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Speaking in the Dáil this evening Sinn Féin Wicklow TD John Brady has called on the new Minister for Housing Simon Coveney to intervene in a situation which has seen two homeless people locked into Wicklow County Council offices with nowhere else to go.

The Council have now locked all the windows, turned the heating up and are stopping food getting into the building in an attempt to get them to leave.

Deputy Brady said;

“In December 2014 the then minister for the Environment Alan Kelly stated that by Christmas 2014 there would no reason for anybody to sleep rough and that anyone who wanted a bed will get one.

“However, tonight in the offices of Wicklow County Council in Bray two homeless men are starting to settle down for their second night, sleeping in the council building after refusing to leave yesterday because they had nowhere else to go, and no emergency accommodation.

“The windows have now been locked to stop food getting to the two men. There is effectively an attempt to starve the men back onto the streets; there is no bed for them or for many more.

“Can I ask the New Minister to personally intervene in this scandalous situation?”

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Sinn Féin councillor for Sandyford Glencullen Chris Curran has called on newly appointed Minister for Transport, Shane Ross to clarify the position in relation to Stepaside Garda station and the deal he has struck with Fine Gael.

Speaking today Councillor Curran said;

"I'm sure the people of Dublin Rathdown are eager to learn of any developments that might relate to Stepaside. I'd like to know if any deal was struck and if the station is to reopen - when can it be expected to happen and where will the Gardai be sourced considering that Dundrum Garda Station is near breaking point.

“The closure of Stepaside Garda station has been a disaster for local people with a upsurge in crime in the area and many people left feeling vulnerable to opportunistic criminals.

“I note from the programme for government that six garda stations are to reopen.  It is clear that Stateside Garda station should be on of those stations and we need clarity from Shane Ross on that.

“I would also like to congratulate Shane Ross on his appointment to cabinet and to wish him well going forward.”

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Meath West Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín has criticised the lack of rural TDs appointed to cabinet today with 50% of ministerial seats going to Dublin Deputies despite only having 25% of the population.

Deputy Tóibín said;

“People in rural Ireland will be shocked to learn that Dublin has been awarded 50% of the ministerial seats despite having only 25% of the population.  That is a slap in the face to the rest of the state.

“In a representative democracy it makes good sense that the views contributing to the decisions at cabinet are representative of the people. Its universally acknowledged that if women are not at the cabinet in numbers then the perspective and needs of women will not be properly represented.

“Over the last two decades we have seen extremely uneven development in this state. We have seen the development of a two tier economy. With regards the majority of socioeconomic metrics the regions have suffered significantly from underdevelopment.

“While Dublin has seen some growth in economic activity much of rural Ireland is has its shutters down. Garda stations, schools, bus services, rural doctors, banks, childcare, businesses, pubs, post offices have all started to disappear from the rural network.

“The number of people at risk of poverty in rural Ireland has doubled since 2008.  According to Social Justice Ireland there are fewer jobs, higher emigration, lower incomes, and access to fewer public services than urban areas.

“Indeed before and after the election the airwaves buzzed with talk of rural crime, lack of rural broadband, lack of public transport connections and deteriorating roads. This it seems has all come to nothing as the people who will make the decisions over the life time of this government in the main will come from just one of the state’s cities.

“The truth is that if you don’t have a voice at the table you won’t be part of the decision.”

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Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny said he believes the 32nd Dáil will expose once and for all populist, unprincipled and self serving Fianna Fáil approach to politics.

Deputy Martin said;

“Fianna Fáil have now done the ultimate cute-hoor deal in which they have designed a programme for government, handed it to Fine Gael and opted to sit on the opposition benches and take no responsibility for its implementation.  This is the biggest scam in the history of Irish politics.

“But I don’t believe they will get away with it.  I believe that this Dáil will, once and for all, expose Fianna Fáil’s populist, unprincipled and self serving approach to politics.

“The reality is that Sinn Féin will lead the opposition in this Dáil as we will be the only party genuinely opposing the government while Fianna Fáil collaborate from the opposition benches.”

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Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan has criticised Fianna Fáil for giving their support to a Fine Gael government that has removed any possibility of rent certainty in this state. Deputy Quinlivan’s comments come after Minister Michael Noonan described rent certainty as ‘problematic and tricky’

The Limerick TD said:

“Yesterday before the Housing Sub-Committee, Minister Noonan firmly ruled out rent certainty saying that the market was sacrosanct and could not be interfered with. This is the same rental market that was allowed to skyrocket before the recession and led to so many losing their homes. We can see history repeating itself before our very eyes.

“It is to Fianna Fáil’s shame that they supported this government. Rent certainty is good for renters, landlords, and the market itself. If rent certainty had been in place before the bubble of the Celtic Tiger burst, rents would not have been so high and would not have fallen too such a degree that properties went into NAMA and foreclosure, costing people their homes.

“Fianna Fáil, architects of the recession in Ireland, have done nothing to prevent such a catastrophe happening again. Their actions today will cause more hurt and pain to Irish families and all because in their desire for control of both government and opposition, they have propped up Enda Kenny as Taoiseach. We will hold Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael equally to account in this Dáil.” 

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Sinn Féin councillor for Sandyford Glencullen Chris Curran has called on newly appointed Minister for Transport Shane Ross to intervene in the Luas dispute and to do all in his power do bring it to an end in a way that is satisfactory to both the drivers and management but most importantly to the commuters.

Councillor Curran said;

"This issue has haunted commuters for the last few months and it is clear that there is a need for intervention from the government.  The previous Minister for Transport refused point blank to do this.

“I hope that our local TD and newly appointed Transport Minister Shane Ross will take a different and more proactive approach.

"With more industrial action planned, the Minister needs to act immediately to avert any further disruption for LUAS users.”

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Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has praised the family of Seamus Ludlow for their “commitment and dedication to uncovering the truth about the circumstances of his murder 40 years ago”.

Early this week, at the Lisdoo Arms, the last place Seamus was seen alive, the family announced that they intend – with the Belfast Law firm KRW Law - to launch judicial review proceedings against the Police Ombudsman in the north. This seeks to investigate why the Ombudsman allegedly failed to investigate allegations that the RUC Special Branch had an agent working within the unionist death squad that killed Seamus Ludlow.

The family have also presented the Gardaí in Dundalk with a letter for the Minister for Justice calling for justice for the family. These moves are in addition to judicial review proceedings in this state seeking answers to why the Minister for Justice has failed to set up a Commission of Investigation as per the recommendation of the Barron report.

Teachta Adams said:

“I want to commend the steadfastness and courage of the Ludlow family, including those family members who have since died, in their determination to pursue justice for Seamus. 

For 40 years the Ludlow family have valiantly campaigned for a public inquiry to establish the truth surrounding his murder.

A number of months ago I met with the extended Ludlow family and their legal representatives from KRW Law. Along with Kevin Winters and Gavin Booth from the law firm there were 19 of Seamus Ludlow’s family present, including Seamus’ sister Kathleen Donegan. And I want to convey my sincere sympathies to the entire family on Kathleen’s passing earlier this year. 

Like many other families campaigning for truth for loved ones killed during the conflict the Ludlow campaign now embraces several generations. Those members of the family who have campaigned for 40 years are joined by nephews and nieces and grand nephews and grand-nieces who have now taken up the challenge.

I reaffirm Sinn Féin’s support for their campaign for truth into the circumstances of Seamus’ murder. I believe that the first stage in achieving this is for the Government to establish the Commission of Investigation recommended by the 2006 Barron Report.  

The British government continues to frustrate their just demands by refusing to hand over documents relating to the killing.

This will surprise few given the recent British government decision in the Stormont House negotiation to use the ‘national security’ excuse to deny all victims of British state violence information and truth and closure. 

The Ludlow family refuse to be deterred. With their legal representatives they have mapped out a legal course of action that will challenge those who have tried to suppress the truth of what happened to Seamus Ludlow.

I believe that this approach has created a momentum in the campaign which can be built upon. I hope that all of the Louth Oireachtas members will support this campaign for justice. 

Sinn Féin will continue to work with all those committed to the aims of the Ludlow campaign and will do all we can to assist the family in their endeavour.”

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Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy hosted an important roundtable discussion in Castlebar on Friday, 6th May, to examine how the Common Agricultural Policy can be used to create more jobs in rural Ireland .

The discussion, which involved representatives from the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), Irish Natura and Hillfarmers Association (INHFA), Tegasc, Enterprise Ireland and Food Sovereignty Ireland, was also attended by Sinn Féin Senators Rose Conway Walsh (Mayo) and Trevor Ó Clochartaigh (Galway West).

Speaking after the meeting Matt Carthy said:

"This was a very good and instructive meeting with many suggestions from those in attendance regarding the creation of sustainable employment in rural Ireland and how CAP can be used to further that objective.

"As shadow Rapporteur of the European Parliament Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee report - ‘How can the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) improve job creation in rural areas? - I will take on board the suggestions received today and seek to further the issues raised in amendments to the report which will go before the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee to vote.”ENDS

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Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane has said that real reform was needed in healthcare, not one-off deals. Deputy Cullinane expressed satisfaction that previous commitments he had received from Minister Varadkar had been followed through on, namely the regional healthcare review and the proposed development of a second Cath lab in Waterford University Hospital, but that more needed to be done.

The Waterford TD said:

“Sinn Féin is committed to dealing with all the problems in our health system and we welcome the announcement of a review of facilities at Waterford University Hospital.

“It is abundantly clear, however, that the review is not part of any new deal or new pressure. The regional review and the proposed development of a second Cath lab in Waterford University Hospital were flagged by the Minister last year as issues to be raised in 2016.

“In a response to a question that I asked in the Seanad of Minister Varadkar in December 2015, he said that University Hospital Waterford ‘is committed to the progressive extension of the current PPCI service’ and that ‘the issue remains to be considered and prioritised by the HSE, in the development of the strategic plan or the south—south west hospital group. It is expected that the groups will develop and complete their strategic plans in 2016.’ 

“However, there are a multitude of issues regarding health provision in the South East. 

“There is an urgent need to increase bed capacity.

“Resources need to be directed to reduce pressure in orthopaedics, ophthalmology, ENT and urology which are under real pressure.

“There are 3,500 patients waiting longer than 12 months.

“A quarter of radiology posts are unfilled leading to x-ray cancellations and 8,500 on outpatient waiting lines.

“Sinn Féin is committed to ending the current two-tier health system and building a universal system for all.” 

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The proposed closure of Dublin’s Brú hostel would be a disaster for the city and one that can easily be avoided.

Speaking at today’s City Council housing committee meeting, Cllr. Daithí Doolan said:

“The proposed closure on May 31st of Dublin's 100 bed homeless hostel is unacceptable; particularly because the Government own the land. The Brú provides an excellent top of the range service. We cannot allow it to close.

“Dublin City Council housing committee is demanding that An Taoiseach intervene and prevent its closure. The incoming government claim that tackling homelessness is a priority and now is the time to prove it. A phone call from An Taoiseach could prevent the hostel’s closure.

“Dublin’s homeless services are stretched to breaking point. The most recent count put the number of rough sleepers at 102. If the closure goes ahead, those numbers will double over night. Services will not be able to cope with these numbers.

“An Taoiseach must ensure the Department of Communications allows the Brú hostel to remain open. Not to do so would be a disaster for Dublin.” 

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Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O'Brien has expressed his "major concern" regarding the education aspects of the agreement struck between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in government formation.

Deputy O'Brien was speaking following the reelection of Enda Kenny as Taoiseach this afternoon.

He said;

"While there are some parts of the education aspect of the agreement to be welcomed, much of what is being proposed is cause for major concern.

"I do not believe that the government plan to address difficulties in admissions to schools that will actually produce the equality that is needed. There is no firm commitment to introduce an outright ban on religious discrimination in schools. 

"Sinn Féin has concerns about how the proposed School Excellence Fund operates and would caution that additional funding must not be allocated to private fee-paying schools who perform well. 
"I welcome the retention of the Minor Works and Summer Works schemes, however there is an onus to outline the exact level of funding that will be allocated.

"The proposal for students to spend a year, during their university courses, working in industry is alarming given the absence of detail. Sinn Féin will vigorously oppose any move towards supplying cheap labour under the cover of education. 

"Furthermore, we are alarmed about the pilot scheme proposed to funnel students out of disadvantage and in to the defence forces and we will expand upon them in due course. 

"We have major concerns regarding the proposals to have a pool of business leaders assisting school initiatives. We will not tolerate privatisation of teaching or the management of primary and secondary education by stealth. 

"Likewise, we will oppose any attempts to privatise third level and we will continue to raise concerns regarding the proposal to partner industry with colleges to deliver third level courses. 

"We welcome a proposal review SUSI, however we urge that review to have the objective of proposing grant levels that cater to the real cost of living and actual circumstances of disadvantaged students lives. 

"It is time that a government delivered genuine equality in education. The proposals contained within the 'supply and confidence' agreement do not fill me with the hope that such a goal will be a priority of this incoming administration."

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Sinn Féin TD for Cork South Central Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has hit out at Micheál and Fianna Fáil for facilitating the election of Enda Kenny as Taoiseach, calling it "a coalition through the back door."

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said that Fianna Fáil's decision, to enable the election of another Fine Gael-led government, ensures that ordinary people and communities will once again be subjected to grossly unfair policies over the term of the administration.

He also stated said that deal struck by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil is not an arrangement to serve the interests of the Irish people but rather an attempt by the establishment parties to control both sides of the house.

Deputy O'Laoghaire said;

"Michael Martin and Fianna Fáil have today delivered Enda Kenny as Taoiseach, despite the electorate overwhelming rejecting him and his Government."

"Despite their pleadings, it is clear Fianna Fáil are a party to this dreadful programme for Government. With their establishment partners in Fine Gael, they have cobbled together an agreement which will see no real change, and will see the crisis in Housing, and in Health continue."

"Furthermore, though it seems to have passed right over the head of Deputy Martin, people did not protest and march for the suspension of water charges. Their loud and clear demand was for the absolute and unequivocal scrapping of the charges and the abolition of Irish Water. This demanded has been buried by the deal struck between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

"This is a Programme for Government that is about maintaining the failed status quo, and plans to be running just to stand still in Health and Housing."

"Fianna Fáíl have effectively engineered a coalition government through the back door. To my mind, it is a cowardly arrangement designed at hoodwinking the electorate by perpetuating the myth that there is a difference between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. It is all about propping up the status quo and maintaining a society dominated by ruthless, gloves-off capitalism.

"The only reason Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael did not form a government together isbecause they were petrified at surrendering the opposition benches to Sinn Féin. However, by agreeing to back a Fine Gael administration, they have forfeited their status as an opposition party. It is all a game to them.

"Fianna Fáil's general election slogan was 'An Ireland for All'. However, the deal that they have struck with Fine Gael guarantees the preservation of the exact opposite - an Ireland for the few. It will be more people sleeping in doorways, more families languishing on housing waiting lists, more patients lying on trolleys - more of the same, stale and failed politics."

"Micheál Martin and Fianna Fáil are responsible for this Programme for Government. They should hang their heads in shame this evening.

"For our part, Sinn Féin will continue to led the genuine opposition in the Dáil. We will hold this government to account in a robust and engaging manner. We will put forward progressive alternatives based on social solidarity and we will demand national policies built on fairness, social justice and economic sense."

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Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the launch of the See Change Green Ribbon campaign launch in Leinster House yesterday (May 5th) and has urged citizens to wear the ribbon during the month of May in support of the campaign to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Teachta Adams said:

“Several weeks ago I met HSE representatives in Ardee to discuss the provision of supports and resources for suicide prevention and mental health within Louth. It was very clear from the information we received that Louth is seriously underfunded. According to the most recent statistics Louth is allocated approximately €104 per person. This is €48 below the annual average allocation across the state and the 2nd lowest per capita funding on mental health. 

We also know that there is a staffing crisis with up to 700 vacant posts in the mental health services and as many as 1,000 nurses needed to fill current and expected vacancies. This was recently confirmed by the Psychiatric Nurses Association.

The government previously gave a commitment to provide €35 million for mental health services. I was told by the HSE staff working in the constituency that much of this money has not yet been allocated down to the services that desperately need it. Now we learn that in a sleight of hand the Minister for Health is diverting €12 million away from mental health services. This is unacceptable. 

Mental health services are the Cinderella of the health service. The result is that there are significant gaps in mental health provision and in the physical infrastructure needed for staff to provide the quality service that is required. 

This is most obvious in Louth in the facilities for mental health services at the Ladywell Centre in the Louth Hospital which is a dilapidated prefab.

It must be remembered that the most recent statistics available for suicide in this state say that 459 persons - 368 males and 91 females - took their own lives in 2014. At the same time around 300 citizens in the north die each year from suicide. It is generally accepted that the real figure for suicide is higher and that as many as 1000 citizens die across this island each year by suicide. The human cost of this on families and communities is devastating. 

The reality is that all sections and all generations of our society are affected, from the very young to the very old, and in rural and urban areas.  Self harming is also a huge issue in Irish society today. Thousands are admitted to hospitals every year as a result of self-harm which in many cases go unreported. 

While much good work has been done in recent years in raising awareness, developing suicide prevention strategies and producing reports more needs to be done. In particular, the mental health budget needs to reflect the seriousness of the problem and no government and no Minister of Health should be taking money away from mental health provision. On the contrary they should be ensuring that the €35 million allocated to mental health is spent on mental health.

I would appeal to everyone to wear the green ribbon during this month and to commit to doing all we can to break the silence and the stigma surrounding mental health issues and ensuring that there is adequate government funding available.”

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, has criticised Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil for failing to deliver a programme which will deliver the change required to resolve the crises in health and housing.

Speaking during nominations for Taoiseach, Teachta Adams said:

“Seventy days on from the general election, it looks as though there will be a government elected today. But what kind of government? Certainly not a government enjoying the support of the majority of citizens.

“The joint Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil programme is masterclass in waffle and bluster. No real ambition. No big ideas. No costings. Little real detail.

“Never was so much negotiated for so long, for so little.

“Their joint paper contains a few miserly lines - not even a section - on health. It says the humane approach for the provision of medical card provision should be maintained. I would dare the Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil leader to tell the Dáil the current approach is a humane one, when all of us have constituents at their wits end because they can’t get a medical card under the current regime.

“On housing, there is no commitment on the construction of social homes whatsoever. All we have is a reiteration of the haphazard approach to a social, State-endorsed housing and homelessness emergency that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil caused in the first instance.

“On the issue of water, which was the main point of contention between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, we are told that Irish Water remains and water charges are merely suspended, completely contrary to the Fianna Fáil manifesto.

“And then there are the Independents who have signed up for this. Many of whom were amongst the most vocal opponents of Fine Gael and Labour’s policy agenda. Yet today they are on the cusp of voting for Enda Kenny as Taoiseach. The Taoiseach, for his part, said he would not countenance forming a government beholden to Independents. Another election promise out the window.

“However long it lasts, Sinn Féin will fulfil our obligations as the leaders of the opposition.  And in the interest of citizens, we will hold this Government - comprising Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Independents propping them up - to proper and robust account.”

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Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has today expressed support for the stance taken by Heath Minister Leo Varadkar TD on the retention of the National Maternity Hospital (Holles Street) Board and management model when relocated to the St. Vincent’s Hospital campus.

The Sinn Féin Deputy has called on the management and Board of St. Vincent’s to revisit their position, allowing the planning application to proceed and the development to get underway as soon as possible.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“Negotiations for the relocation of the National Maternity Hospital from Holles Street to the St Vincent's Hospital campus have been ongoing for a number of years.

“The relocation is required due to the inadequate infrastructure at Holles Street and to help ensure the best outcomes for mothers and babies.

“However, the recent reiteration by the Board of St Vincent's of its demand to totally subsume the Board of the National Maternity Hospital was totally unacceptable.

“I welcome the stance taken by outgoing Health Minister Leo Varadkar supporting the retention of the NMH Board and its management model in the context of the move to St Vincent’s.

“St Vincent's should now urgently revisit its position, thus allowing the planning application to be submitted and the development to proceed, subject to planning requirements.” 

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Sinn Féin MP for West Belfast Paul Maskey has condemned the shooting of a man in West Belfast.

Paul Maskey said:

“I absolutely condemn the shooting of a man in the Grosvenor area of West Belfast this morning.

“Those responsible need to taken off the streets.    

“Anyone with any information must bring it forward to the police.”

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Speaking at the close of polling in the assembly election, Martin McGuinness said,

 "I would like to thank our candidates, canvassers but most importantly the voters who supported Sinn Féin in this election.

 "The positive response on the doors to our message of positive, responsible leadership allows us to face into the future with renewed confidence.

 "Whatever the outcome tomorrow, Sinn Fein is resolutely committed to the process of change and to building equality, prosperity and unity on this island.'  

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Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said that plans to close inland fish farms in Mayo, Westmeath and Cork are ‘on hold’ following intense pressure on the Government from anglers and Sinn Féin.

Matt Carthy said:

“Plans by Inland Fisheries Ireland - announced last week - to phase out its fish farming operations in Counties Mayo, Westmeath, Tipperary, and Cork, had deeply angered anglers and those involved in the rural tourist industry.

“These fish farms produce trout hatchlings, used to stock rivers and lakes across the state. The supply of hatchlings is essential for the conservation of the species in our waterways.

“Angling is an increasingly popular sport in Ireland and abroad, and it is a major draw for tourists from across Europe and beyond. It is estimated that angling tourism generates a dividend of almost €1 Billion.

“This sector depends on maintaining healthy, sustainable fish stocks. Fish farms, such as the four the IFI had proposed closing, are essential to keeping our rivers and lakes well stocked.

“Earlier this week, my colleague Liadh Ní Riada MEP and I sought an urgent meeting with the IFI to impress upon them the importance of keeping these fish farms operational.

“Today, Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Agriculture and Fisheries Martin Ferris TD met with Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Joe McHugh on this issue.

“I am happy to receive a report from Deputy Ferris that at this meeting the Minister confirmed that any proposed fish farm closures have been put on hold pending a full consultation process with all stakeholders.

“This is welcome news for anglers, for those involved in tourism and for rural Ireland in general.”

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Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster criticised the falling Garda numbers in Louth, saying that Drogheda district has lost 14 Gardaí in six years. Deputy Munster also lamented the disengagement of community Gardaí and the loss of the vital service they provide.

The Louth TD said:

“Drogheda district forms part of the Louth division which includes Drogheda, Dunleer and Clogherhead area and Garda stations.

“In 2010, there were 109 Gardaí assigned to the area however, using an answer I received from the minister, I found that there are now only 95 assigned to the area, 14 less than 2010.

“This week, there was an armed robbery at the Post Office in Clogherhead. Despite ringing and pressing the panic button it took 40 mins for Garda to respond. Yet Garda station 1 minute away,

“Finding a Garda present in Clogherhead Garda station has become absolute pot luck as there are no official opening times. The exact same can be said about Dunleer station. 

“Drogheda town itself is a large urban centre, and as a result has the same general problems as any other large urban area no more- no less.

“It has now come to the stage where some people have completely given up on reporting crime as there appears to be very little in regards to the following up of these complaints.

“Furthermore, community Gardaí are becoming disengaged and disenfranchised from communities because they've been required to perform other duties. You try to reach the by phone, and not unlike the more rural stations in the Drogheda area, its pot luck if you get them.

“Neighbourhood watch schemes have been put on the shelf. There are current schemes that have been enacted over a year ago, but not implemented.

“I’m aware of three applications from three estates that haven't received as much as a phone call, which is worrying to say the least as the implementation of these schemes, would make for a more efficient network.

“Recently, there have been six burglaries carried out in one estate. The perpetrator was stashing his wares in an adjoining field and returning later to collect them. Despite being filmed doing this, the guards were called and arrested him, but he was never charged.

“This disengagement with communities and community Gardaí is due to a lack of resources and manpower, not the will of the Gardaí who do great work, and who are consistently overstretched and over worked for minimal financial reward.

“It’s common knowledge in Drogheda that there is frequently only one marked car on duty to respond to calls. The Gardaí no longer work in a proactive manner, but rather a reactive one. Moral is now at an all-time low, with many crimes going unreported and unsolved. This needs to change. The Gardaí need both further recruitment and resources to do their job effectively. Turning a blind eye to resourcing community policing has compounded the problems for communities across this state. What concrete plans has the Minister to address this?”

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Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Central, Mary Lou McDonald, has outlined how residents of the north inner city of Dublin are now living in fear.  Deputy McDonald demanded that acting Minister for Justice Francis Fitzgerald recruit and resource additional Gardaí as well as reversing cuts to community services.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Since the 8th of February there has been three separate, but related, murders in the North Inner City. The Minister for Justice has been too slow to respond to the fear that now exists in the community. People are living fear and that is not acceptable. 

“Since 2010, Garda numbers in the north inner city have fallen by 140. The Fitzgibbon Street Garda station has been closed since 2011. There have also been severe cuts to community services and organisations which work with young people at risk and with those who have got into difficulties with drug addiction and substance abuse.

“The Minister must recruit and resource the Gardaí in this area as a matter of urgency. There must also be a whole of government response and approach to deal with crime and community safety.

"I’m calling on the incoming government to establish a taskforce for the north inner city. This must have a multi-agency approach, one which listens to the community and which offers immediate support to the community. A focused task force is the best approach to find strategies and identify the necessary resources to make the community safe.”

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