Anord workers deserve fair treatment – Adams

Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has met with staff at Dundalk switchgear manufacturing company, Anord, regarding its restructuring proposals which include up to 23 voluntary redundancies.

Staff members, many of whom have been Anord employees for over 25 years, are concerned that the redundancy package proposed does not reflect the commitment they have shown to the company over the period of their employment.

Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has said that the management of Anord in Dundalk must behave honourably in respect of redundancy terms offered to staff.

Gerry Adams said;

“I have met with Anord workers, some of whom have been with the company a lifetime, and the terms that they have been offered by the company are simply not acceptable.

“It’s alarmingly clear from the discussions that I have had with staff and with Union representatives, that they believe that the company intends to get rid of their current electricians and re-employ alternative, cheaper, labour.

“Anord is a global company and I respect the fact that it has been an employer in the Dundalk area for 50 years.

“I have made contact with the company directly and I urge them to maintain the good name of Anord in the area and to treat their staff with respect.

                         Cllr Antóin Watters

“I have also written to the Minister for Employment to urge her to use her influence to assist the workers in whatever way she can.”

Local Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Waters added,

“I have been inconstant contact with Anord staff and I hope that this issue can be brought to a successful resolution for all parties involved.

“These staff have been loyal to Anord for over 25 years and they deserve a fair package.”

 

Louth hospitals spent over €13 million on agency staff last year

Sinn Fein Louth TD Gerry Adams has accused the government and the HSE of wasting huge sums of public money on the use of temporary agency staff in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda and Louth County Hospital.  

Instead of tackling the very real issue of recruitment and retention of staff the government and HSE last year spent €13,688,000 of agency staff between the two Louth Hospitals.

Teachta Adams said:

“In the last seven years the government has paid out over one and a half billion euros on agency staffing in our hospitals and community services.

“Last year the HSE spent €293 million or almost €1 million a day on costly agency and locum doctors, nurses, and other staff in order to fill posts left vacant due to the recruitment and retention crisis.

“The figures for the two Louth hospitals make depressing reading. In 2017 Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda spent twelve and a half million euro on agency staff, including almost 6 million on doctors and dental agency staff and almost two and a half million on nursing staff.
Louth County Hospital last year spent just over one million euro on agency staff, including 135,000 on doctors and dental staff and over half a million on nursing staff.

“This over dependence on the use of costly and more expensive agency staff is a direct result of the failure of the government to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis that has escalated under its watch. Permanent staff properly employed can help bring stability to a health service in crisis. The overreliance on agency staff means that there is perpetual uncertainty in the provision of essential health services.

“Health service staff and their unions have consistently reported working conditions, facilities, supports, training opportunities and pay as the cause of the recruitment and retention crisis, and until these issues are addressed the crisis will continue and these staggering sums of money will be wasted on agency staff at Our Lady of Lourdes and Louth County Hospital.”

 

Waiting Lists in Louth Hospitals a scandal – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has described the hospital waiting lists as “scandalous” and accused three successive Fine Gael Health Ministers of failing patients and staff and of failing to end the crisis in Health.

The Louth TD was speaking in the Dáil during a Sinn Féin PMB on hospital waiting lists in the health service. Teachta Adams identified the waiting lists in Louth County Hospital and Our lady of Lourdes Drogheda as deeply worrying.

Gerry Adams said:

“Since 2011 Fine Gael has had three Ministers for Health. All have promised an end to the crisis in the health service. They have all failed. This is evident in the cervical screening scandal. It is evident in the ongoing crisis in our Emergency Departments.

The crisis in health is also evident in the failure to retain staff. It is evident in our grossly underfunded, under resourced mental health services. The failure to provide children in north Louth with access to Child Adolescent Mental Health Services; and the absence of a minor injuries unit in Louth County Hospital, are examples of this crisis.

In May over seven hundred thousand people were on hospital waiting lists. Over half a million are on outpatient waiting lists; and almost eighty thousand are on inpatient lists.

The two Louth hospitals – Louth County Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes Drogheda – have almost fifteen thousand people on their outpatient waiting list. The same two hospitals have 1,330 patients on their inpatient list.

Behind these statistics are stories of real stress and hurt in people’s lives. This is nothing short of a scandal. It is a scandal compounded by the lack of accountability in government. It is a scandal made worse by Fianna Fáil’s propping up of this government and its health policies.

The health service needs practical alternatives to the current mess. Sinn Féin has these alternatives. We have consistently called for an integrated hospital waiting list management system; based on a Portuguese model; which the Minister agreed to pilot.

The government should introduce a SINGLE, Integrated Hospital Waiting List System as a matter of urgency. Sláintecare has to be implemented in full and urgently. And we need to be working toward the early creation of an all-island public health service.

Failure to adopt these proposals will sustain the perpetual health crisis for which this government is responsible.”

Cllr Kenneth Flood – We couldn’t prolong the parking pain

At a special meeting on the parking bye-laws this evening in Drogheda, Sinn Féin Councillors voted to end the parking pain that has plagued Drogheda since March this year.

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Kenneth Flood said “To be absolutely 100% Crystal Clear , the Sinn Féin group are in favour of €1 parking rates in parts of Drogheda. However, if we had proposed that tonight the parking bye-laws would have had to go back out to public consultation and the current no fee parking debacle would continue for several more months.”

“Businesses have told us they will not survive much longer as their trade has dropped 40% – 50% since the pay parking regime in Drogheda fell. Residents around Windmill Road , Cord Road and elsewhere cannot park anywhere near their houses. That would continue for several more months if we had not passed the parking bye-laws tonight.”

“It was a hard call but we had to make it to end the current parking nightmare for residents and businesses alike. We spoke in favour of the €1 fee this evening. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

“We have now finished 1 of 3 parking specific special meetings with the Chief Executive to resolve all of the parking issues that face Drogheda. The parking fee is firmly on the agenda among other just as important issues.  We are not interested in a single issue to grab a headline, we are interested in a long-term solution to the parking fiasco. We want to and we’re going to sort out all of the parking issues that face Drogheda.”

“I must reiterate, we could not in good conscience prolong this disaster by months knowing that we had another option, through the special meetings, to address the parking fees.”

Cllr Joanna Byrne: Affordable Housing Schemes Needed

At May’s monthly meeting of Louth County Council, Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne had her motion successfully passed calling on the government to introduce affordable housing schemes for local authorities.

The motion read:

That this Louth County Council recognises that homes to rent and to purchase are becoming increasingly unaffordable and calls on government to;
Immediately introduce ambitious affordable rental and purchase housing schemes led by Local Authorities, and where appropriate, Approved Housing Bodies and Housing Co-operatives with clear annual targets for all local authorities;
and to design the Home Building Finance Ireland fund to prioritise loan finance to small and medium sized builders participating in Council led affordable housing schemes.

Cllr Byrne who is also the chairperson of Louth’s Housing Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) said she tabled this motion because “I believe there is huge cohort of people falling through the cracks that firstly earn over the threshold to get onto the local authority social housing list and do not earn enough to qualify for a mortgage to buy any kind of substantial home.”

Speaking in the chamber on the day Cllr Byrne stated: “Under current government proposals, not one affordable home will be delivered in this state this year. Since taking office in 2011, Fine Gael have not delivered a single affordable rental or purchase home through any Government scheme and the Rebuilding Ireland Action plan for Housing and Homelessness is no different, it too contains no targets and no clear funding stream for the delivery of affordable housing.”

Cllr Byrne said “the only way to ensure that affordable homes are delivered is to immediately introduce affordable schemes, led by Local Authorities, on public land. The Minister maintains that the private sector will deliver affordable homes via the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF), but we have yet to see this materialise.

“I have major concerns as to where the current failing government policies are leaving massive numbers of people in this county, and that is the merits behind me tabling this motion. In my view there is an onus on us as representatives of the people of this County to put our names to this and push for it.”

Cllr Byrne welcomed having her motion passed unopposed, notification of this will now be sent directly to the Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy.