Friday, 31 May 2013

230 Stray Horses disposed of in Wicklow since 2011 as the issue hits crisis point

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has stated the issue of stray
horses in the county has reached crisis point and he has asked for the
Department of Agriculture to intervene to tackle the problem. The
councillor made the comments following a response to a number of
questions he had put to Wicklow county council who are responsible for
the control of horses in the county under the Control of Horses Act

Cllr Brady stated "Following a recent incident in Bray in which a
child was kicked by a horse i tabled a number of questions to Wicklow
county council who are responsible for the control of horses under the
Control of Horses Act 1996. The response i received from the council
shows clearly there is a huge problem with stray horses in the county
and this is backed up by concerns of people from right across Wicklow.
Horses are being kept in housing estates and even in gardens, its
estimated in Wicklow Town alone there are up to 200 loose horses."

Brady continued "Wicklow county council have contracted the services
of Cantor Equine Ltd. to seize stay and abandoned horses in the county
and since 2011, 355 horses have been seized and 230 of those have been
disposed of. This is a huge problem that has hit crisis point. There
are numerous issues here not only the issue of public safety as many
of these horses are being kept in urban areas within housing estates.
There is also an animal welfare issue as many of these horses are
simply abandoned and some are being kept in inappropriate, insecure
locations without access to water. The fact that 230 horses have had
to be destroyed since 2011 is alarming."

"Since 2011 Wicklow County Council has spent €282,195.37 trying to
deal with this issue, however it is still as bad if not worse than
ever. I have no problem with people who want to keep horses once they
have the right facilities to do so and they have the appropriate level
of experience to look after the horse properly. I have proposed that
Wicklow County Council look at the idea of using some unused land in
the county, securing it properly and providing veterinary care and
educational facilities along with stables, for people who may want to
keep a horse. This could be rented out and i believe it would work out
much cheaper than what is currently being spent on the control of
horses in the county. It would also educate people how to care for
their animal properly."

Cllr. Brady went onto say "I am concerned that Wicklow county council
has issued no horse licences as they are required to do under the
Control of Horses Act. This is despite the fact that since 2011, 80
horses have been micro chipped and reclaimed, so the ownership has
been established and a licence is a basic requirement for the owner to
reclaim the horse. The annual cost of the licence is €31.74, it allows
the council to monitor the horse and to ensure it is looked after
properly and doesn't become a public safety issue."

"The council are liaising with the Department of Agriculture on this
issue, however i believe it has hit crisis point in some parts of the
county and the problem is much bigger than the council can actually
deal with so i am asking for the Department to directly intervene to
try tackle the issue on both animal welfare and public safety

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Wicklow Sinn Féin steps up campaign against Propery Tax as the Repeal Bill date set

Wicklow Sinn Féin is set to ratchet up their campaign of opposition against the unfair and unjust Property Tax. The date of 11th June has been set for the beginning of the debate in Leinster House of the Repeal Bill that the party has introduced to axe the tax.

Speaking after the date was set, Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady said "On 26th Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty launched a bill to repeal the Family Home Tax in the Dáil and committed Sinn Féin to repeal the tax if in government after the next general election. The Local Property Tax Repeal Bill 2013 will be debated in the Dáil on Tuesday 11th June and voted upon on Wednesday 12th June during Sinn Féin's Private Members time. This bill is a key part of Sinn Fein’s alternative to austerity for lower and middle income families. These families have borne the brunt of austerity budget after austerity budget under Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael/Labour."

Brady continued "Over the last number of months we have held a series of public meetings on the issue across Wicklow and we have collected thousands of signatures on a petition demanding the abolition of the Family Home Tax and supporting the Sinn Féin Repeal Bill. In the run up to June 11th we will step up our campaign again and we will be out on the streets throughout the county collecting signatures and asking people to contact their TDs and asking them to support the Sinn Féin Bill when its voted upon on June 12th. We have already had motions demanding the abolition of the tax passed by numerous councils across the state and we are now asking Wicklow’s 5 TDs to stand with the people on this issue. Many hundreds of thousands of people have refused or been unable to pay the unfair tax and the vast majority of people who did pay done so under duress and out of fear."

The Sinn Féin councillor concluded "Sinn Féin has consistently argued for the introduction of a wealth tax. We believe that a 1% tax on net assets in excess of €1 million has the potential to yield up to €800 million. This is a real alternative to the unjust tax and we have committed that if we are in government after the next election we will repeal this tax. Our bill would refund the tax paid by citizens for the year in which it is scrapped. We are asking everyone that’s opposed to the tax to put huge amounts of pressure on their local councillors and their TDs to support the Repeal Bill as the ordinary people simply can’t afford to continue to pay the gambling debts of international speculators. The bottom line is local communities will not see any increased benefits from their local Council for the payment of this tax. That line simply doesn’t wash with people; the only thing we will see is the continued downward spiral for people who are genuinely struggling." 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Brady slams Council for sending Mothers and Children to Homless Shelter in Rathdrum

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has labelled the
Housing crisis in Wicklow as despicable, he also stated that the
actions of Bray Town Council in sending young families to a homeless
shelter in Rathdrum as a totally unacceptable solution to the crisis.

Councillor Brady stated "The housing crisis in Wicklow is continuing
to spiral out of control, there are 4,154 families in Wicklow in need
of social housing. Over the last 2 years the situation facing families
has dramatically deteriorated and its now resulted in young families
being referred to a homeless shelter in Rathdrum. The current
government policy has put a stop to the construction of social housing
and a new policy of social leasing enacted. The government has also
cut the amount paid for rental assistance which is forcing people out
of their private rented accommodation because the landlords are
unwilling to reduce the rent. This coupled with a huge shortage to
houses under the Rental Accomodation Scheme (RAS) have created a
ticking housing time bomb that's about to explode."

Cllr Brady went on "I am currently dealing with a number of families
who have been and are in the process of being made homeless. One young
mother from Bray and her 3 children were sent to the homeless shelter
in Rathdrum last week were they still remain. She had to move out of
her private rented accommodation because the landlord needed the house
back for another family member. She has been unable to find another
house in Bray within her price bracket and has had to present herself
and her children as homeless to the Town Council. Even though she has
been on the councils housing list for 7 years the council stated they
have nothing for her and told her to stay with family members or go to
the homeless shelter in Rathdrum, which is 40 km away and served with poor 
public transport."

"It is disgraceful that things have got this bad, but to add insult to
injury for the council to send a young mother with 3 children, one of
which attends school in Bray, to a homeless shelter in Rathdrum is
totally unacceptable. I am aware of at least one other young mother
who is facing the same prospects in 2 weeks time unless action is
taken. This i believe is only the tip of the iceberg, many other
families simply refuse to go to Rathdrum and end up on the floor of a
friend or family member." Brady continued.

He concluded by saying "We need immediate action to be taken in
Wicklow to deal with the housing crisis. It is disgraceful that houses
remain boarded up in Bray whilst young families are forced into a
unsuitable homeless shelter. We need emergency accommodation in Bray
to cater for young families who find themselves homeless and
ultimately we need to force Fine Gael and Labour to get their heads
out of the sand on this issue, we need a change to the flawed housing
policy that's created this human tragedy." Ends

Censorship of Wicklow Fire Fighters is Wrong- Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has sharply criticised a
gagging order that has been imposed on members of Wicklow Fire Service
by Wicklow County Council. The Brigade order was signed by the Chief
fire Officer Aidan Dempsey on 29th April, it bans members of the fire
service talking to the media or identifying themselves as members of
Wicklow Fire Service.

Cllr Brady said "I am very concerned at the level of censorship that
has been imposed on members of Wicklow Fire Service by the County
Council. The gagging order was signed off by the Chief Fire officer
Aidan Dempsey, it bans any member of the fire service identifying
themselves as firefighters on the Internet or during discussions on
social media. Any person found to be in breech of the order may be
subject to Wicklow County Councils grievance and disciplinary

"I believe that this Brigade Order could well be an infringement of the
rights for freedom of speech for members of the fire service. I know
all firefighters are proud to serve their community and are well
respected by the communities they serve, they proudly wear tee shirts
and jackets off duty showing they are members of the fire service. The
gagging order bans staff from taking pictures in the fire stations or
at the scene of a fire or at a training event. This is simply a tactic
being employed by the council to ensure they control what message
comes from the fire service and the council, the timing of the Brigade
order says it all really. It was served little more than a month
before the high profile court case against the Council relating to the
deaths of firemen Brian Murray and Mark O' Shaughnessy. The order also
bans fire fighters talking to public representatives." continued

The Sinn Féin councillor concluded "Unfortunately the council seem to
believe they are operating the secret service and that the fire
fighters lead a double life keeping their job top secret. Restricting
firefighters from the Internet and websites such as Facebook or
LinkedIn is shortsighted, censorship and ultimately a restriction of
Freedom of speech which is protected by Article 40.6.1 of the Irish
constitution." Ends