Saturday, 29 October 2016

Yet more FF and FG election commitments fall by the wayside – Brady

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said that clear election commitments on the Living Alone Allowance made by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael were quickly forgotten.

Teachta Brady said:

“Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil pledged to increase the Living Alone Allowance on an annual basis in their election manifestos yet. This increase was nowhere to be seen in Budget 2017.

“Older people who live alone are among the most vulnerable in our society. Many of them rely solely on their State Pension for income yet, they face the same increased cost of living as all other households.

“We know that additional charges placed on older people such as the family home tax and increased prescription charges have placed a huge burden on our older people. At this time of year, older people see further increased costs with fuel as they try to keep warm in their homes without any increase in the fuel allowance. These costs are made all the more difficult to manage when a person is living alone and in many cases, relying on one source of income. This reality has been ignored in Budget 2017.

“While Fianna Fáil were busy tripping over to each to take credit for the parts of the Budget that were welcome an entire group of older people have been left behind. This is simply another U-turn by Fianna Fáil where yet again, they go against their own party policies.

“In our Alternative Budget, Sinn Féin included an increase of €9 for the Living Alone Allowance monthly; this would make it double what the payment is now. At a time when TDs and Ministers are in line for huge pay rises, older people living alone will see no rise in their allowance whatsoever.”

John Brady TD wishes Katie Taylor well as she embarks on professional career

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady extends his congratulations to Katie Taylor, who hails from his hometown of Bray, as she steps into the professional world of boxing.

Teachta Brady said:

“I was delighted to hear the news this afternoon that Katie Taylor has signed a professional contract with Matchroom Boxing.

“Katie Taylor has been a brilliant ambassador for Wicklow and for Ireland throughout her amateur boxing campaign.

“She has been a fantastic role model for young people all over the country especially, for young girls. This will continue in her professional career.

“Katie’s gold medal at Olympics 2012 is seen by many as the highlight of her amateur career but with that also came six European titles and five world titles. I would class her as one of Ireland’s greatest amateur sporting stars of all time.

“I wish Katie well in her future as a professional boxer. I have no doubt that her successes in the boxing world will continue as she takes this step in her career.

“Next month, Katie will make her debut at London’s Wembley Arena and she will do so with the full support of the people of Bray, Wicklow, and her country.”

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Brady welcomes securing of derelict A O'Smith Factory

Wicklow/East Carlow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has welcomed the commencement of works to secure and cleanup the derelict A O’Smith factory on the Boghall Road in Bray and he has said that it’s now time to look at the long term future of the site.

Speaking after the site was finally secured Teachta Brady said “Recently my colleague Cllr Michael O’Connor and I visited the derelict site to inspect the many dangers at the disused factory. We subsequently contacted the council and asked them to ensure the site was completely secured and cleaned up. Thankfully that work has now commenced.”

Cllr Michael O’Connor said “The absentee owners of this property have a legal and moral responsibility for this site, however since AO Smith’s closed in 2005 the owners of the site have imposed 11 years of neglect on the community of Ballywaltrim and Bray. It’s been a battle a day with the owners of the site to take responsibility for it and to ensure it’s properly secured. There is evidence of recent vandalism and drug use and illegal dumping on the site.”

“Children are regularly seen on the site and they run the risk of getting seriously injured as there are many dangers on site. Thankfully the only remaining access into the old factory itself is blocked up now and the site is in the process of being cleaned up.”

Teachta Brady concluded “Now that the site is secured, we need to look at the long term plans for the site. In June Wicklow County Council turned down a planning application for the demolition of the existing buildings on site & the construction of a discount foodstore/supermarket. This 11 year derelict eyesore must be brought to an end. I believe that the site provides an ideal opportunity to bring badly needed employment into the area and I will be doing everything within my power to ensure this happens.” Ends

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Minister Varadkar dragging his heels on replacement for JobBridge - John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said that Minister Varadkar could not move any slower when it comes to replacing JobBridge.

Teachta Brady said:

“Sinn Féin welcomes an end to JobBridge just as we welcomed this news back in May when it was first announced.

“Today, five months later, we see another announcement of the end of JobBridge with consultation only now beginning on what will replace it.

“At a recent committee meeting on this very matter Minister Varadkar said that he would ‘have proposals for a replacement scheme for JobBridge in the next few weeks, in October if not in September.’

“I have raised a number of concerns in relation to JobBridge consistently with Minister Varadkar. A recent internal audit report by the minister’s own department has raised issues, not least two marked as of high concern to the department.

“The principles already brought forward by the Labour Market Council on the new programme leave little to be desired. It calls for much of the same – the equivalent of the net minimum wage, to be of shorter duration of six months and to be voluntary. JobBridge 2.0 will not cut it.

“Sinn Féin published an alternative to JobBridge months ago. It is a pity that Minister Vardakar did not see fit to move as quickly. He is dragging his heels on this issue. We can only hope that we do not have to wait another five months.”

Brady expresses concern at sale of Ardmore Studios

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has expressed his shock at the news that Ardmore Studios in Bray is to be sold as a going concern.

Teachta Brady said:

“Ardmore Studios are internationally renowned as Ireland’s leading provider of film and TV studio infrastructure.

“The Studios is highly regarded by the community in Bray and has been home to hundreds of national and international film and TV productions since it was established in 1958.

“While I accept that the news of this sale comes with an assurance that it will not impact on the day to day running of the studios this provides little comfort.

"Last year, it emerged that a stakeholder in Ardmore Studios had expressed considerable disquiet at plans for key directors in Ardmore to set up a rival studio in Limerick putting both studios in direct competition.

"I believe that the development in Limerick is at an advanced stage and this may raise these past concerns again.

“I am aware that Ardmore Studios are in advanced planning stages with some expansion completed as recently as this year and further expansion to follow. I will do everything within my power to ensure that the valuable site at Ardmore is protected and that zoning remains in place solely for the expansion of film and tv production only.

“I met with Ardmore Studios last year and I fully intend to meet with them on this matter as soon as possible. Any threat to such a significant media hub is of national concern and will be of grave concern particularly, to the people of Bray.

Friday, 14 October 2016

As houses prices in Wicklow escalate Brady calls on Minister Coveney to rethink First Time Buyers Scheme

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has called on Minister Coveney to rethink his help to buy scheme for first time buyers following the surge in prices for newly built homes since the new measures were announced in Budget 2017.

“Following speculation that the scheme is already leading to a surge in prices for newly built homes I am calling on the Minister to publish any research his department has that convinced him that this scheme was a good idea. In one Wicklow development, the price of a house rose by between €17,500 and €45,000 following the Government’s new first-time buyers scheme.

“Before the Minister pressed ahead with the launch of this scheme the overwhelming majority of expert opinion told him that this scheme wouldn’t work and that it would in fact make the housing situation worse. The first time buyers scheme, available on homes up to the value of €600,000 will simply drive prices even higher and lock greater numbers of people out of home ownership. It is also very telling that Government thinks that struggling first time buyers are considering purchasing homes between €400,000 and €600,000.

“This new measure coupled with the recent changes to the Development Levies rates for houses by Wicklow County Council has done nothing for families struggling to put a roof over their heads. The only thing that the measures appear to be doing is lining the pockets of developers.

“Minister Coveney must now provide more detail on how he intends to monitor the impact of the scheme and if evidence emerges that developers are increasing prices due to the scheme he must give a commitment to scrap it."

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Budget 2017 sees more discrimination against young jobseekers – John Brady TD

Budget 2017 sees more discrimination against young jobseekers – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said that Budget 2017 continues the shameful discrimination of our young unemployed.

Teachta Brady said:

“The increases announced today as part of Budget 2017 include a €2.70 increase in Jobseekers Allowance for those aged between 18 and 24 years. This means that this weekly payment rises from €100 to €102.70.

“Those aged 25 will see an increase of a measly €3.80 from €144 to €147.80.

“This increase will have no impact whatsoever on our young unemployed. In fact, it will do nothing more than incentivise them to emigrate.

“Once again, the Government’s Budget provides our young people with absolutely nothing. While Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil talk about Budget 2017 being about creating a fair and just society, young people do not feature.

“Last week, I asked Minister Varadkar to restore Jobseekers Allowance to the full payment of €188 for under 26s. His response has been to give them a pittance.

“While Fianna Fáil takes credit for the positives in Budget 2017, they may also take credit for this €2.70 increase for our young people considering they were the party that began the discriminatory cuts to young people in the first place.”

Monday, 10 October 2016

Fianna Fáil’s newfound concern for Older People ‘their latest gimmick’ – John Brady TD

Speaking ahead of Budget 2017, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil need to stop playing games with the proposed €5 pension increase for older people.

The Wicklow TD said:

“While Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil continue this farce over when to give older people the proposed €5 increase in the State Pension they have agreed on one thing – an increase in their own take home pay.

“In the age of ‘new politics’, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have seemingly agreed to an increase of over €5,000 in their own wages. At the same time, they continue this tiff over when to give €5 to older people.

“It is quite clear that Fianna Fáil are using this pension increase debacle as a smoke screen.

“Sinn Féin has looked beyond the State Pension in our proposals for older people with a package worth in excess of €410 million.

“Our measures would mean pensioners living alone would see their pension increase by €5.70 per week; this means an increase for 190,000 older people. All older people would benefit by a €1 reduction in prescription charges as the first step to abolishing them, three weeks extension on fuel allowance, a bereavement grant of €600 as well as additional home help hours.

“As Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil continue this farce in the run up to the Budget, while at the same time lining their own pockets, Sinn Féin want to see proposals that will target a range of issues faced by older people.

“Fianna Fáil can drop the pretence that they are in opposition. This new found concern for older people is nothing more than a gimmick. Perhaps if they weren't so busy trying to control both Government and opposition at the same time, they could have released an actual alternative Budget.”

Thursday, 6 October 2016

John Brady TD commends 'Be Well' youth movement in Wicklow

Speaking on the Sinn Féin motion on Mental Health this evening Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady took the opportunity to commend the Be Well youth movement across County Wicklow.

Teachta Brady said:

“On Monday of this week I attended the launch of ‘Be Well Wicklow’ which originally started out in 2012 as Be Well Bray and has since expanded county wide.

“Be Well Wicklow consists of a group of young people from the age of 13 upwards who have taken on the challenge of promoting positive mental health in their communities.

“Be Well Wicklow is based on three key elements – battling the stigma surrounding youth mental health, learning and sharing skills that build resilience and ensuring that young people’s ideas and opinions are central to everything they do.

“Next week marks the group’s annual Be Well Week across Wicklow with a range of activities and events to raise awareness about Youth Mental Health and promoting positive mental health.

“I want to commend the work these young people have done – their engagement with the issue and their determination year on year to continue the conversation on mental health is something we can all learn a lot from. By taking on the challenge of promoting positive mental health they are inspiring many others throughout the country.

“I also would like to wish the other Be Wellers in Arklow with their first Be Well Week next week, the Be Wellers who are currently setting up in Kilcoole and other groups throughout the county.

Teachta Brady concluded:

“Young people are leading the way on mental health in Wicklow. They are setting the agenda and it is our job to recognise that and do all in our power to support groups such as Be Well Wicklow in the hope that we can have a Be Well movement in every county in the country.

“I am delighted that my party have brought forward this motion this evening and I hope that it will receive cross party support. In the words of Be Well Wicklow “Mental Health is not the same as Mental Illness, Everybody has Mental Health.”

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget is about reducing the cost of living & investing public services - John Brady TD

Sinn Féin's Alternative Budget is about reducing the cost of living & investing public services - John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said that Sinn Féin’s alternative Budget launched today is about reducing the cost of living and investing in public services.

Speaking after the launch Teachta Brady said:

“Sinn Féin’s alternative Budget is about fairness, reducing the cost of living, fair taxation and increased capital investment to build much needed homes, schools and health facilities across the State.

“Year on year other parties have chosen tax breaks for high earners over investment in public services, but Sinn Féin has shown that we cannot fix our health services or our housing crisis if we go down that road.

“Our proposals allocate a fund of €111 million to support families by reducing the cost of childcare fees by an average of €96 per week for children aged between six months and three years.

“We include an investment of an additional €500 million in education to reduce the pupil teacher ratio at primary level, tackle third level fees and create 1,000 additional apprenticeship places.

“Sinn Féin would invest €267 million to provide an additional 500 hospital beds, reduce the prescription charge by €1 as the first step of abolishing it, increase ambulance cover and improve mental health services.

“We want to see older people supported with an additional €410 million for a range of financial supports including restoring the Transitional Pension for 65 year olds increasing their weekly payment by €45 as well as increasing the Living Alone Allowance by €5.70 per week for more than 190,000 pensioners.

“Sinn Féin continues to call on the Government to increase the cut off age for the One Parent Family Payment from seven to twelve years of age. This remains part of our alternative Budget this year.

“Sinn Féin recognises the discriminatory cut made to Jobseekers payments for under 26s, we will restore this to the full amount over two Budgets starting with a €40 increase in this Budget. We remain utterly opposed to those under 26 receiving a lesser payment of between €100 and €160 based on age.

“Budget 2017 needs to create an Ireland for living in, not merely getting by in. We need to invest in the public services that have been so badly eroded by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in the past. We need a Budget that leaves no individual, no family or no community behind.”

Sinn Féin seek a fairer Ireland for older people – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin seek a fairer Ireland for older people – John Brady TD

Speaking today at the launch of Sinn Féin’s Budget 2017 proposals on Older People, Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Social Protection John Brady TD said that “everyone has the right to grow old in Ireland with dignity, security and equality”.

The Wicklow/East Carlow TD said:

“The reality for many of our older citizens under Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil is that they now face additional taxes and charges, they can no longer rely on the health service and they have to struggle daily to heat homes and meet their bills.

“Our proposals launched today provide a Budget for older people worth over €410 million. Our Budget is about fairness and reducing the cost of living for older people. We also include our commitment to abolish water charges and the property tax – putting money back in older people’s pockets.

“Under our proposals, pensioners living alone will see their pension increase by €5.70 per week; this means an increase for 190,000 older people. All other pensioners will see their pension inflation proofed and increased by €3.50.

“Sinn Féin wants an end to prescription charges and will begin by phasing it out by €1 in this Budget.

“Other measures include:

Reinstate the State Pension (Transition) Payment
Increase the Fuel Allowance by 3 Weeks
Introduce a Bereavement Grant of €600
Extend the Warmer Homes Scheme
Increase home help hours by 10%
Increase homecare packages by 10%

“It is absolutely unacceptable that those obliged to retire at 65 years of age are being forced onto Jobseekers payments and cannot access their pension for a year. There are currently more people aged 65 than any other age group in receipt of Jobseekers. We will re-introduce the Transitional Payment immediately impacting on 33,000 pensioners giving them an additional €45 per week or €2,340 per year.

“Sinn Féin’s proposals target a range of issues faced by older people. These proposals seek to create a fairer Ireland for our older people where they are able to live independently, have access to their pension on retirement and are protected from unfair taxes and charges.”

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Brady congratulates organisers of successful Arklow Enterprise Town event

Wicklow/East Carlow TD John Brady has congratulated the organisers the very successful Arklow Enterprise Town. The event took place in St Marys College, Arklow on Friday September 30th and Saturday October 1st.

Speaking after attending the event Brady said “The Bank of Ireland Arklow Enterprise Town event took place over two days in St Marys College was a huge success and I want to commend all involved.”

“The event was a fantastic opportunity to showcase local businesses, clubs and indeed local schools to potential new customers or new members. Nearly 70 exhibitors participated on each day and there was a massive attendance from the public. The exhibition showcased many of the positive things happening in Arklow and it was good to see some new businesses.”

The Wicklow Sinn Féin TD concluded “I was delighted to talk to so many people at the exhibition; I listened to all they had to say and reiterated my continued determination in working to unlock Arklow’s full potential.”