School Transport Chaos affecting Louth families – Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has said that it is ‘ridiculous and unnecessary’ that substantial numbers of school pupils across Louth have been refused concessionary school transport places just weeks before the beginning of the new school term.

Councillor Ó Murchú stated:

“I am working with a number of families who have been refused school transport for the upcoming term.

“In many cases these pupils have received concessionary bus passes for years and families have built their daily routines around this provision.

“Thankfully some of these people have since received bus passes within the last number of days, but not all families are catered for.

“This fiasco occurs every summer and leads to unnecessary stress and annoyance for many families.

“Joe McHugh, the Minister for Education, who has ultimate responsibility for this scheme, indicated in media reports in recent days that the issue could be resolved with an additional investment of €4 million.

“He has said that efforts to agree this investment are being blocked by the Department of Public Expenditure.

“I have written to the Minister for Finance to ask him to re-examine this scheme and the manner in which it is operated by Bus Éireann. Sinn Féin has also called for changes to be made to the scheme.

“We simply cannot allow a system to prevail which causes this much uncertainty and annoyance to local families.”

Boris Johnson must respect the Remain Vote – Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin general election candidate for Louth, Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú, has travelled to Belfast this morning to participate in a demonstration to coincide with the visit of the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Councillor Ó Murchú said;

“I have travelled to Belfast this morning with many others who, like me, want to show their opposition to Brexit and to the attitude of the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“Mr Johnson’s comments that he will abolish the ‘backstop’ and that he is prepared for Britain to withdraw from the EUwith no deal in place will have devastating consequences for the people of this island.

“A report published last month by the British Government indicated 142 areas of co-operation between the 26 counties and the north and between the island of Ireland and Britain.  Brexit jeopardises all of this.

“A report published just two weeks ago by the North’s Department for the Economy predicts 40,000 jobs at risk in the event of a no deal Brexit.  

“Job losses of that magnitude will have a ripple effect right across this country.

“It is absolutely incumbent on the Irish Government, while remaining steadfast in support of the withdrawal agreement and the backstop, to prepare for a hard Brexit and to outline a financial package for vulnerable sectors in the event that this occurs.

“The other imperative for the Irish Government is to prepare for Irish Unity.

“Irish Unity is a realistic and legitimate aspiration and it is now a daily topic of discussion.

“The reunification of Ireland is not only desirable in the event of a hard Brexit, but growing economic opinions state the financial benefits which unity could bring.  

“It is the responsibility of the Irish Government to actively explore this possibility.”

Lack of Insurance Cover Could Jeopardise hundreds of jobs

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has written to the Minister for Finance regarding the recent decision by AXA XL, the underwriter of Leisure Insure, not to offer cover to Irish companies.

Gerry Adams said;

“The owners of Pelican Promotions in Dundalk have been in contact with my Sinn Féin colleague Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú, to say that they will be unable to renew their public liability insurance when it expires on 13th August.

“The reason for this is a decision which has been made by Axa XL, the underwriter of Leisure Insure which announced it was ending cover this week.

“The majority of Irish operators of inflatables are insured with Leisure Insure and at present there is no alternative provider.

“Pelican Promotions have contacted alternative insurance providers in this jurisdiction and in the north, but none are willing to provide insurance cover.

“This will potentially affect other businesses such as paintball, airsoft sites, pet farms, athletic and dance clubs and outdoor adventure centres.

“It is a huge issue which has the potential to jeopardise hundreds of jobs across the sector.

“I have requested a meeting with the Minister for Finance and I hope to press him to deliver a solution to this issue.”

Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú added,

“Sinn Féin has long been critical of the Government’s failure to regulate the insurance industry.

“Axa XL have stated that following a “strategic review” they have concluded that “current, well-documented market dynamics, mean this business does not fit our business plan going forward”.

“This is proof that the Government needs to support Pearse Doherty’s Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill which will radically reform insurance contracts. 

“It is also further evidence of the need to address truly fraudulent claims to ensure that genuine businesses are not collateral damage to the prevalent ‘claim culture’.

“I hope that a resolution can be found for Pelican Promotions and all of the other leisure providers.”

National Ability Supports System must deliver greater services for people with Disabilities – Ó Murchú.

Louth Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has welcomed the new ‘National Ability Supports System’ which will collect and store information about HSE services for people with disabilities.

Councillor Ó Murchú said;

“At the recent June meeting of Louth Disability Forum, members were given a comprehensive presentation by Gerard McCartney, Disability Databases Manager for Louth, regarding the new National Ability Supports System.

“In real terms the information collected on this system will make it easier for people with disabilities and their families to access State supports and services including day, respite and residential places; physiotherapy, OT, speech and language therapy, psychology and nursing support, assistive products such as hoists and wheelchairs.

“Far too many families across Louth are not receiving the supports which they are entitled to as Irish citizens.

“I am working with numerous families of people with disabilities who are afraid of what the future will bring for them and their loved one.

“I encourage families to make sure that the HSE has all of their information so that their needs are registered.

“This is the only way to make a strong case to the HSE for resources to be allocated to County Louth and to help ensure that families in Louth receive the services they need.

“Gerard McCartney confirmed to me that the new database is designed using Agile methodology which will allow for a much more responsive and adaptable system.

 “The HSE are using the database to help plan, develop and organise disability services and supports and to lobby for resources.

“It is also useful that over 65 staff from other service providers such as Rehabcare and Talbot Group can access and input into the database as well.

“I hope that the new system will make a positive difference to people’s lives.”

CFRAM flood alleviation works will not be impacted by government overspend – Ó Murchú

Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú & Minister Kevin Moran

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has said that the €668,571,000 flood relief scheme announced by Minister Kevin Boxer Moran this morning is a hugely necessary piece of work.

Councillor Ó Murchú said;

“The drainage works at Balmer’s Bog announced by Minister Moran this morning will have a hugely positive impact on people living in the Ardee Road area and across Dundalk.

“This was one of the areas which I had previously brought to the attention of the Minister

“I also asked Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran if there was any possibility of Government overspend on projects such as the National Broadband Plan and National Children’s Hospital impacting on the delivery of CFRAM projects in Louth and across the State.

“I am delighted that the Minister confirmed explicitly that these cost overruns would have no impact on any proposed anti flooding works.

“At this morning’s meeting with the Minister, Louth County Council Chief Executive Joan Martin confirmed that there are currently 1800 properties in Dundalk at risk of flooding.

“Any work to reduce this number and provide certainty for families is most welcome.

“I have queried the proposed timeframe on this project and Louth County Council staff have indicated that they will now enter negotiations with affected landowners.

“Once this is complete the Council will issue tenders for the works.”

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams added;

“In January 2016 I visited homes in Mounthamilton on the Ardee Road which were very badly flooded.

 

“The residents couldn’t get insurance for their properties due to the high level of flood risk.

 

“Some families living in this area have been flooded numerous times and the severity of the flooding has meant that families have had to move out for substantial periods of time.

 

“Since 2016 I have been liaising with Louth County Council to ensure these vital works are undertaken

 

“I welcome the announcement today and I know that this will be a huge relief to the families I have been working with and all of the residents in the area.”