Friday, 21 February 2014

Immediate action needs to be taken to address derelict A O'Smith factory following fire- O'Brien

Bray Sinn Féin representative Oliver O'Brien has called for immediate action to be taken to address the safety concerns with the derelict A O'Smith factory on the Boghall Road in Bray. He made his calls after the Fire service was called to deal with a fire in the factory on Friday afternoon.

Oliver said "The emergency services were called to the disused and now derelict A O'Smiths building on Friday

 afternoon to deal with a blaze in the premises. The factory which has been derelict now since 2005 has become a huge cause of concern in the Ballywaltrim area. Two units of the fire service along with the Gardaí were called to deal with the fire which broke out on Friday afternoon. I have been informed that the building has been used for stockpiling rubbish that's being illegally dumped and that was set on fire".

He continued "My colleague Councillor John Brady has consistently been raising the issue of A O'Smiths at council level and with the owners who have left the premises abandoned and leaving the entire community at risk. Children are regularly seen playing in the factory and on its high roof. Its also used as a drugs den and anti social behavior and illegal activity has spilled from there onto the broader community. We don't want any more deaths in the factory and the council needs to ensure they hold the owners to account in securing the premises. This building needs to be immediately entered on the Derelict Sites Register to try force the hand of the owners who are based in Galway. "

O'Brien concluded "The are demands now from the community in Ballywaltrim to have the old factory demolished and i echo those demands. Not only is the building and its grounds an eyesore its an accident waiting to happen. Not far from this site two young boys lost their lives in a derelict house, so the community in the area knows the real dangers building like this pose. Action needs to be taken before its too late".

Councillor Glynn needs to climb out of his Utopia and into the real world

Sinn Fein Councillor John Brady has sharply critised comments made by Fine Gael Councillor Mick Glynn in relation to the discovery and removal of syringes and other drug paraphernalia from a housing estate in Bray.

Speaking in reaction to Councillor Glynn’s comments the Sinn Féin Councillor said “I am astonished at the extraordinary attack on me and the constituents that contacted me in relation to the drug materials that had been discovered in their housing estate. I think this is a very stupid attempt to distract people from the serious issue of drugs and boarded up houses that I have highlighted. Unfortunately the discovery of syringes and other drug paraphernalia around the town is a regular occurrence and to stick ones head in the sand and to wish them away is irresponsible and naive. I think Mick Glynn should climb down out of his little utopia and step into the real world where these issues are a cause of huge concern. Highlighting this issue is not about giving Bray a bad name or anything like that, it’s about raising the issue as a cause of concern that’s unfortunately replicated in cities, towns and villages right across the Country and putting it on the political agenda”.

Brady continued “Unfortunately drug abuse is on the increase and many experts put this down to the economic recession and austerity policies implemented by the Fine Gael, Labour government which hit ordinary people the hardest. I would like to invite Cllr Glynn to meet some of these many people that reside in our town and to come into some of the estates that maybe he isn't too familiar with and to witness and listen to some of the real issues that exist outside his utopia”.

“I bow to Councillor Glynn’s superior knowledge of syringes and other drug materials; I have never claimed to be an expert on them, however I do know the potential risks of them lying in a housing estate. Even with lids on syringes they still pose a serious risk to the many children playing in the area where they were discovered. However there were also syringes with no lids on them along with tablets all of which were handed into the Garda station. Again maybe Councillor Glynn should have inspected the materials in the Garda station before making wild accusations”. Brady continued

Councillor Brady went on to say “Drug abuse and addiction is a real issue and unfortunately I know many people, some of them friends that I would have grown up with that have become addicted to heroin, some have managed to overcome their addictions however unfortunately some others lost their lives to it. There are many people in Bray and right across Wicklow with addictions to other drugs also such as cocaine and this is also creating difficulties that need to be addressed”.

“The extent of the current drugs crisis needs to be put back on the political agenda. Communities are now coping with an increasingly complex and chaotic drug problem that includes a mix of legal drugs, illegal drugs and alcohol. Within this mix, there are different patterns of drug use in different areas and for different age groups but there are one common thread – the enduring link between disadvantage and serious community drug problems. Councillor Glynn would be better served in dealing with the issue of the 37% reduction in the Drug Initiatives Budget between 2008 and 2014 by his political party and others. This level of cuts has also meant that actions previously agreed with Government, as part of the National Drugs Strategy are under serious threat”.

Brady said “For any public representative to attack part of their community is very sad, so Councillor Glynn’s attack on the very communities that are dealing with these problems is disgraceful especially from someone that claims to represent them. Excellent work goes on by the local Bray Drugs Task Force and the Community Addiction Teams and also within these estates. However for Councillor Glynn to say that the residents that notified me of the drug material in their area are liars and part of a pre-election stunt or some big conspiracy is bizarre, twisted and a total dismissal of the issues affecting the ordinary and real people of this town”.

He concluded by saying “I also find it astonishing that a week after the discovery the council has found the time to issue a statement raising concerns about my safety removing the syringes. I think the official’s time would be better served in responding to the concerns of the public in a timely manner and to deal with the boarded up houses, the dumping and the syringes that had been disposed of in the area then nobody would have to do it themselves”.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Bray Sinn Féin representatives critical of Council decision to send Councillors and an Official to California for St. Patrick's Day

Bray Sinn Fein representatives John Brady and Oliver O'Brien have sharply criticised the decision taken by Bray Town Council to send the chairperson, one other Councillor and an unelected official to California for St. Patrick's Day. These will join many other councilors and 28 government ministers on the exodus for St. Patrick's Day. 

Councillor John Brady said "Unfortunately again Bray Town Council feels the need to send Councillors and officials thousands of miles across the Atlantic to celebrate St. Patrick's Day rather than stay at home with the people they claim to represent. I remain totally unconvinced of any benefits to come out of spending thousands of euro of public money on  sending Councillors to go sight seeing in California or San Francisco".

"This has turned into an annual event for Bray Town Council with many Councillors travelling a number of times. I have consistently asked for a full report to be given on what benefits have stemmed from sending a number of Councillors and the Town Clerk to California last year, however it has proven near impossible to get. The Local Government Act deals with foreign travel by Councillors and section 142 (5) states that a full report should be given on all conferences and foreign travel. This is not just to show what benefits came from the trip but it allows for informed decisions to be made on subsequent travel. So without any reports from previous travel its impossible to justify fancy trips abroad for St. Patrick's Day". continued Brady

Brady continued "Following many requests i eventually got an itinerary of last years trip by four Councillors and the Town Clerk to California. Based on this i can see no merits in wasting  any taxpayers money in sending any Councillors or officials outside the state for St. Patrick's Day. The report basically shows the number of dinners, breakfasts the Councillors enjoyed last year at the tax payers expense along with sightseeing trips to San Francisco. I have been told that this years trip will be the same as last years one, so i think these Councillors would be better off staying at home and investing the money on meaningful community projects or better still trying to create local jobs".

Bray Sinn Féin representative Oliver O'Brien said "I wouldn't blame any member of the public thinking this was a junket aimed at basically giving the Chairperson, another Councillor and an official a fancy holiday to Americas west coast, something most ordinary people can only dream of. I challenge any Councillor to show me just one benefit or better still one job from any of these fancy trips at our expense. Many traders are struggling to pay Rates, but i am sure they are delighted to see where their money is going, as are the tenants of the council who have seen their rents shoot up by nearly 30% recently". 

Councillor Brady concluded "Unfortunately Bray Town Council wont be the only local authority sending Councillors abroad again this year, Wicklow County Council will also be sending a number of people abroad. This is bound to stick in the craw of people right across Bray and Wicklow. Its no wonder people have little faith in politicians, we have thousands still unemployed and thousands more struggling to pay mortgages and to keep a roof over their heads. But in the midst of all this politicians are busy packing their sun cream and jetting away to drink green beer thousands of miles away in California on St. Patrick's Day". Ends


Below is the report from the 2013 St. Patrick's Day trip to California, which was attended by four Councillors and one official.

Thursday 14 March 13
Flight to San Francisco overnight in San Francisco Friday 15 March travel to Dublin meet host families 

Friday 7 pm Green and White Gala hosted by Dublin Sister City Association Televised event on ABC Bay Area TV interview with Cathaoirleach Tracy O'Brien. Formal speeches, presentation to Dublin Sister City Association meeting Congressman Eric Swalwell, members of Chamber of Commerce

Saturday 16th
8 am Pancake Breakfast Dublin City Fire Station sponsored by Alameda County Firefighters
9.30 am to 12.30 am Dublin Lions Club St Patrick’s Day Parade
1 pm lunch at Dublin Civic Center hosted by City of Dublin
2 pm to 5 pm attendance at St Patrick’s Festival at Dublin Civic Center hosted by City of Dublin formal speeches and presentation to Deputy Mayor
7 pm Corn Beef and Cabbage Fundraising dinner at St Raymond's Parish 10 pm Reception at home of Carole Satterthwaite President of Dublin Sister City Association

Sunday 17th March
8.30 Shamrock 5 Km fun run
11. 00 Brunch at home of host family
1 pm visit to Concannon Winery St Patrick's day celebration, meeting with owners Lunch for host families
7 pm farewell event hosted by Shirley and Louie Noval

Monday 18th
Travel to San Francisco afternoon sightseeing
Return flights

Wednesday 20th
Arrive home 

Friday, 14 February 2014

Boarded up council properties becoming dumping grounds for syringes and other drug paraphernalia

Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has called on Bray Town Council to take immediate action to ensure boarded up houses in the town are reallocated immediately to ensure needy families and individuals are housed and to stop them becoming magnets for antisocial behaviour and dumping grounds for syringes and other drug paraphernalia. The councillor made after a large volume of used syringes and other drug paraphernalia was found at a property that has been boarded up by the council for over 4 months.

Cllr Brady said "We have a scandalous situation around the County and particularly in Bray where we have over a thousand families on social housing lists, but the council are keeping houses boarded up for months on end allowing them to become magnets for antisocial behaviour and dumping grounds for syringes and drug paraphernalia".

"I had been contacted by a number of very concerned locals in relation to a large stash of used syringes and other drug paraphernalia in the back garden of a council property that has been boarded up by the council now for over four months. This is totally unacceptable on a number of fronts, firstly that the house is being used as a drug den and that these syringes are being discarded in a highly built up residential area where large numbers of children are playing. Secondly its scandalous that when council houses are handed back they are left lying vacant for months and months on end, there is a housing crisis and this is totally unacceptable. This is a relatively new house and someone should be living in it, that's how unacceptable activity like this is stopped".

Brady continued "This is unfortunately not an isolated incident, but the scale of it exceeds previous syringe finds. Myself and a local resident immediately cleaned up the syringes using specialist equipment. The material was put in a sealed container and handed into Bray Garda station for disposal. In total over 30 syringes were discovered along with other drug materials".

Brady concluded "The use of the council property and the disposal of the used syringes is a shameful act and the perpetrators need to cop on and clear off. I have been in touch with the council to have the property properly checked and have any other drug paraphernalia removed. This property and the many others around the town need to be secured, cleanup and reallocated immediately in an attempt to deal with the housing crisis that exists and to ensure disgrace acts like this that are a real threat to children and others in the town are brought to an end".

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Local and European Elections will be a referendum on Water Charges

Sinn Fein councillor John Brady has stated that the electorate have a key opportunity to send Fine Gael and Labour a loud and clear message of no thanks to water charges in the elections in May.  He made the call after it was revealed that Regulators will set water charges in August, meaning consumers will not know how much they will have to pay for water until after the local and European elections in May.

The councillor stated “Already Fine Gael and Labour have handed over of Billions of Euro in national assets to the monster that is Irish Water. Irish Water has already paid out €50m on consultancy fees and it’s expected that at least another €30m on consultants will further be spent. The news this week however that exact charges to be imposed on the public won’t be revealed until after the European and Local elections is pure and utter political cowardice born out of the fear of the backlash the electorate will unleash on them on polling day”.

Brady continued “The idea of water charges and metering was first put forward by Fianna Fáil in their National Recovery Plan in 2011. This was enthusiastically pursued by Fine Gael and Labour who are imposing these new stealth taxes on the hard pressed Irish people. The fact that they won’t reveal the cost to be imposed on the people shows that this government has no back bone or indeed courage of their convictions to reveal them and try to justify them”.

“That won’t reveal them because they can’t justify or defend the indefensible. Currently half the Country is under water and the notion that we have to pay for the water again is a slap in the face for common sense.  The reluctance to revel the charges is an attempt to try save seats at the elections because both Labour and Fine Gael know and fear the backlash that these charges will bring”. Continued Brady

He finished by saying “The Irish people are very intelligent and educated when it comes to elections. I know many will use the elections in May as a referendum on Labour and Fine Gael and their austerity policies. I know many people will use the opportunity to send a clear message to them that they don’t want and can’t afford water charges. These charges coupled with the property tax will push people over the edge and lead to more misery and tough decisions by hard hit individuals and families”.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Wicklow motions on Housing, Pylons and Fire-Service adopted at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Wexford

A large number of Wicklow Sinn Féin members and supporters travelled to Wexford over the weekend to the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis that took place in the Wexford opera house. A large volume of motions were debated including a number for the organisation in Wicklow which were supported and now become the party's position on the issue.

Speaking after the Ard Fheis Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady said "The Sinn Féin Ard Fheis this year took place in Wexford and several thousand delegates and supporters converged on the opera house over two days to listen to and participate in debate on many party policy issues. The organisation here in Wicklow had submitted three different motions. The motions related to the housing crisis, pylons and the need for a National fire authority, they were all debated at length and all adopted as the party position on each issue".

The councillor said "The motions we had submitted are real issues of concern here in Wicklow. The organisation put forward some very progressive motions. The first one to be dealt with was on the housing crisis and need to start building social housing using housing trusts that would be established in each local authority, this in conjunction with working being carried out by the voluntary and community sector would seriously tackle the housing crisis".

"The second motion that was submitted by Wicklow was in relation to the plans by Eirgrid to run the Grid Link 400 kv project from Cork to Kildare via Wicklow along with several other counties. This would see the use over huge pylons right across the country side with big implications for tourism, land and property prices, the environment and agriculture. The Wicklow motion calls on the Irish Government to direct Eirgrid to proceed with the proposed project only on the basis that it will run underground, which in line with the view of an international expert commission employed by the government, is a viable option".

Brady continued "Our last motion related to the fire service and the need for the removal of the control of the fire service from underfunded local authorities and put under the control of a newly created all-Ireland National Fire Authority. This would ensure that training, equipment and turnouts would be uniform right across the Country with resources put into areas that need it as opposed to paying the wages of the top heavy chiefs that are simply not needed. I believe the changes will only happen when the control of this emergency service is removed form councils who are constantly cutting corners and trying to save money, this is something we unfortunately have witnessed first hand here in Wicklow and we have far too many deaths because of this flawed policy including two brave fire men. Only then will we see areas like Bray get the full time fire service it needs".

Brady Concluded "Thankfully these and many other progressive motions have been supported by the party's membership and they are now the party's positions on theses issues. Over all the Ard Fheis was very positive and the membership is buoyed up and ready for the Local Elections which are on in May. It was great to see so many new members and candidates and Wicklow had plenty of both there. If the Ard Fheis was anything to go by the European and Local Elections are going to be rigorously contested by Sinn Féin and i think we will have plenty of surprises and shocks for the establishment parties along the way". Ends

Motions put forward by Wicklow at the Sinn Féin 2014 Ard Fheis  and adopted.

108. This Ard Fheis recognises that the 26-County state, via local authorities, is moving away from the provision of public housing and shifting to what is called housing support. This model puts the onus for housing provision on the voluntary and community sector as well as subsidising private landlords.
While voluntary and community housing bodies provide great service and are an essential part of our housing system, they are incapable of providing the level of housing needed.
This Ard Fheis calls for the establishment of housing trusts by each local authority which could source financing for a major public housing build without borrowing as part of the state’s ‘national debt’.

127. This Ard Fheis:
• Notes the proposed plans to expand the electricity grid on the island via the North-South Interconnector, the Grid Link and Grid West projects.
• Supports in principle the enhancement of supply and expansion of the electricity grid and the stated aims of Eirgrid to help secure future electricity supply for homes, businesses, farms, factories and communities, to help Ireland meet its 40% renewable energy target and to provide a platform for economic growth and job creation.
• Notes with concern the impact that construction of the proposed high-voltage 400KV pylon supported powerlines would have, most notably, in the areas of:
• Agriculture
• Health
• Landscape
• Tourism
• Land and property values
• Commends the community-based groups across the island who have been campaigning effectively on the issue, who have helped to inform the wider population of the projects, and have been voicing the many genuine and serious concerns that communities have about the proposed projects.
Further notes:
• That underground cables have lower transmission losses than overhead lines because, due to thermal reasons, underground cables have a larger conductor and therefore significantly smaller losses.• Studies on several 400KV transmission grids show that the characteristics of underground cables can in many cases be beneficial to the overall performance of the network.
• Disturbance of underground cables occurs less frequently than for overhead lines. Overhead cables are affected by severe weather. Only outside influences can disturb and damage underground cables. Underground cables are low maintenance compared to overhead lines.
• Underground cables - at installation - cost more than overhead lines but the fact that they are low-maintenance, have lower transmission losses, have a longer lifespan and no environmental or other negative impact would suggest that the initial additional outlay will be offset over time by the many advantages.
• That an international expert commission, employed by the government, found that the undergrounding of cables was “a viable option”.
Calls for:
• The Irish Government to direct Eirgrid to proceed with the proposed projects only on the basis that they will be undergrounded.
• In the case of the North-South Interconnector, that the lines be placed underground using ducts within the new A5/N2 road development.
• The Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act, which facilitates the forcing through of such projects regardless of the expressed wishes of communities, be repealed.
• A united all-party front in opposition to the overgrounding of powerlines and to make the case for undergrounding.

161. This Ard Fheis reiterates our policy for an all-Ireland National Fire Authority. This would remove control of the fire service from underfunded local authorities and would provide a cost-effective system to offer live-saving services to those who need it. 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Meaningful action needed by Council to apprehend serial illegal dumpers

Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has called for immediate and meaningful action to be taken by Bray Town Council to tackle long term illegal dumping at a number of litter blackspots in the town.

The councillor stated "I have been contacted by angry residents from Stable Lane and Carlisle Terrace on Seymour Road in Bray in relation to the illegal dumping that has been ongoing now for years. The council is aware of these litter black spots and regularly have the rubbish removed from the locations, which both have high numbers of private rented accommodation. Locals have now ran out of patience and are calling on the council to take meaningful action to tackle the illegal dumping once and for all".

"In fairness the council organise to have the illegally dumped household refuse removed on a weekly basis, however this is nearly giving the dumpers the incentive to continue to do it as they appear to get away with it. The council must however get tough on the dumpers, firstly they need to erect signage warning people not to illegally dump and what the penalties are when they get caught. The council i believe must also erect CCTV at these locations to help apprehend the serial offenders, who when prosecuted should be named and shamed". continued Brady

He went on to say "I believe its costing the council thousands of euro a year just to clean up these two sites alone, this money should and could be better spent better by upgrading and improving public services and amenities for all instead of cleaning up after some irresponsible litter louts. I think the council should make public the amount of money they waste cleaning up after these people".

Brady concluded by saying "Landlords also have a roll to play in stamping out the disgusting actions of the small minority that engage in these stupid actions that not only impact negatively on the area but also on the entire town. But ultimately its up to the dumpers to have a bit of cop on and respect for their neighbours and our town".

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Dangerous Road Surface at Kilcroney Roundabout Needs Immediate Action

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has said immediate action is needed to address the dangerous road surface at the Kilcroney roundabout in Bray. He has stated that he has been made aware of many near accidents at the location, when motorists enter onto the roundabout the cars loose all traction sending them into a skid.

The councillor said "I was first contacted on this issue a number of weeks ago by a motorist who went into a spin in his car whilst on the roundabout. He stated he wasn't travelling at speed and the surface was dry. Subsequently taking to other motorists it has became very apparent how extensive the problem actually is, i have spoken to at least 10 motorists who experienced the same thing at the same location over the last 6 months or so".

Brady continued "The latest incident that i was made aware of happened last week when a car with two people inside went into a complete spin on the roundabout, one of the occupants in the car is pregnant and they were convinced the car was going to completely flip over. In the end the car came to a halt facing into the roundabout, again the car was not travelling at any great speed and the tyres on the vehicle were only recently replaced".

The councillor went onto say "I raised the issue at a council meeting and i was surprised when one of the officials present stated the same had happened to him recently at this location. The maintenance of the N11 and the slip roads including the roundabouts has been privatised and a company named GSJ Maintenance Ltd hold the contract. The issue has been raised with them and hopefully action will be taken soon to address this serious problem. The issue has been happening for so long now it doesn't appear that it is an oil spill, it appears to be a poor road surface. I have suggested a special non slip surface be installed like is found at some junctions".

The councillor concluded "I believe the problem to be more extensive and that most motorists haven't reported incidents that may have happened to them. I urge them to either contact myself or the council so a true picture on the scale of the problem can be complied so pressure can be put on GSJ Maintenance to take action to address the problem". Ends.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Hell and Back 2nd February for Merryn

Fantastic day at Hell & Back, it was very cold and tough and I am now covered in bruises. I am delighted to have finished and to have played a small part in trying to raise funds to try help a little girl named Merryn in her fight against cancer. We'll done to everyone who done it, particularly team Merryn.