Wednesday 1 January 2020

2020 Wish List

A lot has been achieved in 2019,however as we face into a new year and a new decade there are a few things that i hope to work towards over the next 12 months. My 2020 wish list is achievable with a bit of hard work, commitment and a new government.

Housing however is still currently the biggest issue in the County and will continue to be in 2020. Unfortunately, homelessness is continuing to grow, in the month of October alone, 43 families in Wicklow presented to the Council as homeless. This consisted of 100 adults, and 71 children. There are currently 4,388 people on the Council list for housing support, that’s up from 3,941 in November 2018. Renters in Wicklow have also seen a 11.9% increase in rents in the last year and the average price of a home in Wicklow is up 3.1% in the same time period. It is clear that Rebuilding Ireland has failed, we need new policies to address this crisis, however it is clear that only a new government can actually start to deal with the crisis.

Wicklow has largely been ignored and forgotten by this government. There has been no investment in our rail network and critical road infrastructure like the upgrade of the N81. In 2020 we need considerable investment in our public transport system in Wicklow. it is not sustainable only to focus on increasing the N11 to a 6-carriage motorway, it is also not sustainable for people to have to wait until 2027 before any decision is taken to end the nightmare facing motorists on a daily basis. I don’t believe that further destruction of the Glen of the Downs to widen the N11 is the solution to the congestion on it. The entire process of tackling the issue needs to be fast-tracked and public transport needs to be central to it. We also need the inclusion of the N81 and a light railway to Blessington in the National Development Plan.

Unfortunately, more jobs have been lost in Arklow with the recent announcement that Rondo Foods was going to close in the town. Wicklow Town and Arklow have higher levels of unemployment than other areas in Wicklow. We immediately need an Unemployment task force to be established to help bring jobs to Arklow and Wicklow Town.

In the New Year I would also like to see moves to address to need for more public amenities across the County. Blessington needs to get its badly needed swimming pool, a home needs to be found for Vartry Rowing Club and we need to progress the development of a Sports Campus in Bray.

Our health service is failing our citizens badly, waiting list are growing and more and more citizens are lying on hospital trollies. In 2020 we need to put in place a health service that is fit for purpose, one that doesn’t force organisations like Purple House Cancer Support or St.Joseph’s Dementia Care Home to have to mount public campaigns to try securing the funding they need to continue doing the fantastic work they do. Funding must be provided to Purple House and St Joseph’s and we need to see the long-awaited Primary Health Care Centre in Arklow proceed.

With Brexit now, a reality I believe it will have negative repercussions for our Island. I now think the case for Irish Unity is stronger than ever. We need to start planning for the reunification of our Country, in 2020 the debate needs to start, and plans need to be made for a referendum.

Finally, it looks inevitable now that the long-awaited General Election will be held early in 2020. I was honoured and indeed humbled to have been elected in 2016 to the Dáil to represent Wicklow. Over the last 4 years I have worked hard for Wicklow and have given workers and families a strong voice in the 32nd Dáil. I’m delighted to have been chosen again as a candidate to contest the upcoming election and I look forward to talking to people from right across Wicklow in the coming weeks and months to seek their support again.

Monday 3 December 2018

Public consultation launched on proposal to deal with Wicklow dump that is getting washed into Irish Sea

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has welcomed the public consultation process that has commenced by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on plans to address the Old Bray landfill on the North Beach in Bray that is being washed into the sea. The consultation process is taking place prior to the detailed design and construction of the coastal protection project.

Welcoming the consultation process Teachta Brady said “I’m delighted that after campaigning for the last 13 years to get a resolution to the serious environmental problem at the old landfill at North Beach in Bray, things are now progressing. Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has opened a consultation process which is taking place prior to the detailed design and construction of the coastal protection project. The council has chosen a preferred option and this is now on public display.”

“The old dump contains more than 104,000 cubic metres of waste including, broken asbestos tiles, and excessive levels of ammoniacal nitrogen, potassium and manganese. Due to coastal erosion the old landfill has been getting washed into the Irish Sea, causing an environmental disaster.”

“The proposed work consists of the placing of an armourstone revetment at the toe of the cliff at the landfill and stabilising the cliff face above by re-grading to a long term stable slope. The work will prevent contaminated material reaching the foreshore. It is proposed to maintain beach access by means of a path along the cliff top and a set of access steps down through the revetment at the northern end.

Bray Sinn Féin representative Grace McManus said “Addressing the environmental disaster at the old Bray landfill has been a priority for Sinn Féin for many years. It’s a huge achievement to get plans to address the erosion at the dump to this advanced stage. The public consultation process is open until December 14th and people can view the proposals on the website for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, It’s critical that once the plans are approved that work commences as quickly as possible.”

Teachta Brady concluded “It’s been a long process to get to this stage. We need to finally close the destructive environmental chapter. I will continue to lobby the Minister to ensure that the funding is in place to allow the work proceed without delay once the plan is approved. “Ends

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Brady welcomes agreement on use of premises for Wicklow rough sleepers for cold weather initiative

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has welcomed the news that Wicklow County Council has finally secured the use of a premise that will be used over the winter months for rough sleepers in the County.

Teachta Brady welcomed the news and said “This is welcome new and brings an end to many months of hard work to get agreement on the use of the premises. Full credit must go to the housing staff in Wicklow County Council who have worked tirelessly on this issue. The premises in Bray will be used as part of the cold weather initiative for the Counties rough sleepers. This is something I’ve worked closely with the council on as it’s badly needed as the number of rough sleepers continues to grow.”

“It is anticipated that it will be open in the next couple of weeks, however with the weather getting colder it’s important that it will be done as quickly as possible.“
Teachta Brady continued “This is good news and a big well done to the council for working on this and securing the premises. Rough sleepers will be referred to the premises which will have a team in place to manage it. I would also like to pay tribute and thank all the groups across the County working with our homeless people particularly all the team in the Bray Area Rough Sleepers Support group (BARSS) for all the work they do for rough sleepers in the Bray area.

“We need now to put emergency accommodation in place permanently for the homeless and I will continue to work with the council on this as there is a chronic shortage of suitable emergency accommodation in Wicklow.”

Teachta Brady concluded “Wicklow Sinn Féin will again this year be holding our annual Christmas homeless shoe box appeal for homeless people in the County. Boxes can be dropped into either the Bray or Arklow Sinn Féin office anytime between now and Dec 21st, or by contacting any of the Sinn Féin team across the County, these will be then distributed to homeless families and individuals.”

Monday 19 November 2018

Concern as National Transport Authority confirm they are proposing to privatise the 133 Bus Éireann route

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has expressed serious concerns about the 133 Bus Eireann route after the NTA confirmed to him that the route is on a list that may be privatised. The NTA have informed the Sinn Féin TD that they are proposing that route 133 be included in a package that will be removed for Bus Éireann’s contract and be competitively tendered

Speaking after receiving the news from the NTA Teachta Brady said "I am very concerned for the future of the 133 Bus Éireann route. In correspondence I received back from the NTA they inform me that they are proposing that the 133 be included in a package of routes that will be removed from Bus Eireann’s contract and competitively tendered”.

“In October the NTA said that they intended on to tendering out another 10% of Bus Éireann routes with the intention of Direct Award Contracts for public bus services from December 2019”.

“Recently we have seen the straightening out of the 133 route, the bus no longer goes through Bray town centre, nor does it stop at places like Barrindarrig. I warned that the changes were being made so the route would be more attractive for the private sector; it certainly wasn’t done for the public. Unfortunately that prediction now seems to be becoming a reality”.

Wicklow East Sinn Féin representative Muireann Dalton said "Handing over millions of taxpayers money to private Corporations whilst at the same time paying workers a pittance is nothing less than a State supported race to the bottom".

“The determination of the NTA, supported by the Thatcherite ideology of the Fine Gael-led Government, to aggressively attack semi-state jobs cannot be allowed to go unchallenged by those from across the political spectrum that profess to oppose the privatisation of State services”.

Teachta Brady said “Sinn Féin is completely opposed to the privatisation of our public transport services. As part of the consultation process which is currently underway we submitted a comprehensive submission outlining our opposition to the privatisation of more Bus Éireann routes”,

Muireann Dalton concluded “I have organised a public meeting to oppose the privatisation of the 133 route and to discuss other issues within our public transport service. It will take place on Thursday 22nd November in the Parkview Hotel in Newtownmountkennedy at 7pm and all are welcome”.

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Brady says that the vacant Wicklow District Hospital could be used temporarily as an alternative to the Grand Hotel for refugee accommodation

Speaking in the Dáil today Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady sharply criticised the expansion of the Direct Provision system by opening a new accommodation centre in the Grand Hotel, Wicklow Town. He also said that the vacant Wicklow District Hospital in Wicklow Town could be used to provide temporary accommodation if needed, whilst the Direct Provision system is dismantled. Teachta Brady has called on Wicklow TD and Minister for Health Simon Harris to work with the Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton to make it happen.

Teachta Brady said “Since I broke the news about the Grand Hotel being used as a Direct Provision Accommodation centre, it has angered a lot of people about the impact the loss of the hotel would have on Wicklow Town and the tourism industry. Today I raised the issue directly with the Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton in the Dáil and offered him a temporary solution whilst the Direct Provision system is dismantled. ”

“I outlined my opposition to the shameful and totally unacceptable Direct Provision system and that it needs to be dismantled. I also outlined the concerns about the loss of Wicklow Towns only hotel and the impact it will have.”

"Whilst criticising current Government policy and the opening of the Direct Provision centre in the Grand Hotel, I also provided the Minister with a temporary solution to provide accommodation to refugees if there are capacity issue in the current system.”

“The government forcibly closed the doors to Wicklow District Hospital in Wicklow Town in 2010, citing a dubious report. The vacant premises is in State ownership, close to all services and I believe that it could be brought on stream very quickly. A small amount of work may be required, but this could be done cheaply and quickly, and it would ensure we don’t lose our only hotel.”

“Minister Stanton has given a commitment that he would explore my proposal. Wicklow TD Minister for Health Simon Harris needs to immediately work with the Minister Stanton on this proposal and make sure it happens, ensuring that Wicklow Town’s only Hotel remains open.”

“Direct Provision is the incarceration of innocent people; it’s often called the Magdalene Laundries of our time and with good reason. The proposal I have given the Minister would mean moving away from paying for accommodation from the private sector, but also allow us to develop secure, safe, publicly provided accommodation that is suitable to the needs of asylum seekers.”

Teachta Brady concluded “We also need to ensure that the process for seeking asylum is not so long and torturous, and that asylum seekers can have their applications processed within a reasonable timeframe. This in turn would free up accommodation.”

Opening of Direct Provision accommodation centre in the Grand Hotel, Wicklow Town is a retrograde step-Brady

A number of Wicklow Sinn Féin public representatives have voiced serious concerns regarding plans from the Reception and Integration Agency to extend the Direct Provision system and open a new accommodation centre in the Grand Hotel in Wicklow Town. They describe Direct Provision as “basic denial of human rights” and have called for the system to be “dismantled”.

Speaking after receiving news that it has been proposed by the Reception and Integration Agency to open a new Direct Provision accommodation centre in the Grand Hotel, Wicklow Town, Sinn Féin TD John Brady said “I am deeply concerned that rather than trying to dismantle the shameful and totally unacceptable Direct Provision system, this government is expanding the number of centres that are currently operated.”

“Direct Provision is incarceration of innocent people, most of whom are at the most vulnerable points in their lives. We hear daily more stories of cramped, hostile and sometimes dangerous conditions within these centres. The average stay in Direct Provision is 2-3 years with many staying much longer. For the Department to open another centre in the Grand Hotel in Wicklow Town in the midst of public outrage at the system is to show utter contempt for public opinion and refugees rights alike.”

Muireann Dalton who is the Sinn Féin representative for Wicklow Town said “There are 35 accommodation centres operated across the State and the plan to open a new centre in the Grand Hotel in Wicklow Town is a retrograde step and it reflects an attitude which in previous years created the dreadful Magdalene laundries and the industrial schools.”

“People seeking asylum are welcome in County Wicklow. Our party policy is to end Direct Provision and to provide more humane, human rights based approach to supporting refugees. The department's latest move on this is in stark contrast to this position. Those with responsibility must deliver for those seeking refuge in our County.”

Bray Sinn Féin representative and member of the North Wicklow says No to Direct Provision group, Grace McManus said “Direct Provision is often called the Magdalene Laundries of our time and with good reason. Centres are often referred to as ‘holding camps’ and ‘sites of deportability’. Similarly, the Free Legal Advice Centre states that these privately owned centres, administered by this Government, constitute a ‘direct provision industry’, which makes a profit on direct provision.

“It's a privatised system, initiated by Fianna Fáil, run by highly profitable private companies making over €50m a year. There remains no accountability or transparency and no clear process of tendering for these centres. There are no support services or expertise amongst staff working on sites.

Deputy Brady concluded “The system of Direct Provision is a basic denial of human rights. The system has been in place for 17 years. It was originally intended to accommodate asylum seekers for six months, but the reality is that many people have had to grow up in Direct Provision.”

“The International Protection Act which was meant to solve this catastrophic system appears now to have been nothing but a Trojan horse. It has put Direct Provision on a permanent footing. Direct Provision must be scrapped. There are other models which can be looked at and which NGO’s such as the Irish Refugee Council, Doras Luimní, and Nasc have been proposing. We need to introduce a new system which treats people humanely; a system we can be proud of rather than feel shameful of.”

“The opening of a new Direct Provision centre in Wicklow Town will not serve the vulnerable people arriving in Ireland seeking International protection, nor will it serve the recently launched Wicklow tourism strategy. The only people it does serve are those private entities making millions out of this system and it needs to be scrapped.”

Thursday 8 November 2018

Irish Rail need to immediately remove barrier to new schools-Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has called on Irish Rail to immediately reopen public access from the Bray Harbour area to the new Coláiste Ráithín and Ravenswell schools that are located on the old Bray Golf Clubs lands.

Teachta Brady said “Access to the new Coláiste Ráithín and Ravenswell schools from the Bray harbour area for pupils is a critical part of the overall plans that were approved for the construction of the schools. Irish Rail need to immediately remove a palisade they erected blocking the access under the railway line to allow students and teachers get to school.”

“There has always been public access under the railway line at this location. It was temporarily blocked off during construction of the Dargle flood protection scheme, with the intention of having it reopened. Having access to the new schools from this location was a critical part of the planning permission that was granted for the Coláiste Ráithín and Ravenswell schools. Provision was made for pedestrian and bicycles along with restricted vehicular access. This was deemed necessary to alleviate any potential traffic problems on the Dublin Road due to the relocation of the two schools.”

Teachta Brady continued “Unfortunately when access at this location was temporarily restricted to the public during construction of the schools, Irish Rail erected a palisade fence across the newly constructed footpaths and roadway. Students who could use this entrance have to make a long detour to get to the schools on the old golf club lands. It’s also estimated up to 70 students could be dropped off to the harbour area to walk from there to school if the access was open. This would result in up to 70 less cars using an already busy Dublin Road.”

“I have been in contact with Irish Rail, the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Wicklow County Council on this issue over the last few weeks with a view of having this issue resolved. Whilst Irish Rail needs to ensure that the railway line is protected, I believe that the measures that have been put in place in the area are more than adequate to ensure that this is the case. The current situation is crazy, a new roadway along with footpaths and cycle lanes have been constructed on both sides of the fence which was erected by Irish Rail. They need to remove the fence and open the critical artery to the schools immediately.”