromatosis is a life-long chronic illness and patients need regular venesections (the taking of blood) to keep their iron levels in check and to remain healthy.
“This charge of up to €800 a year could well prevent people from attending the venesection clinic which in turn will lead to patients potentially suffering from cirrhosis of the liver due to the build-up of iron, and other serious health problems.
“Given that this is a life-long chronic illness, it needs to be designated under the Long-Term Illness scheme. The health system doesn’t take into account a person’s ability to pay. The income thresholds for qualifying for a medical card are relatively low, and for people who sit just above that limit, this is an unfair and exorbitant charge.
“I have written to the Minister asking him to include haemochromatosis on the Long-Term Illness scheme so that people who require this ongoing treatment are not deterred from accessing it due to financial hardship. I hope that the Minister realises that this is an equality of access issue, and that the current situation is not fair for patients who are struggling to pay for this necessary treatment.”