Thursday 16 July 2015

Wicklow Homeless Crisis Escalating – 18% increase since start of year

Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has said that the homeless crisis is in Wicklow is escalating out of control and the same focus needs to be given to Wicklow as Dublin has got prior to Christmas following the terrible death of Jonathan Corrie. This year to date there has been an 18% increase in homelessness in Wicklow, compared to the overall figure for 2014.

Cllr Brady said “The homeless crisis in Wicklow is escalating to a level never seen before and immediate action needs to be taken by the Minister with responsibility Alan Kelly. Since the start of 2015 we have seen an 18% increase in the number of homeless households so far this year in comparison to all of 2014. To date 107 families have presented as homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, this is made up of 152 adults and 204 children. Separately 74 adults have presented as homeless in Wicklow.”

The Sinn Féin Councillor went on to say “There is no let-up in the number of individuals and families presenting as homeless. Difficulties with rent supplement, rising rent costs and rising house repossessions are driving the homeless crisis. The council is aware that there are another 66 families who have been given their notice to quit by their landlords. Unfortunately this is no surprise to me. Every day I am getting more and more calls from desperate people, particularly parents of young families who have been forced into emergency accommodation or trying to get emergency accommodation and see no way out. They are often people who are working or had been working recently or people on Rent Supplement who are barred from work. They have lost their rented home because rent levels have simply become too high to pay and still be able to feed and clothe their children.”

“The ongoing lack of investment in social housing means that the long term housing solutions are simply not available. The Government also need to deal with the rents crisis through rent controls and the mortgage crisis through substantive changes to the insolvency legislation.”
“We have heard a lot of tough talk from housing Minister Alan Kelly. What people need now, especially those families languishing on the homeless list, is action. I’m calling on the Minister to step up to the mark here in Wicklow, meet with all stakeholders and tackle this escalating problem” concluded Councillor Brady.

Make sure your Registered to Vote

Important information: The County Council has field workers going around to houses at the moment updating the Register of Electors. It's important that if your not in when they call to follow any instructions on the leaflets they may put through your letter box, if not you could be removed from the register and be unable to vote in the upcoming General Elections. Believe me I will need every vote I can get as I only missed out on becoming a TD for Wicklow by 112 votes the last time.

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The Government has failed to win the support of the people for the introduction of the water tax as 57% fail to pay bill

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor and General Election Candidate John Brady has claimed that the low numbers of people who have paid their water charges proves that threats to attach the charge to people’s homes and earnings is clearly not working. He was responding to the release of figures which show that just 43% of those billed have paid.

Speaking after the figures were released by Irish Water and the Government Councillor Brady said “As the Government continue to push through the new Civil Debt (2015) Bill that would allow Irish Water to take court proceedings in order to make attachments and to dip into people’s wages and social welfare payments. It was clearly hoped that that would induce a large number of people to pay the bills they had received.”

“That threat has failed, and many people do not regard the legislative changes as sufficient to force them to comply. It is also the case that more and more people are of the belief that the next general election will lead to the defeat of the government, the abolition of water charges, and a restructuring of the water services to repair the damage done by Irish Water.”

Cllr Brady continued “"Fine Gael and the Labour Party must finally acknowledge that the Government’s efforts to bribe, coerce and intimidate families into complying with the Water Tax have failed, and that they now need to go back to the drawing board and to scrap this charge."

“The way the Government has introduced the Water Tax and is pushing through punitive legislation to take the money from people’s pockets contrasts starkly with how this Government has dealt with elites who have taken advantage of tax avoidance schemes. It is a vicious attack on people with low and middle incomes.”

The Sinn Féin Councillor concluded “The Government has failed to win the support of the people for the introduction of the water tax. And they’ve done this against a back drop of endless austerity where they and their cronies have stuck their hands in the pockets of working people. 57% of those due to pay have not paid and will not pay. More of them cannot pay, I’m proud to stand with the 57% who have not paid and I won’t pay. I’m also proud to be a member of the Right2Water group and I look forward to the next National mobilisation in Dublin on the 29th August.”

Thursday 9 July 2015

Staffing levels in Wicklow County Council having a detrimental impact on services

Sinn Féin County Councillor and General Election candidate John Brady has expressed serious concerns regarding staffing levels in Wicklow County Council. He expressed the concerns due to a reduction of opening hours of public libraries in Greystones and Bray and the fact that the council office in Arklow had to stay closed to the public last week due to staff levels. Bray also has no Litter Warden and only one traffic warden due to retirements and the positions remains unfilled.

Cllr Brady said “I believe the staffing levels of the Local Authorities in Wicklow have reached an all time low and its now having a serious impact on the level of service to the public. Last week the Municipal District office in Arklow remained closed due to a shortage of staff. The public libraries in Ballywaltrim and Greystones are facing cuts to their opening hours and the Local study Service in Ballywaltrim library is to remain closed until October. Bray also has no Litter Warden as a result of a retirement and only one Traffic Warden”.

“The Public Service recruitment embargo which was introduced by Fianna Fáil has left local authorities staffing levels at a dangerous low. People have had Property Taxes stopped from them under the pretense of it going to provide local services. The bottom line is these services simply can’t be provided to the public who need them. There is no Litter Warden in Bray, which is crazy for the third largest town in Ireland and risks setting back all the excellent work that has been done in recent years. The council offices in Arklow had to close due to staffing levels and now at a time when libraries are needed the most the opening hours have to be reduced. It’s also taking months for housing representations by councillors in Bray to be responded to” continued Brady.

He went onto say “We have people on Job Bridge and other schemes now being employed by Fine Gael and Labour to carry out much of the outdoor work that the council outdoor staff had done before the embargo was introduced. Last year the Government announced an end to the embargo in a targeted way. Is this further depletion of local authority services is what the government consider a targeted way?”

Brady concluded “Fine Gael and Labour need to ensure the filling of critical staffing positions are filled as swiftly as possible so we don’t see any further impacts to the level of service the councils provide the public. The council staff do an excellent job in a very difficult working environment due to the cuts imposed over the last number of years. The public have been forced to pay a property tax on the basis that it funds local authorities and they demand the public services they were told would be provided”.

Monday 6 July 2015

Wicklow Garda Division to get six new Gardaí when they graduate from Templemore

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor and General Election candidate welcomed an announcement by Chief Superintendent Patrick Mangan that the Wicklow Garda Division is to get six new Gardaí when they graduate from Templemore at the end of July. The announcement was made at a meeting of the Wicklow Joint Policing Committee on Monday. Brady stated however that this is only a fraction of the Gardaí that are needed to tackle the rise in crime levels across Wicklow.

Speaking after the meeting Councillor Brady said “Whilst I welcome the news that Wicklow is to get six new Gardaí when they graduate from Templemore at the end of July. I am very conscious however that this is only a fraction of the Gardaí that are needed to tackle serious crime such as burglaries across Wicklow which are up 29% on this time last year”.

“Fine Gael and Labour have presided over a recruitment embargo which has seen the numbers in the Gardaí significantly drop since 2008, when the embargo was first introduced by Fianna Fáil. Wicklow unfortunately didn’t receive any new Gardaí in the last batch of recruits to pass out in Templemore earlier this year, we will however receive six new Gardaí at the end of July which is a start, but realistically well below the numbers needed” continued Brady.

He went on to say “Under this Government we have seen up to 100 Garda stations close across the state, including two in Wicklow, Donard and Hollywood, so when it comes to policing in Wicklow this Government has been very poor. The only way to fight crime is to have more visible Gardaí on the ground. The recruitment of six new Gardaí for the entire Wicklow Division is welcome, but it is only a fraction of what’s needed”.

Sunday 5 July 2015

Wicklow remembers Fran O'Toole from the Miami Showband 40 years on

Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor and General Election candidate John Brady has said he is delighted that after 40 years Bray, Co. Wicklow has finally done something to remember and pay tribute to Bray man Fran O'Toole from the Miami Showband, he further said it was long overdue. Local man Peter Carroll who is a family friend of the O'Toole’s was the driving force in the campaign to remember and pay tribute to Fran O'Toole in his home town of Bray. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Miami Showband massacre.

On 31 July 1975, five members of the Miami Showband were travelling by minibus back to Dublin from a gig in Banbridge, Co Down. At the townland of Buskhill, outside of Newry, they were stopped at a bogus military checkpoint by gunmen dressed in British Army uniform, who ordered them to get out and line up by the roadside. The gunmen were members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), two gunmen hid a time bomb on the minibus, but it exploded prematurely and killed them. The remaining gunmen then opened fire on the band members, killing Fran O'Toole, Brian McCoy and Tony Geraghty and wounding Des Lee and Stephen Travers. Two serving Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers and one former UDR soldier later received life sentences after having been found guilty of murder. There are still serious questions of collusion that need to be answered.

Brady said "Unfortunately nothing has ever been done in Bray to acknowledge, pay tribute or remember Fran O’Toole who was the lead singer with the Miami Showband band at the time of his murder. The band had a massive following and played in packed out venues right across Ireland, the UK and the United States. The band united people through music and gave people a glimmer of hope at a difficult time in our history. The Miami regularly played in Fran’s hometown of Bray in the Arcadia Ballroom. People would travel from far and wide and on occasions thousands would have to be turned away as the Arcadia was packed to capacity”.

Brady continued “People right across Ireland were shocked at the murder of Fran and his colleagues Brian McCoy and Tony Geraghty. Bray came to a complete stand still for his funeral, which people say was the largest ever to be held in the town. It’s only right that we remember Fran, his music and the legacy he left. On Saturday after a lot of planning Bray Bridge was renamed the Fran O'Toole Bridge and a plaque was unveiled at the former family home on Albert Ave, Bray. This was attended by members of Fran’s family along with Des Lee and Stephen Travers who survived the massacre 40 years ago. The day was completed by a performance by the Miami Showband in the Mermaid Theatre”.