Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kelly calls for swift action on social housing crisis

Speaking at the recent Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Killarney, Wexford Cllr Anthony Kelly called on the government to take action in dealing with what he terms, ‘the social housing crisis’. Cllr Kelly told the packed auditorium that people in real need of support were being prohibited from gaining access to the social housing waiting list all across the state due to regulations brought in by the coalition government.

Cllr Kelly said;

“I was part of a delegation from Wexford who recently met officials from the Department of the Environment to raise the concerns of the Wexford Borough Councillors in relation to the implementation of the new Social Housing Assessment Regulations. We had hoped to meet the Minister but were fobbed off with officials instead.”

“It’s very clear in Wexford town, and in towns across this state, that certain applicants are being denied access to the social housing list while others on the list are marginalised. This is particularly evident where married couples or couples cohabitating, who may have recently split up and one has to leave the family home, could find themselves having to live in sheltered accommodation because these new regulations make things so difficult for them to access rent allowance and get onto the housing list.”

Cllr Kelly spoke in favour of a motion calling for the transfer of suitable NAMA properties into state ownership as social housing.

“It is immoral for this government to deny vulnerable people the right to social housing while they sit on thousands of properties. NAMA is an arm of the state. The government has the full authority to use properties held under NAMA for social housing. There should also be compulsory purchase orders on suitable properties that lie vacant for eighteen months or more.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The beatings will continue until moral improves

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the fiscal treaty in County Wexford has criticised the framework of the treaty suggesting that the best analogy to describe it is the black joke from the gulags, the beatings will continue until moral improves. Economist Oisin O’ Connell said the treaties prime directive of balancing budgets during the worst recession Ireland as known won’t help us and will increase our economic problems.

Speaking at a public meeting on the Austerity Treaty in Wexford town this evening Mr O’ Connell said;

“It’s not rational to argue that when your country is in recession, you increase the pain and you increase the recession essentially by taking more money out of the economy, not just by money taken out of government spending but also the money taken out by taxes. That is what this treaty sets out to institutionalise. It won’t help us, it will increase the problem and to use the old black joke from the gulags as an analogy, the beatings will continue until moral improves.”

“The arguments that we should take a little hurt now in order to emerge from this recession stronger is completely false. In order for medicine to be effective it has to cure the cause of your illness. What’s happening now is that we’re chasing symptoms. This government was voted in on the promise of change but instead they continue to blame individuals for what was actually a systemic failure. Blaming individuals for what has happened to us is chasing symptoms while ignoring the root cause of our illness.”

“The problem is the economic crisis that is inflicting itself on Europe now, our fundamental illness, was a one size fits Germany monetary problem and now what we are being offered as a cure by the Germanic influenced EU is a one size fits Germany austerity solution. We are not Germany. Only Germany is Germany and this so called austerity solution will only send Ireland tumbling further into economic ruin and the Irish people into deeper, prolonged poverty.”

“I think the majority of people at the top of the financial and political hierarchies across the EU realised that it wasn’t individuals that had caused the economic crisis but a complete systemic failure. They may not have known exactly what was causing it or what kind of solution was needed but they knew something was rotten in the system. As they couldn’t articulate what had happened you got a lot of what I would call ‘snake oil salesmen’ coming in to positions of power and telling the public that we basically need to whip you until things improve. That’s where the fiscal compact treaty is coming from. Of course such irrational behaviour cannot, and will not, gets us out of this mess.”

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kelly calls for new category of social welfare for the formally self employed

Cllr Anthony Kelly has spoken in favour of a motion calling on the Minister for Social Protection to immediately introduce a category of social welfare for self employed persons who find themselves without employment or income due to the continuing economic decline. Speaking at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Killarney last weekend, the Wexford Borough Councillor urged delegates to ratify this motion so it could become an active Sinn Féin policy.

“Since this recession began I can’t tell you the number of formally self employed people who have approached me asking why they are not entitled to the same benefits as other workers who lose their jobs,” Cllr Kelly told delegates, “How can anyone justify to a person who has paid a higher rate of tax and employed other workers for a lengthy period of time why they are not entitled to sufficient state benefits despite being left without any form of income. It is outrageous that a government which includes a so called labour party is turning a blind eye to this injustice.”

“Only recently I was approached by two separate individuals in the space of a week who were both applying for their retirement pension. Both had been self employed for many years. Both had employed other people. Both had contributed greatly to our revenue department over the years. And, despite my best efforts, both were told they were not entitled to this pension because they had paid a different stamp than PAYE workers. That is an absolute disgrace and in my opinion is a reason why many workers will never again risk setting up their own business as long as this obscene system is allowed to persist.”

“Minister Joan Burton needs to immediately introduce a category of social welfare for self employed persons who find themselves out of work and without any income. The level of payment should be based on the individual’s duration of self employment and decided on a case by case basis, but decided promptly and candidly.”

Austerity Government has failed mortgage holders - Kelly

Cllr Anthony Kelly has raised his concerns that the Fine Gael and Labour coalition government are incapable of dealing with the mortgage crisis now critically effecting 10% of Irish households. The Wexford Sinn Féin rep slammed Fine Gael for failing to deliver on pre election promises made to mortgage holders and described them as being ‘one trick austerity ponies’.

“Ten percent of Irish households are now in mortgage arrears,” Cllr Kelly said. “Rather than dealing effectively with this situation and managing to decrease the number of people in mortgage arrears as they promised before the last election, the Fine Gael/Labour coalition has presided over an escalating, untackled crisis. It’s a testament to the incompetence of this government that the percentage of people in this state in mortgage arrears is four times that of the UK.”

“115,000 homes are now in mortgage distress. That translates as an unmitigated disaster. How does our government respond? They establish a government subcommittee to look into the situation. It’s simply not good enough and a reflection on how out of touch this government is with the suffering felt by ordinary families across this land.”

“This austerity government has failed every struggling mortgage holder in this state. There’s been a total lack of action in dealing with what is possibly the single biggest problem facing the Irish people. Instead what we get with the one trick austerity ponies that make up our government is the same bureaucratic nonsense we got from their Fianna Fail predecessors. It’s time the government brought forward substantive proposals backed up with significant resources to address this problem. Anything short of this will see more families fall into arrears.”

Oisin O' Connell speaks on Rural Schools at Sinn Féin Ard Fheis

The following is a speech delivered by County Wexford Sinn Féin Chairperson Oisin O' Connell on rural schools at this years Ard Fheis.

Fellow citizens:

My fellow Wexfordman - a Primary School teacher, and personal friend - Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin, is today part of a state-wide demonstration, converging on Parnell Square, Dublin.

This event has been organized by people like Fionntán, as part of the “Save Our National Schools” network.

About One Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty schools are currently at risk of losing a quarter of their teachers. As Fionntán puts it: “last December’s budget holds an axe above… rural schools which have four or less teachers”.

These are mostly rural schools. They are the beating hearts of rural communities. They are a lifeline for mothers, whose budgets are stretched by the increasing costs of petrol bills. They are a fountainhead of local cultural infrastructure, such as the GAA. They are a living hinge of history for generations of families and communities. They are one of the most important anchor-tenants, for the foundation of the social fabric of rural society.
Some of the Wexford delegates get in early on Saturday morning

And then we have: Colm McCarthy.

One of the high-priests of the cult of austerity, a fanatical religion which is sweeping our continent; whose proponents wish to crucify our country on a cross of debt. They demand mortification of the body politic, and more: the sacrifice of our schools – the beating hearts of our communities – to be handed over on a platter. Our children’s futures are to be thrown on the pyre to satiate the Golden Calf, of a monetary and financial Moloch.

And for what?

By my rough calculation – and Mr. Kenny, if you’re listening in from your undisclosed location in a secret bunker: I only have a simple degree in Economics, so you’ll have to forgive my illiteracy – the total potential benefit, to the European financial and monetary system is this:

Thirty One hours. Thirty one hours, of interest payments, on our bailout, of their banks.

This is if the McCarthy report is followed, initially, by axing Three Hundred teachers. If we follow his report further, and axe another 200 teachers, the benefit to society is Forty Six and a Half hours, of interest payments, to bailout banks.

That’s almost: two whole days, of interest payments.

And for this, we sacrifice our schools, our children, our communities.

Kennys hush hush Gorey visited interrupted

Despite being kept hush hush until the very last minute, Enda Kenny’s surprise whistle stop tour of County Wexford last Friday was interrupted by members of County Wexford Sinn Féin and campaigners against the household tax and water charges.

Local Fine Gael had kept Mr Kenny’s planned visit to Stafford’s Bakery in Gorey top secret until just before the Taoiseach arrived. They only notified the press one hour before hand. That must have heightened their shocked when they found up to fifty members of Sinn Féin and the campaign against the household tax and water charges waiting for them.

A very noisy and colourful protest was held and Mr Kenny repeatedly refused to answer questions about the fiscal referendum as he literally ran away from the protestors. Over the weekend Wexford delegate to the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Kerry, Oisin O’ Connell, mentioned the event when he was speaking on a motion on rural schools. Mr O’ Connell asked if Mr Kenny was listening to his Ard Fheis from his undisclosed location in a secret bunker somewhere.

Prominent Household Campaigner speaks out against Fiscal Treaty

Speaking at a public meeting about the fiscal referendum in Enniscorthy last Thursday night, a prominent household tax campaigner said that the ratification of this treaty would destroy Irish families. Ferns based fire-fighter Dominic Gaughan said that thousands of Irish families were sinking under the weight of austerity and appealed to the people of County Wexford to throw them a lifeline by voting no to the fiscal compact treaty on May 31st.

“Hundreds of thousands of Irish families are sinking at this moment,” Mr Gaughan said, “We are sinking in mortgages, bills, debts, pay cuts, cuts to our social welfare, our pensions and even our child benefit. We’re being faced with tax increases and VAT increases. We’re getting less take home pay while we pay more for petrol and diesel, more for clothes and more for food. This treaty will destroy us.”

“I’m asking the people of County Wexford to pick up a lifeline and throw it to those families. Throw it to us, and by throwing that lifeline you will save the families of Ireland. By throwing that lifeline you will be voting down the treaty of austerity and sending out hope to the rest of Europe. In the last few weeks we have seen thousands of people marching on the streets in Spain. They hold up banners and posters, written in English for us. They say, people of Ireland, vote no to austerity. They don’t get a vote. No one else in Europe gets a vote. Only us.”

“The words that protestors across Europe are trying to say are the words of the French revolutionaries. They are the words of Jim Larkin when he said clearly; the great only appear great to us because we are on our knees. Let us rise. Let us rise and vote no to the treaty of austerity.”

The public meeting on the fiscal referendum in Enniscorthy was organised by County Wexford Sinn Féin.

Yes vote could cost every adult €5000 a year – O’ Connell

The Wexford Sinn Féin spokesperson on the fiscal compact treaty has said that the Irish people cannot afford to be pushed into a yes vote on May 31st and that such a vote could cost €5000 to every adult in the country. Mr O’ Connell slammed what he called the casino capitalism of European bank institutions and laid the blame for the eurozone crisis directly at their door.

Speaking at a public meeting against the treaty in Enniscorthy last  Thursday night, Mr O’ Connell said;

“There are people who are trying to convince the Irish people that the fiscal compact treaty will somehow flatten out and stabilise things. It won’t do that and it will cost us. By one estimation, in terms of increased austerity policies and higher taxes totalling €15 Billion by 2015, it could place an extra burden of €5000 on every adult in the country. This is in addition to the seed amount of €60 Billion for socialised bank losses - not including interest charges and servicing fees. The yes campaigners are good at asking the question, where will we get the money if we vote no? I would like the yes side to tell me where we would get the money to handle astronomical debts like that.”

“The debt that we have taken on as a result of private banking losses is unsustainable. It’s increasingly unlikely that we’ll be able to pay them back regardless of what we do. When people ask where we are going to get the money the question should be: where are we getting the money to pay the €20-30 billion a year to bail out foreign banks that gambled with ours? This is almost the same amount as our deficit that supposedly requires this austerity programme. Where will we get the money to pay the estimated €11 billion - for starters - that we will be obliged to pay into the ESM fund if we accept this treaty and our Dail then ratifies the ESM.”

“Over 700,000 people are living below the poverty line in this state today. They are there as a direct result of the failed austerity policies implemented by successive governments. They are there because our government accepted the fallacy that it was reckless spending and borrowing by the Irish state that put us where we are today when clearly it was the casino capitalism of banking institutions across the eurozone that doomed us to this fate. On the 31st of May we are being asked to ratify a treaty that absolves from any wrong doing and permanently secures the future of these toxic banks at the expense of ordinary families across the continent.”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Father and Son Campaigners call for No Vote to Treaty at New Ross Meeting

Two generations of a New Ross area family spoke at a public meeting on the upcoming Fiscal/Austerity intergovernmental treaty referendum in New Ross town last Tuesday night. The Chairman of County Wexford Sinn Féin, Oisin O’Connell, was joined on stage for the first time by his father, veteran EU campaigner Emmet O’Connell who published a booklet predicting the eurozone crisis almost forty years ago.

Speaking at the meeting Emmet O’Connell quoted from his 1972 book The Consequences of Monetary Union - and its Effects on Peripheral Regions. He used it to illustrate his opinions, firstly, that this is part of an historical process of subjugating peripheral regions to core ones. Secondly, that a "Yes" vote will have disastrous long term effects for the Irish nation - as evidenced by our previous monetary and political union with Britain.

His son Oisin organised the meeting, saying that in the past few weeks Sinn Féin had organised public meetings across the county in an effort to answer questions and counter arguments that were being put out by the yes camp.

“The government and the other pro-austerity parties and groups who have support this treaty have said that a yes vote offers more certainty than a no vote,” Mr O’Connell said. “The only certainty that a yes vote beings is the certitude of more austerity. This treaty, if ratified, will certainly lead to more money being sucked out of our economy. It will definitely mean more cuts to public services, more and increased taxes on ordinary families, more unemployment, more emigration and more poverty. It will absolutely spell disaster for the Irish nation and the Irish people. It will not even work - our bank bailout debts are unsustainable.”

“People forget that this treaty is only the first of two. There is the silent-partner - the European Stability Mechanism - to follow. Shortly after this referendum the ESM bill will come before the Dail. There is even a chance that the ESM bill will go before the people in a second referendum. We as a nation can vote no to the Fiscal/Austerity treaty; then Ireland ends up in a very powerful position with a trump card - the ESM. The ESM is the fuel pump for the Fiscal/Austerity train - the latter doesn't go anywhere without the former. We have a veto on the ESM, and if they want it ratified I think we really need to be asking for something in return, say for starters: a deal on our footing the €60 Billion bill of German, French, and British bank gambles.”

Local Sinn Féin member and human rights campaigner Ger Barron chaired the meeting. Ferns based Dublin Fire-fighter and Household Tax campaigner Dominic Gaughan also spoke forcefully of the need to vote no on the 31st.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Treaty does not protect ordinary citizens – Mythen

An Enniscorthy Sinn Féin rep has renewed his call for a no vote in the fiscal referendum at a public meeting in the Ballagh last Thursday night. Cllr Johnny Mythen told the meeting that the fiscal treaty does not protect the ordinary citizens of Ireland or Europe as our government and the yes side claims, but instead will place us all in the hands of ‘bankers and big corporate interests.’

“Austerity is not working,” Cllr Mythen said, “We already have had five austerity budgets and we are still borrowing to pay our debts. These austerity measures have taken the life blood out of our domestic economy, strangled the cash flow to small businesses and done away with our disposable incomes. They have increased unemployment to nearly half a million and have forced young people to emigrate to the disgraceful extent that today more Irish are leaving our shores per month than during the famine years.”
“To vote yes to this treaty means we will be signing up to a contract of permanent economic dominance that will see small nations fully controlled by non elected European Institutions directly influenced and dictated to by the banks and corporate interests. The treaty is dangerously concocted to allow the permanent erosion of our sovereignty and the permanent institutionalisation of austerity. This will mean more cuts to public services, more new taxes and existing tax hikes, the sale of our state assets and the infliction of a huge burden of debt on future generations.”

“This treaty will copper fasten austerity for the Irish people for years to come. It does not protect the destiny and future of ordinary citizens in this country or ordinary citizens across Europe. Instead it will place us all in the greedy hands of bankers and big corporate interests.”

Friday, May 18, 2012

10 Reasons why People should Vote No

1. This “Austerity Treaty” won’t work, and will deepen the recession across Europe and lead to further instability at home and abroad.

2. It’s designed to suit “core” EU members like Germany - not Ireland

3 It means even more austerity cuts in Ireland to meet German-imposed budgetary targets. These will increase to a massive 6 billion euro in 2015 with the focus on cuts and more cuts – not jobs or growth

4 It would result in a loss of political sovereignty i.e. control of Irish affairs would be taken out of our hands ( and democratically elected parliament) and handed to an unelected and unaccountable committee – the EU Commission.

5 The EU Court of Justice will be entitled to fine a member state who doesn’t impose the level of cuts to public spending as demanded by German leaders such as Angela Merkel.

6 This is a bankers treaty –the EU Commission asked that Irish people pay billions in toxic AIB private gambling debt which has beggared us as a people. We could use our VETO to get a better banking deal if we had leaders prepared to use it.

7 The treaty is binding and permanent. 20 years of cuts would be written into our constitution. Our children will still be paying for it!

8 They have conveniently forgotten to tell you that to enter the ESM fund we would have to pay a massive 11,000,000,000 Euro!

9 If you don’t know – better to vote NO. Don’t buy a pig in a poke!

10. The Yes side campaign has been based on scaremongering and false promises - just like in Nice and Lisbon referendums. Remember then…”Yes for jobs, recovery etc. etc.” – “fool me once…shame on you, fool me twice…”

Hierarchy Yes Campaigners will never face austerity – O’ Connell

One of the main spokespeople for the campaign against the fiscal compact treaty in County Wexford has said that powerful individuals and organisations who are advocating a yes vote will never face the extreme austerity that ratifying this treaty will bring. Sinn Féin Wexford Chairman Oisin O’ Connell criticised highly paid politicians and economists for endorsing a treaty that, if implemented, will have a detrimental effect on ordinary families across this state.

Speaking at a public meeting on the treaty in the Ballagh last night, Mr O’ Connell said;

“I know people are wondering why there are so many people at the top saying yes to this. We keep hearing of groups in positions of authority like Fine Gael, IBEC and the IFA coming out in support of this treaty. Why? Consider it a hierarchy. None of the people at the top of this hierarchy who are advocating a yes vote will ever face the austerity that they are telling the rest of us we have to deal with. They won’t face the dauntless prospects of unemployment, emigration or poverty; prospects which are faced by ordinary families across this state every day now.”
“For the people at the very top of this hierarchy the European Union is like the world’s biggest frequent flyer lounge. They get all the goodies, all the pampering and the good treatment. They get the pensions, the power and the privileges. When they leave their jobs or if they get voted out of office, they walk into Goldman Sachs or they become head of Coillte or something similar. The system rewards loyalty. Think about that when you’re in the polling booth on May 31st”

Austerity Treaty could drive Wexford people back into 1911 poverty – Kelly

Speaking at a public meeting against the Austerity Treaty in Rosslare Harbour last Wednesday night, Cllr Anthony Kelly said that in the centenary year of the 1911 Wexford lock out ordinary people were once again organising themselves against injustice and unfairness. The Wexford Sinn Féin rep warned that the austerity that would come with the ratification of the fiscal treaty on May 31st could drive the people of County Wexford back down to the poverty levels experienced by ordinary families in that period.

“Two weeks ago the people of Wexford commemorated the lock out of 1911 in the town,” Cllr Kelly said, “On that day groups such as the Labour party and SIPTU were among those who gathered to remember the struggle by working men and women against unfairness and injustice. It’s strange that those groups are now among the alliance that is attempting to scaremonger the Irish electorate into voting yes to a treaty that will institutionalise the policies of austerity; policies that impose unfairness and injustice upon families across this state.”

“One hundred years after the lock out people in this county are once again organising themselves against injustice and unfairness. The policies of austerity have failed. We have endured four years of savage cuts and new charges and we now have more people unemployed, more people immigrating and more people living in poverty in this state than when these policies were first introduced to save our economy. A yes vote will attach the austerity we have struggled under for the past few years to our constitution. Such an action would hurdle Ireland back into a period of indefinite poverty and political instability.”

“Sinn Féin are not blindly saying no to this treaty. We’re giving clear alternatives. If the EU wants to see Ireland emerge from this crisis then it is investment in the Irish people that we need not further austerity. Increasing the lending capacity of the European Investment Bank would allow member states like Ireland to roll out major projects in order to generate employment, increase competitiveness and improve the social and economic infrastructure. This would lead to both immediate and long term economic growth. Immediately the EIB could aid struggling member states to stimulate their economies and by doing so reduce their deficits without destroying their countries in the process. In the long term the EIB could act as a mechanism for recycling a portion of budget surpluses from core EU nations into the economies of periphery nations which would benefit people across the union.”

Trinity Professor calls for No vote at Gorey Meeting

A retired Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin was among the speakers at a public meeting for the No to Austerity Treaty Campaign in Gorey last Tuesday night. Professor Anthony Coughlan, who has been a leading for EU reform in this country for decades, said that the Irish people "are being conned into voting YES" by the government and Irish establishment.
Professor Coughlan also said that the government was not standing up for the interests of the Irish people. He also pointed out the absurdity of Ireland voting on a treaty text that will no doubt be changed at a later date due to the election of President Francois Hollande in France and political instability across the continent. Even the Germans have not yet ratified this treaty.

Other speakers at the well attended meeting in the Loc Garman Inn on Goreys Main Street were local teacher, historian and Sinn Féin activist Fionntan O’ Suilleabhan, Kevin McCorry from the Peoples Movement and Wexford Sinn Féin spokesperson on the treaty, Oisin O’ Connell.

Mr O’ Connell said;

“The private gambling losses that the Irish state has taken on are unsustainable. It’s increasingly unlikely that we’ll be even able to pay them back. So when people on the yes side ask, where are we going to get the money if we vote no, the question should be, where are we getting the money to service these unsustainable loans to cover these private banking losses that are a direct result of uncontrolled casino capitalism.”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Yes vote will result in serious cuts to benefits and new taxes – Kelly

Cllr Anthony Kelly has again called on the people of County Wexford to vote no in the upcoming fiscal compact treaty referendum saying that a yes vote will result in serious cuts to benefits and the introduction of new taxes. Speaking at a public meeting about the treaty in Ballycullane last week Cllr Kelly called on the government and Fianna Fail, the main proponents of the yes side, to explain clearly just how the state can be ran without apocalyptic cuts to the fabric of our society in the event of a yes vote on May 31st.
“The yes side have been constantly asking people campaigning for a no vote where we will get the money to fund the state if the people vote no,” Cllr Kelly said. “It is the yes side, Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail who should be explaining to us just where they will get the money to fund the state in the event of a yes vote and the implementation of this draconian treaty in Ireland. If this treaty is ratified, Ireland is going to have the pay the piper and once again, as it was with the bank bailout, it will be the ordinary citizens who will end up footing the bill. Where will the money come from when these citizens have already been cut to the bone?”

“The answer is as clear as it is terrifying. They will get the money by cutting social welfare, old age pension, disability and other benefits, by introducing new stealth taxes like the household charge and the septic tank tax and by rising existing tariffs. They will get the money by increasing the taxation of low paid workers and by further cutting vital services in health and education. I would invite any member of the yes side to prove that this will not be the case and to tell me where they will get the money to pay the massive charges that come with this treaty such as the estimated €6 billion that will have to be paid on top of the €8.8 billion already being cut from our economy over the next three years to get us down to a 0.5% structural deficit in 2015.”

“A yes vote on the 31st of May will have unimaginable consequences for this state. Over seven hundred thousand people are living below the poverty line in Ireland today. This treaty will increase this number. It will increase the amount of unemployed and people emigrating every year. It is the polar opposite of what we need right now which is stimulus and job creation. People need to be aware of what this treaty represents and how it will affect them and they need to be ready to get out and vote on May 31st.”

No vote is best option – Mythen

Speaking ahead of a public meeting on the fiscal compact treaty in the Ballagh Community Centre this Thursday (17th), Cllr Johnny Mythen has described a no vote in the upcoming referendum as the best option, saying that a yes vote would plunge the state into permanent austerity denying us an opportunity to join the growing pro stimulus movement across Europe.

“It’s now quite clear that a no vote in the fiscal compact referendum is the best option for Ireland,” Cllr Mythen said, “What we saw in the recent elections in France, Greece, Britain and Germany was the wholesale rejection of austerity by European electorates and the first visible indication that there is a growing pro stimulus, anti austerity movement rising across the EU. The referendum on the 31st of May offers Ireland the opportunity to join this movement’s call for jobs and investment ahead of cuts and unfair taxes. A yes vote plunges the nation into permanent austerity.”

“Once again we have seen the Irish Austerity Troika, Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour, and the vested interests who run those parties pushing hard for a yes vote. Yes to stability, growth and jobs they say. When have we heard that before? Are we not still waiting for the jobs that were promised in the Lisbon Treaty? This treaty is not about jobs, it’s about fiscal governance. If anything the ratification of this treaty will lead to further jobs losses and cuts in earnings to those still lucky enough to be working full time.”

“Sinn Féin is calling on the Irish people to play it safe and reject this treaty. We will still get funding. Anyone who says that we won’t is either mistaken or deliberately misleading voters. There is no indication that we will be denied future funding if we vote no. Ask yourself this, why would we need a second bail out if the first one was so successful? If the first bail out is working then why are 440,000 people still unemployed? Why are 50,000 people emigrating every year? Why are over 700,000 people living below the poverty line? If this is success then it begs the question; just how much more success can we survive as a people?”

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Yes vote will cost us dearly – O’ Connell

The Wexford Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Fiscal Compact Treaty has said that a yes vote will cost the Irish state and people dearly. Speaking at a public meeting on the treaty in Ballycullane last week, Oisin O’ Connell said a yes vote would be extremely costly while a no vote could open the door to something better for Ireland and Europe.

“This treaty will cost Ireland dearly if ratified,” Mr O’ Connell said, “We already know that the changes to our structural deficit limits will cost the state an extra €6 billion on top of the €8.8 billion in cuts that this government has lined up over the next three years to comply with the troika agreement. We also know that we face possible fines of 0.1% GDP in the event that we breach the rules set in this treaty. 0.1% of GDP in 2011 was 160 million. We know that the changes to the debt to GDP ratio that come into law under this treaty in 2018 will cost the state more money. The ESM - which doesn't exist yet, and may not in it's proposed form - requires us to pledge up to 11 Billion to it. We would be required to put in over 1.3 Billion up front in any case. Clearly this is more money than this state could ever afford to pay so the question must be asked of the Yes campaign; where exactly are we going to get the money to fund the state in the event of a yes vote?”
Kevin McCorry, Cllr Anthony Kelly and Oisin O' Connell at the public meeting
on the Austerity Treaty in Ballycullane on the 7th of May
“It will cost us to vote yes, but if we vote no we at least maintain the status quo and we will still be entitled to outside funding. We will still be full members of the EU with the all the rights that come with membership. We can still use the EFSF. Even the IMF has said there is no conditionality to further funding, as regards the referendum. The ECB is actually mandated to help member states like ourselves who have been shunned from the sovereign bond markets back to the bond markets as quick as possible. And this is even before we touch on the 20 Billion a year we are paying to service the bank promissory notes - almost equivalent to our deficit. This is mass socialisation of the cost of private financial gambles - unsustainable debts which are crippling us in the bond markets in the first place. A no vote to the austerity treaty is not simply a no to something; a no opens the door to a real possibility of something better, not just for Ireland but right across Europe.”

“Remember that there are many people across the EU who wish that they had the opportunity that we do so with this referendum so please use your vote on the day. Not voting in this referendum is effectively a yes vote. People have a clear choice; vote no or accept the terms of this treaty in full.”

Mr O’ Connell also rubbished government suggestions that their austerity plans were actually working.

“Let’s look at the governments so called success story so far; The Financial Times referred to Ireland as a poster boy for austerity. That’s the phrase that’s being used about us outside this country. Walk down the streets of your local town and look at the number of empty shop windows, look at the number of shops that no longer exist, look at the number of businesses that have gone under. Consider that about two and half thousand people emigrated from Wexford last year. Each one of those people emigrating is in effect a vote of no confidence in austerity. Each of those shop windows that used to house a business once but now doesn’t is a vote of no confidence in this austerity regime. Ask yourself if it’s been this successful so far, then how much more success can we actually survive?”

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Household Tax Protestors call for a No vote to Treaty on Wexford Quays

“We won’t be scare-mongered into voting yes to a treaty that institutionalises austerity.” That was the message being sent out by protestors against the household tax during a belated May Day Rally on Wexford's Quays last Saturday.  Cllr Anthony Kelly, Enniscorthy Cllr Jackser Owens, local musician Daithi Kavanagh and Ferns based fire-fighter Dominic Gaughan were among the speakers at the event.

“Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour took a political decision,” Dominic Gaughan said, “They decided that the banks were too big to fail and that citizens were too small to matter. We need a new government in this country. A government that will always remember that banks can sometimes fail but the citizens will never ever be too small to matter.”

Cllr Anthony Kelly urged the protestors to campaign against the austerity treaty as vigorously as they had against the household tax, as the two issues are unavoidably linked. Cllr Kelly stressed that the ratification of the fiscal compact treaty would lead to the introduction of more unfair taxes like the household charge and massive rises in existing taxes.

“The EU Fiscal Compact Treaty, or the Austerity Treaty as it should be known, seeks to permanently institutionalise austerity in this state,” Cllr Kelly said, “It sets out to make the cuts and taxes that have caused such misery and stagnation legally binding and an integral part of our constitution. It sets out to tie the hands of future governments and future generations of Irish men and women, leaving them to live their whole lives under the dark clouds of permanent austerity. It fair to say if this treaty gets through, we ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Earlier in the day Wexford Sinn Féin held a protest outside the constituency office of Brendan Howlin TD, which is housed in the SIPTU building in Coolcots. Cllr Anthony Kelly criticised both Minister Howlin’s Labour party and SIPTU for supporting the Fiscal Compact Treaty which will so obviously hurt their collective memberships and ordinary people across the state.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Kehoe must explain failure to declare rental interest from D4 property

A Wexford Sinn Féin Councillor has called on Deputy Paul Kehoe to explain the allegations that he did not declare rent income from a property he owns in Dublin when disclosing his interests to the Dail last January. Cllr Anthony Kelly has said that it is morally ambiguous of Deputy Kehoe to condemn people who cannot afford to pay their household charge while it has been alleged that all the time he has deliberately hidden rental property earnings from the Irish taxpayer.

“It seems that Deputy Paul Kehoe mislead the Dail by not declaring his interests on a property which he had purchased from Minister Phil Hogan in 2010 and had then rented out,” Cllr Kelly said. “Deputy Kehoe did not declare this property in his 2011 interests as he was legally obliged to do. Each January all TDs must disclose their interests under Dáil rules for all or part of the previous year. Failure to disclose an interest is an offence that can attract a maximum penalty of three years in jail or a €25,000 fine.”

“Had Deputy Kehoe been using the property as a residence as he claimed at the time, then he would not have been required to register it. However as he was renting the property and earning income from it, it now appears that he has broken the strict rules set in place for registering interests.”

“In recent months Deputy Kehoe has been the government’s terrier in County Wexford, nipping at the ankles of those unfortunates who cannot afford to pay the household tax. He has gone on record as saying those who do not register to pay the controversial charge are breaking the law. How ironic that the same deputy may have been breaking the law himself while he was delivering this sermon.”

“I am calling on Deputy Paul Kehoe to clarify these allegations to the people of County Wexford. It’s clear that he must explain these serious accusations promptly but I feel he also now owes the sixty percent of Wexford homeowners who have not registered to pay the household charge, and who the Fine Gael deputy labelled criminals, an unreserved apology.”

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sinn Féin honours Bobby Sands on Wexford Quay front

A black flag vigil was held in honour of Bobby Sands in Wexford town today. A substantial crowd took part in the vigil on the 31st anniversary of Bobby Sands death on hunger strike.

Bobby Sands was the leader of the 1981 republican hunger strike in the Maze prison which was a response to the removal of special category status for republican prisoners. Sands and subsequently nine of his comrades died in an attempt to stop the British policy of criminalising republican POWs.

Today’s vigil saw a large turnout of young Wexford people, many of whom have recently been inspired to join the growing ranks of Sinn Féin in the county through the poetry of Bobby Sands.

While in prison, Sands wrote the following;

It is found in every light of hope,
It knows no bounds nor space
It has risen in red and black and white,
It is there in every race.

It lies in the hearts of heroes dead,
It screams in tyrants' eyes,
It has reached the peak of mountains high,
It comes searing 'cross the skies.

It lights the dark of this prison cell,
It thunders forth its might,
It is 'the undauntable thought', my friend,
That thought that says 'I'm right! '

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bridgetown says No to Austerity Treaty

A public meeting to highlight arguments and alternatives to the fiscal compact treaty was held in Bridgetowns AOH hall this evening. Local Sinn Féin Cllr Anthony Kelly, Oisin O’ Connell and Kevin McCorry from the Peoples Movement laid out the reasons they believe the Irish people should reject this treaty in the referendum on the 31at of May.

Cllr Anthony Kelly said that the first week of full campaigning had seen the yes side issuing bully boy threats and scare tactics in an attempt to frighten people into supporting a bad Treaty.

“Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour are arguing that a no vote will result in the state being denied access to emergency funding in the future,” Cllr Kelly said. “Sinn Féin has shown that this argument is false. Nobody should be in any doubt; if Ireland needs further emergency funding the European Union will provide that finance.”

Cllr Kelly insisted it was the government who needs to explain where they would get the money to fund the state in the event of a yes vote to this treaty.

“According to the Department of Finance the structural deficit in 2015 will be 3.5%. The gap between this figure and the new 0.5% rule is approximately €6 billion. The Government has a responsibility to explain to people where they will get this money from. Is it their intention to further increase the tax burden on low and middle income families? Is it their intention to cut even more funding from front line education, health and community services?”

A calendar of public meetings on the Austerity Treaty in County Wexford has now been released and is as follows:

Monday 7th May: Ballycullane
Tintern GAA Complex, 8pm
Speakers; Cllr Anthony Kelly, Kevin McCorry & Oisin O’ Connell

Thursday 10th May: Ferns
Speakers; Fionntan O’ Suillebhan, others TBA

Tuesday 15th May: Gorey
Loc Garman Arms, 8pm
Speakers; Fionntan O’ Suillebhan, others TBA

Thursday 17th May: The Ballagh
Ballagh Community Centre
Speakers; TBA

Tuesday 22th May: New Ross
The Parish Pump, Rosbercon
Speakers: TBA

Thursday 24th May: Enniscorthy
Venue: TBA
Speakers; TBA

Monday 28th May: Wexford town
Speakers; TBA

Organisers say more meetings are to be added to this schedule and have reminded people that they can join the campaign and organise a meeting in their own area by simply texting JOIN to 086-2397192.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kehoe must come clean about Treaty – Mythen

An Enniscorthy Sinn Féin councillor has called on Deputy Paul Kehoe to come clean about the terms of the fiscal compact treaty and the truth about funding available to us in the event of a no vote. Cllr Johnny Mythen said that Deputy Kehoe had a responsibility as Fine Gaels senior representative in County Wexford to set the publics minds at ease after his colleague Minister Michael Noonan made ‘threatening comments’ regarding next year’s budget being dramatically tougher in the event of a no vote.

Cllr Mythen said;

“Comments made by senior members of Fine Gael, in particular Finance Minister Michael Noonan, have been highly reckless and the very definition of scare mongering. It seems after the household tax controversy Fine Gael are now intent on bullying through even the most decisive issue. Twenty thousand Wexford people are unemployed and people across the county are living in economically dire straits. These comments are a clinical attempt to scare these most vulnerable of citizens into submission.”

“Recently our Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said that a no vote would result in a much harder budget next year. It is outrageous that a senior member of government would make such a clear effort to intimidate the Irish people into accepting a treaty that is now clearly set to be rejected. Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour party people who have made these kind of comments are in breach of their ethical responsibilities as elected representatives.”

“I’m calling on Deputy Paul Kehoe to address the concerns of the people of Enniscorthy and County Wexford over these scare tactics. As a minister of state he should clarify his party’s gross misconduct of using threatening innuendo's which have nothing what so ever to do with the Austerity Treaty. These statements are highly reckless and clearly of an intimidatory nature. Deputy Kehoe must come clean with his constituents and admit that a no vote does not end our chances of future funding from the EU, does not mean harder budgets and certainly does not mean that Ireland will be in a worse situation than if we were to ratify this treaty.”

Sinn Féin mark May Day with right to work protest

Sinn Féin marked International Workers Day last Tuesday (May Day) with a Right to Work demonstration in Wexford town. Speaking at the event Cllr Anthony Kelly said that it was the anti worker economic policies of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour that left our county in a situation where 20,000 Wexford people are unemployed and 4000 are emigrating every year.
“This is the new emigration generation,” Cllr Kelly said, “20,000 people are unemployed in County Wexford today. We are venting Wexford’s young people at the rate of 4000 a year. When Brendan Howlin talks about the importance of exports all I can think of is those people who are being forced to emigrate, and of the broken families that they are leaving behind. Victims of austerity.”
“In the weeks ahead the Irish Austerity Troika of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour will attempt to scare monger the electorate into voting yes to a treaty that offers only cuts and tax hikes in the years ahead. The Fiscal Compact, or Austerity Treaty to give it a more fitting title, will institutionalise the very economic policies that have failed so spectacularly under the current and last governments if ratified.”
“The politicians, economists and public personas who have admitted that the economic proposals in this treaty would be disastrous for Ireland but still campaign for a yes vote on the basis that it’s the best we can get are guilty of reckless indifference in the face of potential catastrophe. This treaty will attach the very economic policies that drove us into stagnation to our constitution. It will lead to permanent austerity and permanent poverty. Any so called expert who says that we must vote yes to something like this has lost the plot.”
“The politicians, economists and public personas who have admitted that the economic proposals in this treaty would be disastrous for Ireland but still campaign for a yes vote are guilty of turning a blind eye to the terrible effects of austerity on ordinary families. They say that without this treaty we will face economic ruin. Look around, we are already economically ruined.”
“The many sporting and cultural clubs around this town that cater for our young people have seen the full scale of emigration from this town. This treaty will attach to our constitution the very economic policies that have given birth to a new emigration generation. It will lead to permanent austerity and permanent poverty. Any so called expert who says that we must vote yes to something like this has lost the plot.”