Wednesday 27 March 2013

Brady calls for an emergency extension to the fuel allowance payment

Wicklow Sinn Fein County Councillor John Brady has called for an
emergency extension to the fuel allowance payment for the elderly and
those in receipt of social welfare payments. Brady wants the
government to reverse the cut of 6 weeks to the payment which was
introduced in Budget 2012.

Brady stated “The fuel allowance payment to the elderly and those on
social welfare is an essential payment of €20 a week to help cover the
cost of heating the family home. The Fuel Allowance season was reduced
by 6 weeks in Budget 2012 from 32 weeks to 26 weeks for all
recipients; it’s now paid for 6 months from mid-October to mid-April.
The last payment is due in two weeks; however there is no end in sight
to the cold weather”

Brady continued “The reduction of 6 weeks for the payment coupled with
higher fuel prices and the coldest March in 50 years has left
vulnerable people struggling to heat their homes.”

Brady went on “It has been estimated that 3,000 excess winter deaths
of people aged over 65 were recorded in Ireland between 2005 and 2009,
over 400 were directly linked to the temperature inside their homes. A
survey released in December found that more than half of older people
in Ireland go without food or clothing in order to meet the costs of
heating their homes. Almost one in ten older people surveyed said they
use their ovens to provide extra heat during cold snaps.”

Cllr Brady concluded “I am appealing to the Minister for Social
Protection Joan Burton to provide an emergency extension to the fuel
allowance. I am also calling on Wicklow Labour TD Anne Ferris to come
out of her self imposed exile and take a stand on this issue. Ferris
had been very vocal on this issue in the past and very critical of the
previous government. However there has been nothing from her in
relation to the cut of 6 weeks to fuel allowance that her government
imposed, she can now make amends for that by demanding an emergency
payment to the most vulnerable.”

Sinn Féin in government will repeal the Family Home Tax – Brady

Sinn Féin in government will repeal the Family Home Tax – Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has welcomed the Sinn
Fein bill to repeal the Family Home Tax that was introduced to the
Dail this week and said his party is committed to repealing the tax if
in government after the next general election.

Speaking after the launch of the Financial Local Property Tax Repeal
Bill Councillor Brady said:

“This bill is a key part of Sinn Fein’s alternative to austerity for
lower and middle income families. These families have borne the brunt
of austerity budget after austerity budget under Fianna Fáil and Fine
Gael/Labour.  They need a break.

“This tax was signed off on by Fianna Fáil and has been taken up by
the Fine Gael and Labour. There are a wide range of alternatives as
Sinn Féin has consistently pointed out.

“The method of collection of this new tax is brutal. Those who are
accepted as being unable to pay face a 4% penalty next year while
those who can’t pay but are not recognised as being unable to pay face
a 8% penalty. The government will raid salaries, social welfare
payments and pensions to extract this tax on the family home.

“We know the reality that one in four mortgages are in distress yet
these same households who may be in negative equity and have paid
stamp duty now face this extra tax. That is blatantly unfair.

“We saw in last week’s list of exempted ghost estates just how few
exemptions will be tolerated.

“Sinn Féin in government will repeal this tax. Our bill would refund
the tax paid by citizens for the year in which it is scrapped.

“This bill which has been introduced on the floor of the Dáil this
week and will be debated during our Private Members’ Time at the
earliest opportunity.

“We will continue to campaign across the state to win support for this bill.”

Friday 22 March 2013

Wicklow Sinn Féin has announced details of its Easter Commemoration.

Wicklow Sinn Féin has announced details of its Easter Commemoration.

Sinn Fein County Councillor John Brady has announced the Wicklow
County Easter commemoration will assemble at Bray Town Hall on Easter
Saturday at 1.30pm and parade to the 1798 monument on Castle Street.

This year's oration will be delivered by Eoin O Broin. Eoin is a Sinn
Fein Ard Comhairle member and Dublin Mid West activist; he is the
author of a number of books and is Sinn Fein political advisor in
Leinster Hse.

Cllr Brady stated "Easter is an important time for Irish Republicans
and we would ask that as many people as possible join with us in what
is the main Easter Commemoration to be held in County Wicklow. We
would also ask that people would wear an Easter Lily as a token of
remembrance to all those who died for Irish Freedom," Clr. Brady said.

Cllr Brady continued “The Wicklow County commemoration this year will
be held in Bray on Easter Saturday 30th March. Everyone is welcome. As
we near the 100th Anniversary of 1916, it is important that as
republicans we keep the memory and the vision of the 1916 Proclamation
alive and part of the politics and discourse of the Irish people. The
vision contained within the proclamation is now more relevant and
required than ever before.”

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Distress as Wicklow Housing Adaptation Grant for the elderly and people with disabilities cut by 40%

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has said the cut of 40% to the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability, Mobility Aids Grant and Housing Aid for Older People Grant will have a devastating effect on the elderly and people with disabilities. The grant given to Wicklow County Council by the Government has been cut by a staggering €387,676.31 in 2013

Cllr Brady said “This is a serious blow for elderly people and people with a disability. The purpose of the grants are to allow the person adapt or modify their homes to enable them continue living there. In Decembers budget the national allocation was reduced from €54m in 2012 to €35m in 2013. Wicklow County Council received notification of their 2013 allocation on 1st March; it has been cut by a staggering €387,676.31.”

Brady continued “These schemes have provided a life-line in the past to many older people and people with disabilities, it has enabled people who have qualified for the payment to convert downstairs rooms into toilets or shower rooms, or to fit a stair lift.  The means-tested grants can pay up to 95-100% of the cost of the work depending on which grant is applied for. These further cuts will mean that fewer people will be able to afford to adapt or modify their homes this year, the waiting period for funding will get longer, and inevitably people will no longer be able to live in their homes. Instead, some may be forced into residential care.”

“These cuts follow on from other cuts aimed at people with disabilities and the most vulnerable in society, recently the Department of Health announced that it planned on axing the mobility allowance and motorised transport grant for those with disabilities. Fine Gael and Labour are clearly picking on the most vulnerable in our society and are hell bent on forcing the ordinary people of Ireland to hurt the most for the gross mismanagement of the State by Fianna Fail.”

Cllr Brady went onto say “Housing staff in Wicklow County Council have had to take the difficult decision to write out to elderly applicants who had previously applied for funding to have necessary repairs or improvements carried out to their houses and notify them that their application will not be considered and that the council have to adhere to 3 priority lists circulated by the Department of the Environment on behalf of Minister for housing Jan O’Sullivan.”

Brady concluded “These cuts will clearly affect the most vulnerable people in Wicklow and will inevitably cost the State substantially more if people are forced from their homes and into residential care. I am calling on the 4 Government TDs and Labour and Fine Gael councillors to lobby their Minister for Housing Jan O’Sullivan to reverse these appalling cuts in an attempt to help the elderly and disabled remain living at home where they can have a better quality of life.”

Thursday 7 March 2013

Questions need to be asked as 280 jobs go in Rathdrum-Brady

Reacting to news of 280 job losses in Rathdrum Sinn Féin Councillor
John Brady has asked where exactly is the governments job retention

Cllr Brady stated “This will be a severe blow to the workers and the
community around the MSD site in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow. By the IDA’s
own job multiplier over 100 other local jobs will be affected.
Yesterday we had a succession of government ministers claiming that
their plan was working and the jobs crisis was turning the corner.
That is not the experience of these workers or the growing number of
long-term employed or emigrants."

“Six months ago the Taoiseach, speaking at the MSD sister site in
Ballydine, Tipperary highlighted the signs that the economy was
turning when 70 jobs had been created there. Six months later and the
same company are shredding 280 jobs does the same logic ring true?
It’s important that the needs of the workers are met. It has been
reported that some of these jobs have been lost to Singapore. If this
is the case the government must act to access, as a matter of urgency,
the European Globalisation Fund to assist these workers back into
employment." continued Brady

He went onto say "A number of questions do need to be asked however,
where is the governments job retention plan? 280 workers are going to
be out of a job, we need to know that everything has been done that
can be done by the government and the Minister to ensure these jobs
are retained. Also questions must be asked about support this company
received from state agencies and the value of that support in terms of
jobs creation, retention and displacement."

Cllr Brady concluded "Its important that we remember that there are
real people, families and communities behind the statistics. These job
losses would rip the heart out of any community, but they will be felt
hardest in a rural community such as Rathdrum. Everything must be done
to either retain or have a new buyer brought in and the government
needs to take a lead role in that." Ends

Launch of Wicklow Sinn Fein Family Home Tax campaign timed to coincide with first demand letters from Revenue

Wicklow Sinn Féin has announced a series of public meetings across the
County aimed at opposing the Property Tax and to build a campaign
demanding that the legislation is repealed. The meetings are timed to
coincide with the first letters of demand which are due to be posted
to households from 11th March.

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has said “On Tuesday 12th
March Sinn Féin are launching our campaign against the Family Home
Tax, the launch will take place in the Royal Hotel in Bray and it is
timed to coincide with the first letters of demand from the Revenue
Commissioners which will go in the post to every eligible and some
ineligible households across this state, this will be yet another
demand from a government fixated on austerity and implementing the
failed policies of Fianna Fáil.”

Councillor John Brady has said “The family home tax will be the last
straw for many struggling families across Wicklow. This week the
government rushed through the second piece of legislation on the
Family Home Tax. Once again their arrogance resulted in little or no
debate on the most important issue facing many people. This cabinet
with their large salaries will not feel the effect of this new tax but
hundreds of thousands of others in mortgage arrears, unemployed or
simply struggling month to month will feel it acutely. The government
needs to get out of their comfortable seats and recognise this fact.”

“Sinn Féin is the only party with a clear and consistent opposition to
a Family Home Tax. This is an unfair tax which takes no regard to
stamp duty paid, management fees or ability to pay in most cases. Sinn
Féin is determined to see this tax repealed rather than simply
tinkered with. We have shown how an alternative Wealth Tax would be a
fairer alternative which would not dampen the domestic economy.”

Brady continued “Recently 70,000 homeowners heard that the AIB will be
increasing their variable mortgage interest rates. This comes at a
time when one in four mortgages are in distress. The last thing the
180,000 mortgage holders in distress need is another letter bearing
unsustainable demands. For the 1.8 million people left with €100 or
less at the end of the month after essential bills are paid this will
be the tipping point. The property tax letter from Revenue to
householders will only add financial stress and hardship to families
across the state. There is no sense in taxing the family home.”

Cllr Brady concluded “Sinn Féin will launch a bill in the coming weeks
which would repeal the Family Home Tax. We are calling on all parties
to reflect on what receiving the letter on the week of the 11th of
March will mean for working people and to lend their support to our
repeal bill before it’s too late. The reality of this unfair tax is
now dawning on people who have already shouldered austerity budget
after austerity budget. On Tuesday 12th March Wicklow Sinn Féin will
launch our campaign to repeal the Property Tax. This will be followed
by a number of other public meetings that have been organised across
Wicklow which include, The Arklow Bay Wednesday 20th March. The Corner
House, Carnew, Thursday 21st March both at 8pm.” Ends

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Huge crowd turns up for public meeting to save the 145 Bus to Kilmacanogue

Over 150 people crammed into The Glencormack Inn in Kilmacanogue on
Monday evening to attended a public meeting which was organised by
Sinn Fein Councillor John Brady. The meeting was called to discuss the
plans by Dublin Bus to curtail the 145 Bus route that serves to
village of Kilmacanogue and the surrounding area. The meeting agreed a
community campaign of opposition to any plans to cut the widely used
and highly regarded route.

Cllr Brady said "Such is the concern of the people of Kilmac and the
surrounding area about the plans by Dublin Bus regarding the 145 bus,
a huge crowd turned up to the public meeting i had organised on Monday
evening. Unfortunately large amounts of people had to be turned away
because the room in the Glencormack Inn was full to capacity. It was
outlined that Dublin Bus are currently looking at the possibility of
stopping the 145 which currently runs to Kilmac at Springfield
Cemetery in Bray and that officials are currently exploring the

Cllr. Brady went onto say "Many people spoke on the night about the
excellent service the 145 is and how the village of Kilmacanogue and
surrounding areas depend heavily on it. It provides a vital link to
the schools, shops and other transport links in the Bray area and how
Kilmac is cut off with no footpaths linking it to other areas such as
Bray. People spoke very passionately about the service and they are
very determined that the route will remain and they wont allow any
watering down of the service. A number of issues were identified on
the night that could be addressed to improve the service and myself
and the other public representatives that were present pledged to
follow those up at council level."

Cllr Brady continued "It was agreed on the night that a meeting with
representatives from Dublin Bus would be requested and a number of
people from the community agreed to make up the deputation to meet
them. A petition outlining the communities opposition to any cuts to
the 145 was launched on the night and its planned this will be handed
over to Dublin Bus when the meeting takes place."

Cllr Brady concluded "The community of Kilmac are certainly pulling
together to protect the 145 and the resolve shown at the meeting on
Monday typifies what communities are about. I know Dublin Bus will
have a fight on their hands if there are intent on going ahead with
any plan. However we have a very strong argument as to why the route
should be protected and hopefully we can get to put these points
across when we meet them and that they will be taken on board." Ends

An online copy of the petition has also been launched:

Brady concerned about the future of St. Catherine's as at least 30 staff have contracts terminated

Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has expressed serious concerns about the future of St. Catherine's Association which is based in Newcastle and provides care to clients who have intellectual and other disabilities. Staff at the HSE funded unit were informed today that the contracts of 30 staff members who where on temporary contracts would end in a months time and they would not be extended or replaced. More meetings are due to be held with respite staff and other staff members over the next few days and it appears others staff members are to be cut too.

Cllr John Brady said "I have real concerns about St. Catherine's and their ability to maintain the excellent level of service and care they provide here in Wicklow. Staff members were called into a number of meetings on Tuesday and 30 staff members on temporary contracts were given 1 months notice that their contracts would be ceasing. During the course of the day other meeting were planned with respite staff and others. At this moment we don't have a full picture as to how many staff will go or how many will remain, but its safe to say this is devastating news for everyone connected with St. Catherine's. I also feel deeply for the staff and their families whose contracts are to be terminated, they have given many years service to the people of Wicklow and everything must be done to try save the positions."

Cllr Brady continued "St. Catherine’s Association is a non-profit making organisation which provides education, training, healthcare and residential/respite care to clients who have intellectual and other disabilities. St. Catherine’s Association is funded substantially by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to provide a range of services to families in County Wicklow. These services include Early Intervention for children from birth to age six, Pre-Schools, National School, Respite/Residential living, Outreach, Nursing, Speech & Language Therapy, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Positive Behaviour Support, Occupational Therapy, Transport and other supports."

Brady went on to say "St. Catherine's currently meets the needs of over 250 children and families in County Wicklow and cuts over the last number of years have made things difficult. However the loss of any staff will have an impact and cuts of such a large number is bound to have a detrimental impact. I am planning on having the issue raised in the Dáil with the Minister and i am looking for a full statement on the matter from the HSE."

Cllr Brady continued "These cuts will impact on the most needy in our society here in Wicklow and i am calling on Wicklow's 4 government TD's to intervene immediately to stop these jobs losses that will devastate the excellent service that's provided by St. Catherine's."