Monday 15 December 2014

Wicklow County Council has passed a motion calling on the Government to provide the funding to establish a Full-time fire service in Bray

Wicklow County Council has passed a motion calling on the Government to provide the funding to establish a Full-time fire service in Bray. The motion was put forward by Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady at Monday's council meeting where a report on the provision of a Full-time fire service was presented by the Wicklow Chief Fire Officer.

Speaking after the meeting Councillor Brady said "At Mondays meeting a report was given to the council outlining issues relating to the provision of a Full-time fire service in Bray and North Wicklow. I have always believed there is a l need for a Full-time service in Bray and that is backed up by the unfortunate number of fatalities the community of a Bray has experienced due to fires, many of which I believe could have been saved if we had a Full- time service. A lack of funding has always been one of the biggest issues in implementing this service. At the meeting I put forward a motion calling on the Government to give financial assistance to the council to enable it to provide a Full-time service, thankfully this was unanimously supported".

Cllr Brady continued "Unfortunately the report that was presented to the council was in my opinion a flawed one as it didn't take into account all the risks within the town and therefore given a risk designation which is lower than it should be. The large number of nursing homes located within Bray appears to have been overlooked as a risk. The report also failed to take into account the planned expansion of the town with the development of up to 7500 housing units proposed on the Old Fassaroe lands and planning granted for 1200 units on the Old Bray Golf Club lands. The increase in population would greatly increase the risks within the town and the report is not future proofed. If these factors were included it would strengthen the case to the Government for funding".

Brady continued "I've been consistent in my view that the best way to provide a full time service in Bray would be the creation of a National Fire Authority, which was one of the key recommendations in a report carried out in 2002 by Farrell Grant Sparks. This would see the operation and funding of the fire service removed from local authorities and resources deployed on a risk basis. In the report presented to the council on Monday the cost of providing the service in Bray would be €3,350,000 for two full time crews".

The Sinn Fèin councillor and long-time campaigner for improvements in the fire service went onto say "There is no way Wicklow County Council can find €3,350,000 from within its current level of funding without cutting services to other frontline services. In 2007 after the deaths of Bray Firefighters Brian Murray and Mark O'Shaughnessy the Labour Party brought forward a motion in the Dáil calling on the then Fianna Fáil/Green Government to establish a National Fire Authority and to fund a Full-time fire service in Bray. Indeed the then Wicklow Labour TD Liz McManus said it would be simply impossible for the local authority to take on the level of funding required to fund a full time service from within its own resources".

Cllr Brady concluded "Unfortunately not much has changed within the fire service since the deaths of Brian and Mark in 2007, calls are still being vetted to reduce the number of callouts to try weaken the argument for a full time service. We have a flawed report again trying to dilute the case for a better service. However what has changed is the fact that the Labour Party is now in Government and the Minister for the Environment is a Labour one,
Alan Kelly. The motion that I put forward and supported unanimously by the council calls on the Government to now step forward and provide grant assistance to provide a Full-time service in Bray, something they were calling for in 2007. It was felt we needed a full time service in 1984 when the Bray fire station was built to house one, 30 years later with a substantially increased population and it due to increase by at least 10,00 in the next few years, we need that service more than ever".

Friday 28 November 2014

Tenants may face eviction if Wicklow County Council becomes Debit Collector for Irish Water

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has called on the Wicklow County Manager Eddie Sheehy to give guarantees that no council tenants will face eviction if they go in rent arrears due to non-paid water charges being added to council tenant’s rents. This follows confirmation from the County Manager that under new legislation the council may become debit collectors for Irish Water. Speaking after raising the issue at Monday’s council meeting Councillor Brady said "At Monday’s council meeting I raised the issue of Wicklow County Council becoming a debit collector for Irish Water, collecting any unpaid water charges from its 4,301 tenants. I have a real concern that struggling tenants may have any unpaid charges added to their rents, possibly pushing them into arrears leading to possible evictions". Cllr Brady continued "Irish water have said that where a customer goes into arrears for more than 12 months and a late payment has accrued they will advise local authorities that by law they must recover the outstanding amount over a 12-month period. This means that Wicklow County Council will effectively become a debit collector for Irish Water. In Wicklow there are 4,301council tenants and many aren't in a position to pay water charges and due to their circumstances may already be in arrears with their rent". Cllr Brady went onto say "Any attempt to add unpaid water charges to tenant’s rents will only compound difficulties many are facing and could put their tenancy in jeopardy by going deeper into arrears. At the meeting the County Manager confirmed that these powers have been extended to Irish Water but no further information had been forthcoming". Cllr Brady concluded "I told the County Manager that it would be totally wrong for Wicklow County Council to do the dirty work for Irish Water by becoming their debit collector. Local authorities should have no role in this issue and Eddie Sheehy must not let the council get embroiled in this that will ultimately damage the relationship between the council and tenants. He must give assurances now to all 4,301 householders in Wicklow who are tenants of the council that they will not face eviction due to these measures. The Sinn Fein team on the council in Wicklow will fight this all the way to stop Wicklow County Council being used by the Government and Irish Water for their dirty work".

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Wicklow County Council Budget 2015 is a missed opportunity-Sinn Fein

After a ten hour debate Wicklow's six Sinn Féin County Councillors voted against the County's 2015 budget saying it was a missed opportunity to make a real difference and help the citizens of the county. Instead the Councillors voted to throw €1,675,925 into a black hole in Wicklow County council.

Speaking after Mondays council meeting the Sinn Fein group leader on the council, councillor John Brady said "At Mondays budget meeting in Wicklow County Council a real opportunity to help the citizens of Wicklow was genuinely squandered by conservatives Councillors in Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and some Independents. We were given an unexpected sum of money €2,675,925 from the Non Principle Private Residence Charge (NPPR). Not only did we have an opportunity to give some of that money back to some families who accidentally became landlords and got stung for the NPPR. We also had an opportunity to fill the community deficit by investing all the money in housing and other community focused projects".

Cllr Brady continued "Instead we had a conservative budget adopted by the Old Boys club of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour which sees €1,675,925 thrown into a black hole in the coffers of the council with no benefits to the people of Wicklow. The money will go to partially pay off a deficit that could have been served over a number of years."

Cllr Snell stated "Sinn Féin wanted each of the five Municipal Districts to get an equal share of the €2,675,925, this would have resulted in local projects in each area benefiting to the tune of €460,000 and the remainder going into a fund to give money back to families that may have become accidental landlords with the NPPR. We have missed a real opportunity to tackle the housing crisis and to support and deliver projects a local levels across the County".

Cllr Lawless went onto say "I'm very disappointed that not an extra euro will go into tackling homelessness in the County. This year alone we have had nearly 100 families present themselves as homeless to the council. We could have done something meaningful in trying to address this serious escalating problem. Instead Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and some Independents sided with the conservative view of the County Manager Eddie Sheehy and effectively threw away over €1.6m in funding. I know many homeless families unsure of their future coming up to Christmas won't thank them for that".

The Sinn Fein Councillor in Arklow Mary McDonald was scathing in her criticism of the council "Arklow like many towns across the County has shops closing on a weekly basis, the Main St is fast becoming a ghost town. There was an opportunity in the budget to help the struggling businesses in Arklow and try encourage new ones into the town. Unfortunately all the local Councillors with the exception of myself voted to increase the commercial rates in the Arklow area, this will only serve to compound the serious problems businesses are facing".

Cllr Gerry O'Neill continued "I'm bitterly disappointed for the people I represent in West Wicklow as the majority of Councillors voted to effectively deprive the west of €460,000. We have a very small discretionary budget for the Baltinglass area of €24,000, if we had of received an extra €460,000 it would of been like winning the Lotto. The west is the forgotten part of Wicklow and both infrastructure and community have been neglected over many years, Mondays meeting where this money was thrown away will not be forgotten by the people here and the Councillors responsible have a lot of answers to give".

Cllr Oliver O'Brien concluded "At Mondays budget meeting we had an ideal opportunity to start putting the citizens of Wicklow first and centre stage and to ensure we provided the services, supports and infrastructure that have been neglected over the last 5-6 due to the austerity policies of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour. We got unexpected finances from the NPPR and it was an ideal opportunity to give something back to people and communities that are struggling to keep it together, unfortunately the council voted 19-11 to adopt a budget that really was a missed opportunity".

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Water concessions are like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic-Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has labelled the concessions on water charges announced by the Government as the rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic by political parties that have their fingers in their ears and are not listening to the citizens.

Cllr Brady said "The government clearly hasn’t got the message yet. They say they have listened with humility to the people opposed to water charges. However if they were listening they would know that the people are demanding the scrapping of water charges and not clarity or a package to sweeten the deal. The concessions on the charges are basically a dangled carrot and a con job designed to lure people into agreeing to pay a charge that will inevitably be increased to much higher levels in years to come."

"The changes are effectively the rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic by a government with its fingers stuck in their ears. The Government have been on the ropes for the last few weeks on the issue and since 1 November they have been on a PR offensive to try and quell the unprecedented levels of protests the government has been facing. It shows that people power is working. We must continue with the protest campaign as the Government clearly are sinking on this issue."

Cllr Brady continued “We have achieved a victory forcing the Government to do a political u turn, however we need them to go one step further and abolish the water charges altogether. These concessions are due to end after 2018 and I believe people will face much higher bills at that point."

“The Government have failed to listen to the will of the people, they need to remove their fingers from their ears and listen. These changes have not quelled the anger of the people on this issue, in fact it's done the complete opposite. People now know that people power works, we now need to stand united and harness that anger and focus all our efforts on ensuring we get the maximum possible turnout in protest against water charges on December 10th to deliver home the message once and for all that water charges must be scrapped" concluded Councillor Brady. Ends

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Concern expressed with planned changes to the 145 and 45a bus routes

Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has expressed concern about changes that Dublin Bus are planning on introducing to the 145 and 45a bus routes. Drivers on the routes have been informed of the changes that are due to be implemented in January. The changes in the routes will result in the ceasing the 145 route to Kilmacanogue in Ballywaltrim, however the 45a which currently stops in Ballywaltrim will be extended to Kilmacanogue.

Expressing concerns around the lack of public consultation Councillor Brady said "From January Dublin Bus are making big changes to the 145 and 45a routes that serve the North Wicklow area. It's planned to stop the 145 bus that currently goes to Kilmacanogue in Ballywaltrim at the new bus lay-by on the slip road between the Killarney Rd and the Southerncross. The 45a which currently goes from Ballywaltrim to
Dun Laoghaire will be extended to Kilmacanogue".

Cllr Brady continued “It is planned to make the changes to the 145 and 45a routes in January, however there has been no public consultation on these changes. I welcome the fact that Dublin Bus are going to continue a bus service to Kilmac, there had been serious concern that the service would be cut completely. There was a campaign organised to save the service to Kilmac and hundreds of people signed a petition and this was subsequently handed to Dublin Bus. The fact Dublin Bus are going to extend the 45a to Kilmac is a small victory in itself and shows the concerns of residents were legitimate".

Cllr Brady concluded "There are concerns however that the 45a will be a less frequent service for the people of Kilmac and that there will be no direct link now to the city centre as the 145 had provided. Students going to UCD will now need to make alternative plans. Likewise users of the 145 coming from Dublin will now only get as far as Ballywaltrim and will have to make other plans to get as far as Kilmac. I'm calling on Dublin Bus to consult with the public on these planned changes before they are implemented". Ends

Brady asks for second legal opinion on Irish Waters request for tenants information

Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has called on Wicklow County Council not to hand over any council tenants information to Irish Water until a second legal opinion is sought from a barrister that specialises in Data protection. The Councillor made the request on Monday following legal advise from the councils law agent that the council had to comply with a quest from Irish Water seeking details on the councils 4000 tenants. He got a undertaking from council officials that this would be done, however they refused to give an undertaking that no information would be given while awaiting the opinion.

Speaking after Mondays council meeting Councillor Brady said "At the council meeting on 3 November the councillors were informed that Irish Water had sent a letter to the council seeking information on its 4,000 tenants. I raised serious concerns on the issue as both a councillor and a tenant of the council. I believe the request is in breech of Data Protection laws and I sought a legal opinion".

"The councils Law Agent issued his opinion which was presented to the council on Monday. He states that under Section 26 of The Water Services Act Irish Water may request a Local Authority to provide it with such information as it may reasonably require to enable it to perform it's functions as a Water Services Authority".

Cllr Brady continued "I'm not happy that the advice the Councillors have been given takes heed of Data Protection Legislation and I've asked for a second legal opinion from a barrister who specialises in this area. I believe the council or any other body can only share information they hold on an individual with their consent and I don't think the law should be any different for Irish Water. I like many others have refused to engage or correspond with Irish Water and they shouldn't be allowed to circumvent the stringent Data Protection Laws that are in place at both national and European levels".

Councillor Brady concluded "At the meeting I asked the Chief Executive Eddie Sheehy not to comply with the request from the head of Irish Water John Tierney until we got a the second legal opinion and also a response from the Data Protection Commissioner. Unfortunately Mr Sheehy would not given an undertaking on this and said he could not guarantee the information would not be sent. I find this unbelievable, there are concerns surrounding the legality of the request and I as a tenant would take it very serious if any of my details are handed over whilst awaiting the legal opinion. As a public representative I also believe Mr Sheehy would be acting in bad faith and against the expressed wishes of the elected council".  Ends

Monday 10 November 2014

Wicklow County Council votes no confidence in Irish Water and to abolish water charges

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has expressed delight that a Sinn Fein motion tabled at Mondays special council meeting of the County Council was supported by the majority of Councillors present. The motion was a vote of no confidence in Irish Water and called for its abolishment, it further calls on the government to immediately reverse water charges and to stop the water metering process. 

Speaking after the special meeting that was called by Sinn Féin, councillor Brady said "The six Sinn Féin Councillors in Wicklow called the special meeting so that Councillors from all political parties and none could take a stand on the issue of water charges and Irish Water. The people of Wicklow and right across the State have spoken out loud and clear on this issue and their voices need to be listened too. We put forward a motion which we believed encompasses the concerns of the people of Wicklow and thankfully that motion passed by 23 votes to 6 and 3 Councillors not present".

"I had the privilege of proposing the motion which commended the people for organising and mobilizing on the issue and taking to the streets in their thousands, sending a message that couldn't be ignored. The motion also called on the government to reverse domestic water charges as it's an unfair and unjust double charge that people simply can't afford to pay. It will suck another €14million from the local economy in Wicklow, an economy that's already on its knees. The bottom line is water is a basic human right that we already pay for".

Cllr Brady continued "The people of Wicklow have no confidence in Irish Water and the motion adopted by the council is a vote of no confidence in them and calls on the Government to abolish the quango that is Irish Water. The motion further calls on the government to halt the roll out of water metering and that the €539m loan finance that was taken from the National Pension Reserve Fund be used in fixing the infrastructure that allows over 40% of all water be lost through leaking pipes".

"The final issue dealt with in the motion was a call to government to hold a constitutional referendum to retain public ownership of water services and infrastructure. This is a hugely important issue as I believe the government is currently laying the foundations of privatising the natural resource in the future".

Cllr Brady concluded "I'm delighted the motion was adopted by 23 votes to 6. However the fact that the 6 that voted against the motion are all Fine Gael Councillors show that the message hasn't hit home to them and they are ignoring the will of the citizens of Wicklow. However it is an important step in the right direction, the Sinn Féin motion is now the policy of Wicklow County Council and the four government TDs in the county need to listen to the voice of the people of Wicklow, also the County Council and this message needs to be delivered to the government in the Dáil. The people of Wicklow won't accept anything less than the total abolishment of water charges because they simply can't pay and won't pay the unjust tax". Ends

Full motion passed by Wicklow County Council by 23 votes to 6 with 3 not present

That Wicklow County Council calls on the Government to;

 - Listen to the widespread public anger that exists towards this Government and Irish Water by the Irish people, who are now rightly organising and mobilising in protest and opposition to these water charges through the Right2Water public campaign which includes activists, citizens, community groups, political parties and trade unions.

 - Immediately reverse domestic water charges which are an unfair and unjust double charge being forced on already struggling households.

- Stop the roll out of metering and redirect the €539m loan finance from the National Pension Reserve Fund towards fixing the massive leakage problems and interruption to supply.

- Hold a constitutional referendum to retain public ownership of water services and infrastructure. 

- Abolish Irish Water as it doesn't have the confidence of the Irish People or Wicklow County Council

Friday 7 November 2014

Decision to turn cardiac arrest patients away from St.Vincents Hospital will impact most on Wicklow residents

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has expressed deep concern on plans to stop St.Vincents being designated as a Primary PCI centre. This means that all patients experiencing cardiac arrest will bypass St.Vincents hospital and go to the next Primary PCI centre in the Matter Hospital or St. James's.

Speaking after talking to concerned Wicklow First Responders Cllr Brady said "The news that St.Vincents will no longer deal with suspected Cardiac arrest cases is truly shocking. This means that patients being rushed from Wicklow will bypass two hospitals now, St.Columcilles and St.Vincents and travel at least another 15-20 minutes to the Matter Hospital".

Brady continued "Last November the 24hour A&E closed it's doors in St.Columcilles and all patients were sent onto St.Vincents. Sinn Féin the people of Wicklow and I campaigned tirelessly to save the A&E in St.Columcilles, however Fine Gael and Labour ultimately allowed the HSE close its doors. This move was disgracefully supported by all 5 Wicklow TDs. I predicted that St.Vincents wouldn't be able to cope with the additional patients and it's seems that less than 12 months later I've been proven right".

"This crazy decision for suspected cardiac arrest cases to bypass two hospitals will be most detrimental to the people of Wicklow, particularly to people in South Wicklow who are already at risk due to the additional travel time in getting to St.Vincents. Now for the doors of St.Vincents to be closed in their faces and to be told to continue onto the Matter or St.James's is an absolute disgrace. The promise of St.Vincents being a state of the art hospital, well able to cater for the additional patients from Wicklow has never materialised, people are still lying on trollies and now we have this which shows clearly the decision to close St.Columcillies was a political one aimed at saving money and not to deliver a better service".

Cllr Brady concluded "Haven spoken to a number of First Responders in Wicklow I know they have huge concerns about this decision and also with the lack of consultation. People have been effictively been told today, Friday 7th November from 4pm St.Vincents will no longer deal with cardiac arrests. Did Fine Gael and Labour think they could introduce this change now because everyone's focus was on water charges at this time, I'm afraid not. This is yet another lie and another broken promise from the government and it shows how little they think of the health and welfare of its citizens. I'm calling on Minister Harris and his fellow government TDs here in Wicklow to intervene to ensure this decision is reversed". Ends

Thursday 6 November 2014

Brady welcomes planned Enniskerry works

The Cathaoirleach of the Bray Municipal District John Brady has welcomed a commitment he has secured from the council to replace the footpaths in three housing estates in Enniskerry. The work will commence in the Millfield, Monastery Grove and Kilgarron Park estates in the new year. 

Welcoming the news the Sinn Féin councillor said "Unfortunately over the years Enniskerry has been the poor relation when it comes to the County Council. Following numerous requests and site visits, I'm delighted to have secured a commitment that the footpaths in Kilgarron Park, Millfield and Monastery Grove will be upgraded in the new year".

"Residents in these estates have been asking for the footpaths to be repaired for years, unfortunately the funding was never in place. With the creation of the new Bray Municipal District which takes in Enniskerry and Kilmacanogue. I seen it as critical that these areas would get their fair share when it came to funding for maintenance and upgrading work. I am aware that there are many other issues including housing maintenance in the area and I'm continuing to work on those".

Cllr Brady continued "The footpaths in these three estates are particularly bad and equates to a public hazard. They are the original paths which basically consist of a thin layer of Tarmac, this has worn away in many parts leaving large potholes in the paths. The council will also look at addressing problems with gullies at a number of locations in the estates".

Cllr Bray concluded "As Cathaoirleach  of the new Municipal District I feel it's important that both Enniskerry and Kilmacanogue feel part of the new district and that projects are advanced in both areas. In the new year I intended on holding a number of the District council meetings in those areas so the voices of residents living there can be heard".

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Sinn Féin Councillors call special meeting of Wicklow County Council to discuss water charges

A special meeting of Wicklow County Council is to be held on Monday 10th November at 2pm to discuss the ongoing saga of Water Charges and Irish Water. The special meeting has been called by the six Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillors along with three independents.

Speaking after the meeting was called Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady said "We have called this special meeting of the council to discuss the issue of water charges and Irish Water. I believe it's important that politicians of all political parties and none listen to the will of the people of Wicklow who turned out in their thousands on Saturday last to protest against water charges".

“The huge turnout at the protests here in Wicklow that were organised by the Right2water campaign is a clear message to politicians to listen to the citizens who are saying that this tax is unfair and that far too many people cannot afford to pay for water charges".

Brady continued "The special meeting that we've called will give all Councillors a chance to stand with the people of Wicklow. It will also give Fianna Fáil members an opportunity to call on their leadership to change their stated policy of supporting water charges in principle".

“We have a situation here in Wicklow where a number of so called ‘Independents’ along with Fianna Fáil are in a council pact with Fine Gael, who along with Labour in government are implementing these policies, these Councillors must put the people before their own selfish political ends and withdraw their support from this pact unless water charges are scrapped" Continued Brady.

The Sinn Féin Councillor said "The people of County Wicklow have taken to the streets to say that they do not accept these unjust charges in practice or in principle. Sinn Féín have made an unambiguous commitment to scrap these unfair and inequitable charges if we are in government. On Monday next Wicklow politicians of all hues will be given the opportunity to stand with their constituents, or with the political parties who are implementing these punishing charges. The choice is theirs, but they should stand with the people who elected them." Ends

Monday 3 November 2014

Irish Water request information on all Wicklow County Council Tenants

Wicklow Sinn Fein County Councillor John Brady has expressed concern at the news that was revelled at a council meeting on Monday that Irish Water have written to the council and all other local authorities, requesting access to all information on council tenants.

Speaking after the meeting Councillor Brady said "At Monday's council meeting it was brought to the attention of Councillors that Irish Water had written to all Local Authorities seeking access to information on all the councils tenants. I have deep concerns in relation to this request as both a public representative and also as a council tenant".

Brady continued "I have stated publicly that I won't be engaging with Irish Water or returning my registration pack giving my families details. So for the council to give my details or any other tenants details to Irish Water without their prior concent is totally wrong and in my opinion amounts to a breech of data protection".

"I have asked for the council to get a legal opinion on this issue and not to give any information to Irish Water until the council is informed what the legal basis for the request is".

Cllr Brady concluded "It's quite evident that people are simply refusing to engage with Irish Water or return the registration packs in the numbers that the government had hoped. The deadline has already been extended from the end of October to the end of November. However it appears they are now prepared to use any means possible to get information on householders and I believe that the council would be wrong to engage". Ends

Sunday 2 November 2014

Thousands take to the streets of Wicklow to oppose water charges

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has commended the thousands of Wicklow people who marched in the five Right2water protests that were held in the County on Saturday 1st November. He also said that the people have spoken and the four Government TDs in Wicklow must now listen to the fact that people can't and won't pay their water charges.

Speaking after marching and addressing the Bray rally Councillor Brady said "Saturday 1st November will go down in history as the day the people took a stand right across Ireland in their tens of thousands and told the Government that they are not representing them and that water charges must be abolished. In Wicklow over 12,000 people took to the streets and participated in the five different protests that were organised by the Right2water campaign. In Bray alone over 5,000 marched in one of the largest protests ever to be held in the town".

"The people in Wicklow and around the County have spoken with their feet and delivered a message to the four Wicklow Government TDs, Enda Kenny and Joan Burton that people can't and won't pay their unjust water charges. The tax will suck another €14.5million from the local economy in Wicklow, it's no wonder shops and businesses are struggling and continuing to close. We need to put money back in people's pockets to help grow and lift the economy".

Brady continued "I had the privalage of marching and addressing the rally in Bray where many elderly people said it was the largest rally they've ever seen in the town. Many other people said it was the first time they've ever marched or protested on any issue. People are empowered now and this is only the beginning of the campaign that will continue to grow until water charges are abolished".

"The Government must now stop the threats and listen to the people. The bottom line is people don't have the money to pay a second time for water. I know for many it's a choice of putting a meal on the table for their family of paying the water tax, so the decision has already been taken for them, they must provide for their family. I'm standing with the families who can't pay and I'm talking a stand not to pay the charges, I also ripped up my Irish Water registration pack in front of 5,000 people in Bray at the rally. I conscious of the implications of my actions and I'm not asking others to follow me but to make an informed decision. We have the Government on the ropes on this issue and together we must continue to build and keep the pressure on them until they are defeated". Ends

Cllr John Brady's speech at the Bray rally can be seen here.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Dublin Marathon 2014, most difficult challenge to date

Delighted have completed the 2014 Dublin Marathon. I done it to raise money to help a little girl Merryn Lacy who is battling cancer. It was my first marathon and i have to admit it was tough going. I managed to finish it in 3:59:20 which i was delighted with.

Friday 24 October 2014

Brady critical of deal with developer to take financial contribution instead of 20% social housing

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has expressed deep disappointment that the largest residential development in North Wicklow for number of years was given the go ahead by the council without any provision for social housing. The council took a decision to take a financial contribution in the development in Bray instead of a 20% provision of social housing.

Speaking about the decision taken by Bray Town Council before it's abolishment councillor Brady said "I'm shocked and extremely disappointed that in the midst of a housing crisis the council in Bray would decided to take a financial contribution as opposed to taking the badly needed 20% social housing which it's entitled to under Part V of the Housing Act. The deal appears to have been struck in 2012, however Councillors were only informed at a recent council meeting following questions from myself."

Brady continued "The development on the Herbert Road in Bray will see 24 houses and 24 apartments constructed. It is the largest residential development to take place in North Wicklow for the last 5 years, and could have seen up to 9 social housing units if the council took the 20% social housing allocation in the development. Unfortunately the council decided to use a mechanism in the planning legislation to allow the developer pay a levy instead of providing the social houses."

"We are in the middle of a housing crisis due to the flawed housing policies of Fine Gael and Labour who are refusing to build any new social housing. The result of that is here in Wicklow we have up to 3,000 families on housing lists, nearly 1,000 in the Bray area alone. The provision of 9 housing units in this development would have given some hope to a few families that are badly in need of housing, some of which whom are currently homeless. It would have also shown that the council is treating the crisis as a reality and one it's doing everything in its power to address."

Brady concluded "Unfortunately the council in Bray decided to strike a deal with a developer a take a financial contribution that will go into a black hole in the council coffers. The only thing this decision does is allows the developer make more money selling the housing units due to the fact they are an exclusive development which is social housing free. I'm deeply disappointed at this bad decision taken by the council and it begs the question is the council serious about tackling the housing crisis. Thankfully the Minister is currently looking at changing to legislation and possibly removing the ability of developers to buy their way out of providing social housing." Ends

Thursday 23 October 2014

Brady calls on communities to mobilise for Right2water rallies across Wicklow on 1 November

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has called for the largest turnout possible at the ‘Right2Water’ mobilisations planned for across Wicklow on Saturday November 1st.

Councillor Brady said "Following on from the massive show of opposition in Dublin last month to the unjust water charges, the next stage of the Right2water campaign will see local protests being held in towns and villages right across the state and that includes here in Wicklow. There are a number of protests organised for Saturday 1 November in Wicklow and I urge as many as possible to turnout to their local protests that will be held in Bray, Greystones, Wicklow Town, Arklow and Blessington."

" is a public campaign by activists, citizens, community groups, political parties/individuals and trade unionists who are calling for the Government to recognise and legislate for access to water as a human right. We are demanding the Government abolish the planned introduction of water charges."

Brady continued “Sinn Féin’s message is clear – we are completely opposed to domestic water charges. We will oppose tooth and nail any attempt to privatise water services. Irish Water has become synonymous with everything that is wrong with the Fine Gael Labour Government – cronyism, political manipulation of State boards, threats to citizens and ever mounting taxes on struggling families."

“Water charges can be defeated at the ballot box but it is vitally important that citizens throughout the State continue to mobilise and campaign for their abolition and that people remain united to fight the charges."

“Pressure needs to be exerted in communities, on the streets in council chambers and in the Dáil. With unity of purpose and determined action, water charges can be defeated. People across Wicklow needed to mobilise on the 1 November to continue the pressure on the Government and the four Government TD's here in Wicklow." Ends

Friday 17 October 2014

Tánaiste must apologise to Wicklow RAS tenants and lift eviction threat

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor has hit out at the Tánaiste Joan Burton and called on her to apologise for her misleading and untrue remarks she made in the Dáil in relation to the threatening letters sent to Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) tenants, by Wicklow County Council, which stated that non-payment of water charges could result in eviction. He has also asked for her to guarantee that no RAS tenants will be evicted for non payment of the unjust water charges.

Speaking after the issue was raised in the Dáil by Mary Lou McDonald Councillor Brady said "The issue of the 500 letters that were sent to RAS tenants in Wicklow was raised in the Dáil on Thursday last by Mary Lou McDonald. Unbelievably in response the Tánaiste Joan Burton made some misleading and blatantly untrue remarks about Sinn Féin and in a condescending attitude tried to brush the concerns of the effected tenants to one side."

"The Tánaiste stated that Sinn Féin in Wicklow were in control of the council with Fianna Fáil and Independents and that we could some how of stopped the threatening letters going out. The facts are the Old Boys club of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and some Independents control the council, not Sinn Féin. As Joan Burton doesn't have any Councillors in Wicklow because the electorate rejected them, it's not surprising that she got that wrong. I as a sitting councillor had no prior knowledge of these letters going out nor did my party colleague John Snell who is the chairperson of the Housing Special Policy Committee in Wicklow County Council."

Brady continued "As Tánaiste and the Minister for Social Protection Joan Brutons finger prints are all over the letters that were sent out in Wicklow. RAS is a National scheme and contracts issued to the councils are drafted centrally. Unfortunately Wicklow County Council made a foolish choice to do the dirty work for both the minister and Irish Water in issuing the letters threatening to evict people if they can't pay their water charges."

"I think it is deplorable that such bully-boy tactics are being used to intimidate hard-pressed families, many of whom simply do not have the money to pay. People have already been threatened by Enda Kenny that they will have their water pressure reduced if they don't pay the charges. These bully boy tactics are something one would read about under right wing dictatorships such as in Chile under Augusto Pinochet."

Cllr Brady concluded "The Tánaiste Joan Burton must now give assurances to RAS tenants, who cannot pay water charges, that they will not be faced with eviction. She must also now assume responsibility and take action to ensure that such an approach is brought to end and issue an apology to the families that received the threatening letters from the County Council. The bottom line is people can't afford to pay these unjust charges. I have stated that I won't be paying the charges, I know from speaking to many people faced with a choice of feeding their families or paying the unjust charge that they have no choice but not to pay also. Joan must listen to the people instead of being so condescending and abolish the water tax immediately." Ends

Friday 10 October 2014

Brady calls on the Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly to investigate Wicklow County Council

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has called on the Minister of the Environment Alan Kelly to carry out an investigation of Wicklow County Council and to look at the serious allegations around planning and how the council is and has been managed. 

Cllr Brady said "There has been a lot of talk surrounding Wicklow County Council, how it's being managed and serious allegations have been made on planning matters, some of which equate to corruption. There has been a lot of talk in the media and on the ground relating to planning involving the council in Wicklow and I believe public confidence in the council is at an all time low.  In the latest report carried last week in a national newspaper it's claimed a file connected to a complaint relating to malpractice in the council which was lodged by a number of Wicklow Councillors with the Minister has gone missing from his desk".

"The Standards in Public Office are also investigating complaints made against council officials and a named councillor. I have spoken to a number of people who have made serious accusations about the council, I have also seen many files which paint a worrying picture of how the council has been managed and they also raise concerns on how planning has been dealt with in the County".

The Sinn Féin councillor continued "Irrespective as to when these files relate to, whether it be one year or sixteen years ago, they need to be investigated. In the Dáil my party leader has raised concerns about Wicklow and I reiterate them again. The ex Minister of the Environment Phil Hogan abdicated his responsibilities in ensuring the council in Wicklow and others met the highest of standards. There are very serious allegations and the minister has a duty to investigate them regardless of the outcome".

Brady concluded "The new minister Alan Kelly must restore public confidence in all aspects of Local Authority. The only way now to restore any confidence in Wicklow County Council is for him  to hold an independent investigation into the management of the County Council, all allegations regarding planning that have been made against the council need to be included. Fine Gael junior minister Simon Harris and former Minister of the Environment Dick Roche have previously called for an investigation and I'm repeating that demand now". Ends

Monday 29 September 2014

Wicklow Sinn Féin to hold protest to coincide with the commencement of water charges on 1st October

Wicklow Sinn Féin are to hold a protest on Wednesday 1st October to coincide with the commencement of domestic water charges which will apply from 1st October 2014 and bills will start being issued in January 2015. The protest will take place outside the office of Wicklow Labour TD Ann Ferris in Bray at 1pm.

Speaking ahead of the protest Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady said "This Wednesday 1st October will see the commencement of the first billing period of the new water charges that are being introduced by Fine Gael and Labour. The first bills are due to land on people's door steps early January and it's expected that the average bill will be €280 per annum".

“Water is a basic human right. Charging twice for water is wrong and Sinn Féin will resist it in Wicklow and the rest of the 26 Counties as we did in the north. This is an issue which we will continue to be vocal on in local councils and in the Dáil".

He continued “Fine Gael and Labour don’t have a clue. They have no idea what it is like for the vast majority of families out there who are struggling to survive. Many are living on less than €10 a week after bills are paid, they cannot afford to pay hundreds of euro a year for water".

“Sinn Féin has made our position clear. We are opposed to water charges and we will reverse them in government. We have a strong track record on this issue. It was Sinn Féin Minister Conor Murphy who blocked domestic water charges in the North. There is no acceptable reason for water charges. The government has a choice. They can either continue to help those at the top or they can ease the burden on struggling families. Sinn Féin has produced detailed costed proposals to prove there is an alternative to water charges".

Councillor Brady concluded “Bills for domestic water use will be issued from January in respect of the last quarter of this year. Effectively, the government will start double-charging households for water from this Wednesday 1st October. I urge people to join in the protest on Wednesday and send a message to the government that the ordinary people of Ireland simply can't shoulder the burden anymore and that the water charges should be stopped immediately". Ends

Monday 22 September 2014

Wicklow County Council vote to reduce the Property Tax by 15% pumping €2,642,002 back into local economy

Wicklow County Councillor and Sinn Féin group leader John Brady has welcomed the decision by the majority of Wicklow Councillors to support the reduction of the Local Property Tax rate by 15%, the decision was taken at a special meeting of the council which took place on Monday. It will result in €2,642,002 going directly back into the local economy in Wicklow. 

Speaking after the meeting councillor Brady said "I welcome the decision of the majority of the Councillors in Wicklow to reduce the unjust Property Tax by 15% which is the maximum allowed under the legislation. This is a stepping stone towards the complete abolition of the tax which Sinn Féin have committed to doing if we enter government after the next election. The decision to reduce the tax was carried by 31 votes to 1".

"The saving of 15% comes only 2 weeks before the first billing period for the new water charges commences with the first bills landing on our door steps in January. The property tax coupled with the water charges will result in approximately €1,000 per household being taken from the pockets of hard hit families. This is just another regressive tax that hits the most vulnerable the hardest, however the 15% reduction will give a little respite to struggling families and the saving will pump €2,642,002 directly back into the local economy".

The Sinn Féin councillor continued "The imposition of the property tax by Fine Gael and Labour last year has not nor will it see any increase or improvement in local services. Other funding streams to the council have been cut and last year all monies collected in Wicklow were handed to Irish Water to install water meters. In the elections in May Sinn Féin went before the electorate seeking a mandate to reduce the tax as a stepping stone, we got a mandate from the electorate to get the maximum reduction of 15% which the legislation allows for. At the meeting on Monday we delivered on that and we now must continue until it's totally abolished". 

Brady went onto say "The decision to reduce unjust tax has to be welcomed, however it's only the tip of the iceberg. I'm very conscious of the impact the remaining property tax coupled with the water charges will have on hard pressed families and the local economy in Wicklow. At Mondays meeting Sinn Féin put forward a motion opposing the Local Property Tax and calling on the government to abolish the unjust tax. The motion was passed by 19 votes to 11 and showed up the hypocrisy of some Councillors who spoke against the tax but when given the opportunity to vote against it decided to vote in favour of it. Fine Gael voted to support the tax and Fianna Fáil were split on the issue with some of their Councillors completely bamboozled as to what exactly their policy is on the issue".

Councillor Brady concluded "The reduction of 15% is a step in the right direction and a step towards its ultimate abolishment when Sinn Féin get into power. The other important thing to come out of the meeting is that it's now the policy of the council to oppose the property tax and to seek its abolishment". Ends

Motion passed by Wicklow County Council, proposed by Cllr John Brady, seconded by Cllr Nicola Lawless. The motion was passed by 19 votes to 11

'The members of Wicklow County Council are totally opposed to the Local Property Tax and see the 15% reduction in the rate which was passed in Wicklow as the start of the process of abolishing the LPT. We call on the Government to abolish this unjust tax' 

For more information contact 

Sunday 21 September 2014

Sinn Féin to push for 15% reduction in LPT at special meeting of Wicklow County Council

A special meeting of Wicklow County Council will take on Monday to set the basic rate for the Local Property Tax. Sinn Fein will propose a reduction of the full 15% allowed under the legislation in order to give some relief and to ease the financial burden on taxpayers.

Speaking ahead of the meeting councillor John Brady said "Wicklow County Council will meet on Monday to set the rate for the Local Property Tax, Sinn Féin have committed to reducing the unjust tax by the full 15% allowed under the legislation. This would be a precursor to it being abolished if Sinn Féin enter government after the next election". 

Brady continued "Sinn Féin will put forward a proposal at the meeting to reduce the Property Tax in order to ease the financial strain that working families are under, it is time that this government stopped going after the same people with their austerity taxes, especially when there are other options like bringing in a wealth tax instead. The public just can’t pay this tax on top of water charges which will take effect in just two weeks time with our first bills due in our doors the week after Christmas".

Brady concluded "I'm hoping that the majority of the 32 councillors will have the courage and the social conscience to back the Sinn Fein proposal for the maximum reduction of 15% on Monday. I would call on all Wicklow County Councillors to support this motion.” Ends

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Wicklow County Council to review the lawn only policy in Springfield Cemetery

Wicklow County Council is to review the lawn only policy in Springfield Cemetery in Bray. The existing lawn policy which hasn't been enforced in many years has caused huge anger and concern after Bray Town Council moved last year to enforce the policy and erected sign in the cemetery informing people that if items such as flowers, ornaments and other mementos weren't removed the council would remove and dispose of them.

Speaking after Mondays Council meeting Councillor Brady said "Now that Bray Town Council has been abolished Springfield cemetery has now become the responsibility of Wicklow County Council. I raised the issue at the council meeting on Monday and stated that the issue which was poorly dealt with by Bray Town Council is still causing great concern and families who have loved ones buried in the cemetery are constantly watching and waiting for their graves to be tampered with and items removed".

"When the cemetery was first opened 1981 the policy was to have it a lawn cemetery, however this was never enforced and to try after all these years to force families to remove items is both insensitive and unacceptable. At the council meeting i asked for the policy to be looked at and a compromise to be found to allow families maintain the graves to a high standard as they have over many years. A sub committee of the council the Environment Special Policy Committee (SPC) is to take on the issue, review it and bring recommendations back to the full council".

Cllr Brady continued "I welcome this and i am hopefully that a satisfactory compromise will be found. I also put forward a resolution to the council that no attempts by the council to remove items from graves would take place whilst the review was ongoing. I am aware that officials in the Municipal District of Bray were in the process of having letters drafted to sent out to families giving them a deadline to have items removed, my resolution has now stopped that in its tracks and has given the Environment SPC time to look at the issue and report back to the full council".

Thursday 4 September 2014

Scene where Bray Firefighters lost their lives finally secured

The scene where the Bray Firefighters Brian Murray and Mark O'Shaughnessy lost their lives whilst tackling a blaze in 2007 has finally been secured. Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady and local residents have been pushing for the site to be cleaned up and secured for the last 7 years.

Speaking after a site visit the Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District of Bray John Brady said "I welcome the fact that after lengthy campaigning and pressure from myself and the community, the site of the old Haughtons factory at Adelaide Villas has now been totally cleaned up and secured".

"Pressure on Wicklow County Council resulted in them classifying the building as a dangerous structure and the owner was given one month to carry out a list of safety works or face a range of penalties. That work included clearing out the site, demolishing the two story structure on site and removing parts of the boundary walls".

Cllr Brady concluded "Thankfully that work is almost completed, unfortunately it has nearly taken 7 years for it to happen. The dangerous old 2 story building is gone, dangerous walls removed and the site has been totally cleared out. This comes as a welcome relief to the community in the area who had real concerns about the safety of the site after seeing children entering it and at how unstable the walls of the structure had become". Ends

Ballywaltrim Playground to get a major upgrade

Sinn Féin Councillor and Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District of Bray John Brady has welcomed the news that the long awaited upgrade work on the playground in Ballywaltrim will go to tender this month with a view of having the work completed over the coming months. He also stated that security and maintenance concerns also need to be addressed in tandem with the upgrade works.

Cllr Brady said "Over the last number of years I have been consistently pushing for these works to go ahead and thankfully tenders are now being drafted to allow the upgrade works commence. The plan is to go to tender during September with a view of having the work carried out by the end of the year. A lot of credit has to go to the Playground committee who have also been pushing this issue and have put in a lot of hard work to get it to this stage".

The Cathaoirleach continued "After consulting with children in the area as to what they would like to see in the upgraded playground, its hopped that a new zip line, slide, climbing frame and swings will be just a few of the new pieces of equipment that will be installed. I have also requested that equipment that is fully accessible for children with disabilities is installed also".   

"With the investment in the upgrading of the playground it very important that the security is got right. I have been given a commitment that public lighting will be installed in the playground and that the Garda CCTV camera that i campaigned for will be adjusted to ensure that it provides additional security. I have also met with the Gardaí and they have assured me that they will carry out more patrols in the area".

Cllr Brady concluded "This is a big investment in the upgrading of public amenities in the Ballywaltrim area and its good to see that children have been consulted in the process. Its important that the community takes ownership of the playground and council works with them to ensure it is maintained into the future. During the summer a large cleanup of the area was carried out by local residents, myself and my colleague Oliver O'Brien helped on out, so there is a lot of goodwill and that needs to be tapped into by the council. This is a very positive development that must be welcomed by everyone in the community, particularly the children. Ends

Brady welcomes the Reinstatement work in the Peoples Park in Bray

The Cathlaoirleach of the Municipal District of Bray Councillor John Brady has welcomed the recommencement of work in the Peoples Park in Little Bray. Work in the park ground to a halt in November 2013 after SIAC withdrew from the Dargle flood protection scheme leaving the Peoples Park like a building site. The Cathlaoirleach of the new Municipal District of Bray made the reinstatement of the park one of his priorities on getting elected.

Speaking after meeting with the contractors on the site Councillor Brady said "I'm delighted that the work has started on reinstating the park. I signed the tenders for the work only last week so its good to see it progress so quickly. The work that is being carried out will include a new footpath along the new wall that runs along side the river Dargle, some landscaping and thankfully the removal of the fencing in the middle section of the park".

The Cathlaoirleach continued "I made it a priority to get the Peoples Park reinstated and I'm happy to say that's its now well under way. Unfortunately the compounds at either end of the park have to remain for the duration of the flood protection works on the Dargle, however they need to be cleaned up and i will continue to push for that to happen. The work that has commenced in the park must be seen as the starting point in the total refurbishment of the park as there is a lot more that can and should be done to make it a top class public amenity that it deserves to be". 

Cllr Brady went on to say "I am working on having a master plan done up for the Peoples Park and allowing the public have their say on what they think the park needs. I believe a food market like the one that's run in the Peoples Park in Dun Laoghaire on Sundays should be looked at as an option as well as flower beds and an upgraded band stand as a way of really making it a park for the people of Bray again".

He concluded by saying "A lot of work has been done by the engineers from the council in getting the project back on track and I'm also very pleased that we will have work recommence on the overall flood protection scheme shortly. Its critical that the people of Little Bray are fully protected from the risk of flooding, but its also important that the amenities provided for them and the people of Bray are of the highest standard". Ends

Friday 29 August 2014

Brady Steps in to Quell Clamping Concerns in Bray

John Brady the Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District of Bray has stepped in to quell concerns in Bray that clamping is to be introduced in the town by the council. Rumors have been rife in the town over the last few weeks that Wicklow County Council was to introduce clamping throughout the town.

The Cathaoirleach John Brady said "I can safely say that the rumors that have been circulating in the town recently that clamping was to be introduced are totally untrue. These rumors have been circulating since Wicklow County Council have taken control of Bray after the abolition of the Town Council. I have been informed that a review has started by the council with a view of bringing all paid parking areas in Wicklow under the same operational policies. Currently Bray is the only town in the County to have council staff operating the paid parking. The other towns that have paid parking schemes, Greystones, Wicklow and Arklow have private contractors operating the paid parking schemes".

Brady continued "I'm totally opposed to clamping and i can assure people that as chairperson of the Bray district i will rigorously oppose clamping in the council controlled areas of the town. Unfortunately in the private car parks around the town there is clamping and I've heard many horror stories from people who have had their cars clamped in them. I do have concerns however that the control of car parking in Bray may be privatised by the County Council and i think this will be a retrograde step that should also be opposed".

"The parking wardens that are currently employed by the council in Bray do a good job and privatising this operation will have a detrimental effect on residents and shoppers alike. I believe private operators will be ruthless in their quest to meet targets and maximise profits. Under the current operation there is flexibility and an element of leeway afforded to motorists".

Brady concluded "I can assure people that clamping wont be implemented in publicly controlled areas in Bray under my watch and i will oppose the privatising of the operation of the paid parking scheme in Bray if it comes before the council".