Friday, 17 October 2014

Tánaiste must apologise to Wicklow RAS tenants and lift eviction threat

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor has hit out at the Tánaiste Joan Burton and called on her to apologise for her misleading and untrue remarks she made in the Dáil in relation to the threatening letters sent to Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) tenants, by Wicklow County Council, which stated that non-payment of water charges could result in eviction. He has also asked for her to guarantee that no RAS tenants will be evicted for non payment of the unjust water charges.

Speaking after the issue was raised in the Dáil by Mary Lou McDonald Councillor Brady said "The issue of the 500 letters that were sent to RAS tenants in Wicklow was raised in the Dáil on Thursday last by Mary Lou McDonald. Unbelievably in response the Tánaiste Joan Burton made some misleading and blatantly untrue remarks about Sinn Féin and in a condescending attitude tried to brush the concerns of the effected tenants to one side."

"The Tánaiste stated that Sinn Féin in Wicklow were in control of the council with Fianna Fáil and Independents and that we could some how of stopped the threatening letters going out. The facts are the Old Boys club of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and some Independents control the council, not Sinn Féin. As Joan Burton doesn't have any Councillors in Wicklow because the electorate rejected them, it's not surprising that she got that wrong. I as a sitting councillor had no prior knowledge of these letters going out nor did my party colleague John Snell who is the chairperson of the Housing Special Policy Committee in Wicklow County Council."

Brady continued "As Tánaiste and the Minister for Social Protection Joan Brutons finger prints are all over the letters that were sent out in Wicklow. RAS is a National scheme and contracts issued to the councils are drafted centrally. Unfortunately Wicklow County Council made a foolish choice to do the dirty work for both the minister and Irish Water in issuing the letters threatening to evict people if they can't pay their water charges."

"I think it is deplorable that such bully-boy tactics are being used to intimidate hard-pressed families, many of whom simply do not have the money to pay. People have already been threatened by Enda Kenny that they will have their water pressure reduced if they don't pay the charges. These bully boy tactics are something one would read about under right wing dictatorships such as in Chile under Augusto Pinochet."

Cllr Brady concluded "The Tánaiste Joan Burton must now give assurances to RAS tenants, who cannot pay water charges, that they will not be faced with eviction. She must also now assume responsibility and take action to ensure that such an approach is brought to end and issue an apology to the families that received the threatening letters from the County Council. The bottom line is people can't afford to pay these unjust charges. I have stated that I won't be paying the charges, I know from speaking to many people faced with a choice of feeding their families or paying the unjust charge that they have no choice but not to pay also. Joan must listen to the people instead of being so condescending and abolish the water tax immediately." Ends

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