Sunday, 24 May 2015

Brady welcomes Wicklow/East Carlow Yes vote

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor and General Election candidate John Brady has welcomed the Yes vote in Wicklow/East Carlow for Marriage Equality.

Speaking after the count Brady said “I want to congratulate the Yes Equality Wicklow campaign for their tireless work over recent months. They brought a vibrancy and enthusiasm to this Marriage Equality Referendum that clearly won hearts and minds across Wicklow”.

Brady continued "The levels of voter registration by young people in Wicklow were unprecedented and the sight of so many of our emigrants returning home to vote was powerful. The turnout of 68.8% in Wicklow/East Carlow shows that this issue made an impact on some many people on all sides of the debate. The end result of 68.4% or 44,059 voting in favour of marriage equality is a fantastic result for Wicklow/East Carlow”.

"I also want to thank my fellow Sinn Féin members who put up posters, knocked on so many doors and delivered thousands of leaflets to homes across the county. I hope the government moves on other proposals put forward by the Constitutional Convention, such as giving citizens resident outside the state, including the North, the right to vote in presidential elections. The Constitutional Convention is a forum established by the Government comprising 100 members, including a chairperson; 29 members of the Oireachtas; four representatives of Northern Irish political parties; and 66 citizens”.

"I’m delighted Wicklow/East Carlow has added our Yes to the big Yes from the Irish people. Ireland is now the only country or state in the world that has voted for Marriage Equality. This is a massive milestone in our history and one to be built on to ensure we have equality for all”.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Film and TV production industry is vital for Wicklow any loss to Limerick will have a detrimental impact- Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor and General election candidate John Brady has said that everything that can be done should be done to ensure that Wicklow remains the number one County and destination for film and TV production. Brady raised the issue and concerns at a recent meeting of Wicklow County Council and said any attempt by Limerick to lure the industry there needs to be challenged at every level. He also called for a €15m infrastructure fund to be established to create additional studio space to allow the industry grow.

Speaking after the council meeting Councillor Brady said “Wicklow is synonymous with film and TV production. The National film studios opened in Ardmore in 1958 and more recently the Ashford studios opened in Ballyhenry, Ashford. Many movies and TV productions have been made in Wicklow and currently the Vikings and Penny Dreadful are being shot. After recent discussions with the CEO of Ardmore Studios it became apparent that a severe lack of studio space was hampering the growth of the sector and high profile work was being turned down as a result”.

“Recently there has been speculation that Limerick City and County Council is involved in advanced negotiations to purchase the former Dell building in Plassey Technology Park and develop in into a film studio and to lease the building to Ardmore Studios. Any attempt to lure Ardmore Studios to Limerick must be fought and I believe it’s unethical for one Local authority to try poach existing industry and business from another local authority”.

Cllr Brady continued “The film industry is very important to the Wicklow economy and provides excellent employment; any loss would have a detrimental effect. At Monday’s council meeting I proposed to invite the CEO of Ardmore Studios Siún Ní Raghallaigh to the next council meeting to discuss the plans for Ardmore Studios”.

“I also had a motion passed calling on the Government to establish a €15m infrastructural fund to support the audio-visual sector which has the potential to create 5,000 new high-skill jobs and to almost double the studio space to help compete with the UK and attract more productions”.
Brady concluded “Everything needs to be done to ensure the film and TV production industry remains in Wicklow. Wicklow County Council has a leading role to play in helping to develop the industry; any attempt to relocate to Limerick should and will be fought”. Ends

Motion passed by Wicklow County Council

“Wicklow County Council welcomes the changes to the film tax credit scheme (section 481) which will help grow substantially Ireland’s film and TV production industry. However the desired growth is hindered by the lack of sufficient studio space and facilities to enable these benefits to materialise. Furthermore this Council calls on the government to establish a €15m infrastructure fund to support the audio-visual sector which has the potential to create 5,000 new high-skill jobs and to almost double the studio space in Ireland with a minimum of 100,000 sq ft in additional studio space (which is currently 111,000 sq ft) to compete with other territories such as the UK.”

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Wicklow County Council calls on the Government to increase Rent Supplement rates and introduce rent controls

In an attempt to tackle the housing crisis and rising homelessness in County Wicklow, Sinn Féin had a motion passed at Monday’s Wicklow County Council meeting calling on the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton to increase the Rent Supplement rates in Wicklow and to examine the possibility of introducing rent controls in an attempt to stop unfair rent increases which are making people homeless.

Speaking after the meeting on Monday where the latest homeless figures were presented, Councillor John Brady said, “At Mondays meeting we got an update on the homeless situation in Wicklow, this was on foot of a request for the information from myself. The grim figures are no surprise and show a massive increase of homelessness in the County. To date this year 47 individuals have presented as homeless as well as 60 families consisting of 125 children. This is a shocking statistic and a damning indictment of this governments housing policies”.

Cllr Brady continued “One of the main reasons why there is a huge escalation in homeless figures is due to a chronic shortage of social housing and an over reliance on private landlords as part of the governments social housing strategy. Many private landlords are now refusing to accept Rent Supplement or partake in the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) as they can achieve higher rents on the open market. Landlords are ending contracts simply to make more money and as a result making more people homeless. The caps on Rent Supplement are also too restrictive, resulting in most properties being out of reach for people”.

Brady went onto say “Nationally a figure of 1000 homeless children has been given, the fact that 12.5% of those are in Wicklow is a frightening figure. This however shouldn't be news to anyone; two years ago I supported two homeless women who staged a sit in of the council offices in Bray in an attempt to get suitable emergency accommodation for themselves and their young children. They had been made homeless because their landlords had pulled out of the RAS scheme. Thankfully the council in Wicklow has moved away from box ticking and started to put in place more appropriate emergency accommodation for homeless people and families".

Brady concluded “It is crucial however to protect people before they are made homeless. The Sinn Féin motion that was unanimously supported at the council meeting calls on Joan Burton to increase the caps on Rent Supplement to help people stay in their current rental property and open access to others. The motion also calls on the government to look at the possibility of introducing rent regulations. When a family working full time cannot afford to rent in Wicklow, it is clear that the rental market is not fit for purpose and regulation is essential. That must start with stabilising rents. We need action from Alan Kelly and this government and not rehashed statements regurgitating old announcements promising to tackle the housing crisis, statements promising houses that never materialise”.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

70 years to clear Social Housing waiting list in Wicklow at the Governments pace - Brady

The Wicklow Sinn Féin General Election candidate and County Councillor John Brady has said that the government’s plans to build just 50 social housing units in Wicklow this year are very disappointing given the scale of the crisis and at the current government pace it will take over 70 years to clear the social housing list in the County. He made his comments following the announcement by Minister Alan Kelly that an average of just 100 million euro will be spent building council houses over the next 3 years despite record homelessness numbers and severe housing need.

Cllr Brady said "These figures are scandalous and the Minister expects people to congratulate this government, it’s an embarrassment and very frustrating when you are working with homeless families and people struggling to keep the roof over their heads. In Wicklow we have over 3566 families on the housing waiting list and since Christmas over 70 families have presented themselves as homeless to the council in Wicklow. At this current rate it will take over 70 years to clear the current social housing list which already has families waiting for over 12 years to get a house.”

“The Government spends nearly half a billion subsidising the private market every year, in Wicklow that figure is over €30 million. Many families are being made homeless because the private market can get higher rents than either Rent Supplement or the Rental Accommodation Schemes (RAS) are giving. We have had over homeless families here in Wicklow since Christmas and many of them are still in emergency accommodation, but this government will only build 50 homes in the County this year. This is simply not good enough.”

Brady continued “We need to be moving back to building thousands of social housing units every year. Until then we are not doing nearly enough to tackle the crisis. Building 30 houses in Dunlavin and 20 in Rathdrum are welcome but fall well short of what’s needed to try tackle the crisis.”

“Instead over the next three years the government intends to plough a further 1.2 billion euro into subsidising private landlords while it builds a meager 1700 homes through local authorities. The councils are best placed to tackle this crisis and housing shortage and should be at the forefront of the solution.

“The government must refocus on funding the construction and refurbishment of council homes. The homes that are needed will not be found on the private market, where developers operating as landlords are making handsome sums in extortionate rents due to the shortage of rental properties.

Cllr Brady concluded “Sinn Féin has called for this refocus for a long time as well as an immediate 1 billion investment of additional fund from the Strategic Investment Fund which would build at least 5400 homes. We also need rent controls now to stop the flow of renters into emergency accommodation right now. Social housing construction through local authorities is the only solution to our housing crisis."