Munster welcomes announcement of SNA allocations in coming days

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has today received confirmation from the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton TD, that Special Needs Assistants (SNA) allocations will be published in the coming days.

Deputy Munster asked Minister Bruton in the Dáil chamber when SNAs would be informed of their job status for the coming school year. In previous years SNA allocations were not made public until July, which left hundreds of SNAs unsure of their employment status when they finished work for the summer.

Deputy Munster said:

“The unions balloted on this issue and 97% of the membership voted in favour of industrial action over this issue. A deal was struck where the Minister committed to publishing the allocations earlier this year, and in the coming years and plans for industrial action were halted.”

“Given that we are now in the middle of May, there were concerns that SNAs would be left waiting for this information again this year.”

“This afternoon when I questioned the Minister he confirmed that the allocations would be published in the coming days, which is very positive news for SNAs.”

“It is a pity that industrial action has to be threatened for the Minister to move on a matter as important as this.”

“It is cruel to leave workers in limbo each year. It leads to huge uncertainty and worry for SNAs, who do invaluable work in the education sector.”

Ó Murchú Praises Fire Crews Tending Fire At Local School

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has praised the efforts of fire crews from Dundalk and Ardee who attended a serious fire at Dun Lughaidh (St Louis’s) Secondary School overnight.

Cllr Ó Murchú said “I went to Dun Lughaidh School to see the damage for myself this morning. One building, which I believe was a technology block, separate from the main school building, has been completely destroyed. I have been told the building also contained a lot of the students’ coursework which has unfortunately been lost.”

Cllr Ó Murchú said “My heart goes out to the pupils and staff of the school as I know this will be a very stressful time for them especially with exam time looming.”

Cllr Ó Murchú praised the fire crews who “tended the fire in the early hours of the morning and managed to contain the blaze. They did a fantastic job.”

Munster calls for high visibility strips for school bags for primary and secondary school children

imelda photo orangeSinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has called on the Road Safety Authority to consider issuing high visibility strips for school bags for students in primary and secondary schools as a road safety measure, and to promote road safety awareness.

Deputy Munster said:

“Vulnerable road users represented over one third of all road deaths in 2016. There are many contributory reasons for this, including the poor condition of many of our roads, inadequate public lighting in some areas and dangerous junctions, all of which contribute to the vulnerability of pedestrians. Statistics from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) show that the most dangerous two hour period on our roads in 2016 was between 4pm to 6pm, when 29 people lost their lives and overall two thirds of pedestrians were killed in hours of darkness. ”

“I hope the RSA will agree to distribute high visibility strips for schoolbags for all school going children, as not only will it help to protect them, it will also further enhance road safety awareness around pedestrians.”

Adams expresses concern at Ambulance response to accident

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has expressed his concern at Ambulance response times in county Louth following an accident involving a child at Gael Scoil An Bhradáin Feasa, in Drogheda on Tuesday.

Teachta Adams said:

“Following an accidental fall in the school a pupil was knocked unconscious. It took 57 minutes for an ambulance to respond.

I know from incidents last year when one citizen died waiting on an ambulance, and from talking to ambulance staff, that there is a real issue around ambulance resources and staff availability.

At that time I raised my concerns in the Dáil with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny about ambulance response times in Louth and the risk that unnecessary delays create for patient safety.

More recently my colleague Cllr Tomás Sharkey highlighted a shortage of ambulance personnel which saw up to 24 unfilled ambulance shifts in one weekend in August.

Emergency front line ambulance staff carry out vital work under difficult conditions with insufficient numbers of ambulances and vehicles that are often passed their shelf life.

Several weeks ago I raised the case with An Taoiseach of an ambulance whose two back wheels fell off while bringing a chronically ill patient to hospital.

Only the skill of the driver in that instance prevented the incident from becoming a much more serious accident with lives lost.

On Tuesday an ambulance was called at 12.22pm. At 12.53pm the school again contacted the ambulance service to see where the vehicle was and staff informed them that there had been a ‘service outage’. However it was a full 57 minutes later, at 1.19pm, when the ambulance finally arrived.

This is a totally unacceptable wait time.

I have written to the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar seeking an explanation for Tuesdays delay. I have also asked for an explanation of ‘service outage’ and how frequently this occurs. Specifically I want to know what occurred on Tuesday that left an injured pupil in a school waiting a full hour before an ambulance arrived.

I have also submitted a series of Parliamentary Questions seeking more detailed information on the number of staff and ambulances covering the north east region.

Thankfully on this occasion the child suffered no long lasting ill effects and was discharged from hospital later on Tuesday evening. However neither the Minister nor the HSE can be complacent on this issue”.

Cllr Cunningham Welcomes Replacement Signage Near School

Tom CunninghamSinn Féin Councillor Tom Cunningham has welcomed the road signage along the Callystown Road in Clogherhead that was knocked down in an accident years ago.

Cllr Cunningham said “The signage had been absent for too long and I asked Louth County Council to replace it last month. They have now completed the work and I welcome that. We needed the signage replaced to warn drivers of the school school ahead. This is a busy road and one of the main routes into Clogherhead. As it is a long stretch of road, drivers were tempted to pick up speed and if they didn’t know the area, would have been at the school before realising it was there. At school times there are a lot of children using the road including some who need to cross the road and there could have been an accident.”

Councillor Cunningham continued “there is also a playground here so it is not just at school times we needed to warn drivers. The fact that the original signage was knocked down in an accident reinforced the need for the sign to be replaced before there was another one. I want to thank Louth County Council for completing this work in a timely manner.”

Tom Cunningham with New Signage

Tom Cunningham with New Signage