Adams urges Irish America Trade Union support for referendum on Unity

Gerry with Terry O’Sullivan President LiUNA & Thomas Callahan President IUOE

Sinn Féin Louth TD and former Party Leader Gerry Adams has just returned from New York where he spoke at a packed meeting of Trade Union leaders organised by the James Connolly Labor Coalition. On Friday evening he was the main speaker at the eighth annual Irish Echo Labor Awards.

Gerry Adams addressed both events on the issues of Brexit and Irish Unity.

Gerry Adams said:

“Brexit presents the most serious social, economic and political threat to the people of the island of Ireland for a generation. The British Conservative government, supported by the Democratic Unionist Party, is determined to drag the North out of the EU.

The current uncertainty around the negotiations between the London government and the EU is adding to an atmosphere of uncertainty and concern. In particular, there are very real dangers posed the imposition of any border checks. There are tens of thousands of jobs at risk in the two economies on the island of Ireland.

The Irish government has a responsibility to defend the democratic vote of the people of the north to remain within the EU and to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is protected. Whatever the outcome of the current negotiations the rights and entitlements of the people of the North, as envisioned in the Good Friday Agreement, must be protected.”

The Louth TD also urged Irish American trade unionists to add their support to the growing call for a referendum on Irish unity. Mr. Adams said:

“The issue of a unity referendum and the goal of a united Ireland is now a matter of almost daily conversation. Our task as united Irelanders is to achieve these objectives in the shortest possible time with the maximum level of popular support. And we will achieve this sooner with the help and support of Irish America.

The vast majority of people in Ireland and in the Irish diaspora scattered across the globe want a society in Ireland that is based on values of social justice, fairness, equality and decency. This can best be achieved in a new and shared Ireland.”

Finally, Gerry Adams TD commended the initiative by a coalition of Irish American organisations for the McGuinness Principles. Mr. Adams said: “These principles are about implementing the Good Friday Agreement. They are for a Bill of Rights; equality for the Irish language; justice for the victims of conflict and their families; and support for a referendum on Irish unity.

They are modelled on the very successful MacBride Principles campaign against job discrimination. The success of that campaign shows the potential for Irish America achieving the same positive outcome with the McGuinness Principles.”

Cllr Kenneth Flood: We Need the Port Access Northern Cross Route

At this month’s Louth County Council meeting, Director of Services Frank Pentony gave members an update on the three applications Louth County Council had made to central government for funding under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation fund.

Drogheda Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood said:

“We were advised that two applications were successful, one for works at Twenties Lane and one for housing on The Marsh Road, but that one, the application for the Port Access Northern Cross Route (PANCR) was not successful.

“Given recent press statements made by a government T.D. on this matter I sought clarification on this. The response was clear. No funding was made available and the Port Access Northern Cross Route construction will not start any time soon.

“Every resident of Drogheda knows that the PANCR is a vital piece of infrastructure needed to take the heavy goods vehicles out of our town centre and to alleviate the traffic congestion. Deputy Imelda Munster and I included the PANCR in our submission for Drogheda to the National Planning framework to again highlight the need for this vital piece of infrastructure that is essential for Drogheda to develop its full potential.

“My fear is that Louth County Council are going to repeat the mistakes of the past and allow houses to be built without a clear plan. The PANCR should be in place to support them. That has already started to happen.

“In 2008 an An Bord Pleanála ruling for 314 Houses on the Termonfeckin Road stated ‘In accordance with Objective PANCR 1 of the North Drogheda Environs Master Plan 2006, other than with the prior written agreement of the planning authority, no development shall commence on the site until Implementation Objective IO 1 is in place. This shall provide inter alia for the following: (i) the design and construction of the Northern Cross Route from the R132 to the R166 as a single contract, (ii) construction of the Northern Cross Route from the R166 to the port at Drogheda.’

Cllr Flood explained “But recently a new planning application (Ref 16900)  for the same site was submitted and passed before the any movement has happened on the PANCR.

“There is no time frame or set plan for when the PANCR will reach the Termonfeckin Road and this means that 63 houses will be built, culminating in a total of 314 houses will go ahead without the PANCR being built, with only one way in and out, onto the Termonfeckin Road and will increase the traffic burden on the already over developed and under supported North East part of our town.

“A playground in the original 2008 planning permission was also removed from the amended planning application and there is no plan to connect the footpath from the new development to nearby Termon Abbey. I intend to appeal this decision to An Bord Pleanála, along with local residents who fear that they will not be able to enter or exit their estates on the Termonfeckin/Newfoundwell Roads with the increase in traffic.

“Houses are needed, but so is the infrastructure to support them. Plans are only good, like the plan for the PANCR, if they are followed through on.”