Monday 30 January 2017

Brady urges submissions to save Laragh/Glendalough Post Office

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said that the closure of Laragh/Glendalough post office tomorrow must be a temporary measure.
Teachta Brady said:

“I spoke with Senior Management in An Post earlier today to voice my absolute opposition to any definite closure of Laragh/Glendalough post office and to seek clarity on the consultation process.

“I was informed that Laragh/Glendalough post office will close at the end of business tomorrow with the consultation process now re-opened until February 15th.

“All Department of Social Protection customers will be transferred to Roundwood post office from tomorrow.

“Once the deadline for submissions is reached on February 15th a decision will be made as to the possibility of restoring the post office services. If there is a positive outcome then An Post will open a tender process for between three and four weeks to allow any interested parties to come forward.

“I encourage the people of Laragh, Glendalough and surrounding areas to submit a written submission to Alan McLaughlin, Regional Operations Manager, Block 3B, GPO, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1.

"Post offices are the heart of rural Ireland and key to saving post offices like this one is the implementation of the Kerr report which was published in January 2016.

“There is an opportunity here to save the post office in Laragh for the community and I would ask that people join me in making a submission before February 15th.”

Friday 27 January 2017

Fine Gael not going to solve Wicklow Rents Crisis – Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said that Minister Coveney’s pick and mix approach to tackling the rent crisis is utterly bizarre.

The Minister for Housing Simon Coveney has announced that Bray, Enniskerry and Wicklow town have been added to the 4% rent cap list.

Speaking following the announcement Teachta Brady said:

“Minister Coveney’s new brainwave in his ongoing yet, failing attempts to tackle the rent crisis is to pick three towns in Wicklow where the 4% annual rent cap is to be introduced.

“Towns across Wicklow have seen rent increases year on year and no town is an exception to this national trend.

“By picking just three towns in a county like Wicklow that has seen an overall increase in rents by 10.6% in the third quarter of last year disproportionately ignores an entire cohort of people struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

“This move by the Minister will do nothing for renters in towns like Arklow, Blessington and Greystones who have seen their rent increase in recent years. There is nothing in the Minister’s plans to assist these people.

“Sinn Féin has consistently called for rent certainty for all renters. On three separate occasions on bringing this forward in the Dáil Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have joined forces to stop this.

“The government’s plan for the private rented sector was disappointing and failed to introduce index linked rent certainty and sufficient security of tenure. Sinn Féin reiterates the call for tenancies of indefinite duration and for rent certainty linked to the Consumer Price Index.”

Thursday 26 January 2017

Massive turnout at meeting calls on Taoiseach to safeguard Ardmore Studios - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has commended the huge crowd that attended the public meeting around the sale of Ardmore Studios last night.

Teachta Brady said:

“The huge turnout at the public meeting last night is testament to the huge regard that the people of Wicklow hold on Ardmore Studios’ place in our community.

“Those in attendance particularly, the staff, who organised the meeting, voiced their outrage at the mixed messages coming from the Government.

“Indeed, almost four months after the announcement that Ardmore Studios is to be sold as a going concern, we are yet to hear a coherent voice from Government as to their intentions around the State’s share of 32%.

“The current uncertainty around the sale of Ardmore Studios is not only impacting on the staff but it is impeding on further productions taking place at Ardmore.

“The Ministers with responsibility for Ardmore Studios Ministers Humphreys and Mitchell O’Connor are on two different wavelengths when it comes to the State’s shares in Ardmore Studios. This is not good enough.

“The Government must exercise their right to veto any sale of the 68% shareholding that is not in the interest of Ardmore Studios in Bray as outlined in the articles of association. That was a message that was made loud and clear last night.

“The clear message coming out of the public meeting last night is that the Government cannot continue as silent partners, we need clarity as to the Government’s intentions with the State’s share and we need an absolute commitment that no sale of Ardmore Studios will go ahead unless it is in the interest of Ardmore Studios in Bray.

“The Taoiseach’s commitment to Ireland being a global hub for TV and film production is well and good however, when it comes to actually taking action to ensure this, talk from the Taoiseach is cheap.

"I am calling on the Taoiseach to make a clear and definitive statement on the State’s future plans for its 32% shares in Ardmore Studios. ”

Brady welcomes Blessington Greenway Development

Sinn Fein TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady says the continuation of this development has the potential to produce a major national and international tourism attraction in West Wicklow.

Teachta Brady said:

“To say the least, I am delighted that the council have recently announced its intention to push on with the next phase in this fantastic enterprise. The first phase of the project has been a remarkable success, opening up Blessington lakes in a way that allows people to truly appreciate the natural beauty and stunning vistas the area provides, whilst at the same time protecting the natural habitat.”

“When completed, the Greenway will see 40km of walking and cycling trail wrap around the lakes offering tourists and locals a world-class nature amenity. Whilst we in Sinn Fein have long supported these plans it must be noted that all praise and credit should rightly go to the local community who have been the launch pad for the development and have tirelessly worked to ensure the necessary resources and funding became available. I wish to commend them for their hard work and thank them for putting another jewel in the heart of the Garden of Ireland.”

Teachta Brady concluded “The plan is currently on public display and Submissions and observations can be made on or before 20th March 2017.”

Wednesday 25 January 2017

No commitment for Ardmore Studios from Taoiseach – John Brady

No commitment for Ardmore Studios from Taoiseach – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady TD has said that the Taoiseach’s refusal to commit to retaining the State’s 32% share in Ardmore Studios, Bray is “extremely worrying”.

Teachta Brady said:

“Today, I asked the Taoiseach directly to clarify his position regarding the protection of the State’s 32% share in Ardmore Studios.

“I had received conflicting information from the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor and the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys having been in contact with both Ministers since last October.

“While Minister Mitchell O’Connor had stated that there would be no sale of the State’s 32% share Minister Humphreys instead stated that she would be reviewing the sale of the State’s shareholding.

“The Taoiseach had an opportunity to provide certainty to the people of Wicklow as well as employees at Ardmore Studios who are seeking clarity on the future of Ardmore Studios in Bray and instead the Taoiseach chose to completely ignore the question.

“While on the one hand the Taoiseach talks about developing Ireland as a global hub for film and TV production when it comes to taking clear action on doing so the Taoiseach does not want to know

“'I agree that Ireland should be a global hub for film and TV production however, Wicklow and in particular, Ardmore Studios needs to be central to it.”

Thursday 19 January 2017

Water levels at Vartry Reservoir a cause for concern - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has been raising concerns at the low water levels in Vartry Reservoir with Irish Water.
Teachta Brady said:

“Having been contacted by a number of concerned residents in relation to the low water levels I contacted Irish Water to investigate the matter.

“The water levels are shockingly low for this time of year and residents are rightly concerned by this.

“It was only when I sent photographic evidence of Vartry that Irish Water showed some concern and the matter has since been investigated.

“In correspondence received yesterday Irish Water advised that the Raw Water Reservoir levels at Roundwood are monitored and production from the plant adjusted on a monthly basis to suit the reservoir levels.

“They also stated that the raw water abstraction from the Roundwood Reservoir is based on the sustainable yield levels and historical trends.

“Irish Water has confirmed that current production is lower than normal for this time of year due to the lower level in the reservoir. They insist that customers are not being affected and if this changes both customers and public representatives will be informed.

“Given that last year was recorded as the hottest year since records began in the 1880’s and that this has occurred for three years in a row is concerning.

“The question has to be asked if this is an impact of global warming and if it is, Irish Water will have to look at the issue to ensure that water supply is not compromised.”

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Courts Service must make next move for Jigsaw service in Bray - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has urged the Courts Service to assist in providing essential youth mental health services for Bray.
Teachta Brady said:

“The Mental Health Services of the HSE have requested to take over the old courthouse building at Boghall Road in Bray from the Courts Service.

“The HSE intend to use the unused building to provide for the development of a Jigsaw service in the Bray area.

“Jigsaw, who is the National Centre for Youth Mental Health, provides a unique and essential service for our young people. The need for such a service was reflected in a recent Wicklow Comhairle na nÓg survey of 1,000 young participants who identified mental health as the number one issue for their age group.

“The development of Jigsaw in Bray would therefore, make a significant and positive contribution to youth mental health.

“I urge the Courts Service to transfer this unused building to the Mental Health Services of the HSE in providing this essential service for young people in Bray and surrounding areas.

“I have written to the Courts Service and I have urged that they transfer the building to the HSE.

“I also call on Minister Harris, as my constituency colleague, to intervene and assist the HSE in ensuring that Jigsaw is delivered in Bray without further delay.”

Monday 9 January 2017

Brady echoes concerns of Wicklow Chief Superintendent regarding Garda numbers

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said that comments made by the Wicklow Divisional Chief Superintendent John Quirke show a stark reality for the County.

Speaking after a Joint Policing Committee meeting this morning Teachta Brady said:

“Having specifically asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice & Equality to provide additional Gardaí and Garda resources to Wicklow ahead of the most recent allocation it is terribly disappointing that this did not happen.

“In 2016, Wicklow received no additional Garda resources whatsoever and this is, in the words of the Wicklow Divisional Chief Superintendent John Quirke ‘concerning’.

“The next allocation is expected next month however, it does not appear that any Gardaí will be stationed in Wicklow then either.

“The fact that the Chief Superintendent, who is at the cold face on the ground, finds the complete lack of additional resources concerning highlights the seriousness of the situation and the real need for Garda resources.

“Wicklow is not immune from crime and anti-social behaviour. We have towns such as Arklow and Wicklow town with no community Gardaí in place whatsoever. This cannot continue.

“I intend on questioning the Minister asking that additional Garda resources be made available for County Wicklow. I will also be contacting the Garda Commissioner directly on this matter.

“Wicklow must not go ignored in the next round of Garda allocations – we need Garda resources and the Minister needs to recognise the Chief Superintendents concerns and act accordingly.”

Friday 6 January 2017

Harris Haunted by Harsh Decisions

Speaking after recent figures showed the number of patients on hospital trolleys across the state at its highest level ever, Sinn Fein spokesperson for social protection and TD for Wicklow/East Carlow said that the ongoing crisis in our health service, which has manifested itself in unprecedented numbers of patients on trolleys has not developed overnight. This crisis is the result of years of under investment and it is a direct result of government policy. Therefore only a change in the approach of the government will yield results.

Teachta Brady said:

“It will come as no surprise that the worst hit Hospital in Dublin is the one Wicklow residents rely on most. Many people might remember the dispute at St Vincent’s University Hospital accident and emergency last year when over-crowding became so intolerable that nursing staff were forced to take industrial action. At the time I pointed out that part of the reason conditions were so difficult at St Vincent’s was because of a government decision to restrict services at St Columcilles Hospital in Loughlinstown. St Columcilles had provided a valuable accident and emergency service to Wicklow patients for decades but the decision to cut services forced people onwards to St Vincent’s which in turn put ridiculous pressure on services there.”

“The cuts at St Columcilles were forced through by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition at the time with the full support of all five Wicklow TDs including the now minister for health Simon Harris. We were promised at the time that the cuts at St Columcilles would be counter balanced with increased funding for higher capacity at St Vincent’s. Unsurprisingly that promise was never honoured.”

Teachta Brady said history is repeating itself:

“The recent figure of 612 people languishing on hospital trolleys is the highest figure ever. Again, the Dublin hospital worst affected is St Vincent’s University Hospital. St Vincent’s is caught in the net of a hapless government decision that yet again has come back to haunt them. The Irony of course is that Wicklow TD Simon Harris is now Minister for Health, his own government’s decision to effectively shut down emergency services at St Columcilles has led to a second year of crises at St Vincent’s where the real victims are the patients and staff. Harris has tried to explain away the problem on the basis that the current flu epidemic could not have been predicted. He is probably the only Health Minister on the face of the Earth who couldn’t foresee an increase in Flu virus in the winter.”

Teachta Brady said the establishment parties cannot have it every way:

“Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour with their cut and hide policies have again left us a mountain to climb. It’s not rocket science; you simply cannot cut resources and expect public services to keep pace. If you cut access to Accident and Emergency as in the case of St Columcilles in Loughlinstown; and then refuse to invest elsewhere to pick up the slack, you are going to run into a world of problems. In this case it is the wider population of South County Dublin and Wicklow who are paying the price. Simon Harris needs to stop trying to cover up for his own party decisions that have come back to haunt him. Either restore appropriate services at St Columcilles in Loughlinstown or invest adequately in St Vincent’s.”

Teachta Brady concluded

"There are very clear measures that the Minister could immediately take which would begin the process of dealing with the chronic overcrowding. I believe this should start with the reopening of 500 beds in our hospitals, including the closed 23 beds in St Bridget’s ward in St Columcilles. I also believe that we need to increase the capacity in primary care. This would enable more patients to transfer to a community setting. This can only be done by increasing home help hours and recruiting more therapists.

"We need to be clear - the buck stops with Minister Simon Harris. He needs to get a grip of this situation and meaningfully address the emergency in our hospitals. One thing is obvious - he needs to stop looking for excuses and start focusing on finding solutions."

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Wicklow Homeless Crises Deepens – John Brady TD

Sinn Fein TD for Wicklow East Carlow John Brady has slammed the Government and minister Simon Coveney for presiding over a continued deepening housing and homeless crises and for attempting to sneakily hide the facts.

Teachta Brady Said:

“While most people were preoccupied with Christmas festivities the government sneakily released the latest homeless report which is grim reading for those battling to put a roof over their heads. Nationally the figures have swollen to almost 7,000, with increases recorded in nearly every region. For us in the Mid - East region the figures confirm the abject of failure of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to grapple with the crises.”

Teachta Brady went on to point out that the huge increase in Wicklow was buried in the detail of the report:

“The graph on the Department of Housing website shows that by region, the number of homeless in Wicklow jumped by almost 40% between October and November 2016. The report also claims that this problem is due to ‘the recent economic collapse’, yet Fine Gael have been telling us for the last three years that the recovery is well advanced and that Ireland has the fastest growing economy in Europe.”

“Simon Coveney has no problem publicly releasing glossing magazines detailing his housing plans and expecting a pat on the back. But when the truth of his governments failure is exposed in black and white; the details are buried on a website and sneakily released while everybody is focused on the Christmas Holidays. The Wicklow figures are shocking.”

Teachta Brady concluded by saying that there are many challenges facing us in dealing with the homeless crisis in Wicklow. “A big concern is the fact there is no emergency accommodation in place for families, women or children that present as homeless. This is a serious shortcoming and its needs to be addressed. The lack of vital water and sewage infrastructure in the South and West of County Wicklow is having a negative impact on the potential for house building”

“These soaring figures show that Wicklow is on the brink in terms of housing. The lack of water and sewage infrastructure in parts of Wicklow are creating very serious issues when it comes to the planning and building of social housing. The planned Arklow treatment plant needs to be brought into being rapidly and Irish Water need to give priority to improving the water infrastructure in West Wicklow. I am calling on my fellow Wicklow/East Carlow TDs to support me in bringing pressure on the government to ensure that 2017 can be the year Government ends homelessness. It can only be done if they match their words with action and crucially with funds. These homeless figures are a reminder that such actions are still not forthcoming from the current administration.”