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”.