Tuesday 19 December 2017

Brady welcomes the green light to reopen Donard Garda Station

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has welcomed the announcement that the process of reopening Donard Garda station is to commence. It comes following the establishment of a pilot scheme to reopen six of the139 Garda stations that were closed across the State in 2012 and 2013.

Speaking after the decision was made Teachta Brady said “The news that Donard Garda Station is set to reopen is to be welcomed. Fine Gael and Labour closed both Donard and Hollywood Garda Stations in West Wicklow. Unfortunately we are now seeing the impact of this, so far this year there have been 114 burglaries in West Wicklow, up dramatically from a total of 76 burglaries in 2016. This signals an alarming increase of 50% in crime in the area.”

“The acting Garda Commissioner has submitted his final report in relation to the pilot scheme and has written to the Office of Public Works to progress the reopening Donard along with five other Garda Stations. I have been raising the need to reopen Donard since it was first closed and have raised it directly with the Minister for Justice numerous times.”

Teachta Brady concluded “This is reopening of Donard Garda Station is positive news positive news for the people of West Wicklow. It follows on from the recent deployment of a number of new Gardaí, including two new Detective Sergeants to West Wicklow in order to deal with the dramatic increase in crime, one in Baltinglass and one to Blessington. Once open Donard Garda Station will play a critical role in helping deal with rural crime.”

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Brady unanimously selected to contest next General Election

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady was unanimously selected by Sinn Féin members from across Wicklow to contest the next General Election.

The convention took place on Tuesday evening in the Arklow Bay Hotel with guest speaker Deputy MaryLou McDonald.

Accepting the nomination Teachta Brady said:

“I am absolutely honoured and humbled to have been unanimously selected again by the Wicklow Sinn Féin members as the party’s General Election candidate when the election is held.

“It has been a privilege to give the people of Wicklow a strong voice in Leinster House since making history in 2016 by winning the seat.

“As the only opposition TD representing Wicklow I've worked hard to represent everyone without fear or favour and I look forward to continuing that work if given the mandate by the people of Wicklow again.

“In the next Dáil term I want to be part of a Sinn Féin government that will tackle the crises in housing, homelessness and our health service, build a United Ireland that really does cherish all our children equally.

“I will continue to work hard for all of the people of Wicklow and I look forward to doing so in 2018.”

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Welcome progress made on tackling lethal N11 road safety issue in Kilmacanogue-Brady

Wicklow Sinn Fein TD John Brady has welcomed progress on addressing the serious road safety issues on the N11 in Kilmacanogue at the petrol station on the southbound lane.

The Wicklow TD who has been working on this serious safety issue for a number of years said “I welcome the good progress that has been made on trying to address the serious safety issue on the N11 at the petrol station in Kilmacanogue. The situation is lethal because of traffic exiting from the petrol station onto the southbound lane of the N11. Thankfully now action is finally been taken to deal with the issue.

“I have been in constant contact with Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the Minister for Transport Shane Ross in relation to this issue. Thankfully Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has given approval to progress the situation in Kilmacanogue as a safety scheme. Kildare Road Design office have been appointed to project manage the scheme and they are in the process of appointing consultants. It is hoped that will happen before Christmas. Their remit will be to carry out investigations on site and then provide options to address the safety issues.

“I have spoken to the project manager who informs me that it is planned on have one to one meetings with all stakeholders in the New Year. When a preferred option emerges there will be a full public consultation process and that it will go through the Part 8 planning process.

“A number of options have been looked at in the past. One option was to construct a dedicated service road utilising the hard shoulder. This would have involved placing a barrier between the service road and the N11 itself. This would force all traffic coming out of the petrol station up the slip road for Kilmacanogue before rejoining the N11 on the opposite side of the bridge.

Brady concluded “I hope that the consultants when appointed will bring back their proposals as quickly as possible. I believe that the construction of a dedicated service road is the best option to address the lethal situation that is in Kilmacanogue at present; however we must let the consultants do their work. The important thing here is that the current unsafe situation is ended and that must happen as soon as possible.”

Monday 11 December 2017

Public Transport fails people with disabilities again- Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has today raised the case of a gentleman who was left on the DART unable to get off at his destination while getting home to Bray from work. He also said that when it comes to access to public transport people with disabilities are discriminated against.

Speaking this morning Teachta Brady said:

"I am horrified to learn that a Bray man who is in a wheelchair was unable to get off the DART due to nobody being at the DART station to assist him off the DART. The man who has contacted me has told me that he was unable to reach the emergency button and was left stuck on the train as it travelled to Greystones.

“Clearly there was a break down in the Irish Rail communications system between where the man got on the DART in Lansdowne Road and Bray.

"On what was one of the coldest nights of the year he was left sitting in Greystones in the freezing cold until another train arrived to bring him back to Bray.

"This is absolutely unacceptable and is exactly why we cannot allow the unmanning of DART and train stations to continue.

"I have contacted the CEO of Irish Rail and Minister Shane Ross in relation to this matter and I intend to meet with them on this issue as soon as possible. As it currently stands people with disabilities are being discriminated against and this latest incident serves to highlight this again.

"I recently launched an online petition calling on Minister Ross to put an end to Irish Rail's plans of unmanning DART stations which can be found at www.change.org/p/minister-shane-ross-oppose-the-unmanning-of-dart-and-train-stations. Nearly 1500 people have already signed it since I launched it. I would urge the public to support this petition by signing it online." ENDS

Friday 8 December 2017

Slow but welcome progress on Cold Winter Initiative for the Homeless in Wicklow – Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has welcomed moves made by Wicklow County Council to progress the cold winter initiative for the homeless in Wicklow.

Speaking this afternoon, Teachta Brady said:

“I welcome moves by Wicklow County Council to introduce the cold winter initiative for the homeless. This initiative will mean the opening up of a premise in order to provide shelter for the homeless during the cold weather. Over the last two months in the run into the cold winter months i have been requesting that this initiative be rolled out.

“Given how cold the weather is already, there is an urgent need for this initiative to become a reality urgently.

“I welcome the Council’s consultation with the Five Loaves and the Simon Community in introducing the cold weather initiative which is so desperately needed at this time of year.

“I also would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have dropped off shoeboxes for the homeless as part of Wicklow Sinn Féin’s own initiative to help to support the homeless this time of the year. Shoeboxes can be dropped into my constituency offices in Bray or Arklow between now and Christmas.” ENDS

Friday 17 November 2017

Wicklow Sinn Fein launches Christmas Shoe Box appeal for the Homeless

Wicklow Sinn Fein has launched a Wicklow Christmas shoe box appeal for the homeless. Wicklow TD John Brady said he hopes as many people as possible will take the opportunity to contribute if they can:

“While many of us are starting to buy Christmas presents and buying all the trimmings for our festive dinner, it's important to remember that this is a time to give to those who might not be looking forward to the same kind of Christmas. For some people it's the roughest, toughest and coldest time of the year. With almost 9,000 people now homeless including 3,500 children, the Wicklow Sinn Fein team will be doing all we can to help those that need it the most, that’s why we have launched our Shoe Box appeal.

“We are asking the people of Wicklow to do your bit and grab a few things to put in a shoe box for the homeless this Christmas. It couldn't be easier to get your hands on these bits 'n' bobs and to put them in a shoe box and wrap them up and you'll make someone's Christmas.

“Items required include toiletries, chocolates/sweets, warm gloves, hats and scarfs, toothbrush/tooth paste, deodorants, shower gel and shampoo. The items included won't break the bank and will certainly put a smile on the homeless community's face this Christmas.”

Teachta Brady said that he hopes as many people as possible will contribute to the shoe box appeal:

“We have two main drop off points which are the Sinn Fein offices in Bray -1st floor 27 Main Street. Ph: 01 2762623 or Arklow - 18a Upper Main street. Ph: 0402 41853. People can also contact any of our public representatives for further information on how to contribute”. Ends

Brady calls on Minister Harris to provide adequate funding for crucial cancer support services in County Wicklow

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady TD has called on Minister Harris today in the Dáil to provide funding for crucial cancer support services in County Wicklow.

Raising the issue on the floor of the Dáil today, Teachta Brady said:

“Today, I raised the issue of the need for proper Government funding for cancer support services if these services are to survive. I highlighted the scenario currently faced by Purple House Cancer Support in Bray who are consistently depending on the goodwill of the people of Wicklow to fund their vital services.

“This is totally inadequate and furthermore it is totally unsustainable. The work done by Purple House Cancer Support is crucial, the services they provide through counselling, advice and guidance and transport services for people attending hospitals for treatment.

“In Ireland, we know that every three minutes, a person is diagnosed with cancer. We also know that every year there are more than 165,000 people living with and beyond cancer. In 2016 alone, Purple House had more than 1,200 people visit their Cancer Support Centre in Bray and outreach support service in Dun Laoghaire.

“Purple House Cancer Support services not only serve the needs of people living with cancer in the community, they also compliment the implementation of wider Government policy on social inclusion, health promotion and strategic cancer supports. Yet, the funding provided by the Government does not reflect all of this work.

“I am calling on Minister Harris to provide the necessary funding beyond the current 23% of funding currently being given to Purple House. Minister Harris must ensure that funding for Purple House Cancer Support Services form part of the HSE Service Plan for 2018.”

Brady gives cautious welcome to Minister’s commitment to earlier reopening of Wicklow courthouse

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady TD has secured significant progress in the reopening of the courthouse in Wicklow Town.

Speaking this evening, Teachta Brady said:

“Having made a comprehensive argument to Minister Flanagan on the need to reopen the courthouse in Wicklow Town, I received an update from the Minister today.

“During discussions with Minister Flanagan he now intends on moving it to the next Public Private Partnership bundle which will mean work should commence as early as 2018. Despite, the Minister recognising that there are some technical issues he is hopeful that these can be overcome. This is a very welcome move on the part of the Department of Justice & Equality after extensive lobbying.

“The reopening of the courthouse will mean much more than providing additional court services for the County, it will also bring life back into the town particularly, in the market square.

“We know that the current court service which is based in Bray is bursting at the seams.

“Minister Flanagan has assured me that detailed information on his Department’s plans in relation to Wicklow courthouse in writing will follow our discussion today.

“I look forward to this formal confirmation from Minister Flanagan in delivering the reopening of Wicklow courthouse as soon as possible.”

Friday 10 November 2017

Shocking level of Local Authority homes in Wicklow have no form of central heating

On foot of figures obtained by Wicklow and East Carlow TD John Brady, the Sinn Fein spokesperson for social protection has said that it is an absolute disgrace that we have families literally freezing in homes with no adequate heating systems across Wicklow.

Teachta Brady Said:

“I recently received statistics from Wicklow County Council which confirm that 685 local authority homes in Wicklow have no central heating system installed. I am rarely stuck for words but my jaw dropped when I discovered that 15% of Wicklow local authority housing stock does not even have the most modest of modern heating systems.”

The Sinn Fein TD lashed out at Fine Gael and Fianna Fail and accused them of subconsciously conspiring to deprive the local authority of the funds necessary to rectify the situation:

“The fiscal failures of successive Fine Gael/ Fianna Fail governments expose a malevolent ignorance which defies all logic. Families are literally freezing in homes while paying rent to Wicklow County Council for the pleasure. I have written to minister for housing Eoghan Murphy asking that funds be made available immediately to rectify the situation.”

Teachta Brady said the Sinn Fein team on Wicklow County Council will be pressing the issue as a matter of urgency:

“Our three Councillors - Nicola Lawless, Michael O’Connor and Mary McDonald will bring as much pressure to bear as possible at council level in the chamber and with officials. We want to secure funding for a heating refit programme to be included in the council budget. These homes which house families with young children, older citizens and those with disabilities are hardly fit for purpose in the absence of satisfactory heating systems.”

In conclusion Teachta Brady said that the issue further highlights the accuracy of a recent European report which accused the government of human rights violations when it comes to public housing standards:

“The esteemed European Committee of Social rights produced a report which found the state at odds with its responsibilities under the European social charter. It further accused the state of breaching its obligations in line with European and International housing standards. Such reports usually end up in the governments ‘ignore’ tray but it is my intention to press the government to address this outrage immediately both locally and nationally.”

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Government played down numbers of older people on reduced State Pensions due to 2012 changes – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs & Social Protection John Brady TD has said that the actual number of older people affected by the 2012 pension changes is 42,278 as opposed to the 35,000 stated by Government.

Speaking after receiving a reply to his Parliamentary Question on the matter, Teachta Brady said:

“The Department’s own records show that 42,278 pensioners have been affected by the rate band changes introduced by Fine Gael and Labour from September 2012. Of this figure, 26,598 are female and 15,680 are male.

“I sought a breakdown of the number of men and women affected by the 2012 changes as well as a breakdown by County which shows that 10,514 of these pensioners live in Dublin, 7,116 women and 3,398 men.

“At no stage in all of the discussions on this issue did Minister Doherty disclose the actual number of people impacted by the 2012 changes, despite her own Department having the figure. Instead, the Dáil was misled on this.

“The fact is that 42,278 pensioners are receiving a reduced State Pension as a direct consequence of changes made to the calculation of the State Pension is outrageous. Fine Gael and Labour took this decision with the absolute knowledge that women would be disproportionately impacted and this is evident in the fact that almost two-thirds of the 42,278 pensioners are women.

“The Social Welfare Bill 2017 is due to go before Cabinet next week. We need to see the Minister’s plans to rectify this discrimination in this Bill. If it is not there, Sinn Féin will amend the Bill and we fully expect Fianna Fáil to support such an amendment given their recent Dáil motion calling for action. This issue needs to be addressed immediately, 42,278 pensioners are waiting.” ENDS

Note: Please see the PQ response in question here: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/ffc5ff2fa2294c89d2ff7598e/files/47957cbb-4691-41eb-82df-d888cd5f9d4e/PQ_Reply_on_numbers_affected_by_2012_changes.pdf

Brady welcomes completion of flood protection works on Dargle River in Bray

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has welcomed the completion of flood protection works at the Dargle River in Bray.

Speaking after an official visit by the Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran to view the works carried out, Teachta Brady said:

“The people of Bray have been calling for flood protection works to be carried out on the Dargle River since 1986 when Bray was devastated by Hurricane Charley. While, these works were long overdue, I welcome their completion today.

“I have stood with the community of Little Bray on ensuring that their community is protected from any further risks of flooding. I want to commend the local community group SWAP for keeping the issue of the floodplain at the Dargle River to the fore. These works would not have been delivered without their determination and work on consistently highlighting the issue.

“While, this substantial investment in Bray is welcome, the campaign continues to keep the floodplain adjacent to the Dargle River free from development. I have brought this issue to the attention of the Minister of State, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran today and I have given him a letter on the matter.

“The completion of the flood protection works is a welcome development but we cannot jeopardise these works by allowing the construction of high density buildings on the floodplain. This development can easily go ahead on the higher grounds of the old golf course lands.”

Thursday 26 October 2017

Brady secures visit from the Minister for Disabilities to St. Catherine’s Special National School on Friday

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady TD has this evening announced that the Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Disability Issues Finian McGrath will meet staff, students and parents at St. Catherine’s School in Newcastle this Friday.

St. Catherine’s Special National school provides primary and post-primary education for clients who have a moderate, severe or profound learning disability. Pre-school classes are also sanctioned for children with an Austim Spectrum Disorder

Speaking ahead of the engagement, Teachta Brady said:

“I am delighted that Minister McGrath has accepted my invitation on behalf of St. Catherine’s School in Newcastle to visit the school and meet with staff, students and parents on Friday.

“I have made it clear to both Minister McGrath and the Department of Education & Skills that the current school is inadequate to meet students’ needs and a new build is necessary with some urgency. The school have been waiting for seventeen years for a school that is fit or purpose.

“I invited Minister McGrath to the school to see first-hand how badly needed the new school really is. I hope that this visit will encourage the Minister to take concrete steps in providing the new school urgently.

“I know that the staff, students and parents will take this opportunity to raise concerns they have with the Minister directly.

“I look forward to engaging with everyone, including Minister McGrath on Friday and furthermore, I look forward to a thoroughly deserved new school for St. Catherine’s Special National School as soon as possible.”

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Findings of JobPath Report must signal its abolition – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs and Social Protection John Brady TD has said that the findings of his JobPath Report leave the Government with no option other than to abolish the JobPath scheme immediately.

Speaking at the launch of the JobPath Report, Teachta Brady said:

“JobPath has been a total nightmare for thousands of people across the State. It has caused huge distress and worry for many, both financially and mentally. The findings of this report launched today are alarming and they signal exactly what happens when a privatisation agenda is pursued within job activation.

“This report provides ample evidence for JobPath to be scrapped. Every shred of evidence in this report comes directly from those engaging with JobPath. They are the experts on JobPath. This report is about giving them a voice.

“JobPath providers Turas Nua and Seetec have strayed away from what they were initially set up to do – engage the long term unemployed. Both private companies are hounding people who are working part-time and substitute teachers who are subbing in schools week to week. While Minister Doherty insisted only a few weeks ago in the Dáil chamber that this was not happening, the proof that it is lies in this report.

“Both the training of the personal advisors employed by Turas Nua and Seetec and the training provided to participants by these personal advisors is questionable. Much of the so-called training for participants consists of sitting in front of a computer.

“JobPath’s emergence has been damaging to other schemes such as Community Employment and the Local Employment Service and representatives from both engaged with us as to the challenges they have faced in this report.

“This report also includes detailed insight from a former Personal Advisor with Turas Nua who contacted us. She talks about the invitations to engage with JobPath as more of a threat, referrals to JobPath chosen as a form of punishment for some, the severe lack of training for personal advisors, and the appalling treatment of participants.

“The findings of this report are clear, JobPath is beyond repair. Private companies are only interested in profit; they are not interested in the well-being of participants. We have no idea as to how much of taxpayers’ money is being handed over to these companies, who are paid up to four separate occasions per participant. Our numerous requests for these figures are denied due to commercial sensitivity.

“Job activation should be about encouraging jobseekers, and assisting them to find work. JobPath is not doing this and it must be abolished.”

Friday 20 October 2017

A World Class Sports Campus Is Possible for North Wicklow

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has said that he believes the construction of a world class sports complex in North Wicklow is absolutely possible if the will exists to make it happen.

Teachta Brady said:
“Over the summer months I have engaged with numerous sports and athletics groups across the North Wicklow area who are all convinced that the construction of a sports campus on the planned Fassaroe development site would contribute enormously to the local community and would serve to help shore up the already startling success of the many sports and athletic groups in the area. Numerous groups such as Ardmore rovers Football club, Enniskerry Boxing Club, Liberty Boxing Club, Shamrock Bhoys and the Bray runners group for example are restricted in activity potential due to a serious lack of facilities. A multi-use sports campus in the area would also unlock the potential for programmes across the county to help encourage people into the area of sports and away from sedentary activities.”

Teachta Brady also said that the Cosgrave Property Group has lodged a planning application with Wicklow County Council for a 658-unit housing development in Fassaroe, this application is currently with An Bord Pleanála. The 48-hectare development between Bray and Enniskerry also includes substantial office and retail space as well as a district park and inland waterway. The scheme forms part of the council’s master plan for the Fassaroe area, which was drawn up in 2010 but later mothballed on account of the financial crisis. There is also provision for 49 acres for amenity space. When complete, the plan will provide up to 1,800 residential units.

“In August I met officials in Wicklow County Council to discuss to feasibility of a sports campus on this site, subsequently I submitted detailed proposals for such a campus to Wicklow County Council’s Bray Local Area Plan for Bray in order to secure zoning that would allow for a campus to be included. I believe that the Development Contribution Scheme Levies which apply in the context of the overall development of the Fassaroe site could be used to fund planning and to develop a world class sports campus.“

“Of course we need buy-in from all potential stakeholders including local representatives so I am pleased to note that Fianna Fail have very recently become a supporter of the initiative. On this particular issue I would call on all local politicians to join me in doing our utmost to push this idea forward.”

Teachta Brady concluded by pointing out the long term health and social benefits that such initiatives can deliver:

“Experience has shown us that a sprawling Suburbia with little leisure and sporting infrastructure is detrimental to the overall health and general well -being of people and their communities. The benefit of this hindsight and the opportunities presented in the current Fassaroe area plans suggest that if the will is there the possibilities are endless. The Sinn Fein team of councillors and I will continue to engage with all stakeholders including the wider community, Wicklow County Council, local sports and athletics groups and local representatives. We truly believe that a World Class Sports Campus in North Wicklow can be delivered if all groups work together for the common good.”

Wednesday 11 October 2017

Purchase of former Ulster Bank building in Wicklow Town a welcome first step in rejuvenating the County Town

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has welcomed the purchase of the former Ulster Bank building in Wicklow town by Wicklow County Council. This building will be converted into a new library for the town, to replace the existing library at the rear of the Courthouse.

Speaking after the news Teachta Brady said “The purchase of the former Ulster Bank building in Wicklow Town by the council is positive news for the town; it will be converted into a new modern library providing ICT facilities. This is something that I had pushed as a priority with the council over the last number of years. The new library will also to help increase badly needed footfall on the Main Street.”

Teachta Brady continued “The purchase of the Ulster Bank building must be seen as a first step in the enhancing and bringing new life back onto the streets of Wicklow Town. The council must also utilise the now empty former Wicklow Town Council building in the Market Square. I have recently met with the new Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council Frank Curran and put forward plans to have Wicklow Municipal District relocated from County Buildings to the derelict Town Council building.”

“I have also been working towards the refurbishment and reopening of Wicklow Court House which has been closed since 2010. The purchase of Ulster Bank building is a welcome first step in rejuvenating Wicklow Town, the council now needs to push forward other measures to help revitalise the County Town.”

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Government prioritise tax cuts over tackling housing and health crises - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said the government’s decision to allocate such a huge proportion of available resources on tax cuts shows that it does not understand the reality on the ground for ordinary families.
Teachta Brady said:

“The Government know that it is possible to balance the books while at the same time beginning the process of sorting the crises in our health and housing sectors through meaningful investment. Sinn Féin’s alternative budget demonstrates exactly that.

“Every cent that the Government have put into tax cuts is money that could have been used to rebuild our health services and to build homes.

“Budget 2018 has underfunded the health service in order prioritise tax cuts. Today, the Minister of Finance announced €685 million for the Health Service in Budget 2018. Yet, the Health Service actually needs an increase of €691million next year simply to stand still.

“At the height of a crisis with nearly 700,000 people on hospital waiting lists and over 514 people on trolleys today alone, these measures in Budget 2018 for the Health Service will exasperate the crisis.

“When it comes to housing, despite making over 52 ‘policy’ announcements since his appointment, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has not delivered any additional housing units above those already committed to by his predecessor Simon Coveney.

“Despite there being between 90,000 and 180,000 vacant homes across the state, Budget 2018 has delivered nothing to increase access to these much needed houses. The Repair and Lease scheme budget has not been increased. There is no increase in Buy and Renew Budget. Crucially, there is no vacant homes tax.

“The Budget’s biggest failing is the lack of any measures to provide any affordable rental or purchase housing. The government has no target for delivering affordable housing. The Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund is down. There is no guarantee that the Home Building Finance Ireland will deliver any homes in 2018, let alone affordable homes.

“Fianna Fáil has spent the past year criticising Fine Gael’s housing and health policies. They had the power to influence this budget and failed to exert any effect on the government’s ongoing failing housing and health policies

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Minister Doherty ‘alarmingly clueless’ on what is happening in JobPath - John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said Minister Regina Doherty is ‘alarmingly clueless’ on JobPath and clearly has no idea what is going on within the scheme.

Speaking during Priority Questions with Minister Doherty this afternoon, Teachta Brady said:

“Today, I raised a number of issues around JobPath and the fact that they have gone beyond what they were initially set up to do.

“JobPath was set up to engage with the long term unemployed and assist them in returning to work. Instead, JobPath is hounding people who are either recently unemployed or are engaged in part-time work and are not unemployed at all.

“Minister Doherty has refuted these claims and insisted that JobPath is only engaging the long term unemployed and anything beyond that would be in breach of their contract with the Department of Social Protection.

“Over the past three months, I have conducted a JobPath Exposed campaign with a ‘Tell Your Story’ element listening to the actual reality on the ground from those who know it best – the participants.

“Through this process, I have ample evidence of people who are only unemployed for a number of weeks or days in some cases, teachers who are subbing, people who have just left college being 'invited' to engage with JobPath. These people are not long term unemployed.

“In the case of teachers who are subbing, they are not unemployed. Some people are in part-time work and this suits them as they can work around raising children, again they are not unemployed yet JobPath is hounding them.

“It is beyond alarming that Minister Doherty has absolutely no idea what Turas Nua and Seetec, who are delivering JobPath are doing. I will be publishing my report on JobPath next week and I expect urgent action to be taken on these private companies.”

Brady gives cautious welcome to Greystones' designation as a rent pressure zone

Sinn Féin Wicklow TD John Brady has given a cautious welcome to the news that Greystones has been designated as a rent pressure zone.

Teachta Brady said;

“While I welcome Greystones' designation as a rent pressure zone, it is clear that the Residential Tenancy Board should be given additional powers and resources to ensure that the designation is being adhered to.

"I have been calling on the Government for months to include Greystones as a rent pressure zone given the rising cost of rents. Minister Murphy rightly says that this is being done in response to exceptional rent increases in Greystones. These rent increases have been as a result of the Government's failure to take steps to address the rent crisis.

“Sinn Féin firmly believes that linking rents to an index such as the Consumer Price Index is one measure that should be adopted.

“We have tabled numerous Bills and amendments calling for the introduction of real rent certainty along these lines. Unfortunately, both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have failed to support these measures.

“Tenants also need greater security of tenure. Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy must reconsider the government’s opposition to a Focus Ireland amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act. This measure would prevent buy-to-let landlords, who took advantage of generous tax breaks when purchasing their properties, from issuing vacant possession notice to families when they want to sell the property. This measure alone would prevent more families from going homeless and would keep properties on the rental market.”

Monday 18 September 2017

Commencement of development at Avondale Heights, Rathdrum ‘a step in the right direction’ - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has welcomed the commencement of works for the development of homes at Avondale Heights in Rathdrum as ‘a step in the right direction’ at long last.

Speaking following the ‘sod turning’ event this morning, Teachta Brady said:

“I was delighted to attend the sod turning event at Avondale Heights this morning marking the commencement of works for the delivery of badly needed housing in Wicklow.

“There will be 20 units in this the first phase, taking 52 weeks to construct. Overall, there will be 47 units in the development when complete.

“Department of Housing red tape has been rightly criticised for slowing down social housing delivery and this development at Avondale Heights has certainly not been brought about before time.

“We are experiencing a housing crisis that many of us have never witnessed before; this crisis will not be tackled without the building of adequate housing for people who need it.

“I want to commend the staff in the housing section in Wicklow County Council who have worked hard to progress this scheme.

“Today marks a step in the right direction however, it is just that. It is one step but we have a long way to go and many more developments such as Avondale Heights must follow.”

Friday 25 August 2017

Brady calls on Minister Harris to act following second public meeting for a GP Out-of-Hours Service for North Wicklow

Brady calls on Minister Harris to act following second public meeting for a GP Out-of-Hours Service for North Wicklow

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has called on Minister Harris to honour his commitment to the people of North Wicklow and establish a GP Out-of-Hours Service.

The public meeting was held on Thursday evening in Greystones and heard from Sinn Féin spokesperson for Health Louise O’Reilly TD and Sinn Féin Councillor for the Greystones Municipal District Nicola Lawless.

Speaking following the meeting, Teachta Brady said:

“The people of North Wicklow are sending a clear message to Minister Harris, they want him to honour the commitment he made to them regarding a GP Out-of-Hours Service which was promised to be up and running six months ago.

“It is not good enough for Minister Harris to simply say the funds are not available from the HSE. This excuse does not wash with the people here.

“When we look around at the current state of the hospital crisis, it is more important than ever that people can access health services locally in their communities. If we want to tackle overcrowding in our A&Es and hospitals, there has to be adequate access to care in communities first and foremost.

Cllr Nicola Lawless concluded:

“We have now had two successful public meetings in both Bray and Greystones, our campaign for this service will continue until the Minister acts on his promise. I would urge people to continue to sign and share our online petition which is available at https://www.change.org/p/minister-for-health-we-demand-a-gp-out-of-hours-service-for-north-Wicklow ”

Action needed after extensive damage to parked cars at Florence Road Carpark in Bray - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has called for additional security measures to be put in place at the Florence Road carpark in Bray after an incident of serious vandalism occurred on Wednesday night.

Speaking this afternoon, Teachta Brady said:

“On Wednesday night, eleven cars were vandalised in the carpark on Florence Road. This was a shocking act of destruction to cars that were parked there overnight.

“I understand that the level of damage to one car was so extensive that the car has had to be written off with all eleven cars having their windows smashed.

“This was an appalling crime to peoples’ property and I utterly condemn these actions.

“I am calling on Bray Municipal District to review security in the carpark to ensure that an incident such as this is not allowed to happen again. I have raised issues in the past as regards lighting in the carpark and while, this was improved, the Council must go further.

“When we have a situation where communities are left without adequate Garda presence and resources, we have no choice but to invest in additional CCTV and security measures to protect people and their property.

“Finally, I would appeal to any individuals who may have seen or heard anything in the Florence Road vicinity on Wednesday night to make contact with the Gardaí.”

Minister Doherty must clarify Government intentions behind Public Services Card - John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said that Minister Doherty will face questions as to her intentions behind changes to the Public Services Card (PSC) when the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill 2017 is debated next month.

Teachta Brady said:

“The upcoming Social Welfare Bill includes a number of ambiguous provisions regarding the Public Services Card which I will be questioning Minister Doherty on in the coming weeks.

"The Bill seeks to enable a person to use the card as a means of establishing identity with service providers such as banks and utility providers. The Bill also allows for the person’s date of birth to be included on the card, if requested by an individual.

“These changes further point to an agenda on behalf of the Department to make the PSC a mandatory identity card. On the one hand, the Department continue to insist that the PSC is optional yet, on the other, they are forcing people to have one if they wish to apply for a first-time passport or to sit their driver theory test.

"In fact, the PSC will shortly be required for all passport and driving licence applications.

“So instead of an individual simply applying for a passport, they will first have to apply for a PSC and then for a passport, and the same for a driving licence.

“In recent days, a case came to light where a lady was left without her State Pension because she did not apply for a PSC. There was nothing optional about this case when it came to the PSC.

“The public are becoming increasingly concerned as to the motives behind the need for a PSC and the provisions included in the Social Welfare Bill only add to this.

"I will be questioning Minister Doherty on these provisions when the Bill is debated in September and I expect absolute clarity on the Government’s agenda with these cards.

“Sinn Féin will oppose any attempt by Government to introduce a national ID by stealth."

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Full investigation needed after heart attack sufferer turned away by hospital – Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has said that it is utterly unacceptable that a man suffering a severe heart attack was turned away from St. Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown because he did not have a GP referral letter.

Deputy Brady said:

“Last Wednesday, a local man presented at St. Columcille’s complaining of severe chest pains and an inability to breath. He was told by staff that he would not be seen without a GP referral letter. Despite pleading for medical assistance, staff insisted that he would not be seen. When the man sat down in the waiting area, unable to remain standing, he was again told there was no point in waiting and that he would not be seen.

“The man took a bus back to Bray in an attempt to reach his GP’s office. After disembarking the bus, and walking towards the GP surgery, he collapsed on the Main Street. Luckily, passers-by stopped and eventually resuscitated him before flagging down a passing training ambulance whose crew stabilised the man and brought him to St. James’s. Having undergone major surgery, the man is now thankfully, in a stable condition.

“This is one case which serves to demonstrate the danger of downgrading local hospitals and replacing A&Es with Minor Injury Units. I have contacted the Hospital Manager to request an immediate meeting to discuss the protocols and hospital policy in place which seen a seriously ill man turned away from his local hospital. It is only for the heroic actions of passers-by in Bray that saved this man’s life.

“I am calling on Minister Harris to instruct the HSE to carry out an immediate investigation into this serious incident. Minister Harris must ensure that no person in medical distress will be turned away from any healthcare facility.”

Wicklow County Council 'lax attitude' towards collecting hundreds of thousands of Euros owed to them

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has criticised Wicklow County Council’s lax attitude towards recouping hundreds of thousands of Euros owed to them for lands on the Southern Cross in Bray. Speaking following receipt of Freedom of Information documents, Teachta Brady said: “Back in 2008, a 1.78 acre site on Southern Cross Road was sold by Wicklow County Council and Bray Town Council to limited company Nechouka at a cost of €14.4 million. The purchase of the 1.78 acre site from the Council was key to opening up a privately owned site that adjoined it.

“A subsequent application was lodged to develop a large retail store, a six screen cinema and other various retail outlets to be commenced within one year. As part of the lease agreement a clause was included to impose penalties if construction on site did not commence within year one as agreed, this was at a cost of €100,000 per annum. “Those familiar with the Southern Cross area will know that such a development was widely welcomed and anticipated due to the absence of any such services in the area.

“Over nine years later and much to the frustration of those living in the area, the site remains vacant. With that, Freedom of Information documents confirm that the company have not paid one cent in penalties as stipulated by their lease. In fact, Nechouka have been allowed to accrue monies outstanding to the Council of €750,000 over the past seven years. “Despite this, Nechouka remains a registered limited company and is profitable.

Cllr Michael O’Connor added: “As a public representative for the Southern Cross area, I am constantly being contacted by residents looking for basic services for their community. I have been requesting monies from Wicklow County Council for these facilities, services and minor necessities in Southern Cross and time and time again, these requests are rejected due to financial reasons. The latest request rejected due to cost implications was for litter bins for the area.

Teachta Brady concluded: “The Council’s excuse of having no money available for such requests will no longer wash with the community and a couple of friendly reminder letters to the company is clearly achieving nothing. “Wicklow County Council must now explain why they are allowing a two tier payment structure, one for ordinary taxpayers and another for big business. While, the people of Wicklow are being crippled paying property taxes and commercial rates, big businesses are allowed to ignore hundreds of thousands of euro owed to the Council without any repercussions.”

Friday 11 August 2017

Waiting times for Domiciliary Care Allowance ‘getting worse’– Brady

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has accused the Taoiseach of misleading the Committee on Social Protection as regards waiting times for the processing of Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) in his previous role as Minister for Social Protection.

Speaking this morning, Teachta Brady said:

“Back in May, during Varadkar’s final engagement with the Committee as Minister, I questioned him as to the failure of his Department to meet their target of processing DCA within 6 weeks with a success rate of 2%.

“At the time, Leo Varadkar informed the Committee that they were resolving the issue yet, almost three months later and the waiting times are actually worse. In May, the waiting times for the processing of the payment was 15 weeks, it now stands at 18 weeks.

“This week, I was contacted by a constituent who received a text message from the Department informing her of the 18 week waiting time for processing her application for DCA.

“This means that there are people caring for children with severe disabilities who need constant attention and full time care being left waiting five months before they receive a decision on their application. This is absolutely unacceptable.

“Whatever “resolving” Minister Varadkar was doing back in May clearly has had the opposite affect and the situation is now worse than before. I will be writing to Minister Doherty in the hope that she will act to address this scandal. Whether additional staff has to be taken on in this unit or moved, this waiting time must reduce drastically and it cannot be allowed to get to these levels again.”

Thursday 10 August 2017

Brady warns of ‘privatisation agenda’ behind changes to operation of bus routes in Wicklow

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said the announcement of changes to a number of Dublin Bus routes including three Wicklow routes signals a serious move to the privatisation of our public transport service.

Speaking following the announcement by Dublin Bus earlier today, Teachta Brady said:

“It was announced this morning that Dublin Bus has been unsuccessful in the tender process to operate 24 of the Public Service Obligation (PSO) bus routes in the Dublin metropolitan area. Go-Ahead, a private English bus operator, will instead begin taking over the operation of all 24 bus routes from November next year.

“Three of the twenty four routes are in Wicklow with the 184 from Bray Rail Station towards Newtownmountkennedy, the 185 from Bray Rail Station towards Shop River and the 45A from Dún Laoghaire Rail Station towards Kilmacanogue.

“Recent strike action by Dublin Bus workers exposed concerns at a privatisation agenda at work and this move seems to signal that intent.

“I am eager to learn from the NTA what made Go-Ahead more preferable than Dublin Bus who are already operating a decent service in both Wicklow and Dublin.

“I will be contacting Minister Ross and the National Transport Authority to raise concerns at the direction by which these changes are going. Public transport must remain just that, there cannot and should not be any interference in the network by private entities.”

Thursday 3 August 2017

Brady welcomes ‘long awaited progress of refurbishment works at Hillview Estate’

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has welcomed the long awaited progress of refurbishment works at Hillview Estate in Wicklow Town.

Speaking this afternoon, Teachta Brady said:

“I welcome the fact that at long last works are progressing to deal with the dreadful slum like conditions of houses in the Hillview Estate.

“For many years, Sinn Féin has consistently called for these works to be carried out to address the many problems with properties in the estate such as dampness. Some work on the balconies and the re-tiling of stairways has already taken place.

“It is regrettable that despite Sinn Féin securing €20,000 for an audit to identify the cause of the problems in the houses as far back as 2013, progress is only now taking shape. However, this is badly needed and it is to be welcomed.

“On a site visit with Liadh Ní Riada MEP this week, I was delighted to speak to council officials and the architect and see this progress for ourselves. I look forward to these works being completed without delay.”

Wicklow Sinn Féin launches campaign to extend Dublin Bus from Kilcoole to Newtownmountkennedy

Wicklow Sinn Féin representatives have this morning launched a campaign calling on Dublin Bus to extend route 84 from Kilcoole to Newtownmountkennedy, the fastest growing village in the State.

Speaking about the campaign, Teachta Brady said:

“I am delighted to join my colleague and East Wicklow Sinn Féin representative Muireann Dalton in launching this public transport campaign for the people of Newtown and surrounding areas.

“Currently, there is no direct public transport service between Kilcoole and Newtown which is having a detrimental impact on both communities for young people and the elderly alike.

“The extension of route 84 into Newtown is essential to ensure that communities can travel easily between Kilcoole and Newtown including, students attending Coláiste Chraobh Abhann in Kilcoole. This will also be of benefit to the local economy of East Wicklow.

East Wicklow Sinn Féin representative Muireann Dalton added:

“Last week, we launched an online petition for people to sign in support of this initiative. The petition is available online at https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/extend-the-84-bus-route-to-newtownmountkennedy.html. This week, we have made petitions available in local businesses across Newtown and in the coming days, we will going out door to door seeking support from the community.

“I would encourage people to support this local campaign and ensure that the people of Newtown have access to the most basic public transport.”

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Fianna Fáil change of heart on former courthouse in Wicklow town ‘welcome’ - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has welcomed Fianna Fáil’s change of heart regarding the former courthouse in Wicklow town.
Teachta Brady said:

“I read with interest this week that Fianna Fáil are now calling for the former courthouse in Wicklow town to be reopened despite, standing idly by and allowing it to close back in 2010.

“The courthouse ceased holding District Court sittings in 2010 having previously ended Circuit Court sittings back in 2008. Seven years later, and Fianna Fáil are suddenly campaigning to have the courthouse reopened.

“I have had several correspondences with both the previous Minister for Justice & Equality Frances Fitzgerald TD and the Courts Service regarding the former courthouse.

“In April, I sought the annual costs involved in maintaining the unused courthouse from the then Minister Fitzgerald. In 2015 and 2016, the Courts Service spent almost €13,000 on heat, light and fuel costs with just over €4,000 spent on security costs between the years 2012 and 2014.

“I have asked both the Minister and the Courts Service to examine reopening the courthouse in Wicklow town and I understand from both that there are no immediate plans in place to reopen the courthouse.

“The OPW are currently undertaking a survey of the building to establish its condition and I await these findings. I will continue to work towards the reopening of the courthouse and I welcome Fianna Fáil coming on board especially, when they were responsible for starving it of the necessary funding in the first place.

“If Fianna Fáil are genuine about reopening the courthouse in Wicklow town they should use their Confidence & Supply agreement with Fine Gael to secure the funding needed to resume the court service in the town.”

Friday 14 July 2017

Sinn Féin launches campaign calling for JobPath to be scrapped - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady TD has called for JobPath to be scrapped.

Speaking this morning, Teachta Brady said:

“JobPath was first piloted in Longford and Bray in 2015 as a new job activation scheme. It is based on a model of contracting employment services for the unemployed out to private companies. So far, 97,000 people have been referred to JobPath.

"Last week we launched a social media campaign around JobPath to hear from people about their experiences. The feedback is damning of this scheme.

“There are serious concerns around JobPath and the way in which Turas Nua and Seetec are dealing with jobseekers.

“We have no idea of the costs involved despite taxpayers footing the bill. We have no idea of the jobs being found for Jobseekers. This lack of transparency is worrying.

“The Government’s prioritisation of JobPath is having a huge impact on Community Employment and Local Employment Services who are losing out.

“We are calling for a full and urgent review of JobPath with an eye to abolish it outright.

"Jobseekers should not be used by private companies to make profits. Job activation needs to be managed by the Department of Social Protection and without the interference of companies whose only interest is profit.

“We will be collecting all of the feedback we receive online to form a report on JobPath which we hope to launch over the recess.

"Today, we launch our leaflet and postcard campaign and we will asking people to sign the postcard in objection to JobPath and these will be delivered to the Minister for Social Protection.”

Monday 10 July 2017

Citizens’ Assembly vote in line Sinn Féin Bill to abolish mandatory retirement age - John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has called on the Government to progress his Bill to abolish the mandatory retirement age as echoed by the Citizens’ Assembly vote this weekend.

Speaking this morning Teachta Brady said:

“This weekend, the Citizens’ Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of abolishing mandatory retirement on the basis of age with 86% of the vote.

“This sends a clear message to the Government – it is time to end age discrimination in the workplace.

“Nobody should be forced to leave their job because of their age. There is a clear appetite for change out there and the Government cannot ignore this.

“The Sinn Féin bill to abolish the mandatory retirement age received cross party support in the Dáil and is now waiting Government approval to move to Committee Stage. This needs to happen without any further delay.

“A huge 96% of the Citizens’ Assembly voted for this to be addressed by Government, something Sinn Féin have consistently called on the Government to do so.

“A second vote over the weekend calls on the Government to address the current anomaly which sees those forced to retire at 65 unable to access their State Pension for one year and having to rely on a Jobseekers payment.

“The Citizens’ Assembly have echoed Sinn Féin’s calls to abolish the mandatory retirement age and to address the ridiculous situation of 65-year-olds being forced onto Jobseekers payments as oppose to their State Pension. It is now over to the Government to do their job on these matters.”

4,698 vacant dwellings in Wicklow must be brought back into use - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has said that it is unacceptable that there are over 4,000 vacant dwellings throughout County Wicklow and has called on the Government to publish its long awaited Vacant Homes Strategy.  

Teachta Brady said:  

“It is deeply disappointing that it appears that we will not have a Vacant Homes strategy in place until the autumn. Given the urgency of housing crisis and the fact that there are 4,698 properties lying idle across Wicklow, it would have made sense for the Government to announce measures to immediately bring some of these houses back into use.  

“We welcome the fact that the Government is prepared to consider some type of Vacant Homes tax. It would seem it is moving towards the carrot and stick approach that Sinn Féin has advocated.  

“While I understand the Minister of Finance Pascal Donohue needs to make provision for this sort of move in Budget 2018 there are measures that can be put in place today to help turn around vacant units in areas of high demand.  

“The Department of Housing has three very good schemes in place at the moment. They are just chronically underfunded. The Government, in tandem with the local authorities, can start compiling a comprehensive Vacant Homes register that will give them the data they will need if and when a Vacant Homes tax is introduced.  

“Minister Simon Coveney had no difficulty announcing a so-called ‘help to buy’ scheme three months in advance of last year’s budget. So, there is no reason why Government cannot press ahead the vacant homes strategy now and announce the details of any relevant tax provisions in October."  

“There is no more time to delay on this issue. Returning Vacant Homes back into to use isn’t the silver bullet but many agree that it would be the most efficient use of time and funding given how quickly these units can be turned around. 

“This will help to ease the housing pressures in Wicklow and this cannot be delayed.”

Friday 7 July 2017

Whitestown illegal dump judgement raises serious questions for Wicklow County Council – Brady

Speaking this evening after the judgement in the High Court that the illegal dump in Whitestown, County Wicklow must be cleared by Wicklow County Council, Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady TD said that the Council has serious questions to answer and should have done more during their 2009 remediation work which Mr Justice Richard Humphreys described as “botched”.

Deputy Brady said:

“I am not surprised by this judgement. The Council have known that this dump was an issue of concern for years and yet they used the dump themselves for almost two decades. This decision today demonstrates a lack of judgement and raises serious questions about their operations.

“The Council have serious questions to answer around their involvement in the dump and the €3.5m they spent on remediation which the Judge described in the Court as a botched effort. This money was wasted and an estimated €30 million will now have to be spent clearing not only the landfill from the site, but the contaminated soil as well. The true cost may indeed be much greater. We’re talking about 2.4 million tons of material.

“My concern is now for the taxpayer who will have to foot the bill and particularly for the residents of the Whitestown and Donard area as this clearance, which will have a timetable of three years, will cause major disruption in the area. I have contacted the EPA and the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten to outline how the remediation is to be funded and carried out.”

Thursday 6 July 2017

Public Meeting calling for a GP Out-of-Hours service for North Wicklow - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady will host a public meeting next Thursday evening July 13th calling for a GP Out-of-Hours service to be delivered for the people of North Wicklow.

The public meeting will take place in the Royal Hotel, Bray at 7.30pm. Speakers on the night will include John Brady TD, Cllr Michael O’Connor and Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD.

Speaking ahead of the public meeting, Teachta Brady said:

“A GP Out-of-Hours Service for North Wicklow was due to come into operation last February as committed to by the Minister for Health Simon Harris.

“Last month, we learned that not only have the HSE shelved these plans but that the funding necessary to deliver this service was actually never in place in the first instance.

“People should be able to access GP care out of normal working hours if and when they need to. This is an essential health care service and it is badly needed in North Wicklow.

Bray Municipal District Councillor Michael O’Connor added:

“The closure of the 24/7 Accident & Emergency Unit at St. Columcilles and the failure to deliver this GP out-of-hours service adds to Fine Gael’s record of health care in this County.

“The people of North Wicklow deserve better and I am inviting the people of North Wicklow to attend this meeting next Thursday evening at 7.30pm in the Royal Hotel in Bray.”

Government slashing respite care hours for children with disabilities in Wicklow - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has called on the Government to address the crisis in respite care for children and to restore hours that have been slashed, as shown by figures released to Sinn Féin in a response to a Parliamentary Question from the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Teachta Brady said:

“I know that the Tánaiste is keenly aware that there is not a Deputy in the Dáil who does not receive emails and calls on a daily basis from desperate parents and family members who are seeking respite care hours for their children.

“For that reason, I was shocked and angered at the figures released by the HSE which showed that while the number in need of respite is going up the actual allocation of respite care hours is decreasing.

“In relation to Wicklow, the figures released to Sinn Féin show that in the first quarter of 2016 there were 2,628 overnight hours of respite care provided, however, in the first quarter 2017 this figure had dropped to 1,879.

“When it comes to day only respite care for Wicklow, figures show that in the first quarter of 2016 there were 195 hours of respite care provided, however, in the first quarter 2017 this figure had dropped to 141.

“This is completely shocking and unacceptable. These hours provide respite to parents and families who have a child in the household with a disability; they are some of the hardest pressed and struggling families in the state, and the evidence shows that this Government is failing them.

“This situation cannot continue, parents and families are at breaking point, there has to be a commitment from the Government that they will stop slashing the provision of respite care hours and that they will increase the funding for this basic service and that these struggling families will get relief and their children will get respite care.”

Sunday 2 July 2017

Brady welcomes purchase of Carraig Eden by Wicklow County Council

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has welcomed the positive outcome for Carraig Eden in Greystones which will be sold to Wicklow County Council as oppose to on the open market.
Teachta Brady said:

“I would like to commend Tiglin for fighting to ensure that Carraig Eden remained in place for the security and benefit of all residents who call Carraig Eden home.

“I welcome the steps taken by Christian Churches to sell Carraig Eden to Wicklow County Council. This will ensure that the wonderful support provided for some of the most vulnerable in our community is protected.

“Tiglin’s work is proven to be successful and is having a positive impact on many people’s lives with the model used by Tiglin clearly working and I am relieved that this work has been recognised and will not be undermined at the expense of residents.

“I look forward to continue working with Tiglin to ensure that their valuable work and support in our community remains central beyond this change in ownership.”

Thursday 29 June 2017

Government must recognise right to protest - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has welcomed the not guilty verdict in the trial of the Jobstown protesters this afternoon.
Teachta Brady said:

“The verdict of not guilty is a victory for the right to protest. The charge of false imprisonment was clearly trumped up. There were charges with an obvious political purpose - to demonise water charges protesters.

“This trial will also serve as a significant burden to the taxpayer, with the cost of the trial expected to exceed €10m.

“The right to protest is a democratic and hard won right. It cannot be brushed aside or diluted to suit a political agenda.

“This was never a case about individuals; it was a case about the right of all citizens to protest. Thousands of people throughout County Wicklow took a stand against water charges and this is as much of a win for them as it is for the individuals vindicated today.

“This is good news for everyone who believes in the right to protest and it is a right that the Government must recognise.”

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Bank of Ireland disregard for customers ‘shameful’ – Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has criticised Bank of Ireland plans to restrict or withdraw cashier services at a number of branches across County Wicklow.

Speaking after handing in a letter to Bank of Ireland’s Head Office with other public representatives yesterday Teachta Brady said:

“Bank of Ireland’s proposed plans will adversely affect branches in Greystones, Arklow, Baltinglass, Tinahely, Carnew and Rathdrum.

“Most concerning is the fact that these plans have been announced without any consultation with customers in any way, shape or form. This is shameful on the part of the bank and shows a total disregard for the customer loyalty across the State.

“Yesterday, I joined with Deputies Casey and Doyle as well as a representative from Tinahely Action Group and local Cllr Vincent Blake to hand in a letter to Bank of Ireland to utterly reject these cuts. I have also written to Bank of Ireland myself and I await their response.

“At a time when rural areas have suffered so many cuts and the loss of so many vital services and businesses, the loss of these services would have a detrimental impact on customers and businesses alike.

“I am asking Bank of Ireland to consult with its customers and to respect their views on any proposed changes to their services. I will be making this clear to representatives from the Bank of Ireland when I meet them this Friday.”

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Break-ins to parked vehicles at Wicklow Mountains now a weekly occurrence - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady TD has said that the level of break-ins to vehicles parked within the vicinity of the Wicklow Mountains which has become a weekly occurrence, is ‘extremely concerning’.
This comes after a total of seven vehicles were broken into last Saturday morning within hours at the Shay Elliott carpark which is located between Laragh and Glenmalure.

Teachta Brady said:

“I have been contacted by a number of constituents raising concerns at the high level of break-ins to vehicles parked in the Wicklow Mountains.

“Added to this is the issue around the lack of Garda presence in the area and their unavailability to attend the scene of a crime through no fault of their own.

“The real need for additional Gardaí in Wicklow could not be any more obvious when we see crimes such as these becoming a weekly occurrence.

“It is deeply regrettable to have to highlight this situation in an area that is so reliant on attracting tourists but it must be tackled.

“I would urge people to get into the habit of removing valuables from their vehicles regardless of where they are parking especially, handbags. I would also encourage people not to refrain from contacting their local Garda station if they are the victim of a crime of this nature.

“I have contacted Minister Flanagan to highlight the need for additional Gardaí and Garda resources for Wicklow. It is not good enough that the concerns of the people of Wicklow when it comes to their safety are going ignored by Government. We need adequate Garda numbers and resources in our communities.”

Friday 23 June 2017

Serious fire safety concerns at Oldcourt yet to be resolved – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has said one does not have to look any further than the unfinished works at the Oldcourt estate in Bray to see the sheer hypocrisy of the Government and their sudden concern for fire safety in residential areas.

Speaking this afternoon, Teachta Brady said:

“The horrific scenes from the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London have rightly raised questions as to our own fire safety standards in homes across the State if such an incident was to occur.

“For many, these scenes were a reminder of similar scenes witnessed in the Oldcourt estate of which there are serious fire safety concerns and since a refurbishment scheme in the estate in the mid-1980s, there have been fifteen fires and seven fatalities.

“Despite this, the necessary works to ensure that fire safety measures are put in place in Oldcourt remain incomplete.

“For many years, I had called on Bray Town Council to carry out an independent fire safety audit; this led to €70,000 secured for the audit which commenced in 2005. This was eventually completed in 2007; it was a damning audit. Yet, ten years later, the necessary works have not been fully carried out. This is unacceptable in the extreme.

“Funding had been secured for two initial phases to carry out essential fire safety works which ended in 2015 when funded dried up. It now appears that a reduced amount of funding has been allocated for phase three and questions remain unanswered as to whether works in these homes has been scaled back given the reduced budget.

“While the Government have now committed to a review of all multi-storey residential buildings in the State, older buildings which were later refurbished under refurbishment schemes, such is the case with Oldcourt, must be thoroughly examined for adequate fire safety standards.

“I have sent correspondence to Minister Eoghan Murphy requesting that these homes come under his proposed review. There can be no excuses used by Government when it comes to the safety of all citizens in their homes especially, on financial grounds. Whatever funding is required to ensure that all necessary works at Oldcourt are completed, including works in privately owned homes must be secured.”

Thursday 22 June 2017

Government must change attitude toward Lone Parents – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has called on the newly appointed Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty ‘not to continue the blatant disregard her predecessors have had for lone parents.’

Speaking on the publication of the ‘Report on the Position of Lone Parents in Ireland’, Teachta Brady said:

“The Committee on Social Protection have spent a considerable length of time meeting with stakeholders, listening to the experts and listening to lone parents themselves in producing this report with a number of recommendations.

“There has been a consistent failure by previous Ministers for Social Protection to recognise lone parents as a specific cohort of our population who need additional assistance as they raise their families alone.

“While eradicating child poverty is said to be Government’s priority for some time, latest CSO figures on Income & Living Conditions has contradicted this with an increase in consistent poverty among children in lone parent families to 26.2%. This figure is alarming and is evidence that the issues being experienced by lone parents which have led to this rise in consistent poverty are going ignored.

“The Committee have made a wide range of specific and targeted recommendations including, the full restoration of income disregard for those on One Parent Family Payment and Jobseekers Transitional Payment, making Jobseekers Transitional and Family Income Supplement payable together, and increasing the Qualified Child Increase for teenagers.

“The report also recommends a number of measures to remove barriers to accessing education such as making the SUSI grant and the Back to Education Allowance payable together and removing the requirement for lone parents to be unemployed and in receipt of social welfare for 6 months before being able to access educational grants.

“I am calling on Minister Doherty to read the Committee report and to work to implement the recommendations for the benefit of lone parents and their children across the State.”

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Donard Garda Station side-lined in backroom deal with Minister Ross – Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady TD has criticised the motives behind prioritising the reopening of Stepaside Garda Station, above all other stations recommended for reopening in a new Garda interim report.

While, this report talks about the reopening of Garda stations in Rush, Donard and Leighlinbridge in County Carlow, Stepaside is the only Garda station to have been approved by Cabinet to progress.

Teachta Brady said:

“It is a pretty damning indictment of Irish politics when the reopening of a Garda station is gifted to a Senior Minister as a trade off for a quiet life for the Taoiseach, when it comes to the appointment of Máire Whelan to the Court of Appeal.

“Minister Ross has been content to spout utter outrage at political interference in judicial appointments that is, until there is something of benefit in it for him.

“Recent years have seen an increase in rural crime and the closure of over 130 Garda stations nationwide thanks to Fine Gael and Labour has been a major factor in this.

“The closure of Donard Garda station, something which I strongly opposed along with my party at the time, has left a blackspot in West Wicklow. The need for a Garda station to protect this community is the exact same need of that in Stepaside – there is no hierarchy of need.

“The reopening of Garda stations should be based on community need alone. It should be about protecting people in communities where that protection has been removed and taken away particularly, in rural areas.

“Instead, we have a trading deal between Fine Gael and Minister Ross, his silence in return for Stepaside Garda station. New politics looks a lot like old politics.”

Thursday 1 June 2017

Citizens' Information Board cannot ignore Committee report - John Brady TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has called on the Citizens’ Information Board to act on the recommendations published today by the Committee on Social Protection.

His party colleague Denise Mitchell TD called on CIB to suspend the restructuring process.

Speaking after the launch of the committee report on the proposed restructuring of MABS and the Citizens Information Service Teachta Brady said;

“Earlier this year it became apparent that the Citizens’ Information Board were intent on making huge changes to the MABS and CIS services across the State with the aim of regionalisation.

“Our committee have thoroughly examined the case for restructuring MABS and CIS by the Citizens Information Board and we have concluded that this is an ill-thought out and unnecessary action to take.

“As a cross-party committee, we have listened to the concerns of MABS and CIS in relation to the proposed restructuring plans and we believe that these concerns are valid.

“There is a real sense of disappointment among MABS and CIS on the ground that Minister Varadkar has failed to take on board the serious concerns that have been raised over a number of months. This has been heightened by the Minister’s failure to respond to the Committee’s report.

“It is alarming that some members of the Citizens Information Board, who were present at the launch today, were unaware that a response to the Committee’s report had been issued by CIB without their knowledge or indeed, input. Clearly, this response does not represent the views of the CIB in its entirety.

“If CIB insist on going ahead with the restructuring process regardless of this committee report then responsibility falls on the Minister, whoever that may be, to issue a policy directive to CIB under Section 9 of the Citizens Information Act 2007 to abandon this process, something which has been done successfully in the past.

Teachta Denise Mitchell added:

“First and foremost, we are calling on CIB to suspend the restructuring process and to engage in proper consultation with willing stakeholders to ensure the future of MABS and CIS and the wonderful work they both do can continue. If CIB fail to do so, the Minister must.”

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Varadkar’s ‘false beards’ campaign turns out to be a farce – John Brady

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has called on Minister Leo Varadkar to immediately end his dishonest welfare fraud campaign.

This comes as a reply from Minister Varadkar to a Parliamentary Question from Sinn Féin has identified only one case of identity fraud in 2017.

Teachta Brady said:

“Minister Varadkar based this campaign on mistruths, assumptions and silly notions about false beards.

“This campaign was nothing more than an opportunity to launch his leadership bid at the expense of some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“On numerous occasions Minister Varadkar has referred to ‘doppelgangers’ and people ‘wearing make-up and beards’ as a means of defrauding the State. Yet, he is unable to identify one shred of proof that this has ever even happened.

“In fact, the Minister’s reply goes on to state that when it comes to the use of disguises ‘the Department does not record, and thereby, does not hold data on any attempts of this nature’.

“So far this year, there has been one suspected case of identity fraud identified by the Department of Social Protection. This hardly amounts to the millions of euro in savings Minister Varadkar talked of achieving through this campaign.

“If Minister Varadkar does go on to become Taoiseach, he will give Enda Kenny a run for his money with his imaginary tales.”

Wednesday 24 May 2017

John Brady TD questions appointment of retired Wicklow County Manager to head up investigation into financial irregularities at Cavan County Council

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has questioned the appointment of retired Wicklow County Manager Eddie Sheehy to head up an investigation into financial irregularities at Cavan County Council.

Teachta Brady said:

“It is extremely concerning that serious allegations of financial corruption at Cavan County Council are being investigated by Eddie Sheehy as concerns of planning irregularities have been raised surrounding Wicklow County Council, where Mr Sheehy was previously County Manager.

“Indeed, several Ministers with responsibility for planning have committed to a full investigation into planning irregularities at Wicklow County Council in the past.

“In recent correspondence to me, Minister Coveney confirmed that he was aware of planning concerns and he would make a decision on an investigation shortly.

“In recent weeks, I have handed over substantial documentation to the Gardaí relating to alleged wrongdoing within Wicklow County Council.

“It may be more appropriate at this time to achieve full transparency in the case of Wicklow County Council before appointing someone so close to the council to investigate Cavan County Council.”

Tuesday 23 May 2017

'Crucial' wind planning guidelines must protect communities - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has said that legislation must be put in place to protect communities and homeowners from the development of industrial windfarms.

Teachta Brady said:

“We cannot allow a situation where corporations are imposing themselves on small rural communities against the will of the people for corporate benefit.

“It is very disheartening and frustrating for the people of South Wicklow to see a second application from ABO Wind Ireland to build 11 industrial scale wind turbines after their previous planning application was so unanimously rejected.

“The government made a commitment in their programme for government to publish wind planning guidelines within 3 to 6 months of forming a new government. One year later this has still not happened.

“These guidelines are crucial to ensure that there is a proper effective regulatory framework in place to manage wind farm construction.

“Last July, Sinn Féin introduced the Wind Turbine Regulation Bill 2016 which seeks to address the concerns that have been raised in communities’ right across the State when it comes to wind farm development.

“Central to this Bill is the protection of nearby dwellings from noise and shadow flicker by providing minimum set back distances which increase as the height of the turbine itself increases. With that, this Bill also ensures there is an open and fully extensive public consultative process.

"I hope that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs will support this Bill when it comes to the floor of the Dáil for debate.

“When it comes to the protection of homes and communities there is an onus on us, as legislators to take action. Wicklow will not become a dumping ground for big corporations to come in and set up wind turbines wherever they like. The concerns of people and their homes must be respected.”

Monday 22 May 2017

Brady congratulates all involved in securing four Blue Flags for Wicklow beaches

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has congratulated all involved in regaining the Blue Flag award for Bray Promenade after seventeen years.

Speaking this morning Teachta Brady said:

“I am delighted that Wicklow has retained the three Blue Flags awarded last year and also gained a Blue Flag for Bray South Promenade which will fly there for the first time since 2000.

“This means that this year, Blue Flags will fly over Brittas Bay South Beach, Brittas Bay North Beach, Greystones and Bray South Promenade.

“When I was Chairperson of Bray Municipal District one of my key objectives was for Bray to regain the Blue Flag which has now been delivered.

“I want to congratulate and commend all those involved in making this happen particularly, the great effort that went into regaining the Blue Flag in Bray after seventeen years.

“Today is a great day for Wicklow and we should be very proud to be recognised internationally for outstanding compliance with sewage treatment and bathing water quality criteria.

“This is a great achievement for County Wicklow and I hope it will result in a major boost for tourism in our County.”

Saturday 20 May 2017

John Brady TD calls on Fianna Fáil to aid in abolishing mandatory retirement

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has welcomed news that Fianna Fáil has withdrawn their Bill to abolish mandatory retirement which was selected for debate next week.

Speaking today Teachta Brady commented:

“Within one week of introducing my Bill to abolish mandatory retirement in the Dáil last December, Fianna Fáil Deputies Willie O’Dea and Mary Butler introduced their own Bill with the same aim.

“Since then, my Bill has progressed to pre-Committee legislative scrutiny and I am now awaiting its passage to Committee Stage which is dependent on the Government.

“If Fianna Fáil are serious about the abolition of mandatory retirement, they should use their position to influence Fine Gael to facilitate the passage of this Bill.

“There are so many people out there approaching 65 who do not want to retire, they want to remain at work and this is mainly down to either financial or social reasons.

“When a similar Bill was brought forward in 2014, it fell with the collapse of the 31st Dáil. I do not want to see this happen with my Bill given the number of people relying on it to keep them at work.

“If new politics exists, Fianna Fáil should work with me to ensure that we give workers choice and we ensure that no-one is made to feel incapable of work because of their age.”