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.”