At the end of last year, Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough welcomed the opening of the Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme (HAGS) for 2017. Each year a budget is allocated to this scheme which will adapt houses for the disabled or elderly.
Each year, the scheme opened, was flooded with applications and then closed again after a few short weeks. However, this year saw an extension to the submission period with the Scheme remaining open all year round.
Although welcoming the extension at the time, Cllr McGeough has since been left frustrated with the long periods of waiting time some of his constituents have been facing for these adaptations to take place.
He said “I have a lady who is in her late 80’s who made a submission for a small but essential adaptation to her bathroom in 2016. She was marked ‘Priority 1’ which is categorising her as ‘urgent’. 2016 has gone, 2017 applications are in and this lady has now been informed that her work should be carried out in 2018.”
“I raised it at the Ardee Municipal meeting and I reiterated my call at the Louth County Council this week, to apply to the Department for extra funding for this Scheme as there is not enough to meet the needs of Priority 1 cases and that is unacceptable. The Council have agreed to do so.”
“There is no point in opening the Scheme all year round, processing and passing applications only to leave them sitting in a pile somewhere because there is no budget to carry out the works.”
“The applications for this particular Scheme are from some of the most vulnerable in our community. The scheme is intended to make daily life better for those who need a bit of extra help with their physical needs. This could be anything from a downstairs bathroom to a more major refurbishment of their home. These adaptations need to be carried out in a timely manner and waiting two years is wholly unacceptable by anyone’s standards.”
Out-going councillor Alan Cassidy has extended his congratulations to his replacement on the Louth County Council, his long-time friend and comrade, David Saurin.
At this morning’s meeting of the Council, the co-option was confirmed and Cllr Saurin took his seat.
Cllr David Saurin (48) hails from Tullyallen and is married to Anne and they have three children.
Speaking this morning, Cllr Saurin said “it is a great honour to be representing the people of South Louth and I am proud to be sitting on Louth County Council with nine other Sinn Féin councillors supported by two TDs and an MEP. I have been a member of Sinn Féin for almost twenty years now and have been a republican all my life.”
“I have been part of more elections than I care to remember, the most recent being the election of a former councillor here, Imelda Munster who made history by becoming the first female TD for Louth and East Meath.”
“Both sides of my family have republican history stretching back to the 1916 Rising and the Tan War so our house was a Republican house but I think for me, the greatest influence and what had the biggest impact on me was the 1980 and 1981 hungerstrikes. The commitment, dedication and dignity with which those young men stood up to the might of the British empire has never left me.”
“The prison struggle since the removal of political status in 1976 and what the blanket men and the women in Armagh went through has inspired me to carry on the fight for equality and justice. Bobby Sands said ‘Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small; no-one is too old or too young to do something.’”
Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has called on Louth County Council to address the growing trend of illegal dumping on St. Laurence’s Park Green.
Following complaints from several distressed residents of St. Laurence’s Park, Cllr Byrne brought the issue of a growing trend of illegal dumping in the estates green area to the attention of Louth County Council.
The recent weeks have seen the situation escalate from rubbish bags being dumped, which are in turn ripped to shreds by cats and dogs, but now people are physically wheeling their bins directly onto the green areas and emptying them. There is an increasing fear amongst residents that this rubbish will in turn lead to fires which could cause damage to the surrounding area.
After speaking to some residents over the weekend Cllr Byrne said
“There are a few areas of concern on this particular issue, there is of course the obvious issue of the eyesore of the dumping itself, the environmental implications of this action and also the risk of in time youths starting fires. The area involved is in the vicinity of a children’s playground and local children have the right to play in safety.
I have contacted the council and have asked them to act as a matter of great urgency and I am now calling on them to immediately tidy up this area as it is a main walk through between Moneymore and the St. Laurence’s Park & Drive area. I have also asked them to monitor this as ongoing situation before it escalates.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Edel Corrigan has welcomed an extension to the submission process to review speed limits in housing estates. Speaking today Cllr Corrigan said “I would encourage all community groups and resident’s associations to make a submission to the Council and have their say. It’s your area, you are entitled to have a say on this.”
A number of submissions are currently under consideration but there is still time for Local Groups to have their estates considered.
“This is an opportunity for residents to have their estates included in the new 30km/hr zones so as to make residential areas as safe as possible for pedestrians, cyclists and children”.
Submissions may be made in writing to Eugene McManus, Administrative Office, Infrastructure, Louth County Council, Town Hall, Dundalk before 5pm on Friday 30th October.