Friday, 30 September 2016

Only one TD in Wicklow votes to abolish water charges – John Brady TD

Only one TD in Wicklow votes to abolish water charges – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has expressed his disappointment that no other Wicklow TD voted in favour of the immediate abolition of water charges.

Teachta Brady said:

“In the last General election, the people of Wicklow/East Carlow made it clear that they wanted to see the abolition of water charges and not their suspension.

“This week Sinn Féin brought forward a motion to scrap water charges and Irish Water, and not one other Wicklow TD supported this.

“In May, Deputy Donnelly signed his name to the Sinn Féin motion to end water charges and this week he voted against ending water charges. Perhaps, Deputy Donnelly could decide where he stands on the issue of water charges once and for all.

“I am proud to honour my commitment to the people of Wicklow/East Carlow who elected me. I fully intend to represent the wishes of the people of my constituency in abolishing water charges.

“I acknowledge the thousands of people that came out in protest of water charges as an unfair tax and another bill that households simply cannot afford.

“It’s unfortunate that Ministers Harris and Doyle along with Deputy Donnelly and Deputy Casey have failed to listen to the democratic voice of the people. They had an opportunity to end water charges this week and they chose not to.”

Thursday, 29 September 2016

John Brady TD criticises "dishonest" Fianna Fáil on water charges

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady launched a scathing attack on Fianna Fáil and their flip-flopping on the issue of water charges during his party’s motion on abolishing water charges this evening.

Teachta Brady highlighted the cause of a constituent who had contacted him in in relation to an ongoing sixteen week wait for a water leak to be fixed by Irish Water.

Speaking this evening Teachta Brady said:

“It took sixteen weeks for Irish Water to investigate one water leak reported to them as far back as June 8th. This certainly was not the case when local authorities had control of water services.

“This leak is causing the loss of two litres of water every minute that equates to over 200,000 litres since this leak was first reported.

“So not only are Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil standing over a utility that is wasting money with huge consultancy fees and the installation of water meters, they are also responsible for wasting water that they were initially allegedly set up to safeguard.

“The only thing that is clear in the Fianna Fáil water charges debacle is that they were dishonest with the electorate for votes in the last election. We only have to read their election manifesto to see this.

Teachta Brady concluded:

“Water charges and Irish Water have been universally discredited and rejected by the electorate.

“It is time to stop wasting water and money and abolish water charges for good.”

Brady welcomes the World Archery Championships to Wicklow

Wicklow/East Carlow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has welcomed the World Archery Championships to Wicklow and said it’s a welcome boost to tourism and the economy.

Speaking after attending the opening ceremony which took place on Tuesday evening on Bray Seafront Teachta Brady said “I’m delighted to welcome the World Archery Field Championships to Wicklow. It’s a welcome boost to both tourism and the economy. Over 400 athletes and officials have flown in from around the world and will spend the week participating in the championships which are taking place in Kilruddery House and Gardens.”

“I want to commend Archery Ireland who secured the right to host the Championships here. Considerable time, energy and effort has gone into securing the Championships and preparing for the event in Kilruddery which will see over 30 countries represented, and everyone involved must be commended.

Teachta Brady concluded “This event is providing a welcome boost to tourism and the economy, its estimated the event will directly contribute in excess of quarter of a million euro in the local economy, with many Hotels fully booked. I wish the competitors every success and hope they have an enjoyable stay in Wicklow.”

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady commends Tidy Town groups

Speaking after the results of the latest Tidy Towns competition were released, Sinn Fein TD for Wicklow East Carlow said that he wished the community spirit promoted by the Tidy Towns Groups could be harnessed, bottled and distributed in the Dáil Chamber.:

“Communities up and down the country pull together and work tirelessly to present their towns and villages as contenders for the prestigious awards associated with the Tidy Towns competition. For those of us who sit in Leinster house tussling with the issues of the day, it might be no harm if we bare in mind the kind of cooperation and community spirit which drives the volunteers to succeed. These volunteers work tirelessly at a task which benefits all residents in the various towns and villages regardless of social, economic or ethnic background. It transcends differences and pulls communities together on a common platform.”

“This year Skerries took the top spot and well done to them however, county Wicklow was certainly not at the back of the line regarding awards. Aughrim took a Gold medal award in the tidiest smallest town category whilst Wicklow Town and Arklow won Bronze Awards. Hollywood, Grange Con and Stratford-On-Slaney did West Wicklow proud by picking up a number of awards. Greystones picked up a Waste Prevention Award. Many other towns and villages across Wicklow also done brilliantly, increasing their points from previous years.”

“A fantastic achievement for all involved in every county around the country and a fine example to all of us of what can be achieved when as a community we work together.”

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Fianna Fáil has no excuse not to back Sinn Féin motion to abolish Irish Water-Brady

Fianna Fáil has “no excuse” not to back a Sinn Féin motion to abolish Irish Water, according to Wicklow/East Carlow TD John Brady.

Sinn Fein’s motion to scrap Irish Water will be introduced when the Dáil returns next week on behalf of the TDs who have signed up to the Right2Water platform. However, Fianna Fáil have stated that they won’t back it, despite indicating at its party think-in this week that it will vote to abolish charges when an expert commission reports back next year.

Teachta Brady said “There is an opportunity to have the issue of water charges put to bed once and for all when the Dáil reconvenes. We have tabled a motion to abolish the charges; this will be debated on September 28th. Let's see then if Micheal Martin and his Fianna Fáil TDs will put their votes where their mouths are.”

“Unfortunately Fianna Fáil have stated they will oppose this motion, which is a ridiculous position. There is no reason for opposing the motion, except that they don’t want to embarrass the Government,” he added.

Teachta Brady concluded “"The reality is that Fianna Fáil's position on water charges is all over the place. Last week they were for abolition, but this week they have publicly stated that they will vote against a motion to abolish the charges. They are trying to ride two horses on this issue and I’m calling on them to do the right thing and vote to abolish the charge once and for all.”

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Brady welcomes allocation of funding for essential fire safety work on houses in the Oldcourt Estate in Bray

Wicklow/East Carlow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has welcomed the allocation of €5.3 million in funding for phase 3 of the essential fire safety work in the Oldcourt housing estate in Bray. Teachta Brady who has lead the campaign for the fire safety works in the estate to be carried out has critised the delays in progressing the work and has said that the work needs to be extended to cover all houses in the estate.

Speaking after the funding was secured the Sinn Féin TD said “I welcome the fact that the funding to allow the essential work on the houses in the Oldcourt estate is to be made available .Two phases of work within the estate have seen a large number of houses refurbished and the serious fire safety issues get addressed. However funding dried up a year ago and work in the estate can to a complete stand still. I have raised the issue directly with the Minister directly on a number of occasions in the Dáil. Thankfully the work can commence again in the near future, ensuring that the houses can all be made safe. However the scheme needs to be extended to ensure privately owned houses which were bought from the council in good faith, are also made safe. ”

“The Oldcourt estate was built in the 1970's as a temporary solution to the housing crisis at the time. However the serious problems in the houses started after a botched refurbishment scheme in the estate in the late 1980's. The old flat roof structure was simply built around and the original flat roof was left in the attic space of the refurbished houses. Since the refurbishment there have been 15 serious house fires in the estate which have resulted in the loss of 7 lives. An independent fire safety audit was carried out in 2005. The findings were published in 2007 and this report outlined a substantial number of things that needed to be done in the houses to make them safer.”

Brady went onto say “The work to date in the houses has addressed all of the identified fire safety problems; it also has the added benefit of improving the energy efficiency of the homes. Both the Government and the Council are acutely aware of the damming Fire Safety Report relating to Oldcourt, and they have a duty to the people living in all the houses in the estate that all the houses are brought up to fire safety standard without delay.”

Teachta Brady who is a long time campaigner on the Oldcourt issue concluded “There is another dimension to this, we are in the midst of a housing crisis, and families are lingering on lengthy housing waiting lists for 12 years and more. In Oldcourt the council has 8 boarded up houses that are needed to move families into when the work is been carried out on their home. Therefore, it’s critical that the work is progressed as swiftly as possible so these 8 houses can be permanently allocated to needy families in the area.”

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Minister Varadkar needs to rethink his attitude towards unemployed young people – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said that the Minister Varadkar’s attitude towards young people is worryingly dismissive.

Speaking following the Social Protection Committee meeting this morning Teachta Brady said:

“Today, at the Committee meeting I highlighted to the Minister the discriminatory nature of the cuts to Jobseekers based on their age. As it now stands someone who is between the ages of 18-24 receives €100 per week, at 25 years this rises to €144 before, one receives the full payment at 26 years of age of €188.

“Minister Varadkar didn’t seem at all concerned at the discriminatory aspect of these cuts. Instead, he told us of young people coming into Ireland with poor English and poor qualifications being able to find employment here within two weeks. He then questioned how any young person in Ireland could be in a situation whereby they could not find employment.

“I do not think this is the right attitude to have when it comes to young people and employment. I do not believe that young people out there are so overly satisfied on €100 per week that they would prefer it to employment. €100 per week is hardly a grand incentive not to work.

“While on the one hand, Minister Varadkar admitted that youth unemployment is far too high on the other, the Government are set to hand back over €30m in European Structural Funding (ESF) that was ear marked for youth employment initiatives.

“I also highlighted the recent link made by Department of Housing figures between those under 26 and homelessness showing nearly 700 young people in emergency accommodation in the month of June, up 20% from December. These figures show that young adults are now the fastest increasing age group in homelessness.

“Given Minister Varadkar’s seemingly lax attitude and his comments on the social welfare cuts to the under 26s, I would not hold out much hope on this being reversed any time soon.

“Sinn Féin has consistently said that we will restore the full Jobseekers payment for those under 26 years of age. Sinn Féin will stand up for our young people.”

Monday, 5 September 2016

Donnelly departure from Social Democrats “unsurprising” – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow and party spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady has said that the news of Deputy Stephen Donnelly’s departure from the Social Democrats is “unsurprising.”

Teachta Brady said:

“From the beginning Deputy Donnelly’s venture with Deputy Shortall and Deputy Murphy was quite bizarre. It didn’t seem like a very compatible coming together.

“At the time there were many questions asked as to the type of politics Deputy Donnelly held, which were seen to be in stark contrast to that of Deputy Shortall and Deputy Murphy.

“The big question now is how Deputy Donnelly will vote in relation to the Apple tax appeal.

“His views have been quite on the contrary to what his two former colleagues in the Social Democrats had been saying all along.

“As a party they were, and still remain, opposed to the appeal. However, Deputy Donnelly seemed to be stalling on the issue calling for more information and never rejected the appeal outright.

“If Deputy Donnelly does vote with the Government in favour of an appeal, further questions will arise as to his plans to remain on as an Independent TD.”

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Governments approach to Apple ruling: ‘Rotten to the Core’

Speaking after the European Commission ruling that the multinational corporation Apple owes the Irish state 13 billion euro in taxes, Sinn Fein Senior Spokesperson on social protection and TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said the government’s attitude is rotten to the core:

“The European Commission findings could not be clearer. They have found that the government’s relationship with Apple amounts to unfair state aid and as such Apple is obliged to repay the monies in question to the Irish exchequer. Numerous government spokespeople including Fine Gael TD Richard Bruton have made statements suggesting that the commission is effectively asking the Irish state to act as a taxation policing agent across Europe. The government has also claimed the ruling could frighten off future foreign direct investment (FDI) opportunities, and that the jobs associated with current FDI could be put under threat. This is nonsense, these claims are completely bogus and are in fact a smokescreen to try and deflect from the central issue which is Apple’s responsibility to pay its fair share of taxes the same way as any other company or individual is obliged to do. The failure of both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to accept the ruling shows that something is still rotten in the state of these two parties.”

Teachta Brady went on to say that the government’s plan to appeal the decision amounts to nothing less than economic delinquency:
“Minister for finance Michael Noonan supported by his party colleagues along with both Fianna Fail and the Labour party have all said that the Irish government should appeal the decision in support of Apple. Whilst the cabinet has yet to issue a definitive statement on this, it seems absolutely ridiculous that a government would turn its back on a windfall equal in value to the entire annual health budget. Economically this is madness especially given the fact that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has said ‘the company is committed to Ireland and plans to continue investing here’. Apple have a huge operation in Ireland which is phenomenally lucrative, it is one of the world’s richest and most profitable multinationals; 13 billion to a company like Apple is loose change. However, to a country like Ireland which is suffering the after effects of an economic crisis and years of enforced austerity; this money could go a long way in helping to address the many challenges we face in Health, Housing, Homelessness, infrastructure and indeed help the many Irish SME’s employing hundreds of thousands and struggling to survive.

"The government has also claimed that Ireland would be forced to use the money to pay down our national debt even if we did accept it. This claim has also been shown to be bogus. The commission has made it perfectly clear that the Irish government will have complete freedom to spend the money as it sees fit. The attitude of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour amounts to nothing short of economic delinquency, commentators of all shades at home and abroad are simply shocked that the Irish government could come down on the side of a massive multinational against the interests of its people. There are different standards applicable depending on whether the company is a domestic company or a multinational and this is not acceptable. In the same way, there are different standards applicable between a wealthy non-resident Irish Citizen and a less fortunate resident citizen who pays his or her taxes. Revenue have facilitated and concealed tax avoidance which has taken place on a massive scale.”

In Conclusion Teachta Brady said that Sinn Fein along with others is calling for the Dáil to resume early in order to debate the issue:
“The fact that the house is not in session means that there can be no robust debate to challenge the belligerence of the three establishment parties; Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour. The summer recess is long enough anyway, when a serious event like this comes up all members have an obligation to appear in Leinster House and hold the government to account. Sinn Fein will continue to apply pressure on Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in relation to the commission ruling and we are calling on the government to recall the house early in order to allow the issue to be debated fully on the floor and to introduce a tax regime which is fair to all.”