Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough has condemned those responsible for the vandalism which took place recently at the Church of Ireland in Castlebellingham.
Cllr McGeough said “there was no rhyme or reason for this. A wire guard was pulled away from the window and several panes of glass were smashed which of course will have to be replaced at a cost, just for the sake of mindless people ‘having a laugh’. That is just not good enough.”
Cllr McGeough also asked that people “respect the fact that Church grounds are sacred. I would ask that people not congregate there at the weekends using the porch entrance as shelter. There have been reports of visiting relatives feeling apprehensive as they come to visit their loved ones in the graveyard due to boisterous and anti-social behaviour around the porch. The porch area often has to be washed down before church services can be held on a Sunday morning.”
Cllr McGeough asked if anyone has any knowledge of the vandalism caused at the church to please contact the Gardaí in Castlebellingham. “This is a good community and we all live together and respect each other. Let’s not allow a few mindless people to ruin that.”
After Cllr McGeough visited the Church of Ireland and highlighted the issue on his social media, the community of Castlebellingham expressed their support for the Church and Cllr McGeough received the following letter to the area:
The Church of Ireland community in Castlebellingham and in Mid Louth are most appreciative and wish to acknowledge and thank the community in general for their support in condemning the wanton damage which has taken place recently at the church in Castlebellingham. Wire guards were pulled from a window and numerous panes of glass were broken. We are also indebted to our local councillor Pearse McGeough for highlighting the damage caused by bringing it to public attention through social media.
We firmly believe that the damage done is carried out by a few people with no other motive other than to cause sheer vandalism and disturbance in the area and making it difficult for those wishing to visit the graveyard by using anti-social behaviour in the porch entrance to the church. This behaviour necessitates washing down the porch regularly often on a Sunday morning prior to church service.
We ask anybody who has knowledge of the people involved in this carry-on to let the Gardai in Castlebellingham know or by ringing 041 6871130.
We wish to thank all the people who have given their support to us at this time by condemning the actions of a few mindless vandals. For this we are most grateful.
Rev.Joyce Moore (Assistant Priest, Kilsaran Union of Parishes)
Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough has criticised the allocation in this year’s budget for Housing Adaption Grants (HAGs).
Speaking before the Louth County Council meeting this month, Cllr McGeough said “last year I asked the Council to apply for additional funding for this scheme and this year we are an even worse off situation.”
Cllr McGeough said “Each year a budget is allocated to this scheme which will adapt houses for the disabled or elderly. 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 that is just not happening because of the budgetary constraints being placed on it by Central Government.”
Cllr McGeough hit out at what he called the ‘wholly inadequate’ budget this year coming from Central Government. “Let’s do the math, we have 346 people waiting, some since since 2017, for adaptations to their homes, vulnerable people who have found themselves in a situation where they need a bit of work done to their homes to enable their basic daily needs to be met in a dignified way. This is going to cost a total of just over €3 million to clear the backlog and work on the current applications. Central Government have allocated just under €1.2 million to the Scheme for this year and Louth County Council has to add just under €300k to that and that is all we are allowed. We only have half the money we need.”
Cllr McGeough said he would be pressing the Council to seek additional funding for this vital Scheme. “If citizens are unable to remain in their own homes, this has the knock-on effect of a greater number of older people seeking nursing home places and they aren’t available either. If I was more cynical I would think the Government was biding its time in the hope some of these citizens would pass away and they wouldn’t need to spend the money. People deserve better.”
Louth Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has said that the allocation of €83 million to alleviate flooding in the county must be targeted to protect those most vulnerable.
Following a presentation in Louth County Council offices by Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran at which Sinn Féin Councillors Ruairí Ó Murchú, Anne Campbell and Pearse McGeough were in attendance, Cllr Ó Murchú said;
“The CFRAM project has long been in the pipeline so I welcome the progress which was outlined to Councillors in the presentation. It is welcome news that a steering committee has been established to oversee the delivery of these flood defences and that the committee will formally meet in October.
“What is lacking at the moment, however, is the detail about what schemes are to be progressed and in what order. I accept that this is a major project which will necessitate detailed plans and specialist input. However, the success of the project can only be measured by delivery.
“We simply cannot countenance areas of repeat flooding such as Mounthamilton, Red Barnes Road and the Flurry River area. I am heartened at the Minister’s commitment to return to Louth in the coming weeks and visit some of the places which regularly flood and I will be sending him a list of suggested areas.
“I look forward to working with the local CFRAM committee to protect homes and businesses across Louth. It is estimated that 2,300 properties will be protected on completion of the works.”
Sinn Féin held the second of their monthly hospital protests on Friday, this time highlighting the need for more surgical beds in Louth County Hospital.
Councillor Anne Campbell who led the protest said “we plan to be here each month until Louth Hospital starts to serve the people of Dundalk to its full potential.”
The protest which was attended by Gerry Adams TD, Cllrs Pearse McGeough and Ruairí Ó Murchú was highlighting the need for surgical beds. “At present, there are eight surgical beds in a day ward that are only doing very routine procedures. These beds are not always in use and are only available from 9am until about 4pm. Sinn Féin is calling for the use of these beds to be optimised and used 24hrs per day even if it’s only Monday to Friday. This would involve the presence of a clinician. At the minute, if there are any complications with a minor day procedure, the patient is ferried by ambulance to Drogheda where they will obviously be left on a trolley until they are seen, adding to the already overburdened workload at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.”
Cllr Campbell said “there are a number of very simple things that could happen at the Louth Hospital to ease the pressure on Drogheda and also ease the burden on patients in the Dundalk area and this is only one of them. We need to tackle the spiralling waiting lists in Louth and opening up these beds would certainly be a good start.”
In the meantime, Cllr Campbell who has been keeping the Minor Injuries Unit age reduction issue very firmly in the public eye has said she is waiting ‘impatiently for September’. Cllr Campbell is determined to hold the Minister to his promise of an age reduction of those being treated for minor injuries to 5 years from 14 years. Despite promises made by the Minister almost 2 years ago, it hasn’t happened yet and the date for implementation has been postponed a number of times. The latest date given to Cllr Campbell is September. “It would be so much easier for families with younger children if they could visit their local hospital with minor injuries instead of having to go to Drogheda Hospital and again, it would ease the burden on Drogheda. This is a very simple thing to do and I’m not letting the Minister of the hook here. I am waiting impatiently for September.”
The Dundalk South Councillor also promised to be at the hospital gates again next month and has invited people to join her on Friday 31st August at 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Louth TD Gerry Adams has warmly welcomed the passing of the Occupied Territories Bill in the Seanad.
The Bill which has been introduced by Seanadóir Frances Black and was supported by Sinn Féin and others seeks to ban the importation of Israeli goods that are produced on Palestinian land illegally occupied by Israeli settlers. The Bill now moves to the committee stage.
Gerry Adams said:
“One of my abiding memories from my visits to the Middle East in recent years and especially to the west Bank, has been the enormous scale of the Israeli settlements. Almost all occupy the high ground like Crusader forts of an earlier conflict.
There are over 200 settlements with an estimated 600,000 Israeli citizens. These are all built illegally on Palestinian land. These settlements are serviced by roads which are for the exclusive use of Israeli citizens. Large swathes of the countryside are off limits to the Palestinian people who own the land. The wire fences of the Israeli Army stretch for kilometres across the landscape. And water rights are stolen by the Israeli authorities. In addition permanent Israeli road blocks, similar to those which used to blight the border corridor here, prevent Palestinian citizens from travelling freely between Palestinian towns and villages.
The result is that an estimated sixty per cent of the west Bank, which should be the core of a Palestinian state, is off limits to Palestinians.
At the same time farm produce and other material produced by the illegal settlements is exported to Europe, the USA and other places.
Trading in goods that are the product of stolen property is wrong. The Bill which has been produced by Seanadóir Frances Black seeks to right this dreadful wrong by blocking Israeli product produced in the settlements from being sold in this state.
On Tuesday Imelda Munster TD, Councillor Pearse McGeough and I met with Fayez and Muna al-Taneeb who farm 3.2 hectares of land in the northern west Bank. When Israel built its huge separation which runs for hundreds of kilometres it took the opportunity to steal more Palestinian land. In the case of Fayez and Muna they stole 60% of their farm.
It is right that the Irish state gives leadership on this issue and bans settlement goods.”