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.”