Friday 24 February 2012

Pathways to Work is putting people on the path to poverty

Responding to the publication of Fine Gael and Labour's ‘Pathways to
Work’ Wicklow Sinn Féin county councillor John Brady said “Pathways to
Poverty” or "Pathways to Emigration" would be more apt titles because
the government is not creating jobs for the unemployed to move into,
unemployment nationally is 14.2%, here in Wicklow there are 12,541 out
of work and it is continuing to grow .

He said “There are hundreds of thousands of people desperate to get
off our dole queues and find work. This document offers them very
little hope and instead threatens to cut their meagre incomes. Much of
the governments announcement is a rehash of provisions put in place by
the previous government and objected to at the time by the Labour

“And, without any new training places, new investment in education or
new jobs, the plan is no better than waffle. It is aimed at building
up the hopes of those languishing on dole queues only to dash them
when they can’t deliver. The only option now for Wicklow people is to
join the 40,000 people emigrating every year, nearly 3,000 a month are
packing their bags and heading abroad in the hope of finding work.
This main objective of this plan is to see dole payments cut sooner in
the hope people will emigrate quicker"

“There are a couple of very big elephants in the room today. No.1
there is no work - the European Commission's Vacancy Monitor shows
that there are currently 50 jobseekers for every single vacancy in
this state, No. 2 there are no additional resources being allocated
for the activation supports, profiling etc. and No. 3 the Minister is
cutting a further €1 billion from her Department’s Budget by the end
of 2014 over and above those cuts announced in the Budget just passed.

Cllr Brady concluded “Just like the Budget the emphasis of the
governments announcement is on punishing the unemployed. Rather than
‘Pathways to Work’ I think ‘Pathways to Poverty’ or "Pathways to
emigration" would be more apt titles.”

Thursday 23 February 2012

Wicklow County Council votes to reject Water Charges and the establishment of a National Water Authority

Wicklow Sinn Féin county councillors John Brady and John Snell successfully tabled a  motion opposing the establishment of the new national utility company Irish Water and had it adopted by Wicklow county council. The motion was put forward by the Sinn Féin councillors at the special meeting of Wicklow county council that washeld on Wednesday to discuss the issue of the establishment of a National Water Authority. The Sinn Féin motion also rejected the government plans to install water meters and start charging for water,the motion also went on to call on the government to invest the €500 million earmarked for the installation of water meters on upgrading the states leaking and outdated water infrastructure.

Speaking after the meeting councillor John Brady said "On Wednesday Wicklow county council convened a special meeting of the council to discuss the government plans to establish a new national water utility company named 'Irish Water' I have major concerns about creating this monster which will see the function of planning and supplying water to the public removed from the 34 local authorities that currently have the function of supply water to nearly 2 million households throughout the state. This function and all the public assets including the infrastructure will be handed over to this new company Irish Water later this year"

"This company will roll out the installation of water meters throughout the state at a cost of €500 million and then set the rates for water charges. I genuinely believe and evidence shows that this will ultimately lead to a full privatisation of the nations water. On one hand the government are selling off semi state bodies such as Coillte and parts of ESB and Bord Gais and on the other hand they intend to establish a new public utility Irish Water" continued Brady

Cllr John Snell said "The creation of this new quango which will ultimately be privatised will install domestic water meters starting later this year at estimated cost of €500 million. They will then set the charges for the water, these charges will result in more hardship for families who are already struggling and hurting as a result of Fine Gael and Labour policies. In Denmark with a population similar to our own, water metering is in place and the average cost is €715 perhousehold. We oppose all stealth taxes and charging for water is no different. Water is the most basic of human rights and access to it should not be based on ones ability to pay for it"

Cllr Brady went onto say "At the special meeting of the county council Sinn Fein proposed a motion opposing the establishment of Irish Water,we believe that local authorities are best positioned to plan for, and deliver water infrastructure and not a company which will only plan schemes that provide the most in financial returns. The motion also called on the government to scrap its plans to introduce domestic water charges and alternatively use the €500 million that's earmarked for installing water meters on upgrading the states outdated and leaking water infrastructure. In Wicklow its estimated that 24% of all water is lost through leaking pipes and in some counties its as high as 45%. Tackling this problem alone would save millions through conserving the resource"

Cllr. Snell concluded "I am delighted that Wicklow county council voted to support the Sinn Féin motion which means that is is now the policy of the council to oppose the creation of the national utility company Irish Water and furthermore it is also the policy of the council to reject the government policy of forcing people to pay for water. The motion will also now form part of the submission from Wicklow county council to the government which is undertaking a public consultation process prior to establishing this quango and handing over the functions of water to it" Ends

The Sinn Féin motion was proposed by Cllr. John Brady and seconded by Cllr. John Snell. It was adopted by 8 votes for, 7 against and 3 abstained.

The full motion reads that

"Wicklow county council opposes the creation of the National utility company Irish Water and believes that one of the primary functions of local authorities is to plan for and deliver clean water to the public, this function should stay at a local level where it can be best delivered. Furthermore the council believes that the creation of this utility company is an attempt to fully privatise the nations water and Wicklow county council is totally opposed to any attempt to do so. We also call on the government to scrap the plan to introduce domestic water charges, and to alternatively use the €500 million for installing water meters, on upgrading the states water infrastructure"

Saturday 18 February 2012

Plans to erect a memorial for Bray Fire-fighters fifth anniversary.

The Families of the 2 brave Firemen Brian Murray and Mark O'Shaughnessy along with Bray Fire-service and myself have set up a committee with a view of erecting a fitting memorial in the Town for the 2 men who died while tackling a blaze in Bray on 26th september 2007, it is planned to unveil it on their 5th anniversary, which is this September. We are in the process of looking at locations and designs, but we also think its vital that the public have an input. Do people firstly think its a good idea? Any suggestions on locations or possible designs? I think its only fitting that these Bray heroes should be forever remembered and honoured in a respectful manner for paying the ultimate sacrifice in protecting their community.

Friday 17 February 2012

Wicklow Sinn Féin hold successful public meeting and launch petition opposing Water Taxes and the Household Charge

Following a successful public meeting in the Glenview Hotel on the
issue of Septic Tank and the Household charges in which over 100
people attended Wicklow Sinn Féin have launched a petition to the
oppose the household charge and water taxes which are been introduced
by Fine Gael and Labour.

Speaking following the public meeting which was held on Wednesday last
Sinn Féin county councillor John Brady said "Sinn Fein held a very
sucessful public meeting in the Glenview on Wednesday last, we were
delighted to be joined by Sinn Féin TDs Martin Ferris and Michael
Colreavy. Over 100 people turned up on the night to get information on
the legislation that Fine Gael and Labour are pushing through Leinster
House on septic tanks. There is genuine fear and concern amongst the
public across rural Wicklow and the lack of detailed information on
the issue and the potential costs of upgrading existing septic tanks.
There are appropriately 10,300 households in Wicklow with septic tanks
and these households must be assured they will not be victimised
because they live in rural areas and are not connected to the mains

Cllr Brady continued "This Government is hell bent on making the
ordinary people pay for the financial mess that the County is in, we
are being forced to pay Billions to Bondholders and Toxic Banks. At
our public meeting we launched a petition as part of our campaign
against the new stealth taxes that are been introduced to pay for the
mistakes of Fianna Fail and the Greens, these mistakes are continuing
and the ordinary people are the ones suffering. Sinn Féin members will
be out across Wicklow in the coming weeks building the campaign
against the Household charge, Septic Tank charges and Water Taxes, we
will be on the streets and knocking on doors throughout the County"

Cllr Brady Concluded "Sinn Féin public representatives from across
Wicklow have said they will not be paying the Household charge, we are
not telling people to follow our lead, however if they do we will
fully support them. People need to be fully aware of the potential
implications of not paying these charges and they need to make an
informed decision one way or another. Sinn Féin will continue to fight
these charges at every level and i appeal to all genuine groups to
work together in a campaign of mass opposition, there are different
strategies for fighting these stealth taxes and all groups sincere in
their opposition should rally around the one common denominator which
is our opposition to them"

Campaign to save the A&E in St. Columcilles Hospital to hold Rally in Bray

SOS Wicklow the campaign group which was established to fight the planned downgrading of the 24hour A&E at St.Columcilles hospital in Loughlinstown is to hold a public rally in Bray on Saturday 25th February. It will start at 1.30pm at the Town Hall in Bray and will proceed to Castle street in Little Bray.

Speaking ahead of the rally the groups secretary Melanie McAuley said "SOS Wicklow has organised this rally which will take place in Bray on Saturday 25th February as part of our campaign to save the A&E in St.Columcilles Hospital, Loughlinstown. We have been told by the HSE that the downgrading of the critical facility will take place in the first quarter of 2012, so these cuts are now imminent, the public rally in Bray may well be our last chance for people to come out and show their support for the retention of the A&E in Loughlinstown,"

The chairperson of SOS Wicklow Cllr. John Brady said "The HSE has stated that the review of the services in St.Columcilles be undertaken during the months of September and October 2011, we know it is their intention to withdraw the 24hour A&E in St.Columcilles and it is expected to happen over the next few weeks. This is a political decision, so political pressure needs to be brought to bare on our national politicians and this can only be done by people power and by taking to the streets on Saturday 25th. This may be our last opportunity for people to take a stand on this issue and we need to do so in large numbers"

Melanie McAuley concluded "We have ran a long campaign on this issue, we have collected thousands of signatures on a county wide petition and this will be presented to the Minister for Health James Reilly in the coming weeks, we now need all those people and everyone else who wants to save our A&E on the streets of Bray on Saturday 25th February at 1.30pm. We need to send the message loud and clear that the people of Wicklow want our Hospital upgraded not downgraded"

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Martin Ferris TD to attend public meeting in Wicklow to Oppose the Septic Tank Charges

Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris will be the guest speaker at the public
meeting being held by the party as part of the campaign to oppose
Septic Tank Charges, it will take place on Wednesday 15th February in
the Glenview Hotel in the Glen of the Downs, the meeting will start at

Speaking ahead of the meeting Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John
Brady said " The public meeting on Wednesday 15th February is part of
Sinn Féin's campaign of opposition against the Septic Tank charges and
follows on from a very successful meeting that Sinn Féin held in
Baltinglass recently. There is genuine outrage in rural areas over
these plans and Sinn Féin and the public has exerted pressure on the
Government at both local and national levels, this has resulted in
them trying to muddy the water on the issue. The government must stop
playing mind games with the registration cost. The registration fee,
regardless of cost, is not the biggest concern for families. The key
issue is the standard against which their tanks will be assessed and
the cost of upgrading.

“Phil Hogan has moved the goal posts on several occasions. The appeals
process was to cost €200 now it is reduced to €20 while the
registration is now a once off €5. All these changes, while welcome,
were brought about by public pressure. But the core issues for the
public are the funding of upgrades and the standards. The current
situation is farcical. We have legislation that demands the
registration of septic tanks and the upgrading of these septic tanks
but there are no standards to assess them by and no financial
assistance for households to carry out the necessary work. The
legislation as it stands is extremely punitive. It dictates that
householders will be dragged through the courts and may be fined up to
€5,000 if they cannot comply with these secret standards. This
threatening behaviour by Minster Hogan is unacceptable and will be
rejected by the public" Brady continued.

Cllr Brady finished by saying "I am delighted that Sinn Féin Deputy's
Martin Ferris and Michael Colreavy will be present at the meeting on
Wednesday in the Glenview and it will give the public an opportunity
get find out more information on this important subject. We will also
discuss the Household Charge and Water Taxes and on the night we will
be launching a County wide petition to oppose these family taxes and
we will continue to build a campaign to against them"