Thursday 27 June 2013

Action needed to address the old A O'Smith site in Bray which has become a magnet for Criminal Activity

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has called for immediate
action to be taken to address the dangers posed by the derelict A O'
Smith building on the Boghall Road in Bray.
A O'Smith once housed over 140 employees before its closure in 2005,
the building has now fallen into a state of dereliction and is used as
a drug den and a haven for anti-social behaviour and criminal

The Sinn Féin Councillor said “The A O'Smith building which at its
peak employed up to 200 people, was one of the best maintained
businesses in Bray. Unfortunately since it closed in 2005 it has been
allowed to fall into a state of dereliction which is not only an eye
sore but it is also the scene of constant criminal activities. I have
spoken to firefighters who were recently called to the site to deal
with a fire and they have stated the inside of the building is strewn
with syringes. I have also spoken to other members of the community
who regularly witness large groups of people entering the premises for
drug parties. I also believe a number of people are living and
sleeping in the dangerous building. Action is needed immediately to
secure the site and clean it up but most importantly to get positive
plans in place for the future of the site".

"The site is owned by 2 Galway business men, however the IDA have a 99
year lien on the site. A number of years ago at the height of the
property boom the IDA did formulate a price for the lien they hold,
however it was deemed too high at the time by the businessmen and
unfortunately the site has lain derelict since. I have constantly been
raising this issue with the council and in November 2007 it was
entered on the Derelict Sites Register. However after some minor works
to secure the building it was removed from the register in 2008. Once
entered on the register the owners must pay an annual levy to the
local authority. This levy amounts to 3% of the market value of the
land concerned".

Cllr Brady continued “There is a responsibility on the owners of the A
O'Smith site to take action to address this eyesore which is a big
public safety concern; the owners can’t abdicate their
responsibilities. There is also a big responsibility however on Bray
Town Council and the IDA. I am calling on the council to take the lead
on this serious issue to try get action on the ground, the council
must immediately enter the site on the Derelict Sites Register again
as a starting point. They must also organise a trilateral meeting
between all interested parties to try put in place plans for the
immediate future of the site. The council must use all its powers to
address the issue and all options need to be explored, there are
specific regulations about dangerous structures. The local authority
can direct that work, including the demolition of the structure and
the clearing of the site be carried out immediately if it considers it

Cllr Brady concluded "I believe at this point in time all options must
be on the table so as the safety of the community of Ballywaltrim and
Bray is protected and the eyesore that is the
A O'Smith site is dealt with. We have already lost one member of the
community who unfortunately died on site in 2010 and we don't want any
more". Ends

Sunday 23 June 2013

Brady welcomes the installation of Dog Litter Bins in the Ballywaltrim Recreation Park

Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has welcomed the installation of a
number of dog litter bins in the 23 acre Ballywaltrim Recreation Park
in Bray. Users of the park have been campaigning for Bray Town Council
to tackle the serious problem of dog litter in the area. The issue has
in the past resulted in a child being hospitilsed and football matches
being abandoned, it has become a public safety issue.

Cllr Brady said "I welcome the installation of the dog litter bins in
the Ballywaltrim Recreation Park, signs are due to be erected in the
coming days. The bins were installed recently and have received a
broad welcome from users of the park. The park is widely used by
Gaelic teams, soccer teams, walkers and joggers. However the issue of
irresponsible dog owners not picking up dog waste has become a very
serious problem which poses a serious threat to all users".

Brady continued "The council has come under a lot of pressure from the
Ballywaltrim Users Group and many of the sporting clubs that use the
park, who had been calling on them to address the problem. Dog feces
poses a serious health risk which may contain parvovirus, whipworms,
hookworms, roundworms, threadworms, campylobacteriosis, giardia, and
coccidia. If left unattended, these parasites will contaminate the
water, soil, and can even cause infection in both pets and humans,
especially children. The microscopic Hookworm larvae can be passed to
another pet or person directly through the skin or by accidental
ingestion as can other bacteria. There is also the threat of being
infected by toxoplasmosis which can result in blindness".

Cllr Brady concluded "Whilst I welcome the action Bray Town Council is
taking to tackle the problem in the Ballywaltrim area of the town. The
problem is a much bigger one which affects many other areas.
Installing bins for dog owners to dispose waste in is part of the
solution; however education is another key thing that needs to happen.
Unfortunately there are many irresponsible dog owners who must be
educated so that they are made aware of the risks they are putting
other members of the community under". Ends

Friday 21 June 2013

Heads must roll and lessons need to be learnt following the Guilty Plea relating to the deaths of Wicklow Firefighters

Sinn Féin County councillor John Brady has stated that there need to
be accountability and lessons need to be learnt from the deaths of
Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy who died fighting a blaze at a
factory at Adelaide Villas in Bray on September 26th, 2007. Wicklow
County Council has pleaded guilty in the middle of court proceedings
against it relating to criminal health and safety violations relating
to the death of two fire-fighters in Bray six years ago.

The Sinn Féin councillor and long-time campaigner on the fire service
stated “I am a firm believer in the saying that justice delayed is
justice denied, so after nearly six long and agonising years the
families of Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaugnessy and I heard the words
that we had waited so long to hear, after 8 days of the trial against
Wicklow County Council relating to the men’s deaths the Council
changed their plea to guilty”.

Cllr Brady continued “After sitting through a number of days in the
court listening to the evidence against the Council I believe the
outcome of the case was inevitable. It does raise the question however
as to why the council dragged their heals for so long during the
investigation and why after putting the families and witnesses through
the harrowing ordeal of having to relive the events of 26 September
2007 again. One must remember that to get it to court the
investigation had been severely hampered and obstacles thrown in the
way. This culminated in a raid of Wicklow County Council on 23
February 2010 by the Gardaí, in conjunction with the Health and Safety
Authority; they removed computers and files from the Council offices.
It followed several arrests including that of the Chief Fire Officer
and his two assistants”.

“I believe that senior officials in the council including the County
Manager Eddie Sheehy failed to fully cooperate with the investigation,
this culminated in him being taken into custody for questioning on 11
May 2010. Ultimately in any organisation there needs to be
accountability and Wicklow County Council should be no different. They
have now pleaded guilty to 3 charges relating to the deaths of Brian
and Mark and contrary to the councils spin they were not cleared of
any charges which lead to the men’s deaths. I believe that Eddie
Sheehy’s position at the head of the organisation that presided over
the deaths of 2 of its workers is now untenable and he must
immediately resign”.

Cllr Brady went onto say “In 2005 I stood on a picket line with Brian
Murray after he led a walk out of the fire station in Bray in an
attempt to highlight the serious health and safety breeches that
existed in the service. These included the vetting of emergency calls,
inadequate training and shortage of personal being despatched to call
outs. Unfortunately he predicted someone would die because of those
issues, little was he to know that 2 years later both he and his
colleague Mark would be the victims, not of some tragic accident but
as I believe a result of the policies of the council which were
implemented as cost saving measures. Their deaths need not have
happened if the council and indeed other councillors had listened to
the concerns of the Brian and indeed me in 2005”.

The Sinn Féin councillor concluded “Lessons need to be learnt from the
deaths of Brian and Mark. I am now calling on the Minister of the
Environment Phil Hogan to honour a commitment given by John Gormley
who was the relevant Minister at the time of the deaths of Brian and
Mark and to hold a public enquiry into the fire service in Wicklow. He
stated that once all the investigations were finished and any criminal
proceedings held, the issue would be looked at. I believe that such an
investigation would result in the control of the fire service being
removed from local authorities and placed under the remit of a
National Fire Authority and more importantly issues such as the need
for a full time service for Bray being addressed”. Ends

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Outrage as Council Threaten to remove personal items from Graves in Springfield Cemetery

Bray Town Council has sparked outrage among locals after the council
erected a number of signs in the Springfield Cemetery demanding that
they remove any personal items or mementos placed on the graves before
1st September.

Speaking after the signs were erected Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor
John Brady said “The signs that were erected on Friday last have
sparked outrage among locals, many of whom have been tending to the
grave plots for several years. The first many family members heard
about the council policy was when they attended the blessing of the
graves on Sunday afternoon in the cemetery and they seen the signs
that were erected around”.

The councillor continued “The council are saying that Springfield is a
lawn cemetery, however this has not been enforced and families have
not been informed of this when burying their loved ones. It’s totally
wrong for the council to move in heavy handed like this after allowing
families maintain the graves, in many cases for the last 10-15 years.
For many people a grave is all they have to remember their loved one
by and they have placed candles, flowers, ornaments etc. on the grave
and maintain them to the highest of standards”.

Cllr Brady went on to say “I have checked the forms and paperwork that
family members have to fill out and sign when purchasing a plot or
having a grave reopened and there is no mention whatsoever of
Springfield being a lawn cemetery or that they are not permitted to
place flowers, candles or small ornaments on the graves. This is
deeply distressing for many families who were already suffering as a
result of the loss of their loved ones”.

Cllr Brady concluded “Threatening to remove items from the graves and
disposing of them has caused a lot of anger in Ballywaltrim and right
across Bray. The council needs to withdraw the signs immediately and
come up with creative solutions that would include allowing families
to maintain their loved ones graves”. Ends

Friday 7 June 2013

Unelected Council Officials must respect principles of Democracy

Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has stated that senior public
servants with Bray Town Council have seriously overstepped the mark by
denying citizens the right to democratic representation by their
democratically elected public representatives. The councillor made the
comments following the refusal of council officials to meet two
homeless women in the presence of a councillor.

Speaking on the issue councillor John Brady said “Last week we had an
unprecedented event in Bray when two homeless girls staged a sit in of
the Bray Town Council offices seeking the basic right to suitable
emergency accommodation for themselves and their children as opposed
to the unsuitable homeless shelter over 40km away in Rathdrum. After
26 hours sitting in the council offices a resolution was reached and
key to that was that the girls, the chair of the council Mick Glynn
and I sat down with all relevant officials to try resolve their
homeless situation. However the officials moved the goalposts when
they refused to meet the girls in my presence or the presence of the
chairperson. This unfortunately resulted in another sit in being
staged by the girls and it only ended after I asked the girls to do so
to prevent them getting dragged into a political squabble between the
unelected, unaccountable officials and the elected members. ”

Cllr Brady continued “There are clearly two key and totally separate
issues in all of this. One is the critical issue of the girl’s
homelessness and the need to find a lasting solution to it. The second
is the unprecedented attack on the basic principles of democracy and
the primary function of a councillor which is to provide a
representational function. I think it important that the two issues
are kept separate and dealt with likewise and that’s why I asked the
girls to end their sit in. I am continuing to work with the girls to
try put in place suitable long term accommodation.”

“The second issue to come out of this is the two fingered salute given
to all councillors by the senior officials dealing with this issue. It
is outrageous that Bray Town Council has refused to meet two citizens
in the presence of their democratically elected representative.
Representing constituents is one of the primary roles of a councillor
and any attempt to stop this is a blatant attack on the entire
democratic process itself and is the right of any citizen or group to

Cllr Brady continued “We are supposed to live in a democratic society
where public representatives are mandated by the people to represent
them. This is legislated for in the Local Government Act 2001 and
strengthened in the Putting People First, Action Programme for
Effective Local Government 2012. This is not just an attack on me as a
councillor; it’s an attack on all councillors.”

Cllr Brady concluded “This issue has been raised with the Minister of
the Environment and Local Government Phil Hogan. I am also getting
legal advice.  Council officials are public servants. They are there
to serve the public and fulfil their public duties. It is important
that Bray Town Council and other councils get the message that this
type of behaviour is not acceptable and maybe if they stuck to their
jobs, Bray and Wicklow would be a better place.” Ends