Friday, 27 June 2014

Wicklow TDs must work to protect the Wicklow Library service

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor and Cathaoirleach of the Bray Municipal District has called on the 5 Wicklow TDs to work together to save the Wicklow Library service which is slowly but surely being dismantled due to the public service staffing embargo that’s in place since 2009. This follows the news that the Wicklow Local studies section is due to close with immediate effect due to staff shortages.

Cllr Brady said “In Wicklow we have an excellent library service which thankfully have been built upon over many years. Unfortunately the service is slowly being dismantled. Since 2009 we have seen a 28% reduction in staff due to the public service staffing embargo, this has resulted in the opening hours of libraries being cut and unfortunately the latest cut will see the excellent County Wicklow Local Studies Service which is located in the Ballywaltrim library close with immediate effect”.

“Council officials have taken the unfortunate decision to close this important service due to a retirement, which has resulted in staff having to be redeployed to keep other services open in Greystones”.

Brady continued “The important service houses valuable local records and archives such as Ordnance Survey maps, parish maps, and place histories as well as a local newspapers dating back to 1858.It has been used extensively by historians who helped officials built up the excellent archive which is housed in the library HQ in Ballywaltrim in Bray”.

Brady went onto say “I am asking that every option be explored to ensure this valuable resource remains open. We are entering an important period of commemorating; this year marks the 100 anniversary of the outbreak of World War 1 and the 1916 centenary is fast approaching. Access to locally held information is critically important to historians and others looking at documenting and remembering locals and local events that occurred at that important time in history. People used the service for many reasons; carrying out research,  into family matters, histories of clubs, groups and organisations, individuals seeking genealogical information, folklore, political matters, religious matters and all kinds of material from the old papers and reference books”.

Brady concluded “An application has been made to the Department of the Environment for the filling of a number of vacancies in Wicklow County Council Library Service, including the position of Executive Librarian at Greystones library. If successful, this will enable the position of Assistant Librarian in Ballywaltrim and Local Studies to be restored. I am urging the 5 Wicklow TDs to ensure this application is successful and that the Local Study Service can remain open and that the future of our library service is protected”. Ends

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Work on River Dargle Flood Protection Scheme set to restart

The Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District of Bray John Brady has welcomed the good progress that has been made in ensuring that the work on the River Dargle flood protection scheme recommences as quickly as possible and the People’s park is reinstated. This follows the cessation of the works in November 2013 after the contractors SIAC pulled of site after entering examinership.

Sinn Féin councillor and Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District of Bray John Brady said “Some very positive work has been taking place to ensure work recommences on the River Dargle flood protection scheme and also to ensure that the people’s park which unfortunately has effectively been a building site for the last few years is reinstated and given back to the public. Some work has already started and over the next short while we will see a lot more construction work in the area”.

“Some work has already commenced at La Vallee and site preparation and mobilisation has started in advance of emergency works comprising of sheetpile flood defence walls. The site preparation required the removal of mature trees and vegetation along the riverbank. Contract documents have also been tendered for a Construction Manager Service Provider (CMSP) for the flood protection scheme. Their role will be to project manage the construction works and manage the different designers and contractors working on the scheme. The council is in the process of appointing the successful company”.

Brady continued “The Office of Public Works has agreed that the outstanding works will be broken into smaller packages and tendered separately. Contract documents, for the pre-qualification of Contractors to undertake specific works relating to the River Dargle Flood Defence Scheme have been tendered and a total of 14 Framework panels are to be set up ranging from Sheetpiling to earthworks. A number of tenders are still out and more are due to be placed on eTenders for the design of different sections of the project”.

Brady went onto say “It’s also positive that work will start soon on reinstating the People’s Park to ensure it’s returned as a public amenity.  When I became Cathaoirleach I made the recommencement of the Flood Protection works and the reinstatement of the people’s park priorities. I have a commitment now that work on restoring the park will start over the summer. A Contractor has been appointed to undertake works to improve surface water drainage in the Lower Dargle Road area. Works on that project commenced this week and it is anticipated that they will be completed in early July. Following those works the area between the 2 compounds in People’s Park will be landscaped and a new footpath will be installed along the wall in the park. I have also asked that the 2 compounds which are required to complete the flood scheme and the area surrounding them are cleaned up”.

The Cathaoirleach concluded “The recommencement of the flood works are critical for the Little Bray area and have to be welcomed. I commend the work that has been carried out by all involved to get it to this stage, I intend on continuing to work with all involved to ensure things progress as speedily as possible and also to ensure that the public are kept fully informed of progress at every stage of the process. I believe this process will also give contractors that may have lost out in the examinership process that SIAC underwent an opportunity to work on the project again and try make up some of their losses”.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Bray cathaoirleach expresses solidarity with striking Roadstone workers

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor and Cathaoirleach of the Bray Municipal District John Brady expressed solidarity and paid a visit to the striking Roadstone workers in Fassaroe, Bray. The workers in Bray have joined nearly 350 of their colleagues at 20 locations around the Country who are on strike since Monday last.

Speaking after visiting the workers in Bray the Cathaoirleach said "On Thursday i went to Roadstone in Fassaroe to show solidarity with the workers there who have been on strike since Monday after talks with management broke down. The workers join there colleagues in Arklow and approximately 350 workers in 20 other locations across the Country who as a last resort had no option but to take strike action".

Cllr Brady went onto say " Trade unions representing workers have engaged in negotiations with the management of Roadstone Woods Ltd in relation to cost reductions.  Management have been looking at reducing the payroll cost by €10 million over the next five years and it follows a cut of €6 million in payroll costs in 2012. Talks broke down over the weekend and unfortunately strike action had to be taken".

"When one looks at the huge bonuses given to directors of Roadstone as outlined at their AGM, i think its totally unacceptable for these big pay cuts to be imposed on ordinary workers which will inevitably inflict more financial hardship on them. This company is in profit and i think unfortunately a lot of big businesses are exploiting the recession purely to drive down wages for workers to satisfy the stock market and shareholders". 

Brady concluded "I pledged to do everything within my power to support the workers and i urge members of the public to do so also as whats happening in Roadstone will be somewhere else tomorrow unless we stick together. Support from the public towards the strikers has been fantastic and I'm asking people not to cross the picket line. Hopefully talks will resume and the exploitation of the workers in attempting to drive their wages down will cease". Ends 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Brady welcomes action to tackle derelict and dangerous buildings in Bray

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor and Cathaoirleach of the Bray Municipal District John Brady has welcomed the action which has been taken to address two dangerous derelict buildings in Bray. Contractors moved onto the Old A O'Smiths site which is located on the Boghall Rd and also onto the old Haughtons factory at Adelaide Villas, this is the site where two firefighters lost their lives tackling a blaze in 2007. The contractors are securing and making safe both sites and it has been greeted with relief by the communities in both areas.

Speaking after visiting both sites the Cathaoirleach said "I welcome the fact that after lengthy campaigning and pressure from myself and the community action has finally commenced to make safe these very dangerous buildings. After continuous pressure from myself and local residents contractors moved into the building where Bray firemen Brian Murray and Mark O'Shaughnessy lost their lives in 2007. The remaining structure was classed 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. The work includes clearing out the site, demolishing the two story structure on site and removing parts of the boundary walls".

Brady continued "This week contractors also moved on the old A O'Smiths site which is located on the Boghall Rd. This was also a very dangerous building and children have regularly been seen playing around it. A number of months ago a blaze broke out on site after piles of illegally dumped rubbish which had been dumped inside the building had been set on fire. The building had also become a drug den and syringes were scattered all over the inside. Contractors have started to block up all the windows and doors with concrete blocks to restrict any entry in the dangerous building". 

The Cathaoirleach continued "Unfortunately its has taken far too long to get to this stage to ensure these buildings are made safe. It comes in the same week however that another derelict building on Ballywaltrim Lane was burnt to the ground. Wicklow County Council must ensure that all buildings that pose a risk to public safety are dealt with and the owners are held to account and forced to take responsibility. I am very conscious that securing these buildings and making them safe is only a short term solution. Long term solutions need to be looked at to ensure that the sites are put to good use in terms of creating new jobs or industry and also meeting the needs of the communities they are located".

He concluded by saying "I fully intend on ensuring that all derelict buildings or sites that pose a risk to the public are dealt with and that they don't become magnets for drug dealing or anti social behaviour and ultimately drag entire areas down. We need to look at positive and proactive ways in tackling the issue of derelict sites and using the powers that the council has at its disposal".

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady makes history by becoming the first cathaoirleach of the new Municipal District of Bray

History was made last night at the inaugural meeting of the Municipal District of Bray council meeting when Sinn Féin councillor John Brady became its first cathaoirleach and the first Sinn Féin cathaoirleach of a local authority in Bray or Wicklow. Cllr Brady was nominated by his colleague Cllr Oliver O'Brien and was seconded by Cllr Brendan Thornhill.
Councillor Brady defeated Fianna Fail councillor Pat Vance 6-2 after securing the support of other independent councillors Fox and Behan along with Green Party councillor Steve Matthews.

Speaking at the council AGM councillor Brady said "It is with great personal pride that I take on this role which is historic for a number of reasons. Firstly because it’s the first time this position has been filled under the reconfiguration of local government by Phil Hogan and secondly it’s the first time a member of Sinn Féin has held the chair position of any council here in Bray."

"I want to be a champion of equality, an advocate for strong community and bearer of change.If, in twelve months’ time, I can look back on my term, if I can honestly say that I have taken the Cathaoirleach role into the homes, communities and work places of those whom this office represents, then I will be a proud republican activist."

Cllr Brady outlined his priorities for the coming year which include tackling the housing crisis, unemployment, suicide awareness, completion of the river Dargle Flood Protection Scheme and the restoration of the Peoples Park, a Full Time Fire Service for Bray and the development of the Florentine centre.

In his closing comments the new cathaoirleach outlined a number of new initiatives including the creation of the Cathaoirleachs community fund which will see up to 50% of his allowance as chairperson going directly back to community groups, clubs and organisations. A series of public meetings are also to be organised around Bray, Enniskerry, Kilmacanouge to ensure the work done on the new Municipal District Council of Bray is in line with the views of the citizens it represents and that it remains fully accountable to them and no other vested interests.

Below is the full text of the Cathaoirleachs speech.

It is a magnificent honour to be nominated and elected as the Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District of Bray, which includes Kilmacanouge and Enniskerry.

In 2004 I became the first republican to sit here in the town hall since the murder of Seamus Costello in 1977. Now 10 years after me being first being elected by the people of Bray I have been given the honour of sitting here in this chair as the first Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District of Bray.

I want to thank my Colleague Cllr Oliver O’Brien for proposing me and Cllr Brendan Thornhill for seconding me. I also want to thank my family, Gayle, Meghan, Saoirse, Siobhraidh, Oisin and Croía for their continued support and for putting up with me. I also want to thank my supporters and the citizens of Bray, Enniskerry and Kilmac for giving me a continued mandate to represent them. I also want to thank my colleague Rossa Murray who for the last 5 years sat along side me on Bray Town Council and made my life so much easier. 

If, in twelve months’ time, I can look back on my term, if I can honestly say that I have taken the Cathaoirleach role into the homes, communities and work places of those whom this office represents, then I will be a proud republican activist. 

I want to be a champion of equality, an advocate for strong community and bearer of change.

The local and European elections brought about significant political change. After six years of social and economic crisis and seven harsh austerity budgets people have had enough.

Sinn Féin was returned to Wicklow County council with 6 representatives with 2 of those coming from here, the Municipal of Bray. We are now the largest political party on the council here in Bray. With our new political strength there also comes a huge responsibility.

Those of us elected to this Council, from all parties, have a responsibility to work together to make life better for the people we represent.
I look forward to working constructively and positively with all councillors elected to deliver for the people of Bray, Enniskerry and Kilmacanouge.

I want to be a Cathaoirleach for all of the people of this district. But in particular I want to be a voice for those who have been left out or left behind. I want to be a campaigning Cathaoirleach – campaigning for change, for inclusion, for equality.

My priorities for the year will be;

- To highlight and find solutions for the ongoing housing and homeless crisis in the area and across the State.

- Suicide awareness  

- To promote practical solutions to the unemployment crisis and help build Bray as a positive retail destination

-  A full time fire service for Bray

- Resumption and completion of work on the Dargle River Flood Protection scheme and the restoration of the People Park

-  To ensure a programme is implemented so the millions in unspent Bray Town Council Development monies are spent on projects in the locality. 


We are in the midst of the worst housing crisis in modern history. Almost 4,200 households across Wicklow are on the waiting list, nearly 1,200 in the northern part of the County. A growing number of families are sleeping tonight in local hotels/hostels because they cannot afford the rent in private accommodation and the council is unable to house them and indeed we have people sleeping on the streets here in Bray.

Since 2008 Government funding for social housing has been cut by 90%.

The solution to the housing crisis is very simple – we need to build more social houses.

As Cathaoirleach I pledge to use my office to highlight this crisis. To put a human face on the suffering of thousands of families who do not have a home of their own.

I also pledge to promote meaningful solutions to this crisis.

Local government must be able to meet peoples housing need. We need to have the money to build and buy more social houses.
There is a housing crisis and we as a council must act to ensure that changes are made to allow us to work towards dealing with the crisis.

Suicide Awareness

We have unfortunately lost many of our family members, friends, and community to suicide. Many of those where young bright people when thought they had no alternative. I want to use my position over the coming year to lift the taboo on this issue, speak about it and work with the many excellent groups and organisations out there dealing with the issue, I believe this council can play a proactive role on this issue.

In Bray there are 4,944 people unemployed. We need to work together to get Bray working again. During my year as Cathaoirleach I will engage with youth organizations, trade unions, business groups, employers and young people themselves to debate and promote practical solutions that will give people hope and get people working. I will work to ensure that Bray becomes a major retail destination again and that the Florentine development is central to that and that we reach our tourist potential. 

Full Time Fire Service

For many years I like many people including Margret Cahill have called for the provision of a full time fire service in the town. Our history unfortunately shows clearly that we need one, we have a station purposely built to house one and unfortunately the funding hasn’t followed from central government. I intend on using my year in office in a positive way to advance to provision of a full time fire service in Bray.  

I look forward to the months ahead in my new role, not just as a Sinn Féin Cathaoirleach but one for all of the people living in Bray, Enniskerry and Kilmacanouge. I will endeavour to be fair as the Chairperson of Council meetings and provide everyone with equal time and opportunity, regardless of political orientation.

I want to state that we are very lucky to have a flexible, professional, innovative and committed team and workforce in the Municipal District council. We need to get to grips with all our new roles and functions as quickly as possible and I will ensure that training for councillors will be provided if required.  I also intend on developing a strong working relationship with Comhairle na nÓg and ensuring they can play a constructive role within this council.

I’m genuinely looking forward to working closely with the manager, other senior officials and their team in the coming year.

While I as one individual don’t have the solutions to tackle every problem we may encounter, together as elected representatives, staff and residents we have the knowledge and ability to make great progress in the coming year.

As we approach the 100 anniversary of the 1916 Rising I believe we need to start our plans to remember, learn and commemorate the birth of our Republic, I will bring forward plans for that in the near future, in the meantime we as a council should endeavour to ‘Cherish all the children equally’ as is stated in our proclamation of Independence. Tackling inequality and ensuring every single person has the opportunity and the means to live a full and happy life is the greatest challenge facing the leadership of our Municipal District.

I am resolved to be relentlessly positive about our community and to work hard with everyone to make our county and our district a place for everyone. I want to be ensure equality and community thrive in our area, that means that no matter if your if your black or white, Gay lesbian or straight, able-bodied or have a disability, a member of the travelling community or from the settled community, that you will be treated with respect and equality and that you can be proud to be a part of our community.

Over the coming months I plan on setting up the Cathaoirleach community fund. With this I plan on distributing up to 50% of my allowances as Chairperson back into the community. I as Cathaoirleach also plan on organising a number of public meetings in several locations across Bray, Enniskerry and Kilmacanouge to ensure the work done here on the council is in line with the views of the citizens we represent and that we remain fully accountable to them and no other vested interests. I will bring forward details of both initiatives in the near future.

I am up for the challenge over the next 12 months and look forward to working with all of you to realize that vision.

Go raibh mhaith agaibh.