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.