Imelda Munster Welcomes Upgrade of Staleen Water Plant

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster has welcomed the news that the contract has been signed to expand and upgrade the Staleen Water Plant in Drogheda.

Commenting Deputy Munster said “following on from the mayhem caused during July when 200,000 people were left without water for six days it is good news to hear that the water plant at Staleen is finally to be upgraded and modernised to make it fit for purpose.

“It should have been invested in and upgraded over the years instead of waiting for a crisis of this magnitude to happen.  The contract will include the replacement of the rising main which contributed greatly to the cause of the water shortage crisis. With the contract signed for the expansion and upgrade of the plant work is expected to begin before the end of this year”.

Imelda Munster TD Welcomes Reports of Ardee Bypass Funding

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has today welcomed media reports that funding has been made available for the construction of the Ardee bypass.

Deputy Munster said:

“I am happy to hear that Transport Minister Shane Ross has allocated funding for the Ardee bypass. The project was excluded from the capital investment programme originally, and so it is certainly good news for the people of Ardee that funding has been secured.

“I have raised the matter of bypass with both the Minister for Transport on several occasions and with officials from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII). A commitment was given by TII at a meeting of the Oireachtas Transport Committee last November to include the project in the midterm review of the Capital Plan, and I am glad to see that the Ardee bypass has been allocated funding as part of that process.

“I have written to the Minister seeking further information regarding how much funding is to be made available and seeking a start date and a timeline for the project.

“The local community has been campaigning for the construction of the bypass for many years, with many disappointments and delays along the way. The area has been neglected in terms of investment for too long, and so it is to be welcomed that this project is finally progressing.”

Government hell-bent on rip-off bin charges – Imelda Munster TD

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster has hit out at plans by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to increase bin charges. Fine Gael have announced new pay by weight and pay by lift measures which will increase bin charges even further, and will not encourage consumers to reduce their waste.

Fianna Fáil, who introduced the privatisation of waste collection in the first instance, have stood by the government’s proposals and have made no attempt to block the forthcoming price hike.

Deputy Munster said:

“This latest government proposal adds a further financial burden on people. There is no reward for recycling or composting. Increased recycling or composting food waste will mean that the waste or rubbish bin has less in it and the charge for all bins will increase to compensate private companies for this. To claim otherwise is attempting to fool people. Everybody knows that is precisely what these waste companies will do. There is also no maximum limit for the standing charge, allowing it to increase at the companies’ will, even for households that rarely put a bin out for collection.”

“Sinn Féin has been raising this matter for years. Privatisation introduced by Fianna Fáil has led to huge increases in charges. The current government has gone further, allowing prices for waste collection to escalate further.”

“The new rules do not make exemptions for people on low incomes, and the pittance allocated to those with long term illness who have higher waste output is laughable. It amounts to under €1.50 a week for these families. Is that really the best the government can do?”

“This is another charge that many people simply will not be able to pay. People are already burdened with PAYE, PRSI, universal social charge, accident and emergency charges, prescription charges, local property tax and motor tax, and now bin charges are set to increase. The government has ignored the needs of these people with this new waste collection regime.”

“Sinn Féin will fight hard against these unfair, inequitable charges which will ultimately only damage people’s pockets and the environment.”

Travel pass to be provided for children’s dental appointments

Imelda Munster white coatSinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath, Imelda Munster, has welcomed the announcement that travel passes are to be provided by the HSE for primary school children in the Drogheda/ South Louth area who since January have been forced to travel to Dundalk, having been left without a local dental service. Deputy Munster raised this matter with the Minister in the Dáil several weeks ago, and expressed concern that many children do not have the means to travel to Dundalk, leaving them with no access to dental services.

Deputy Munster had suggested that a mobile dental unit might be a practical solution in the short term, however government Ministers had claimed that this was not possible for health and safety reasons, despite their use being widespread in England.

Deputy Munster also suggested, in the absence of a mobile unit, a HSE-run hourly shuttle bus to assist families with their travel needs, as they are now obliged to travel to Dundalk and Navan.

Eventually, the HSE has agreed to provide a travel pass for families who have no alternative means of travel, and who previously availed of services in the town but are now forced to attend either the service in Dundalk or Navan, a development which Deputy Munster has welcomed.

Deputy Munster said:

“Upwards of 4,800 children have been left without a service locally since the New Year, and a local dental service is not expected to open until June. I am happy to hear that the HSE has heeded my calls for a solution and that arrangements are finally being made to ensure that children whose families who do not have access to a car can still access dental care.”

The transport will be by way of rail, bus and passes will be issued prior to the dental appointment. Parents are asked to present to their local health centre in Drogheda with their dental appointment card to receive a transport pass. Failing that, other verification of their appointment can be used to make arrangements.

 

Imelda Munster criticises lack of social housing building in Louth, as council land banks lie idle.

imelda-munster-tdSinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster TD has again raised the matter of council landbanks in County Louth in the Dáil. Questioning Damien English TD, Minister of State in the Department of Housing, she asked whether the Minister’s department had completed collating the data for the landbanks available for housing and criticised the lack of progress in delivering housing for the people of Louth.

Deputy Munster said:

“The situation in County Louth is shocking, and given the scale of the housing crisis I am sure that is replicated right across the State. There are almost 4,000 people on the housing waiting list in County Louth, many of whom have been waiting more than nine years to be housed. The number of applicants on the housing waiting lists exceeds the entire supply of council-owned housing stock in County Louth, which is a shocking statistic to bring to the attention of the House.”

“Meanwhile, there are 54 acres of council-zoned landbanks throughout the county on which Louth County Council pays €3 million a year in interest only for the loans. Citizens are deprived of vital services and amenities because the council must pay such an amount in interest, while the land lies idle and barren as not a single house has yet been built.”

Deputy Munster also criticised the government’s slow progress in rolling out a proper social housing scheme, 8 months on from the launch of the Rebuilding Ireland document.

Deputy Munster:

“We are now over eight months on from the launch of Rebuilding Ireland, and the government has still not completed the mapping of the local authority landbanks. This should have been completed a long time ago, long before the publication of Rebuilding Ireland. It beggars belief that in the middle of a housing crisis the Minister had not ascertained what land belonged to local authorities across the State.”

“The Minister of State indicated there are 26 different projects but only six are being done by the local authority. The rest are from public-private partnerships and approved housing bodies. With the six developments, there will be a total of 123 homes over the next two to three years. There are 4,000 people on the housing list.

“Of those 123 homes, 20 have an unknown date of completion, seven are regeneration projects and 24 come from the acquisition of vacant units. There are three renovations included in that figure.”

“The government seems to be saying that Louth should be happy enough with 123 houses, with only a certain number being newly built, over the next three to four years, in the middle of a housing emergency.”

“It is clear as a bell that the Government’s entire policy to solve the housing crisis is developer-led and developer-driven and completely ineffective”.