Tuesday 22 December 2015

Brady urges householders to be vigilant following 20% increase in Burglaries

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has warned householders across Wicklow to be extra vigilant following a 20% increase in house burglaries in the Bray area. The figures were given to Councillor Brady at a recent Joint Policing Committee meeting with the Gardaí. The figures show that in 2014 there was 369 burglaries, whilst 443 took place in 2015, in the Bray District alone.

Speaking about the increase in burglaries Councillor Brady said “I’m asking householders to be extra vigilant over the Christmas period and ensure their homes are properly secured. At a recent meeting with the Garda Chief Superintendent it was revealed that there has been a massive increase of 20% in burglaries in the Bray area. In 2014 there were 369 burglaries; whilst in 2015 there have been 443 to date.”

“We are in the peak of the burglary season. The longer darker evenings protect opportunist burglars with the cover of darkness, enabling them to sneak around properties virtually undetected. Unfortunately unless extra vigilance is taken this number is set to increase over the Christmas season. It’s also very important that any suspicious activity is reported to the Gardaí.”

Cllr Brady concluded “No property is immune from the threat of burglary, but, as many of those who experience a burglary realise in retrospect, there is usually scope for making it more difficult for a would-be burglar to get the chance to spoil what should be nothing less than a joyful time.”

Thursday 10 December 2015

Latest waiting list figures show that St Vincent's Hospital is firmly in the grip of government's health crisis - Cllr John Brady

Sinn Féin General Election candidate Cllr John Brady has said that the latest hospital waiting list figures show that the health crisis, presided over by Fine Gael Minister Leo Varadkar, is still having a disastrous impact at St Vincent's Hospital.

Cllr Brady accused Minister Leo Varadkar, and government TDs, of treating the crisis in our hospitals as an election problem that must be brushed under the carpet before voters go to the polls.

He stated that the latest hospital waiting list figures are further evidence of this government's mismanagement of the health service.

He said;

"There are 15,306 people on the outpatient waiting at St Vincent's Hospital while nearly 900 patients have been waiting for treatment for over a year now.

It is clear that the Minister is failing to alleviate the strain on the delivery of frontline services at the hospital.

"Minister Varadkar had stated that it was his goal to ensure that, by the end of the year, no patient would be waiting longer than 15 months for treatment. It is now clear that he will fail to deliver on that aim.

"The staggering size of the hospital waiting lists in St Vincent's Hospital provides further evidence of this government's terrible mismanagement of our health service.

"When you consider these figures in conjunction with the scandal of patients lying on hospital trolleys and nurses voting for strike action, it is clear that we have a Minister, and a government, all at sea when it comes to resolving the crisis in our hospitals.

"Instead of investing in the delivery of frontline services, the Minister's has chosen to fine struggling hospitals to the tune of €5.8 million for failing to reduce hospital waiting lists.

"It is clear the the Minister is now cycnically treating the hospital crisis as an electoral problem for the government. He is telling hospitals to make his problem disappear, to brush it under the carpet, on else face financial penalties.

"Sinn Féin has argued that the only genuine way of solving the crisis is to stop undermining the public health system and to start investing in, and properly resourcing, our hospitals.

"In our alternative budget for 2016, we outlined how an investment of €383 million would begin to make serious inroads into tackling the crisis. This investment would provide 500 additional nurses, 250 midwives, and 250 consultants to help alleviate the strain on the delivery of frontline services.

"However, Fine Gael and the Labour Party have continued to make political choices that are exacerbating and prolonging the crisis. Their Minister and their TDs prefer to pay lip service the crisis rather than implementing measures that would allow patients, regardless of income, access to vital treatment."

Sunday 6 December 2015

Brady expresses serious concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

Speaking in relation to the ongoing negotiations between Europe and The United States on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP); Sinn Fein candidate in the upcoming general election Councillor John Brady says there are serious concerns around effects on sovereign democracy and the rights of workers and citizens.

“These talks are almost totally secret. No information is forthcoming unless it is leaked or direct requests are made under freedom of information laws. We do know however that the talks are bent on easing up trade restrictions between the United States and Europe. On the face of it this might sound like a positive development to many, however when we take a look at the kind of issues under discussion such as Health, Water and Education, it is obvious that privatisation of essential public services are firmly on the agenda.”
Councillor Brady went on to describe how efforts to coordinate standards between the United States and Europe by adjusting trade barriers in favour of large multi-national corporations will have a huge impact on European standards and could have a direct impact on jobs in Ireland:

“Legal standards that protect workers and services in Europe are far more lenient in the United States, particularly in the area of food safety regulations and workers’ rights. On the flip side of the coin US financial regulations are much stronger than ours in the wake of the financial crises. European financiers are keen to see the US strip away these regulations in order to give them access to the lucrative American financial sector, while any dilution of worker’s rights in Europe at the request of American interests could see a flight of jobs out of Ireland to cheaper European locations. Essentially these negotiations are lob-sided and focused on serving the needs of large Multi-National Corporation to the detriment of citizens.”

Councillor Brady is concerned that legal protections provided within the European Union could be turned on their head in a way that directly challenges the sovereignty of countries:
“Put simply, the talks are looking at ways in which private companies can sue sovereign states if those governments adopt laws that negatively affect profit potential. A report published recently in the London Independent describes how a Swedish Company is currently suing the German government after they decided to phase out Nuclear power plants as a consequence of the Fukushima catastrophe in Japan. Apparently this is just the tip of the iceberg as the report suggests there are currently 500 similar cases world-wide where sovereign governments who have taken appropriate decisions to protect public well-being are now being sued by wealthy private interests.”
Councillor Brady concluded by calling on all parties to make clear their position on TTIP.

“In the wake of Social Democrat TD Stephen Donnelly’s remarks about TTIP on the Marian Finucane radio show; where it appears his party are sitting on the fence regarding the project, Sinn Fein calls on all parties to provide clarity in relation to their position on the talks. It is not enough to simply sit back and allow secret negotiations to take place to the benefit of wealthy multi-nationals and the detriment of ordinary citizens. It is clear from international commentary that these negotiations and any deal that falls from them has the potential to seriously undermine democratic sovereignty, it could also challenge hard won health and safety regulatory standards, attack protections for workers and directly affect the rights of all citizens. The Fine Gael and Labour coalition should as a matter of urgency release any information they have in relation to the negotiations and inform the Irish people as to what part if any they have played in the process to date.”

Thursday 3 December 2015

Anne Ferris TD votes in favour of the homelessness and housing crisis by her absence - Cllr John Brady

Sinn Féin General Election candidate Cllr John Brady has issued a scathing criticism of Labour Party TD Anne Ferris for her failure to vote on a Sinn Féin Bill aimed at introducing real rent certainty and providing additional resources for the prevention of homelessness.

The Bill seeks to link rent variations to the rate of inflation and to provide for local authority to consider and take action to assist those at risk of homelessness in a preventative way.

Cllr Brady said; "In my view, Anne Ferris TD failing to vote on such an important piece of legislation effectively equates to her voting in favour of maintaining the homelessness and housing crisis.

"Those who voted for Labour Party in 2011 are enraged because they expected them to go into the Dáil fight for ordinary people. Anne Ferris' absence was a vote in favour of the status quo - of zero social housing build, exorbitant rents and increasing homelessness.

"It is absolutely infuriating that, at a time when Wicklow has over 3,000 households on the social housing waiting list and we have 130 families presenting as homeless, Deputy Ferris didn't think the issue important enough to cast a vote. I think that says all you need to know about why ordinary people feel betrayed by the Labour Party in government.

"If Anne Ferris believes that there are technical difficulties or indeed amendments that should be considered, then Sinn Féin had made it clear that we would be happy to consider such suggestions at committee stage.

"Deputy Ferris is clearly running from a housing crisis that has been created by her government's policy. In Wicklow, she is nowhere to be seen on the issue. She has avoided in engaging with the local council and the housing SPC nearly every time that meetings with Wicklow's TDs have been arranged. Now, it seems that she has extended that approach into her work in the Dáil. I have already described her as Wicklow's "Scarlet Pimpernel" - sought everywhere but nowhere to found.

"This behaviour is typical of the Labour Party in government. They implement policies that result in disaster for ordinary people and then go missing when real solutions and progressive measures are being proposed.

"Anne Ferris should have shown-up, and voted in favour of this Bill, if she was serious about addressing the housing crisis.

"Unfortunately, the Labour Party and Anne Ferris TD has turned away from the public provision of social and affordable housing in favour of Fine Gael's preference feeding the profiteering that is currently evident in the private sector.

“I was also disappointed to note that Deputies Andrew Doyle, Billy Timmins and Stephen Donnelly were also absent for the vote. The only Wicklow TD to vote, Simon Harris, unsurprisingly towed the Fine Gael line.

“The lack of representation demonstrated, in this case, is a disservice to the people of Wicklow.

Monday 30 November 2015

Coláiste Ráithín and St. Philomena’s Primary School get green light from An Bord Pleanála for new schools

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has welcomed a decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission to St. Philomena’s Primary School and Coláiste Ráithín in Bray for new schools on the Old Bray Golf Club lands. A decision by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in April not to grand planning permission for a 450 pupil two story Post Primary School for Colaiste Raithin and a 24 classroom for St. Philomena’s Primary School along with a PE hall, playing courts, playing pitch and car parking, was appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

Welcoming the news Councillor Brady said “This is fantastic news for the two schools that have been campaigning for new schools for many years now. An Bord Pleanála has now removed the last piece of red tape and permission has been granted, subject to 8 conditions. The decision by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to refuse planning permission in April was appealed to An Bord Pleanála by the Board of Management of Saint Philomena’s Primary School and Coláiste Raithín. The schools have been included in Bundle 5 of the Schools Public Private Partnership (PPP) for funding and it’s hoped that the schools will be completed in late 2016, early 2017”.

Cllr Brady concluded “These are two excellent schools that deserve to have first class schools. I want to pay tribute to the teachers, management and parents associations in both schools and to the Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB). Hopefully the commencement of the construction works on the two new schools can now commence as quickly as possible”.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Brady urges people to ensure they're registered to vote

Speaking in relation to Sinn Fein’s drive to encourage voters to register in time for the upcoming general election; the party’s Wicklow candidate Councillor John Brady says there is still time for people to add their name to the register of electors:

“Over the last number of election campaigns we have seen a steady decline in the numbers of people coming out to vote, part of this decline is due to a lack of voter registration. The recent marriage equality referendum saw a welcome surge in voter registration in the final weeks of the campaign, however there remains a significant section of our community who are not included on the register, these people might not have their voices heard in the upcoming general election.”

Councillor Brady went on to say that the only way people can bring about political change is by using their vote to shift the political dynamic in their favour:
“After years of austerity and growing public anxiety over issues such as water charges, hospital waiting lists, the housing crisis and rural decline; it is crucial that as many people as possible are included on the register. People who wish to have an impact on the future direction of government policy and to bring about the change necessary to ensure a fairer recovery will have an opportunity to do so in just a few short months.”

In conclusion Councillor Brady appealed directly to the younger generation not to allow their voice to go unheard:
“Statistics tell us that tens of thousands of our young people are not included on the register; especially those in the 18 to 25 year age group. The marriage equality referendum result showed what a difference participation across all ages can make to the outcome of an election. I would appeal to everyone to check the register and ensure they are included. For those who are living in apartment blocks and other gated communities, figures show that these people are also underrepresented, with some apartment blocks having less than 10% of occupants registered. Despite deadlines, people can still register over the coming weeks. Everybody should check the register at www.checktheregister.ie or in any Library or council office, and ensure they have the opportunity to influence the outcome of what has been hailed as one of the most important elections in recent history.”

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Nurses strike shows that “chaos and crisis” is the government’s only health policy - Cllr John Brady

Sinn Féin General Election candidate Cllr John Brady has said that the decision of nurses to embark on industrial action shows that “chaos and crisis” is the only health policy of the Fine Gael and Labour Party Government.

He stated that the decision was completely understandable given the conditions faced by frontline hospital staff throughout the state.

Councillor Brady said;

“The decision of nurses to embark on strike action shows that chaos and crisis is the only health policy of this failed government.

“The members of the IMNO clearly feel that they have no other option but to take this action. They face absolutely unacceptable overcrowding and chaotic conditions on a daily basis.

“It was an overwhelming vote of 92% in favour of embarking on a strike. Clearly the vast majority of nurses are worn-down by the conditions and overcrowding that they face in our A&Es on a daily basis. The situation has obviously reached a tipping-point.

"This government was supported by all five Wicklow TDs in closing the A&E in St. Columcilles Hospital, Loughlinstown. This has helped create the crisis that now exists in St. Vincent's Univeristy Hospital where 37 patients are lying on trollies.

"21,000 people used the A&E in St Columcille's Hospital annually before it was closed. They now must use St. Vincent's. No changes were made to cater for the increase at St Vincent's even though it was already over running capacity.

"The conditions faced by patients and staff, in hospital around the country, is a damning indictment of this government's time in office.

“We can all remember Enda Kenny promising, time and again, to end the hospital trolley scandal. However, on his watch, the crisis has only gone from bad to worse. The Labour Party is equally culpable having gone along with this reckless approach, which now has our health system lurching into chaos just before Christmas.

“We need a government that will commit to defending public services and will invest in our health system. Fine Gael and the Labour Party have only committed a paltry additional €18 million to health for the coming year. How can we expect anything but crisis and chaos in our hospital when those in power favour tax breaks for the well off over providing decent public services?

“Sinn Féin in government would defend our public services and invest in our health system. In our alternative budget, we proposed to recruit 2,500 nurses over five years if in government, with further recruitment envisaged in a second term of office.”

Wicklow County Council Budget 2016 prioritises footpaths and hedge cutting over housing crisis

Wicklow Sinn Féin’s six County Councillors voted against Wicklow County Councils Budget for 2016. They described it as a Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil budget that prioritises footpaths and hedge cutting over the housing crisis. The budget meeting was held on Monday and was framed by €1.9m in cuts from central government, on September 28th Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and some Independents voted to increase the Family Home Tax by 15% in Wicklow, in an attempt to mask the cuts by central government, and try maintain services at 2015 levels.

Speaking after the lengthy budget meeting the Wicklow Sinn Féin group leader on Wicklow County Council John Brady said “At Mondays budget meeting in Wicklow, we seen the Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Independent coalition pushing through a budget that was framed by cuts of €1.9m from central government and one that relied on squeezing an extra 15% from hard pressed families across Wicklow through an increase in the Family Home Tax. Sinn Féin put forward a number of measures to help tackle the housing crisis; unfortunately the unsustainable budget that was pushed through prioritises footpaths over housing.”

The Sinn Fein general election candidate went onto to say “At the beginning of the meeting on Monday morning the head of Finance stated that there was an additional €300,000 above what had been accounted for in the draft budget. This came about after the government ceded to the massive pressure that Sinn Féin put them under, to reverse the downward revaluation of rates for utility companies. The government decided to freeze the downward revaluation for 2015, if allowed go through, this would have seen an additional loss of €21m in funding to Local Authorities across the State, resulting in an overall loss to Wicklow of €362,276.”

Brady went onto say “The retention of this €300,000 by the council is welcome and provided the council an opportunity to do something meaningful to address the housing crisis. My colleague Councillor Nicola Lawless put forward a plan to invest this money into housing, which is a priority area for us, as the housing crisis continues to escalate; we proposed creating a €150,000 fund to install central heating in our social houses that don’t have any, €100,000 additional towards Disabled Persons Grants in both public and private houses. We also wanted an additional €50,000 to go towards Homeless services.”

“At the meeting it was unbelievable to see how out of touch with reality Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and so called Independents really are. They chose to use the €300,000 as footpath fund, and a fund for pet projects and for cutting hedges, and only paying lip service towards the housing crisis. They chose to put €100,000 into a footpath fund and €50,000 towards cutting hedges along the cliff walk between Bray and Greystones. It is unbelievable that when we have a housing crisis, people freezing in their homes and people with disabilities struggling to live in their homes because there is no funding to carry out essential modifications within their homes, that the priorities of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and some Independents are footpaths and hedges.”

The Sinn Féin councillor concluded “The six Sinn Féin councillors voted against the budget which was carried by 21 votes to 9, with 2 absent. Funding to Wicklow County Council has been cut year on year, this year we were down €1.9m. Its unjust screwing the ordinary people of Wicklow with a Family Home Tax, in September Sinn Féin voted against the decision to increase the Family Home Tax by 15% to mask the cuts from central government. People simply can’t afford to pay a home tax to prop up councils that are grossly underfunded. By rejecting the budget we rejected the Family Home Tax and the 15% increase. We also rejected the gross under funding of Wicklow County Council, the annual cuts to its core funding and the prioritisation of footpaths and hedge cutting over housing.” Ends

Friday 20 November 2015

Brady welcomes work by council in securing Eglinton Road properties

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor and General Election candidate John Brady has welcomed the action that has been taken by Wicklow County council in securing 3 large vacant residential properties that they are owners of on Eglinton Road in Bray. Brady recently described the houses as an expensive pigeon loft, whilst at the same time people are homeless and sleeping on the streets. The properties were part of the land portfolio put together by Ballymore Properties for the Florentine Development in Bray. The entire portfolio, including the three large houses, was purchased by Bray Town Council for €1.95m in December 2013.

Speaking after inspecting the work that commenced Councillor Brady stated “I’m glad that after I raised the issue of the council having these 3 protected houses boarded up, and falling into disrepair due to large holes in the roofs, action has been taken. We are in the midst of a housing crisis and for the council to allow protected properties, that they are owners of fall into such poor conditions is a damming indictment. Work commenced this week on the 3 properties to secure them from the elements and to stop people entering them, the site also needs to be cleaned up.”

“The properties were originally purchased by Ballymore Properties, mainly for the large rear gardens which boarded the Florentine site. When the council purchased the entire Florentine site in 2013 the residential properties were included in the sale. It is hoped that plans for the development of the Florentine shopping centre will be in place in the next month or two. However the actual houses will not be part of that development. In response to a question I put to the Manager about what plans are in place for the houses, he stated that only when the Florentine Centre is developed will he start looking at putting in place a plan and making a proposal to the Councillors.”

Cllr Brady went onto say “I think that the responses to my questions about these properties are absolutely disgraceful and shows a complete disregard towards the people of Bray and the housing crisis that exists. Anyone that knows the history of the Florentine site knows that it has taken 20 years to get to this point; it will take a few more before any development is completed there.”

Councillor Brady concluded by saying “Now that the protected structures have been secured, discussions need to start immediately, to try getting the houses back into use without further delay.”

Thursday 12 November 2015

Wicklow TD's played their part in the escalation of home repossessions by the banks-Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin general election candidate councillor John Brady has slammed Wicklow’s 5 TDs for playing their part in facilitating the repossession by the banks of 41 homes in Wicklow up to the end of September, there are a further 131 Circuit Court orders sought on primary homes across Wicklow. This is nearly a 300% increase on the 2014 figure of 14.

Speaking after the latest figures were released councillor Brady said “Thousands of families are living in fear of losing their home. Hard working families who bought average family homes are being dragged through the courts by their lenders. These are the very same banks that were bailed out by the taxpayer. The average level of mortgage distress nationally measured by mortgage accounts in arrears of 90 days or more is 11.2%. In Wicklow its estimated there are over 11,500 mortgages in arrears and slightly ahead of the nationally average. This means one mortgage in six in Wicklow is in arrears.”

“Last year 7,100 families had court proceedings lodged against them. Over the past nine months banks have lodged 4,500 eviction proceedings with the courts. Every month banks are lodging hundreds of fresh court actions against families in mortgage distress. In Wicklow there have been 131 Circuit Court orders sought by the banks on primary homes between January and September this year.”

The Wicklow councillor sharply criticised all 5 Wicklow TD’s saying “In 2013 all 5 Wicklow TDs, including opposition TD Stephen Donnelly, passed the Land and Conveyancing Act. This act was to make it easier for the banks to repossess the family home and since then there has been a tenfold increase in court actions each month. There have been 1088 in the first nine months of this year compared with 644 during the same period in 2014 and 240 during the same period in 2013. The pattern is clear.”

Cllr Brady concluded ““The Irish people bailed out the banks to the tune of €64billion, Wicklow’s 5 TDs gave the same banks the effective go-ahead to evict families from their homes and that’s exactly what we are seeing now. The playing field between banks and homeowners needs to be levelled by making the repossession of the Family Home a less attractive option for banks. The government also need to stand up to the banks and insist that they provide families with sustainable solutions to mortgage distress.”

Wicklow County Council to suffer loss of €362,276 due to revaluation of utilities – Cllr John Brady

Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has hit out at the Government for allowing a substantial hit to the budgets of local authorities, due to the significant downward valuation of utilities, including many private and profitable companies. This has had the effect of reducing the contribution by companies such as Vodafone, Meteor, 3Ireland, BT Ireland, Eircom and ESB to the tune of €21m.

This means a loss of €362,276 for Wicklow County Council.

Councillor Brady said;

“This is an extraordinary situation, that the valuations office, when many small businesses are struggling, would decide to gift a massive cut in rates, to some of the largest utilities and companies. I understand the cuts vary between 20-40%, which is enormous.

“This means a loss of €362,276 for Wicklow County Council.

“This could have been used to put into services, in terms of Housing, Business supports, Tourism, funding.

“The overall tourism budget in Wicklow is €330,442 so the loss is €32,000 more than that allocation.

“Some of these companies are immensely profitable. Vodafone has a pre tax profit of €100m last year. I believe that many small business owners, who are used to seeing upwards valuations, would be deeply frustrated to see much larger businesses getting such a generous rates cut.

“This Government, as with the last, raided Local Government time and time again, which meant housing, roads, footpaths, and so on, all suffered. Now, the valuations office is coming back for more, despite how profitable these companies are.”

“The Minister and the valuation office need to make clear on what basis this was given.”

“It furthermore hugely underlines the need to reform totally the archaic, 19th Century Rating system. Rates should take more account of Profit, not square footage.”

Thursday 5 November 2015

Wicklow Municipal Districts are toothless and lack sufficient staff to carry out their functions-Brady

Wicklow Sinn Fein County Councillor John Brady has labelled the new Municipal Districts as toothless and void of the necessary staff to carry out their functions. He has called for a full review of the functions of the Municipal Districts and staffing levels in Wicklow.

Speaking after a Bray Municipal District meeting where a motion was passed calling on the Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council to address the chronic staff shortages, Councillor Brady said “It’s over a year now since the Town Councils were abolished and Municipal Districts created in their place. It’s clear now that the Municipal Districts are completely toothless and they lack the staff to even carry out the most basic of functions. The Municipal Districts have turned into talking shops with little or no powers and no funds.”

“People are paying large amounts of Property Tax and indeed next year they be paying 15% more after Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and some Independents voted to increase it. Unfortunately the council is financially worse off and has substantially fewer staff. This has resulted in the Council offices being unable to open to the public on a number of occasions. Bray has no revenue collector, it’s lost its full time litter warden and one traffic warden is trying to do the work of three people.”

Cllr Brady went onto say “Bray Municipal District has retained some housing functions; however we don’t have the staff to do the work. We have a very good Estate Development Officer who is supposed to be working within the local authority estates. Due to a lack of staff he is now collecting rent and manning the public counter in the council offices. At the meeting, I proposed a motion calling on the Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council to allocate additional staff to the Municipal District so it can function properly. I’ve also called for a review at County level, so more powers can be delegated out to the Districts so that decisions can be taken at local level.”

“The introduction of the Family Home Tax was a con job; The Municipal District of Bray has a discretionary allocation of €69,500. The promised additional services promised by the government when introducing the tax can and never will happen. A national review of the new system is underway, this must include the way councils are funded. The Family Home Tax must be abolished and adequate central funding must be provided. More powers need to be delegated to the Municipal Districts to try make them relevant and additional staff appointed to them. ” Ends

Essential Fire Safety work on Oldcourt houses must be completed-Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor and General Election candidate John Brady has called on the Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly to ensure that funding to complete the essential fire safety work in the Oldcourt housing estate is provided and fast tracked. Two phases of work in the estate have been completed, this came about after a campaign led by Councillor Brady secured over €1m in funds to carry out the work, however there are still a substantial number of houses in the estate that haven’t had the work carried out.

Speaking at a recent council meeting the Sinn Féin councillor said “Unfortunately, after good progress was made in carrying out essential fire safety works on the fire prone houses in the Oldcourt estate in Bray, that work has unfortunately come to a complete standstill. Two phases of work within the estate have seen a large number of houses refurbished and the serious fire safety issues get addressed. Funding has now run out and there are still a large number of houses that need the critical works carried out. It’s critical given the history of the estate and the damming fire safety audit, that funding is fast tracked so the works on all houses can be completed.”

“The Oldcourt estate was built in the 1970's as a temporary solution to the housing crisis at the time. However the serious problems in the houses started after a botched refurbishment scheme in the estate in the late 1980's. The old flat roof structure was simply built around and the original flat roof was left in the attic space of the refurbished houses. Since the refurbishment there have been 15 serious house fires in the estate which have resulted in the loss of 7 lives. An independent fire safety audit was carried out in 2005. The findings were published in 2007 and this report outlined a substantial number of things that needed to be done in the houses to make them safer.”

Brady went onto say “The work to date in the houses has addressed all of the identified fire safety problems; it also has the added benefit of improving the energy efficiency of the homes. Any attempt to scale back on the extent of the works or to completely withhold funding will not only further endanger lives, it will be rigorously opposed. The recent tragic events in Carrickmines must serve as a reminder of the danger of fire, especially if the accommodation isn’t up to proper standards. Both the Government and the Council are acutely aware of the Fire Safety Report relating to Oldcourt, and they have a duty to the people living in all the houses in the estate that all the houses are brought up to fire safety standard without delay.”

Cllr Brady who is a long time campaigner on the Oldcourt issue concluded “There is another dimension to this, we are in the midst of a housing crisis, and families are lingering on lengthy housing waiting lists for 12 years and more. In Oldcourt the council has 8 boarded up houses that are needed to move families into when the work is been carried out on their home. Therefore, it’s also critical that the funding is fast tracked to complete the scheme not only so they are safer, but so these 8 houses can be permanently allocated to needy families in the area.”

Friday 30 October 2015

Sinn Fein Councillor John Brady Pleads for People to Assist the Gardaí.

Speaking in response to reports that an improvised devise exploded early this morning in a residential area of Dunlavin county Wicklow; Sinn Fein candidate in the general election Councillor John Brady has pleaded for people with information to come forward to Gardaí as soon as possible:

“The people of Dunlavin are understandably in shock after the events of this morning and the Gardaí are doing a tremendous job trying to get to the bottom of it. However, I would plead to anyone who has information to contact the Gardaí as soon as possible in order to help expedite the investigation. Even if people are unsure if what they suspect is of any importance, I would encourage them to contact the Gardaí immediately if they have not already done so.”

Councillor Brady went on to say that the incident is a terrifying experience for the local people:

“Thankfully it would appear that nobody was injured, however it appears that the device certainly had the capacity cause serious injury or worse. My colleague in the area councillor Gerry O’ Neill spoke to local residents shortly after the news broke; they are stunned that something like this could occur in their quiet little town, the entire experience has been very frightening, and people are at a loss to figure out how and why something like this could visit their doorsteps. Clearly whomever is responsible has no regard for the safety of the local community and needs to apprehended and brought before the courts as soon as possible.”

Thursday 29 October 2015

Irish Government Prolongs its Neglect of Citizens with Disabilities - Brady

Speaking recently in relation to the challenges faced by people living with disabilities, Sinn Fein candidate for Wicklow in the general election Councillor John Brady believes the government’s failure to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) is a black mark on their record.

“Ireland signed up to the CRPD in 2007 but has done little since then to implement it. While over 150 governments world- wide have ratified the convention, Ireland stands embarrassed as our government have failed to make headway over the last eight years. The Fianna Fail and Green coalition followed by this Fine Gael/Labour government have both put the issue of serving citizens with disabilities - as required under the convention - firmly on the back burner. This is evidenced by their failure to provide a ratification deadline signing date which would instill urgency into the ratification process.”

Councillor Brady went on to suggest that this failure could be seen as a deliberate act in order to facilitate their discriminatory austerity agenda:
“This government have spent the last few years cutting supports to people with disabilities including allowances, medical cards and home help services. This has been done despite the aims of the convention the Irish government agreed to abide by. Article one of the convention states:
‘The purpose of the present convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.’

Councillor Brady continued:

“In other words, governments must refrain from engaging in any actions that might adversely affect the person’s opportunity to live full and equal lives in society. Had the Fianna Fail government ratified the convention before it left office, it is highly unlikely that our current government could have succeeded in implementing cuts with such detrimental consequences without contravening their obligations. As such, we can only assume that both Fine Gael and Labour purposely excluded ratification of the CRPD in order to remove such international legal barriers.”

In conclusion Councillor Brady stated “There is no legal or constitutional reason for the Government not to ratify the CRDP. It is simply a matter of policy and priority. Ratification would preclude the Government from inflicting harsh cuts to services and supports for people with disabilities. It is clear that sticking to an austerity agenda is more important to Fine Gael and Labour than vindicating the rights of people with disabilities.”

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Cllr John Brady welcomes Sinn Féin's endorsement of Right2Change policy principles

Sinn Féin's General Election candidate in Wicklow, Cllr John Brady, has welcomed his party's decision to endorse the broad policy platform agreed by Right2Change.

He said;

"The issues impacting the people of Wicklow, if they are to be comprehensively addressed, require the election of as many progressive candidates at the forthcoming general election.

"Sinn Féin wants to see a progressive government in power after the next general election and we want to be part of that administration. We believe that such a change is an absolute necessity in order to defend the interests of ordinary people and to begin the work of repairing the damage caused to our public services. On that basis, Sinn Féin is happy to endorse the broad policy platform agreed by Right2Change.

"This policy platform provides a common space for progressive parties and independents to fight the forthcoming general election. It does not replace the manifesto of any political party but it does represent points of shared agreement. Most importantly, it provides a fantastic opportunity to maximise the number of progressive TDs elected to Dáil. This would obviously increase the chances of a progressive government being formed after the general election.

"Along with the right to water dimension, the Right2Change principles support the right to housing. They stress the importance of decent work with decent pay. They are grounded in an anti-poverty perspective and the demand for equal access to quality healthcare. These should be the pillars of any fair society.

"As our Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has outlined, Sinn Féin believes that parties and candidates who share this platform and who agree on these principles should, whilst attending to their own election campaigns, equally encourage people to transfer to other like-minded candidates."

Friday 23 October 2015

For a Fair Recovery: Pearse Doherty TD to address public meeting in Wicklow - Cllr John Brady

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty T.D. will address a public meeting in Arklow, Co Wicklow on Monday, November 2nd. The meeting will take place at the Arklow Bay Hotel at 7.30pm. Deputy Doherty will be speaking on the economy, the regressive nature of Budget 2016, Sinn Fein's alternative and the need for a Fair Recovery. He will be joined by Sinn Féin General Election candidate Cllr John Brady.

Cllr Brady said;

"The supposed "recovery" of Fine Gael and the Labour Party is one firmly rooted in austerity. It is still centred on the principle of protecting the wealth of the higher echelons of society to detriment of everybody else. Budget 2016 was very much tailored with the forthcoming general election to mind.

"The ordinary people of Wicklow need a recovery that is fair. We need to get families off housing lists and into homes. We need to deliver equal access to healthcare. Families shouldn't be weighed down with unjust water charges and the property tax.

"Pearse Doherty TD has been to the forefront of developing and articulating Sinn Féin’s alternative. It is fundamentally different to plan being followed by this detached and arrogant government. We want to see a recovery of which ordinary people are the main beneficiaries and where our most vulnerable citizens are protected. Sinn Féin will end the government-driven marginalisation of our towns and villages. We will stop the decimation of our vital public services.

"The next general election is all about fairness versus inequality. The recovery must be felt by the ordinary people of Wicklow. Sinn Féin wants to build a government that believes that the principle of social solidarity is the best way forward for our country.

"I am inviting anybody who wishes to engage with that vision to come to the meeting on November 2nd to express your views."

Thursday 15 October 2015

Cllr John Brady urges Wicklow fishermen to attend conference hosted by Liadh Ní Riada MEP

Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has welcomed the announcement that MEP Liadh Ní Riada will host a major fisheries policy conference in Dungarvan on Saturday, October 24th,

The conference will bring fishermen, fisheries experts and government agencies together to hammer out a strategy to support and grow the fishing industry around the coast.

Councillor Brady urged fishermen from Wicklow's coastal communities to attend the conference to voice their opinions and concerns.
He said:
“I welcome that fact that MEP Liadh Ní Riada will host a policy conference on fisheries in Dungarvan next Saturday week. It's long past time that our fishing industry was given the attention it deserves. Sinn Féin supports a sustainable fishing industry that acts as a driver of the local economy in coastal communities.
“Liadh is Ireland's only representative on the EU fisheries committee and is a proactive voice for fishermen in Europe and in Ireland. She will ensure that the voice of coastal communities and those who depend on the sea for their livelihoods will be heard. Bringing together a broad cross-section the fishing industry to feed into a comprehensive national policy is the first step in rejuvenating a sector that has been long neglected by successive governments.
"Unlike this and previous governments, Sinn Féin will continue to campaign domestically and abroad on various fisheries issues and our proposed policies, such as a Single Boat Payment scheme which Liadh Ní Riada has been highlighting with the European Commission. In government we would press for a renegotiated financial instrument that will accommodate the scheme under a truly reformed Common Fisheries Policy.
"We are also exploring legal avenues regarding illegal fishing by foreign trawlers and how they can be deterred; especially larger super-trawlers who are given space to buy up a disproportionate of quotas then fish past their quotas, reaping devastation on fish stocks and small fishermen as a result.
“Liadh along with her colleagues in GUE/NGL also submitted a proposal for funding for a pilot project on the creation of a public insurance system for those in the fisheries sector who due to unforeseen events could by adversely impacted by a number of factors, such as natural disasters, forced stops being enforced by recovery plans or sudden restrictions on access to resources, all of which would cut incomes.
“The conference itself will take place in Lawlors Hotel on Saturday 24th October and there is an open invitation to attend and participate in the discussions. I would urge fishermen from Greystones, Wicklow Town and Arklow to attend the conference if they can. I am also asking all those with an interest in seeing a strong, vibrant and sustainable fishing industry to go along and ensure their voice is heard.”
Registration for the conference begins at 9am on Saturday morning. There will be a number of local, national and European speakers on topics such as Ensuring Sustainability without Criminalising Fishermen, Adding Value and Economic Diversification; and Uniting to Ensure the Future of Fishing in Ireland.”

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Government attempts to brush the healthcare crisis under the carpet in Budget 2016 - Cllr John Brady

Sinn Fein’s Wicklow General Election candidate Cllr John Brady has said that the government has attempted to brush the healthcare crisis under the carpet in Budget 2016. He stated that the measures introduced by the Fine Gael and Labour Party government do very little to improve frontline and equality of access to health services.

Councillor Brady added that the lack of vision Budget 2016 will only compound the problems faced by patients in Wicklow which followed from the closure of the A&E department in St Columcille's hospital and the consequent overcrowding at St. Vincent's Hospital.

He said;

"The Government has attempted to brush the healthcare crisis under the carpet with the measures introduced in Budget 2016. They have gone for a headline-grabbing measure by extending free GP Care to children under the age of twelve. Any extension to this scheme should have been done on the basis of income and medical need.

"We have to remember that this government promised to extend free GP care to the entire population, starting with the holders of long term illness cards. They have long abandoned this commitment to those with chronic illness and disability.

"Instead of investing in improving frontline delivery and improving equality of access in our hospitals and A&E departments, this government has decided to only invest a paltry €18 million in our health system. This is an astonishing decision when you consider the scale of the overcrowding crisis and the fact that so many people have to wait years before they can access vital treatments and procedures.

"It is clear that the problems faced by the people of Wicklow, in the area of healthcare, will only be compounded by the lack of vision in Budget 2016.

"In their first three budgets Fine Gael and Labour cut €2.5b from the health budget. In 2013 they also closed the A&E department in St. Columcille’s hospital. 21,000 patients annually used that critical service. It was vital service for the people of Wicklow. These patients have been forced upon the already overwhelmed St. Vincent's Hospital, where the nurses are currently engaged in a work to rule due to their concerns about patient safety and the trolley crisis there.

"There is nothing in this budget to address the crisis in our hospitals. There is only an additional €18m new health spend after demographics and a pay restoration.

"Sinn Féin would have allocated an additional €383m for healthcare. This would provide for 1900 new positions within the system and gone some way to addressing the unequal, two-tier delivery of healthcare in this state.”

Wicklow TDs helped create crisis in St. Vincents Hospital

Speaking in response to the crises at Saint Vincents Hospital Emergency department where nursing staff have initiated a work to rule protest; Sinn Fein Councillor and candidate for Wicklow in the upcoming general election John Brady has said the dispute is a direct consequence of the closure of emergency services at Saint Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown.

“The nursing staff at St Vincents have taken this action due to the hospital’s failure to provide extra staff to care for overcrowding in the emergency department, and concern over the difficulty to provide the best possible care to their patients in such circumstances. They are under immense pressure with as many as 100 patients crammed into an area that is designed to care for just 18. Trolley numbers at St Vincents are up by almost 140 % in comparison to the same period last year. This reflects the problem nationally where hundreds of people are left on trolleys waiting on treatment along corridors in emergency units all over the state. I fully commend and support the nurses who have taken this action out of concern for patient safety.”

Councillor Brady went on to say that the consequences of closing the emergency department at St Columcille’s Loughlinstown are now being played out in the corridors of St Vincents:

“At the time Sinn Fein fiercely objected to the closure of services at St Columcilles. However all 5 Wicklow TD’s; Stephen Donnelly, Anne Ferris, Simon Harris, Billy Timmins and Andrew Doyle supported the move back in 2013. In fact, Billy Timmins was quoted as saying that he fully believed the ‘public will see an improvement’ within two or three years. He was wrong. Simon Harris at the time said he accepted that Wicklow was the ‘poor relation’ of the HSE and called for better primary care and ambulance services for the area. Four years in government and he has not lifted a finger to deliver the very services he accepted were necessary. As a result we now have a crisis in the emergency department of one of the largest hospitals in the state. Had St Columcille’s service been upgraded and kept open as Sinn Fein argued for, St Vincents would have far fewer patients on trolleys and nursing staff would not be forced into taking the action they have embarked on. ”

In conclusion Councillor Brady called on Local TD Simon Harris to appeal to Health Minister Leo Varadker to intervene in the dispute:

“The closure of St Columcille’s emergency department was as a result of another broken promise courtesy of the Labour Party. Now that St Vincents is suffering the effects, I would plead with Wicklow TD and Minister of State Simon Harris to intercede on behalf of the patients and staff, and call on Health Minister Leo Varadker to immediately address the staffing and financial crisis at the hospital.”

Friday 9 October 2015

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor welcomes the Abandonment of Eirgrid Pylon Project

Wicklow Sinn Fein Councillor Welcomes Abandonment of Eirgrid Pylon Project

Responding to the announcement that Eirgrid have abandoned plans to construct a string of pylons across the Irish countryside; Sinn Fein candidate for Wicklow in the upcoming general election John Brady has hailed the decision as a victory for all those groups and individuals across South West Wicklow who opposed the plan from its inception:

“Sinn Fein along with community groups from across South West Wicklow opposed the plans from the outset. The €500 million Grid Link Project had proposed to develop an overhead 400kv power line linking the electricity transmission networks in Leinster and Munster. The Stage 1 Report for the project had identified a number of route corridor options for the proposed overhead power line. There was however huge concern and opposition in South West Wicklow as the D1 and D2 routes pass through the County adjacent to Carnew, Shillelagh and Baltinglass. This would have resulted in massive unsightly pylons cut through some of the most scenic parts of Wicklow. Sinn Fein called on the government to launch an independent commission to look into the possibility of an underground option.”

Councillor Brady went on to say that the real heroes today are the community groups that stood fast against the plans:

“Sinn Fein stood with thousands of groups and concerned citizens all over the country in objection to the project; dozens of demonstrations, meetings and letter writing campaigns have led to Eirgrid’s sensible decision to abandon plans to construct the cable carrying pylons and opt to upgrade the existing grid structure instead.”

In conclusion Councillor Brady said that Sinn Fein is fully behind the development of Irish Infrastructure:

“Sinn Fein fully supports Ireland meeting its renewable energy targets, we believe that Ireland should be energy independent and we are also in favour of developing green and clean power. It is crucially important that Ireland’s infrastructure - on every level – is constantly reviewed and improved. However, Sinn Fein will always reasonably oppose projects that might damage the natural architecture of our landscape, affect the quality of life of Irish citizens or ignore the genuine concerns of local communities; particularly when appropriate alternatives are available; as has been the case with the Eirgrid Pylon Plan from the outset. The question has to be asked however, how much public money has been wasted before this plan was scraped.”

Thursday 8 October 2015

Sinn Féin Alternative Budget will centre on fair taxation and delivering for ordinary people - Cllr John Brady

Sinn Féin Alternative Budget will centre on fair taxation and delivering for ordinary people - Cllr John Brady

Sinn Féin's Wicklow General Election candidate Cllr John Brady has welcomed the launch of the party's alternative budget proposals and stressed that the plan is centred on the principles of fair taxation, investment in public services and improving frontline deliver.

Councillor Brady stated that tax payers will benefit from the fair and progressive nature of Sinn Féin plans.

He said;

"Sinn Féin has put forward tax proposals that are about delivering fairness and putting money back in the pockets of ordinary people in Wicklow.

"We will put between €600 and €2,000, depending on their wage and personal circumstances, back into the pockets of average citizens by scrapping water charges, the tax on the family home and by taking minimum wage workers out of the USC net. These are progressive measures that are about ensuring that ordinary families feel the recovery in real terms.

"Sinn Féin is looking to end the regressive and deeply unfair approach to taxation in this state. We don't think that is unreasonable to ask people earning over €100,000 to contribute an additional 7 cent out of every euro on income over €100,000.

"These are the kind of measures we need to implement if we are to deliver first class public services from which everybody in the state will benefit. Therefore, we believe that those who can pay a little extra should.

"In many ways the differences between the tax proposals of Sinn Féin and those of the government reflect the choice the people have to make at the election. Our proposals meet the €1.5b adjustment but we are fully investing the money in public services while the government is intending to implement a 50/50 spilt between tax cuts and spending, the majority of which will be used to service the Landsdowne Road Agreement.

"To support the government's proposals means to endorse an approach built on the chronic underfunding of our schools, hospitals and housing provision. It will mean a continuation and worsening of overcrowding in our A&Es and the ballooning of housing waiting lists. The consequences for lives of people and for society and general have been well documented over the last number of years.

"Sinn Féin is aiming to pocket money back into the pockets of ordinary people and ensure that everybody has access to quality healthcare, education and housing.

"These Sinn Féin's proposals demonstrate that an alternative is possible."

Brady calls on Council to take action on their expensive Pigeon Loft on Eglinton Road, Bray

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor and General Election candidate John Brady has called on Wicklow County council to take immediate action in securing, refurbishing and putting to good use 3 large vacant residential properties that they are owners of on Eglinton Road in Bray. The only purpose they are currently serving is as an expensive pigeon loft. The properties were part of the land portfolio put together by Ballymore Properties for the Florentine Development in Bray. The entire portfolio, including the three large houses, was purchased by Bray Town Council for €1.95m in December 2013.

Speaking after a recent Municipal District meeting were Councillor Brady raised the issue of the vacant, derelict properties; the Sinn Féin Councillor said “At our Municipal meeting I raised the issue of the three vacant residential properties on Eglinton Road that the council are owners of. These properties are listed buildings and have been allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair that they are dangerous and an complete eyesore. At a time when we have a housing crisis, for the council to have boarded up like properties such as this is an absolute disgrace.”

“The properties were originally purchased by Ballymore Properties, mainly for the large rear gardens which boarded the Florentine site. When the council purchased the entire Florentine site in 2013 the residential properties were included in the sale. It is hoped that plans for the development of the Florentine shopping centre will be in place in the next month or two. However the actual houses will not be part of that development. In response to a question I put to the Manager about what plans are in place for the houses, he stated that only when the Florentine Centre is developed will he start looking at putting in place a plan and making a proposal to the Councillors.”

Cllr Brady went onto say “I think that the responses to my questions about these properties are absolutely disgraceful and shows a complete disregard towards the people of Bray and the housing crisis that exists. Anyone that knows the history of the Florentine site knows that it has taken 20 years to get to this point; it will take a few more before any development is completed there. We can’t wait until then before something is done with these properties, action needs to happen immediately.”

Councillor Brady concluded by saying “Not only are these valuable protected structures that the council owns in a prime town centre location, they are opposite a public Library and beside businesses, they are dangerous and a complete eyesore. A plan needs to be put in place now to secure, make them safe and ultimately refurbish them so they can be put to use trying to tackle the housing crisis that exists. The only purpose they are currently serving is as an expensive pigeon loft.”

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Closure of Garda Stations in Hollywood and Donard saves just €8,000 per annum while costing communities their security - Cllr John Brady

Closure of Garda Stations in Hollywood and Donard saves just €8,000 per annum while costing communities their security - Cllr John Brady

Sinn Féin General Election candidate Cllr John Brady has issued a stinging criticism of the Fine Gael and Labour Party government for jeopardising the safety of communities in West Wicklow in order to save a measly €8,000 per annum.

Garda stations in Hollywood and Donard were closed by the government in 2013. A response to a Parliamentary Question, submitted by Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Padráig MacLochlainn, now shows that the state only saved €4,000 per annum from the closure of each station.

Councillor Brady said;

“Figures from earlier this year, for the Baltinglass District where the two Garda stations were closed, show there was an increase of 50% in aggravated burglaries and a 41% increase in theft/unauthorised taking of vehicles since the closures. This has resulted in people living in rural Wicklow feeling more isolated and vulnerable. It is incredible such a state of vulnerability has been created in order to save a measly €8,000 per annum.

“It is clear that misguided decisions to close Garda stations in order to make small savings to the exchequer merely increase the opportunity for criminal activity and add to the uncertainty and fear that the citizens in this state are already experiencing under seven years of austerity.

“Minister Fitzgerald has also stated that objective the of closures wasn't cost savings but to allow for the ‘more efficient and effective deployment of resources’. It is very difficult to reconcile that justification with the fact that the closure these Garda Stations left people in our towns and village feeling far from safe. Many communities feel extremely vulnerable given the rise in crime in rural Ireland.

How can this be the outcome if the government is claiming that it is using policing resources more effectively and efficiently?

“The people of this constituency deserve first class public services. This means a fully resourced policing service and it means keeping our Garda stations open.

“We need to get Garda numbers back over the 14,000. That must be a priority in the forthcoming budget.”


DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald)

by Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

for WRITTEN on Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015.

* To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the total savings to her Department resulting from the closure of Garda stations from 2011 to 2015..

- Pádraig Mac Lochlainn


The formulation of proposals in relation to the opening and closing of Garda stations is a matter, in the first instance, for the Garda Commissioner in the context of annual policing plans, as provided for in section 22 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

The Garda District and Station Rationalisation Programme was implemented in An Garda Síochána during 2012 and 2013. The primary objective of the programme was to identify opportunities to introduce strategic reforms to enhance service delivery, increase efficiency and streamline practices within the organisation. In its review of the Garda Station Network that informed the rationalisation programme, Garda management concluded in relation to certain stations that Garda resources could be better deployed and more effectively used on the front line if those stations no longer had to be staffed and maintained. In reaching these conclusions, Garda management reviewed all aspects of An Garda Síochána's policing model, including the deployment of personnel, the utilisation of modern technologies and the overall operation of Garda stations.

The Garda authorities advise me that policing services in all areas continue to be provided as required through the revised structures. In addition, the centralisation of services will facilitate the introduction of enhanced patrolling systems that will be operational and intelligence led. This patrol system will ensure that a high visibility and community oriented policing service continues to be delivered throughout the country and will yield the following benefits:

Increased Garda visibility and patrol hours

Increased mobility and flexibility within an area resulting in an improved policing service to the public

Enhanced co-ordination of Garda activity resulting in a greater visibility and presence in the communities

More effective use of limited resources across a wider area

Continued Garda presence in communities

An Garda Síochána is committed to providing the best possible policing service to the people of Ireland within the resources available. An Garda Síochána regularly reviews and assesses the capabilities and the deployment of Garda resources to provide a policing service that meets the needs of the community.

The ability of the organisation to contribute to Public Safety. Public Service and Community Protection remains the foremost consideration of An Garda Síochána.

The estimated savings on utilities and maintenance as a result of the closure of each station building is approximately €4,000 per annum. The closure of 139 Garda Stations has resulted in an estimated total saving to the state of €556,000 per annum. However, as I have stated, the key objective involved when closing Garda stations was to promote the more efficient and effective deployment of resources rather than to secure modest cash savings.

Thursday 1 October 2015

Empty Dáil Seats an Insult to the People of Wicklow/East Carlow

Speaking in response to revelations that Wicklow TDs are failing to attend Dail sittings for crucial votes; Sinn Fein Councillor and candidate in the upcoming general election John Brady has hit out at what he sees as a shocking disregard for Wicklow/East Carlow constituents.

“Billy Timmins of Renua and Labour’s Anne Ferris should hang their heads in shame. At a time when the country has been struggling to cope with the tragedy of Fine Gael and Labours Austerity, resulting in soaring housing lists, chaos in hospital corridors and heart-breaking homelessness; it seems our Wicklow TDs are either bored with their jobs or so out of touch with reality, they are incapable of appreciating their privileged position. What other employer would tolerate such a brass demonstration of contempt from their employees? Billy Timmins has the worst attendance of the Wicklow TD’s, he has missed 81.1% of the votes in the Dáil this year. The second biggest offender is Labour’s Anne Ferris, who has missed 70.9% of all votes.”

Councillor Brady continued by pointing out how these TD’s are paid employees of the Irish people and are not giving value for money:
“It is now generally accepted that the Country is in the grip of a health, homeless and housing crisis which has reached ‘National Emergency’ status. The indifference shown by our local representatives is nothing short of stunning. Dail TD’s are paid tens of thousands of Euros in basic pay and expenses, far in excess of what most people could ever dream of earning. Despite this our local Wicklow representatives don’t even have the courtesy to show up to work and do the job the people have elected them to do.”

Councillor Brady concluded by saying “Since 2011 Anne Ferris has received € 569,623.57 in pay and expenses. The Labour TD was recently involved in controversy after claiming an additional €16,000 a year for travelling ‘the long way to the Dáil’, despite her massive pay and expenses she has missed 70.9% of the votes in the Dáil this year. Meanwhile Renua TD Billy Timmins has received €542,460.50 since 2011, yet missed a staggering 81.1% of the votes. I think the electorate are justified in asking what exactly are these TDs doing in the Dáil if they are not participating in important Dáil debates and votes.”

Wednesday 30 September 2015

Brady urges Councillors to support campaign to develop a Skate Park in Bray

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has called on Bray Municipal District Councillors to support the campaign to get a Skate Park in Bray and commit to identifying a site so it can be constructed as swiftly as possible, to meet the needs of the large numbers of Skaters in the locality.

Speaking on the campaign, Councillor Brady said “There are huge numbers of Skaters in the Bray area and they have come together under the banner of the Bray Skaters Association with the sole purpose of getting a skate park developed in Bray. I’ve been working closely with the group and fully support the campaign. We have identified a funding source and we now need the support of the Bray Municipal District councillors to identify and agree a site so the project can move forward.”

“Following my request a delegation from the skaters is due to address the next council meeting in Bray. I hope that the other councillors in the Bray District also pledge their support to this campaign and commit themselves to identifying a site for the new Skate Park. There are a number of successful Skate Parks across the County and Bray is the largest urban area that hasn’t got one.”

Brady concluded “There is a huge demand for a Skate Park; unfortunately the skaters are constantly getting moved by council staff and Gardaí from locations that they meet to skate. Young people don’t all have the same interests, so it’s important that there are choices for them to ensure that they have some positive activity to engage in. Recently a skate jam was held on Bray seafront and up to 60 skaters took part, this highlighted the scale of the demand for a skate park in the town. In the past skaters in Bray had been given false hope, this time with the support of all councillors we can turn this into a reality.”

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Decision to increase Property Tax in Wicklow by 15% will hit struggling families

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor and General Election candidate John Brady has stated that the decision to increase the Property Tax rate in Wicklow by 15% will hit low and middle income families across Wicklow hardest and impact detrimentally on the economy of Wicklow. Assurances were given by the Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly that Wicklow was one of six local Authorities that could cut the tax by the maximum of 15% without it impacting on local core services.

Speaking after the meeting the Sinn Féin Councillor said “The Labour Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has given assurances that Wicklow was one of six local authorities that could cut the Local Property Tax by the full 15% which is allowed under the legislation without it impacting on local core services. Having received those assurances, Sinn Féin put forward a proposal to maintain the cut of 15% that had been agreed by the majority of the council last year. Unfortunately the Sinn Féin proposal was defeated by 22 votes to 8, with 2 councillors abstaining. A Fine Gael proposal to increase last year’s property tax rate by 15% was unfortunately supported by Fianna Fáil and a large number of Independents.”

Councillor Brady went onto explain the impact that the decision to increase the tax will have on families across Wicklow “The unfortunate decision to increase the Property Tax in Wicklow will hit struggling low and middle income families right across Wicklow, and potentially push them closer to homelessness. There were 120 house repossessions listed for Wicklow Circuit Court before the summer recess and a further 255 active bills for repossession. This increase in the unjust Property Tax will push many other families in debit, mortgage arrears and compound the financial difficulties they are experiencing.”

“The vast majority of people in Wicklow aren’t witnessing any recovery. The decision by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Independent pact to increase the tax by 15% will suck a further €2,493,096 from the Wicklow economy which is still on its knees due to government cuts and increased taxes. Over €30 billion was taken out of the Irish economy by the austerity policies of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail over the last 8 years.”

The Sinn Fein Councillor concluded “The Government duped the people on the Local Property Tax. The purpose of Local Property Tax is not about the funding of local services. The reality is that the local property tax is a tax that was created to aid the process of diverting finances from central government away from the funding of locals councils to the supporting of toxic banks. Sinn Féin remains opposed to this tax which is proving a complicated, regressive and insufficient way of funding our local democracies. Last year the majority of councillors in Wicklow supported a Sinn Féin motion opposing the Property Tax and called on the Government to provide adequate funding to council to provide critical services. Even though the majority of councillors in Wicklow appear to be speaking out of both sides of their mouth on the tax, Sinn Féin in government will abolish the property tax.”

Thursday 24 September 2015

Homeless Crises is now a National Emergency and a National Disgrace

Speaking in response to comments made by the President of Focus Ireland, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy; the Sinn Fein candidate for Wicklow/East Carlow in the upcoming general election Councillor John Brady has said it is time for government to accelerate plans to build social housing.

“The situation is spiralling out of control in front of our very eyes. The numbers of homeless or those imminently at risk including families and children has rocketed over the last three years. According to Focus Ireland the number of people registering for help has increased from 8,000 in 2012 to 11,500 last year. By June of this year they registered 8,000 people in trouble meaning by the end of 2015 the situation could possibly become unmanageable”

Councillor Brady went on to say that the issue of providing social housing units has been ignored by successive governments:
“ We had years of Fianna Fail governments during the Celtic Tiger squandering public money with not a penny invested in social housing, over the last four years we have had a Fine Gael Labour coalition enforcing an austerity agenda pushing more and more people onto the housing waiting lists and rendering many families homeless and helpless. Ironically, rather than invest in housing this government have instead preferred to spend millions of tax payer’s money housing people in unsuitable accommodation including expensive hotel rooms. As a result the situation has become a national emergency. According to Sir Stanislaus Speaking on RTE radio last week, Focus Ireland warned this government as far back as 2012 that the crisis was rapidly deepening, but it is clear the government paid little attention to the warning.”

Councillor Brady pointed out some harsh consequences as a result of government inaction:
“The numbers of people who are now affected by homelessness is not just a national emergency, it is a national disgrace. The numbers represent real people and we should be careful that we do not allow the statistics to render us unfeeling. Parents are distraught, children are suffering and an entire cohort of our population are crushed under the weight of despair and self-loathing. There needs to be an immediate freeze on rents and an increase in rent supplement if we are to stop the numbers rising further.”

Councillor Brady pointed out that back in 2014 Sinn Fein published a plan that would have kicked started a serious attempt to deal with the issue:
“At that time we asked for an immediate injection of one billion euro to be made available to address the issue. Instead the government in the subsequent budget decided to reduce the tax burden on the wealthiest by half a million Euro. Sinn Fein also believes that Local authorities should be given the tools whereby they can raise the finances necessary to provide adequate social housing in their respective areas. Moreover, the number of houses made available as social housing units by private developers should be increased. The government should immediately release funding as a matter of urgency, they managed to find a way to waste almost one Billion Euro on Irish Water but they cannot seem to find the cash to provide homes for its citizens. As Sr Stanislaus has pointed out ‘Government policies are causing people to be homeless’. It is way past time that government listened to appeals from organisations who have worked tirelessly for decades helping homeless people in this country such as Focus Ireland. Despite the upcoming election, it is not too late to start listening now.”

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Wicklow Councillors are being blackmailed by the Government not to cut the Local Property Tax by 15%

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor and General Election candidate John Brady has labelled the Local Property Tax as undemocratic and a Government tool being used to further starve local authorities of critical core funding which is needed to carry out essential functions. Wicklow County Council is to meet on Monday 28th September to set the Local Property Tax Rate for 2016. Under the legislation Local Authorities may vary the basic rate of the Local Property Tax within its own area by a maximum of 15%.

Speaking ahead of the council meeting Councillor Brady said “Wicklow County Council will meet on Monday 28th September to set the Property Tax rate for 2016. However figures that have been produced show that the level of funding available to the council will be substantially down on previous years and that the General Purpose Grant from the government of €6.8m is far too low and is not sufficient to cover the council’s core services. As a result council officials are being left having to rely on the 15% discretionary funding in the LPT to try fund core services”.

Cllr Brady continued “In the coming year the council will need and extra €1.6m just to maintain its current level of services. Already officials are asking councillors not to reduce the LPT by the 15% as it’s needed to maintain services. Sinn Féin have opposed the Property Tax from the outset, we have said that if we receive a mandate after the next election to form a new government we will abolish the unfair tax. Under the legislation Local Authorities may vary the basic rate of the Local Property Tax within its own area by a maximum of 15%. This means that Wicklow County Council can either increase or decrease the rate of the Local Property Tax in Co Wicklow in 2016 by 15% of the 2014 rate. Prior to the local elections Wicklow Sinn Féin committed to reducing the tax by the full 15% allowed”.

Councillor Brady further explains where the funding problem is “The main problem is the gross under funding of Wicklow County Council by the Government. Wicklow only receives €6.8m government funding from the General Purpose Grant. This is in contrast to the €17.5m received by Mayo in 2015 or the €22.7m Donegal got, not only are we the poor relations here, we also have to hand over 20% of all Property Tax money collected in Wicklow to an equalisation fund to help other counties. At a council meeting this week I proposed that the 5 Wicklow TDs be contacted and asked to attend a meeting with the councillors to discuss the under funding of the council and to make the case for Wicklow at a national level, for additional government funding from the General Purpose Grant. The populations of Wicklow and Mayo are similar, however there’s a massive difference is government funding levels. We have 3 Government TDs in Wicklow, why are they so silent on the under funding of Wicklow? And why aren’t they making a business case for Wicklow to have the grant increased?”

Brady was critical of the lack of consultation with the public in setting the rate for 2016; he called the process totally undemocratic “The Property Tax legislation provides for public consultation in setting the annual rate for the LPT. Unfortunately the council merely carried out a box ticking exercise by sticking an ad in the back of one of the local papers at the height of the summer holidays. Unsurprisingly the council only received two submissions, 1 in favour of cutting the rate by 15% and 1 looking to retain it without any reductions. Public representatives weren’t even informed that the consultation process was being held. I believe the failure to carry out a meaningful consultation process is fundamentally undemocratic, carried out by senior council officials who don’t want the public demanding the full 15% reduction”.

The Sinn Féin Councillor concluded “The people of Wicklow and across the state have been sold a pup with the Property Tax; they were promised properly funded local authorities with beautiful parks, playgrounds and many, many other greatly enhanced services due to the additional taxes going to fund them. Unfortunately what we have here in Wicklow is a council struggling to balance its books, and a council that is trying to force the hand of its councillors into not reducing the LPT by 15% because it needs it to pay for core services. I for one will not be blackmailed; I gave a commitment to the electorate to cut the LPT by the full 15%. If there is a cut to core services it’s because of the governments under funding of Wicklow County Council and not a decision to cut discretionary funding in an attempt to put some money back into the pockets of hard hit families that have been squeezed by Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil over the last 8 years”.

Sunday 20 September 2015

Outrage as Bus Eireann plans to cut bus stops at Barndarrig, Jack Whites and the Beehive

Wicklow Sinn Féin General Election candidate John Brady and Arklow District Councillor Mary McDonald have expressed serious concerns about the future of the Bus Eireann service that stops at Lil Doyles, the Beehive and Jack Whites. These stops were discontinued in December 2012 after Bus Eireann revised its timetable, however after a campaign by locals the stops were reinstated in 2013. Service users have now been informed again that from 27 September the stops will only be served by one stop in each direction every day.

Speaking on the impact to the local communities Councillor Brady said “I have been contacted by many service users from the Barndarrig, Brittas Bay area’s who are incensed that their public transport is again facing the chop. Rural public services have been decimated over the last few years and locals have had to fight hard to retain the vital Bus Eireann service they have. Bus Eireann has again dealt a blow to the communities around Lil Doyles, the Beehive and Jack Whites that rely on the service to get to Arklow, Wexford or into Dublin by moving to cut their service”.

Sinn Féin Arklow District Councillor Mary McDonald said “There is real anger again in the community by the fact that no public consultation has taken place. Bus Eireann is aware of the anger that was generated in 2012 when they first attempted to remove the service. Public pressure forced them into a u turn then and the anger that exists now must be channeled into a focused campaign to retain the service”.

Cllr Brady concluded “Having one pick up in the morning at these stops and one drop off in the evening services no purpose. This will impact detrimentally on the many people who rely on this critical service. It’s simply not feasible or practical for the communities that live in these areas to have to make their way into Arklow or Wicklow Town to be able to access public transport. Sinn Féin have contacted Bus Eireann and demanded that these stops would be retained, we have also organised a petition for the community to sign and let their views be know”

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Vacant Premises Incentive Scheme and other measures to be introduced by Bray Municipal District to help the retail industry

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has welcomed plans that have been developed by Bray Municipal District to help lift the retail industry in Bray and Enniskerry. The plan will see a number of measures being put in place to try helping increase footfall and attract new retailers to set up in Bray and Enniskerry.

Speaking after the council meeting Councillor Brady said “I’m delighted that a number of proactive measures have been agreed and are to be progressed to try help Bray re-establish itself as a major retail town. Bray is currently at a crossroads; unfortunately we have lost a large number of retailers in the recent past including Smyth’s. We have however attracted other retailers to establish in Bray and this has to be welcomed. What we need is a good mix of retail which will attract a higher footfall in the town which will help the many struggling retailers. The council is introducing a number of measures to try helping the retail industry, a Town Team will be set up, this will consist of key stakeholders and they will be tasked at making sure the town centre of Bray reaches its full potential”.

Brady went onto say a substantial fund has been set aside to implement a number of key measures “There is a fund in place of €100,000, there will be a number of key measures put in place. One of the main measures will be a Vacant Premises Incentive Scheme. This is being devised to try attract new retail into the District, it will offer a Grant payable to the equivalent of 50% of the Rates paid for the first year and a reduction of 25% in year two, key will be getting landlords to buy in the scheme and in tandem reduce the rents over the two year period. It’s important however to get a good mix of retail in this scheme and that it doesn’t impact on the existing retailers”.

“There will be a pilot scheme offering free parking in the towns two main car parks on Saturday’s, a public awareness campaign will be needed to promote this. At the meeting I raised the issue of traffic within the town and the need for the serious congestion that people experience getting into and out of the town to be addressed, the sequencing of the towns traffic lights needs to be looked at to ensure traffic runs smoothly and it doesn’t take 30 minutes to get from one end of the town to the other”.

Following a request from Councillor Bray an update on the Florentine Centre was also given at the meeting “I raised the status of the Florentine Centre and how that held the key to Bray’s upturn, it’s no secret that the 20 year saga has added to the town’s demise. The council purchased the 1.58 acre site in 2013 for €1.95m and have been progressing plans for its development. It’s hoped that a planning application for the site will be lodged prior to Christmas and it will consist of substantial retail space and a cinema. We need to get a major anchor tenant in the centre, it will also have a number of smaller retail space. This purpose built retail space in tandem with a badly needed cinema will bring the badly needed footfall into the town which in turn will entice further retail” explained Cllr Brady.

Cllr Brady concluded “Sitting back and doing nothing is not an option, I welcome these measures, and other measures such as Christmas in Bray and the hanging baskets which will help set the conditions to kick-start the retail industry in the Bray District. Discussions with major retailers will also continue to try entice them into the town. These measures will need to be monitored closely to ensure they are working, if they prove to be successful it could prove to be a template for other towns such as Arklow and Wicklow Town. Further discussions are due to held with some of the key stakeholders in the coming weeks”.