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