Saturday, 21 December 2013

Purchase of the Florentine Site Great Opportunity to Develop Bray's Social and Retail Infrastructure

Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has welcomed the purchase of the site of the proposed Florentine Shopping Centre off the town’s Main Street for €1.95m. He has stated that it now gives the council the opportunity to revive the town’s retail industry but also to address the town’s social infrastructure such as social housing and providing a cinema for the town.

Speaking after the deal was concluded with Grant Thornton on Wednesday, December 18 Councillor Brady said “I must welcome the fact that the Council has been proactive on this issue and has purchased the site which has been the cause of a 17 year saga which ripped the heart out of the town. The failure to develop this site over that period has played a huge role in the demise of Bray as a destination for retail shopping.”

Brady continued “Now that Bray Town Council owns the site we must sit down and look carefully at what the town actually needs in terms of retailing and social infrastructure. The Florentine Centre was expected to open its doors to the public in the autumn of 2006 and included plans for almost 100 apartments, 25 retail outlets and 600 parking spaces. The question need to be asked is that still what Bray needs.”

“I believe this gives us an opportunity to look at Bray and what it has to offer and then in the future what we can provide that isn’t out there already and to build something that's sustainable into the future.  I don’t think we can or should try competing with the likes of the Dundrum’s. Yes it would be nice to get a few big retailing names in as anchor tenants into the new Florentine, but I think we should be trying to find a niche in the market and to try target that.”

“I do think the town needs a cinema and this should be given careful consideration, since the one in the town closed in 2007 people have to travel to places like Dun Laoghaire and Dundrum. There is also an opportunity for the council to try tackling the housing crisis in the town by providing some social housing as part of the development. In the last planning permission that was given there were nearly 100 apartments included, the council and whoever they find as a partner to develop the site must include integrated housing to try tackle the housing crisis that exists.” continued Brady.

He concluded by saying “Hopefully we are in the final chapter in this terrible saga which has held Bray back for so long. We need to move forward with purpose, we shouldn’t rush into developing something for the sake of it. We will only get one opportunity at developing something that will be at the heart of Bray, something that will make Bray the place people will want to come to, something that will be sustainable into the future and we need to get it right.”

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Brady welcomes Wicklow County Council Cross Party submission to Eirgrid opposing Gridlink

Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has welcomed a submission from Wicklow County Council to Eirgrid as part of their public consultation on the Grid Link project. The submission was unanimously endorsed by all members of the council at the council meeting on Monday last.

Speaking after the meeting councillor Brady said "I welcome the fact that the submission opposing the Grid Link project received unanimous support.  Eirgrid as part of the Grid Link project has identified two possible routes through Wicklow for a 400kv power line, over ground using huge pylons."

The Sinn Féin Councillor continued “There has been a huge level of objection to the over grounding of the cables and communities have mobilised and submitted thousands of objections. The consultation process was due to end on November 26th; however the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications had asked Eirgrid to extend this consultation to the 31st December. EirGrid has agreed and will continue the consultation period until the 7th January 2014 to cater for the Christmas period.”

"The submission to Eirgrid raises concerns around a number of different issues including archaeology, tourism, landscape and settlement and the proximity to designated Natura 2000 sites within the County.”

Brady continued ““The government and EirGrid must listen to the concerns of communities regarding this project and also listen to the very real and sustainable alternatives to overheard power lines. Underground cables, at installation, may cost more than overheard but the fact is that they are more economical in the longer-term. They are low maintenance, have lower transmission losses, have a longer lifespan, and have no environmental impact. This would suggest that the initial outlay will be off-set over time by the many advantages. An international expert commission, employed by the government, found that the undergrounding of cables is a “viable option”.

“I appeal to EirGrid to act responsibly and to respond to the all-elected view, and the opinion of the people of the affected areas, the affected counties and constituencies and to proceed by underground cabling.”

Monday, 16 December 2013

Unfair Wicklow County Council Budget Copper Fastens Use of Property Tax Funds to Install Water Meters

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillors John Brady and John Snell have voted against the county council budget for 2014 labelling it as grossly unfair and one that copper fastens the use of property tax monies collected in Wicklow to install water meters by Irish Water, paving the way for more stealth taxes.

Speaking after the meeting which was held on Monday Councillor John Brady said "Unfortunately the government parties of Fine Gael and Labour united again on Wicklow County Council to ensure a grossly unfair budget was adopted. The Wicklow county council budget has been decimated over the last number of years by the Government and this year was no different. The Local Government Fund given to the council has been reduced from last years allocation of €14.4m to €3.44m. Scandalously in the region of €11m has been given to Irish Water from the property tax that the people of Wicklow paid. This funding will allow Irish Water take control of the water services that the council had operated and also start the roll out of Domestic water metering in 2014".

Cllr Brady continued "Unfortunately the people of Wicklow have been sold another pup on this issue by the Government. People had been told that 100% of the property tax raised would fund local services in their area, this quickly changed to 80%, now we find that only about 22% of the hard earned money, reluctantly and on a lot of occasions unwillingly taken to pay the Property Tax will go towards funding local services. The remainder goes to Irish Water to install water meters, so more stealth taxes can be squeezed from the ordinary people of Wicklow who don't have it to give. Figures given at the meeting show that if 100% of the property tax was collected and given to the council it would amount to €16.5m, however the council is getting a mere €3.44m the remainder goes to Irish Water. We all remember the false promises and the fancy booklets that were given outlining the better services that would be forthcoming if people paid this tax. Unfortunately what has materialised is exactly what Sinn Féin and i predicted as just another money grab."

Cllr Brady went on to say "The other main reason why my party colleague John Snell and I voted against the Council Budget is the plan to increase rents for all council tenants, this includes the the increase of the basic minimum rent for those with very low incomes. It is planned to increase all rents by 3%, there are plans to do the same again next year. Unfortunately many council tenants live in social housing that needs major refurbishment including better insulation, windows and doors and they also need a system that will address problems and faults that occur in those houses, forcing higher rents on them is totally unjust. Many council tenants are in social housing because of financial reasons and are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Only this week we seen figures that 14,000 Wicklow people are in food poverty, this will only serve to add more people to that list."

Cllr Brady concluded "Unfortunately the Government parties of Fine Gael and Labour joined forces at the council meeting to ensure the budget was passed by the narrowest of margins. This will ensure that the people of Wicklow get poorer services next year year whilst still paying the unfair and unjust Property Taxes. I am very confident however that these councillors in Fine Gael and Labour will be held to account for their actions in the Local Government Elections that take place in May 2014."

Monday, 9 December 2013

Sinn Féin to Oppose Privatisation of Wicklow Bus Routes

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has sharply critised plans to privatise over 20 routes currently operated by Dublin Bus as well as some Bus Éireann services. The National Transport Authority (NTA) confirmed that the privatisation of the routes will proceed by 2016. A number of Wicklow routes are included in the plans.
Speaking after the announcement Councillor Brady said “What we have seen over the last few years is the slow death of public transport in Ireland. Government subsidies have been continuously cut under the previous government of Fianna Fáil and now under Labour and Fine Gael. The announcement that up to 20 Dublin Bus routes are to be privatised will however be the final nail in the coffin for public transport”.

“The decision was made following a consultation process which discussed the principle of direct award contracts. Under these plans Wicklow will be particularly affected with Dublin Bus routes 45a, 184, 185 all planned for privatisation. Thatcher's privatisation of public transport in the 1980s has been a disaster for transport workers and the public, unfortunately that's exactly where this government want us to go”.

Cllr Brady continued “The privatisation of public transport will result in massive fare hikes and a deteriorating service. Public transport is a service which belongs to the people as a right. The notion that it should be run on the basis of profit is a dangerous one which will leave individuals and communities isolated. Experience has shown that once public transport is privatised the logic of profit overrides all other considerations.   What this will mean is a reduction in services for areas that cannot provide a frequency of use suitable to the companies need for profit.  In practical terms people will be left standing at the bus stop until the company is sure it can fill a bus. They will regard it as inefficient to run a bus at anything less than full capacity”.

Cllr Brady concluded “The NTA can only proceed with the approval of the Labour Party and Fine Gael. These plans are illogical unless you see it in ideological terms where both parties in Government see privatisation in terms of ideology.  It is an ideology that disregards the rights of the marginalized and the elderly but let’s face it this is a Government that has shown scant regard for those sections of society. Sinn Féin have a proven track record of fighting to save public transport and we will also fight to stop the privatisation of our public transport and that includes the 45a, 184, 185 that are planned to be privatised by 2016”

Friday, 6 December 2013

Brady expresses sadness at Mandela's passing

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has offered his condolences to the family of Nelson Mandela and to the people of South Africa and expressed deep sadness at his passing.

Cllr Brady said "Sadly with the passing of Nelson Mandela we have lost a true leader, but he has left behind a beacon of light for all people yearning for freedom. Mandela who was a true friend of the Irish people empowered his people in South Africa to break the shackles of apartheid, in the process he spent 27 years imprisonment".

"Madiba seen his duty as one of freeing his people from the apartheid regime of South Africa. Mandela succeeded and testament to his leadership qualities lead his people to become the first president of the new inclusive South Africa from 1994-1999. Mandela is and will continue to be an icon and an inspiration to all struggling for freedom right across the world and the beacon of light he has left will continue to shine brightly".

Cllr Brady concluded "I believe that books of condolences should be opened in council offices right across Wicklow and i am asking that the chairpersons of the Local authorities put in place plans to allow members of the public to pay tribute to a true freedom fighter and statesman". 

Wicklow Sinn Féin Honor Phil and Rossa Murray

On Friday 29th November a special evening was held in the Martello, Bray to honor father and son, Phil and Rossa Murray. The two men have given many years service to the cause of Irish freedom and equality. The two men were presented with special awards by the guest speaker on the night, Cavan/Monaghan Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghin O'Caoláin. A large number of friends and colleagues travelled from both near and far to attended the night to pay tribute to the two men.

Caoimhghin O'Caoláin praised both Phil and Rossa for their huge contribution and dedication to the cause of Irish freedom. He spoke about Phil and the fact that he is originally from Cavan and made Wicklow his home for many years. Phil worked for CIE and most recently with Bray Wanderers, only in recent years he has returned to his beloved Cavan to live.

The Cavan/Monaghan TD went onto speak about Phil's son Rossa and how he followed in Phil's footsteps. He praised Rossa for being a lifelong republican who has represented Sinn Féin in public life exceptionally over the last 5 years. In 2009 Rossa won a second seat for Sinn Féin on Bray Town Council taking 18.65% of the vote and in the process making history. Rossa has decided not to put his name forward for the 2014 local elections but will remain a dedicated member of Sinn Féin. On the evening Rossa wished Cllr John Brady and Oliver O'Brien well in the upcoming elections and pledged to work tirelessly to ensure Sinn Féin continue to go from strength to strength.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Press Statement from Bray Town Council about the Dargle Flood Protection Scheme

Press Statement from Bray Town Council about the Dargle Flood Protection Scheme
Bray Town Council wish to advise that construction on the River Dargle Flood Defence Scheme has been suspended due to events beyond the control of either party.  SIAC Construction Ltd. will demobilise immediately.
This will enable the appointment of other contractors as soon as practicable to complete the remaining elements of the project, in accordance with the approved scheme design.
Bray Town Council and the Office of Public Works remain committed to ensuring the delivery of the scheme which will provide the standard 1-in-100 year level of protection.
At present, the Scheme is approximately 35% complete and the works that have been constructed to date (including the construction of the culvert at Bray Bridge) will have a significant beneficial affect in alleviating flood risk.
Bray Town Council and the Office of Public Works (OPW) would like to assure the public that every effort will be made to ensure that the works are completed as soon as practicable. The OPW has confirmed that funding is available to complete the project.
Preparation of the necessary documents required for the appointment of new contractors will commence immediately, with a view to being in a position to re-commence in-river works in 2014 during the next available season.
Bray Town Council will take on responsibility for the ongoing upkeep and security of the site. Bray Town Council and the OPW would like to thank the public for the ongoing support during the construction of the flood defence scheme.

Dargle Flood Protection Scheme left in a total mess

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady described the news that the main contractors on the river Dargle flood protection scheme have moved off the site, leaving behind half built flood defences as a total mess. The councillor who has been fighting alongside local residents for flood protection works to be carried out on the Dargle after the Little Bray area was destroyed by Hurricane Charlie in 1986. 

Councillor Brady said "Over the last couple of months the work on the €28 million Dargle flood relief project has effectively ground to a standstill. A number of key staff on the project have either been let go or redeployed to other SIAC projects, Sub contractors on the project have not been paid for work that they have done. Yesterday there was a major development when the contractors SIAC moved on to the site at first light and began removing everything including office equipment, plant machinery and even the site compound that was located in the Peoples Park".

Cllr Brady continued “The project has turned into a complete and utter mess. We have a half built flood protection scheme left behind and residents and i are completely in the dark as to what is going to happen next and what the time frame will be. Sub contractors who had been on site working haven't been paid and are also looking for answers. The entire Dargle area is a mess and the Peoples Park resembles a derelict building site as opposed to a public amenity". 

Cllr Brady went onto say “I have tried to raise the serious concerns that the community of Little Bray and I have with the council, unfortunately those concerns have hit a brick wall. The OPW have said that they are committed to completing the Dargle scheme, however the entire scheme has been set back considerably and i have fears that it may impact on plans to develop the new schools on the Old Bray Golf club for Coláiste Ráithín and Ravenswell. It had been planned to have the schools completed by 2016".

Cllr Brady concluded “This entire saga has been poorly handled by the council and they have failed dismally to keep residents or elected public representatives informed of what exactly is happening. Sending the media and councillors the same holding statement is totally disrespective to the elected members of the council and no way to do business. The Dargle flood protection scheme is a critical project for Little Bray and councillors should be kept informed at all stages and that includes when things aren't going according to plan. I have asked for an emergency meeting of the council to be held, unfortunately that seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Answers are needed for the residents, councillors and also the sub contractors who are owed a considerable amount of money".

Monday, 25 November 2013

Brady Welcomes Eirgrid's decision to extend public consultation period for Grid Link Project

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has welcomed the decision to extend the Eirgrid public consultation period for the Grid Link Project until Tuesday, 7th January 2014 at 5pm.

Speaking after the decision to extend the deadline Councillor Brady said “The Grid Link Project is causing huge concern in a number of Counties including Wicklow. The €500 million Grid Link Project is the proposed new overhead power line linking the electricity transmission networks in Leinster and Munster. The Stage 1 Report for the project has identified a number of route corridor options for the proposed overhead power line. There is however huge concern and opposition in South West Wicklow as the D1 and D2 routes pass through the County adjacent to Carnew, Shillelagh and Baltinglass”.

The Sinn Féin Councillor continued “There has been a huge level of objection to the over grounding of the cables and communities have mobilised and submitted thousands of objections. The consultation process was due to end on November 26th; however the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications had asked Eirgrid to extend this consultation to the 31st December. EirGrid has agreed and will continue the consultation period until the 7th January 2014 to cater for the Christmas period”.

Brady continued “I have submitted my objection to the pylons and the over grounding of the 400kv cables through the beautiful countryside of South West Wicklow. I also don’t want it imposed on any neighbouring Counties. International best practice is to underground cables of this magnitude and The Irish Government needs to make a commitment to follow suit”.

Brady concluded “I welcome the fact that the consultation period has been extended until 7th January, however I hope it is not a cynical ploy to delay the decision making process until after the local elections which take place in May 2014. I strongly urge anyone that hasn’t made a submission to do so before the new deadline”.

Candlelight Vigil organised to mark closure of St. Columcilles A&E

Wicklow and Dún Laoghaire Sinn Féin have organised a candlelight Vigil to coincide with the closure of the 24 hour A&E in St. Columcilles Hospital, Loughlinstown. The Vigil will take place on Wednesday 27th November outside the hospital at 5.30pm.

Speaking ahead of the planned closure Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady said "Unfortunately the closure of the 24hour A&E in St.Columcilles Hospital will proceed on Wednesday 27th November. Sinn Féin will hold a candlelight vigil to coincide with the cut to the critical service and the vigil will start at 5.30pm. On Wednesday the doors of A&E will finally be slammed shut in the faces of the 21,000 people who on an annual basis use the service, they will be then asked to travel the extra distance to the already over whelmed St. Vincent's Hospital". 

The Killiney/Shankill Sinn Féin representative Shane O'Brien said "Wednesday will see the completion of the Labour Party sell out of the ordinary people of South Dublin and Wicklow. Prior to the last election the Táinaiste Eamon Gilmore stated that if elected he would ensure the hospital was upgraded as a regional hospital. Unfortunately again we have another broken promise from Labour, only this time they are going even further and closing the A&E altogether".

Councillor Brady concluded "The people have fought hard over the last 18months to retain and upgrade the A&E. Those appeals have fallen on deaf ears, both Anne Ferris and Eamon Gilmore got elected on the back of the false promises they made regarding saving the A&E. They are both culpable for the closure of the A&E and they will ultimately be held to account by the people of Dún Laoghaire and Wicklow".

Friday, 15 November 2013

Brady welcomes Council purchase of Bray Recycling Center

Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has welcomed the purchase of the Bray Recycling Center by Wicklow County Council. The facility which opened in 2006 had been rented since then by the council.

The Wicklow Councillor said "I had been pushing for Wicklow Council to ensure Bray continues into the future with a recycling center, so i am delighted that the council has finally purchased the current recycling center. The widely used facility had been rented by the council since it first opened in 2006 and the lease was coming to an end. The purchase of the center ensures that it will remain open into the future".

Cllr Brady continued "Since it opened i have very critical of the high rent that the council had been paying on the property. It was costing nearly €365,000 a year to rent, that's nearly €1,000 a day. That was crazy money, i had asked the council to look at building a state of the art facility on a different council owned site as i had felt that not only was a recycling center critical, but that the huge rents being paid on the facility was dead money that should have been used to upgrade the facility".

Cllr Brady finished by saying "The lease was due to run out the purchase of the facility now gives certainty around the future of the center. There now needs to be investment in the Boghall Road facility so as to ensure it continues to provide a great service as well as an educational one".

Conerns expressed about future of Little Bray Post Office

Sinn Fein Councillors Rossa Murray and John Brady have expressed serious concerns about the future of the Little Bray Post Office. The concern follows the devastating news that the Costcutters store where the Post Office was located unfortunately had to close down during the week.

Councillor Brady stated "Unfortunately during the week the Costcutters store in Little Bray closed down. This is a huge blow to the area and also to all the staff that had been working in the store. It has also caused considerable concern about the future of the post office that is located within the Costcutters store".

Cllr Murray went onto say "The post office opened in the Costcutters store in 2010 after a campaign by Sinn Féin and the community of Little Bray. We compiled thousands of signatures on a petition which was subsequently given to An Post, we showed clearly that the Little Bray people needed and also wanted this facility. The community ultimately won the argument and the Post Office opened in the Costcutters store in 2010".

Cllr Brady continued "The post office has stayed open since the store itself closed, there is however serious concerns in the Little Bray area as to whether it will remain open into the future. The community need assurances from An Post that they are committed to keeping a post office in the Little Bray area. The closure of the Costcutters store has dealt a blow to the area and the loss of the jobs is very disappointing. We certainly don't need a double whammy now, the community and i will do everything possible to ensure that the post office stays into the future".

Cllr Murray concluded "I believe the parking restrictions that had been implemented outside the store have had a huge bearing on this whole issue. I hope the particular Councillor who sought the installation of bollards outside the store restricting parking is happy now. Not only has the store closed with the loss of local jobs, she has now put the future of the post office in jeopardy".

Phase Two of the Oldcourt Estate Fire Safety Works Gets Approval

Bray Sinn Féin representative Oliver O'Brien and long time campaigner Councillor John Brady have welcomed the approval of funding to carry out the second phase of the essential fire safety works in the Oldcourt Estate in Bray.

Long time campaigner for the works to be carried out in the Oldcourt Estate Councillor John Brady said "This news has to be welcomed, the residents from Oldcourt and I have been campaigning now for many years to have the fire safety works carried out in the estate. Funding for the first phase was first approved in August 2012 and work on the first houses commenced later in the year. The Department of the Environment gave the go ahead for the second phase to commence last week and they have committed part funding of the project with the council match funding".

Sinn Féin representative Oliver O'Brien went onto say "A draw took place on Thursday in the Civic Offices to decide what homes are to be done next. Not only does the work in the houses address the important fire safety problems within the houses it has the added benefit of improving the energy efficiency of the homes. Some homes have been omitted from the scheme against the wishes of the occupants and these all need to be included".

Brady went onto say " The approval of funding for phase 2 has to be welcomed as the work is essential. Problems within the estate initially arose after the estate underwent a major refurbishment scheme in the 1980's, it has seen numerous fires and fatalities since the work was carried out. Seven people have lost their lives to fires in the Oldcourt Estate in the last two decades. In 2005 i succeeded in having an independent fire safety audit carried out. The findings of the audit which were published in 2007 returned a damning verdict on the houses and outlined a substantial number of things that needed to be done in the houses to make them safer. That report has formed the basis for the successful application to the Department and the identified issues along with energy efficiency works will be addressed in the scheme".

Oliver concluded "Its important that this scheme is completed and that all houses in the estate including the private ones are addressed. Homeowners purchased the properties in good faith and unaware of the serious problems within them. The scheme needs to be extended to include all houses within the estate".

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael circle the wagons to protect the Wicklow County Manager

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has expressed disappointment that the motion of no confidence that he had tabled in the Wicklow County Manager Eddie Sheehy was rejected at yesterday’s special sitting of Wicklow County Council. The meeting was held to discuss the sentencing of the council on charges relating to the deaths of Bray fire fighters Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy.

Speaking after the meeting Councillor Brady said “Unfortunately it was proven yesterday that the majority of councillors in Wicklow have no backbones. I had tabled a motion of no confidence in the Wicklow County Manager Eddie Sheehy following the sentencing of Wicklow County Council in relation to the deaths of Bray fire fighters Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy. Under both the Local Government Act 2001 and the Fire Services Act 1981 the County Manager is ultimately responsible for the fire service”.

“Brian and Mark died under his watch and it’s us the tax payer that gets the slap on the wrist. The motion of no confidence was an attempt to install some level of accountability. Unfortunately the motion in the person with ultimate responsibility lost 14 votes to 7, the chairman abstained and 2 councillors never showed up”.

Cllr Brady continued “The old boys club of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil circled their wagons around the manager Eddie Sheehy to protect him. I put forward very strong reasons based on existing legislation which is contained in the Local Government Act 2001 and the Fire Services Act 1981 why the council should have no confidence in him. However not one of the fourteen councillors who voted to support him could give a single reason why they have any confidence in him”.

Brady concluded “This is pothole politics at its best. The fourteen councillors that voted confidence in Eddie Sheehy only have the interests of him at heart, not the families of Brian and Mark or indeed the people of Wicklow all of whom have no confidence in him”

The motion was proposed by Councillor John Brady and seconded by Councillor Tom Fortune

"The members of Wicklow County Council no longer have confidence in the ability of the County Manager Mr Eddie Sheehy to administrate effective local government in County Wicklow".

Those that supported the motion: John Brady, John Snell, Barry Nevin, Tom Fortune, Tommy Cullen, Irene Winters, Nicky Kelly. 

The councillors that voted against the motion: John Ryan, Mick Glynn, Christopher Fox, Pat Vance, Derek Mitchell, Sylvester Bourke, Vincent Blake, Grainne McLoughlin, Pat Casey, Pat Doran,Edward Timmins, Jim Ruttle, Pat Fitzgerald, George Jones

Conal Kavanagh and John Byrne were absent and Jimmy O'Shaughnessy abstained.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Wicklow County Council to discuss motion of no confidence in County Manager in wake of sentencing over firefighters deaths

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady will table a motion of no confidence in County Manager Eddie Sheehy at a specially arranged meeting of Wicklow County Council to discuss the sentence handed down to the council in the Central Criminal Court on 25 October, in relation to the deaths of Wicklow fire fighters Brian Murray and Mark O'Shaughnessy.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s meeting Councillor Brady said;

“The County Manager was aware and presided over an organisation that had no regard for the health of safety of its employees; he also presided and still does over an organisation that vets emergency calls as a cost saving measure.

“Unfortunately in the court case we had a faceless organisation on trial for health and safety breeches.

“The book stops with Mr Sheehy, under sections 63 and 149 of the Local Government Act 2001, the County Manager has overall responsibility, direction and control of the operation of the County Wicklow Fire Service and I believe he has failed in his responsibilities.

“At this stage the families, the people of Wicklow nor I have any faith or trust in Eddie Sheehy and I am therefore tabling an emergency motion of no confidence at tomorrow’s specially arranged meeting and I hope to secure the support of my fellow councillors for that motion.

Text of Councillor Brady’s motion:

"The members of Wicklow County Council no longer have confidence in the ability of the County Manager Mr Eddie Sheehy to administrate effective local government in County Wicklow.”

Friday, 8 November 2013

The closure of the A&E in St.Columcille's Hospital is a slap in the face for the people of Wicklow

Sinn Féin Councillor and chairperson of the campaign group Save of Services Wicklow (SOS Wicklow) which was established to campaign for the retention of the 24hour A&E in St. Columcilles Hospital has described the announcement that the A&E will close from the 27thNovember as a huge blow and a slap in the face for the people from right across Wicklow who depend on the critical service.
Councillor John Brady stated “The decision to go ahead with the closure of the 24hour A&E in Loughlinstown is a huge blow and a slap in the face for the people from Wicklow who depend on the critical service provided by the hospital. We have had a lot of spin from the government parties over the last few days, they have attempted to say that the downgrading of services in Loughlinstown and moving the widely used A&E to the already over capacity St.Vincents hospital will lead to an improvement of services”.
“This is complete nonsense, St.Vincents hospital is already stretched to over capacity, when the A&E in Loughlinstown is downgraded and people are forced to travel to St.Vincents the numbers lying on trolleys will simply increase and compound the problems experienced in that hospital, resulting in a reduction of patient care”.
Brady continued “Before the elections the Labour party in Wicklow campaigned to stop the downgrading of services in Loughlinstown and have the hospital upgraded. Unfortunately people voted for them and gave them a mandate thinking a vote for Labour was a vote for upgraded services in Loughlinstown hospital. Unfortunately the Labour party and Fine Gael have cut millions from the health budget and this is the real reason the hospital is closing”.
Brady concluded "Loughlinstown hospital is crucial for all the people in Wicklow, we have been poorly served when it comes to the provision of health care. We have already lost Wicklow District Hospital based on a dubious report from HIQA. We are now facing the closure of the 24 A&E in Loughlinstown. The hospital has been stripped bare over the last few years and services have been reduced which has resulted in patients losing confidence in the hospital. What the people in Wicklow want is a properly funded hospital they can have confidence in. Imposing the 21,000 users of the essential medical facility on the already overwhelmed St. Vincent’s Hospital simply will not work and it’s very disappointing that Wicklow’s five TD’s seem to think that reducing medical services for Wicklow is a good thing. I am calling on them at this stage to seek funding to upgrade the hospital as opposed to supporting its closure at the determent of the people from right across Wicklow”.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Law is an Ass that needs to be changed-Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor and long-time campaigner on the fire service John Brady has expressed disappointment at the sentencing of Wicklow County Council in relation to the deaths of fire-fighters Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy who died fighting a fire in Bray in 2007. He also said that imposing a fine on the taxpayer for the fundamental failures of the Wicklow County Manager is not justice and that the law is and ass that needs to be changed to ensure there is accountability.

Speaking after a fine of €355,000 was handed down to Wicklow County Council in the Dublin Circuit Criminal court councillor Brady said “The last six years have been very difficult for the families of Wicklow fire-fighters Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy. Both men died tackling a fire in Bray in 2007. I had put my faith in the court system in the hope that the heartbroken families would get some justice. I have never believed that the men’s deaths were a tragic accident, I believed and still do that the men died as a direct result of the antiquated, inefficient and flawed system that Wicklow County Council operated.”

“Unfortunately what we seen in the court was a figure of €355,000 being put on the lives of the two fire men. The fine will ultimately will be paid by the taxpayers of Wicklow. I believe the law is an ass that needs to be changed. The people of Wicklow should not be the ones that are penalised for the failures of the management of Wicklow County Council. The County Manager was aware and presided over an organisation that had no regard for the health of safety of its employees; he also presided and still does over an organisation that vets emergency calls as a cost saving measure. Unfortunately in the court case we had a faceless organisation on trial for health and safety breeches. I would have much preferred to have seen Eddie Sheedy on trial and ultimately held responsible and I think the law needs to be changed to ensure that there is real accountability. At this stage however the families, the people of Wicklow nor I have any faith or trust in Eddie Sheedy and he should be either sacked or resign and I will be tabling an emergency motion and I intend bringing it before the council to ensure that is the case.” 

The councillor continued “I must praise the Gardaí and the HSA for the work that they put into this case, however I believe their work was severely hampered by a lack of cooperation by Wicklow County Council. This resulted in the County Buildings being raided by the Gardaí on 23 February 2010. The County Manager Eddie Sheedy was also arrested as part of the investigation into the men’s deaths, as was the now retired chief fire officer Jim Dunphy and the assistant fire officers.”

“I think the courts and the State however have let the families of Brian and Mark down. We should have had a criminal trial of those individuals who presided over the flawed system the council operated at the behest of the State. Shortly after the deaths of Brian and Mark the then Minister for the Environment John Gormely stated that an independent investigation would be looked at when court proceeding concluded. That now needs to happen, as I believe a lot of evidence still needs to come to light.”
Brady concluded “On 9 October 2007, just after the deaths of Brian and Mark the Labour Party tabled a motion in the Dáil relating to their deaths. The motion expressed sympathy to the families of the men; it also called for an independent investigation into their deaths, it went onto call for the full implementation of Farrell Grant Sparks Report on the fire services. Key to this would see the control of the fire services removed from the control of local authorities and put into the remit of a National Fire Authority. The motion which was also supported by Fine Gael also called for the establishment of a full-time fire service in Bray. Sinn Féin and the families supported the motion at the time and I now call on them to follow through as they are now in a position to deliver.”  Ends

Statement from families after the sentencing of Wicklow County Council.

"The families are happy to see that legal proceeding of this trial coming to an end as the last six years have been very difficult, during which they received great public support of which they are very grateful for.
While welcoming the eventual guilty plea made by Wicklow County Council in relation to the charges, they were brought as a result of the deaths of Brian Murray and Mark O' Shaughnessy.
They are however disappointed with the leniency shown by the judge in relation to the fines.
But they do welcome the criticism of the management of the fire service in Wicklow.
In relation to the fines, the families do welcome the fact that the taxpayer doesn’t have to pay a hefty fine for the council’s shortcomings.
There are however unanswered questions surrounding the deaths of both Brian and Mark and the families believe that these issues will be addressed during the upcoming inquest and the family will release a more comprehensive statement on completion of the inquest.
The families at this stage do however repeat their call for a national fire service.” Ends

Here is an link to the Dáil debate on 9 October 2007

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Public Transport Fare increases will force people into their cars-Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has described the latest fare increases on bus, rail and the LUAS as a major disincentive that will force more people to use their cars. He said the increases are a direct result of Fine Gael, Labour budget cut of €17 million subsidy to CIE.

Speaking after the National Transport Authority gave the go ahead for the hikes Cllr Brady said “In the recent budget Fine Gael and Labour cut €17 million from the subsidy which is given to CIE, so it was inevitable that fare would increase as a direct result of the cuts. Average cash fares will rise by more than 8 per cent from December 1st, while annual and monthly tickets will increase by some 10 per cent fromNovember 1st.”

Brady continued ““Public transport has been under funded in this state for a very long time and certainly never treated as the incredibly important public service that it is. Buses and trains carry far more people, more efficiently and faster than private transport when given the right planning and funding. A good system of buses can create a hub of business in urban centres and improve our competitiveness. Instead the government is implementing a policy it freely admits is bad for public transport. What is bad for public transport is bad for our economy.”

“These new fare increases will further turn people off public transport which is seen as expensive and lacking the benefits seen in other European cities. Too many people are opting for their cars because the services of Bus Éireann, Iarnróid Éireann and Dublin Bus are being run down and made unattractive by government policy. Cutting funding and forcing the dwindling passengers to foot more of the bill might look good on the department’s budget plan but it will lead to serious problems in the future and damage our ability to build lasting economic prosperity.”

Cllr Brady concluded “I believe the fare increases are just the first direct impact of the government cuts to public transport. What we will also witness now will be the continued decimation and dismantling of bus routes. Unfortunately here in Wicklow communities have been in the direct firing line of this with routes such as the Bus Éireann 133, Dublin Bus routes 45a, 185, 84, 145 all being targeted as well as a reduction in the carrying capacity on the DART's. We need investment in our public transport, not cuts.”

Veil of Secrecy surrounding Dargle River flood protection works need to be lifted

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has called for the veil of secrecy surrounding the Dargle flood protection work to be lifted. The councillor who has been fighting alongside local residents for flood protection works to be carried out on the Dargle after the Little Bray area was destroyed by Hurricane Charlie in 1986, he made the call following the news that the main contractor on the flood protection scheme SIAC has gone into examinership.

Councillor Brady said "Over the last couple of months the work on the €28 million Dargle flood relief project has effectively ground to a standstill. A number of key staff on the project have either been let go or redeployed to other SIAC projects, Sub contractors on the project have not been paid for work that they have done. Not surprising this week SIAC have been granted court protection and gone into examinership.”

Cllr Brady continued “I have serious concerns now for the future of the project. During court proceeding Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan agreed to grant protection to SCL and the eight other companies on the basis of reports from independent accountants expressing the opinion the companies have a reasonable prospect of survival as a going concern provided several conditions are met, including securing creditor and court approval of survival proposals. The fact that the company is only given a reasonable prospect of survival is not very assuring.”

Cllr Brady went onto say “I have tried to raise the serious concerns that the community of Little Bray and I have with the council, unfortunately those concerns have hit a brick wall. The Flood Protection project has been covered by a veil of secrecy and any time questions are asked the response is that the council and SIAC are involved in a design resolution process with the Contractor. This relates to technical design details and that it is a confidential process that has been entered into with a view to seeking a resolution. The veil of secrecy around this project needs to be lifted and assurances need to be given to the residents of Little Bray that their homes are safe from flooding.”

Cllr Brady concluded “The OPW has stated they remain committed to completing the Bray scheme as quickly as possible and to ensuring that it will provide the same standard of protection as provided by other OPW flood relief schemes. What the residents and I need from Bray Town Council as the Contracting Authority are answers and assurances that the project will be completed to the specifications contained in the EIS and that it’s delivered on time. Minister Brian Hayes also needs to directly get involved to ensure that this doesn’t drag on. One must remember that a flood of the magnitude of Hurricane Charlie has a reoccurrence rate of 20 years, it is now 27 years after that event and we need it fully completed.”

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Budget 2014 is a Template for Mass Emigration- Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has described budget 2014 as grossly unfair and a template for continued mass youth emigration.

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady said “In budget 2014 Fine Gael and Labour have let the people down as we witness again the actions of a government that is arrogant, out of touch and utterly indifferent to the devastation that a cocktail of cutbacks, unemployment and emigration has had on our society. This budget should have been about reducing the tax burden on ordinary families, protecting public services and investing in jobs. Instead it is another anti-growth and unfair budget.”

Cllr Brady went on to say “A fair budget would have given low and middle income households a break by putting money back into their pockets. Instead in this seventh consecutive austerity budget we have had a direct attack on people from the cradle to the grave.”“Getting rid of the bereavement grant, withdrawing the telephone allowance for the elderly and carers and cuts to social protection supports by up to a third for young people out of work are shocking. We can only conclude that this government is determined to leave struggling households in their despair and to force many thousands more of our young people on the emigration path that has already been travelled by 300,000 people over the last 4 years.”

Brady continued “Sinn Féin’s Budget 2014 proposals are truly fair because we have sought to give low and middle income families a break by putting money back into their pockets. We have shown clearly that there were choices to be made by the government. Unfortunately they choose to attack the most vulnerable in society again and this time they are kicking them even harder, giving them the choice of suffering even more hardship and poverty at home or taking the boat or plane.”

Brady concluded “We will quickly see the real impact of this budget on people. People who are unemployed, women on maternity leave, students, people who are lingering on lengthy housing lists and the elderly. Even in death people will feel the impact of the budget with the withdrawal of the bereavement grant.”

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Bray Sinn Féin launch petition to get the 185 Bus back into Fassaroe

Bray Sinn Féin have launched a petition as part of their campaign to get the 185 Dublin Bus back into the Fassaroe Estate. Dublin Bus withdrew the bus last October due to difficulties turning buses in the estate.

Speaking after launching the petition in the estate Cllr John Brady said "Nearly a year has passed since Dublin Bus withdrew the 185 Bus from the Fassaroe Estate. The route provided a critical link for people from the estate, particularly elderly people to the town centre. Over that period i have spoken to Dublin Bus and council officials many times about trying to get the service back into the estate. The purpose of the petition and the campaign is to try put pressure on the powers to be and to show them the level of public feeling on this issue and the desire of them to get the service back."

Cllr Rossa Murray said "Unfortunately the buses were withdrawn because it was claimed there was difficulties in turning the buses in the estate. There is ample space within Fassaroe to provide the required turning space for the buses. What we need is the willingness to actually do it. The service is sorely missed and the fear is the longer the service is gone the more difficult it will be to get it back in."

Sinn Féin representative Oliver O'Brien went onto say "We have launched the petition which can be either signed on line at, or alternatively we will be going door to door and people can sign the paper copy. We are encouraging people to take copies of it also and get their friends and family to sign it, copies can be got from any SinnFéin representative"

Cllr Brady concluded "What we need is the council and Dublin Bus to work with the community of Fassaroe to put in place the conditions to allow the 185 back into the estate. I have provided a number of options to the council and i think these provide the way forward. I don't think opening up cul de sacs from Palermo into Fassaroe is the solution and it will meet huge resistance from all effected residents and rightfully so. We aim on collecting as many signatures as possible before presenting them to the council in November."

Boarded up council houses need to be allocated to Families

Bray Sinn Féin representatives Cllr John Brady, Cllr Rossa Murray and Oliver O'Brien have labelled the boarding up of council houses, especially during a housing crisis as disgraceful. They have also called for a management plan to be put in place to ensure vacant council houses and housing land banks don't become dumping grounds and magnets for anti-social behaviour.

Speaking after visiting vacant council properties on the O'Byrne Road Cllr Brady said "There is a serious housing crisis right across the state and Wicklow and Bray are no different. In Bray alone there are 827 families on the housing waiting list. It is absolutely disgraceful that at this point in the crisis council houses are still being boarded up and red tape is causing huge delays in them getting reallocated.In Bray alone there are nearly 20 boarded up houses, some of which have been boarded up since last year."

Cllr Murray went onto say "The current government policy of not building social housing is a flawed one which only serves to put money in the pockets of private landlords. When a council house does become available any work needed should be fast tracked to ensure it is reallocated as quickly as possible. Unfortunately too many houses are being left boarded up around Bray for far too long."

Bray Sinn Féin representative Oliver O'Brien continued "Keeping houses boarded up not only deprives another needy family of a home, but they also become magnets for anti-social behaviour and for dumping, this unfortunately drags the whole area down too. I have spoken to many people who have stated that they would willingly take a council house in any condition and carry out whatever work was needed themselves just to get a roof over their heads. Such is the seriousness of the situation these people should be listened to and these boarded up houses should be allocated immediately."

Cllr Brady concluded "The council has many land banks suitable for housing along with boarded up houses, these are all creating problems in communities across Bray. A plan needs to be put in place to ensure the houses are given to needy people as quickly as possible and that the land banks are not dumping grounds and magnets for anti-social behaviour. Only this week after repeated requests from myself and residents of Wolfe Tone, O'Byrne Rd and Sugarloaf Crescent the council has moved on site of a boarded up house on O'Byrne road and started to clear it out. Whilst government policy and red tape is creating a lot of the problems, the council should and cold be more proactive in ensuring houses are reallocated as quick as possible and that they are kept clean."

Friday, 11 October 2013

Wicklow Sinn Féin launch Pre-Budget Submission

Wicklow Sinn Féin has launched their party’s alternative budget. Wicklow councillor John Brady said Sinn Féin’s budget would lower the tax burden on ordinary families, protect public services and invest in jobs.  He said ordinary people would be better off under Sinn Féin.

Councillor Brady said; “The Sinn Fein budget will reduce the tax burden on ordinary families. It will protect public services and invest in jobs.

“We have identified a series of taxation and savings measures, fully costed by government departments, to reduce the deficit and pay for new spending measures.

“These include giving 1.8 million homeowners a tax rebate by abolishing the property tax, restoring the respite grant for 86,000 carers, taking 296,000 low income workers out of the USC, providing free school meals to five hundred more schools and halving the cost of school books, giving every child under five free GP care, extending the fuel allowance by three weeks, protecting the vulnerable – no more cuts to disability payments, no more cuts to Child Benefit, no more cuts to social welfare and introducing a stimulus to create thousands of jobs.”

Bray Sinn Féin representative Oliver O’Brien said “Austerity isn’t working. The government’s priority in this budget should be to protect citizens rather than meeting European diktats. Some 415,000 people are on the live register while 300,000 emigrated in the last four years. There are 49,000 people waiting for hospital treatments. 
One in ten children are living in consistent poverty with 47% of households living on less than €100 a month after bills. There are 90,000 households languishing on social housing lists while 180,000 households are in mortgage distress. This will be the seventh austerity budget from Fianna Fáil and this government which together will have taken €30 billion out of the economy.”

“People need a break. Sinn Féin’s alternative budget reduces the tax burden on ordinary families, protects public services and invests in jobs.” concluded O’Brien

Councillor Brady finished by saying “These proposals are all fully costed by the government’s budgetary costing unit.The document also sets out proactive measures to assist job creation, SMEs, the agriculture sector, and people in mortgage distress. It deals with corporation tax and natural resources and also stresses our commitment to equality budgeting.

“Our adjustment is just under €2.5billion. We believe that families need to be given a break.  Austerity is not working. The government needs to take its foot off the necks of the people. With this document we show how people are better off under Sinn Féin.” Ends

Monday, 30 September 2013

Huge queues at Wicklow Motor Tax Office were totally unnecessary and avoidable

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has stated that the huge delays experienced at the motor Tax office in Wicklow County Council today (Monday) were totally unnecessary and totally unavoidable. Hundreds of people queued for hours to notify the council that their vehicle has been off the road and untaxed, motorists had until close of business on Monday 30th September to notify the council under new legislation brought in by the government on 1st July 2013

Speaking after talking to many angry people in the council buildings in Wicklow on Monday councillor Brady said “Wicklow County council was more like Dublin airport at the height of summer today, hundreds of people queued some for hours to declare their vehicle had been off the road and to try get it taxed.  The car park was totally overflowing and council staff had to stop cars entering and try redirecting them elsewhere.”

The Sinn Féin councillor continued “We have a farcical situation here in Wicklow on what I would imagine was the busiest day of the year for motor tax, we had the motor tax offices in Bray and Blessington closed. Today, Monday 30th September was the last day for motorists to declare their vehicle was of the road. Under new laws motorists must now give prior notice that they intend to have the vehicle off the road. The council should have foreseen these queues happening because on Friday last the motor tax office in the council was exceptionally busy. So understandably on the last day it was always going to be even busier.”

Brady continued “In fairness to the staff at the motor tax office in Wicklow they worked exceptionally hard and additional hatches were opened to try deal with the huge volumes of people. However management should and could have quite easily put in place contingency plans and opened the tax offices in Bray and Blessington. Both offices only open part time, Bray opens three days a week and the office in Blessington only opens on a Tuesday. If these had of opened as a one off on Monday, they would have relieved a huge amount of pressure on the main tax office in Wicklow.”

“The council could have also arranged with the Gardaí to have a presence to stamp any paper work that was needed by people, other local authorities had put these arrangements in place. This cut down on people having to queue only to find out they needed the Gardaí to stamp the paperwork then return and queue again after travelling to the police station.”

Brady concluded “Whilst these exceptionally long queues and delays were a one off due to the new rules, they were however totally avoidable and should not have happened. The Department of the Environment should have pre-empted this and sent a circular to all councils asking them to put in place plans to deal with the huge numbers of expected people.”