Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Brady calls on Ministers to stop play-acting on Ardmore Studios

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has commended all those who turned out today in support of Ardmore Studios outside Leinster House. 

Teachta Brady said: 

“I was delighted to join with protestors, who are predominately workers within the film and television industry, outside Leinster House today in support of Ardmore Studios and its continued existence as it is in Bray. I also joined the protesters in handing in a petition with over 2,500 signatures to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. 

“The recent announcement that Ardmore Studios is to be sold came as a huge shock to all those involved in Ardmore Studios and also to me as a public representative. During previous meetings I held with the CEO, discussions were about the expansion of Ardmore Studios and never any potential sell off. The huge concern was highlighted in the huge numbers that turned up to the protest today. 

“Ardmore Studios are internationally renowned as Ireland’s leading provider of film and TV studio infrastructure. The studios are highly regarded and have been home to hundreds of national and international film and TV productions since it was established in 1958.  

“The silence from Ministers Heather Humphries and Mary Mitchell O’Connor to numerous representations that have made to their offices cannot continue. 

“On the one hand, Minister Humphries has launched a new economic analysis on screen based creative industries and on the other, both Ministers have failed to address the potential sale of the State’s almost 32% share in Ardmore Studios. 

“The Ministers must confirm that the State’s shares will be protected and if the private shares are to be sold; this must be as a going concern. Any unconditional sale of Ardmore Studios will not be acceptable.  

“It is essential that the prospectus in relation to the sale of Ardmore Studios is made available to both the employees and concerned public representatives. 

“I will be making further contact with both Ministers, who have failed to reply to me as of yet. The questions and concerns put to both Ministers must be addressed.”

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Fianna Fáil sheer hypocrisy for lone parents

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said that despite talk, Fianna Fáil have once again, failed lone parents across this State. 
Teachta Brady said: 

“I brought forward an amendment last week at Committee stage seeking a report into the financial and social impacts of the changes to the One Parent Family Payment for lone parents. This amendment was passed with full support including the Minister’s. 

“Today, at Report Stage the Minister had changed his tune giving himself 9 months rather than the initial 6 months to present a report to the Oireachtas. 

“I urged the Minister to revert to the original amendment and I pushed this amendment to a vote to oppose the 9 month wait for such a report. 

“Speaking on behalf of Fianna Fáil Deputy Willie O’Dea outlined the serious and real issues being faced by lone parents as a result of the changes made.  

“In fact, Deputy O’Dea, in his own amendment, wanted the report to be produced within 3 months yet when it came to a vote on 9 months they abstained. 

“The urgency for such a report outlined by Fianna Fáil was nothing more than false concern for lone parents and when it came to a vote Fianna Fáil sat on the fence. 

“Although it is thanks to Fianna Fáil that the Minister has got his way, I am delighted that a report will be carried out and our amendment has ensured this.  

“There is absolutely no reason why this report cannot be delivered within 6 months and I will continue to push the Minister on this. This report will be critical in framing budget 2018.”

Huge concern for future of Bray Wanderers and Carlisle Grounds - Brady

Huge concern for future of Bray Wanderers and Carlisle Grounds - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has expressed huge concerns about the future of Bray Wanderers football club as well as the future of the Carlisle Grounds.

Teachta Brady said:

“This concern comes on the back of the clubs newly produced Strategic Plan 2017-2021 which has been published this week.

“This is an ambitious and comprehensive plan and I commend the work that the club have done over many years. Bray Wanderers have flown the Bray and Wicklow flag at the highest levels for many years.

“However, I do have serious concerns and reservations with the plan and the direction in which the club Chairperson is taking the club.

“The plan outlines the intent to seek a larger site and there are many references to South County Dublin and the fear is that there is an attempt to move the club out of Wicklow.

“Another concern is around the publicly owned Carlisle Grounds and its future under this plan. The lease which Bray Wanderers hold for the Grounds is very specific for sporting activities. I would be totally opposed to any changes to the zoning which would allow any commercial development to take place on the site.

“As there is a deficit for playing pitches in the area if Bray Wanderers have no further need for the Grounds there are many other sporting clubs that would be only too happy to avail of the Grounds.

“I will be speaking to the Council in relation to the existing lease to outline my concerns. I will also be seeking a meeting with the Chairperson of Bray Wanderers to discuss this plan."

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Ballynagran dump expansion ‘a sign of incompetence from EPA and Minister’ – Brady

Ballynagran dump expansion ‘a sign of incompetence from EPA and Minister’ – Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow-East Carlow John Brady has said that Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Environment Denis Naughten’s response to the increase of 40,000 tonnes of waste for Ballynagran landfill is the wrong one, saying that “the people of Wicklow should not pay for the incompetence of the Minister and the EPA in their failure to plan ahead”.

Teachta Brady said:

“I questioned the Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Environment and raised a number of concerns surrounding the decision made to increase the intake of waste at Ballynagran landfill to 190,000 tonnes in the Dáil chamber yesterday evening.

“This increase is 40,000 tonnes above the maximum tonnage under the planning conditions set out by the EPA waste licence. However, the EPA are on board and have already facilitated it by making technical amendments to the waste licence.

“The fact that Minister Naughten, along with others, were made aware of this emergency situation well before it occurred yet, they still failed to take action and put plans in place is particularly concerning.

“I appealed to the Minister to intervene in this most serious situation and I asked him to contact the EPA to request that they reverse this decision.

“I highlighted a number of ongoing concerns with the landfill site as it is never mind with an additional 40,000 tonnes which will simply make a bad situation worse.

“I am disappointed that Wicklow County Council did not see fit to consult with the community liaison committee which, was set up as part of the planning process, elected representatives or locals living in the community. This was wrong.

“The Minister’s response to my concerns provides little comfort to the people of Wicklow particularly, those living within the vicinity of the landfill site. The way that this so-called emergency situation has been dealt with has been entirely insufficient and it has blatantly ignored the legitimate concerns of people in the area.

“I do not accept the response I received from the Minister on this matter and I fully intend to pursue this further. The people of Wicklow should not pay for the incompetence of the Minister and the EPA in their failure to plan ahead.” ENDS

See video of exchange with Minister Naughten here:

Monday, 21 November 2016

Dump branded ‘worst in state’ by EPA to receive additional waste – Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has described plans for an increased 40,000 tonnes of waste at Ballynagran landfill as extremely alarming.

Teachta Brady said:

“Wicklow County Council have approved a temporary increase of an additional 40,000 tonnes of waste for Ballynagran landfill. This increase will bring the annual intake this year to 190,000 tonnes, 40,000 tonnes above the maximum tonnage under planning conditions. The EPA has pushed for this and has granted technical amendments to the licence for Ballynagran.

“This has come about because the landfill at Drehid in Co. Kildare has exceeded its annual EPA licence capacity. Clearly, this emergency situation was seen coming however, there was a failure to put in place any plans to deal with it and now Wicklow will become the dumping ground because of this failure.
“We know that Ballynagran landfill is already rated by the EPA as the worst dump in the State. Rather than doing something to change this, we will see thousands of additional waste instead.

“Furthermore, it is concerning that this decision has been agreed with no consultation with locals or public representatives whatsoever. Hundreds of officials complaints to the EPA regarding the landfill detailing the horrendous conditions that people have been forced to live in have gone ignored in this decision making process. I am aware of a family who had no option but to leave their own home one year ago and haven’t been able to return since because of the odour.

“A letter detailing this decision was circulated late Friday evening without any warning. Locals and public representatives should have been made aware of the emergency situation a long time ago. Wicklow County Council have not taken into the account the legitimate concerns of locals and instead are about to make a bad situation much worse.”

Friday, 18 November 2016

John Brady TD secures amendment for report on impact of changes to the One Parent Family Payment

Speaking at the Committee Stage on the Social Welfare Bill, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has secured the unanimous passing of an amendment for lone parents.

Teachta Brady said:

“I am delighted that despite, initial hesitation by the Minister, my amendment securing a report on the financial and social impacts of the changes to the One Parent Family Payment has been passed.

“Initially, the Minister had hesitated on such a report as he felt it was too early to see the true impacts of such reforms. However, the reality is that we do not need to wait to see the consequences that the changes to the One Parent Family Payment have had. In fact, the consequences are already well known and well highlighted consistently.

“We know that child poverty is much more highly prevalent among one parent families with child poverty rates among children in one parent families at 22.1%. We also know that 60% deprivation is experienced by these same one parent families.

“Poverty rates alone are reason enough for such a report to be carried out but we do know there are also many more issues being experienced by lone parents.

"I have met with a number of organisations and having listened to and engaged with these organisations as well as lone parents themselves, it is clear that this report is desperately needed.

“I welcome that the Minister, along with the other members of the Social Protection Committee are in agreement that a report will be carried out and brought before the Committee within six months.

“When it comes to lone parents, who are among the most vulnerable in our society, we need action. I have made clear to the Minister that this report cannot be written to sit on a shelf, we need action on the back of this report. We need to actively work hard to make life better for our lone parents.”

Jigsaw Project ‘provide an invaluable service in our community’ – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has pledged his continued support to the development of the Wicklow Jigsaw Project for Youth Mental Health following a meeting with representatives from the Youth Mental Health Subcommittee as part of the Bray Area Partnership yesterday.

Teachta Brady said:

“As a former member of the Bray Area Partnership, I am fully aware of the importance of the Youth Mental Health Subcommittee, the work that they do, and their proposal for the development of the Wicklow Jigsaw Project which is so vitally important.

“Jigsaw, who is the National Centre for Youth Mental Health, provides a unique and essential service for our young people. The need for such a service was reflected in a recent Wicklow Comhairle na nÓg survey of 1,000 young participants who identified mental health as the number one issue for their age group.

“Jigsaw has identified three stages in the development process of this Project, which will be based in Bray. The first stage is the need to receive a formal announcement from the HSE of their intention to support Jigsaw to establish in Bray. I would call on Minister Harris, in his position as Minister for Health to ensure that the HSE do this as quickly as possible.

“The second stage will be for the Courts Service to officially transfer the old courthouse in Bray to the HSE for the Jigsaw Project. I would be hopeful that the local authority will assist with final stage, through a partnership approach in providing funding support to make the premise fir for purpose.

“I commend the work that Bray Area Partnership and Jigsaw have done in progressing the proposal this far. I am delighted that I can play some small part, along with other elected representatives, in delivering a facility that will provide an invaluable service in our community. I hope that there can be a partnership approach in delivering this Project for Wicklow.”

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Arklow to be Hit in Government Planned Cuts to Libraries.

Speaking after it was revealed that the government intend to promote “Staffless Libraries” across the State, Sinn Fein spokesperson on Social Protection and TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has slammed the move as a despicable cost saving measure:

“It appears from recent reports that the government are pushing forward plans to introduce ‘Staffless Libraries’ across the State with Arklow Library in the firing line. The measure is being promoted as a way of increasing opening hours to benefit the public but in truth it is clearly a despicable plot to create an avenue where Library services and staff can be cut as a cost saving measure.”

“These plans will have an obvious negative affect; Library users in Arklow and across the country will not have the benefit of trained staff on site, nor will it be possible for those premises to conduct cultural, educational or community events.”

Teachta Brady said that where Arklow is concerned, this measure has sneakily come from nowhere:

“This issue has not been discussed in the council chamber. Councillors of all parties and none have had no opportunity to examine the detail of the proposals. More pointedly, the councillors that represent Arklow Municipal District have had no knowledge or no say on the plans for Arklow Library; which is situated only a few yards from council offices. Already in Kilkenny, Library staff have convened an urgent meeting with union representatives to consider industrial action to protect their jobs and protect the important services Libraries offer to the community.”

In conclusion Teachta Brady said that it appears the government are hell bent on picking fights with public service personnel:

“The government are bouncing from one industrial dispute to the next in their efforts to squeeze what they can out of hard pressed public employees. This ludicrous attack on Libraries represent a new desperate low on the part of the government. I along with my Sinn Fein colleagues will fight the government every step of the way in support of Library staff and service users.”

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Closures of post offices would be a devastating blow for communities right across the State - John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said that any further closures of post offices would be a devastating blow for communities right across the State.

Teachta Brady said:

“Post offices are the life and soul of rural villages and towns across the State. Our post office network is the largest retail network in the country with 1,150 offices employing 3,700 people.

“Post offices are not only vital in the services that they provide but also, as a community hub. They provide a social dimension which is crucial to so many people particularly, our older citizens in rural areas.

“The Director of Retail Operations at An Post has said that 700 post offices in the State are not sustainable. If this is in fact the case then our job is to make these post offices sustainable because without a post office many communities will no longer remain sustainable themselves.

“The Government have been all talk and no action when it comes to our post offices. The Postmaster Union have already outlined their vision for the post office network by the extension of State services with increased financial services, additional social protection services, driver licences and motor tax payments.

“These are all viable options for our post offices and would be welcome by both postmasters and customers alike. Our post offices must be invested in and they must be protected

“The Government must make post offices sustainable and take this opportunity now to preserve this invaluable service into the future.”

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Government must take real action to meet climate change targets - John Brady TD

Speaking after a Stop Climate Chaos event earlier today, Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said that we must be more proactive when it comes to climate change.Teachta Brady said:

“I was delighted to meet with constituents at today’s event and to listen to their views on global warming and climate change.

“We have seen the impact of climate change in our own towns and villages with flooding and particularly, flooding in areas where it has never occurred before.

“While, it is welcome that the Government have signed up to the Paris deal this is not enough, and the Government need to take action if we are to reach the targets set out.

“The issues discussed today are manageable for the Government to achieve. They call on a fair subsidy to make solar electricity affordable for homes and businesses. They focus on renewable forms of energy as oppose to over reliance on fossil fuels which will not last forever. They urge the Government to invest in clean public transport; any privatisation agenda for public transport will not deliver this.

“Climate change is not something coming in the future, it is here. The Government need to wake up to the impacts it is already having. We all have a role to play on tackling climate change and doing our bit for our environment. I commend the efforts of everyone at today’s event.”

Saturday, 12 November 2016

John Brady TD urges young people to register to vote today

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has urged young people to take a stand against the establishment and register to vote today.

Teachta Brady said:

"The very first people to bear the brunt of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael's austerity agenda was our young people particularly, those aged under 26.

"Both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have enshrined age discrimination into the Social Welfare system with those aged under 26 in receipt of reduced Jobseekers payments. This discrimination has been in place since 2009 when first introduced by Fianna Fáil.

"These cuts were a direct cause of the hundreds of thousands of young people that were forced to leave their families and their communities and emigrate.

"Budget 2017 will mean that a person aged 18-24 will now struggle on €102.70 as oppose to €100 and a person aged 25 will now struggle on €147.80 as oppose to €144. A tiny increase for young Jobseekers while every other social welfare recipient will receive €5.

"Voting is the one opportunity we have to make a change. I urge young people to take a stand, to fight back against discrimination and unfairness and to take on the establishment of this state.

"Sinn Féin cannot do this on our own. It is time to rise up and make your voice heard."

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Sinn Féin’s John Brady votes against pay rise for politicians

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady TD has today voted not to accept the pay increase which will increase TDs’ pay to €92,672.

Deputy Brady is the only Wicklow/East Carlow TD to do decline this pay rise.

Teachta Brady said:

“I, along with my colleagues in Sinn Féin committed from the outset that we would not, under any circumstances, take this pay increase and will instead, return it to the Exchequer.

“There is no TD in Leinster House that deserves a pay rise of any kind. In fact, the current pay rates for elected representatives are excessive and obscene.

“My Fine Gael constituency colleague, the Minister for Health, Deputy Simon Harris, has a basic take-home pay of €157,540 a year. My Fianna Fáil colleague Deputy Pat Casey has a basic take home pay of €87,258 a year with Deputy Andrew Doyle, as a Minister for State, taking home €121,639 a year. My Independent colleague, Deputy Stephen Donnelly has a basic take home pay of €87,258 a year.

“Today, in the Dáil I voted not to take the pay rise however, all other Wicklow/East Carlow TDs, with the unfortunate exception of Deputy Donnelly who was not present for the vote, voted for a pay rise.

“In my mind, without any pay rise, the current rates of take home pay for all of my colleagues are far too high already.

“On a number of occasions in the past Dáil, Sinn Féin tabled legislation in the House to reform those payments substantially. Other parties, including Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, in particular, opposed them.

“Sinn Féin believes that politicians should lead from the front when it comes to their pay. We are committed to cutting TDs salaries to €75,000 and Senators to €60,000. We want to reduce the salary top-ups of An Taoiseach and Ministers by 50% as well reducing the excessive pension payments to former Taoisigh, Ministers and top civil servants. We include these figures year on year in our party manifesto.”

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Sinn Fein TD John Brady: “Government’s Housing Policy is A Hamster Wheel of Horror.”

Speaking after released their most recent report on the state of the Private Rental Market, Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Social Protection and TD for Wicklow/East Carlow said the shocking figures for Wicklow alone are an indication that this government housing policy has become a Hamster Wheel of Horror.

Teachta Brady Said:

“Figures released by the online site suggest the cost of renting a home has shot up by 10.5% in the last quarter of last year and is still rising. This represents an increase of 45% since 2011 and is the strongest indication yet that the chronic housing shortage in Wicklow and across the Country is set to continue. These figures prove beyond doubt that the government’s failure to initiate measures giving rent certainty to tenants is allowing the price of rental accommodation to spiral out of control and out of the reach of the average worker. The only people benefiting from the governments failures are landlords operating in the private market. The figures come on foot of a report last week which showed the continued growth in the numbers of families with young children becoming homeless.”

Teachta Brady went on to say that the governments housing policy is in tatters:

“The government’s patch work policy of housing initiatives is in tatters. Even if the plans were implemented in full; it would hardly put a dent in the figures of homelessness which are now growing a rate that is beyond comprehension. The lack of social housing and the failure of the government to commence a realistic house building programme means almost every day another family in private rental accommodation is forced out onto the streets due to spiralling rent costs; with no hope of securing accommodation in social housing. It is a hamster wheel of horror for thousands of frustrated parents and frightened children. Fianna Fail’s policy of placing the responsibility of house building solely in the hands of private developers has led to a disastrous over reliance on the private housing market which clearly cannot meet demand even at a modest level. Fine Gael and labour compounded the problem by ignoring the warnings coming from Sinn Fein and homeless organisations such as the Peter McVerry trust over the last number of years, as a result we now have a vicious cycle of dysfunction which is sucking more and more families into it unending wheel of despair.”

In terms of the future prospects for those in rental accommodation or languishing on the housing list Teachta Brady had this to say:

“At a certain point in any crises the natural human reaction is to throw out the book and deal with the immediate danger. Here, Minister Simon Coveney and the entire Fine Gael/ Fianna Fail coalition are failing in their responsibilities on every level measureable. Rent certainty is needed right now to put a cap on rising rents and force a reverse in costs. This would immediately relieve the stress on the tens of thousands of people who are literally sitting on a ledge waiting to fall into homelessness. The lack of social housing has shifted from a Crises situation to an Emergency, and is now in the realm of catastrophe. Sinn Fein is calling on the government to declare a National Housing Emergency and release the funds needed to allow local authorities and other agencies to immediately commence a nationwide building programme. No level of Hyperbole could exaggerate this housing emergency. Time is running out fast before the housing requirements of the nation move well beyond the capacity of the state to deliver while this government dithers with useless plans and pointless platitudes. Fiddling while Rome Burns.”

Fianna Fáil support for Social Welfare Bill is shameful – Brady

Speaking this evening on the Social Welfare Bill, Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Social Protection John Brady TD has said that Fianna Fáil’s support for Fine Gael in this Bill is shameful.

Teachta Brady said:

“Fianna Fáil fell over themselves this evening to support the Social Welfare Bill.

“Fianna Fáil has shown tonight that their concern for young Jobseekers after the Budget were false. The outrage that Deputy O’Dea voiced in relation to the €2.70 increase for 18-24 year olds and his claim that Fianna Fáil would work to reverse it was clearly lies.

“Not content with running thousands of our young people out of the country when they purposely cut Jobseekers in the first place, Fianna Fáil have played a part in ensuring that the discrimination for our young people that they started in 2009 continues in this Bill.

“When it comes to lone parents this Bill fails to address poverty among lone parents and it fails to acknowledge the perverse effect that lone parent reforms have had. The recent Millar report concludes that the policy implemented by Fine Gael has left lone parents in paid employment being financially worse off.

“I welcome the €2 million to be provided for projects which provide pre-activation support for people with disabilities in 2017 – however, we need to know where this money is going and we need the detail on this.

“This Social Welfare Bill in its present form does not do everything it could have done. It is the result of a Budget that further marginalises our young people, lone parents and those living alone.

“As the main opposition party here, there is little room for Sinn Féin to bring forward amendments to this Bill given the fact that as an opposition party we cannot table amendments that constitute a charge on the Exchequer or on the public.

“Having said that, it is my full intention to frame amendments in such a way as to bypass the restrictions so that a proper debate can take place on the many issues that should have been in this Bill.”

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Sinn Fein Welcomes Decision to Protect the Rocks Area of Kilcoole

Speaking after Wicklow County Council voted to accept an amendment to the councils development plan which will protect The Rocks area of Kilcoole from future development, Sinn Fein TD for Wicklow / East Carlow John Brady, and The Party’s Leader in Wicklow County Council Cllr Nicola Lawless have described the decision as a great victory for both the local community and the native wildlife.
Teachta Brady Said:

“This issue has been bubbling away for quite some time. The council’s plans to disrupt the natural habitat of the Rocks which would have had a devastating effect on an ancient area of natural beauty and ecological significance have been opposed by Sinn Fein and local residents from the outset. Studies confirmed that the area is of historic geographical importance and a rare example of an untouched ice age glacial valley with a diverse range of wildlife. Whilst continued development in County Wicklow is very important and can often have very positive outcomes on a number of levels; here was one example of where a costly plan was quite simply not in the best interest of anybody. ”

Cllr Nicola Lawless spoke of her relief when the decision was taken after a long battle against the plans:

“On a personal level I am relieved that this issue has been put to bed once and for all to the satisfaction of local residents and environmental groups. Concerns had been raised at plans to dump 280,000 tonnes of river bed material from the Dargle into the site, turning the area into a so-called Eco park. From my own perspective it was hard to imagine how anything could replace such an exceptional legacy of natural beauty with a variety of plant and animal life and an inimitable landscape. This view was shared by local residents and many council colleagues who have fought to protect the area in its current form. After dozens of meeting and numerous representations to elected representatives I am delighted with the outcome. I would like to commend the dedication and resilience of the ‘Save The Rocks’ campaigners; they are the true heroes in this saga.”

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Mobility Allowance Grant must be replaced without further delay – John Brady TD

Mobility Allowance Grant must be replaced without further delay – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady TD has called on the Taoiseach to fulfil a commitment he made three years ago in replacing the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant.

Teachta Brady said:

“I raised this issue with the Minister of State Finian McGrath back in June when I was told that the drafting of primary legislation was underway yet, nearly five months later there is no replacement in sight.

“Last week, I questioned the Taoiseach on when the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant will be replaced having been cut with immediate effect in 2013.

“At the time, the Taoiseach had said that the €10.6 million allocated for the two schemes would be ring fenced and he hoped a new legal scheme would be devised in the coming months.

“Three and a half years later, we are without any replacement.

“The thousands of people who relied on these payments to assist with their transport costs have been left in limbo since 2013.

“The Taoiseach failed to address my question as to the whereabouts of the €10.6 million that was supposedly ring fenced for the new scheme that was to be put in place a number of years ago.

“People with disabilities cannot be expected to wait any longer for this scheme. They cannot be fobbed off for another three years waiting for a replacement scheme that is nowhere to be seen.”

Varadkar needs to focus on welfare waiting times rather than leadership bid – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said that Minister Varadkar has serious questions to answer when it comes to waiting times for social welfare payments.

Teachta Brady said:

“Sinn Féin received the current waiting times for social welfare payments through a recent Freedom of Information request. These waiting times vary but reach as high as 40 weeks.

“Those waiting on the most crucial of payments such as Invalidity and Carers are left waiting for 21 and 40 weeks respectively.

“Other payments include waiting times of 19 weeks for Disability Allowance, 27 weeks for the non-contributory State Pension, with children left to wait 17 weeks for Domiciliary Care Allowance.

“In June, I raised the 19 week wait for Carers Allowance with Minister Varadkar and asked what measures he was taking to tackle this outrageous waiting time. Clearly, there were no measures put in place as this has now jumped to a massive 40 week wait, that's almost one entire year.

“The current waiting times for social welfare payments are absolutely unacceptable. The idea that people who are the most vulnerable in our society are left waiting months for these vital payments is disgraceful.

“Minister Varadkar is clearly spending too much of his time eyeing up his party's leadership position rather than doing his job. Waiting times is something he needs to tackle immediately. I will be writing directly to Minister Varadkar to ask him what he intends to do to improve this situation.”