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.” 

Monument for Wicklow Fire Fighters unveiled, National recognition now needed

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor has called for national recognition for the sacrifices that were made by Wicklow Fire-fighters Brian Murray and Mark O'Shaughnessy who died in the town on 26th September 2007. The councillor was speaking after the unveiling of a monument in Bray on Saturday which is dedicated to the two brave men. He has reiterated the call that was made at the unveiling for medals to be given to the families in recognition of the men’s bravery and sacrifice.

Cllr Brady who is a member of the committee which was formed to oversee the installation of the monument said “I am absolutely delighted that after a huge amount of work over the last two years a monument is now in place to honour fire-fighters Brian Murray and MarkO'Shaughnessy, both men lost their lives whilst tackling a blaze in the town on 26th September 2007. In 2011 a committee was formed comprising of family members, serving fire-fighters and myself and our objective was to get a permanent monument erected in Bray in a prominent location to serve as a reminder of the huge sacrifice the two men made to protect and serve their community."

Brady continued "Thankfully the beautiful monument which was designed and manufactured by local artist Ciaran Patterson has now been unveiled and will serve as a reminder into the future the sacrifice the men made; it will also remind people of the problems within the service. I have always stated that ultimately the only fitting tribute to Brian and Mark would be the established of a full time fire service in Bray and the creation of a National Fire Authority which would have the funding and the powers to fix the problems within the service."

John went onto say "We have done what we can here in Wicklow to remember the two men and to ensure that moving forward lessons are learned from their deaths. I am now calling on the powers to be at a national level to do their share and that should be the creation of a National Fire Authority, this is Sinn Féin policy but the Labour Party in 2007 also committed themselves to it. At the unveiling of the monument on Saturday a representative of the fire-fighters called on the government and the fire service to award medals to the families for the bravery of the two men that died serving their community."

Cllr Brady concluded "I am reiterating the call for medals to be awarded posthumously to the families of Brain and Mark. The Walter Scott Medal for Valour is a medal awarded annually for bravery to members of the Gardai. I think a medal based on the Scott medal should be designed and awarded to the families of Brian and Mark to recognise the bravery of the men who died in the line of duty whilst serving their community."

Monday 16 September 2013

Wicklow Sinn Féin to launch Seanad Referendum campaign

Wicklow Sinn Féin to launch Seanad Referendum campaign

Wicklow Sinn Féin will launch their Equality Not Elitism campaign on Friday 20th September and they are calling for a YES vote to abolish the Seanad.

Wicklow County councillor and campaign spokesperson John Brady along with Sinn Féin representatives from across Wicklow will launch the campaign for a yes vote on Friday 20th in the Glencormack Inn, Kilmacanogue.

Speaking ahead of the launch Cllr John Brady said:

“This referendum is hugely important and I am calling on people to turn out in big numbers and vote YES to abolish the Seanad in the referendum on Friday 4 October. Sinn Féin supports abolishing the Seanad because it represents a blatant inequality at the heart of the Irish political system.”

Cllr Brady continued “We know that the Seanad has failed to hold the Government and the Executive to account. In fact in the last two-and-a-half years, the Seanad has supported the government on every single occasion, including the introduction of the Property Tax, cuts to Disability Payments and the Promissory Note deal which is costing Irish tax payers €30 billion.

“The Seanad has promoted political cronies and allies rather than ideas or vision of change. Fianna Fáil, who now seeks to preserve the same Seanad, is the party which has done the most to reinforce the perception of the Seanad as a hot house of cronyism. The most damning feature of the Seanad is the elitism, inequality and discrimination that is at its core.” Continued Brady

The Wicklow Sinn Fein spokesperson went onto say “By restricting votes to an elite of those educated in a number of select colleges as well as City and County Councillors, the Seanad is anomaly in a modern democracy. There can be no place in a real republic, based on equality, for an elected office to which only a tiny percentage of the population have the right to vote. It runs in the face of the core principle that all citizens are equal. It is obviously wrong to most people that any elected office or parliament would discriminate against its own citizens based on where they were educated.”

Cllr Brady concluded “Sinn Féin seeks to build a New Republic on this island based on inclusivity and equality for all citizens. We want to see an end to privilege and elitism, and to the cronyism and the influence of vested interests that have so damaged politics in this country. Fairness, democracy and equality of citizenship demand that the current Seanad be abolished. Sinn Féin is appealing to voters to get out and vote in this referendum on October 4th, to vote for change and Vote Yes.” Ends

Thursday 12 September 2013

Bray Town Council needs to clean up their own backyard

Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has called on Bray Town Council to put a maintenance plan in place to deal with the considerable land banks they hold around the town. Many of the land banks were obtained by the council for housing purposes, however a change of government policy has resulted in no new social housing being constructed, so not only is their policy creating a housing crisis it is also resulting in urban blight. The councillor made his comments after meeting with concerned residents from the Parnell Road area in Bray town centre.

Cllr Brady said "Over the the few months i have received a large number of complaints from residents from throughout the town about the condition of council owned properties and land. Unfortunately little or no action has been taken by the council to address the concerns expressed by the residents. Recently i met with residents from the Parnell Road area in Bray town centre, they are looking for the old Central Garage site on the road to be cleaned up. They where shocked when i informed them that the site is owned by Bray Town Council."

Cllr Brady continued "The old Central Garage site was acquired by Bray Town Council under Part V of the Housing Act and it was intended for the construction of social housing. Unfortunately a change of government policy has resulted in the curtailment of the construction of all social housing. This has resulted in the site on Parnell Road and other council owned sites that were acquired under the same process becoming derelict, overgrown, full of rubbish and magnets for anti-social behaviour."

Cllr Brady went on to say "Only this week we got some positive news that Bray has improved its score in the Tidy Towns competition, full credit must go to the council outdoor staff and the volunteers in the Bray Tidy Town group, however if action is not taken to tackle the serious problem that the site on Parnell Road and others around the town are becoming they could very quickly unravel the good work that is being done."

"Whilst we await a change of government policy to allow something to happen with these sites the council officials must direct additional resources and put in place a management plan to tackle the council owned eye sores which are located throughout the town, including the one on Parnell Road which is is just off the towns main shopping thoroughfare. The issue has been reported to the council, but unfortunately no action has been seen on the ground, people are now legitimately asking why they were forced to pay a property tax" concluded Brady

Thursday 5 September 2013

Building where two fire fighters died in Bray needs to be made safe - Brady

Sinn Féin councillor John Brady is calling on Bray Town Council to use their powers under the Local Government (SANITARY SERVICES) ACT, 1964, to deal with the dangerous derelict building where two fire fighters died whilst fighting a fire in 2007. The building is located at Adelaide Villas, in Bray and it has remained untouched since the deadly blaze that claimed the lives of fire fighters Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy.

Speaking after raising concerns about the safety of the derelict structure at a recent council meeting councillor Brady said “Following representations from the public expressing safety concerns about the derelict building on Adelaide Villas where the two fire fighters died tackling a serious blaze in 2007, I raised the issue at a recent Town Council meeting. The structure has large cracks in the walls and it appears to be unstable. This I image is down to the intensity of the fire in 2007. Children have been seen climbing over these walls and entering the site which has not been cleared since the lethal fire.”
Cllr Brady continued “I was however stunned at the flippant attitude and response I received from the officials when I raised the issue. The council have stated that the site is on the derelict site register since February. However they have also stated that this is only to deal with the how the site looks, they went further to say that they can’t stop children accessing the buildings. I believe however the council has other powers that it needs to use to ensure these dangerous structures are made safe immediately and they need to use them.”

“Section 3 of the Local Government (SANITARY SERVICES) ACT, 1964, deals specifically with dangerous structures; it lays out clearly the Powers at the disposal of sanitary authorities. The council can serve notice on the owner of the dangerous structure at Adelaide Villas to demolish it. The council also has the powers to have the necessary works carried out them, to ensure it is made safe in the interest of the public. The council needs to immediately get an engineer to inspect the structure to establish how unstable it is, whilst also engaging the owner.”

Cllr Brady concluded “As we approach the sixth anniversary of the deaths of Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy the last thing we need is another person to be injured or worse at this site. The owners have the primary responsibility to ensure the structure is safe. Unfortunately after nearly six years it remains the same as it did on the day of the blaze, the only thing that has changed is the safety of the structure. The council has the powers to deal with the eyesore that is literally a death trap and they must us those powers for the safety of the public.”

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Funding cuts to Sunbeam House Services are callous and designed to hurt

Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has slammed a funding cut by the HSE to Sunbeam House Services in Bray as callous and designed to inflict the most pain on the most vulnerable in society. The cut of €189,461 was imposed on Sunbeam House Services in August and has resulted in the immediate withdrawal of transport services to and from Sunbeam for clients.

Speaking after meeting with some of the effected families Cllr John Brady said "I am truly shocked that the HSE who are acting at the behest of Fine Gael and Labour could be so callous by imposing a funding cut of €189,461 to Sunbeam House Services in Bray. The cut is clearly designed to inflict maxium hurt and pain by being imposed at the latter end of the financial year, this huge cut is on top of a 2% cut that was imposed at the beginning of the year. Sunbeam House Services provide an excellent service for people with intellectual disabilities, they are based in Bray and service users attend from right across Wicklow."

Cllr Brady continued "Sunbeam Services had been given no prior notification of the cuts and they were only discovered on 14 August. Unfortunately Sunbeam House Services had to put in place cost saving measures that will meet the additional €189,461 cuts before the end of the year. These cuts unfortunately include the curtailment in transport services in the North Wicklow area along with limiting of trips for clients. Letters have been issued to service users informing them of the unfortunate cuts that had to be made by Sunbeam House Services to protect direct service provision. I have spoken to a number of families that will be directly impacted by this unprecedented action and they are still reeling from the shock and still trying to come to terms and are trying to put in place alternative arrangements. The cut to transport will immediately effect 44 service users from the Greystones, Delgany and Bray areas."

"I brought this very serious attack on people with disabilities up at Mondays Wicklow County Council meeting. I proposed a motion slamming the cuts and demanding their reversal, the motion was broadly supported. The council is also writing to the Labour Minister for Disabilities Kathleen Lynch and to the Fine Gael Minister for Health James Reilly. The letter will outline the serious concerns of the council about the cuts and the impact it will have on the sector. The letter will demand that the funding is restored to ensure Sunbeam House Services can continue their excellent work and that there are no further cuts. A request for a representative from the HSE to attend a council meeting is also to be issued."

Cllr Brady concluded "People with disabilities and those who work in the disability sector are genuinely fearful what the future holds for them. With these callous cuts people know only too well the impact they will have. A government has to be judged by how they threat the most vulnerable in society and these cuts show clearly what the government think of its citizens and these huge cuts speak volumes. These cuts will only serve to ensure the daily struggle endured by those with a disability continues to get harder, these cuts need to be reversed immediately."

Monday 2 September 2013

Protest to be held outside Bray Town Council meeting as Springfield Cemetery Committee push Forward Motion

A protest will be held outside the monthly meeting of Bray Town Council on Tuesday 3rd Septemember at 6.45pm. The protest has been organised by the Springfield cemetery committee which was set up to protect their loved ones graves in Springfield, this followed an announcement Bray Town Council that for 1st September the council would remove flowers ornaments and other mementos from the graves and revert the cemetery to a lawn cemetery. A motion will also be tabled on the evening on behalf of the committee.

Speaking ahead of the meeting Sinn Féin councillor John Brady said "As the deadline set by Bray Town Council of September has passed for family members to remove flowers, ornaments, mementos and other items they may have on their loved ones graves, the council meeting may be the last opportunity the public may have to get their public representatives to listen and act on their behalf. The committee have organised a public protest too coincide with the tabling of a motion that i plan on putting forward on their behalf. The protest will assemble at 6.45pm at the old Town Hall Building."

Cllr Brady Continued "I believe that the motion the committee has brought forward is compromise that should be acceptable to all the council members. This motion is a sincere proposal to try end this terrible situation that has been ongoing now for the last three months and has left a large number of families hurt and heartbroken. The committee has already submitted a petition to the council containing over two thousand signatures asking the council not to impose an old lawn cemetery policy on grieving families that were unaware of its existence."

Cllr Brady concluded "Members of the community want to work with the council to improve Springfield cemetery and this motion provides the council with a template to harness that community spirit and to work with people. I am strongly urging the public to come along to the protest on Tuesday, i also urge all the public representatives to give the motion careful consideration and work towards improving the cemetery for everyone."  

The Springfield Cemetery motion that will be tabled at the council meeting reads as follows: 

The existing lawn policy of Bray Town Council has never been fully implemented since the cemetery opened in 1982. In the early years the families who buried their loved ones in the cemetery were informed of the council lawn policy; however this has not been the case over the last 13 years. This has resulted in a large number of families planting flowers and leaving ornaments and other mementos on the graves. We believe it would be very incentive and hurtful to try imposing the lawn only policy on these families after such a lengthy period. The council in cooperation with the community will set up a Springfield Cemetery Committee. This committee will consist of Council Officials, Cemetery staff, and family members who have loved ones buried in the cemetery. This committee will draft a master plan for the cemetery to oversee the installation of an Angels Plot and Urn Wall along with the upgrading and maintenance of the cemetery to the highest of standards. Funding for these projects will be identified and ring-fenced.        

From 1st September the council will rigidly enforce the lawn policy for all new burials. Any existing graves that have flowers etc. on them will not be interfered with so long as they are maintained to an acceptable level. If the maintenance drops below an agreed standard set by the Cemetery Committee the council or agents working on behalf of the council will be permitted to turn the grave to a lawn in consultation with the Cemetery Committee.