“Nurses strike direct response to bad government policy” – Adams

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has warned that “failure by the government to address glaring fialings in its healthcare policies will only make the crisis in the health service and the impact of the nurses strike even greater.” The Louth TD said: “The onus is on the government to resolve this worsening crisis within the health service.

“The announcement on Monday by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) that its 40,000 members will hold a 24 hour work stoppage on 30th January is a direct consequence of bad government policy.

“The Union has also stated that if necessary further work stoppages will occur on February 5th, 7th , 12th, 13th and 14th. “The working conditions for our nursing staff have become increasingly stressful and difficult due directly to Government’s wilful neglect of the public healthcare system, including its failure to retain existing staff and recruit new staff..

“Sinn Fein is also worried about the effect any strike will have on the provision of health cover in Louth. “Currently there are thousands of patients across this constituency who are already on long waiting lists for medical appointments, procedures and therapies at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda and The Louth Hospital, Dundalk.

“Both I and Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú spoke to the INMO General Secretary Phil Ni Sheagahda and north east representative David Miskell shortly before Christmas.

“They indicated to us that in the event of strike action all non-life-saving services will be withdrawn for 24 hour periods, there would be no normal ward services, all outpatient appointments and elective surgeries would be cancelled and there would be no respite services.”

Councillor Ó Murchú added; “The Minister for Health and the Minister for Public Expenditure must meet with the INMO to avoid this devastating industrial action.

“In addition the Minister for Health should immediately implement the recommendations of the recently published ‘Taskforce on Nurse Staffing’ which demonstrated, through a pilot project in Our Lady Of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, that patient mortality levels in the hospital decreased by 50%.”

Ó Murchú: Latest Brexit Proposal is Absolute Farce

Cllrs Ó Murchú & Campbell with Thomas McEvoy (Louth LEO)

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has hit out at the latest Irish Border Crossings Proposal being considered by British Government as “an absolute farce and it flies in the face of the December agreement”

The British government is considering a ‘Brexit proposal’ for people to pre-register to facilitate fast track technological checks at the Irish border.

Cllr Ó Murchú has said “This would be unwieldy, unworkable, expensive and above all, unacceptable. Anyone not having this pre-clearance would have to use designated crossing points or would be considered to have entered the state ‘irregularly’. The proposal requires substantial technological infrastructure and physical barriers at some border crossings. Basically, a hard border!

This proposal is contained within ‘Smart Border 2.0: Avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland’, a report produced by an EU parliamentary committee.

Ó Murchú explained that “this reports talks of CCTV, vehicle tracking, technology that interacts with mobile phones and ‘specially enhanced licences’, different lanes for people who don’t have Irish or British citizenship and aren’t covered by the Common travel Area. Within it there is mention of a ‘trusted traders database’.

Ó Murchú, who is seeking election at the next General Election finds it “difficult to see how this sort of solution doesn’t involve physical custom and passport checks, particularly at major crossings like Carrickarnon on the N1 and Rassan on the N53 Castleblayney Road. Not everyone can be pre-registered, documents and licences can be mislaid or damaged, machines can go down and it is inconceivable that there wouldn’t be some sort of spot checking. Also this is a ‘solution’ in a world of complicated tariffs and compliance rules”.

“Simply, it just won’t work.”

This comes on top of Theresa May’s rejection of the legal text of the backstop deal with the EU, which she agreed to in December.

“While there are obviously elements of muscle flexing, posturing and negotiating gambits, it is becoming more likely that we are facing the prospect of a hard Brexit.”

“The Dublin government and the EU need to ensure that this doesn’t happen. There needs to be regulatory alignment on the island of Ireland. The island must stay within the Customs Union and the Common Market and ensure the rights and protections contained within the Good Friday Agreement are protected. The best way forward is for the North to have designated special status within the EU.”

“The deadline is 11pm March 29th 2019. Solutions need to be in place long before that. This is a countdown to chaos, a hard border is inconceivable and unacceptable.”

Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú: Hard Border Brexit would be like the Germans rebuilding the Berlin Wall

Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has called on DUP voters, Unionist farmers and businesses to challenge and confront the DUP on their Brexit stance following the debacle on Monday which seen the Brexit negotiations deteriorate into a farce.

There appeared to be agreement to move forward but following a phone call between DUP leader Arlene Foster and British Prime Minister Teresa May, those plans were scuppered.

Cllr Ó Murchú said “The DUP are being reckless in their quest to copper fasten their Britishness. The north should not be removed from the Customs Union and the Single Market. It is hard to see a solution which works for the people of the border region and across Ireland other than the North remaining within the EU. Sinn Féin has consistently sought a Designated Special Status for the north within the European Union and this makes the most sense economically.”

The Louth Councillor went on to say “People will not accept the return of border installations to this part of Ireland. There can be no removal of the rights and protections contained within the Good Friday Agreement. Trade, healthcare and communities would be greatly impacted by a return of border checks and stops. Economic devastation to Co. Louth is the only guarantee of a Hard Border Brexit. A Hard Border Brexit would be as absurd as the Germans rebuilding the Berlin Wall.”

Cllr Ó Murchú called on the Irish government to remain firm on the issue of the border and is encouraging all those who live in Co Louth and beyond to attend a ‘go-slow’ protest at the border at Carrickarnon (just past the Carrickdale) on Saturday morning at 11am. There will be a mock customs post erected and people can see for themselves the absurdity and effects of a hard border.

Everyone is welcome.