Louth County Council vote to cut Property Tax rate by 1.5%

Cllr John McGahon hit out at Sinn Féin for a 'reckless political move' in trying to cut the rate by the maximum amount of 15%

Cllr John McGahon hit out at Sinn Féin for a ‘reckless political move’ in trying to cut the rate by the maximum amount of 15%

Louth County Council yesterday evening voted to reduce the rate of Local Property Tax by 1.5%.

The cut in the tax is the equivalent of taking between €140,000 and €150,000 out of the council budget.

It came about after a two hour meeting in which a number of proposals were defeated. Sinn Féin had sought to cut the property tax rate by the maximum 15%, with proposals for cuts of 7.5% and 2% also being put forward by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael respectively. There was also a motion for no reduction from the Green Party.

All of these were defeated before the 1.5% amendment was passed on the casting vote of chairman Cllr Oliver Tully after 13 votes for and 13 against.

Councillors had been debating a potential cut for some time, including taking part in a workshop on the matter last week.

They had been warned by council officials that any cut in the property tax rate would have to be made up elsewhere.

After the meeting, Fine Gael councillor for Dundalk-Carlingford John McGahon said while he would like to have seen a bigger cut it was not possible.

Indeed, he accused Sinn Féin of a “reckless political move” in trying to force through a full 15% cut in the property tax.

He said: “I had hoped to see a more significant cut in the region of 2-5%. Fine Gael tabled a motion to reduce the property tax by 2%, however this was defeated.

“I took this vote very seriously and I was disappointed to see other councillors did not do the same. Sinn Féin proposed a full reduction of 15%, to my mind this was a financially reckless proposal which would have taken €1.4 million out of the council budget.

“I find it very disheartening that people were prepared to push the council off a financial cliff. It’s simple maths, if you are going to take €1.4 million out of a budget, you have to find the savings to make up the shortfall. Sinn Fein’s reckless approach involved voting for 15% and not considering the financial consequences.

“It is important to note that, out of ten Sinn Fein Councilors, not one of them turned up to the budget workshop meeting where a detailed analysis of the accounts was carried out, line by line, and councillors sought to see where a reduction could be made.

“This budget goes towards providing basic services like street lighting, maintenance of public parks, maintenance of roads, library services, Tidy Towns.

“Had 15% gone through, all of these services would have been drastically slashed and the people of Louth would have suffered. 1.5% may not seem substantial, but its €150,000 euro. It will be a base from which we can work towards reducing the property tax more over the next five years. But let me make myself clear, a 15% cut would have sent the council into financial chaos, I am proud that I voted to stop that happening,” he said.

Man killed following fatal collision on Dundalk-Carlingford Road

A man in his 30s has died following fatal collision on the main Dundalk-Carlingford Road in the early hours of this morning.

It is believed that the pedestrian was knocked down by a Garda patrol car shortly after returning from Dundalk.

The incident happened around 1.20am on an area of road between the Bellurgan Filling Station and Fitzpatrick’s Restaurant in Rockmarshall.

The man is understood to be local and is extremely well known in the area, although his name is not being released until all family members are informed.

The Garda Siochána Ombudsman Commission is investigating the incident while the road remains closed this morning with diversions in place.

This is the second major tragedy in the area in the space of just over a year following the shooting of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe at Lordship Credit Union in January 2013.

More details later.

Cyclepath planned from Dundalk to Scotland

Part of the walkway/cyclepath linking Carlingford and Omeath which would form part of the planned route from Dundalk Bay to the ferry in Larne

Part of the walkway/cyclepath linking Carlingford and Omeath which would form part of the planned route from Dundalk Bay to the ferry in Larne

A network of cycle paths, which would take in Dundalk, could be developed from the east coast of Ireland to Scotland.

Louth County Council is working with Newry and Mourne District Council and the Lough’s Agency to develop a cycle route from Dundalk Bay along the existing Newry Canal Towpath and on to Lough Neagh.

Depending on the allocation of funding, the cycle route could be extended south from Dundalk to Dublin, while the cycleway in the North will continue to the ferry at Larne. From there, it would like up with Scottish cycleways.

Catherine Duff, senior engineer at Louth County Council, told the Sunday Business Post that part of the project was already complete in Louth, with a six-kilometre cycle path recently constructed on the old railway line between Omeath and Carlingford.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland has long sections of cycleway already in place with the completion of the project a matter of “filling in the gaps” according to those overseeing it.

Local authorities on both sides of the border will apply for funding from the EU’s Interreg programme in the next series of funding rounds early next year.

Number of events lined up for Dundalk Positive Mental Health Week

An art exhibition will be held in the County Museum in Dundalk throughout Dundalk Positive Mental Health Week

An art exhibition will be held in the County Museum in Dundalk throughout Dundalk Positive Mental Health Week

The second annual Dundalk Positive Mental Health Week gets underway next Monday with an exciting schedule planned.

The week gets underway on Monday October 6th with a radio programme hosted by SHINE Regional Development Officer, Derek Pepper on Dundalk FM from 10am-12pm.

The next day there will be the launch of an art exhibiton by the GAA’s Mental Health Advocate, Conor Cusack in the Activities Room of The County Museum in Dundalk at 12 noon.

Later that day in the museum from 2-4pm will be a public conference in the AV Room entitled: ‘Journey to Recovery: Living with a Mental Health Issue. Speakers will include: Senator Mary Moran, GAA Mental Health advocate, Conor Cusack, Mr Garreth Phelan and Dr Lisa Butterly.

Throughout the week the art exhibition will run in the museum and all are welcome to attend for free.

A stand will also be in the Marshes Shopping Centre throughout the week.

‘The Dundalk Positive Mental Health Steering Committee have built on the success of last year’s art exhibition and mental health week programme and encouraged people to embrace the event.

In a statement they said: “Each and every one of us will be touched by a mental health issue at some stage in our lives. It is important we bring awareness to this matter and promote positive mental health as a priority.

“We have come a long way in reducing the stigma associated with mental health and we hope that this positive mental health week will assist in this campaign. We look forward to a fantastic turnout throughout the week.”



Gardaí investigating Muirhevnamor car fire

Gardaí are investigating the cause of a car fire in Muirhevnamor in the early hours of this morning.

The incident happened around 2.30am when the car, which was parked on a footpath outside a house, was discovered alight.

Dundalk Fire Service were called to the scene to extinguish the blaze with the vehicle removed from the scene from technical examination afterwards.

Anyone in the area at the time who may have seen anything suspicious is asked to contact Dundalk Garda Station at 042-9335577.

History made as councillors tie the knot

Jennifer and Alan on their wedding day

Jennifer and Alan on their wedding day

History was made last week as the first ever councillors in Louth tied the knot.

Sinn Féin pair Jennifer Green and Alan Cassidy walked down the aisle together last Friday followed by a reception in the Ballymascanlon House Hotel.

Jennifer, who is originally from the Point Road but now hails from Mulholland Avenue, was first co-opted onto Dundalk Town Council in April 2010 following Ian Dooley’s decision to step down. She retained her seat in the local elections earlier this year, with Alan joining her on the newly-formed Louth County Council after being elected in the Drogheda area.

May they have a lifetime of happiness together.

Gardaí investigating suspected arson attack in Bay Estate


The entrance to Bay Estate, off the Inner Relief Road.

Gardaí are investigating a suspected arson attack on a house in the Bay Estate area of Dundalk at the weekend.

The incident occurred in the Willowdale area of the estate on Saturday morning, with the house badly damaged in the blaze.

A number of cars were also vandalised during the incident.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Dundalk Garda Station on 042 9335577.

Councillors to decide on property tax cut today

The offices of Louth County Council

The offices of Louth County Council

Louth County Councillors must decide today whether or not to reduce the rate of property tax in the county.

Councillors are keen to reduce the rate by the maximum level allowed of 15% but have been warned by council officials that doing so would leave a €1.5m funding gap that would have to be taken from elsewhere.

A workshop was put together last Wednesday on the matter, with councillors having to make a decision today one way or the other.

St Patrick’s clinch Louth SFC title

stpatsSt Patrick’s came from behind against the Dreadnots in the second half in Drogheda yesterday to claim their sixth Louth SFC title in 12 years on a 1-10 to 1-8 scoreline.

Eoin O’Connor set the Lordship side on their way as his 17th minute strike gave them a 1-4 to 0-3 lead.

However, with James Califf’s kicking accuracy keeping the Dreadnots in touch, they managed to claw themselves level a minute before the break when a Paraic Smith free on the right crept in under the crossbar.

Anthony Williams then fired over a superb score in stoppage time to leave the Clogherhead men 1-6 to 1-5 in front at the interval.

A Karl White point within two minutes of the restart then brought the sides level before two Eoin O’Connor scores in quick succession gave the Pat’s a two point advantage by the 37th minute.

Califf eventually found the Dreadnots’ first score of the second half two minutes from time to close the gap back to a single point but a late brace from Paddy Keenan and Daragh Lafferty gave Fergal Reel’s side some breathing space despite another late score from Califf.

St Patrick’s: S Connor; K Toner, D Finnegan, D O’Hanlon; R Finnegan, C Goss, O Zamboglou; P Keenan 0-2 (0-1f), P Mallon; A McCann 0-1, E Lafferty, K White 0-2; E Carroll 0-1 (0-1f), D O’Connor 0-1, E O’Connor 1-2 (45). Subs: D Lafferty 0-1 for E Lafferty, 49 mins; P Mallon (BC) for E White, 58 mins.

Dreadnots: C Cunningham; D Shevlin, P Rath, B Gargan; A Williams 0-1, C McEvoy, B Faulkner; J Califf 0-6 (0-6f), D Campbell; P Lynch, P Kirwan, P Smith 1-1; C Campbell, L Shevlin, D O’Brien. Subs: R Kirwan for B Gargan, 41 mins; L Judge for D O’Brien, 60 mins.

Referee: K Carroll.

Sharon fails to rule out Corrs reunion

Sharon Corr

Sharon Corr

Sharon Corr has failed to rule out a reunion with her brother and sisters in the future.

Currently promoting her new solo album, The Same Sun, the former Voice of Ireland judge said that while family band The Corrs had no plans to get together at the minute, it could happen in the future.

“I don’t know what will happen in the future, we’ve made no plans,” she said.

“The Corrs have no plans to do any gigs but I’m sure it would be a lovely thing if we did in the future.”

The mother-of-two said that the family band are still so grateful for the resounding success they enjoyed before taking a break from touring in 2004.

In their heyday, The Corrs were nominated for two Grammys, their third album – In Blue – went to number one in 17 countries and they were awarded honorary MBE’s for their contribution to music and charity.

“For us a lot of it is about appreciating what we did do and what we did achieve because it was huge,” Sharon told the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk.

“We had global success all over the world and there’s a little part of us that doesn’t want to push that – we want to be grateful for that.

“Someone said to me that we could be cryogenically frozen which I thought was very appropriate because we could come back looking the same way,” she laughed.

“I know people want us back and I need to be on stage all the time but I’m completely fulfilled by my solo career at the moment,” she said.

“I want to take it further, there will be more albums and more tours but I never say never so we shall see.”