Tuesday 18 December 2012

Wicklow County Council Budget pushed through by Hypocrites in Fianna Fáil, Labour and Fine Gael

Wicklow County Councils annual budget was pushed through at Mondays
council meeting, but it has been described by Sinn Féin County
Councillors John Brady and John Snell as hypocritical, unfair and
doing the Governments dirty work of introducing unfair stealth taxes.
After a lengthily debate the budget was pushed through by Fianna Fáil,
Labour and Fine Gael with Sinn Féin opposing it.

Speaking after the meeting Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady said
"The Wicklow County Council budget meeting which was held on Monday
last was nothing short of a joke. We seen the established party's of
Fianna Fáil, Labour and Fine Gael circle the wagons to protect their
own lavish expenses whilst agreeing a budget which cuts from frontline
services and does the Governments dirty work of paving the way for the
introduction of the Home tax and Domestic water Charges."

Cllr Brady continued "Myself and my party colleague John Snell went
into the budget meeting with the intention of protecting frontline
services, funding to community groups and ring fencing funding for
economic development and at the same time tackling the lavish expenses
some of the select Councillors are given. Unfortunately what we
witnessed at the budget meeting was the circling of the wagons by the
establishment parties on the council. Sinn Féin put forward an
alternative budget proposal that would have seen cuts of 20% to the
lavish expenses paid to some Councillors, this proposal included cuts
to the Chairpersons allowance which is €37,918.60 a year and including
his other expenses and allowances results in a total of €60,628 a year
or €1,165.92 a week. We also proposed further cuts of 20% to the
€6,564 paid to the vice chair of the council which is given on top of
his other payments, a cut of 20% which is given to the 5 chairs of the
Strategic Policy Committees (SPC) which is €1,500 per meeting and
further cuts to the Junket fund which contains over €100,000."

Cllr John Snell went onto say "The cuts that Sinn Féin proposed would
account for some of the funding that was needed to balance the books
it would have shown leadership and not to be hypocritical by imposing
cuts whist protecting their own lavish expenses. Unfortunately after a
lengthily debate on the Sinn Féin proposal and every excuse given not
to cut their expenses the Sinn Féin proposal was voted down by the
majority of Councillors."

Cllr Brady stated "The budget that was adopted by Labour, Fianna Fáil
and Fine Gael is an attack on frontline services and results in
funding being cut from the maintenance of local authority housing, the
fire-service, Economic and Development promotion, and Beeches to name
a few areas. The passing of the budget also paves the way for the
introduction of domestic water charges with €171,000 provided for
domestic water meter surveying staff. The budget also makes provision
for the unjust Home tax which i stated at the meeting would be final
nail in the coffin of many families who are already on the breadline
living with distressed mortgages and in negative equity and coupled
with domestic water charges would compound the difficulties families
are enduring. The County Manager Eddie Sheehy also stated that there
was no provision in the budget for the payment of property tax on
local authority houses even though the government said that local
authorities will have to pay for the tax for local authority
dwellings, he informed the meeting the council will now have to carry
out an evaluation exercise on local authority houses to calculate what
they owe starting from 1 July and he refused to rule out rent
increases to those in council houses."

Cllr Brady concluded "The budget which was adopted by the County
Council and rejected by Sinn Féin is unjust and unfair and has been
imposed on the people of Wicklow by hypocrites who are only too
willing to do the governments dirty work whilst protecting their own
outrageous and lavish expenses."

Thursday 13 December 2012

Wicklow County Council Gravy Train must be Halted at Annual Budget

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has said that the Gravy
Train that exists on Wicklow County Council must come to an end and
the veil of secrecy that covers the expenses paid to Councillors that
sit on committees outside the council must be lifted. Figures the
Councillor obtained show that some Councillors are paid a staggering
€6,000 a year to chair four meetings, that's €1,250 per meeting.

Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady said "The annual budget of Wicklow
County Council takes place on Monday 17 December and in the draft
budget there are many proposals to cut from front-line services.
Critical areas such as Fire Services, housing maintenance, libraries
along with roads and funding to residents associations and community
groups are all planned to be cut because of a further cut of funding
to the council by central Government. However in the draft budget
which was approved by the councils corporate policy group, which a
number of Councillors sit on, there are no plans to tackle the
exorbitant expenses paid to some County Councillors who sit on
different committees."

Cllr Brady stated "I had requested a full break down of committees
that Councillors sit on and i am surprised at the reaction that i have
received from some Councillors. I have obtained a breakdown of the
figures since 2009, however i have been told that i can only have
figures for committees that Councillors sit on and chair within the
council itself and if i want a list of expenses paid to Councillors
for committees that Councillors sit on by virtue of being elected to
the Council i must write to these organisations and request it

Cllr Brady continued "The information i have received certainly paints
a picture that certain Councillors on Wicklow County Council are on
the gravy train. The chairpersons of each of the councils Strategic
Policy Committees (SPC's) get an allowance of €6,000 and on average
each committee sits 4 times a year. That means the chair is paid a
staggering €1,250 per meeting. There are 5 SPC's on Wicklow County
council, Nicky Kelly is chair of Housing and Corporate Estate, Vincent
Blake chair of Water and Environmental Services, George Jones chair of
Community, Cultural and Social Development, Pat Vance is the of chair
Planning and Economic development and Christopher Fox is chair of
Transport and Roads Infrastructure."

Brady went onto say "In the figures it also shows that Fine Gael
Councillor George Jones is also paid a further €6,000 for sitting on
the County Development Board which again sits on average 4 times a
year. So Cllr. Jones alone is paid €12,000 for 8 meetings. These
payments to Councillors are on top of the other standard allowances
Councillors are given and does not include expenses for conferences or
other trips they may attend. At the first AGM of this council in 2009
we seen Labour, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil join a pact to try exclude
Sinn Féin from key positions on the council, its quite apparent now
the real reasons for that. Its not because they think their policies
are better or anything, no its because they are on the gravy train and
there they want to remain."

"This gravy train must be stopped and the County Council budget is the
ideal time to start. There are many front-line services that the
council are proposing to cut with the blessing of some of the
Councillors that sit on the corporate policy committee of the council.
I don't know how they can propose to cut funding from front-line
services such as libraries and the fire service whilst still making
provision in the budget to pay themselves €1,250 per meeting. Myself
and my party colleague John Snell would be only too willing to take up
chair of any of the committees and we would not be looking for a penny
in return, so if these Councillors cant chair a meeting for less than
€1,250 they should let someone else take on the roll." said Brady

Cllr Brady concluded "I will be putting forward proposals at the
council meeting to see theses expenses cut, i hope to receive the
support of the other Councillors, however i wont hold my breath
because as the saying goes Turkeys don't vote for Christmas."

Monday 10 December 2012

Wicklow Sinn Féin to launch 'Tax Wealth Not Homes' campaign

Wicklow Sinn Féin are to launch their campaign 'Tax wealth not Homes'
campaign on Thursday 13 December in John Joe's, Arklow at 7.30pm. The
details of the budget and the alternatives will also be discussed.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the 'Tax wealth Not Homes campaign'
Arklow Sinn Fein representative James Charlton said Sinn Féin is
opposed to the government’s tax on the family home. The Government
call it a property tax– But it is a tax on the family home, full stop.
It is clear that the government is prepared to use all means to take
this tax from struggling families. It is unacceptable. It must be
stopped, Sinn féin will campaign against this tax and we are launching
the Wicklow campaign on Thursday 13 December in Arklow at 7.30pm in
John Joe's."

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady said "Many families up
and down the country will not be able to pay the home tax, there are
160,000 distressed mortgages at the moment and people cant afford a
home tax on top of everything else. Sinn Féin will be actively
campaigning to resist the introduction of this unfair tax on the
family home.
Sinn Féin has an alternative that is fair. A wealth tax – that is
levied on the property of the wealthy. The government had the option
of a real wealth tax and chose not to take it.
Instead Labour/Fine Gael chose to impose a punitive tax on the family home."

James Charlton concluded "Sinn Féin is calling on every citizen to
make a stand and resist the imposition of this unfair home tax. I
believe there is time to get the government to reverse this decision.
If the government is allowed to legislate for it, then it will be the
tipping point for many families across the state. We will be launching
our campaign on Thursday and we will be actively campaigning against
the tax right across the County."

Wicklow's Government TD's given their P45's by the people of Wicklow

Wicklow Sinn Féin on behalf of Wicklow residents delivered P45's to
Wicklow's government TD's at a protest held on Saturday last which was
against the austerity budget.

Speaking after Saturdays protest Councillor John Brady said "The
budget was about priorities and choices. There was scope for Fine Gael
and Labour to deliver a budget that was fair and to enact measures
that would protect ordinary families. However, the Government decided
to attack those on low to middle incomes while ring-fencing the
wealthy. Many promises given to the people of Wicklow and across the
state have been broken by this government and by Wicklow's 4
government TD's.”

Cllr Brady continued "At the large protest on Saturday i delivered
P45's to both Simon Harris and Anne Ferris from the people of Wicklow.
The four Government TD's in Wicklow received a mandate from the people
and they promised to do things different to the last Fianna Fáil one.
However they have hit Wicklow residents with a tax on the family home,
more PRSI, cuts to child benefit, increased college registration fees
and motor tax. I just don’t see where many of these families will find
the money to survive. They are still coping with the impact of this
Government’s last budget. The contract they entered with the people of
Wicklow has been breached and the 4 government TD's now have a choice
to reject the budget or fill in their P45's.”

Brady went onto say “The Labour Party in particular should be ashamed.
This is a party who claims that it stands up for working people and
defends the most vulnerable in society. Yet here we have more broken
promises from Gilmore & company. They made very loud vows not to cut
child benefit or to raise student fees prior to going into government.
However, they have simply flung these promises out the window. Anne
Ferris even had posters erected around Wicklow calling on people to
vote for her to protect child benefit, Anne Ferris has a lot of
explaining to do to people on the ground in the communities of Wicklow
who voted for her on that basis. Fianna Fáil would have been proud of
this budget as they designed a lot of these measures.”

Cllr Brady concluded “I don’t know how much more people can take. You
can sense the anger. People feel betrayed by the false promises given
to them before the last election, promises that have now been thrown
out the window."

Thursday 6 December 2012

Sinn Fein are to host a series of public events in Wicklow in opposition to the budget.

Sinn Fein are to host a series of public events in Wicklow in
opposition to the budget.

Speaking after Budget 2013 has been presented to the Dáil, Wicklow
Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady said he wants the public to know
exactly what it means for them.

Cllr Brady said “Over the weekend Sinn Fein will be holding a public
rally in Bray to allow people to hear first hand what this Budget
means for them and their families and to mobilise opposition to the
hugely unfair tax on the family home. This Government has little to be
proud of and they have matched Finna Fáil in terms of unfairness. They
have presented to us a Budget, which again reaches into the pockets of
lower and middle income earners while protecting those on higher
incomes. This budget is anti-children, anti-family and anti-jobs."

Arklow Sinn Féin representative James Charlton said “The Fine Gael and
Labour Government has stooped to new lows with the regressive tax on
the home – a tax which punishes working families and young couples in
negative equity, a tax which takes no account of the ability of people
to pay, a tax which will see those who cannot afford to pay chased to
the grave by the Government and charged interest for the luxury. We
realise that it is not enough to simply oppose this tax, to speak
empty words or to lead people up the garden path; credible, workable
and fair alternatives need to be put forward. On Thursday 13th
December we will hold a public meeting in Arklow at 7.30 in John Joe's
to give details about the budget and to launch our 'Tax Wealth, Not
Homes' campaign."

Cllr Brady added "A wealth tax of 1% on those with a net wealth of
over €1 million, such as that proposed by themselves, would generate
up to €800 million. Such a measure is in place in other countries such
as France, Spain and Iceland. We have published Wealth Tax Legislation
and intend to bring it before the Dáil at the earliest opportunity.
Sinn Féin opposes the government’s tax on the family home. We are now
calling on people to make a stand against the imposition of this
unfair home tax. There is time to get the government to reverse this
decision. This home tax is the brainchild of Fianna Fáil. If the
government is allowed to legislate for it, then it will be the tipping
point for families across the state. The government – Labour and Fine
Gael - are ignoring the plight of the people and together we must make
it clear to them that enough is enough. The budget has yet again
proven that this Government has not listened to the people; that it is
detached from the realities faced by ordinary families. This campaign
is an opportunity to send a clear message to this Government on behalf
of the people of Wicklow– Tax Wealth, not homes."

Brady went onto say "From 2008 to 2010 Labour and Fine Gael voted
against austerity budgets and attacked the policy. They promised
change- not one more red cent to the banks, protect child benefit and
so on……they didn’t mean it. They have implemented over €7 billion in
taxes and cuts after riding into office on a wave of public support
for an end to austerity. So much for the brand new dawn. They are
ignoring a fact that is as plain as day-austerity isn’t working. Now
they are bringing in a home tax, a cut in child benefit and an end to
the first part of every worker’s weekly wage not being taxed by PRSI.
These cuts and taxes will simply push many over the edge if they are
not opposed."

Brady and Charlton concluded “We are calling on individuals, community
representatives and activists to try attend either event to demand
fairness and make their voice heard on behalf of themselves and
vulnerable members of their community.”

Public events will be held on the following dates:

Rally Town Hall Bray
Saturday 8th December @1pm

Public meeting and launch of Tax Wealth, Not Homes Campaign
Thursday 13th December 7.30pm
John Joe's Arklow

Labour TD Anne Ferris was elected to the Dáil by lying to the people and she must resign - Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has called on Wicklow Labour
TD Anne Ferris to resign immediately from the Labour Party and from
the Dáil because of her party's support for the budget which includes
many cuts that will impact most on children and families.

Cllr Brady said "Before the last election the Labour party received a
mandate from the people of Wicklow and people like Anne Ferris were
elected to the Dáil based on guarantees that they would not cut child
benefit. They ran ads in the media and Anne Ferris even had special
posters printed and erected around Wicklow saying a vote for her would
be be vote to protect child benefit. I have spoken to many Wicklow
people who actually voted Labour and for Anne Ferris in the last
election because of their commitment not to cut child benefit and its
quite clear that she received a mandate from the people on that basis"

Cllr Brady continued "In the budget the Labour party have completely
ditched anything they ever stood for by pushing through these cuts
that will impact on families and children the hardest. The incomes of
households with children are already falling further and faster. The
CSO Survey on Income and Living Conditions demonstrates that the
incomes of households with children fell five times more than the
incomes of childless households between 2009 and 2010"

Cllr Brady concluded "It is clear that Anne Ferris got elected to the
Dáil to represent the people of Wicklow by lying to them and i am now
calling on her to do the honorable thing and resign immediately and
let someone else who will stand up for the ordinary people of Wicklow
have an opportunity to do so".

Monday 3 December 2012

Wicklow Sinn Féin to hold candle light vigil on Budget Day

Wicklow Sinn Féin are to hold a candle light vigil outside the
constituency office of Wicklow Labour TD Anne Ferris on Wednesday, the
evening that budget 2013 will be delivered,

Speaking ahead of the vigil Cllr John Brady said "We are holding the
candle light vigil outside the constituency office of Wicklow Labour
TD Anne Ferris to remind her and her colleagues in Government of their
commitments before the last election to protect the most vulnerable in
society. When we assemble at 7pm the Minister for Finiance will have
delivered his speech and we will know most of the detail in the
budget. The Department of Finance has said that current plans are for
Finance Minister Noonan to speak in the Dáil from 2.30pm next
Wednesday, 5 December, delivering much of the taxation side of the

Cllr Brady continued "Noonan will then be followed by the Public
Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin who will deliver the
content of the public expenditure and reform aspect of the 2013
Budget. Already the government has said that the Budget will see an
cuts and taxes of €3.5 billion, comprising of €1.25 billion in taxes
and charges and a further €2.25 billion in spending cuts".

The Sinn Féin Councillor continued "Sinn Féin have shown in our pre
budget submission that there is a better way. We have been told that
this will be another tough budget and that there will be cuts and
taxes of €3.5 billion included, this will be the 5th consecutive
budget of its type and its simply deepening the recession and
increasing unemployment".

Brady concluded "This Government were given a mandate by the people to
do something different to the failed policies of Fianna Fáil,
unfortunately however they are simply implementing all of Fianna
Fáil's polices which will include a property tax. I am asking people
and community groups who have been affected by cuts and taxes in
previous budgets and who are fearing the worst in Budget 2013 to show
up on Wednesday between 7pm and 8pm and to bring a candle. People need
hope and they need to see light at the end of this very dark tunnel,
however people are fearing the worst and by Wednesday evening we will
know if Labour and Fine Gael plan on leading us further into the
darkness or if they have learned that you simply cant cut your way out
of recession"

Friday 30 November 2012

Brady slams Fine Gael and Labour as they try introduce Fianna Fáil's Property Tax Plans

Wicklow Sinn Fein County Councillor John Brady had stated that Fianna Fáil are not credible on property tax as they proposed it in Government and are opposing it in opposition. In Fianna Fáil's National Recovery Plan 2011-2014 they proposed a property tax, watercharges, significant reductions in frontline public sector workers, the recruitment moratorium, increasing the student contribution fee, massive cuts to social welfare supports were all measures. Much of these issues are in fact currently been perused by Labour and FineGael.

The Sinn Féin Councillor said " I find it very amusing to listen to Fianna Fáil and the hypocrisy they are spouting on the issue of property tax. Much of the policy measures currently pursued by FineGael and Labour were in fact already committed to by Fianna Fáil in government. Fianna Fáil’s National Recovery Plan 2011 –2014 included a property tax, water charges, significant reductions in frontline public sector workers, the recruitment moratorium, increasing the student contribution fee, massive cuts to social welfare supports were all measures".

Brady went onto say "Micheál Martin was a member of the cabinet who signed off on all of them before Fianna Fáil were kicked out of power. For Fianna Fáil to come out now and say they are opposed to the tax is pure opportunism and it simply doesn't wash with the public. Fianna Fáil are simply not credible on property tax. They proposed it in Government and are opposing it in opposition. When they say ‘wrongtime’ they say this because they are now in opposition".

The Wicklow County Councillor continued "Unlike the system in the North of Ireland which has been imposed by Westminister, householders at least get some return for the money they pay there. In the 26 counties people will still have to pay a raft of other stealth taxes along with the property tax, such as refuse collection, water charges, higher motor tax and fire-service charges to name a few. Sinn Féin are working towards breaking the link to Westminster and giving total fiscal control to the Assembly to fundamentally change the system in the North and allow Irish people control their own financial destiny".

Brady concluded “This is not about broadening the tax base. This is about hitting the same people once again who have borne the brunt of this recession. There are 160,000 families with distressed mortgages.It is estimated the average rate of property tax will be around €300 under a self-assessment system. The value of the home will go up in bands of €50,000 and it will be calculated by self-assessment. Householders will pay the rate attached to the nearest €50,000 band, so a house worth €235,000 will pay the rate for all houses between €200,000 and €250,000 of €500. The property tax is expected to range from €200 to €400 for most homeowners. The property tax will be the last straw for struggling householders and will be difficult to implement. Fine Gael and Labours plan to tax the family home is straight out of Fianna Fáil’s four year plan. The government is continuing to implement the brutal austerity plan Fianna Fáil put in place. There is an alternative and Sinn Féin has proposed a wealth tax is both fair and easy to implement".