Munster: Carbon tax imposes double taxation and has zero effect on emissions

Sinn Féin TD for Louth, Imelda Munster has criticised the agreement between Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Labour and the Green Party to increase carbon tax four-fold, saying it’s a clear evidence of how out of touch the parties are with the struggles faced by ordinary families across the state.

Deputy Munster sat on the Oireachtas Climate Action Committee, which agreed the proposal. The three Sinn Féin members of the Committee rejected the carbon tax, as it is unfair, does not reduce emissions and with no supporting measures forthcoming from the committee, will not change consumer behaviour.

The proposed increase would see the tax on a tonne of coal (25 bags) rise from €52.67 to €208. The tax is also subject to VAT, which is 13.5% on home heating and 23% on petrol and diesel. Since the tax was introduced in 2010 energy costs have increased by 24%. Deputy Munster said: “Families across the state are struggling to cope with the cost of living. Four hundred thousand households live in fuel poverty, and the Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Labour and the Greens think that we should quadruple the carbon tax, despite the fact that no evidence exists to suggest that it will result in a reduction in emissions.

“We already have a carbon tax, so we already know that it disproportionally affects those on lower incomes. Increasing it won’t change behaviour, it will simply increase taxes for people already living in poverty.

“This measure won’t change consumer behaviour. If you look at an average rural family, who run an older car which they need due to poor public transport services, and they live in a poorly insulated house which they can’t afford to retrofit to improve the insulation – how is an increased carbon tax going to change their behaviour to lower emissions?

“The state needs to get real, and provide significant investment to allow people to retrofit their homes, and to choose cleaner fuels. We need investment in public transport, in the electricity grid and in renewable energies to bring down emissions.

“The main parties are slapping a tax on ordinary people as a lazy option, because they have no solutions. Sinn Féin is launching a climate report next week outlining our vision for addressing climate change which brings forward real, equitable solutions, which take the realities of people’s lives into consideration.”

Munster: Fine Gael stalling increase on Property Tax until after local elections

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath, Imelda Munster, has criticised the government’s decision to yet again delay announcing their planned increase in local property tax valuations.

Deputy Munster has said that it is wrong for the public to be kept in the dark in regards to the plans. Deputy Munster said: “Sinn Féin has been consistent in outright opposition to the Local Property Tax. Fine Gael has championed the tax but is now afraid to announce their plans until next year.

“Fine Gael is playing to its base here. Sinn Féin has consistently said that if in government, we would remove this unfair tax.

“Fine Gael is using the tax as a political football, six weeks out from local and European elections.”

“Remember people were told by Labour and Fine Gael that they have to pay this extra tax in order to get extra public services, like libraries, public lighting, playgrounds and other basic services that people already pay for through PAYE, PRSI, USC, road tax, bin charges, toll charges, hospital charges – the list is endless.”

Government needs to address issues that forced nurses and midwives to strike – Munster

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has praised INMO nurses who braved the cold on Wednesday to stand on picket lines seeking improvements in pay and standards for nurses and midwives. Pickets were held at hospitals across the state.

Deputy Munster stood in solidarity with nurses and midwives at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. Deputy Munster said: “I was proud to stand on the picket line with nurses and midwives. The atmosphere of determination and solidarity was palpable. It was obvious that the public is standing firmly with the nurses. Every passing car was beeping and there was an outpouring of support from members of the public.”

“The problems with recruitment and retention have been ongoing for years, and the government has done little to encourage nurses working abroad to come back home. Wednesday was another example, where nurses were forced to take to the picket line in order to ensure safe working conditions and safety for patients.” “Until such time as the government addresses the issues of nurses and midwives pay and conditions the problems of recruitment and retention are going to linger on. Nurses did not want to strike. This was a last resort. This is only their second time ever taking to the picket lines.”

“The safety of patients is being put at risk due to understaffing. Unless the government acknowledges the work these frontline workers do, in stressful conditions, we’re going to end up with a situation where every newly qualified nurse or midwife will leave these shores to find work in hospitals across the world where they are treated with respect, proper pay and proper conditions.”

“Instead of addressing these problems, government Ministers are now threatening pay and pension deductions from nurses and midwives. The government needs to stop issuing threats and instead deal with the issues that led to this week’s strike.”

Cllr Flood: Vigilance Needed to Tackle Illegal Dumping Scourge

Imelda Munster Td & Cllr Kenneth Flood at Cord Road after the clean up

Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has met with the Operations Department of Louth County Council to request that special attention is paid to tackling illegal dumping on the Cord Road area of Drogheda.

Cllr Flood said “Recently Cllr Joanna Byrne and I, along with community volunteers that deal with rough sleepers, walked the length of Drogheda between the hours of Midnight and 3am to carry out our own rough sleeper count. However, when we reached the Cord Road and started to check the series of steps leading to North Strand we were stopped in our tracks by the amount of illegal dumping we met. Not only was the rubbish filthy but it was also dangerous as there was a large amount of broken glass and other hazards to health scattered everywhere.”

“I raised the issue at the January Borough District of Drogheda Meeting and to ensure that the matter would be vigorously tackled, I then met with LCC’s Operations Department to highlight the specific areas where people are dumping.” Following this meeting, Cllr Flood and Imelda Munster TD followed up in the same area and according to Cllr Flood “we were happy that the waste we had reported had indeed been removed. We all need to be vigilant in order to tackle this scourge of illegal dumping.

“My message to the dumpers is, stop it now. You will be caught and fined.” The number for reporting littering to Louth County Council is Lo-call 1890 20 23 03 and anyone found littering can face fines on conviction of between €150 – €3,000.

Community needs to stand together – Munster

Deputy Imelda Munster has again met with Chief Superintendent Christopher Mangan as a follow up to discuss progress to date in dealing with the feud related criminal behaviour and intimidation in Drogheda.

Deputy Munster said:

“Whilst welcoming the addition of 18 new recruits which has greatly boosted Garda presence on the streets of the town as well as the increased patrols and checkpoints on a daily basis, we discussed the overall requirement for ongoing and permanent visibility to ensure that the community continues to feel safe.

“There is also an urgent need for investment in CCTV throughout the town which needs a total upgrade.

“We discussed the significant progress made in recent weeks by An Garda Síochána in dealing with this issue, and the need for this to continue long term. There is an urgent need for increased Garda resources so that this lawlessness can be stamped out for good. The people of this town shouldn’t have to live in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has also written to Chief Superintendent Mangan requesting that two additional public JPC meetings be held in Drogheda in locations close to the communities most affected. In addition to this Louth County Council and the Gardaí need to liaise closely in these matters.

If we all stand together as a community we can rid our town of this feud related violence, criminal and anti-social behaviour.