Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Speaking after a protest against cuts to SNAs held during Enda Kenny’s visit to Wexford town last week, Cllr Anthony Kelly called on the government to immediately reverse cuts to special needs assistants. The Wexford town Sinn Fein councillor commended the determination and persistence of parents who organised the protest to appeal for a fair education for their children.
Cllr Kelly said;
“I’m taken aback by Enda Kenny’s disdain for these parents who are only making a very reasonable demand for a fair education for their children. His statement warning the parents to expect no reverse to SNA cuts shows an outrageous lack of humanity. No one could have encountered these parents and not be touched by their plight and their fortitude to fight for their children’s rights. Enda Kenny and his government have to see reason and reverse these cruel cuts immediately.”
“The government seems unable to grasp the devastating impact that these cuts are having on children who have special education and behavioural needs as well as on their families, who are struggling to cope, and on over-burdened teachers with responsibility for their learning. They also seem ignorant to the relatively small savings that are being made from these cuts. SNAs earn just a little more than the minimum wage – less than €12 an hour. You can see how miniscule their wages are when compared with the earnings of our government ministers or quango members.”
“The government insists it is unable to pay to keep our S.N.As in post; however they recently handed over €35m to the lawyers of the Catholic Church to contribute to their legal fees regarding the clerical sex abuse cases. This money went to solicitors, not abuse victims. Fine Gael and Labour seek to save €6m by capping the number of S.N.As around the Country. The net saving to the exchequer will be approximately €2m as the Social Welfare costs of 230 SNAs becoming unemployed will cost the state roughly €4m.”
“I was glad to stand by the parents who are fighting these cuts and I can assure them the full support of Sinn Fein. I admire and commend the determination and persistence of these parents who are prepared to fight for the basic rights of having access to a proper and fair education for their children. It’s up to the people of County Wexford to do the right thing now and to get behind these parents and their children. Together we can force the government to reverse these unfair cuts.”
Cllr Anthony Kelly has asked the Mayor of Wexford town to organise a meeting between a deputation from Wexford Borough Council and the Management of Wexford General Hospital to discuss the overcrowding situation at the hospital. The Sinn Féin councillor says he was forced to contact Mayor Davy Hynes and ask for the emergency meeting following growing concerns over the adverse effects of budget restraints on staff and patients at Wexford General.
Cllr Kelly said;
“Once again a lack of beds for sick patients is causing mayhem at our local hospital. Recently there has been a daily average of twenty five patients left on trolleys there. We know that these figures reached record heights in August. This is completely unacceptable and repulsive when you consider that we have two Wexford TDs who were elected on the back of campaigns to retain vital services at Wexford General Hospital. Obviously services have not been retained when patients are being treated in atrocious conditions which will clearly impede their recovery. That is why I am calling for an emergency meeting between a delegation from Wexford Borough Council and the management of Wexford General Hospital.”
“Once again I must praise the staff at Wexford General who continue to provide excellent service under the strenuous conditions. It seems the Fine Gael/ Labour government expect them to be miracle workers instead of medical workers. How else can they justify continuingly removing and downgrading services while expecting patients to still be treated with the same capability as always? Thirty nine beds are currently closed at your our local hospital. If these beds were available, then patients would not have to risk their recovery as they go through the humiliating ordeal of trolley treatment.”
“The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation are laying the blame on increased numbers of patients receiving treatment on trolleys on the volume of acute bed closures, the reduction in long term care beds, and cutbacks in community based services. The HSE promised the people of County Wexford that their last cutbacks would be temporary and have no real adverse effect on treatment of patients at Wexford General. However, there has been a 250% jump in trolley patients at Wexford hospital between August 2010 and August 2011. I would say that those figures constitute an adverse affect on patient treatment.”
“Wexford Sinn Féin is calling on Mayor Hynes to schedule this meeting, and for members of Wexford Borough Council and the management of Wexford General Hospital to accept. We cannot bury our heads in the sand. This situation has to be dealt with before anymore damage is done to patients and staff at our hospital.”
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Cllr Anthony Kelly, responding to the latest report on debt projections from the Economic and Social Research Institute, has accused the body of being out of touch with the realities of everyday life for under pressure Irish families. The Wexford Sinn Fein councillor has criticised the ESRI’s “sterile, detached” view on spending cuts and tax increases.
“The ESRI’s call for intensified austerity is irresponsible and unethical,” Cllr Kelly said. “The mandate of this group is not just the study and guidance of economic affairs, but also the consideration of the impact of economic events upon the Irish household. The ERSI’s demand for ‘revved up’ austerity in the form of €30 billion in cuts does not reflect an organisation that is perceptive to the needs of the Irish people. In fact it seems to me that the ESRI’s sterile, detached view on spending cuts and increased taxes betrays an organisation that is completely out of touch with reality.”
“We have already suffered some of the harshest austerity cuts ever seen in a western economy. Nearly half a million people are unemployed, and the live register figures remain incredibly high despite up to 50,000 Irish people emigrating every year. The central bank has reported a 26% increase in distressed mortgages over the past year. This is where austerity has gotten us. ERSI catcalls for amplified austerity measures completely ignore these figures and the obvious crippling effects of previous cuts on Irish society.”
“The ESRI believe that pure s on paper can bring the Irish economy to recovery. They don’t factor in the blatant suffering that will be inflicted upon thousands of Irish families as their members are well insulated from austerity. The mantra of “everyone must pay” is a fiction invented by the likes of the ERSI. The truth is that one section of society is being targeted with every cut, every new tax and every lost service. That section is the bottom end; the unemployed, the low paid and the debt ridded mortgage holder.”
“The government must cast inside this report from the ESRI, who have made such appalling economic projections in the past, and accept a new economic principal of those who can afford to should pay more. Our government’s refusal to make the rich pay is out of step internationally. We must look towards the implementation of a wealth tax in the next budget. Progressive taxes must be marginally increased on those earning over €100,000 per annum. Misused tax breaks must be ended and the quango system abolished. The ESRI’s austerity bonanza offers only further disintegration of our economy”.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
“I understand the difficult job that Minister Howlin is faced with,” Cllr Kelly said, “But that those not give him a free license to make reckless decisions that will impact on the future of this county and its people. Brendan Howlin and the Labour party made pre election promises to abolish the Universal Social Charge, and to oppose any flat rate property or water taxes. To abandon those promises now not only reveals a lack of accountability and trustworthiness, but also shows a dangerous lack of judgement by the Labour party.”
“We call these taxes the “Family Tax” because they target families. The targeting of families and the targeting of the 51% of the population who earn less than €34,000 per annum betrays a government that lacks any economic reasoning. It’s obvious that no economic recovery can happen when half the population are kept in the red.”
“Sinn Féin has always argued that there is a better way. Those who can afford to pay more must be made to do so. The French have recently proposed further taxes on their wealthiest citizens. They already pay a wealth tax there and it works very well. A similar tax would work in Ireland and should be adopted as a matter of urgency. Government salaries should be cut and a new third rate of tax of 48% should be placed on those earning income in excess of €100,000.”
“The serious reform of the quango network and the tax break system could provide revenue which could then be used to stimulate the economy and get people back to work. For example, we could begin a major programme of work on our nation’s schools. As it stands, the state pays around €29 million per annum renting prefab buildings to act as classrooms for our children. Let’s take people off the dole queues to build new schools. This would surely stand out as common sense to most people, yet it has not even been discussed in public by any member of the current government. I would ask Minister Howlin to rule out the Family Tax and to call on his government to implement more progressive measures immediately.”