Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wexford Sinn Féin protest bank interest rates on behalf of mortgage holders: "Where's our bailout?"

Cllr Anthony Kelly has demanded that mortgage holders be given the benefit of interest rate decreases immediately and has denounced those banks who have refused to pass on the reductions to their under pressure customers so far. He was speaking following a Sinn Féin protest outside Bank of Ireland on Wexford’s quay front last Friday.

Cllr Kelly said;
“There are people in real trouble with their mortgages because of an economic mess that has nothing to do with them. They have been forsaken by the very institutions that this state has placed itself in danger of ruin to protect – our banking institutions. The banks are not even going to pass on the ECB’s interest rate cut to their customers, despite everything that has been done to secure their continued existence. It’s scandalous.”

“There is widespread mortgage distress, but the government has done nothing to help people. Now, it won’t even stand up to the banks which have not passed on this interest rate cut. The Central Bank has confirmed that 100,000 households are in trouble with their mortgages and 100 people’s homes were repossessed in the last three months. How many families must lose their homes before our government takes meaningful action?”

At the protest, New Ross Sinn Féin rep. Oisín O’Connell called upon the government to keep their promises by making banks pass on all interest rate cuts.

"Let's be clear: every man, woman and child in this state is on the hook for €15,000 - to bailout the banks. Because of this, the banks get cheaper credit from the European Central Bank. They then turn around, and charge us more, for the same money they get cheaper - because we bailed them out! This is a double injustice.”

“We, the people, got AIB (which is 99% owned by our state) to finally pass on interest rate cuts, to customers last week. This was the pressure of people power. The other banks need to get the message: we won't accept a bank-owned state”

“The banks are defying the government and the people are paying the price. The government needs to answer us: just whose side are you on, anyway?” he concluded.

Wexford Hospital crisis is scandal happening under our nose – Mythen

Cllr Johnny Mythen has described the current condition at Wexford General Hospital as “a scandal happening under our very noses.” The Enniscorthy Sinn Féin councillor said he observed staff and patients struggling to cope with conditions at our underfunded county hospital during a recent visit there.

Cllr Mythen said;
“Since when is a hospital ward made up of a few flimsy curtains and a couple of sheet frames thrown together acceptable as the norm. This is the reality facing each patient that enters the doors of Wexford General Hospital. That’s if they’re lucky. If not they’re fate is the corridors. While we have people turning sods and sticking their chests out about building castles in the sky, hospital staff are being pushed to the brink of exhaustion and are rapidly reaching stress levels of dangerous proportions.”

Cllr Mythen praised the work ethic and commitment to patient care offered by staff at Wexford General, but insisted that they will be overwhelmed by the problems that they are encountering unless the government intervenes now.

“Working way beyond the call of duty, both patients and staff are in an environment where their safety and health are tested to the full each day.”

“This was my experience during the week, when I brought my daughter to the hospital. I spent two days there, observing at least twenty five patients on trolleys the first day and over forty the second day. Surely the wards that are empty can be reopened now to deal with this emergency. This is a scandal happening under our very noses. The patients, staff and people of Wexford deserve better.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bondholder Handover Act of Treason – Kelly

Cllr Anthony Kelly has condemned the Fine Gael/Labour government’s decision to hand over €700 million to an unguaranteed bondholder of Anglo Irish Bank last Wednesday. The Sinn Fein rep. described the handover of taxpayers’ money during this intense recession as an act of treason. Speaking during a Sinn Féin protest against the handover outside Minister Brendan Howlin’s constituency office in Wexford town, Cllr Kelly said that the new government was continuing the failed cronyism policies of the last one despite promising fundamental change during the general election campaign.

“Fine Gael and Labour rightfully attacked the last Fianna Fail led government for implementing extreme austerity measures against the Irish people while protecting the very golden circle of bankers, investors and speculators whose greed had caused the Celtic Crash in the first place,” Cllr Kelly said. “They promised essential change in government but instead have enacted the same failed Fianna Fail policies. Paying out unguaranteed bondholders, who are basically super-rich gamblers who backed the wrong horse, can never be justified. Paying them during the worst recession modern Ireland has ever known is an act of treason against the long suffering Irish people.”

“We live under a government which has cut the most vulnerable in society while carefully keeping an unmanageably corrupt system in place that always favours the wealthy elite at the expense of the majority. SNAs have been cut. Patients lie on hospital trolleys across the nation. Our students are being targeted with new fees and cuts to their grants. Household charges and a water tax are to be introduced and further cuts are on the way. Yet there appears to be money available to pay the debts of highflying gamblers. It seems the priorities of our coalition government are clear.”

“The government plans to take between €3.6 and €4 billion out of the budget. A €700 million saving would have meant no household charge. It could have meant no welfare cuts. Instead the government decided to give €700 million to an unguaranteed bondholder defying morality and basic reason. Even the smallest cut has the potential to inflict so much damage. The cut of 200 Special Needs Assistants this year caused untold damage for families with special children and saved the state only €6 million.”

“Sinn Féin completely opposes paying off any of these unguaranteed bondholders. We would urge the government, in particular the Labour party, to stop these handovers. In January a further 1.2 billion is due to be paid out. Labour in opposition always claimed to oppose the right of unsecured bondholders to any payout. I’m calling on Minister Brendan Howlin to use his influence at the cabinet table to stop the handover and to instead use this money for the good of the Irish people.”