Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has reacted angrily to the decision taken by the Chief Executive of Louth County Council to cut Drogheda’s Municipal district funding from €75,000 to just €60,000.
Cllr. Flood said “The Chief Executive stated that she took this decision because Councillors did not agree to increase the Local Property Tax (LPT) this year and she needed to balance the books. This is news to us.
“At the LPT Meeting the Chief Executive said she was seeking an increase in LPT to put it into the counties roads. We all know that hundreds of millions of our road taxes have been ploughed into the failed entity that is Irish Water instead of being spent on our roads. At no point was it stated that a consequence of not agreeing to a tax increase would mean a decrease in Drogheda’s Budget.”
Cllr Flood explained that “Councillors are excluded from formulating the budget. Not even the Economic Special Policy Committee has any meaningful input into the budgetary process. Yet, we are expected to rubber stamp any budget that is put before us without complaint.
“I have stated it before and I will state it again, that must change!
“The funding made available for each district, meagre as it is, has been used by councillors to fund various groups and projects throughout Drogheda. For the last two years the Sinn Féin team have pooled our allocations to make Drogheda a more disability friendly town. This year we have helped fund various local groups and charities. Now our ability to assist Drogheda’s Groups and Infrastructure has been curtailed by an unfair and arbitrary decision taken by the Chief Executive.
“With Drogheda’s exclusion from the living cities initiative, and the inexplicable overlooking of Drogheda in the Draft National Planning Framework this reduction of the meagre funding made available to us is just another slap in the face.”
Finally Cllr Flood said “we did not accept the Chief Executive’s position on our budget and made our position clear to her. Drogheda councillors have actually passed a motion calling for an increase in our budget and we will continue to push for this right up until 20th of November when the Chief Executive will present the annual budget for Louth.”
Cllr. Kenneth Flood has highlighted the shortage of School Wardens in Drogheda and asked that any prospective candidates please put themselves forward.
Louth County Council had a recruitment campaign for School Wardens in June 2017 for which no applications were received from the Drogheda area. This has lead to a shortage of school wardens in Drogheda for various reasons.
Cllr Flood said ” I was contacted by a parent regarding the loss of the Lollipop Lady at St Mary’s Parish Primary School Bryanstown, Drogheda, who was very concerned that there wasn’t a replacement available soon. I contacted the council to raise this issue and I was assured that there was plans in place for a replacement and that other measures were being taken to handle matters in the short term.
Louth County Council were informed by the School Warden at St Mary’s Parish Primary School that that person would be leaving at the end of September. In addition one of their other Wardens at another location is off due to a serious long term injury.Because no one came forward in the June Recruitment Campaign, this meant there was no immediate replacement for that school. How-ever Louth County Council’s technician has been to visit the school last week and it was agreed to install a ramp at the school gates at one of the warden’s is locations to slow down those vehicles entering and leaving the school. The councils relief warden will be based at the school during periods when she is not required elsewhere, at the location previously occupied by the warden who left last week. When she is unavailable the warden who is at the school gate has agreed to cover this position as it has been identified as the busiest of the 2 crossings as it is on a main road. The School principal will also be reinforcing the road safety message to all pupils in the school.
I have been informed by Louth County Councils HR department that the new campaign will be advertised in the Drogheda Independent on Tuesday 10th October with a closing date for applications of Wednesday 25th October 2017 at 5pm. These vacancies will also be advertised on www.louthcoco.ie/vacancies and @LouthCoCo on Twitter from Tuesday 10th October. For anyone who doesn’t have access to Social media or newspapers, they can telephone or call into Customer Services in Fair Street for an application form.
It is vital that Drogheda has its full compliment of School Wardens and I would urge anyone that might consider this to please put themselves forward.
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.
Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has hit out at Irish Water following their own report released this week acknowledging that they should have acted sooner in their response to the Drogheda water crisis.
The crisis left more than 80,000 homes and businesses without water for up to eight days in July.Cllr Flood said “Irish Water has had years now to learn its lessons when it comes to burst mains, especially in Drogheda, where we had the North Quay Water-main bursting several times a year before finally being replaced. Even then it was only replaced several years after the funding was allocated to do so.”
“We have highlighted problems with response times and communication repeatedly to Irish Water representatives when they came to the Drogheda Municipal District Meetings and through emails and now their own report is another admission that no lessons have been learned.”
“Irish Water is not fit for purpose. It was never fit for purpose. It never will be fit for purpose. It was set up as a cash cow for government cronies. The responsibility for water services should be returned to the local authorities and properly invested in or else all we will get is more of the same from Irish Water.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has called on the Chief Executive of Louth County Council to include Councillors in the budget process.
Cllr. Flood said “during the debate on deciding this year’s Local Property Tax (LPT), Sinn Féin again proposed a 15% reduction, the maximum allowed under the relevant legislation.”
The Chief Executive responded by demanding that if Sinn Féin were proposing any cut in the LPT then they should identify where in the budget it should come from.
Kenneth Flood said “In the pre-budget workshop I had asked questions on the cost to the council of contractors, consultants and third parties writing council policy documents, like the Community Safety Strategy document etc. I did not get that information from the executive. I appreciate there are times when the Council need to employ consultants from time to time but as it is public money being used then the Council is accountable to the public.”
“We in Sinn Féin are more than willing to examine the council’s proposed spending and if the Chief Executive afforded us the opportunity to review the proposed budget in detail, then I am certain that we can identify areas where savings can be made. The process needs to be more inclusive of Councillors from all parties.”
“The LPT is an unjust and regressive tax and we need to ease the burden on homeowners and give families a break.”