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.”

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Varadkar’s ‘false beards’ campaign turns out to be a farce – John Brady

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has called on Minister Leo Varadkar to immediately end his dishonest welfare fraud campaign.

This comes as a reply from Minister Varadkar to a Parliamentary Question from Sinn Féin has identified only one case of identity fraud in 2017.

Teachta Brady said:

“Minister Varadkar based this campaign on mistruths, assumptions and silly notions about false beards.

“This campaign was nothing more than an opportunity to launch his leadership bid at the expense of some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“On numerous occasions Minister Varadkar has referred to ‘doppelgangers’ and people ‘wearing make-up and beards’ as a means of defrauding the State. Yet, he is unable to identify one shred of proof that this has ever even happened.

“In fact, the Minister’s reply goes on to state that when it comes to the use of disguises ‘the Department does not record, and thereby, does not hold data on any attempts of this nature’.

“So far this year, there has been one suspected case of identity fraud identified by the Department of Social Protection. This hardly amounts to the millions of euro in savings Minister Varadkar talked of achieving through this campaign.

“If Minister Varadkar does go on to become Taoiseach, he will give Enda Kenny a run for his money with his imaginary tales.”

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

John Brady TD questions appointment of retired Wicklow County Manager to head up investigation into financial irregularities at Cavan County Council

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has questioned the appointment of retired Wicklow County Manager Eddie Sheehy to head up an investigation into financial irregularities at Cavan County Council.

Teachta Brady said:

“It is extremely concerning that serious allegations of financial corruption at Cavan County Council are being investigated by Eddie Sheehy as concerns of planning irregularities have been raised surrounding Wicklow County Council, where Mr Sheehy was previously County Manager.

“Indeed, several Ministers with responsibility for planning have committed to a full investigation into planning irregularities at Wicklow County Council in the past.

“In recent correspondence to me, Minister Coveney confirmed that he was aware of planning concerns and he would make a decision on an investigation shortly.

“In recent weeks, I have handed over substantial documentation to the Gardaí relating to alleged wrongdoing within Wicklow County Council.

“It may be more appropriate at this time to achieve full transparency in the case of Wicklow County Council before appointing someone so close to the council to investigate Cavan County Council.”

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

'Crucial' wind planning guidelines must protect communities - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has said that legislation must be put in place to protect communities and homeowners from the development of industrial windfarms.

Teachta Brady said:

“We cannot allow a situation where corporations are imposing themselves on small rural communities against the will of the people for corporate benefit.

“It is very disheartening and frustrating for the people of South Wicklow to see a second application from ABO Wind Ireland to build 11 industrial scale wind turbines after their previous planning application was so unanimously rejected.

“The government made a commitment in their programme for government to publish wind planning guidelines within 3 to 6 months of forming a new government. One year later this has still not happened.

“These guidelines are crucial to ensure that there is a proper effective regulatory framework in place to manage wind farm construction.

“Last July, Sinn Féin introduced the Wind Turbine Regulation Bill 2016 which seeks to address the concerns that have been raised in communities’ right across the State when it comes to wind farm development.

“Central to this Bill is the protection of nearby dwellings from noise and shadow flicker by providing minimum set back distances which increase as the height of the turbine itself increases. With that, this Bill also ensures there is an open and fully extensive public consultative process.

"I hope that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs will support this Bill when it comes to the floor of the Dáil for debate.

“When it comes to the protection of homes and communities there is an onus on us, as legislators to take action. Wicklow will not become a dumping ground for big corporations to come in and set up wind turbines wherever they like. The concerns of people and their homes must be respected.”

Monday, 22 May 2017

Brady congratulates all involved in securing four Blue Flags for Wicklow beaches

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has congratulated all involved in regaining the Blue Flag award for Bray Promenade after seventeen years.

Speaking this morning Teachta Brady said:

“I am delighted that Wicklow has retained the three Blue Flags awarded last year and also gained a Blue Flag for Bray South Promenade which will fly there for the first time since 2000.

“This means that this year, Blue Flags will fly over Brittas Bay South Beach, Brittas Bay North Beach, Greystones and Bray South Promenade.

“When I was Chairperson of Bray Municipal District one of my key objectives was for Bray to regain the Blue Flag which has now been delivered.

“I want to congratulate and commend all those involved in making this happen particularly, the great effort that went into regaining the Blue Flag in Bray after seventeen years.

“Today is a great day for Wicklow and we should be very proud to be recognised internationally for outstanding compliance with sewage treatment and bathing water quality criteria.

“This is a great achievement for County Wicklow and I hope it will result in a major boost for tourism in our County.”

Saturday, 20 May 2017

John Brady TD calls on Fianna Fáil to aid in abolishing mandatory retirement

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has welcomed news that Fianna Fáil has withdrawn their Bill to abolish mandatory retirement which was selected for debate next week.

Speaking today Teachta Brady commented:

“Within one week of introducing my Bill to abolish mandatory retirement in the Dáil last December, Fianna Fáil Deputies Willie O’Dea and Mary Butler introduced their own Bill with the same aim.

“Since then, my Bill has progressed to pre-Committee legislative scrutiny and I am now awaiting its passage to Committee Stage which is dependent on the Government.

“If Fianna Fáil are serious about the abolition of mandatory retirement, they should use their position to influence Fine Gael to facilitate the passage of this Bill.

“There are so many people out there approaching 65 who do not want to retire, they want to remain at work and this is mainly down to either financial or social reasons.

“When a similar Bill was brought forward in 2014, it fell with the collapse of the 31st Dáil. I do not want to see this happen with my Bill given the number of people relying on it to keep them at work.

“If new politics exists, Fianna Fáil should work with me to ensure that we give workers choice and we ensure that no-one is made to feel incapable of work because of their age.”

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

John Brady TD calls on Stephen Donnelly to keep his word on ticket touting legislation

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said Deputy Stephen Donnelly’s vote on Thursday on ticket touting legislation will show how serious he is about tackling the issue.

Sinn Féin’s Sale of Tickets (Sporting and Cultural Events) Bill 2017 brought forward by Maurice Quinlivan TD will be voted on this Thursday.

Ahead of this vote, Teachta Brady said:

“I am calling on Deputy Stephen Donnelly, and his party Fianna Fáil, to vote against Fine Gael’s amendment which will see a nine month delay in tackling ticket touting.

“Fianna Fáil are welcome to make amendments to the Bill at Committee Stage, where all amendments should be discussed and debated.

“It is quite clear that this amendment was brought forward for the benefit of Deputy Noel Rock who has been put out given his own Bill on this, co-sponsored by Deputy Donnelly, has not moved beyond First Stage.

“Throughout the summer months, a number of concerts and festivals will take place, and as is the case every summer, we will see tickets online that were bought for €100 being sold for €1,000, unless we take action.

“Last week, Deputy Donnelly contacted my colleague Deputy Quinlivan to commit his support to our Bill however, it is now apparent that Deputy Donnelly will not support the Bill and is instead, content to leave consumers at the mercy of ticket touts.

“I am calling on Deputy Donnelly to refrain from playing petty politics with this issue. In Deputy Donnelly’s own words only a few months ago, ‘we need to take this issue very seriously’.

“In fact, according to Deputy Donnelly, in January, ticket touting legislation could not be passed quick enough and he went as far as asking the Government to give this legislation ‘a higher level of consideration by the Business Committee than it would otherwise be given’.

“So, Deputy Donnelly has talked the talk on the need to urgently address ticket touting through legislation, and on Thursday; he has an opportunity to vote to do exactly that.”

Monday, 15 May 2017

Irish Water inaction hindering Blessington's potential - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady TD has said development in Blessington has been stalled indefinitely due to limitations on wastewater treatment capacity.

Teachta Brady said:

“Following ongoing engagement with Irish Water on the capacity of the Wastewater Treatment Plant and the serious consequences this is having on development in Blessington, I have received notification of their plans. This is a huge cause for concern as until this is addressed, development of any sort is hindered.

“Irish Water acknowledged that they are aware of the development pressures in Blessington and recognises that it is an important growth centre, which is potentially constrained by limitations on wastewater treatment capacity.

“Irish Water confirmed to me that they have initiated a study into options to upgrade the Blessington Wastewater Treatment Plant beyond what is currently available in order to facilitate the further expansion of the area. Currently, the plant has a capacity level of 6,000 PE (population equivalent) with the proposed works including an increase to 9,000 PE.

“However, the issue here is the time frame that Irish Water has set themselves which, in reality will mean that we are looking at 2019 before any upgrade works take place, at the earliest.

“Blessington cannot remain at a stand-still until Irish Water commences these necessary and well over-due works.

“The local authority’s hands are tied; they cannot progress with building much needed social housing.

“Irish Water needs to review their proposed time frame with due consideration to the detrimental impact that the lack of adequate wastewater treatment capacity is having. Without a timely response to this from Irish Water, Blessington will suffer.”

Friday, 12 May 2017

Harris goes back on commitment for Wicklow GP service – Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has criticised Minister for Health Simon Harris for failing to provide an out-of-hours GP service for the people of North Wicklow despite making a firm commitment to do so.

Teachta Brady said:

“Minister Harris committed to providing a GP out-of-hours co-op for North Wicklow and this was expected to commence last February.

“Yesterday, it became apparent that Minister Harris’ plans for this have been shelved by the HSE due to a lack of funding. In fact, the HSE have said that neither funding for the €450,000 needed to run the service annually nor the Winter Initiative is available for the area.

“This news has come as a complete surprise to GPs in the area and it appears that Minister Harris has misled the public on this matter. In a recent newsletter, the Minister stated that plans for this service were at an advanced stage. Given that the availability of finances would be central to delivering this plan, it is questionable as to how the plans were ever at an advanced stage as the Minister had claimed.

“I am aware that Minister Harris is yet to comment on this matter and I am calling on him to do so today. The Minister must make it clear as to when he was informed that funding for the GP out-of-hours co-op for North Wicklow would not be made available.

“The closure of the 24/7 Accident & Emergency Unit at St. Columcille’s and the failure to deliver this GP out-of-hours service adds to Fine Gael’s record of health care in this County.

“For the people of North Wicklow, this is simply not good enough.

“We have serious issues with capacity in the health service. Minister Harris should be doing everything in his power to increase capacity in the primary care sector.”

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Brady welcomes long-awaited investigation into Sunbeam House Services

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has welcomed a long-awaited investigation into Sunbeam House Services in Wicklow which was announced by the Minister for Health this morning.

Speaking after the announcement Teachta Brady said:

“First and foremost, I welcome the announcement from Minister Harris that there will be a full and independent investigation into all complaints noted in the Jeyes Report.

“I have been working with service users and their families since August, last year and given the serious concerns raised by them, I called on Minister Harris to launch an immediate full and independent investigation into the service.

“Despite, the unnecessary delay until now, it was essential that Minister Harris initiated a fully independent investigation into the management and governance of Sunbeam House Service and the handling of complaints of physical, sexual and psychological abuse at the centre.

“A HSE commissioned Assurance Review of Sunbeam Services had indicated 284 complaints over a two and a half year period and thirty-three serious safeguarding allegations in a ten month period in 2016. Complaints highlighted in this report included neglect and allegations of physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse.

“I have been informed that details of the investigation have been provided to the SHS Families Advocacy Group through a statement issued by Minister Harris this morning. Minister Harris has committed that the 33 safeguarding concerns in the Jeyes Report will be prioritised and rigorously investigated in full.

“I understand that Deloitte will be commissioned to conduct a forensic audit of all funds and finances and the Advocacy Group will have input on the terms of reference.

“The Minister has made a number of references to the involvement of the SHS Families Advocacy Group throughout this morning’s statement and their input is crucial in this investigation. Without the Advocacy Group, this long-awaited investigation would not have been announced and I commend the families who have ultimately, made this happen.

“This investigation must be thorough and it must be timely not only for those involved but for the future of Sunbeam Services. I am calling on Minister Harris to publish the terms of reference for this investigation immediately.”

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Thirty jobs to be lost at St. Catherine's Association 'a devastating blow' - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady TD described the news this morning that up to thirty jobs are set to be lost at St. Catherine’s Association across Wicklow as ‘a devastating blow for service users.’

Teachta Brady said:

“St. Catherine’s Association is a non-profit making organisation which provides education, training, healthcare and respite care to clients who have intellectual and other disabilities throughout County Wicklow.

“The news that up to thirty jobs will be lost from June is a devastating blow for the staff, the community of St. Catherine’s and indeed, the wider community.

“This is a very sad day for the thirty members of staff and their families who have received this news earlier this morning. These job losses are also a huge blow for the local economy in towns across Wicklow.

“It appears that the issue at play here is who pays for the transport provided by St. Catherine’s Association for children attending the School. This issue should have been addressed by Minister Harris if he had stepped in, communicated with Minister Bruton and made arrangements to find an alternative source to finance this service.

“It is now apparent that the school transport currently provided by St. Catherine’s Association for children attending St. Catherine’s Special School will cease at the end of this school term. I am informed that Bus Éireann will take responsibility for school transport for the 2017/18 school term. However, definite arrangements are yet to be put in place as to the logistics of this. Central to any changes must be to ensure that the least amount of disruption is caused to children and their families.

“In recent times, St Catherine’s has witnessed a number of changes with the downgrading of services and the closure of Avalon, Woodmount and Barnacoyle.

“I have sent correspondence to Ministers Harris and Bruton and I await their response as to their knowledge and involvement in relation to this issue.

“It is essential that the funding stream for the current transport service is secured and the jobs under threat are protected so that this critical service can continue.”

Allegations of serious wrongdoing in Wicklow County Council given to Gardaí – Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has made a statement to Gardaí regarding serious allegations he has received of planning and other irregularities in Wicklow County Council.

Speaking after making their statements to local Gardaí Teachta Brady said:

“On Friday, along with my colleagues in the Wicklow Sinn Féin Council Group, Cllrs. Nicola Lawless, Mary McDonald and Michael O'Connor, we have brought to the attention of the Gardaí serious allegations which have been made to us concerning matters within the remit of Wicklow County Council.

“As public representatives we are duty bound to take relevant action when serious allegations are brought to our attention. In this case, such is the seriousness of these allegations that we have contacted the Gardaí and passed on the information we have.

“On Friday last we have made statements to the Gardaí based on the information that has been brought to our attention and we have handed over all relevant documentation to the Gardaí.

“It is vital that all public bodies operate on a transparent and proper basis and local authorities are no exception. We are confident that the Gardaí will now examine this matter with the utmost care to ensure that all allegations are investigated and the truth prevails. We again reiterate our call on the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney to initiate an independent investigation into Wicklow County Council so public confidence can be restored."

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Abolition of Mandatory Retirement another step closer – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD will this morning deliver an opening statement at the Committee on Justice and Equality as his Abolition of Mandatory Retirement Bill moves to the next stage.

Speaking ahead of the Committee meeting, Teachta Brady said:

“I am delighted that my Bill to abolish mandatory retirement is moving to pre-Committee scrutiny stage which will be held at the Committee on Justice and Equality meeting this morning.

“Since this Bill was debated in February, my offices have been inundated with letters, phone calls, and emails asking when this Bill will become law. There are many workers out there relying on this Bill so they can continue at work for many different reasons including, financial or social.

“Today’s meeting is about carefully examining the provisions within the Bill and ensuring that any issues are addressed. The ultimate aim is to abolish mandatory retirement and ending age discrimination within the workforce.

“I am encouraged by the many workers that have contacted me on this Bill and I look forward to this Bill progressing through the legislative process without delay.”

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Minister’s so-called anti-fraud campaign ‘a new low in leadership bid’ – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has accused Minister Leo Varadkar of using a pointless self-serving campaign as part of his leadership bid.

This week, the Department of Social Protection provided a figure to Deputy Brady for the total cost of the newly launched advertising campaign to tackle social welfare fraud of over €200,000.

Speaking this morning, Teachta Brady said:

“Last week, Minister Varadkar launched a ‘Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All’ advertising and online campaign set to cost the taxpayer €204,000. Initially, the Department were unable to provide the total cost of this campaign but they have since advised me of this figure.

“The Department of Social Protection have claimed that they achieved overall savings of €506 million in 2016 as a result of ‘control and anti-fraud measures’. However, the actual calculation of this figure leaves more questions than answers. In fact, in the Department’s own words, it is based on nothing more than an assumption. The real figure from Department officials, received by the media today, stands at €41 million.

“The Department developed a bizarre method of calculation using multipliers where they assume that an excess payment would have continued to be paid for a set future period and therefore, they multiply the payment by an assumed length of time. In the case of Carer’s Allowance and Disability Allowance, the payment is multiplied by 136.

“When we look at the figures from past reviews undertaken by the Department, it clearly shows that the real issue to be tackled is the prevalence of over-payments rather than fraud. This is reflected in a number of previous Controller and Auditor General Reports which showed that between 2007 and 2011 50% of all overpayments were due to error while 38% of overpayments were due to fraud.

“Minister Varadkar’s stance on social welfare recipients is peculiar but perfectly, staunch right wing. He has a particular dislike for young Jobseekers – as if those aged less than 24 years of age are living the high life on €100 a week.

“Minister Varadkar’s eyes are firmly on becoming Fine Gael’s next leader; in essence, a campaign to save the taxpayers money from welfare ‘cheats’ is but a PR strategy.

“As the Departments website states, this is a publicity campaign. In reality, this is a ‘Leo for leader’ campaign rather than a social welfare campaign.”

Opportunity for common sense to prevail in Little Bray proposed development

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady TD has renewed his call for no development to go ahead on the River Dargle floodplain on the Old Bray Golf Course in Little Bray.

Teachta Brady said:

“It was confirmed last week that Pizarro, the company involved in the proposed high density development of a new town centre on the floodplain in Little Bray have gone into receivership.

“This now provides an opportunity for common sense to prevail in this ongoing saga which has left community group, SWAP working tirelessly to resist any such development for years.

“It is important to say that this community group are not opposed to development in the area they simply want the high density development to be built on the higher ground away from the floodplain at the same site.

“I have been working with SWAP for many years and I know the unbelievable work they have done and continue to do to ensure that the floodplain is protected and no development goes ahead. SWAP were the very first community group I welcomed into Leinster House since my election, and I commend them all for all of their work for their community.

“As the Old Bray Golf Course lands are in NAMA ownership it adds to the uncertainty as to what will happen next now that Pizarro is in receivership.

“Having said that, I want to re-iterate my call to ensure that no development goes ahead on this floodplain and it is protected.

“There should be no development of any kind on a floodplain, it is madness and it should never have been an option in the first place.

“This area has experienced extensive flooding in the past, it is an area with an older population and we must ensure that they are respected and that big business will not be put before this community.”

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Sinn Féin TD John Brady calls for full independent investigation into Sunbeam House Services in Wicklow

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has called on Health Minister Simon Harris to initiate a fully independent investigation into the management and governance of Sunbeam House Service and the handling of complaints of physical, sexual and psychological abuse at the centre.

Teachta Brady was speaking after a HSE Commissioned Assurance Review of Sunbeam House highlighted 284 complaints over a two and a half year period and thirty-three serious safeguarding allegations in a ten month period in 2016.

The complaints included neglect and allegations of physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse.

Speaking today Teachta Brady said;

“I have been dealing with some of the families of residents in Sunbeam House behind the scenes for some time now and some of the stories of their loved ones experiences are horrific.

“The Assurance Review, commissioned by the HSE, was published on their website on the 14th of March. It was removed again in the 15th of March.

“I have seen a copy of the report and it is very concerning.

“I am aware that Minister Harris is to meet the families and is considering launching an independent investigation.

“I believe the Assurance Review Report confirms the need for such an investigation to be launched and the Minister must take that course of action.

“He must also ensure that the planned merger with another company is put on hold until after a independent investigation takes place.”

Brady urges support for Tree of Hope ceremony in Bray this weekend

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has encouraged people to join him for a Tree of Hope planting ceremony this Saturday April 22nd.

Speaking ahead of the event Teachta Brady said:

“I would like to commend Be Well Bray for kindly sponsoring the Tree of Hope, as a positive initiative for mental health in our community.

“Be Well Bray are a local group of young people who actively promote positive mental health and encourage conversation around mental health among young people.

“The short tree planting ceremony will take place on the grounds of the Garda station at Convent Avenue in Bray at 9.30am on this Saturday April 22nd.

“The idea of a Tree of Hope came from a small voluntary group who have all been directly impacted by suicide who wanted to create a symbol of support to everyone affected by suicide or suffering with mental health.

“So far, one hundred and sixty two trees of hope have been planted in communities’ right across the State.

“I would encourage people to take a few minutes out of their Saturday morning to attend this ceremony especially, those whose lives may have been touched by mental health or suicide and remember a loved one.”

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Positive meeting held on Arklow's future - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has thanked those who attended his public meeting on Unlocking Arklow’s Potential on Tuesday night.

The meeting heard from Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Public Expenditure & Reform David Cullinane TD and local Councillor Mary McDonald.

Speaking after the packed meeting Teachta Brady said:

“Ahead of the last general election, I made a commitment to the people of Arklow that I would put a spotlight on Arklow, something that successive public representatives at a national level have failed to do.

“I was delighted with the attendance at the public meeting on Tuesday night and the positive contributions and ideas put forward by locals for the future of the town and surrounding areas.

“I held this meeting as part of an economic development plan for Arklow that I have been working on for a number of months. While, I have been meeting with a number of organisations and enterprises, I was eager to engage with and hear from the people of the area who are crucial in the development of any plan for Arklow.

“The submission process is still underway and I welcome any submissions from the public in writing to 18a Upper Main St, Arklow or by email to before April 30th.

Fianna Fáil in ‘massive U-turn on water charges’ - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said he is deeply disappointed but not surprised by Fianna Fáil’s latest U-turn on water charges. His comments come as Fianna Fáil vote with Fine Gael on the final Water Committee report.

Teachta Brady said:

“On Tuesday, the Water Committee received what I believe to be contradictory legal advice from the same legal source as last Thursday. The new advice recommended several profound changes to the final report which is a significant shift back to the Fine Gael position that the Committee rejected by a 12-8 majority last week.

“Fianna Fáil has conceded a number of major issues. The party is effectively now in favour of volumetric water charges for excessive use based on average household usage and mandatory domestic metering in all new builds and refurbishments.

“Having marched his troops up the hill, Deputy Barry Cowen has backed down and allowed for universal water charges to be introduced through the back door. The decision taken today by Fianna Fáil has absolutely nothing to do with complying with EU law and everything to do with Fianna Fáil’s fear of a general election. They have broken their key election pledge to abolish water charges having previously abandoned their pledge to scrap Irish Water.

“The thousands of people who marched on the Right2Water demo on Saturday made their views very clear. Any party that breaks its election pledges on water charges will not be forgiven. Page five of the Fianna Fáil’s 2016 General Election manifesto clearly makes a commitment to abolish water charges. This is another embarrassing climb down for the party off the back of its defeat on the rent legislation before Christmas.

"Fine Gael have got their way and, despite Fianna Fáil's huffing and puffing over the weekend, they have caved into Minister Simon Coveney’s threat to force an election if he didn't get his way.

“Sinn Féin will oppose tooth and nail any attempt to introduce water charges through the back door in the subsequent legislation arising from Tuesday's deeply disappointing water committee report.”

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Brady announces details for Easter Commemoration on Easter Monday in Bray

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has announced details of this year’s annual Easter Commemoration in Bray.
Teachta Brady said:

“I am delighted to announce that this year’s Easter Commemoration will take place on Easter Monday April 17th assembling at 11.30a.m.

“Those attending are asked to meet at the Town Hall, Bray and the guest speaker will be Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan.

“Sinn Féin’s central political aim is to deliver the type of Ireland envisaged at Easter week in 1916.

“The great challenge of the Proclamation is to unite all the people of this island, regardless of background, in equality and mutual respect.

“Irish Unity is on the political agenda for the first time in decades and it is now within our grasp.

“I would encourage people in Wicklow to wear an Easter Lily with pride and to attend this Easter commemoration to honour the bravery and sacrifice of those who took part in the 1916 Rising and to the spirit of the Proclamation.”

Brady welcomes unanimous support for motion on maternity leave for mothers of premature babies

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has this week welcomed a motion which seeks to change the current status on maternity leave for mothers of premature babies.

Teachta Brady said:

“Over 4,500 babies are born prematurely in Ireland every year.

“Usually, maternity leave comes into effect on the birth of the child regardless, of whether or not the baby is born at full term or prematurely.

“This is a very black and white view to take and this needs to change to allow proper consideration and compassion.

“Nothing should add to the stress and worry of the birth of a baby prematurely especially, financial hardship.

“When it comes to the level of pay mandated by law, Ireland ranks at the very bottom of the European league, along with Slovakia.

“This motion provides the Government with an opportunity to take a positive step, and a much more compassionate approach to improve maternity practices in Ireland.

“I welcome that this motion is not being opposed but I do stress that this is only one step in the right direction.”

Water Committee report ‘a great victory for Right2Water’ - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has described the Oireachtas Water Committee report as “a great victory for Right2Water movement and the hundreds of thousands of people who campaigned against this unjust charge”.

Speaking today Teachta Brady said:

“Today marks a victory that I am very proud to have been part of. It is a victory for the people of Wicklow, those I stood with on the front-line against the installation of water meters and those that joined with me in mobilising thousands of people across Wicklow for the many protests held.

“As the report stands, water charges are gone, charges for excessive use of water are gone, the metering programme is over, and meters on new builds are gone.

“The report includes a clear commitment to hold referendum enshrining the public ownership of water and water services in the Constitution. The report also has a range of measures to promote conservation and reduce leaks in the public water system.

“The Committee will be in a position to take a final decision when they meet later today and I believe there is a firm majority.

“I call on Minister Simon Coveney to stand by his word and legislate on the basis of the Committee report. The Minister needs to heed the advice of the Committee that he himself set up.

“Should the Minister think of going back on his word, the rally on Saturday organised by Right2Water will remind him that the Irish people will hold him and his Government to account on this issue.”

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Funding model for social housing units in Wicklow raises concerns - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has urged caution at Minister Coveney’s controversial new model for funding social housing building through public private partnerships.
Teachta Brady said:

“At Monday’s meeting of Wicklow County Council a decision was reached to enter a Section 85 of the Local Government Act where an agreement is now in place between Wicklow County Council and Dublin City Council to develop 50 social housing units on Convent Lands in Wicklow Town using Public Private Partnership.

“The Project Company will design, build, finance and maintain the houses for 25 years.

“Sinn Féin wants to see the delivery of much needed social housing in Wicklow. However, there are some serious questions the Department and the Minister needs to answer around the use of this particular funding model.

“Wicklow has been included in the first tranche of counties to use this funding model to deliver social housing units along with parts of Dublin, Kildare and Louth.

“Sinn Féin have contacted the Department of Housing and outlined a number of serious concerns we have with these PPP proposals.

“Some key concerns include these projects ability to deliver value for money for the taxpayer. There is a growing consensus that PPPs do not deliver the value for money to justify the additional financial costs charged by the private bidder. There is also the potential to expose the taxpayer to additional financial costs particularly when there are disputes or failures to comply with the original agreement.

“The use of PPPs over complicates and delays the delivery of much needed social housing. Using this model of housing social delivery and assuming that there are no delays, disputes, or contractual defaults, it will take up to three years to deliver 500 units across the local authorities involved.

“The Minister should scrap the current proposals and fund the first tranche of 500 units either via 100% central government capital financing or with low interest Housing Finance Agency loans.

“The delivery of social housing in Wicklow is crucial but we must ensure that the funding model does not hamper this, delay building or burden the taxpayer unnecessarily.”

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Waiting lists for occupational therapists in Wicklow totally unacceptable – Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said that current waiting times to see an occupational therapist across County Wicklow are of grave concern.

Teachta Brady said:

“In a reply to me, the HSE have confirmed that there were 1,022 people on waiting lists for occupational therapy in February this year.

“Despite, a considerable number of people across Wicklow on waiting lists, the average waiting times to see an occupational therapist in health centres across the County is alarming.

“Average waiting times to see an occupational therapist are 15 months in Wicklow town, 13 months in Bray, 12 months in both Greystones and Newtownmountkennedy, 6 months in Tinahely and 3 months in Arklow.

“These waiting times mean that people are being left suffering for months on end. An occupational therapy assessment is crucial as a first step in many instances, whether that be to secure a social welfare payment or to have works carried out in a person’s home.

“Nationally, children and young people between 5 and 18 years make up the largest cohort waiting for occupational therapy assessment. Indeed, 76% of those waiting more than 52 weeks for a first time occupational therapy assessment are in this age bracket.

“When it comes to children, the under-capacity of the public system means that parents are forced to spend hundreds of euro every month on private therapy if they want to see their child have any hope of realising their individual potential.

“This is unacceptable; Minister Harris needs to increase staffing and services to ensure these waiting lists are dealt with. Health centres across Wicklow must be resourced sufficiently and we need to have additional staff employed to ensure demand is met.”

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Brady calls on Government to ratify the UN Convention on Rights for People with Disabilities

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow and party spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady has called on the Government to honour their commitment and ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

Speaking at today’s protest outside Leinster House Teachta Brady said:

“Today marks ten years since the Irish Government signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and so far, it has been left as nothing more than that.

“In fact, to the Government’s and their predecessors’ shame Ireland remains the only EU country left to ratify this important convention.

“Government’s failure to ratify this convention has left hundreds of thousands of people living with a disability hurt and extremely frustrated. This also impacts on their families, on carers and indeed, on society as a whole.

“I have raised this issue with Minister McGrath and Minister Varadkar on a number of occasions and time and time, again the same excuse is rolled out.

“We acknowledge that there are legislative requirements needed to ensure that certain obligations under the convention will be achieved but, this does not excuse a ten year delay.

“I was delighted to join a number of disability groups and individuals outside Leinster House this morning and I commend them for organising today’s demonstration.

“I am calling on the Government ministers here in Wicklow, Ministers Harris and Doyle to use their influence to make equality the policy and ratify this convention without any further delay.”

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Government inaction on bus strike has potential to shut down Wicklow – Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady TD has expressed his support for Bus Éireann workers and for those who rely on their services.
Teachta Brady joined the Bus Éireann workers who were picketing outside Leinster House at lunchtime today.

Teachta Brady said:

“The Government’s refusal to engage with the Unions and Management from Bus Éireann has contributed to the major strike currently underway.

“It is unacceptable that in the face of a strike that is having serious consequences for tens of thousands of citizens, the government has chosen to stick its head in the sand and deny any responsibility for this.

“People right across the County have been left without a service and this is having a huge impact in towns such as Arklow, Wicklow town and Baltinglass.

“We know that members of other CIÉ companies, Dublin Bus and Iarnród Éireann are preparing to ballot for industrial action. If this goes ahead, it will have a detrimental effect on the public. This has the potential to bring Wicklow to a standstill.

“The Government is the sole shareholder; it also has a duty and responsibility to ensure that our public services function properly and effectively. It is failing in this.

“I am calling on Ministers Harris and Doyle to use their influence at Cabinet level to ensure that the Government take responsibility for this mess and step in to end the chaos."

Minister must halt re-structuring plan to protect MABS and Citizens Information Service – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has cautioned the Government on making unnecessary changes to MABS and the Citizens Information Service at the cost of the taxpayer.

Teachta Brady said:

“MABS and the Citizens Information Service provide a first class and a unique service which must be protected.

“The underhand manner in which the decision of re-structuring has been made by both the Department of Social Protection and the Citizens Information Board without proper consultation with stakeholders is unacceptable.

“It is ridiculous that neither MABS nor the Citizens Information Service have been given any explanation as to the rationale for the planned re-structuring.

“I had requested that the Committee on Social Protection invite in the stakeholders and produce a Committee report on the proposed plans and this work was almost complete with the report due next week.

“Instead, and without the completion of this process, Fianna Fáil have sought to use this issue in bringing forward this motion which is nothing short of political opportunism.

“In consultation with MABS on this motion, I have brought forward an amendment that rejects the need for any cost benefit analysis of the restructuring process given the voluntary nature of the services currently.

“This amendment also calls on the Minister to ensure that the existing model, where independent management of the service is drawn from local community and voluntary sector, is maintained.

“Sinn Féin fully acknowledges the work done every single day by MABS and the Citizens Information Service. We believe that if it is not broke, don’t fix it and we are calling on Minister Varadkar to issue a policy directive to the Citizens Information Board to halt this re-structuring proposal. It was stopped back in 2007 when common sense prevailed and it must be stopped again.”

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Independent report on lone parent payments progressing – John Brady TD

Independent report on lone parent payments progressing – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD and Spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady has welcomed the opening of the tendering process for an independent report into the impact of changes to the One Parent Family Payment for lone parents.

Teachta Brady said:

“During the debate on the Social Welfare Act 2016, I was delighted that my amendment regarding lone parents was passed. This is the first time that a commitment has been made specifically around lone parents in a Social Welfare Act.

“This means that an independent report will be carried out examining the impact that the reforms and amendments to the One Parent Family Payment scheme have had on lone parents. The report will also explore the financial and social effects of all changes made since January 2012, taking into account poverty rates among lone parent families.

“Given the recently released CSO Survey on Income & Living Conditions figures which show an increase in consistent poverty among lone parent families, the reference to poverty rates in this report is crucial.

“I note that the successful tender will be given until August 2017 to complete this report. However, I would expect to see it completed before then. Having said that, I welcome the fact that this report will be published ahead of Budget 2018 and therefore, it is imperative that its findings are reflected in the Budget. This was absolutely necessary in calling for this report.

“Interested parties will have until April 4th to issue a request of tender to complete this report. I look forward to the progression of the report and I will be reminding Minister Varadkar that action must follow the publication of this report. There can be no further delay in recognising the need for targeted measures to assist lone parents and protect both them and their children from poverty.”

Report identifies options to tackle old municipal landfill being washed into Irish Sea in Bray - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has welcomed a Tier 3 report outlining the options available to tackle the ongoing environmental risks posed by hazardous waste at the old Bray Municipal landfill which is located on the North Beach in Bray. This waste is currently being eroded into the Irish Sea.

Teachta Brady said:

“I welcome the Tier 3 report finalised by Fehily Timoney & Co. on behalf of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council detailing the options available to put an end to hazardous waste such as asbestos which has been identified on site being washed into the Irish Sea at North Beach beside Bray Harbour.

“I had first called for action to tackle this serious problem back in 2005 and I have been raising it consistently since then. I am happy to see progress being made to deal with this situation.

“The Tier 3 report puts forward six options to deal with the landfill with costs ranging from €10,000 to €12 million with the latter involving the removal of all waste. The dump contains more than 104,000 cubic metres of waste including, broken asbestos tiles, and excessive levels of ammoniacal nitrogen, potassium and manganese in the ground water.

“According to the report, the most viable option to prevent landfill material entering the sea and to prevent coastal erosion at the site is to protect the base of the exposed landfill with rock armour revetment and stabilise the cliff by regrading. The estimated cost of this is €2.3 million.

“This report has been sent to the EPA for their consideration and hopefully, action can be taken as quickly as possible once funding is in place for the necessary works to take place.

“Whilst this critical work needs to advance as swiftly as possible concerns have been expressed relating to a 6,000 year old pine forest known as a submerged forest, which can be glimpsed at low tide. So, this archaeological heritage must be considered in whatever plan is devised.”

Friday, 10 March 2017

Brady “bitterly disappointed” at lack of funding for Essential Works at North Beach Arklow

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said he is “bitterly disappointed” that an application for funding for critical works at North Beach, Arklow has been rejected by the Government.

Teachta Brady said:

“Back in November last year, I wrote directly to the Minister for State at the OPW Sean Canney TD urging him to look favourably on an application made by Wicklow County Council under the Coastal Flooding Minor Works Scheme.

“I outlined clearly to him that works were absolutely necessary at North Beach in Arklow due to the significant damage caused to the area already and the further damage that will be caused if works are not carried out.

“I again contacted Minister Sean Canney in February of this year when an updated application for funding was made for the badly needed works.

“I am bitterly disappointed to have been informed that this application for funding has been rejected. It is particularly disappointing given that the former Minister with responsibility for the OPW Simon Harris had promised that funding for these works would be forthcoming and did not materialise.

“I met with Arklow Municipal District Engineer and Administrator this week to inform them of other possible funding streams available to them given the urgency that this work needs to be carried out

“I have sent further correspondence to Minister Canney at the OPW to outline to me the grounds on which this funding has been denied. I have asked him to review this decision and look at the case again.

“I am appealing to the Government to overturn this decision and I will be doing everything in my power to assist Arklow Municipal District in making this happen."

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Important info regarding available funding for Community Groups and Organisations

Important info regarding available funding for Community Groups and Organisations

Applications are now out for the Wicklow County Council Community Grants Scheme 2017. The fund for 2017 will be available as grant aid to successful community groups and local organisations wishing to undertake community projects in their area. There are a number of funding categories available.

Community Grants (Maximum grant €2,000)
For small projects and group running costs.

Community Pride (Maximum Grant €10,000).
Groups or projects that make a significant impact and difference to the lives of the people in their communities under the following headings:
•Age Friendly
•Communities reaching out to new communities
•Youth Projects
•Community Enterprise

Town / Village Enhancement plan or Health Checks (Maximum grant €10,000)

Completed application forms should be returned to the Office of Community, Cultural & Social Development not later than 12 noon on Thursday 30th March, 2017.

If you need an application form or more info please let me know. Please share or tag anyone or group you think might be interested.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Action needed to address dump at Bray Harbour which contains Asbestos and other dangerous chemicals- John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said that there can be no further delay in dealing with hazardous waste including, toxic asbestos at Bray beach flowing into the Irish Sea.

Teachta Brady:

“Waste from the old municipal landfill formerly, operated by Bray Urban District Council is being continually exposed as it is being washed into the Irish Sea. I first raised this issue in 2005 and called for an environmental report on the matter.

“The actual volume of waste is now expected to contain twice as much as was thought in the 2005 report. With this, we also have to consider the amount of waste that has been lost, washed into the Irish Sea over the past 12 years.

“This has been confirmed in a new report carried out on behalf of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council at the request of the EPA.

“The dump contains more than 104,000 cubic metres of waste including, broken asbestos tiles, and excessive levels of ammoniacal nitrogen, potassium and manganese in the ground water.

“Both Wicklow and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Councils along with the EPA have a responsibility to act without delay on the back of this report.

“I have been continuously raising this issue for the past 12 years and I will continue to do so at every opportunity until the health and safety of the public is no longer at risk and the environmental damage is no more. Having recently raised this issue with Minister Naughten, I will continue to give the issue priority until the site is secured and made safe.”

Friday, 24 February 2017

John Brady TD welcomes unanimous Dáil support to abolish mandatory retirement age

Sinn Fein Social Protection Spokesperson John Brady TD has tonight welcomed the Dáil's unanimous support for his Bill to abolish the Mandatory Retirement Age. Speaking from Leinster House this evening, Deputy Brady said; "I welcome the unanimous support of the Dáil to bring an end to what has been a long-standing practice of discrimination against people who are forced to retire against their will. "This Bill will address a multitude serious issues facing older people including the fact that many are made to retire at the age 65 and then forced onto a job-seekers payment for a year before they can receive their state pension. "It will also alleviate the unjust and disproportionate impact on people, particularly women, who may have taken time out of work to raise families or to care for a loved one and are now left in the vulnerable position where they cannot draw full pension entitlements because they have not built-up sufficient contributions. The abolition of the mandatory retirement age will allow those people to continue working in order to bridge that gap. "This Bill is fundamentally about giving the worker, and not the employer, the choice as to when they can retire. It is a progressive and significant development, which will be welcomed by many people and organisations who have been campaigning on this issue for a long time.
"It is important to our society that the Dáil has tonight realised the imperative of removing the mandatory age of retirement and I now look forward to the passage of the Bill through the remaining stages without opposition

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Brady calls on Minister to ensure Family Income Supplement payments will not be stopped for striking Tesco workers

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has called on Minister Varadkar to ensure that no person engaging in industrial action will have their Family Income Supplement stopped.

Teachta Brady said:

“On joining with Tesco workers on the picket lines in recent days, I was concerned at the number of workers who had mentioned threats made to them regarding the loss of Family Income Supplement payments for participating in strike action.

“Tesco’s use of bully boy tactics and threatening workers who are on FIS because of the Tesco contracts is totally unacceptable.

“This is not just another tactic used by Tesco management in an attempt to break the ongoing strike but a threat straight from the Department of Social Protection rulebook.

“The Department expect employees to declare that they are engaging in industrial action for their FIS payment to be stopped and then re-applied for once they return to work.

“Workers are then left to wait up to 6 months for FIS to be awarded to them again and are therefore, left with this payment that they are already entitled to.

“Minister Varadkar needs to ensure that his Department remove this rule immediately. He also needs to give assurances that no worker engaging in industrial action will have their payment cut.

“No worker engages in industrial action unless they have no other option. The State must not play any role in discouraging industrial action through such a financial sanction as this.

“On raising this with Minister Varadkar today, he has committed to look into the matter and I will be following up on this with him

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Brady calls for the abolition of mandatory retirement age

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD will be calling for the abolition of mandatory retirement age when Sinn Féin's Bill is debated in the Dáil on Thursday.

The Employment Equality (Abolition of Mandatory Retirement Age) Bill 2016 is being brought forward by Deputies John Brady and Denise Mitchell.

Teachta Brady said:

“Every year workers are forced to retire for no other reason than their age.

“This Bill seeks to put an end to this discrimination and give workers choice when it comes to their retirement.

“There are a number of exemptions in this Bill for those who work in security related employment such as An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces.

“This is a Bill about choice for older workers when it comes to their retirement. Instead, of being obliged to retire without any choice whatsoever at 65 or 66 years old, workers will be able to decide if they would like to retire immediately or continue working.

“This Bill will also address two major pension issues. It will end the current practice of those forced to sign on for Jobseekers payments at 65 for one year until they are eligible for the State Pension at 66. It will give people who have insufficient contributions for the State Pension an opportunity to continue at work to make up the additional contributions to avoid a reduced pension if they so wish.

“Last month, Minister Varadkar announced that it was his intention to make mandatory retirement ages illegal. Fianna Fáil have been consistently in favour of the abolition of mandatory retirement and also tabled a similar Bill after this once was introduced last December.

“I am calling on both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to support this Bill for the benefit of all workers.”

Friday, 17 February 2017

Brady condemns illegal actions in attempt to break Tesco strike

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has condemned the painting over of the pedestrian crossing outside Tesco, Bray overnight.

Teachta Brady said:

“This is a new low for the management at Tesco who Mandate Trade Union has said were behind the painting over of the pedestrian crossing.

“Strike action by Tesco workers in Bray has been taking place at the pedestrian crossing since Tuesday.

“The damage caused is not only outrageous but also, is a criminal offence as the pedestrian crossing is on a public road.

“I have been in contact with the Gardaí and Wicklow County Council; both are taking these actions very seriously.

“The blatant disregard for the local community especially, for young children who use the crossing daily on their way to school, with four schools in the area, is unacceptable.

"These careless actions threaten health and safety and have made crossing the road extremely dangerous.

“I have been supporting Tesco workers in their strike action at Bray and Greystones and I continue to support the workers.

"Any actions taken by management that impacts on the community are especially unnecessary and this behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Only Wicklow TD with no confidence in this Government - Brady

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said that Enda Kenny and his Government are “on borrowed time.”

Speaking as the only Wicklow/East Carlow TD to vote against a vote of confidence in the Government last night Teachta Brady said:

“Last night, the Fine Gael led minority government scraped through a vote of confidence thanks to their partners in Fianna Fáil.

“In the end and after all of the talk of false concern and crocodile tears over the disgraceful handling of the McCabe case, Deputies Pat Casey and Stephen Donnelly decided they had no opinion on the matter after all.

“The actions of Fianna Fáil’s forty-four TDs have kept this chaotic government in power. They have put their own narrow, electoral considerations ahead of the needs of the people.

“They have decided that homelessness, a two tier health service and growing inequality are tolerable because the timing for an election does not suit them.

“It is apparent that Enda Kenny does not retain the support of his own party let alone the confidence of the people.

“It is also apparent that Sinn Féin is the only party of opposition in the Dáil. As a representative for the people of Wicklow/East Carlow I certainly will not be sitting on the fence on any issues.”

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

John Brady TD expresses serious concern over the temporary closure of Kilmacanogue Post Office

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady TD has expressed serious concern at the temporary closure of Kilmacanogue post office.

Teachta Brady said:

“It is worrying to see the closure of another post office in a small community in County Wicklow following on from the recent closure of Laragh/Glendalough post office.

“The site notice was put in place in Kilmacanogue yesterday announcing the immediate closure of the post office without any prior notice to customers.

“This is a vital service for the people of Kilmacanogue and the surrounding areas after an attempted closure was avoided only a couple of years ago.

“I have been in contact with An Post today in relation to the circumstances around the closure and to voice my concerns at the need for the post office to be re-opened for the community.

“Following my discussions with An Post I have been informed that there have been some issues of concern expressed by An Post that need to be resolved by the contractor.

“There is a responsibility on An Post not to use any potential issues as a trojan horse to close this post office. There is a duty of care to the people of Kilmacanogue and surrounding areas.
“For now, all social protection payments have been diverted to the post office on Quinsborough Road in Bray.

“I intend to keep in touch with An Post in the coming days and I hope that a resolution will be reached to ensure that the post office is reopened and the vital services provided continue in the area.”

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

John Brady TD to host public meetings on Health Service in Wicklow

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady TD has announced dates for his upcoming public meetings ‘Save our Health Service’ to be held in Arklow and Baltinglass.

Teachta Brady said:

“I am delighted to be rolling out public meetings to discuss the health service in Arklow and Baltinglass.

“At a time when every sector of our health service is in crisis I feel it is important for the people of Wicklow to have their say on their health service.

“The ongoing trolley crisis and waiting list scandal has put health firmly back on the political agenda and this cannot be lost. In Wicklow alone, there are 9,811 people waiting on an Outpatient appointment.

“This meeting will give people an opportunity to share their views on the current health service available in their own area, the concerns that need to be addressed, as well as a vision for our health service going forward.

“The need for a 24/7 ambulance service to be in place in both Arklow and Baltinglass is central to the health service in both towns and this must be delivered.

“Sinn Féin has embarked upon nationwide outreach on the need for an Irish National Health Service.

“This engagement is part of a process to highlight to people the system that they should be demanding of their elected representatives, that puts their health firmly at the centre of health deliberations, irrespective of income.

“Speakers at the public meetings will include Louise O’Reilly TD who is Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Health and Liadh Ní Riada MEP.

“I am looking forward to hearing the views of the people of Arklow and Baltinglass and hearing their vision for the future of their healthcare service in Wicklow.” ENDS

Meeting details: Thursday February 23rd at 7.30pm in the Arklow Bay Hotel, Thursday March 2nd at 7.30pm in Germaines Hotel, Baltinglass

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Government must ensure maximum protection for Workers’ pensions – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said when it comes to protecting workers’ pensions, Minister Varadkar does not want to know.

Deputy Brady was speaking last night during Fianna Fáil’s Private Members Business on the need to tackle the issues around defined benefit pension schemes.

The Wicklow TD said:

“Last week, Sinn Féin launched a Bill to ensure that no company with positive net revenues or which has a parent company with positive net revenues would be allowed to close a defined benefit scheme unless this scheme has reached a minimum 90% funding standard.

“Our Bill would prevent a similar situation to what happened last November in Independent News & Media. This would send a clear message to profitable companies that you will not be allowed to simply decide to renege on and walk away from your obligations to your employees.

“Minister Leo Varadkar’s excuse for doing nothing to protect employees is for fear of ‘threatening a company’s financial stability’ or ‘rendering some employers insolvent’. However, we are talking about companies who are profitable and therefore, the Minister’s argument makes no sense.

“The Minister’s rhetoric of his Department scrutinising issues around defined benefit pension schemes is achieving nothing and this is not good enough for workers in this State.

“The inaction by Government sends out a message to companies right across this State that they are free to consciously wind down defined benefit schemes and walk away from their pension obligations. Sinn Féin absolutely oppose this.

“Despite some concerns, Sinn Féin will support this Bill, but we will be looking at ways to improve this Bill to ensure maximum protection for workers.”

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Donnelly’s move to Fianna Fáil ‘a long time coming’ – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said that Deputy Stephen Donnelly’s move to Fianna Fáil has been a long time coming.

Teachta Brady said:

“The news that Deputy Donnelly is to join Fianna Fáil is disappointing, but not surprising. It is something that has been talked about over recent years and, even more so, since his departure from the Social Democrats last year.

“This time last year, Deputy Donnelly stood on a platform of fighting for a strengthened economy and an improved health service. Today, he joins the very party that single handily destroyed our economy and unashamedly presides over a two tier health service.

“Fianna Fáil’s privatisation agenda is well known, be it in the health service or our transport service, and this could not be further from the platform Deputy Donnelly stood on only last year.

“On a day like today, I recall Deputy Donnelly’s stance after the last General election when a Government was being formed and his disgust at Fianna Fáil even considering sharing power with Fine Gael having made promises to the contrary.

“I would question Deputy Donnelly’s own promises to the people of Wicklow in the last election and I wonder if the thousands of people who voted in good faith for Deputy Donnelly in Wicklow are feeling betrayed.

"It is hard to see how the ordinary grassroots members of Fianna Fáil will relate to Donnelly and what he stands for.

“As the only opposition TD representing Wicklow/East Carlow, I fully intend to hold Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to account.”

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.”