Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood is calling for an extension to the Drogheda Library on Stockwell Lane as it is now too small for a town of Drogheda’s size.
Cllr Flood said “During our recent canvass, parents and students have raised the issue of the library several times. Drogheda’s population has expanded significantly in the last 15 years but the library has not. Students who need a quiet place to study are arriving there in the morning to revise for exams only to find there are no places left for them to do so. It is exam season and students are stressed enough without having to forego the quiet library environment and return to a home where siblings may not appreciate that quiet is needed.”
Cllr Flood recalled “It’s over 20 years ago but as the seventh of nine children I remember the stress of the leaving cert and if I did not have a quiet spot in the library, I would not have had anywhere appropriate to revise. I have listened to both parents and students’ concerns about the size of the library in Drogheda and I am committed to pressure Louth County Council to either expand the size of the existing library or to open a second one in the town.”
After the parking debacle in Drogheda because of outdated bylaws, Sinn Féin councillor Kenneth Flood is requesting new signage to avoid possible flouting of the alcohol bylaws. According to Cllr Flood “there are a few old signs in Drogheda warning it is an offence to drink alcohol in public places and they are displaying the Drogheda Borough Council Seal, not the Louth County Council Seal. We have seen with the disaster that came with the collapse of the pay parking bylaws the importance of doing things right in a timely way to avoid any challenge to the bylaws.”
Cllr. Kenneth Flood said “the new Consumption of Intoxicating Liquor in Public Places bylaw came into force in August last year replacing the separate three sets of bylaws that were in place in the Borough Council and Town Councils areas before they were abolished by the last government . The bylaw’s aim is to ensure the community is safe and can enjoy public places and enables Gardaí to address alcohol-fuelled misbehaviour.”
“Outside of special dispensations for particular areas or events such as Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann which we will host for the second time this coming August, it is illegal to consume alcohol on our streets in Drogheda. However, there seems to be a misconception that it is OK to drink on our streets. Indeed, we have seen it increasing on West Street and in other areas over the past few years. It is not acceptable. It has never been acceptable. I and my party colleagues have highlighted it many times at the Joint Policing Committee. That is why I am asking for new signs highlighting the new possible fines of up to €2,500 to give fair warning. Then it is about enforcement, enforcement, enforcement.”
Cllr Flood also paid tribute to the volunteers and Louth County Council outdoor staff that “clean up our streets and around the National Monuments in the town. They are confronted by piles of discarded drinks receptacles week in week out. They do an excellent job of clearing them away so the general public and tourists alike can enjoy our town.”
“I have requested the new signs for several areas that are frequented by street drinkers and I hope to see them in place, and the bylaws enforced, as soon as possible.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has pledged to continue fighting to improve disability access in Drogheda.
Cllr. Flood said “I recently met with Nicola McDonnell from the Irish Wheelchair Association where she highlighted the dangers at the George Street Bus stop. To get there wheelchair users have to go out onto the road into the flow of traffic to access the dipped part of the kerb and then the footpath has a really steep incline that makes it almost impossible for a wheelchair user to keep themselves safe.”
Cllr Flood also noticed that “the marked wheelchair space for those wishing to use the bus is also heavily sloped. I have contacted the Operations Department of Louth County Council, as have the Irish Wheelchair Association, asking that the dipped kerb be moved so wheelchair users can access it without being forced into the flow of traffic and the footpath up to and including the wheelchair space be levelled to make it safer. These works should be carried out as a matter of urgency.”
Cllr Flood has been pro-active on disability access throughout his term on the Council. “The Drogheda Sinn Féin Team have allocated tens of thousands of euros from our Community Allocation fund to address disability access problems in Drogheda including improvements at; Rathmullen Housing estate, the bus stop behind Abbey Shopping Centre, Mayoralty Street (beside Wheel Chair Association), Shop Street, St. Peter’s Cemetery, the Bull Ring at Ollie’s Pub, Mayorality Street / Bachelor’s Lane junction, Twenties Lane, Bog Lane Off Crosslane and Midwifery Education Centre at Hardeman’s Gardens. We have also provided some disabled parking spaces.”
“The work we were able to fund has helped but the real task is to have Louth County Council focused on disability access and for it to be taken into consideration whenever there is road works or footpath works happening. This is an on-going issue and I will continue fighting for disability rights and access in Drogheda.”
Chair of Drogheda Joint Policing Committee Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has written to the Chief Executive of Louth County Council, the Chief Superintendent of the Louth Division and the Superintendent of the Drogheda Garda District requesting an additional and urgent Joint Policing Committee (JPC) Meeting in Drogheda.
Cllr. Flood said “I, like everyone else in Drogheda, am extremely concerned at the further escalation of violence in Drogheda. I know that the Gardaí in Drogheda are doing their upmost to tackle the gangs involved in these acts of violence but it’s not enough and more resources are needed for them to be effective.”
“This feud has been raised in the Dail Chamber by Imelda Munster TD and by the other Louth’s T.Ds. The Minister for Justice has visited the town to be briefed by Gardaí on the feud. However, none of the requested additional and permanent supports have been delivered. The Minister for Justice has stated many times that it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of Garda resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions. That is why the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, must attend a Joint Policing Committee Meeting in Drogheda.”
Cllr Flood said “The Garda Commissioner attended a meeting of Galway’s Joint Policing Committee Meeting in March so his attendance at Drogheda’s JPC would not be unprecedented. The people of Drogheda don’t need to hear yet again how concerned we all are. They know that. The time for talking has passed. We need action now. The people of Drogheda need to see that something real and tangible is being done to bring the additional resources necessary to end this feud once and for all and to get all these criminals involved off our streets and off the backs of the people.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has received confirmation that Louth County Council will invite Irish Water to next month’s Council meeting to answer questions on the Staleen Water Treatment Plant and to clarify it has the capacity to meet the supply needs of Drogheda.
Sinn Féin Councillors Kenneth Flood and Joanna Byrne accompanied Imelda Munster TD to the construction site of the Staleen Water Treatment Plant and Pipeline Project last August with the acting Director of Service for Operations in Louth County Council.
The object of the visit was to show progress of the works on the pipe laying element of the project.
However, during a Q&A session following a briefing from Irish Water Management, in answer to the Sinn Féin team’s questions, it was exposed that although the project will bring the outdated infrastructure up to modern standards and will immensely improve the quality of the water delivered, the plant itself will not be fit for purpose to supply the increasing demand that will be expected of it by then.
The plant currently exports 30,000 sq cubes of water per day, 1,250 per hr, and it was confirmed to the SF team that the new pipeline will not have the capacity to export much more than that.
Cllr Flood pointed out that “with 5,000 houses planned for construction in the Northern Environs area of Drogheda alone, leading to a population increase of approximately 15,000 people, it is obvious that the water demand will dramatically increase in that area alone in years to come, let alone expansion in any other area added to that. Obviously the plant will have to increase capacity to cope with the increased demand.”
Cllr Flood said “Since the site visit I have been following up on what we were told but every query from me and Louth County Council (LCC) officials has been met with denials from the Irish Water Spin Doctors. Their P.R Team have said in official correspondence that there is no issue and they can meet Drogheda’s future water needs. But this flies in the face of what their engineers and supply experts told us and the LCC Director of service on site last August.”
Cllr Flood said “The Staleen Plant and pipeline upgrade cost in the region of €20m so I believe they want to complete that project and move on to another region of the country. I believe that is the reason for the denials and retractions from the Irish Water Spin Doctors.
“Louth County Council recognise the fact that further investment in water infrastructure is needed in Drogheda and South Louth and at my request, included this in their submission to the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy Draft.
“We don’t need any more denials from the IW Spin Doctors. We need to hear from their engineers and supply experts and I welcome that they have now been invited to attend our council meeting to answer our questions.”