McGahon commends Young Fine Gael for prioritising mental health

Cllr John McGahon with President of Young Fine Gael Dale McDermott, at the launch of Young Fine Gael's mental health policies

Cllr John McGahon (right) with President of Young Fine Gael Dale McDermott (left), at the launch of Young Fine Gael’s mental health policies

In welcoming the launch this week by Young Fine Gael of two policy documents on mental health, Fine Gael Councillor for Dundalk-Carlingford, John McGahon, has commended the organisation for bringing this issue to the fore.

In a statement, the Seatown man said: “Young Fine Gael’s new policies on mental health are relevant to everyone and will hopefully bring more awareness to the promotion of positive mental health.

“YFG’s new policies on mental health comprise a document for Government with 12 key recommendations on how we can improve mental health in Ireland, and an internal document containing a number of commitments to make the YFG organisation more mental health friendly.

“The statistics on suicide and self-harm sadly speak for themselves and the issue of positive mental health, while always relevant, is more important than ever. We must try and highlight this at every opportunity.

“YFG’s 12 key recommendations on mental health are being presented to Government to try to initiate legislative improvements in the area. They include; calling on the Press Council to develop guidelines for the media on the reporting of mental health and suicide, a counselling service available free of charge to students in schools, a specific compulsory curriculum on mental health to form part of the SPHE course at junior and senior levels, and dedicated curriculums on the issue of cyberbullying.

“If put into practise, YFG’s recommendations would go a long way towards normalising the conversation around mental health in Ireland.”

Adams expresses “grave concern” at overcrowding in Lourdes Hospital

The A&E of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital is frequently overcrowded

The A&E of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital is frequently overcrowded

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams TD has expressed his “grave concern” at the increasing numbers of sick citizens who are confronted at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda with “chronic overcrowding and long waiting times.”

Describing the crisis in Emergency Departments as “unacceptable”, the Louth TD called on the Minister for Health to “take urgent steps to allocate additional resources, including funding, to open closed beds, recruit additional staff and provide for more community homecare nursing support”.

Commenting earlier this week, Deputy Adams said: “On two days of this week Our Lady of Lourdes hospital has topped the list of hospitals across the state facing serious overcrowding. On Tuesday the Irish Nurses and Midwifes Organisation reported that there were 38 patients in the Emergency Department – the highest in the state. And on Wednesday that number was 31 – again the highest in the state.

“Our Lady of Lourdes is regularly in the top three hospitals facing major difficulties in its Accident and Emergency department.

“We have also learned that the Louth Hospital Group General Manager has written to General Practitioners advising them that Our Lady of Lourdes is ‘experiencing extreme levels of surge with regard to medical presentations at present.’

“As a result the hospital has been forced to put in place ‘measures to manage this level of escalation internally.’ This includes advising GPs that the Louth Hospital Group is suspending ‘direct GP referrals to the Acute Medical Assessment Unit in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in order to prioritise current acute medical patient presentations and flow.’

“Earlier this week the INMO described the situation facing the health service as the ‘most significant overcrowding situation since the INMP began counting trolleys over ten years ago.’

“The Minister has the responsibility to ensure patient safety, as well as appropriate standards of care. He must take urgent steps to allocate additional resources, including funding, to open closed beds, recruit additional staff and provide for more community homecare nursing support”.

The Copper Kettle celebrates 10 years in business

Joan and Gerry Byrne of The Copper Kettle

Joan and Gerry Byrne of The Copper Kettle

The Copper Kettle in the Clanbrassil Centre are celebrating 10 years in business this weekend with the popular restaurant set to open on Sunday to mark the occasion.

It was December 21st 2004 when Gerry and Joan Byrne and family opened the Copper Kettle and it has served countless locals in between.

A live broadcast of the start of the celebrations was recorded on Dundalk FM this morning and there will be plenty of other surprises over the course of the weekend.

Gerry, Joan and family say they are “extremely grateful” to everyone who gave them custom over the years and helped the business go from strength to strength.

They also wish everyone a happy Christmas and invite them to call in over the course of the weekend to mark this landmark occasion.

Rotary Club of Dundalk to launch Tree of Remembrance in Earl Street this afternoon

Oliver Nixon, president of Dundalk Rotary Club

Oliver Nixon, president of Dundalk Rotary Club

The Rotary Club of Dundalk will open up their annual Tree of Remembrance in Earl Street this evening, with the tree set to remain there until Christmas Eve.

The launch of this year’s tree will take place at 5pm with a short interdenominational service.

The Tree of Remembrance gives an opportunity to members of the public to remember their loved ones by placing a ribbon on the tree with their loved one’s name on it. There is no cost but all voluntary contributions are welcome.

Ribbons will be available from 11am to 5pm daily at the tree and also at both the Long Walk and Tesco Extra Shopping Centres.

Rotary Club of Dundalk president Oliver Nixon said: “The Remembrance Tree offers a moment of reflection and a time to remember loved ones in a special way.”

Dundalk on Ice brings economic boost to town centre this Christmas

506327_143668_DundalkSquareOnIceLogo.jpgThe success of this year’s Dundalk on Ice experience has led to an economic boost for the town centre this Christmas season.

To date thousands of skaters, of all ages and expertise have taken to the Dundalk on Ice rink and with the benefit of being a fully enclosed real ice facility has made it the most successful rink Dundalk has played host to.

Planet Ice who operate Dundalk on Ice have remained true to their commitment to support the local economy and as far as possible have created seasonal employment locally via the rink’s construction, staffing, security etc.

Offering a family fun experience, families and friends not only arrive into Dundalk to skate, they stay to shop and socialise, creating a additional financial spend in the town.

Martin McElligott, Dundalk BIDS said that the success of this year’s Dundalk on Ice has gone beyond expectation.

“It has been fantastic to see so many people going into skating sessions, day in, day out, whether it’s families, school groups or friends meeting up.  The enclosed rink has meant that weather doesn’t deter people from coming along.

“Plus the feedback we are receiving from the neighbouring businesses is that people are staying in the town after their skating session be it to socialise in the coffee shops, restaurants etc or to carry out some Christmas shopping.

“Dundalk BIDs is just thrilled to have played a major role in bringing this year’s Dundalk on Ice experience to life.”

McDara Hosty of Planet Ice, is also very positive of the group’s first project in Dundalk.

“We are very happy with the way Dundalk on Ice is going. We found a great seasonal workforce here in the relevant areas. There has been a very positive attitiude to what we were doing from day one and I am happy to say that from what we are hearing, is that our facility on the Market Square is boosting Christmas trade, creating a win win situation for us all.

“Now, as the school holidays start we are looking forward to welcoming thousands more to Dundalk on Ice in the coming weeks.”

Dundalk on Ice will remain open each day at the Market Square until January 4th, with the exception of Christmas Day.

For further details re session times, opening hours, booking etc visit www.dundalkonice.com or the Dundalk on Ice Facebook page.

A Dundalk on Ice Box Office is located in Marshes Shopping Centre and of course, bookings can also be made at Dundalk on Ice at the Market Square

Dundalk on Ice is partnered with Marshes Shopping Centre, Dundalk BIDS, Dundalk Bureau de Change, iRadio, The Argus, Meridian Security Ltd, Long Walk Shopping Centre and Dundalk Tidy Towns.

Van set alight at entrance to Farndreg estate

Dundalk Fire Service were called to the scene of a small van on fire at the entrance to the Farndreg estate last night.

The Gardaí also attended the scene of the blaze, which was brought under control quickly.

The van was a write-off, with reports that it was abandoned there having sped through the estate.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Dundalk Gardaí.

Meanwhile, delays can be expected on Hill Street Bridge for the next while due to a crash there at 11.25am.

Body of man last seen at Dundalk train station is discovered

Seoirse Mac Gabhann

Seoirse Mac Gabhann

The body of a missing 52-year-old Dublin man was found yesterday afternoon.

Seoirse Mac Gabhann had last been seen on Tuesday, December 16, at approximately 3pm at Clarke Station in Dundalk.

His last phone contact was at 5.45pm in Raheny.

He was reportedly leaving Dundalk to get a train to Raheny in Dublin where he lived.

Earlier this week, Seoirse’s family had appealed for anyone who had seen him to come forward.

Gardai no longer require any further assistance from the public in this matter.

Dundalk men in court following explosives find

Two Dundalk men appeared before the Special Criminal Court in Dublin yesterday in connection with an explosives find in Meath on Tuesday.

The pair, both in their 40s, were arrested after Gardaí stopped two cars on the N52 between Kells and Ardee on Tuesday and discovered explosives.

Michael Connolly (42) of Grange Drive, Dundalk, was charged with membership of the IRA on December 16th.

Meanwhile, Brian Fitzpatrick (49) of Castleross, Dundalk, was charged with two counts of possession of an explosive substance under suspicious circumstances on the same day at Mitchelstown Cross, Castletown, Navan, Co Meath.

Meanwhile, a Dundalk man, as well as two others, are due to go on trial in the Special Criminal Court in July 2016 charged with possession of explosive devices in Kilcurry on May 25th last.

Gareth Mulley (45) with an address at Ashling Park, Dundalk, is charged with the possession of an explosive substance along with David Gallagher (37) of Marley Court in Drogheda and William Burns (38) of Kerrera Street, Ardoyne, Belfast, Co Antrim.

They are alleged to have had in their possession PETN and RDX, an adapted 50 litre beer keg, 50kgs of ammonium nitrate home-made explosives, an improvised detonation cord, an improvised steel booster tube and an improvised time and power unit.

Mr Mulley and Mr Gallagher have also been charged with membership of the IRA.

GPs asked not to refer patients to Lourdes Hospital

The letter to GPs

The letter to GPs

Sinn Féin councillor Tomás Sharkey has learned that GPs in the area have been asked to stop referring patients to the Acute Medical Assessment Unit of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital while the hospital has an overcrowding crisis.

Commenting on the matter, Cllr Sharkey said: “This is the latest in a series of crises in the Drogheda Hospital. The trolley crisis in the A&E Department is as bad now as it ever was under Mary Harney. The letter to GPs gives us an insight into the failures of the hospital’s systems.

“This letter explains that there is a huge number of acute medical patients in the hospital and asks that GPs stop directly referring any more medical patients into the hospital. But this is a nonsense. It means that a sick patient with an acute medical condition will have to present at A&E to be triaged to receive attention.

“The people of Louth do not need reminding that acute medical services were withdrawn from Louth County Hospital in Dundalk. We warned that this type of crisis would happen. I am calling on all government TDs and senators in Louth and Meath to admit that there is a crisis in our hospital and to demand the reopening of acute medical wards in Dundalk.”

O Fiaich now taking bookings for Spring evening classes

Graduates from a recent night class in O Fiaich. Back row - left to right: Padraig McGovern (Principal), Jean Watters, Damilola Rhoda Ogobamidele, Rita McDonagh, Sadie Ward McDermott (Adult Education Officer LMETB). Front Row - left to right: Gabrielle Renaghan, Eileen Carroll Pickering, Martina Carragher, Amy Gilligan, Claire McGlew

Graduates from a recent night class in O Fiaich. Back row – left to right: Padraig McGovern (Principal), Jean Watters, Damilola Rhoda Ogobamidele, Rita McDonagh, Sadie Ward McDermott (Adult Education Officer LMETB). Front Row – left to right: Gabrielle Renaghan, Eileen Carroll Pickering, Martina Carragher, Amy Gilligan, Claire McGlew

Thinking about New Year resolutions? Maybe learn new skills for working or new hobby? O Fiaich Institute Dundalk is now taking bookings for their Spring Evening Class Programme 2015 starting in January.

This term as outlined on Louthnightclasses.ie has nearly 50 classes on offer. The main areas are in FETAC certified Childcare and Healthcare modules which lead to overall awards. Anybody seeking to work in these areas should give consider undertaking these modules. There is great flexibility in undertaking these modules depending on your circumstances. Those who wish to work from home should consider undertaking blended learning modules. One new module we are offering this term is Mental Health Awareness level 6.

Also on offer is a wide range of hobby courses from Beauty and Cosmetics to Upcycling. Upcycling of old furniture is an exciting new course where you learn the skills and know how to bring back to life old items of furniture you may have.

New courses include Everyday Herbalism, Genealogy and Inspired Pastry and Bread making. As always O Fiaich are offering the ever popular Flower Arranging, Pilates, Art and Floor and Wall Tiling courses to name but a few.

Keeping a focus on relevant courses for the workplace O Fiaich also offer Basic Food Hygiene, Train the Trainer and Diploma in Event Management – all of which are certified courses.

Further details and online bookings are on Louthnightclasses.ie. Enrolling takes place on Monday and Tuesday 12th and 13th January from 10am to 3pm and evening enrolment on Tuesday 13th from 7pm to 9pm.