Saturday 24 March 2018

State quietly sells 32% share in Ardmore Studios - John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow, John Brady TD, has raised serious concerns at the sale of Ardmore Studios in its entirety to Olcott Entertainment Limited.

Speaking this afternoon, Teachta Brady:

“It came as a surprise to many back in October 2016 when Ardmore Studios was put on the market to be sold as a going concern.

"Ardmore Studios are internationally renowned as Ireland’s leading provider of film and TV studio infrastructure and their place in Bray has always been a great pride for the people of Wicklow.

“The State had owned a 32% share in Ardmore Studios and at no stage was it confirmed by anyone in Government or in Enterprise Ireland that the State’s shares were also to be sold.

"Despite being in regular contact with the relevant Ministers, Departments and Enterprise Ireland since October 2016, the sale of the State’s shares was never made known. This is totally unacceptable especially when all parties had committed to keeping the public informed.

“Today, through a press release, it has become known that Olcott Entertainment Limited has bought the full share capital of Ardmore Studios.

"The acquisition of Ardmore Studios was led by an individual who holds shares in Troy Studios in Limerick and this fact raises questions as to the future plans for Ardmore Studios in Bray.

“It is bitterly disappointing that the State’s shares have been sold without any consultation or fore-knowledge and this is something which I will be questioning with Enterprise Ireland and the Department.

"The lack of transparency on the sale of State shares is alarming.

"Ardmore Studios have been hugely successful in Bray and it is paramount that this success is continued in Bray.”

Friday 23 March 2018

Brady welcomes progress on plans to stop old Bray landfill being washed into the Irish Sea

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow, John Brady, has welcomed progress on plans to stop the coastal erosion at the old landfill at Bray North Beach.

Speaking after discussions with the various stakeholders including Wicklow County Council, Teachta Brady said:

“I have been raising the issue of waste from the former landfill at North Beach being washed into the Irish Sea since my time on Wicklow County Council. The dump contains more than 104,000 cubic meters of waste including, broken asbestos tiles, and excessive levels of ammonia Cal nitrogen, potassium and manganese in the ground water. Due to coastal erosion the old landfill is continuously being washed into the sea, causing considerable environmental damage.”

“I have received a recent update from Wicklow County Council regarding the issue. The company charged with the task – Malachy Walsh and Partners - have advanced on their initial plans for the project. Engineering, Archaeological and Architect surveys have been completed. Wave modelling runs are being completed for extreme wave conditions and two preliminary coastal protection designs should be available by the end of April this year. At that point further discussions will take place amongst stakeholders including Wicklow County Council, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and the relevant government departments.”

Teachta Brady said that he is looking forward to moving onto the public consultation phase:

“It is envisaged that by the end of this year there will be a comprehensive public consultation process and I will be keenly assessing how this process can be conducted with a wide range of public views included. For now at least the public should be aware that I am advised there are ongoing and regular inspections of the area and clean-ups conducted when and where necessary. Both Wicklow County Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council are in regular contact with each other, whilst the entire Wicklow Sinn Fein Council team and myself are engaging with the councils and local community on an ongoing basis.”

Thursday 22 March 2018

Government defeated on their Strategic Communications Unit – Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has welcomed the passing of his party’s motion calling for the disbandment of the Strategic Communications Unit.

The Dáil vote took place on Thursday and saw a defeat for the Government of 85 votes to 49.

Speaking after the vote, Teachta Brady said:

“Today, the Dáil overwhelmingly supported a Sinn Féin motion calling on the Government to disband the €5 million vanity project that is the Strategic Communications Unit.

“This Unit has seen the Government spend thousands of taxpayers’ money advertising Project Ireland 2040 spending €80,000 on cinema advertisements, €75,660 on social media advertisements, and €312,498 on advertorial content in regional and national newspapers and radio stations.

“Earlier this week, the Taoiseach outrageously said that he and his Government would disregard the will of the Dáil when it comes to his spin unit. Not only is this a worryingly authoritarian attitude to adopt, it demonstrates that propaganda is more important to the Taoiseach than good governance.

“Practically the entire opposition has said enough to the Strategic Communications Unit and voted today for its disbandment. I am glad to see this Sinn Féin motion enjoying such wide support as it demonstrates that no party, bar Fine Gael, can abide the use of public monies to host party political roadshows and exploitation of the media.

“The Public Accounts Committee will now write to an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the disbandment of the Strategic Communications Unit calling on him to appear before the Committee so that the disbandment of his vanity project can be discussed and implemented as soon as possible.”

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Purchase and subsequent decision by Wicklow County Council to demolish St Paul's Lodge in Bray referred to the Public Accounts Committee

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has expressed astonishment and bitter disappointment at the majority of Wicklow County Councillors for voting to demolish St Paul’s Lodge in Bray to construct 47 car park spaces. He stated that Wicklow Sinn Féin will now refer the issue to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)

Speaking after the meeting Teachta Brady said “I’m bitterly disappointed that Wicklow County Councillors voted 16-10 to demolish St Paul’s Lodge on the Herbert Road in Bray to construct a few car parking spaces. The Council recently acquired the beautiful Edwardian home and large garden for €913,000 including the vendor’s legal and other costs. We are in the midst of a housing a homeless crisis and for the council to spend close to €1m on a house with the sole intention of demolishing it for car park spaces beggars belief.”

Bray Sinn Féin Councillor Michael O’Connor said “At the council meeting on Monday my colleague Nicola Lawless and I put forward a proposal that rather than demolish the house that the council officials purchased without consulting with the elected representatives, that it would be used as emergency accommodation for homeless families. Unfortunately this was ruled out.

We are in the middle of the worst housing crisis the council is willing to waste nearly €1m of taxpayer’s money to purchase and subsequently demolish a perfectly good house, which could be used for so many beneficial purposes. Sinn Féin believes that this is a complete waste of taxpayer’s money and that there are many unanswered questions. We have now written to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and asked them to investigate the process and the waste of taxpayer’s money.”

Councillor Nicola Lawless stated “This terrible decision by the majority of Wicklow County Councillors to demolish St Paul’s Lodge is what gives politics a bad name. This is a terrible decision and one that the Sinn Féin representatives are also following up directly with Minister Eoghan Murphy. We have written to him and asked him to step in and overturn this crazy decision.”

Teachta Brady concluded “Whilst I’m astonished and disappointed with the councillors that voted for the demolition of St Pauls Lodge, I’m particularly disappointed with the local councillors that voted for this. I’ve yet to talk to one member of the public that support this decision, so I’m not quite sure who they were representing when they took the decision they did. If additional car parking is needed for the construction of the Florentine Centre, there are many alternatives that should have been examined. The Florentine debacle has been ongoing now for over 20 years, surly that’s time enough to put in place alternative arrangements to allow for the loss to the car parking onsite during the construction process.” Ends

Friday 9 March 2018

Brady meets Bus Éireann CEO regarding Route 133

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has met with the CEO of Bus Éireann Ray Hernan to ask for the reinstatement of route 133 back into Bray.

Speaking following the meeting, Teachta Brady said:

“Last year the 133 Bus Éireann service began by-passing Bray town centre and used an alternative route via Upper Dargle Road. The National Transport Authority recently confirmed that what was a temporary detour was to last indefinitely.

“I met with the CEO of Bus Éireann Ray Hernan to express the anger of the public that have been directly affect, and to ask him to ensure the route is reinstated while alternative plans are looked at.

“Bus Éireann have firmly laid the blame of the loss of route 133 through Bray at the feet of the National Transport Authority. At our meeting it was revealed that the NTA turned down a proposal from Bus Éireann to run a dedicated route into Bray, in parallel they wanted to run one directly between Wicklow and Dublin. This was a temporary proposal whilst alternatives proposals were brought forward. Unfortunately the NTA showed no regard for the people of Wicklow and turned down the proposal.”

“I also proposed to the CEO a new dedicated route would be put in place linking Arklow, Wicklow Town and Bray. Mr Hernan confirmed that this is a proposal that Bus Éireann are willing to consider. This would allow a direct 133 service to operate from Wicklow Town to Dublin. However, I pushed for the reinstatement of the 133 service back through Bray while new route proposals are considered.”

“Mr Hernan assured me the concerns of the using public along with my proposals would be given serious consideration. I have however subsequently requested a meeting with the Chief Executive Officer of the National Transport Authority Ms Anne Graham.”

Government must act as more of the Murrough in Wicklow Town washed away-Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has expressed serious concerns about extensive new erosion at the Murrough in Wicklow Town during recent storm Emma. He has called on the Minister with responsibility for the OPW Boxer Moran to ensure that funding is put in place immediately to protect the amenity and the rail line.

Speaking after inspecting the recent erosion Teachta Brady said “The issue of protecting the Murrough needs to be taken serious and progressed as quickly as possible. During Storm Emma several meters of coastline the length of the Murrough was swept into the Irish Sea. Not only further diminishing the public amenity, but also putting the rail line at risk.

“In January I along with other public representatives walked the Murrough with Minister Moran and showed him the extent of the erosion and left him under no illusion as to why it needs to be protected. He gave assurances that he would work with Wicklow County Council on a technical report with a view of securing funding from his Department for the extensive coastal protection works that are needed.

“He however now needs to ensure the report is completed and that funding is forthcoming immediately for the extensive coastal protection works that are needed. During Storm Emma the pre-cast concrete units that were installed in 2016 following Storm Frank along a small section of coastline, only gave very limited protection. Storm Emma washed away several meters of coastline directly behind the defences. The best option would be off-shore protection units; this would provide more extensive protection the full length of the Murrough.

Teachta Brady concluded “I have been in direct contact with the Minister again on this important issue. Unfortunately time isn’t on our side when it comes to protecting the Murrough; action must be taken now before we lose this important amenity for good.

Wednesday 7 March 2018

Funding for critical Fassaroe Community Centre works welcomed

Bray Sinn Féin Councillor Michael O’Connor has welcomed the allocation of €30,500 by Bray Municipal District towards the replacement of the roof on the Community Centre in Fassaroe. The decision was taken by the council at their meeting on Tuesday evening.

Speaking after the meeting Councillor O’Connor said “I’m delighted that the local area councillors supported the proposal to allocate €30,500 towards replacing the roof on the community centre in Fassaroe. The community centre is a fantastic amenity which is widely by locals and residents from across Bray.”

“Unfortunately the original roof on the Community Centre is in an unsafe condition and needs to be completely replaced. It’s estimated that it will cost up to €80,000 to replace the roof, making it safe and ensuring that it’s to a high energy rating. The allocation of €30,500 from Bray Municipal District is not just recognition of the important work that’s carried out in the centre; it’s also recognition of the fantastic team of people who operate it.”

Welcoming the allocation of the funding Teachta John Brady said “The allocation of the funding for the replacement of the Community Centre roof in Fassaroe is fantastic news. I have been working with the management of the centre over the last number of years to have the work carried out. I had previously secured some funding to have some sections of the roof replaced as a temporary measure. The allocation of €30,500 in tandem with some Leader funding recently secured will go a long way to completely replacing of the roof.”

“I want to commend all the staff in the Community Centre who have worked tirelessly on this issue to ensure that the centre can continue to be at the heart of Fassaroe, providing a first class amenity for all the community.”

Friday 2 March 2018

Government must ensure that post offices have sufficient funds on reopening - Brady

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs & Social Protection John Brady TD has called on the Government to ensure that not only do post offices reopen tomorrow as planned but that sufficient funds are available in all post offices across the State.

Teachta Brady said:

"On Thursday, post offices in Dublin, Louth and Offaly were reported to have run out of cash as social welfare recipients arrived to collect their payments early, as directed to do so by Government.

"This situation cannot be repeated when post offices reopen tomorrow. There are thousands of people relying on these payments to get through the week, including the most vulnerable people in the State.

"Where funds are low, the Government need to call on the Defence Forces to assist in getting cash to the affected post offices before tomorrow.

"There have been cases where older people were turned away from post offices on Thursday. One gentleman said that as a result, he could not afford food. This is totally unacceptable.

"First and foremost, post offices need to be able to reopen tomorrow and they need to be assisted to do so, if necessary. With that, the Government must ensure that all post offices have adequate funds in place.

"The cause of uncertainty this week for social welfare recipients is firmly left at the Government's door. This is exactly why Minister Doherty needs to instruct her Department to put protocols in place to ensure the payment of social welfare to recipients during severe weather warnings. I have asked Minister Doherty to do this."