Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Law is an Ass that needs to be changed-Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor and long-time campaigner on the fire service John Brady has expressed disappointment at the sentencing of Wicklow County Council in relation to the deaths of fire-fighters Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy who died fighting a fire in Bray in 2007. He also said that imposing a fine on the taxpayer for the fundamental failures of the Wicklow County Manager is not justice and that the law is and ass that needs to be changed to ensure there is accountability.

Speaking after a fine of €355,000 was handed down to Wicklow County Council in the Dublin Circuit Criminal court councillor Brady said “The last six years have been very difficult for the families of Wicklow fire-fighters Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy. Both men died tackling a fire in Bray in 2007. I had put my faith in the court system in the hope that the heartbroken families would get some justice. I have never believed that the men’s deaths were a tragic accident, I believed and still do that the men died as a direct result of the antiquated, inefficient and flawed system that Wicklow County Council operated.”

“Unfortunately what we seen in the court was a figure of €355,000 being put on the lives of the two fire men. The fine will ultimately will be paid by the taxpayers of Wicklow. I believe the law is an ass that needs to be changed. The people of Wicklow should not be the ones that are penalised for the failures of the management of Wicklow County Council. The County Manager was aware and presided over an organisation that had no regard for the health of safety of its employees; he also presided and still does over an organisation that vets emergency calls as a cost saving measure. Unfortunately in the court case we had a faceless organisation on trial for health and safety breeches. I would have much preferred to have seen Eddie Sheedy on trial and ultimately held responsible and I think the law needs to be changed to ensure that there is real accountability. At this stage however the families, the people of Wicklow nor I have any faith or trust in Eddie Sheedy and he should be either sacked or resign and I will be tabling an emergency motion and I intend bringing it before the council to ensure that is the case.” 

The councillor continued “I must praise the Gardaí and the HSA for the work that they put into this case, however I believe their work was severely hampered by a lack of cooperation by Wicklow County Council. This resulted in the County Buildings being raided by the Gardaí on 23 February 2010. The County Manager Eddie Sheedy was also arrested as part of the investigation into the men’s deaths, as was the now retired chief fire officer Jim Dunphy and the assistant fire officers.”

“I think the courts and the State however have let the families of Brian and Mark down. We should have had a criminal trial of those individuals who presided over the flawed system the council operated at the behest of the State. Shortly after the deaths of Brian and Mark the then Minister for the Environment John Gormely stated that an independent investigation would be looked at when court proceeding concluded. That now needs to happen, as I believe a lot of evidence still needs to come to light.”
Brady concluded “On 9 October 2007, just after the deaths of Brian and Mark the Labour Party tabled a motion in the Dáil relating to their deaths. The motion expressed sympathy to the families of the men; it also called for an independent investigation into their deaths, it went onto call for the full implementation of Farrell Grant Sparks Report on the fire services. Key to this would see the control of the fire services removed from the control of local authorities and put into the remit of a National Fire Authority. The motion which was also supported by Fine Gael also called for the establishment of a full-time fire service in Bray. Sinn Féin and the families supported the motion at the time and I now call on them to follow through as they are now in a position to deliver.”  Ends

Statement from families after the sentencing of Wicklow County Council.

"The families are happy to see that legal proceeding of this trial coming to an end as the last six years have been very difficult, during which they received great public support of which they are very grateful for.
While welcoming the eventual guilty plea made by Wicklow County Council in relation to the charges, they were brought as a result of the deaths of Brian Murray and Mark O' Shaughnessy.
They are however disappointed with the leniency shown by the judge in relation to the fines.
But they do welcome the criticism of the management of the fire service in Wicklow.
In relation to the fines, the families do welcome the fact that the taxpayer doesn’t have to pay a hefty fine for the council’s shortcomings.
There are however unanswered questions surrounding the deaths of both Brian and Mark and the families believe that these issues will be addressed during the upcoming inquest and the family will release a more comprehensive statement on completion of the inquest.
The families at this stage do however repeat their call for a national fire service.” Ends

Here is an link to the Dáil debate on 9 October 2007

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Public Transport Fare increases will force people into their cars-Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has described the latest fare increases on bus, rail and the LUAS as a major disincentive that will force more people to use their cars. He said the increases are a direct result of Fine Gael, Labour budget cut of €17 million subsidy to CIE.

Speaking after the National Transport Authority gave the go ahead for the hikes Cllr Brady said “In the recent budget Fine Gael and Labour cut €17 million from the subsidy which is given to CIE, so it was inevitable that fare would increase as a direct result of the cuts. Average cash fares will rise by more than 8 per cent from December 1st, while annual and monthly tickets will increase by some 10 per cent fromNovember 1st.”

Brady continued ““Public transport has been under funded in this state for a very long time and certainly never treated as the incredibly important public service that it is. Buses and trains carry far more people, more efficiently and faster than private transport when given the right planning and funding. A good system of buses can create a hub of business in urban centres and improve our competitiveness. Instead the government is implementing a policy it freely admits is bad for public transport. What is bad for public transport is bad for our economy.”

“These new fare increases will further turn people off public transport which is seen as expensive and lacking the benefits seen in other European cities. Too many people are opting for their cars because the services of Bus Éireann, Iarnróid Éireann and Dublin Bus are being run down and made unattractive by government policy. Cutting funding and forcing the dwindling passengers to foot more of the bill might look good on the department’s budget plan but it will lead to serious problems in the future and damage our ability to build lasting economic prosperity.”

Cllr Brady concluded “I believe the fare increases are just the first direct impact of the government cuts to public transport. What we will also witness now will be the continued decimation and dismantling of bus routes. Unfortunately here in Wicklow communities have been in the direct firing line of this with routes such as the Bus Éireann 133, Dublin Bus routes 45a, 185, 84, 145 all being targeted as well as a reduction in the carrying capacity on the DART's. We need investment in our public transport, not cuts.”

Veil of Secrecy surrounding Dargle River flood protection works need to be lifted

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has called for the veil of secrecy surrounding the Dargle flood protection work to be lifted. The councillor who has been fighting alongside local residents for flood protection works to be carried out on the Dargle after the Little Bray area was destroyed by Hurricane Charlie in 1986, he made the call following the news that the main contractor on the flood protection scheme SIAC has gone into examinership.

Councillor Brady said "Over the last couple of months the work on the €28 million Dargle flood relief project has effectively ground to a standstill. A number of key staff on the project have either been let go or redeployed to other SIAC projects, Sub contractors on the project have not been paid for work that they have done. Not surprising this week SIAC have been granted court protection and gone into examinership.”

Cllr Brady continued “I have serious concerns now for the future of the project. During court proceeding Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan agreed to grant protection to SCL and the eight other companies on the basis of reports from independent accountants expressing the opinion the companies have a reasonable prospect of survival as a going concern provided several conditions are met, including securing creditor and court approval of survival proposals. The fact that the company is only given a reasonable prospect of survival is not very assuring.”

Cllr Brady went onto say “I have tried to raise the serious concerns that the community of Little Bray and I have with the council, unfortunately those concerns have hit a brick wall. The Flood Protection project has been covered by a veil of secrecy and any time questions are asked the response is that the council and SIAC are involved in a design resolution process with the Contractor. This relates to technical design details and that it is a confidential process that has been entered into with a view to seeking a resolution. The veil of secrecy around this project needs to be lifted and assurances need to be given to the residents of Little Bray that their homes are safe from flooding.”

Cllr Brady concluded “The OPW has stated they remain committed to completing the Bray scheme as quickly as possible and to ensuring that it will provide the same standard of protection as provided by other OPW flood relief schemes. What the residents and I need from Bray Town Council as the Contracting Authority are answers and assurances that the project will be completed to the specifications contained in the EIS and that it’s delivered on time. Minister Brian Hayes also needs to directly get involved to ensure that this doesn’t drag on. One must remember that a flood of the magnitude of Hurricane Charlie has a reoccurrence rate of 20 years, it is now 27 years after that event and we need it fully completed.”

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Budget 2014 is a Template for Mass Emigration- Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has described budget 2014 as grossly unfair and a template for continued mass youth emigration.

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady said “In budget 2014 Fine Gael and Labour have let the people down as we witness again the actions of a government that is arrogant, out of touch and utterly indifferent to the devastation that a cocktail of cutbacks, unemployment and emigration has had on our society. This budget should have been about reducing the tax burden on ordinary families, protecting public services and investing in jobs. Instead it is another anti-growth and unfair budget.”

Cllr Brady went on to say “A fair budget would have given low and middle income households a break by putting money back into their pockets. Instead in this seventh consecutive austerity budget we have had a direct attack on people from the cradle to the grave.”“Getting rid of the bereavement grant, withdrawing the telephone allowance for the elderly and carers and cuts to social protection supports by up to a third for young people out of work are shocking. We can only conclude that this government is determined to leave struggling households in their despair and to force many thousands more of our young people on the emigration path that has already been travelled by 300,000 people over the last 4 years.”

Brady continued “Sinn Féin’s Budget 2014 proposals are truly fair because we have sought to give low and middle income families a break by putting money back into their pockets. We have shown clearly that there were choices to be made by the government. Unfortunately they choose to attack the most vulnerable in society again and this time they are kicking them even harder, giving them the choice of suffering even more hardship and poverty at home or taking the boat or plane.”

Brady concluded “We will quickly see the real impact of this budget on people. People who are unemployed, women on maternity leave, students, people who are lingering on lengthy housing lists and the elderly. Even in death people will feel the impact of the budget with the withdrawal of the bereavement grant.”

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Bray Sinn Féin launch petition to get the 185 Bus back into Fassaroe

Bray Sinn Féin have launched a petition as part of their campaign to get the 185 Dublin Bus back into the Fassaroe Estate. Dublin Bus withdrew the bus last October due to difficulties turning buses in the estate.

Speaking after launching the petition in the estate Cllr John Brady said "Nearly a year has passed since Dublin Bus withdrew the 185 Bus from the Fassaroe Estate. The route provided a critical link for people from the estate, particularly elderly people to the town centre. Over that period i have spoken to Dublin Bus and council officials many times about trying to get the service back into the estate. The purpose of the petition and the campaign is to try put pressure on the powers to be and to show them the level of public feeling on this issue and the desire of them to get the service back."

Cllr Rossa Murray said "Unfortunately the buses were withdrawn because it was claimed there was difficulties in turning the buses in the estate. There is ample space within Fassaroe to provide the required turning space for the buses. What we need is the willingness to actually do it. The service is sorely missed and the fear is the longer the service is gone the more difficult it will be to get it back in."

Sinn Féin representative Oliver O'Brien went onto say "We have launched the petition which can be either signed on line at, or alternatively we will be going door to door and people can sign the paper copy. We are encouraging people to take copies of it also and get their friends and family to sign it, copies can be got from any SinnFéin representative"

Cllr Brady concluded "What we need is the council and Dublin Bus to work with the community of Fassaroe to put in place the conditions to allow the 185 back into the estate. I have provided a number of options to the council and i think these provide the way forward. I don't think opening up cul de sacs from Palermo into Fassaroe is the solution and it will meet huge resistance from all effected residents and rightfully so. We aim on collecting as many signatures as possible before presenting them to the council in November."

Boarded up council houses need to be allocated to Families

Bray Sinn Féin representatives Cllr John Brady, Cllr Rossa Murray and Oliver O'Brien have labelled the boarding up of council houses, especially during a housing crisis as disgraceful. They have also called for a management plan to be put in place to ensure vacant council houses and housing land banks don't become dumping grounds and magnets for anti-social behaviour.

Speaking after visiting vacant council properties on the O'Byrne Road Cllr Brady said "There is a serious housing crisis right across the state and Wicklow and Bray are no different. In Bray alone there are 827 families on the housing waiting list. It is absolutely disgraceful that at this point in the crisis council houses are still being boarded up and red tape is causing huge delays in them getting reallocated.In Bray alone there are nearly 20 boarded up houses, some of which have been boarded up since last year."

Cllr Murray went onto say "The current government policy of not building social housing is a flawed one which only serves to put money in the pockets of private landlords. When a council house does become available any work needed should be fast tracked to ensure it is reallocated as quickly as possible. Unfortunately too many houses are being left boarded up around Bray for far too long."

Bray Sinn Féin representative Oliver O'Brien continued "Keeping houses boarded up not only deprives another needy family of a home, but they also become magnets for anti-social behaviour and for dumping, this unfortunately drags the whole area down too. I have spoken to many people who have stated that they would willingly take a council house in any condition and carry out whatever work was needed themselves just to get a roof over their heads. Such is the seriousness of the situation these people should be listened to and these boarded up houses should be allocated immediately."

Cllr Brady concluded "The council has many land banks suitable for housing along with boarded up houses, these are all creating problems in communities across Bray. A plan needs to be put in place to ensure the houses are given to needy people as quickly as possible and that the land banks are not dumping grounds and magnets for anti-social behaviour. Only this week after repeated requests from myself and residents of Wolfe Tone, O'Byrne Rd and Sugarloaf Crescent the council has moved on site of a boarded up house on O'Byrne road and started to clear it out. Whilst government policy and red tape is creating a lot of the problems, the council should and cold be more proactive in ensuring houses are reallocated as quick as possible and that they are kept clean."

Friday, 11 October 2013

Wicklow Sinn Féin launch Pre-Budget Submission

Wicklow Sinn Féin has launched their party’s alternative budget. Wicklow councillor John Brady said Sinn Féin’s budget would lower the tax burden on ordinary families, protect public services and invest in jobs.  He said ordinary people would be better off under Sinn Féin.

Councillor Brady said; “The Sinn Fein budget will reduce the tax burden on ordinary families. It will protect public services and invest in jobs.

“We have identified a series of taxation and savings measures, fully costed by government departments, to reduce the deficit and pay for new spending measures.

“These include giving 1.8 million homeowners a tax rebate by abolishing the property tax, restoring the respite grant for 86,000 carers, taking 296,000 low income workers out of the USC, providing free school meals to five hundred more schools and halving the cost of school books, giving every child under five free GP care, extending the fuel allowance by three weeks, protecting the vulnerable – no more cuts to disability payments, no more cuts to Child Benefit, no more cuts to social welfare and introducing a stimulus to create thousands of jobs.”

Bray Sinn Féin representative Oliver O’Brien said “Austerity isn’t working. The government’s priority in this budget should be to protect citizens rather than meeting European diktats. Some 415,000 people are on the live register while 300,000 emigrated in the last four years. There are 49,000 people waiting for hospital treatments. 
One in ten children are living in consistent poverty with 47% of households living on less than €100 a month after bills. There are 90,000 households languishing on social housing lists while 180,000 households are in mortgage distress. This will be the seventh austerity budget from Fianna Fáil and this government which together will have taken €30 billion out of the economy.”

“People need a break. Sinn Féin’s alternative budget reduces the tax burden on ordinary families, protects public services and invests in jobs.” concluded O’Brien

Councillor Brady finished by saying “These proposals are all fully costed by the government’s budgetary costing unit.The document also sets out proactive measures to assist job creation, SMEs, the agriculture sector, and people in mortgage distress. It deals with corporation tax and natural resources and also stresses our commitment to equality budgeting.

“Our adjustment is just under €2.5billion. We believe that families need to be given a break.  Austerity is not working. The government needs to take its foot off the necks of the people. With this document we show how people are better off under Sinn Féin.” Ends