Cllr Joanna Byrne: Lets Work Together to bring Rough Sleeper Count to Zero

At Monday’s meeting of the Drogheda Municipal District, Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne expressed her shock at the results of this years Rough Sleeper Count.

This count took place unannounced by Louth County Council at 2.30am on Wednesday 15th November in both Dundalk and Drogheda and no persons were found to be sleeping rough.

Following Cllr Byrne raising this issue at the start of the meeting and asking questions regarding the zero count, which sparked wide debate, Senior Executive Officer Aoife Lawlor confirmed to the meeting that she herself had participated in this Rough Sleeper count and she could categorically say that there was not one person sleeping rough on these streets between the hours of 2.30am and 5.30am.

Rough Sleepers in Drogheda earlier this year

Cllr Byrne says ” To be honest I am shocked at this result returning at a count of zero, most people in this room knows of somebody somewhere sleeping rough in this town, a small number of people it may be, but is still a number.

“My understanding of this rough sleeper count taking place in the first place is to get a clear assessment of the problem, understand the magnitude of it, and allow the local authority to make provisions to provide effective and safe accommodation to these people to help deal with the issue.

“A zero count on the night, in my view, does not portray a clear image of the situation.”

Cllr Byrne stressed that whilst she was shocked by the result she did not doubt the merits of it, but made the suggestion that perhaps the local authority should liaise with the public reps in each area in advance of future rough sleeper counts to be aware of the hotspots known to the members and to include them on their route going forward.

“Let us all share our knowledge and work together to try bring that number down from the handful it probably is, to a realistic zero.

Cllr Corrigan Encourages Groups to Seek Funding for Energy Upgrades Projects

Sinn Féin Councillor Edel Corrigan is encouraging groups who may be interested in initiating an energy upgrade project to consider applying for up to 50% Better Energy Community Funding.

Councillor Corrigan said “Louth County Council are facilitating community applications to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) who provide funding for community groups, sports groups, private businesses and even public sector groups who wish to explore or develop an energy upgrade project.”

“Louth County Council at the minute are taking applications but the closing date for the final application is 26th January 2018. This means that the Council would need to finalise the beneficiaries for the funding by 15th January at the latest.”

Councillor Edel Corrigan is encouraging those interested or who may represent anyone in this field to “consider putting an application forward. Contact the Council’s Sustainable Energy Team directly on  HYPERLINK “mailto:Padraig.ohora@louthcoco.ie” Padraig.ohora@louthcoco.ie for more details or to submit your application.”

“We are always seeking new ways to be more energy efficient and to reduce our carbon footprint and Louth County Council and SEAI recognise that and want to encourage it.”

Munster asks Taoiseach for Ministerial intervention over lack of accountability as LCC rejects budget

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.”

Cllr Kenneth Flood: Is LCC Serious about Drogheda’s Parking Problems?

As the issue of Drogheda’s parking problems came to the fore this week, Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood asked if Louth County Council was serious about tackling the issue.

Wheelchair users took to social media with pictures of inconsiderate car drivers parking on footpaths in Drogheda forcing them to abandon their journeys and return to their homes.

Cllr. Flood said “In 2016, following my motion regarding car-parking, it was agreed during the ensuing discussion that Drogheda’s Councillors would meet with Louth County Council officials to discuss ways of tackling the parking problems facing the town.”

The meeting took place on 27th January 2017 in Fair Street Council Building.

“I and all the councillors present raised a number of issues and offered possible solutions to car parking in various parts of the town. Among the issues raised were the lack of park and ride facilities in the town and we also queried the millions of euro spent in the past for car parking facilities that have never materialised.”

Cllr Flood went on to say “Since then, despite repeated queries to the same Louth County Council Officials, not a single query has been answered and there has been no action taken on parking. I have asked for a further meeting to tackle the parking issue but again, no date has been forthcoming. The issue of parking in the estates surrounding Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital was raised at that meeting and because of Louth County Councils inaction, this week we have seen Drogheda residents who use wheelchairs not being able to get to where they need to be in the town.”

“I am repeating my statement from the beginning of the year that there cannot be a piecemeal approach to Drogheda’s parking problems anymore. Drogheda’s residents and visitors need to know that our parking problems can and will be resolved, but to do that we need Louth County Council to start taking this issue seriously.”

Joanna Byrne: Homelessness Is Not Just A Big City Issue

At the September Council meeting of Drogheda Municipal District, Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne queried the monthly homelessness report produced by the local authority.

Joanna Byrne pointed out “that again this month there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people who are presenting as homeless in the Drogheda district, but I don’t find the report accurate and it is not a true reflection of the current homelessness situation in the town.”

Cllr Byrne said “I note that this month there has been a decrease in numbers presenting as homeless in both the Ardee and Dundalk districts and a significant increase in the numbers in Drogheda. But even at that, to be frank, I don’t find this report worth the paper it’s printed on. I can walk you over this town right now and show you several people sleeping in doorways. These are not irregular patterns, they are consistently sleeping in the same places, some of them for months now.”

Homeless in Drogheda

These comments were met with severe opposition from Paddy Donnelly, Director of Services with LCC who refuted the fact that this report wasn’t worth reading and stressed the work that goes into compiling it.

Cllr Byrne came back and said that whilst she meant no disrespect to the staff in the housing department, “the awareness needs to be there that the homeless crisis in Drogheda is much bigger than the local authority’s report portrays, be it down to the fact that maybe some of these people are not presenting themselves to the authority as homeless, or whatever the case may be, but the reality is that this is a growing epidemic and needs to be addressed.


“With the week that is in it and us having three homeless people die nationally, be under no illusion that these are not just big city issues, it won’t be long until a tragedy like that darkens our doors.”