Friday, 29 July 2016

Massive Clean Up Operation at Greystones illegal dump

In the wake of the shocking dumping incident which occurred adjacent to Charlesland in Greystones recently, Sinn Fein TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said he is delighted the area has now been cleaned up and rendered safe:

“Myself and Sinn Fein Councillor Nicola Lawless were horrified at the extent of the dumping. Thankfully now the area involved has been cleaned up and the refuse removed. The Land adjacent to Charlesland is in private ownership so the owner had to hire private contractors to clean up the mess. Approximately six truckloads had to remove around a hundred tonnes of waste from the site. I am thankful that the owner of the land and the contractor acted quickly, however between the time the refuse was dumped and it was cleared away, the local fire services were dispatched to the area on nine separate occasions to deal with fires set amongst the refuse and debris. This highlights just how dangerous the situation was to local residents and the local environment.”

Councillor Nicola Lawless said that the issue is not completely resolved:

“Whilst it is certainly a relief to have the area cleaned up, the issue is not fully resolved. During the clean-up operation a large quantity of evidence was collected amongst the waste. This evidence will now be used by An Garda Síochána and the local council to ascertain who was responsible for the dumping and from where the rubbish originated. It is my hope that those who are genuinely culpable will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We simply cannot allow a situation to occur where we are seen to go easy on those who would deliberately and maliciously do damage onto our communities with this sort of reckless behaviour. I would appeal to the people of Greystones and indeed the wider Wicklow public to be ever vigilante, and report incidents of dumping no matter how big or small to the local authorities.”

Teachta Brady concluded by saying that he will continue to apply Pressure on Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to expedite the issue of refuse charges:
“We in Sinn Fein have been fighting with the government constantly regarding their failure to adequately address the question mark that hangs over the whole area of refuse collection and bin charges. The incident in Greystones could be a dire warning of what might follow if those two parties continue to drag their heels on the issue. We need certainty regarding waste charges now, not in nine months’ time. We need legislative tightening and prosecution certainty to deal with those who would actively and willingly damage our environment and endanger our local communities.”

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada opens Wicklow/East Carlow TDS office in Arklow

John Brady TD Arklow Office Open for Business
Speaking after the official opening of Sinn Fein TD John Brady’s Arklow office, Teachta Brady said he was delighted to have a ‘go to’ point for the constituents of South Wicklow:
“It is the fulfilment of a personal ambition to ensure that Wicklow/East Carlow constituents have the best possible opportunity to reach out to myself and Sinn Fein with as little inconvenience as possible to them. Wicklow/ East Carlow is a vast constituency, but now that we have offices in Both Bray and Arklow, I am looking forward to meeting people from all over the constituency. Fundamental to the notion of representation is a genuine commitment to work directly for the benefit of those who live and work in the community. Myself and my team will do all we can to help constituents deal with the many social and economic challenges afoot.”
Teachta Brady said he was delighted to welcome Sinn Fein MEP for the Ireland South Constituency Liadh Ni Riada to Arklow for the official opening,he also thanked the local community for the warm welcome they have extended to him and his staff:
“Our MEP Liadh Riada was the perfect choice to officiate at the official opening. Her work in Europe addressing issues that impact rural communities - most specifically our fishing industry – is second to none. She also has a huge commitment to my area of concern which is Social Protection. Already we are inundated with calls and requests expressing fears and concerns over the state of the nation’s Health, Housing and Rural Business Infrastructure, despite the obvious stresses on many families across the County, I have been moved by the warmth of the welcome we have received from local people and businesses.”
Speaking after the official opening of Teachta Brady’s Arklow Office, the Sinn Fein MEP said that we now have an opportunity to turn our recent success into results for the people on the ground:
“Thanks to the electorate in South Wicklow and beyond we now have Sinn Fein representatives in almost every corner of the country. Opening this office I am delighted to be part of a team who is determined to provide quality representation and outreach to the people of Wicklow/East Carlow. Sinn Fein’s recent successes in Election to Europe, the Oireachtas and Local Councils ensures that we have the necessary mandate to continue the struggle to build an Ireland of equals. I look forward to working closely with John Brady to deliver for the people of Wicklow/East Carlow.”
TD John Brady’s offices are in Bray: Office Hours Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm, Tel: 01-2762623. Arklow: Office Hours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 10am to 3pm, Tel: 0402-41853.

Brady welcomes Government move to acquire 5,000 acres of land in Dublin Mountains

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow and party spokesperson on Social Protection John Brady has welcomed the news that the Government intend to buy almost 5,000 acres of land in the Dublin Mountains from NAMA.

Teachta Brady said:

“Back in early June, I called on the then Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht to purchase this land from NAMA. I followed this up with a Parliamentary Question directly to the Minister asking him to acquire these lands.

“These lands are surrounded by the 200,000 hectares of the Wicklow Mountains National Park which is Ireland’s largest national park.

“This purchase by the State would provide a unique opportunity to expand the National Park increasing its tourism potential. This would be a very positive and welcome move.

“I also welcome other public representatives coming on board with this and echoing our calls for this land to be purchased since it was identified.

“I am delighted that the Minister has followed up on my calls for him to do this. I welcome that he has acknowledged the importance of these lands and their importance to the national park. I am glad that negotiations are said to be at an advanced stage and I am hopeful that a deal will be reached without delay.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Liadh Ní Riada MEP to officially open Sinn Féin TD's office in Arklow

Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South, Liadh Ní Riada, will officially open the Arklow constituency office of Wicklow/East Carlow TD John Brady on Monday 25 July at 1pm.

Speaking ahead of the opening Teachta Brady said "I'm delighted to have Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada officially open my new constituency office in Arklow. The office is located at 18a Upper Main Street and when open, will be one of two Sinn Féin offices in the constituency, the other is located in Bray."

"The opening of Arklow office will provide a first class service to the people of Wicklow/East Carlow and ensure that the people of Arklow have access the best advise and representation possible. It also ensures that the voice of the people from South Wicklow will be heard at a national level."

Teachta Brady concluded "This is an exciting development for Sinn Féin and I. Prior to the election I promised the people of South Wicklow that I wouldn't forget them if elected to Leinster House, and I'm happy now to be following through on that promise.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Government Housing Plan Falls Short-Brady

Sinn Fein spokesperson for social protection and TD for Wicklow-East Carlow John Brady has said that the government housing plan falls short of what is needed:

“Fine Gael’s ‘Housing Action Plan’ is a small improvement on the plans produced by his Labour predecessor Alan Kelly but still falls far short of what is actually needed. With over one hundred thousand households across the state now on the social housing waiting list, there is a fear that despite recent announcements we could be heading from crisis to catastrophe.”

Teachta Brady said putting party politics aside, the holes in the current government plans are pretty stark and show that the government seem to be seriously underestimating the extent of the challenges ahead:

“All parties need to get on board in working to deliver results that will resolve the housing crises as soon as is humanly possible. But the current round of government plans has some serious flaws, all of which have been pointed out by Sinn Fein. We very much welcome increased investment in social housing. However contrary to Minister Coveney's announcement; the real increase in investment in social housing on his predecessor’s plans is less than the €2.2bn claimed by the Minister. The actual increase is to €1.29bn towards 2020 and €1.54bn towards 2021. This is a critical difference because these figures will determine the ability of Government, local authorities, and approved housing bodies to deliver the social houses urgently required.”

Regarding targets Teachta Brady said we have to ‘get real’. When targets are set the government must aim to reach them:

“Minister Coveney’s plans will produce up to 6,000 real social houses a year for six years. This falls far short of the annual target proposed by the Dáil Housing and Homelessness Committee - 10,000 real social housing units a year. In other words Minister Coveney is falling short of the Dáil Housing and Homelessness Committee recommendations by 40%. More worrying is the fact that the increase in Capital Spending on Social Housing next year is a mere €150m. Given the relentless rises in the numbers of people in emergency accommodation, living at risk of homelessness and languishing on local authority waiting lists; this increase is simply not enough and way short of previously stated goals.”

Teachta Brady also pointed out that in terms of dealing with Mortgage arrears the Fine Gael plans seriously backtrack on commitments made in their programme for Government:

“There was much to be welcomed in the Programme for Government commitments to deal with mortgage arrears including many things Sinn Fein had long called for. Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, the watering down of these commitments, which we have already quizzed the Minister for Finance on, has been confirmed in this plan.

“Gone is the promise to ‘establish a dedicated new court’ for mortgage cases. In its place, the Minister for Justice will ask the Courts to hold these cases at certain times and places. The commitment to hold these cases in private has now been put in doubt too with the Housing Action Plan raising concern about the constitutionality of this move.

“Gone also is the Programme for Government commitment to amend the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears. We have pointed out the backsliding of Minister Noonan on this issue when he told us that the commitment only referred to non-bank lenders like vulture funds. Now it is clear that even that commitment has been reduced to ‘an assessment of existing sustainable solutions’.

“Likewise, the commitment to raise the threshold levels for accessing the Personal Insolvency system have been downgraded to only a possibility instead of a commitment to raise them ‘where appropriate’.

“There is a little welcome detail on the new advice service and the powers available to it. However, we have seen many schemes like this before that were promised but never delivered. There is a worrying gap between what this government promises and what is actually delivered. We are eight years on since the banking crash yet Fine Gael are simply not on top of the mortgage crisis. The 85,989 families in arrears can’t afford any more backsliding on what were only modest advances in the first instance.” Concluded Teachta Brady.

Pension system must be reformed immediately-Brady

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has welcomed comments made by Minister Varadkar today on the need for careful yet, real and urgent reform owing to unsustainability of the State pension. Deputy Brady highlighted that certain issues, such as the inability for many who retire at age 65 to access their pension, could be addressed immediately.

Deputy Brady said:

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has welcomed comments made by Minister Varadkar today on the need for careful yet, real and urgent reform owing to unsustainability of the State pension. Deputy Brady highlighted that certain issues, such as the inability for many who retire at age 65 to access their pension, could be addressed immediately.

Deputy Brady said:

“I welcome the Minister’s acknowledgement that the current pension system is unsustainable and there is a real need to put a better system in place. While, I agree with the Minister in saying that reforming the pension system will take time, he mentions ten years, there are other issues within the system that he could deal with immediately.

“The increase in the retirement age to 66 years by the previous Government has left many people across the State in limbo when it comes to their State pension. Once people reach the age of 65 they are unable to access their pension and are forced onto social welfare to fill the gap until their 66th birthday.

“These are people, in many cases who have worked their whole lives, some having worked forty or fifty years and had never claimed benefits before. The choice for them at the end of their contract at 65 is to sign on for social welfare or survive the year without any income.

“This increase in retirement age was brought in quite subtly and it meant that many people were only aware of it on approaching retirement. This of course, was the workings of Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

“People at the age of 65 should not be forced on to social welfare and they should not have to wait an extra year to access a pension they have been paying into for many years.

“Under Fine Gael’s plans the pension age will increase to 67 years in 2021 and to 68 years in 2028 and further increases after that have not been ruled out. The pension system needs a major overhaul however; reforming it should not involve forcing 65 year olds on to social welfare. This does nothing for pension reform.

“This is an issue that the Minister could begin work on without delay. It was a bad decision made without properly examining the pension system as a whole which the Minister now intends to do over the next ten years.

“Sinn Féin would immediately reinstate the State Pension Transition (for 65 year olds now and the over 66s in 2021), for those who have an employment contract only until 65 or 66. This should be the starting point for the Minister.”

Friday, 15 July 2016

Personal Micro Credit ‘a really encouraging initiative’ that should be rolled out in Wicklow/East Carlow Credit Union branches – Brady

Speaking after a meeting with representatives from the Irish League of Credit Unions Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has complimented the work they have done in providing credit for the most vulnerable in society and called on the Credit Union branches across the State to sign up to the initiative.

Teachta Brady said:

“I was delighted to meet with three representatives from the Irish League of Credit Unions this week where we discussed the country wide roll out of Personal Micro Credit. This has been successfully piloted in 30 credit unions across the State already.

“Personal Micro Credit is a newly launched initiative which provides a small loan of up to €2,000 for social welfare cash recipients. It provides the most vulnerable in society with small affordable loans to meet genuine needs. This can be especially helpful for families when it comes to managing back to school costs or at Christmas time.“It is really encouraging to see this initiative being rolled out as it is providing financial support for those who need it most and those who would not necessarily find it easy to receive credit. With that, people now have a real alternative to companies such as Provident and other moneylenders who charge exorbitant interest rates of up to 200% in some cases, which can leave families under severe financial strain and unnecessary worry.

“The Irish League of Credit Unions has put this in place to assist those out there who are really struggling. It also ends the perception out there that credit unions will not lend to non-members, those without savings, those on social welfare or those without a perfect credit rating. This is unique and it is extremely welcome.

“It is now up to individual credit unions whether or not they decide to roll out Personal Micro Credit however, it is something I feel should be considered by all credit unions across Wicklow/East Carlow and the State. I hope that credit unions will collectively recognise both the difficulty faced by people in receiving credit and the danger posed by moneylenders which can now be avoided. The success rate of the pilot of this initiative speaks for itself and I strongly support the Irish League of Credit Unions with this initiative as they move to country wide roll out.”

Some in the Dáil have short memories of Loughlinstown closure – Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow and spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady has been reacting to comments made by Deputy Brendan Howlin in the Dáil. His comments were in relation the threat of removal or closure of some trauma care services from emergency departments across the country.

Deputy Brady said:
“ In his words of wisdom to the Tánaiste, Deputy Howlin commented that she had failed to give reassurance that Accident & Emergency units would not be affected by the unpublished report from the Trauma Steering Group.

“The hypocrisy of Deputy Howlin is incredible given the fact that he stood over the closure of a number of A&Es during his time in Government including the one at St. Columcilles at Loughlinstown in 2013.

“While, Deputy Howlin might have a short memory, the people impacted by the closure at Loughlinstown have been left to join the already overcrowded and under resourced A&E at St. Vincents, a considerable distance away.

“At the time, Deputy Howlin had little concern for the thousands of people in Wicklow who relied on access to the A&E facilities in St. Columcilles Hospital every year.

“If the contents leaked from this unpublished report are to be believed, the emergency services at Naas and Wexford hospitals are under threat. This will be a double whammy for Wicklow and will particularly impact on those living in South and West Wicklow which takes in Blessington, Arklow, Baltinglass and Carnew who rely on these services.

“While this report is yet to be published, it has raised serious concerns for a number of counties across the country. With the loss of Loughlinstown in 2013 we cannot allow further loss of critical health services in County Wicklow.”

Deputy Brady concluded by calling on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to clarify the situation regarding the future of the 9 Trauma units “The people of Wicklow, particularly in the south and the west of the County depend on Nass and Wexford and I’m calling on Minister Harris to give assurances that their future is safe”.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Brady welcomes 45 new social housing units in Rathnew

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has welcomed the decision taken at Monday’s Wicklow County Council meeting to grant planning to the approved housing body Cluid to construct 45 social housing units in Rathnew, this is been done in co-operation with Wicklow County Council.

Speaking after the Councillors voted in favour of giving the proposed development the green light John Brady TD said “I want to commend all the Wicklow Councillors that supported the proposal from Cluid to construct the 45 badly needed social housing units in Rathnew. Cluid are an approved housing body and the scheme is been done in co-operation with Wicklow County Council.”

“This is good news and a step in the right direction in tackling the housing crisis in Wicklow. It follows on from the recent approval on 42 houses on the Murphy’s land site in Bray and 20 units at Brewery Bends in Rathdrum. It’s critical that all these schemes progress as swiftly as possible.”

Brady continued “It’s critically important that other schemes are fast tracked across the County in places like Arklow, Wicklow Town and Blessington. I will keep the pressure on at a national level to ensure that funds are made available to ensure the limited progress continues.”

“The hard works of all in Cluid, along with the housing staff in Wicklow County Council have to be commended in getting this scheme to this stage. The staff in the housing section are doing exceptional work in very challenging circumstances and they must be singled out for praise” concluded Brady.