Adams calls for confidential EU/British Report to be published

Sinn Fein Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the call by the EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly for the European Commission to publish the confidential study conducted by the British government and the European Commission in 2017 and which listed 142 cross-border activities on the island of Ireland that would be negatively impacted by a hard Brexit.

The Louth TD submitted a PQ on this issue in October and received a response from the Minister for Foreign Affairs last week in which the Minister placed the onus for publication on the British government and the EU.

Mr. Adams called on the Irish government to publicly press the EU to publish the report. The Louth TD said:

The 8 December 2017 Joint Report between the British Government and the EU Commission referenced the report of a mapping exercise which shows that “North-South cooperation relies to a significant extent on a common European Union legal and policy framework”. The report warned that the British “departure from the European Union gives rise to substantial challenges to the maintenance and development of North-South cooperation.”

The mapping exercise was a detailed examination of all those areas of North-South co-operation, as provided for by the Good Friday Agreement, which were underpinned by the EU membership of the British and Irish states.

The Good Friday Agreement established six North-South Implementation Bodies and “six areas for cooperation and implementation“. These covered a wide range of issues including, the environment, health, agriculture, transport, education/higher education, tourism, energy, telecommunications, broadcasting, inland fisheries, justice and security, and sport.

It is known that the report identified 142 areas of co-operation between the North and South. Some of these are very detailed. For example, the area of health. It requires equality of patient rights, but also things like single standards for medical devices, the approval of medicines at EU level, mutual recognition of medical qualifications, mutual acceptance of cross border ambulance activity. Cross border health co-operation also includes heart surgery in Dublin for children from the North, as well as cancer treatment in Derry for people from the South. 

There are also joint initiatives on shared waterways and agreement to treat the entire island as one epidemiological entity for the purpose of animal diseases.

I am calling on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to urgently press the EU Commission to publish this confidential report. In the context of the Withdrawal Agreement reached last week between the British government and the EU it is imperative that citizens on this island understand fully the consequences of Brexit and especially of a bad Brexit on matters that affect their daily lives. 

Kenneth Flood Hits out at Irish Water

Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has hit out at Irish Water following their own report released this week acknowledging that they should have acted sooner in their response to the Drogheda water crisis.

The crisis left more than 80,000 homes and businesses without water for up to eight days in July.Cllr Flood said “Irish Water has had years now to learn its lessons when it comes to burst mains, especially in Drogheda, where we had the North Quay Water-main bursting several times a year before finally being replaced. Even then it was only replaced several years after the funding was allocated to do so.”

“We have highlighted problems with response times and communication repeatedly to Irish Water representatives when they came to the Drogheda Municipal District Meetings and through emails and now their own report is another admission that no lessons have been learned.”

“Irish Water is not fit for purpose. It was never fit for purpose. It never will be fit for purpose. It was set up as a cash cow for government cronies.  The responsibility for water services should be returned to the local authorities and properly invested in or else all we will get is more of the same from Irish Water.”


HSE Service Plan for 2017 will not resolve problems in Our Lady of Lourdes

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams described the HSE Service plan for 2017, which was published this week, as “deeply disappointing and insufficient to deal with the crisis in the health service and very directly for the provision of services in Our Lady of Lourdes and mental health provision in the constituency.”

Teachta Adams said:

“My colleague Louise O’Reilly TD recently received a breakdown from the HSE on the use of the full capacity protocol in hospitals across the state. This is the ‘last escalation step in the framework’ used when hospitals, and in particular emergency departments are under severe stress.

The report revealed that Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda has deployed its full capacity protocol 147 times between Jan 1st and November 16 of this year. That means that for almost half of this year (45%) OLOL required the application of the highest state of alert and co-ordination to meet the demands of its emergency department.

For the last two week’s trolley numbers across the state have significantly increased. On a daily basis there have been above 400 waiting in our emergency departments, including OLOL. This week those numbers were well above 500.

In addition, there is no comprehensive plan to ensure the implementation of the state wide maternity strategy; mental health services are only getting the additional €15 million outlined in the Budget which is not enough to provide the service needed and especially the new facilities required at Ladywell in Dundalk; nor is there any provision for additional home help hours which are especially needed in Louth to ensure that hospital beds are not filled as a result of delayed discharges.

The HSE plan will deliver nothing but a continuation of the chaos in our hospitals and the inequality that permeates throughout the health system.


Sharkey – Report Needed on Road Repairs

Tomas Sharkey PhotoCouncillor Tomás Sharkey wants the management of Louth County Council to compile a report on the condition of Louth’s 3rd Class roads in order to make a case to central government for funding to repair them.

“There are approximately 380 kilometres of 3rd class roads in Louth. Throughout the economic crisis these roads have not received maintenance never mind improvement. Thousands of families live on these smaller and often cul de sac roads. I have met with residents across Louth who are fed up avoiding potholes on their way in and out of their homes. Farmers have been notified that dairy lorries will not travel substandard roads. Children are unable to walk for school buses in some instances because the road surface is so bad.
“I have asked council officials to prepare a dossier of our roads. I want us to be in a position to make the case with central government for additional funding in 2017.
“The onus is on the Fine Gael minority government and their Fianna Fáil masters to formulate a budget that guarantees our roads are in an acceptable condition.”

Munster Calls For Update On Busy Mell Junction

Cllr Munster at the busy junction

Cllr Munster at the busy junction

Sinn Féin Councillor Imelda Munster has sought an update on progress on the busy Mell junction at this month’s Drogheda Borough Council meeting. A vehicle and Pedestrian Assessment Report was carried out at the request of Councillor Munster at the beginning of the year and took 11 weeks to complete.

The completed report stated that traffic volumes at this junction could be catered for by a priority junction and that land space was available to facilitate those turning right onto the Cement Road.

The acute angle of the approach of the old Slane Road makes the left turn particularly difficult and that land acquisition is required to resolve this issue. The report also states that an improved alignment can be catered for by the provision of a right/left stagger junction subject to the provision of 60kmh transition zone commencing 200m west of the Cement Road junction

Cllr Munster said “this junction needs to be addressed and the necessary works carried out to make it safer for motorists and pedestrians and the works need to be included in the road works programme for 2015.”