Friday, June 29, 2012

Bondholders paid while children hungry and businesses closed – Wexford Sinn Féin

Wexford Sinn Féin has slated the government’s payment of a further €1.14 billion to unguaranteed, unsecured bondholders - while one fifth of Irish children now go hungry. Speaking on behalf of the party in Wexford, County Chairperson Oisin O’Connell condemned the government for preparing to cut €500 million from the social welfare budget while handing over tax payer’s money to cover the sins of a failed EU banking and financial system.

Mr O’ Connell said;

“The Government wants to bleed €3.5 billion out of our economy by Christmas - that sum would fund the entire National School system for over a year. As part of that budget, right now it is scheming to slash €500 million from Social Welfare for December. ”

“This week they are handing over one third of that €3.5 billion, to cover four unguaranteed bonds. These are private bets on debt that the Government and their predecessors have agreed to insure - at public cost - when they went bad. €1.14 billion worth of bonds - the bad debts of Irish Nationwide and Anglo Irish Bank - are due to be paid by the Irish Government at our expense. ”

“There is a social cost, and public price tag that goes with all this. And it is often the least powerful - poor, sick, disabled, children, and the elderly - whose interests prove most expendable when paying it.”

“One calculation suggests that the interest alone on servicing this burden, could provide rehabilitative training for 150 disabled children, each year. Or, it could potentially fund the Jack and Jill Foundation (providing care for some of the most desperately ill children in the State) for over 15 years. And little over a third of that might allow dying children to be cared for at home instead of in acute hospitals - where their care costs about six times as much.”

“But Fine Gael and Labour's priority - like their Fianna Fail predecessors - is to pay private unsecured senior bondholders at our, public expense. Meanwhile, Crumlin Children’s Hospital has to fundraise to a new cardiac unit and a refurbished cancer ward. And earlier this year a report issued by the Health Promotion Research Centre of NUI Galway, found that one in five Irish children had gone to bed hungry.”

“Massive austerity measures are destroying the economic and social fabric of life for communities across this state. Once again ordinary Irish families are to pay the price for the sins of a flawed EU banking system. The empty shop windows on Main Street, are the visible price tag for bailing out the financial managers on Dame Street.”

“This money should be invested in the real Ireland of the real economy. It should be used for Quality Service Delivery - education, healthcare, and infrastructure - for the benefit of all our citizens, residents, and families.”

“It should have been but wasn’t. Irish tax payer’s money is being flushed down the toilet to socialise the bad bets of the European banking system. I can remember senior members of Fine Gael and Labour accusing Fianna Fail of economic treason during the last days of the Cowen regime. By allowing these payments to go ahead the coalition government is just as guilty, as their ideological collaborators and fellow-travellers today. Fine Gael and Labour are just the political wing of the ECB. It's not excessive government spending, but excessive bank lending that lies at the root of the Eurozone crisis which ordinary Irish families and businesses are paying for. The government's remedy is the actual malady.”

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Historic handshake another stepping stone to peace, reconciliation and reunification – Kelly

Wexford Sinn Féin has welcomed the historic meeting that took place in Belfast yesterday between the President of Ireland, the Queen of England, First and Deputy First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness. Local Sinn Féin Cllr Anthony Kelly has described the meeting as another key stepping stone in the ongoing peace process and a further move towards a peaceful reunified Ireland.

“The meeting of Deputy First Minister and lifelong republican activist Martin McGuinness with the Queen of England in Belfast yesterday will go down in the history books as another key stepping stone in the peace process,” Cllr Kelly said. “The time had come to make this move. No doubt there are many who may be hurt now by the meeting but I am confident that viewed in retrospect it will be clear for all to see that this was a genuine move taken to protect the peace process, reach out to the unionist community in the six counties and to progress the true republican ideal of seeing an independent united Ireland emerge.”

“We are all about the work of building a new republic. Let’s not forget that our republican ethos goes back to Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen who sought to unite Catholics, Protestants and dissenters. Today we do the same by demonstrating to our unionist neighbours that we are serious about creating a united society on this island that they will be comfortable in. A republic of equals.”

“Over the years I have personally always looked to a day when this island should once again be united. Many sneer at such an idea and say that it will never happen. Even those who support the ideal of a united Ireland say that they will not live to see such a day. After yesterdays courageous move of reconciliation, I believe that day of unity has never been closer.”

SNA campaigners thank Wexford Sinn Féin Councillor

Statement issued recently by the group campaigning against cuts to SNAs in Wexford

The parents of the Autism Unit at Scoil Mhuire would like to thank Wexford Borough Council for passing a motion seeking to protect the SNA allocation in the special unit.  In particular we would like to thank Cllr Anthony Kelly for proposing the motion and also for his continued support to our campaign.  Parents are greatly relieved that Scoil Mhuire is to maintain our current level of SNA support for the coming school year, also thanks to Alan Corcoran and South East Radio for allowing us the opportunity to be the voice for our children.

Back to School Allowance letters should have been received by now – O’ Súilleabháin

The local branch of Sinn Féin is advising parents who feel that they may qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance but have not yet received a letter confirming their eligibility to immediately contact the Department of Social Protection. Local spokesperson Fionntán O’ Súilleabháin said that changes made to the scheme this year to automate the process may see some eligible parents being left out which could result in late payments.
Mr O’ Súilleabháin said;

“The Department of Social Protection made sufficient changes to the administration of the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance this year. They correctly anticipated that more families would be entitled to the grant which is given to help with the cost of clothes and footwear for school children. To make the process more efficient and to cut down on admin they decided to automate the process. Anyone who is entitled to the BSCFA should have already received a letter of notification.”

“If you have not received this letter and feel that you are entitled to the allowance then it is imperative that you should contact the Department of Social Protection immediately to prevent a delay in payment. Payments are set to commence from the 16th of July.”

“In order to qualify for the BSCFA, a person must be in receipt of a qualifying Social Welfare payment and must also satisfy a means test. The rates of payment under the scheme are €150 for children between the age of 4 and 11 years and €250 for those between 12 and 22 years.”

A phone line is now operational to deal with queries on the scheme. The Lo-call number is 1890 662244. Application forms for the scheme are available from local Social Welfare Offices, via SMS by texting “Form BTSCFA” followed by your name and address to 51909 and online at Anyone confused about this scheme or their eligibility for it can contact North Wexford Sinn Féin on 087-6013877.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mythen has deep concerns over Burton Sick Pay Plan

Enniscorthy Cllr Johnny Mythen has expressed his deep concerns over Minister Joan Burtons new employer funded sick pay plan after it was revealed that sick employees may be subjected to humiliating visits to a ‘company nominated doctor’ in order to obtain acceptable medical certs to verify their illness. The Sinn Féin rep said that this was moving the plan in a dangerous direction and a making it a clear threat to workers basic human rights.
Cllr Mythen said;

“The revelations that Minister Burton is considering a proposal that would compel sick employees to attend a specific company doctor to obtain a medical cert are disappointing. The doctor in question will be paid by the employer, therefore prejudicing his decision in favour of the company. This begs the question: whose interest is the Labour minister favouring and protecting; the employers or the workers? The constant erosion of workers’ rights should be a deep concern to all, and minister's who pamper up to the cosy lobbyist's should realise their actions will have dire consequences on fundamental human rights.”

“Apparently the rationale behind this move is that Employers have expressed concern over how easily obtainable Medical certificates are for employees, and how willing GPs are to certify employees off sick and unable to attend work. They cite the fact that 85% of sick certs say the employee cannot do any work at all as proof of this. I would invite Minister Burton or a representative from the government to come public and challenge the integrity and professionalism of Irish GPs instead of hiding behind a vague, fraudulent excuse which will be used to erode workers rights and deprive them of their dignity.”

“It is clear that Minister Burton is attempting to find a compromise to prevent sick pay being eradicated altogether but she cannot allow this to become an excuse for the erosion of workers basic rights. Many workers will have no wish, nor are they under any obligation, to share their personal medical history with their employers. The Ministers plan is moving in a dangerous direction and she needs to clarify the situation immediately before anything is signed off on that will impact detrimentally on employees.”

Have you received your back to school allowance letter? – Kelly

Cllr Anthony Kelly has urged anyone who believes that they are entitled to the Back to School Allowance but have not yet received a confirmation letter from the Department of Social Protection to apply immediately for the grant. Changes to the scheme this year meant that the allowance would automatically be paid out to those who qualify for it and a letter of notification would be sent no later than June 20th.

“The Back to School clothing and footwear allowance is designed to helped families with the cost of uniforms and footwear for school children,” Cllr Kelly said. “The scheme operates between June and August and usually parents would have had to apply for the grant. Due to the large amount of people who will be entitled to the scheme this year the process has been made automated, meaning that if you qualify you will automatically be paid out without having to apply.”

“This process includes a letter of notification that will be received by entitled parents no later than June 20th. It is critical that you apply to the Department of Social Protection in writing if you have not yet received this letter of confirmation and feel you are entitled to this grant. Failure to do so may mean that you will miss out on the grant or it will be delayed.”

“The rates of payment under the scheme are €150 for children between the age of 4 and 11 years and €250 for children between 12 and 22 years. To qualify for the BSCFA, a person must be in receipt of a qualifying Social Welfare payment, and they must also satisfy a means test.”

A phone line is now operational to deal with queries on the scheme. The Lo-call number is 1890 662244. Application forms for the scheme are available from local Social Welfare Offices, via SMS by texting “Form BTSCFA” followed by your name and address to 51909 and online at Anyone confused about this scheme or their eligibility for it can contact Cllr Anthony Kelly on 087-1361785.

Pro Rata Tax Charges would benefit recession hit motorists – Mythen

The introduction of pro rata motor tax charges would benefit hard hit drivers according to an Enniscorthy Councillor. Sinn Féin Cllr Johnny Mythen said that many drivers were unable to pay for more than three months motor tax at a time and that led to them paying more over time. With many people now paying their tax online, the extra charge on these drivers was hard to justify.

“In these hard times many drivers are unable to tax their car for more than three months at a time,” Cllr Mythen said. “This means that they will end up paying proportionately more than someone who is able to tax their vehicle for the full year. Some would say that the extra charge may only amount to a few euro, but that is not the case. The annual tax for a standard 1.4 litre privately owned car is €384. However when taxed in three month periods at a cost of €108 each quarter, this rises to €432. Extra taxation of €50 cannot be justified in this time of recession.”

“The ever increasing price of fuel plus the added punishment of extra taxes being piled on Irish motorists are having a severe impact on communities. Most motorists are barely managing on a three monthly basis. Therefore this tax is one of the most inequitable in this state. It discriminates between a motorist who can afford a full year, and one who cannot. Yet the disadvantaged motorists are in fact paying more to service the roads in the long run. This is an unfair extra and is divisive in that it punishes motorists who are budgeting to the last cent.”

“I intend to raise this issue with our TDs. This is yet another unfair expense being placed on struggling families. With the introduction of the online tax system, which has meant effective savings on administration, it is not much to ask the government to introduce a pro rata rate of motor tax.”

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hogan’s electoral reform is a threat to democracy – Kelly

Cllr Anthony Kelly has branded electoral reform plans being put together by Minister Phil Hogan as a threat to democracy and has called on local Councillors, especially members of Fine Gael and Labour, to voice their discontent and stop Minister Hogan’s plan. Cllr Kelly said that reform of local government was needed, but it had to be meaningful reform which was executed in the best interest of the public.

Cllr Kelly said;

“Rumours are rife that Minister Phil Hogan is planning to abolish town councils across the state in his plan to bring about a stronger more cohesive local government. Closing local councils obviously will not create stronger local government. It is another misguided step from the man who brought us the household tax. Minister Hogan’s plans are a clear threat to democracy.”

“Sinn Féin agrees that electoral reform is needed, but it must be meaningful reform. It cannot become reform for the sake of reform. The structure of local government must be changed in order to make it more accountable and efficient. Councillors must be given more responsibility. They were elected to serve the people and must be allowed to do that. Currently much of the decision making in local authorities is handled by the county manager. This must change.”

“Ireland needs strong local government, but it must be a local government which serves its purpose. For that reason Sinn Féin would argue that greater power be placed in the hands of local councils. These would include full control over services such as water, refuge collection and public transportation. Many of these services have previously been held by local authorities but were eroded away over time. These powers must be restored.”

“It is wrong to say that Ireland has too many local councils. In fact Ireland has the second lowest proportion of Councillor per head of population in the entire EU. France has a councillor for every 118 people. The ratio is 250 per head of population in Sweden and rises to 350 per head in Germany. The figure in this state is one councillor to every 2,336 people. Clearly we do not have an outrageously high number of councillors as some people have claimed. Getting rid of more local authorities will further increase this ratio and can only be seen as a threat to democracy.”

Government comments on unemployed youth disgusting - Kelly

A Wexford Sinn Féin Councillor has described comments made by a junior minister attacking young unemployed people as disgusting and highly inappropriate comments from a member of a government supposedly committed to job creation and recovery. Cllr Anthony Kelly challenged local Fine Gael TDs to make their feelings on junior minister Shane McEntee’s comments known and asked that they provide a realistic blueprint for job creation for the seventy thousand young unemployed in the state.

“The comments made by Fine Gael TD Shane McEntee are highly inappropriate from a member of a government committed to job creation and recovery,” Cllr Kelly said. “Currently there are seventy thousand people under the age of twenty five unemployed in this state. Thirty nine percent of those people are out of work for more than a year. This is at a time when it is estimated that fifty thousand people, many of them under thirty, are emigrating every year. For a Fine Gael junior minister to imply that these young people are unwilling to work shows a government which is sadly out of touch with the realities faced by the young unemployed.”

“Deputy McEntee also implied that many young people out of work were spending their benefits on alcohol. This is a disgusting generalisation to make. Imagine what would be said if Deputy McEntee had accused old people of spending their benefits on alcohol. It would be an entirely false and deeply offensive thing to say. Accusing young unemployed people of the same thing is no different. Deputy McEntee owes the seventy thousand young people out of work in Ireland today a sincere apology.”

“This incident has highlighted the dangerous views held by government members about youth unemployment. It would now be apt for the government to bring forward a comprehensive and effective job creation strategy to help get our young people back to work. I’m calling on our local government TDs to make their feelings on Deputy McEntees comments known and to offer us a realistic blueprint for youth job creation.”

“This would be a far more proactive and positive move than attempting to vilify seventy thousand young people who are out of work through no fault of their own.”

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Vinegar Hill sees renewed pledge of resistance against household tax

Despite adverse weather conditions, up to one hundred protestors against the household tax took to historic Vinegar Hill overlooking the town of Enniscorthy today. The protestors were keen to renew their pledge of resistance against attempts to make them pay the controversial charge and to send a message to County Wexford’s five TDs urging them to vote yes to a Dail bill which seeks to reverse the household tax this week.

Among those who spoke at the event were Dominick Gaughan, Owen Dunbar, Breda Fowler, Deirdre Wadding and Daithi Kavanagh, who finished the rally with a rousing rendition of Boolavogue.

“We are now in the second phase of the campaign against the household tax,” Dominick Gaughan told the crowd, “Our level of commitment and resolve has not changed. This campaign has not gone away. In the words of Larkin, the great no longer appear great because we are on our feet.”

“The threat of 'compliance letters' being sent to non paying households over the next weeks and months can be seen as a measure of desperation by the government to quieten the storm of protest that will meet the beginning of the septic tank registration, water meter installation in October and the drafting of legislation for the property tax. The upcoming measures all point to an average of one thousand euro or more a year on household bills.”

The organisers of the event also led a picket on the Enniscorthy Constituency Office of Paul Kehoe TD this morning where they were confronted by an angry Deputy Kehoe. During a heated debate, the protestors told Deputy Kehoe that he was a “disgrace” and informed him that he was not representing the electorate of County Wexford by backing a tax that had clearly been rejected by the public.

Local Sinn Féin elected reps, Cllr Anthony Kelly from Wexford and Cllr Johnny Mythen from Enniscorthy also attended the rally on Vinegar Hill. Earlier in the day they had been part of a group who had handed out several hundred leaflets informing the public about the revenue raising alternatives to the household charge that are available and about the Local Government (Household Charge) (Repeal) Bill 2012 which is being put before the Dail by Sinn Féin next week.

If successful the bill will abolish the household tax and fully reimburse all those who have paid the charge. A protest will be held outside the Dail this Wednesday evening at 5pm during which time it is expected that voting will take place on the Household Charge repeal bill. Buses will be running from Wexford.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kelly calls for yes vote (To Household Tax Repeal Bill)

Cllr Anthony Kelly is calling on Wexford's five Oireachtas members to vote yes on June 20th. The Wexford Sinn Féin Councillor is urging members of all political parties to support his party’s household charge repeal bill, which if successful, will abolish the controversial home tax.

Cllr Kelly said;

“Sinn Féin has opposed the household charge since its inception on the grounds that it is a regressive flat tax which takes no account of a person’s ability to pay. Next Tuesday (19th) we will introduce the Local Government (Household Charge) (Repeal) Bill 2012. This Bill aims to reverse the Household Tax and reimburse all those who have paid the charge.”

“The Household Charge was introduced by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition in last years budget. In a calculated manoeuvre the government redirected vital funding for local authorities to the bailout kitty for zombie banks. The public were then threatened with a collapse of local services if they didn’t pay what was essentially a form of double taxation.”

“Despite the threats, despite the scaremongering and the bullyboy tactics, people have not paid this unfair tax in their thousands and it is clear that it is the democratic wish of the majority of people on this island that this tax should be abolished and consigned to the history books along with other mistakes of governments like electronic voting and the Bertie Bowl. The Sinn Féin Bill can do just that if the majority of TDs support it.”

“There are real alternatives available to the household charge. The government could introduce a new third rate of tax of 48% on income earned by individuals in excess of €100,000 which would raise €410 million. They could abolish ‘Group relief’ which is availed of by multi-national companies to transfer losses to profitable companies and write down tax receipts which would raise €450.3 million. Capping all public servants wages at €100,000 per annum would save €265 million.”

“Not only would these alternatives work; they would also be readily accepted by the political opposition and the mass public resistance to the household tax. The public now has an opportunity to put pressure on government TDs to reverse this unjust and unworkable household tax. I am calling on County Wexford’s five sitting TDs to listen to their constituents and put an end to the household charge controversy by supporting this repeal bill.”

Abolishing Household Tax makes economic sense – O’ Súilleabháin

A Gorey anti austerity campaigner and spokesperson for North Wexford Sinn Féin has called on local TDs to back a Dail bill which seeks to abolish the household tax and fully reimburse those people who have already paid the contentious charge. Fionntán O’ Súilleabháin said that County Wexford’s five sitting TDs had a democratic obligation to honour the wishes of the electorate who have categorically rejected this regressive tax. He also insisted that the repeal of the household tax made economic sense.

Mr O’ Súilleabháin, who is also a member of the campaign against the Household tax and Water Charges, said;

“Sinn Féin is bringing the Local Government (Household Charge) (Repeal) Bill 2012 before the Dail on the 19th and 20th of June. The Bill seeks to abolish the household tax and fully reimburse those people who have already paid the charge. Sinn Féin has actively and consistently opposed the household tax since its inception. We have made it clear that we believe this is a regressive form of taxation and that more rational revenue raising alternatives exist.”

“It is clear from the overwhelming show of public defiance against this tax that the electorate did not appreciate this form of double taxation which was introduced to raise revenue to bail out zombie banks. The lack of full funding available to our local authorities now is not a because people did not pay their household charge but rather a result of the government’s decision to redirect local government funding into the bailout fund for these banks.”

“County Wexford is estimated to have one of the largest non payment of the household tax records in the state. It is quite clear from these figures and from the mass public rallies against the charge which have been held across the county that the majority of the people of Wexford have rebuffed this unfair tax. Our five sitting TDs now have a democratic obligation to honour the wishes of the electorate who have categorically rejected this tax. They should vote in favour of the repeal bill on June 20th.”

“There are logical and progressive alternatives to the household charge. The introduction of a new third rate of tax of 48% on income earned by individuals in excess of €100,000 would raise €410 million. The Abolishing of ‘Group relief’ availed of by companies to transfer losses to profitable companies and write down tax receipts would bring in €450.3 million. The ending of legacy property reliefs would raise €341.8 million. Capping all public servants wages at €100,000 per annum would save €265 million.”

“Twenty thousand people in County Wexford are unemployed. Our communities have been ravaged by emigration. It was recently estimated that over seven hundred thousand Irish people are now living below the poverty line. Not paying this tax is not a question of choice; it is a question of ability. People cannot afford to pay anymore and alternatives that will not detrimentally impact on ordinary families must now be seriously looked at. When you consider that by the governments own figures the household charge would only raise €160 million, then these alternatives not only present a more ethical solution but also make economic sense.”

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Kelly welcomes news that SNA’s will be maintained at Scoil Mhuire

Sinn Féin Cllr Anthony Kelly has welcomed the news that the SNA allocation for Scoil Mhuire in Wexford town is to be maintained for the next term. Cllr Kelly, who has actively supported the campaign to against cuts to special needs assistants, commended the parents of special needs children attending the school for their courage, commitment and sheer determination to give their children the constitutional right to have access to a proper and equal education.

Cllr Kelly said;
“I tabled a motion at the May meeting of Wexford Borough Council calling on Minister Quinn not to allow the recent funding review to effect the S.N.As allocation at Scoile Mhuire (Wexford) and St Senans (Enniscorthy). The motion was supported unanimously.”

“Although the special needs children may have already had their future compromised by previous cuts, at least the government have maintained the present services for the immediate future.”

“Minister Quinn recently stated that the NCSE has advised the Department that it is in the process of reviewing and developing an appeals process for schools which will be in place for the 2012/13 school year allocation process. Sinn Fein is calling on the Minister to include parents in this revised process. It is only right and proper that they should have an input into something which will impact on their children’s future.”

Final decision on Wallace will be taken by the people of County Wexford

A spokesperson for County Wexford Sinn Féin has said that local Independent TD Mick Wallace’s under declaration of VAT by €1.4 million was wrong. Wexford Sinn Féin Chairperson Oisin O’ Connell said that ultimately the final decision regarding Deputy Wallace’s position will be taken by the people of County Wexford.

Mr O’ Connell said;

“What Deputy Wallace did was wrong. He has acknowledged this himself. Sinn Féin believes this incident further undermines confidence in politics and the political system.”

“The opposition Whips in the Dáil - including Sinn Féin - have referred this matter to the Dáil Committee on Procedure and Privileges (CPP). The Ceann Comhairle has also referred the matter to the Oireachtas Committee on Members’ Interests. This is right and proper.”

“As the rules currently stand, the ultimate decision regarding Deputy Wallace’s position will be taken by the voters of Wexford.”

Mythen calls for action on flawed Job Bridge Programme

An Enniscorthy Councillor has called for an investigation into why the governments Job Bridge programme is not working and into the possible flagrant abuse of the scheme by some employers. Sinn Féin Cllr Johnny Mythen said that recent figures released showing that only one fifth of those who have taken part in Job Bridge Internships actually get full time employment was a damning indictment of a scheme that is given such credibility by our government. He publically requested that the minister of social protection Joan Burton take immediate steps and, through her department, review the job bridge programme.

“The initial concept of this programme was to allow unemployed people to gain experience in the work place, thus enhancing their chances of gaining full employment,” Cllr Mythen said, “However its plain to see that some employers are using the scheme to replace permanent workers with these internships and are using highly skilled workers to provide professional quality services for less than the minimum wage. It has become common place to hear about highly skilled jobs being offered as internship places. Recently you will have seen intern offers for architects, solicitors and physiotherapists.”

“It seems strange that these highly skilled individuals are now only worth taking on for nine months and only worth supplementing their social welfare with an extra €50 a week for services rendered. Last Christmas a major retailer operating in this county took on over one hundred interns to man the floors of their shops during the bust festive period. They broke no laws by doing so but it seems strange that major companies like this would be unable to pay take these interns on as full employees and pay them the minimum wage.”

“Without appropriate policing and proper regulation from the Minister and her department this job bridge scheme will fail. In its present form it is rich pickings for unscrupulous employers who are exploiting the valuable ideas and know-how of internees and who are undermining the very purpose that the jobs bridge programme was created for. The minister and the department of social protection must act as a watch dog now before it is too late. They must not allow employers to use this scheme as a cheap means to replace traditional seasonal jobs with cheap internships.”

“A public investigation is needed to determine exactly how well the Job Bridge programme is working, what its fundamental flaws are and what level of exploitation of interns is occurring. The successful transition of only one fifth of internees to full time employment is simply not good enough when so much is resting on this programmes success. New comprehensive regulations are required to address the apparent abuse of the scheme by a minority of ruthless employers who would exploit workers when they are at their most vulnerable.”

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kelly calls for removal of tax on iPads

Cllr Anthony Kelly has called on the government to remove tax on iPads and other electronic equipment used for educational purposes to bring it in line with current non-taxation on schoolbooks. The Wexford Sinn Féin Councillor said that the use of new technologies such as I Pads in our schools could save cash strapped families in the long term as well as providing a more proficient and practical learning experience for their children.

Cllr Kelly said;

“The use of electronic equipment such as iPads or Android tablets in our schools is inevitable. It’s only a matter of time before they are introduced across the country. Recently we have seen California replace textbooks with electronic equipment. By offering grants and cutting the tax on these instruments we can give our children’s education a huge boost. The Fine Gael and Labour coalition have time and again decreed the need to build a new smart economy. How better to do this than by introducing our school children to the tools of this could-be smart economy as early as possible?”

“Currently the state places no tax on school books. It makes sense that this tax exemption should be spread to cover electronic equipment that compliments or replaces text books. Every year families with school children are finding their text book bills rising. Much of this is down to a constantly adapting curriculum and the recent replacing of standard copy books with new work journals. The use of electronic equipment would cut out this expense in the long term and would also allow for a much faster and more efficient updating of the curriculum.”

“Critics of this plan would argue that the introduction of iPads into our schools would cost families more than what they pay now for text books. Recently a Donegal school which attempted this change over on a trial basis asked parents to foot a bill of €750 for each Childs’ iPad. This is why the government must step in and lead the way on this by firstly cutting the tax and then approaching either Apple or one of their competitors and asking them to co-operate financially in the facilitation of electronic tablets for every school child in the state. A grant should also be looked at. If we move now we could be ahead of the rest of Europe and we would be sending a clear message to the rest of the world that we as a nation are committed to building the fabled much talked about smart Irish economy.”

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Government must now fulfil fiscal treaty campaign promises – Kelly

The Fine Gael/Labour government must immediately begin to deliver on promises of investment, stability and recovery given during the recent fiscal treaty campaign, according to a Wexford Councillor. Sinn Féin Cllr Anthony Kelly said that he hoped for the sake of the nation that the government would not renege on these promises as they had on similar pledges made before the last general election.

“The government promised investment, stability and recovery if Ireland ratified this treaty,” Cllr Kelly said. “They promised mass job creation and fairer budgets. They must begin to deliver on these promises immediately, with action instead of tired old rhetoric. They need to deal concisely with the mass unemployment epidemic in this country. They need to stop turning a blind eye to the emigration cycle that is causing so much heartache to families across this state. They must stop the policy of using emigration as a safety valve, venting out our young people in a vain effort to keep the live register figures stable. They must tackle the mortgage crisis.”
Will Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail keep their promises
about the fiscal treaty or were they telling porkies again?

“It is clear that a majority of people have rejected austerity. Forty percent of voters rejected it directly last Thursday, while half the eligible electorate rejected the policies of austerity by not voting. Fine Gael and Labour need to acknowledge what a bad reflection it is upon a sitting government to have only half the electorate turn out to vote. People feel disenfranchised and it is quite obvious that the bullying and scaremongering tactics used by some members of the yes camp over the past few weeks may have won the election but certainly did not win the hearts of the Irish people.”

“Breaking the promises made in this referendum campaign will only lead to more people rejecting the political system. It is essential that the government moves quickly to begin to fulfil their fiscal treaty campaign promises. Sinn Féin will be there, in our capacity as the largest party of opposition in the state, ready to hold them and their allies in the Fianna Fail party to account every step of the way. We will not allow the Irish austerity troika of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail to get away with breaking their election promises once again.”