Monday 28 April 2014

Serious questions need to be answered on the water shut off from Vartry Reservoir in Roundwood to Wicklow

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has raised serious concerns in relation to the water shut off in the northeastern part of Wicklow. Water from the Vartry Water Treatment plant in Roundwood has been effected by water production problems since Thursday last and residents have had water pressure reduced or shut off since then. A recurrence of last years algae problem at the reservoir appears to be the problem.

Cllr Brady said "I have been inundated with calls and emails from residents from the Enniskerry, Kilmacanogue and Kilpedder areas who have either had reduced or no water since Thursday of last week. They have had no information on the nature of the problem or how long its expected to last. The Vartry reservoir in Roundwood is controlled by Dublin City Council and unfortunately residents have been kept in the dark on this problem as there seems to be a breakdown in communications between Dublin and Wicklow Councils. The seriousness of the problem seems to have escalated over the weekend and many areas now have no water. Little or no information is coming for either Wicklowor Dublin councils to residents and this needs to change".

Cllr Brady went on to say "I have spoken to engineers who have said that the problem is an algae bloom on the reservoir, this is a recurrence of the problem that effected the water supply this time last year. The problem went on for a numbers of weeks and effected many homes and business's leaving many without water for lengthily periods. It is incredible that one year on residents are now left in the same situation and still completely in the dark". 

"Not only do the residents and businesses need the water back immediately, A number of questions need to be answered as to how this problem can occur again within a year? and what preventative measures have been taken by Dublin City Council to stop the problem?" continued Brady.

The councillor concluded "I have asked for a suspension of standing orders at today's County Council meeting to discuss this very important issue. Its not acceptable in this day and age that people are left without any water, this comes at a time when water meters are being installed to try force people to pay for water. I will be requesting that more water tankers are made available in all effected areas to ensure everyone has access to clean water and that Wicklow is not adversely effected by the water being cut or reduced to ensure County Dublin's water supply is maintained. Ultimately this problem needs to be resolved as quickly as possible and that it doesn't happen again, i will also be having the issue raised in the Dáil to ensure that the Minister and Irish Water are also made aware to ensure its resolved". 

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Brady expresses concern as public toilets remain locked and litter bins overflow on Bray Seafront

Bray Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has expressed concerns about the negative impact the Government's overtime and recruitment ban is having on Wicklow, its public amenities and the potential damage its inflicting on tourism. He expressed his concerns following the Easter Bank Holiday weekend which seen the litter bins overflowing on Bray Seafront and the public toilets remaining closed on Friday, because no one from the council was available to open them.

Cllr Brady said "Over the weekend i had been contacted by a number of business people and members of the public in relation to the seafront area of Bray. On Good Friday the public toilets on the seafront remained closed all day long. When i contacted the council i was informed this was down to staffing issues. I informed them that it was not acceptable that they remain closed and i asked them to ensure they were opened for the remainder of the weekend. A substantial refurbishment of the toilets was recently carried out and to have them closed when the seafront is packed with both local people and visitors to the town sends out all the wrong signals".

He went onto say "The problems in the area were further compounded on Monday when the bins in the area were left overflowing and were not emptied until Tuesday morning. The rubbish was blowing all over the area and many people were left with a negative impression of the seafront and of the town".

"Normally the area is kept to the highest of standards by the council outdoor staff. Everyone that visits Bray always have nothing but good to say about the seafront. I am concerned however that the overtime and recruitment ban that the government have in place is having a negative impact on the excellent work that's carried out in the area. Overflowing bins and locked public toilets don't portray a good image and it has the potential to damage the area as an attraction for tourists" continued Brady.

Cllr Brady concluded "I am calling on both the government and the council to ensure that the proper resources are put into maintaining our public amenities and to ensure the overtime ban is lifted to ensure that areas like the seafront in Bray get the staff that are needed to maintain it at critical times such as weekends and Bank Holiday's. We need to be doing everything possible to sell the town in a positive light to exploit its tourist potential, the solution to this problem is simple and i urge the Government TDs to use their power to ensure the crazy overtime ban is lifted to ensure we don't have a re occurrence of weekends such as this".

Wicklow Sinn Féin hold Annual Easter 1916 Commemoration in Bray

Wicklow Sinn Féin held their Easter 1916 County commemoration in Bray on Easter Monday. A large crowd was led by the Rising Phoenix Republican Flute Band. An all female colour party carried the flags, this was to mark the 100 anniversary of the formation of Cumann na mBan. 

The rally was led to the 1798 monument on Castle Street and the proceedings were chaired by Bray Sinn Féin representative Oliver O'Brien. He welcomed the large crowd to the 98 anniversary of the Easter Rising and called on Mary McDonald from Arklow to read the Proclamation of Independence. A wreath was laid to remember all who lost their lives in the struggle for Irish Independence. Oliver O' Brien then introduced the main speaker, Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady.

In the main oration Councillor Brady welcomed the large crowd and said it was time to rededicate ourselves to the Republic that was declared 98 years ago, he went onto say "In two years time, we will celebrate the centenary of the Rising. That will be an occasion to both reflect upon the legacy of the Rising and the Proclamation, and what they must mean for the future. It is an opportunity to build a popular national consciousness on the true values of the Proclamation, and to encourage Irish citizens and the Diaspora to reclaim the spirit of 1916".

He went onto say "Sinn Féin is about realising the vision of 1916 and making the noble ideals contained in the Proclamation a reality for Irish people. We seek to undo the ‘carnival of reaction’ initiated by the partition of our country. Sinn Féin wants to see the reconquest of Ireland by the people of Ireland — a real republic where the citizens and not vested interests — whether in politics, banking, the institutions of state or foreign governments— are in control"

Brady continued "Our vision is of a New Republic for the 21st century, which - like the Proclamation of 1916 - guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities for all citizens; cherishes all the children of the nation equally and is anti-sectarian. This means equal rights for those in same sex relationships, ethnic minorities and those of all creeds and none"

"The enforced austerity by the coalition in Dublin and the coalition in London is the antithesis of everything the Rising and Proclamation envisaged. To stand for the ideals of 1916, must mean standing against austerity; and standing up for the vulnerable, those unable to care for themselves, and the working poor, north and south" continued Brady.

He concluded his oration by saying "Elections have always provided a platform for advancing the republican cause. The Local and EU elections in a few weeks time – where every voter in Ireland, North and South, has the chance to vote Sinn Féin, offers republicans an opportunity to significantly advance the cause of an Irish Republic".

The commemoration ended with the playing of the National Anthem before marching back up to the Town Hall

Thursday 17 April 2014

Shopfront Grant Scheme should be extended to cover the Little Bray Area

Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has called on Bray Town Council to extend the Shopfront Grant Scheme to cover the Castle Street area of Little Bray. The scheme currently only covers the Main Street area and provides a grant of up to 50% of the costs of replacing the shopfronts by retailers.

Whilst welcoming the scheme Councillor Brady said "This is a good scheme that can provided a grant of 50% for works less than €6,000 and 40% for works exceeding that amount and over up to a maximum grant of €7,500.00. I welcome the scheme and I believe the scheme if bought into by the retailers will greatly enhance the town and I urge all retailers to look at it and make an application".

"I do however believe the catchment area for the grant should be extended. Currently the scheme will apply to all existing independent retailers situated on Main Street from Bray Bridge to the Town Hall Area. However I believe it should be extended to all the retailers and rate payers in the town including the Castle Street area. Little Bray is nearly always forgotten about, but it also plays a key roll in retail in the town and it should be included" continued Brady.

Brady continued "This scheme is aimed at improving the appearance of shopfronts in the town and this will include removing the external shutters and placing them inside the front window of the store along with replacing and improving the fascia’s and signage. Castle Street is one of the main routes into the town and has a lot of retail units along it. I have been approached by a number of interested retailers from the area about the grant scheme who want to try improve their units also. Unfortunately the current terms of the grant exclude them from applying. I am now calling on Bray Town Council to extend the scheme to cover the area because it will benefit all other areas of the town also by enhancing and improving the area".

Brady concluded "The closing date for applications is 2nd May 2014 and I urge all retailers to have a look at the scheme and make an application. More information on the scheme can be obtained on the council website or by contacting me".

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Fianna Fáil labelled as Politically Opportunistic Hypocrites on water charges

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady and Bray representative Oliver O’Brien have hit out at Fianna Fáil and called them hypocrites on the issue of water charges. They went further to say that both Fine Gael and Labour are trying to spin their way through the upcoming elections by attempting to fool the electorate.

Speaking after the news on Wednesday that households would pay an average of at least €240 a year for the next two years for water charges, Councillor Brady said “Over the last few days there has been a lot of media focus on the issue of water charges. Sinn Féin and I have been consistent in our opposition to water charges because they are a flat aggressive tax that will impact most on working families. However the sheer opportunistic hypocrisy from Fianna Fáil on the issue is unbelievable”.

Oliver O’Brien “Over the last few days we have seen Fianna Fáil local election candidates issue statements condemn Fine Gael and Labour over water charges. The reality is Fianna Fáil first proposed water charges in their National Recovery Plan 2011 – 2014, that plan envisaged an average charge of €400. This is nothing but pure political opportunistic hypocrisy from the party that brought the Country to its knees”.

Brady continued “On Wednesday last we heard Enda Kenny say that he expects the average bill for water will be €240 a year. The bottom line is the proposed Water Charges are another tax on struggling families, are unfair and unjust, and make no economic sense. Once introduced Water Charges would be increased over time and ultimately privatised. The spin coming from Fine Gael and in particular the Labour party is a clear attempt to spin their way through the upcoming election. Irrespective as to how much a standing charge is forcing people to pay another stealth tax, particularly for water is unjust”.

Oliver concluded “The Government’s Water Charge is borrowed from Fianna Fáil and opposed at that time by the Labour Party, is another tax on top of all the other taxes and charges faced by struggling families, who have already been hit with an unprecedented list of taxes and stealth charges. In the upcoming elections people will have an ideal chance to pass judgement on the government and Fianna Fáil on this and other issues.  Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil are all cut from the same cloth and they should be held to account for their actions”.

Thursday 10 April 2014

An Post called on to intervene to secure future of Little Bray Post Office

Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has called on An Post to intervene to save the post office in Little Bray. The post office opened in theCostcutters store at Sunnybank in 2011 after a campaign by Sinn Féin, however the future of the post office has been uncertain since theCostcutter store closed in November 2013.

Councillor Brady said "Following a successful campaign by Sinn Féin to have a post office opened in Little Bray, one opened in theCostcutters store at Sunnybank on the Upper Dargle Road. The post office which is a huge benefit to the entire Little Bray area was located In the Costcutters store".

"Unfortunately Costcutters closed last November leaving the In store post office open in the back of the large unit. This was deemed a temporary arrangement until a new tenant was found. Security concerns have been raised for both the staff and users of the post office and going forward it appears that the current situation is not tenable and it's future uncertain" continued Brady.

"The management of the post office have identified an alternative premises for the post office in the Little Bray area to ensure the community continue to have the critical and excellent services of the post office. However it's estimated the move will cost in the region of €36,000 which the Postmistress of the post office is expected to foot".

Councillor Brady concluded "An Post are the ones putting pressure on the postmistress to make the move to a new premises. I think it's grossly unfair to expect the postmistress to foot the huge cost. I have contacted the Chief Executive of An Post Donal Connell to ensure there is assistance given to cover the cost of the move. It is important that the post office is retained in Little Bray and the uncertainty of its future must be brought to an end, this can only be done by An Post, they need to put the needs of the community first. My colleague Councillor Rossa Murray and I led a campaign to secure the post office for the area and we will fight even harder to ensure it stays".

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Brady welcomes the Wind Turbine Legislation Bill

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has welcomed the news that the government will not oppose the Wind Turbine Legislation Bill that Sinn Féin has proposed. The Bill if enacted will see strict regulation of the location and operation of wind farms. The Bill that would replace the existing guidelines with a statutory provision for setback distances of ten times the height of a wind turbine.

The legislation would also prevent electricity generated from wind being exported before Ireland achieves its targets in renewable energy.

Councillor Brady said “Wind farms have become a huge cause of concern here in Wicklow and the proposal for industrial scale wind farms has generated massive debate and a lot of local opposition. We have seen applications for turbines of a height and size never seen before in this country. Many people are frightened by the prospect of huge turbines being erected in their hundreds and the impact that would have on the landscape and potentially on the quality of people’s lives.  Due to the concerns of the public in Wicklow a review of the County Council Development Plan is ongoing and a council meeting will take place on April 28th to discuss the proposed amendments to the plan.

“We clearly need planning regulations that are fit for purpose and are mandatory rather than voluntary or suggestions. One of the key proposals in this Bill that the government has stated it will not oppose is that there is a minimum setback distance of ten times the height of the turbines. All proposed wind farms must also comply with and be consistent with County Development plans, and that they cannot be over ridden by the Strategic Infrastructure Act of 2006. Wind farms must be located in areas zoned by local councillors.

“While the export of electricity from wind and other renewable sources has a lot of potential for this country in the future, we should be reducing our own dependency on imported fossil fuels, before we go down that road. This Bill will also prevent electricity generated from wind being exported before Ireland achieves its targets in renewable energy. There is huge opposition to Wind Farms in the UK and we can’t allow Ireland to become blighted with wind turbines solely to supply the UK market” concluded Brady. Ends

Bray Town Council must act on former Superquinn site on Southern Cross

Bray Sinn Féin election candidate Oliver O'Brien has called on Bray Town Council to act to ensure that dumping and other illegal activities are ended at a site on the Southern Cross Road that was due to be development as part of the Superquinn chain of supermarkets.  He made the call after meeting with the residents association of the neighbouring Deer Park, WhiteoaksHeatherwood and Ard Na Greine estates, he further went onto say that ultimately whats needed is the development of the site for the purpose it was zoned to provide services for the residents in the area.

After meeting the residents association Oliver said "The saga of the undeveloped Superquinn site has now been dragging on for many years and unfortunately has been left in a limbo since Musgraves took over Superquinn last year. The residents of the Southerncross area have not only been left without critical infrastructure such as a shop, they have been left with a large site where illegal dumping is rampant. I am now calling on the council to ensure the owner of the site has it cleaned up, secured and that the council us all its influence to ensure that the site is developed in accordance with the planning permission that was granted".

"In 2007 the councillors on Bray Town Council voted to dispose of their interests in 1.78 acres of the site for €14.4million. Planning permission was granted for a supermarket and other ancillary neighbourhood uses, it also has planning for a 6 screen cinema. There is a financial clause in the contract the council made with the owner of the site to keep pressure on them to ensure it was developed, this clause now needs to be enforced" continued O'Brien

"The residents along the Southerncross are long overdue the local infrastructure that's so badly needed. Bray also badly needs a cinema and the residents in the neighbouring estates of Deer Park, Heatherwood, White Oaks, Ard Na Greine and Mountain View Drive need the anti social behaviour to stop, the site secured and cleaned up. My colleague councillor John Brady has constantly been raising this at council level and the council must now act under the powers they have under the Litter Act and also the clause they have dating back to the time of the sale of the site in 2007" concluded O'Brien.