Cllr Anne Campbell: Minor Injuries Unit in Louth Finally opens to Minors

Cllrs Anne Campbell & Pearse McGeough

Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Campbell has welcomed the long awaited opening of the Minor Injuries Unit in the Louth Hospital to children from 5 years upwards.

Speaking today Cllr Campbell said “after all that waiting and postponement of promises on a number of occasions, the Minor Injuries Unit will finally accept minors for treatment. It is a far cry from full services being restored to our hospital but it is a good start.”

Councillor Campbell, along with the Watters Brothers Cumann have been holding a monthly awareness protest at the hospital gates on the last Friday of every month calling for this and other services to be expended and optimised.

“I have been working on this and keeping the pressure on since the minister announced it two years ago. I, supported by Cllr Pearse McGeough and our TD Gerry Adams refused to let the promise fall by the wayside and ensured it was kept to the forefront of our hospital campaign.”

The Minor Injuries Unit will accept children from 5 years upwards from Monday 24th September 2018.

They will treat:

  • Suspected broken bones to legs from knee to toes
  • Broken arms from collar bone to finger tips
  • All sprains and strains
  • Minor facial injuries (including oral, dental and nasal injuries
  • Minor scalds and burns
  • Wounds, bites, cuts, grazes and scalp lacerations
  • Splinters and fish hooks
  • Foreign bodies in eyes, ears, nose
  • Minor head injuries (fully conscious children, who did not experience loss of consciousness or vomit after the head injury)

Councillor Campbell also pointed out that “this will alleviate the pressure on Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda as well as the pressure on families with children who up until now, had to drive past a Minor Injuries Unit to get to an overstretched unit in Drogheda. This is good news for Dundalk.”

Ó Murchú: Land Bank interest payments strangling Louth County Council finances

“The land banks held by Louth County Council need to be part of any housing solution by central government”, says Sinn Féin’s Ruairí Ó Murchú.

“Sinn Féin does not think much of Eoghan Murphy’s deflective proposals to strip County Councils of powers to deal with emergency accommodation and our planned motion of no confidence in him is well highlighted.

“The government’s idea of a Land Development Agency would only be worthwhile if  adequately resourced and operating greater, more realistic home building targets.

“Many of these land banks were bought by Louth County Council for building social and affordable housing, as was required by the government of the time. Not only are they not being built on but to date Louth County Council’s finances are being strangled by paying interest on loans on these lands. Next year the cost of this will be an estimated €1.5 million on loans of about €60 million.”

Cllr Ó Murchú described the situation as ‘ludicrous’.

Ruairi at a recent Housing Presentation by Eoin Ó Broin

“We have a responsibility to the people of Louth to ensure their budgets are being used properly and appropriately. People are entitled to value for money and it’s unjustifiable to have over €1.5 million taken out of your budget before you even start and have nothing to show for it.”

Louth County Council is also facing the daunting prospect at the end of the year of having to deal with the capital element of some of these loans.

Some of these land banks were purchased at the height of the boom and are worth a lot less now making it unviable for the land to be sold off according to Louth County Council. Councillors were told at the recent Louth County Council budget meeting that one of the last batches of land bought by LCC were purchased for €1.3 million per acre. These same lands would be lucky to fetch €400,000 per acre in today’s market leaving LCC ‘on the hook’ for the outstanding debt. LCC officials stated they have used this situation to force the issue with Central Government and will continue to make representations to them.

The government in tandem with Louth County Council needs to assess which lands are most suitable for necessary home building and to put plans in operation. If lands are not economically or any other way viable for housing, they should be looked at from a point of view of IDA development or some other solution

Either way, they have been bought by the state and the state needs to find an answer rather than compounding Louth County Council’s problem with underfunding from Central government.

Cllr Ó Murchú said “Across this state we have about 10,000 people in emergency homeless accommodation, tens of thousands of households on the housing waiting list and a huge level of tenants on HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) at a huge cost to the state. We have a huge cohort paying exorbitant rents and many unable to purchase their own homes.”

Sinn Féin is enthusiastically supporting the ICTU led ‘Raise the Roof: Homes for All’ rally which will take place outside the Dáil on October 3rd at 12.30pm.

A number of elected reps and activists travelled to Carrickmacross to hear Eoin O’Broin highlight this rally and to hear Sinn Féin proposals to address the public housing problem in this state.

Housing crisis in Louth: Adams TD

Commenting on the recent homeless figures Gerry Adams TD pointed out that; “There are now more citizens homeless in this state than the combined populations of Ardee, Castlebellingham, Dunleer, Jenkinstown and Tullyallen”.

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has challenged local TDs, irrespective of their party allegiance, to support Sinn Féin’s motion of no confidence in the Housing Minister Eoin Murphy when it comes before the Dáil in the next few weeks.

The Sinn Féin Louth TD said:

“The government’s housing policy, supported by Fianna Fáil, is failing the tens of thousands of households on the waiting list, the almost ten thousand men, women and children who are homeless, the many more who are paying exorbitant rents, and those who want to buy their own home.

Minister Murphy is out of touch with the needs of households who need a safe and secure roof over the heads.

While there has been a very slight drop in the number of homeless in Louth the government’s policies are failing to dent the housing crisis in this constituency and across the state. The number of homeless dropped by just two between June and July.

There are now more citizens homeless in this state than the combined populations of Ardee, Castlebellingham, Dunleer, Jenkinstown and Tullyallen.

This is an outrageous situation. Consequently, Sinn Féin will be tabling a motion of no confidence in Minister Murphy in the next few weeks. We are seeking support from across the political spectrum.

I am calling on all local TDs to place the housing needs of citizens first and to join with Sinn Féin in demanding that Minister Murphy goes and the government adopt effective and urgent policies to end the housing crisis. My appeal is especially directed at Fianna Fáil TD Declan Breathnach whose party’s support for the government is keeping it in power. Fianna Fáil is complicit in this housing crisis. Fianna Fáil TDs have the power to demand that the government change its disastrous housing policy but thus far they have refused. The Sinn Féin motion of no confidence in the Minister presents Teachta Breathnach and others with an opportunity to put the people first.”

 

Government must invest in Childcare – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called on the government to “allocate additional new resources in October’s Budget to reduce childcare costs.”

The Louth TD’s comments come following a recent survey carried out by Newstalk Radio which found that Louth was one of the top five counties with the highest childcare costs in the state.

Teachta Adams said: “In the survey of over 130 creches and childcare providers the survey asked for the cost of a two-year old child in full-time care for five days a week. It found that that the average monthly cost across the state is €745. Louth’s average monthly cost is €771.33.

That amounts to over €300 more annually for each child.”

Gerry Adams TD said:

“Childcare costs in this state are among the highest in the industrialised world. The provision of high-quality, affordable childcare is central to facilitating experienced workers, particularly women, from leaving the labour force. Too often high-childcare costs, which are frequently the equivalent of a second mortgage, are preventing a parent from returning to employment.

This week the National Recruitment Federation added its voice to the call for “proper investment in a structured childcare solution” and it said that in respect of subsidised childcare “this is expenditure that Government can’t afford not to make, if we are to resource our labour market needs and drive economic progress.”

Sinn Féin believes that quality, affordable childcare is socially and educationally advantageous to children. Sinn Féin wants an early years sector that we can truly be proud of.  In the upcoming Budget in October it is vital that the Government increases investment in the early years sector in order to reduce costs to parents, improve quality standards and arrive at a childcare regime which we can be proud of.”

Children in north Louth waiting 33 months for Psychology Services

Gerry Adams has criticised the Minister for Health for allowing a situation to persist in North Louth where 209 children are waiting for an appointment with HSE psychology services which may take up to 33 months

The Louth Sinn Féin TD said;

“I have been contacted by a number of families from the Dundalk area who have been advised to refer their children to the HSE’s psychology services in Barrack Street. Yet when they do this they are notified of an appointment date which could be years into the future. Often this initial appointment is not even with the child but is designed to give parents advice on how they can help their child at home.

“I spoke to one mother whose 5 year old child had accidentally seen an inappropriate video game at school. The child was obviously traumatised, he couldn’t be left in a room on his own day or night. That family needed help and advice at that time, but they couldn’t access it.

“The response to my parliamentary question indicates that there are 209 children on the waiting list for north Louth, many of them will be in acute need of psychological support.

“In the South of the county there are 175 children on the waiting list with a longest wait time of 10 months.10 months is too long for a vulnerable child to wait for help, but 33 months, almost 3 years, is an absolute disgrace.

“I have written to Simon Harris to ask him to recruit additional staff in primary care psychology in North Louth to eradicate this waiting list and provide more than a service which exists in name only.”

“I am also mindful of the stress which those working in this service are experiencing.  It is unfair to expect an understaffed and under resourced service to meet demand.  

“Unless more resources are targeted in this direction this government will continue to fail children and their families in Louth.”