Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Cunningham has welcomed the launch of the new Hippocampe Beach Wheelchair at Clogherhead Beach.
Speaking today, Cllr Cunningham, who secured funding for the project, praised Sinn Féin Deputy Imelda Munster who was responsible for bringing the Beach Wheelchair to the County. “The last thing Imelda Munster did before she left Louth County Council to become a TD was to bring forward a motion calling for disabled persons to be able to go to a beach and to enter the sea like their able-bodied counterparts, something most of us take for granted. The motion received unanimous support across the Council and today we have our Beach Wheelchair. I can’t tell you how proud I feel today.”
The Beach Wheelchair will be managed by Celtic Adventures who are based at the beach in Clogherhead.
Cllr Cunningham said “I know County Wexford has one and as far as I am aware, Louth is the second County in the State to have one so we are very lucky. The Chair can be used on land and also in the sea and can accommodate adults and children alike. Can you imagine the freedom it would give a disabled person, young or old, to be able to go into the sea without having to be helped or carried, something they would not have been able to do before. And also the fact that it can go across the sand, parents or carers can now wheel their child across the sand instead of sitting on the sidelines.”
Cllr Cunningham also pointed out that “this can only benefit tourism in Louth as families with someone who is disabled are very limited in their choice if they want to visit a beach. Louth and Clogherhead is only too happy to welcome them.”
The Hippocampe All Terrain Chair
Imelda Munster TD said at the time “there is an onus on local authorities to ensure equal access to services and amenities for every citizen.”
The Beach Wheelchair is available from today at Clogherhead Beach. Celtic Adventures anticipate a demand for its use and have asked that people who are interested in using the chair, which will be free of charge, pre-book to avoid disappointment.
To book the chair please call Dave on 085 875 2767
Louth Sinn Féin will be commemorating the sacrifice of our patriot dead at the following places and times:
Easter Saturday – 15th April
12 noon – Quay Street, Dundalk, Wreath Laying Ceremony. This is the Watters Brothers Commemoration. Assemble at Quay Street where wreaths will be laid at the spot where brothers John and Patrick Watters were shot down by the Black & Tans in 1921.
2.00pm – Knockbridge, Wreath Laying Ceremony . Wreath laying at Knockbridge to honour 4th Northern Division IRA, veterans and Fianna Eireann.
Main Parades on Easter Sunday – 16th April
12 noon – Drogheda. Assemble at St Peter’s, West Street after 11am Mass (Period Dress welcome)
2.30pm – Dundalk. Assemble at Market Square (Period Dress welcome)
The main speaker for Drogheda and Dundalk Commemorations will be the recently re-elected MLA for Newry & Armagh, Cathal Boylan. (pictured above)
Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has accused the Minister for Communications, Dennis Naughten of abandoning rural dwellers though his decision to further privatise the delivery of high speed broadband.
Gerry Adams said;
“The Ministerial announcement this week that delivery of broadband to nearly 300,000 rural homes and businesses has been handed over to Eir is very troubling.
“The fact that this further privatisation of broadband provision comes with no timeframe for delivery demonstrates shocking incompetence and disregard for people living in rural areas.
“Over the past five years I have been consistently asking the Minister, on behalf of Louth homes and businesses, when high speed broadband will be a reality.
“Responses to date have made hopeful indications that 2021 might bring a new dawn in communications for Louth residents.
“However, this announcement and the lack of information about how the process will work, means that those who are to be provided with Broadband by EIR don’t know when this will occur.
“It has also resulted in those providers who were tendering for delivery of the National Broadband Plan to reassess their interest. This means previous timeframe estimates for State provision are also null and void.
“I am deeply frustrated that the Government and Minister Naughten appear to have facilitated private commercial interests to jeopardise the delivery of essential communications infrastructure to the rural population.
“I have submitted a series of Parliamentary Questions to the Minister seeking more definitive answers on this important issue.”
Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has criticised the Government’s failure to provide timely assessment and intervention for children who require occupational therapy (OT).
Teachta Adams made the following remarks on receipt of response to a parliamentary question (PQs 11387/17 – 11390/17) on OT assessment which confirms 4,186 children on the waiting list across the State and 711 on the Louth waiting list.
“These are disgusting figures in a State with ample resources to address this problem.
“Early diagnosis and intervention is essential to enable these children to get the supports they need to achieve to the best of their ability both at school and in their general lives.
“The Government is presiding over a system in which children with queried disabilities are waiting two years for initial assessment and a further two years for therapy.
“The truth is that many children caught up in this rotten system will be left school before any support is forthcoming. What are their life chances following years of denied assistance?
“I have spoken to numerous parents of children who are on the waiting list for OT assessment.
“These children have largely been referred for assessment by their schools, so an obvious need has been identified by teachers.
“It is an absolute shame on this government, and all government TDs, that there are 179 children under five years old and 532 between the ages of five and 18 in County Louth who have not even been assessed, much less received any necessary therapy.
“I have spoken to parents who have gone without meals themselves in order to procure private OT assessments for their kids, when faced with a 2 year waiting list.
“These private assessments can cost in the region of €500, which is simply beyond the reach of many parents.
“Yet, as this PQ reply states, even with a diagnosis of dyspraxia or dyslexia or autism or one of any number of disabilities, the HSE requires all children to be assessed within the public system in order to obtain follow up therapy.
“I support the fair allocation of State resources but I contend that this Government, not content with forcing parents to seek private OT assessments, is in actual fact forcing parents to also pay for private therapy on receipt of a diagnosis.
“What parent, with any means available, who’s child has been privately assessed and needs therapy, will not go without themselves to purchase the therapy also, rather than watch their child struggle for two years or more?
“Is life not challenging enough for these children and their families without a 4 year wait for State support?
“The Government and the Minister for Health must urgently direct resources to address these waiting lists. It is time to sort out the recruitment issues which mean that these children go without.
Following the passing of our leader, Joint First Minister, comrade and friend Martin McGuinness, Louth Sinn Féin have opened Books of Condolences in the Dundalk and Drogheda offices.
Martin McGuinness passed away during last night after an illness and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Bernie, sons and daughters Emmet, Grainne, Fiachra and Fionnuala and his grandchildren and extended family.
Martin was a leader to us all and an example of how to live life as a republican who worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation. He worked towards the new Ireland where everyone would be cherished and equal. He never gave up on that even while he was ill.
Please drop into our offices in Crowe Street, Dundalk or West Street in Drogheda and sign the Book of Condolences.
Martin McGuinness – RIP