Thursday, December 19, 2013

Falling trees threat needs to be taken seriously - Roche

A Bridgetown man has warned of the danger of falling roadside debris during stormy weather conditions following an accident outside his house recently in which a young motorist was trapped beneath a fallen tree.  Mick Roche, a candidate for Sinn Féin in the next years local elections, warned that high trees and unsecured roadside foliage poses a serious threat to motorists and urged the County Council to make funding available to deal with the problem before a lethal accident occurs.

"During the recent stormy weather a young motorist was lucky to escape when a tree came down on the car he was travelling in just outside of Bridgetown village," Mr Roche said.  "This occurred on is regularly a busy road on a Saturday afternoon.  It was a miracle that the young man wasn't seriously injured.  The next time this happens we might not be so lucky.  Two other local roads were blocked by fallen trees on the same day."

"Local Council workers need to be commended for the hard work they put in to clear these roads and they are doing everything in their power to keep the roads cut back and safe.  The problem is that funding is not been made available by the powers that be to tackle this issue head on." 

"Roadside trees and foliage that poses a threat to the public need to be identified and safely removed before a life is lost in a terrible accident.  Everyone knows that money is tight but I would like to know exactly what cost will put on a life by our local Councillors?"

Kelly welcomes new routes for Rosslare Europort

A long-time advocate of investment in Rosslare Europort has welcomed the announcement that two new routes are to be brought to the harbour.  Cllr Anthony Kelly said the new routes to France and Spain show the huge potential and strategic importance of Rosslare to economy of the South East.

The Sinn Féin rep said;

"The new routes being operated out of Rosslare by LD Ferries offer a vital landbridge from France and Spain into Ireland.  The potential for tourism in County Wexford and the wider South East is massive now if we seize the moment."

"Sinn Féin has consistently highlighted the importance of Rosslare Europort and the failures of successive governments to even come close to harnessing the true potential that this gateway offers to our economy.  We warmly welcome this announcement and renew our call on the government to commit to the future of Rosslare."

"Recently Sinn Féin called for the deepening of one of the berths at the harbour and the reopening of the Rosslare to Waterford rail line to increase the ports attractiveness in terms of international logistics.  Despite not being adequately endorsed by our recent governments, the harbour has actually increased its trade during the recession and this announcement again proves its own strengths."

Annual Liam Mellowes Commemoration 2013

There was also a large turnout for the annual Liam Mellows Commemoration which was held in Castletown on Sunday. A colour party led the parade to the grave of the socialist republican leader who was executed by Free State forces.
Senior Sinn Féin figure, Éamonn Nolan gave the main oration in the absence of Gerry Kelly who had to cancel the engagement at the last minute due to an earlier than expected arrival of former US envoy Richard Haas, who is centrally involved in the Peace Process.
Nolan in a hard hitting and passionate address, which was rapturously received, drew sharp parallels between what he called the “conservative forces in this state who had to get rid of Mellows, seeing him as a threat to the status quo and those of today who are still fighting a war of words, demonising Sinn Féin at every opportunity as they know that we represent the greatest threat to the status quo, the failed politics of austerity and vested interest groups in this state. These ongoing attacks will intensify in advance of next Mays elections,” he warned.
“We have no interest in gaining seats for the sake of gaining seats – this is meaning less in the absence of change. Change is what we are all about”
He also spoke of the passing of Nelson Mandela who he described along with the ANC as “great friends of Sinn Féin down the years”
He highlighted the remarks of Nobel economics Prizewinner Joseph Stiglitz who sharply criticised the government strategy who stated that we will have a “lost decade”. ”We have the highest debt/GDP ratio in Europe - even higher than Greece! How on earth can you drive two hundred thousand of our young people from this country and still hail your policy as a success?” asked Nolan.

Wreaths were lain by various Sinn Fein cumainn from throughout the county and the last post was played by Gorey piper John Cullen.
Commemoration chairman, Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin, highlighted the relevance of Mellows writings to modern day Ireland.
"While Fianna Fáil sold out the the nations sovereignty, the Labour Party had, just like in Mellows time, sold out the ordinary working people of Ireland. They have continued the failed policies of austerity of their predecessors" He quoted from Liam Mellows writings, describing them as "prophetic."  -  “The Irish Republic stands for the ownership of Ireland by the people of Ireland. The last thing it needs is a change of masters. If her industries and banks were controlled by foreign capital, they would be at the mercy of every breeze that ruffled the surface of the world's money-markets
The Irish Labour Party have betrayed not alone the Irish Republic but the labour movement in Ireland”.

Music was later provided in the Golden Anchor pub by local ballad group The Rogues.

Roche joins the Sinn Féin ticket in Wexford

A Bridgetown man has been chosen as the second Sinn Féin candidate to contest next year's local elections in the Wexford District.  Mick Roche will join Cllr Anthony Kelly on the ticket after winning a packed selection convention in St Josephs Centre last week.

Speaking after the convention Mr Roche was quick to extend his gratitude to the local organisation and to commiserate with the other candidates on the night. 

"It's great to see so many good people putting their names forward to seek election under a Sinn Féin ticket," Mr Roche said.  "I made the decision because I see Sinn Féin as being the only real opposition to the political corruption and economic mismanagement that has destroyed my country.  Justifying hammering ordinary families with austerity while those at the top end of society are still giving themselves pay rises shows how out of touch Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour are with reality."

Mr Roche said that his own community in Bridgetown had been abandoned by the establishment parties.  "We only see these people coming in when they want something, usually before an election.  Bridgetown has been left to rot.  We have boarded up houses, no adequate resources for our children and a lack of Garda presence since the closure of the station in nearby Baldwinstown.  It's not good enough."

Mr Roche said he would be campaigning on issues of local concern such as lack of investment in local employment, the plight of the fishing community in local Kilmore Quay, crime prevention and traffic safety.  Cllr Anthony Kelly congratulated Mr Roche and said he looked forward to working closely with him in the future.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Seanad is aimsir caite

The Chairperson of Enniscorthy Town Council has slammed the notion that abolishing the Seanad is somehow undemocratic.  Sinn Féin Cllr Johnny Mythen said that despite all the rhetoric about the Seanad somehow bringing the government to task, suggesting that they act as an independent watch group is flying a false flag.

Cllr Mythen said;

"The system of electing Senators puts the upper house in complete control of whatever party or coalition is in power.  The Taoiseach elects 11 Senators. The T.D. s and County Councillors elect 43. (Again Government having the upper hand i.e. they usually have the majority of County Councillors).  Graduates of trinity college and the N.U.I. elect another 6."

"The others can be nominated by such bodies as, I.B.E.C. Transport industry federation, Irish insurance federation, National of licence association, Irish thorough breed breeders association etc.  These big organisations, their C.E.O. s, chairpersons and their board of directors are usually former government personnel. Others are politically nominated and appointed further contributing to the undemocratic system that undermines the current argument of retaining such an institution."

"How any party could defend an institution that is elected by 1% of the population and whose ranks are filled with the old boy’s brigade for services rendered must reflect their own standards and principles in public life."  

Inaugural Michael O' Hanrahan weekend will have something for all the family - O' Connell

One of the organisers of the inaugural Michael O' Hanrahan weekend has  said that the event will offer something for every member of the family.  Oisin O' Connell said that the weekend will include a memorial lecture which will bring diverse speakers including Professor Anthony Coughlan and writer Geraldine O' Connell Cusack to New Ross.

"The Michael O' Hanrahan Memorial Lecture will bring an eclectic mix of speakers to a non political audience," Mr O' Connell said.  "As well as an historical lecture on the life and times of 1916 rebel leader Michael O' Hanrahan, there will also be contributions from Professor Anthony Coughlan, secretary of the National Platform for EU Research and Information Centre, and Irish American writer Geraldine O' Connell Cusack."

"There will be many other events held for those not interested in lectures and debates.  A family fun day complete with free music and face painting will be held in Pearse Park on the Saturday from noon until two, followed by a wreath laying ceremony at O' Hanrahan Bridge.  We'll also be holding a fun table quiz on the Friday night and a hike up Carrigbyrne hill on the Sunday morning, giving everyone something to take from this event."

"As we move towards the centenary of the 1916 rising, it's important that we reflect and acknowledge what an incredibly important turning point this event was in Irish history.  It's important that everyone has a chance to remember what happened and from where our modern state came.  No one group has a monopoly on the memory of great patriots like Michael O' Hanrahan and that's why the organisers of this event would invite everyone, young and old, regardless of political beliefs, to take part in the first annual Michael O' Hanrahan Weekend."

Full details of the Michael O' Hanrahan Weekend can be found online at

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Wrong people are being jailed - Kelly

A Wexford town councillor has expressed outrage after being approached by a constituent who was briefly jailed for not paying their TV license recently.  The person, who wishes to remain anonymous, was jailed in the same week that a gang believed to be involved in a string of local burglaries were released out of garda custody on the order of the courts.

"It seems incredible that our justice system finds it unfair to hold a gang suspected of robbing houses across the south of this county while its perfectly right to jail a person who fell behind and was unable to pay their television license on time," Sinn Féin Cllr Anthony Kelly said.  "There are people across this county, particularly the elderly who live on their own, afraid to close their eyes at night because of the recent antics of roaming gangs.  Yet it seems in the eyes of our justice system, a person without a TV license is more of a threat to society."

"The Gardaí have being working hard over the last few months to smash the gangs that have been robbing homes across the county.  They have made great gains and their efforts have been felt and appreciated, especially in rural communities that have been blighted by this crime wave.  However, their hands are often tied by a tired, out of touch justice system."

"Efforts need to be made to make the justice system work for ordinary people.  It should exist to keep communities safe, not to act as yet another thing to have to worry about."

Tourism has potential to lift Wexford - Kelly

A local Councillor is calling for greater investment and the introduction of a more efficient tourism plan for County Wexford.  Cllr Anthony Kelly said that in Rosslare Europort this county holds the gateway to the south east, but unfortunately much of the incoming traffic is escaping Wexford and heading for tourist hotspots in the west.

Cllr Kelly said;

"Wexford's appeal as a tourist destination should be obvious.  As well as hosting some of the most beautiful landscape in the country, we also have a rich historical and cultural heritage and some of the finest beaches in the state."

"While our local businesses did see an increase in profits made from tourists over the past few months, you could not blame them for feeling a little let down.  Seeing buses full of paying tourists drive off the Rosslare ferry and straight out of the county shows that we have an issue selling ourselves as a prime destination."

"Why does the Wexford Tourism Board not have a kiosk on the Rosslare ferries, but the Waterford one does? Why is there no tourist information office in Rosslare Europort, one of the busiest ports in the state?  These are questions that have to be asked because at the moment we are not reaching our full potential in tourism."

"Its is wonderful to see an increase of 6% in people coming into Ireland between January to July this year over that period in 2012.  However, we need to look at more efficient ways to capture a greater chunk of this influx.  Tourism has the potential to lift our local economy.  A good start would be the opening of a new tourism office in Rosslare Europort and the introduction of a Wexford kiosk on ferries coming into the harbour."

Friday, September 6, 2013

9% VAT rate has been great for Wexford tourism

Fionntán O' Súilleabháin has said that he will be campaigning for the retention of the 9% VAT rate for food and tourism services ahead of the next budget.  The spokesperson for local Sinn Féin said that the measure had created 9,000 new jobs since being implemented and was clearly boosting the tourism sector in the south east.

Mr O' Súilleabháin said;

"The dropping of the VAT rate for food and tourism services from 13.5% to 9% has hugely boosted the fortunes for local businesses across this district.  North Wexford tourism has been lifted and we are seeing more far more people eating out this year as prices have dropped due to the lower VAT rate."

"There has been a great knock on effect for other businesses as well and many local people have gained employment as a direct result of the new rate.  Look at the huge success of the recent Gorey Market-house festival.  This success needs to be protected and allowed to develop further."

"The very welcome annual influx of visitors to North Wexford, especially the many who come from Dublin, proves the mass economic value that tourism and related services offer the area.  We should be trying to expand this.  Theres room for another hotel in the Courtown area.  To quote Courtown writer and historian Anna Kinsella, who launched a DVD on the area during the summer , 'build it and they will come'.  Sinn Féin will be fully supporting the call for the retention of the 9% VAT rate in budget 2014 so that such plans can be made a reality in our area."

Decision to privatise port is irresponsible - O' Connell

News that New Ross port is to be privatised has been met with criticism by local Sinn Féin.  Oisin O' Connell described the planned sale of the country's only inland port has been irresponsible and part of the governments carboot sale of Irelands valuable public assets.

"Our commercial ports are vital to future economic growth," Mr O' Connell said.  "Much has rightly been made of the huge potential offered by new developments at Rosslare Europort.  New Ross port has unfortunately not received the same level of attention.  This is quite unfair as it is International Ship and Port Facility Security code compliant and has huge untapped potential as we look towards Ireland being a major exporter of new tech in the years ahead."

"New Ross is an ideal location for importing and exporting materials because of its location and access to major transport routes.  With the construction of the New Ross bypass in the next few years making access to motorways linking to Cork and Dublin even easier, the strategic importance of New Ross port cannot be downplayed."

"The New Ross Port Company has been a limited company since 1997, but it still under the control of the state.  Selling it off at cut rate price to private holders is economic madness.  It's the equivalent of selling the family home at a carboot sale so we can pay off the loan on the car."

"New Ross Port must be kept in public ownership and developed as a vital strategic asset for the day when the tide turns and our economy finally picks up."

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Seanad neglected its duty and deserves to go - Mythen

Seanad Eireann has consistently neglected its duty to the citizens of Ireland and, by co-operating fully in the guillotining of democratic debate and the passing of questionable bills, deserves to go.  That's the view of the acting Chairperson of Enniscorthy Town Council, Sinn Féin Cllr Johnny Mythen, who says that his party will be campaigning for a yes vote in the upcoming referendum.

"Seanad Eireann consists of 60 Senators in total.  It costs €20 Million to run each year including staff.  Its members are elected by a troika of the Taoiseach ,various universities and County Councillors.  That is 11by an Taoiseach, 6 by the universities and 43 by local councillors."  

"Even in its formal years the Seanad was considered a threat to the main governing party.  The idea of an upper house with the capability of over ruling the Oireachtas on legal , judicial or executive terms was too democratic and too dangerous for most of the main parties to face.  This new power was swiftly and callously dealt with."  

"Over the years the Seanad's noble cause of being the citizens watchdog was soon crushed under the political cronyism and political influences of every governing party since the foundation of the state.  Fianna Fail even abolished it at one stage.  The Seanad in its current form is a mere extension of government cronyism and a grave yard for former politicians."

"Reality is what reality does.  The overwhelming indulgence of the present government's use of the whip system, the guillotining of democratic debate and the passing of questionable, disputable unconstitutional bills by the Oireachtas while being rubber stamped by the Seanad brings that very institution into disrepute if not ill repute."

"The Seanad does have a handful of intellectually gifted people and for those we are grateful.  However its compliance with the Government's rushed decisions without fully checking the consequences  has left it mortally wounded, especially when the rights of citizens are at stake.  This is an unforgivable neglect of duty, and brings to mind a quote from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, 'Let me have men about me that are fat, sleek headed men and such as sleep a nights'.  This typifies the current Seanad ; middle aged men and women who are content and who would never bite the hand that feeds them or the hand that appointed them."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mickey Devine remembered in Taghmon

The tenth and last republican to die on hunger strike in the H-Blocks in the terrible summer of 1981 was remembered in Taghmon last night.  'Red' Mickey Devine was only 27 years old when he died on the protest against the criminalisation of republican prisoners.

Veteran Wexford republican Mick Avic O' Leary called the final roll call of the ten men who sacrificed themselves in 1981 to the crowd of local republicans who had gathered in Taghmons republican garden last night.  Mr O' Leary promised that these memorials would continue every summer and that we would never forget the ideals and sacrifices of the ten martyrs of '81.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mythen: Don't insult our intelligence Bill

The acting Chairperson of Enniscorthy Town Council has criticised a speech made by veteran RTE sports presenter and Fine Gael advisor Bill O' Herlihy at Bael Na mBlath last weekend.  Cllr Johnny Mythen said that O' Herlihys suggestion that Sinn Féin were unfit for government and that only a joint coalition of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael could bring about a true republic was insulting to peoples intelligence.

"The recent speech by Bill O' Herlihy at Bael Na mBlath will go down in history as the greatest piece of delusional false flagging ever witnessed in West Cork," Cllr Mythen said,  "I think Bill will be in line for an all Ireland medal this year for services rendered to the forces of austerity."

"His whimsical attack on Sinn Fein proclaiming it 'has wistful yearnings for past violence' and therefore is not fit for Government in the 26 Counties is a very weak argument indeed, continuing on with a diatribe of false flags about what a true republic should be, when Fine Gael and Fianna Fail had ample opportunity over the last eighty years to build one."

"There is only so much a person can stomach from the likes O' Herlihy's Fine Gael right wing Government who looked after him well over the years.  To quote Collins in such a fashion and then to suggest a Siamese twins approach that will suddenly turn us into a true republic of "Justice and fairness" must be the joke of the century."

"Please have by all means your all Ireland gathering but please respect our intelligence to know the difference between Michael Collins republic and the propaganda being peddled in his name by the well to do and the people whom the status quo will always be their first choice.  Of course the bi-Carmel Government would always be their preference to a true Republic.  God forbid it ever should fall into the hands of true republicans?  Sure their world would come to an end."

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kelly welcomes Refuge talks

Wexford Sinn Fein Cllr Anthony Kelly has welcomed the news that talks are now taking place between the board of management and the unions to discuss the future of the women's refuge centre in Wexford.

Commenting  on the budget overspend at the Centre, Cllr Kelly said that this must not be allowed to overshadow the main priority of the centre which is the protection and retention of the vital services that the centre provides to the women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

"Now more than ever in this present economic climate and continued austerity budgets from the present Government, services such as the refuge centre play a vital role in the community," Cllr Kelly said.  "Financial pressures are a contributing factor in family relationships coming under severe pressure."

The Sinn Féin Councillor is reiterating his call on Ministers Howlin and Kehoe to not allow this refuge centre close and to prevent any reductions in service there.  

"How can you put a monetary value on such a vital service?" Cllr Kelly asked. 

O' Connell: Student grant hold up is very worrying

Many New Ross students are living in fear and on the financial breaking point because there third level grants have not been processed on time according to a local Sinn Féin representative.  Oisin O' Connell, a former president of the International Students Association, said that he had been approached by students who were already considering dropping out due to the huge financial worry which has been placed on them and their families by these processing delays.

"Recently the Irish League of Credit Unions released research which showed that on average it is costing parents nearly €1,000 a month to put their children through college," Mr O' Connell said.  "It is increasingly difficult for students to find part time employment that suits there hours out of study and this leaves them with no choice but to get help from their families."

"The slow processing of student grants again this year is very worrying for students and parents alike.  We all remember the SUSI grant fiasco last year and the horror stories of students dropping out because they couldn't afford food and rent.  It is imperative that we do not witness a repeat of that this year.  These grants need to be processed faster and students should not be waiting until their second term to receive this funding."

"I would also support the call from the Union of Students in Ireland on the government to prevent any cuts to the student maintenance grant in budget 2014.  We need to protect our students welfare and ensure that they can complete their selected courses without being forced to drop out due to financial considerations if we are to build a smart economy that can once again compete on the global stage." 

Wexford Suckler Beef herd must be protected – O’ Súilleabháin

A local Sinn Féin representative is calling for investment in new grants for local suckler beef farmers.  Fionntán O’ Súilleabháin said that small farmers across the county had reached the breaking point after years of cuts and said that unless action was taken to stabilise the suckler beef sector, there would be a devastating knock on effect on the local economy.

“The vast majority of small family-run cattle enterprises in this county are suckler beef led,” Mr O’ Súilleabháin.  “They are the farms that get the least grants, the smallest gross income and often end up suffering most from adverse weather conditions.  They have been pushed to breaking point due to the harsh austerity cuts of recent budgets.  The total agriculture budget has been reduced by 41.2% since the recession began.  This is compared to a reduction of 12.6% for total spending across all Government departments.”

“The IFA recently released figures showing that budget cuts including the abolition of the suckler cow welfare scheme and cuts to the Disadvantage area and REPS schemes have cost suckler farm incomes about €130 per cow.  Add to this the huge financial strain of trying to buy in extra fodder at high prices due to the recent bad winters and the pressure of day to day cuts and stealth taxes under an austerity government and you realise that the whole suckler beef industry is in danger of utter collapse unless action is taken.”

“The Irish beef and livestock sector is worth €2.3 billion to our economy.  Farmers and farm families spend €8 billion per year in the local economy.  Any collapse in this sector will be felt right across Irish society.  It is crucial that correct investment in the form of new suckler herd grant is made now to grow this economically important sector and prevent any kind of a systematic failure.  50,000 non-farm jobs are already maintained through the success of the Irish cattle and sheep sectors.  With proper nurturing of these industries, a further 10,000 jobs can be created by 2020 according to experts.”

William 'Barney' Cosgrave remembered in Cooletagart

"We'll remember him and people like him not only for their great personal sacrifices, but also for the causes which still live on."  Those were the words of New Ross Sinn Féin County Council candidate Oisin O' Connell at a commemoration event for local war of independence patriot, William Cosgrave, in Cooletagart last Friday night.

Mr O' Connell was joined by members of the local Gleeson cumann beside the roadside monument to the republican staff captain who died in the 1930's.  William 'Barney' Cosgrave was with Jim Parle, John Creane and Patrick Hogan when they were captured by the free state army at the residence of Major John Larkin in 1923.  Cosgrave made a daring escape.  His three comrades were later executed in Wexford Gaol on the 13th of March.

Veteran Wexford republican Mick O' Leary laid a wreath on the monument and an oration was given by Mr O' Connell. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cllr Johnny Mythens speech to the London Wexford Association

The following is the transcript of a speech given by the acting Chairperson of Enniscorthy Town Council, Cllr Johnny Mythen, to the London Wexford Association in Enniscorthy recently.  The Sinn Féin Councillor highlighted the important role that the association has played, and continues to play, for young Wexford men and women who are forced to emigrate to London in search of work.
Ladies and gentlemen, fellow councillors, Cathaoirleachi  and our distinguished guests, the London Wexford Association and their chairman Tommy Hannell.  We are all very proud and honoured tonight as fellow Wexford yellow bellies to welcome home for the first time on wexford soil the annual get together of the London Wexford Association, and to say from the bottom of our hearts, Failte roimh sa bhaile fein ar do thalamh fein le do mhuintir fein agus do chuid fein contae loch Garman.  Welcome to your own home, your own land, your own people and your own county wexford.
London has the strongest Irish heritage of any English city.  This is very evident through the many Irish centres, dancing and music schools, An  Londain luchleas gael, the famous Father Murphy’s club, and the many Irish associations like the London Wexford association, who create an atmosphere of a home from home and help in nurturing and sustaining an Irish identity and an Irish culture to exiles both young and old. 
Six million people living in England have Irish Grand Parents.  900,000 people of ethnic Irish origin live in London today.  This movement of Irish people to England has continued throughout many decades
This tide has ebbed and flowed as a direct response to Political, economical, and social conditions.  The latest figures show that 350,000 people, mostly under 25, have emigrated in the last four years.  Last year alone 1000 of our sons and daughters emigrated from Co. Wexford.
This is why now more than ever associations like the London Wexford Association should be supported in every way possible, because they have forged in the past and present an unbroken and unbreakable bond between the London Irish and their native Co Wexford.  For that we as wexford people we are eternally grateful.
Finally, we sincerely hope you will enjoy your home coming and the rest of the evening.  We thank the staff and management of the Riverside park hotel for their top of the range service and hospitality, and last but not least, Robbie Ireton, who’s wonderful idea it was to invite the London Wexford Association to this wexford gathering. Thank you Robbie, and thank you all for accepting the invitation.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to divert your attention for a moment before any formal speeches, just to say we are all very conscious that a little over a month ago our former chairman Pat Cody spoke at his last official function here at the strawberry festival ball.  If all things were fair and right in this world he would have been speaking here tonight. We remember Pat with fond affection, and pray for his family and friends who miss him dearly. May he rest in peace.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Proof that SNA cuts are seriously impacting our children, says O' Súilleabháin

A new study offers proof that cuts to special needs assistants and the services they provide are having a real and deadly impact upon children with disabilities according to a local teacher and Sinn Féin spokesperson.  Fionntán O' Súilleabháin said that the latest ERSI study showed that the governments irresponsible approach to snas was now taking its full toll on our children.

Mr O' Súilleabháin said;

"A new study by the ERSI shows that while 7% of children without any learning disabilities find school difficult, this figure rises to 12% when looking at children with special needs in mainstream schools.  This is the proof that we always knew would come which clearly shows the devastating impact that the governments slashing of the sna budget is having on our children."

"Cuts to special education services in recent years are having a terrible knock on effect right through the system.  It will only get worse.  42,500 students will need additional help from this September, a rise of over 4000.  22,000 pupils will also need support from special needs assistants.  There will simply not be enough help there to reach every child and many will fall through the cracks because this government has not prepared the system adequately."

"These figures are shocking but unfortunately not surprising.  The cuts that have been made will continue to affect children in the system for years to come and will only increase if the government pushes further cuts to special education in budget 2014."

Ministers must put weight behind campaign to reopen refuge - Kelly

Speaking at a public meeting called in opposition to the temporary closure of the Wexford Women's Refuge, Cllr Anthony Kelly has reiterated his call upon the county's two sitting Ministers to put their weight behind the campaign to overturn the controversial HSE decision.  Cllr Kelly appealed to Ministers Brendan Howlin and Paul Kehoe to put human decency before partisan politics and use their considerable influence in cabinet to get the refuge reopened immediately.

Cllr Kelly said;

"The HSEs decision to close the Wexford Women's Refuge is down to them going over budget by €67,000 so far this year.  Government Ministers earn two and a half times this in basic salary each year.  The refuge served a catchment area of 150,000 people and has provided a crucial haven for hundreds of women and children who have escaped violent relationships.  How can the HSE, government or anyone else put a price on such a vitally important service when clearly there are other alternatives?"

"One hundred and forty seven women and children have already been turned away from the refuge this year because they simply haven't had the funding available to help everyone despite the valiant efforts of the wonderful staff there.  How many more running from domestic violence will find no sanctuary over the next thirteen weeks because of an insane HSE cost saving measure?"

"I would appeal to Ministers Kehoe and Howlin to ignore partisan politics in the interest of human decency and common sense and join the campaign to get the women's refuge reopened immediately.  There can be no justification for closing this service for even one day, yet alone thirteen long weeks."

Social housing waiting list increased by 30% in New Ross town

There are now 348 households on a waiting list for social housing in New Ross, an increase of 30% since 2011.  This is as a result of government neglect and a total lack of vision according to local Sinn Féin rep Oisin O' Connell.

Mr O' Connell said;

"This rise in families waiting on the social housing list in New Ross is at odds with what is happening in other parts of the county, where the waiting list has actually dropped.  Questions must be asked as to why it is New Ross that has apparently been given the short straw and left behind.  The truth is, in a country where we have 14.5% of properties vacant, there should not be waiting lists on this scale."

"The fact that 348 families are stuck on an ever increasing housing list is an absolute disgrace and proof of the total lack of vision employed by this government.  Even when faced with a simple equation of many empty houses and equally as many families looking for homes, they are incapable of doing the arithmetic and once again fall flat on their face."

"Earlier this year Sinn Féin petitioned the government to tackle the social housing crisis by getting tough with NAMA and taking back property which is really owned by the taxpayer anyway.  We also called for the construction of 5000 new housing units by the end of 2013 with a further 4000 being built next year.  So far our calls have fallen on deaf ears."

Kelly raises concerns about frontline services in Wexford

Cllr Anthony Kelly has raised concerns that there may be further cost saving cuts implemented at Wexford General Hospital this winter following the HSE admission that they are expecting to run €100 million over budget.  The Wexford Borough Councillor said that the temporary closure of the women's refuge centre showed the lengths that the authorities were prepared to go to close this deficit and said that he was worried we would see more temporary closures at our local hospital.

"Last winter Sinn Féin were vocal in our opposition to the cost cutting temporary closure of operating theatre two at Wexford General Hospital following a budget overspend by the HSE," Cllr Kelly said.  "This year the HSE are once again running over budget, and already we have seen the lengths they are prepared to go to rectify this with the controversial closure of the women's refuge in Wexford town."

"The HSE have stated that the biggest overrun is coming from the states hospitals, expected to go €75 million over budget by the end of the year.  They do not state that the reason for this is because of health cuts introduced by the Fine Gael and Labour coalition and the previous Fianna Fail led government."

"Though Wexford General is not one of the hospitals with the largest overspends, we would still be concerned that more cost cutting measures would be on the way.  Any form of downgrading at our local hospital, permanent or temporary, will be fiercely resisted.  Stealth cost cutting will not be tolerated and will be exposed and opposed if attempted."

Social housing crisis must be addressed - Kelly

Cllr Anthony Kelly has renewed his call on the government to implement a realistic action plan to tackle the growing social housing crisis in Ireland.  The Sinn Féin rep said that recent figures showing that the national waiting list has risen by 12,827 over the past two years is proof that the state is not taking this issue seriously enough.

"There are currently 111,145 households sitting on waiting lists for social housing across this state,"  Cllr Kelly said.  "When you consider that 14.5% of dwellings lay unoccupied nationally, you realise what a gross travesty this really is.  It is an indictment of this coalition government that absolutely nothing is being done to counteract the rising waiting lists."

"The waiting list for social housing has grown by 50% since 2008.  The few things we have had in abundance during this recession are empty houses and unfinished estates yet there are twice as many families without homes now as there were at the start of this.  Why has nothing been done to take back the property that NAMA has acquired?  Why has there been no action to offer unfinished houses to families who might finish them as part of a deal for reduced rent?"

"This government doesn't care about the provision of social housing and the families who lie in eternal vigil on the ever increasing waiting lists.  It's one of the many things they share with their Fianna Fail predecessors.  After all, a recent report has shown that only 15000 social houses were provided during the boom, one fifth of what was promised.  No wonder we have these waiting lists now."

Wexford Women's Refuge closure affects the whole region

The closure of the Wexford Women's Refuge will have a detrimental effect upon families across the south east according to a local Sinn Féin representative.  Oisin O' Connell said that the critical shelter in Wexford town, which has been closed by the HSE for the next thirteen weeks in a cost saving venture, is one of only five centres around the south of the country that offer sanctuary to women and children fleeing domestic violence.

"The HSEs assertion that families looking for sanctuary in the closed refuge in Wexford town will be able to seek asylum in one of four other centres across the south of the country is completely false,"  Mr O' Connell said.  "These other centres, like their counterpart in Wexford has been over the past few months, are being overran as it is.  They cannot accommodate all of those needing help in their own areas, yet alone those needing shelter from a Wexford centre that serviced a population of 150,000."

"The closure of the Wexford refuge for thirteen weeks means that those fleeing domestic violence will be left out in the cold, at the mercy of the very pending danger they find themselves in.  They will not get help from other centres that are already overstretched.  This cut amounts to the state abandoning these families."

"Sinn Féin is calling for the immediate reversal of the decision to close the women's refuge.  It's been closed because of an alleged over budget run of €67,000.  What a tiny sum considering how much the government has pumped into bailing out banks and bondholders.  It is brazen cheek to suggest for even a minute that this closure is justified, warranted or rational.  This centre must be reopened now."

O.A.P.s put under duress by Government spin doctors again

The Vice Chairperson of Enniscorthy Town Council has condemned the leaking of rumours that the old age pension will be cut by €10 in the next budget by what he calls 'government spin doctors intent on putting people under duress'.  Cllr Johnny Mythen said that such a measure should not even be considered for a moment and if implemented would meet mass opposition.

"The recent claims and counter claims from Government ministers to cut the old age pensions by €10 is causing worry and  concern across the whole nation.   At a time when even the strongest of people are feeling the strain, the threat of cutting more money from the oldest and most vulnerable section of our society is despicable."

"The elderly have already suffered eight austerity budgets, seeing cuts to fuel , phone and home packages.  Now add property tax, university service tax, plus pending water charges on top, and your left with very little out of your €240 pension."

"To take another €10 will result in pushing many old age pensioners over the poverty line.  This is unacceptable in any civilised society, and a reminder to everyone that we all grow old and deserve a dignified and decent pension at the end of our working lives."  

Kelly calls for cross party support to reopen women's refuge centre immediately

The decision to close Wexford women's refuge centre for thirteen weeks as a cost saving measure is unacceptable and must be reversed immediately.  Those are the views of Cllr Anthony Kelly who has called for an emergency meeting of Wexford Borough Council in an effort to get the HSE's decision overturned as quickly as possible.

The Sinn Féin Councillor said;

"The decision to close the women's refuge centre as a temporary cost saving measure will cause irrevocable damage to the lives of local women and children who rely upon the shelter, food and care offered by the refuge.  There will be no savings made by this closure unless the HSE is recommending that these people in need should be put out onto the street.  That cannot be allowed to happen and the council will need to provide emergency housing which will end up costing more than the savings being talked about here."

"Last year the HSE closed down an operating theatre at Wexford General Hospital.  This year it's the women's refuge centre.  What's next?  Its seems the HSE under the current government believes it's ok to put a value on human life.  They seem to believe that closing a vital refuge centre to make small savings is more important than protecting vulnerable women and children."

"I am calling upon all elected reps in this county, local and national, to stand together and push for a full reversal on this totally irresponsible decision.  This is not a political issue, it's an issue of affording vulnerable people the most basic provisions for life; shelter, food and care.  This closure will cause untold hardship and could cost lives unless we stand together and force the HSE to back down."

Mary O’Rourke’s FF-FG unity bid would be logical: Sinn Féins Ó Súilleabháin

Responding to recent comments from former Fianna Fáil politician, Mary O’Rourke, that unity of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael would be a good idea, Sinn Féin spokesperson for North Wexford said that such a coalition would be logical.

Ó Sùilleabháin said:“It is good to see such a very experienced politician as Mary O’Rourke calling it like it is: there is no difference at all between the social and economic policies of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.  While she may think that unity of the two parties would be good, it would be a disaster for working people to see such a party in government."

"They are both parties which favour protecting the banks and big business and imposing vicious austerity policies on working people.  However, if they joined up it might put a stop to the carry-on in the Dáil where they pretend to disagree with each other to get a headline or sound bite when they are really on the same side when it comes to making people who cannot afford it bear the burden of the crisis"

Sunday, August 11, 2013

New Ross youths forced to emigrate to cut unemployment figures

Twice as many New Ross people are emigrating as are coming off the live register into employment on average, according to a local spokesperson for Sinn Féin.  Oisin O' Connell said that figures showing that over 150,000 under 25's have emigrated since 2008 while the rate of unemployment within that group stays at 26.5% shows that we have a crisis that is not being addressed by our government.

"There are currently 7250 leaving Ireland every month in search of employment and a better life abroad," Mr O' Connell said, "Make no mistake they are not choosing to leave, this is not a lifestyle choice as a certain Fianna Fail Minister once said.  This is forced emigration.  Our friends and neighbours from across South Wexford are being forced out due to the mismanagement of the economy by successive governments and the total failure of the austerity politics."

"Twice as many people are emigrating as are coming off the live register into employment.  They are leaving because there are no jobs for them here."

"Sinn Féin have consistently called for an end to austerity politics and the introduction of a massive stimulus programme to get the country back to work.  We have proposed major job creation projects within this county including the construction of  a new sugar beet processing plant in New Ross, the development of Rosslare Europort and the construction of state funded business parks in the larger rural villages which ballooned in size during the boom but were never developed properly by the state at the time."

Rosslare Customs strike again - Kelly praises second drugs seizure

Cllr Anthony Kelly has welcomed a second drugs seizure by the customs team at Rosslare Europort.  The Wexford Borough Councillor said the seizure of cannabis worth €1.2 million which came just twenty four hours after Ralph the customs dog discovered €1.5 million of heroin showed the incredible efficiency of the staff at Rosslare Europort and also revealed the amount of illegal substances that dealers are attempting to move into the south east.

Cllr Kelly said;

"The customs team at Rosslare Europort cannot be praised enough for preventing a bank holiday bonanza of illegal drugs from making it into Wexford town and the surrounding towns and villages of the south east.  Clearly dealers see a potential mass market for these substances in this region.  The vigilance of staff at the port, particularly super sniffer dog Ralph, may have saved lives in this town over the bank holiday weekend."

"The efficiency of the customs team in Rosslare shows just why it is rightly considered a world class port by Sinn Féin.  We have consistently called for further development at the port so that it can accommodate larger international freight and ship it out faster.  At least we know now that as Rosslare Europort grows it will not be an easy target for the international drugs trade."

Digital learning would be cheaper and more efficient - O' Connell

An iPad for every school child would work out cheaper for parents and provide a far more efficient education for our children according to a local spokesperson for Sinn Féin.  Oisin O' Connell, speaking at the launch County Wexford Sinn Fein's Back to School paper for 2013,  said that the state should be embracing new digital technology and providing the funding to bring it into every classroom, easing the incredible financial burden on parents.

Mr O' Connell said;

"A recent study commissioned by local Sinn Féin found that 62% of parents find school books to be the highest expense during the dreaded back to school period.  It's not surprising when you consider that these books are constantly updated and reprinted to meet the demands of an ever changing curriculum and most schools still favour using expensive workbooks instead of copies."

"Only 57% of parents surveyed said that they would like to see schools switch to using laptops, e-books and iPads in order to cut down on the expense of school books and writing materials.  This is because they presume that digital learning will be more expensive.  This does not have to be the case."

"The government has an obligation to make affordable digital learning possible in this state.  Last year we called on the government to enter talks with Apple, Samsung and other producers of digital tablets in order to usher in a new era of state funded electronic learning.  There is a even more exciting possibility.  The state could produce its own tablets, not just creating digital learning devices for our children but in doing so, creating thousands of new jobs and a whole new industry as well."

"Digital learning has proven itself time and time again is studies.  In California, where state funded digital learning has already been introduced, a study done by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt showed that students using iPads saw their math test scores increase 20% in one year compared to students using traditional textbooks.  If we are to build the smart economy that Fine Gael and Labour like to talk about so much, then this is the foundation for it."

Cullenstown development would boost tourism - O' Connell

The development of tourism services and safety features at Cullenstown strand would further boost tourism in the New Ross district according to a local spokesperson for Sinn Féin.  Oisin O' Connell said that this fantastic summer had shown the true economic potential of South Wexford's beaches but had also revealed a lack of development in certain areas.
Oisin O' Connell outside an abandoned shop/diner in Cullenstown

Mr O' Connell said;

"The great summer weather we have experienced in recent weeks has led to shown the awesome economic potential of our coastline.  A trip to Duncannon during the hot weather would reveal the endless possibilities  that a well planned, well managed beach community could offer."

"I was recently contacted by locals who had visited Cullenstown beach, near Carrig-on-Bannow.   They asked me to come down and have a look at the area myself.  While it is clear that coastal erosion has had a damaging effect on this strand, a good crowd were on the beach when I arrived and it was clear that this was another area that had huge potential.  In fact, up to twenty years ago, Cullenstown was one of the most popular beaches in the south east and a major tourist site."

"The thing that struck me about cullenstown was the lack of services.  The local shop and restaurant have been boarded up and empty for over a decade.  The road connecting the big beach to  a more recluse smaller one is almost impassable.  There are signs along the beach warning that parts are not suitable for swimming but there are no lifeguards on duty, even during the hottest days when crowds descend on the beach."

"Cullenstown is a beautiful beach and could be an economic gem if properly managed.  The failure of local government to plan and manage the development of Cullenstown has had a telling effect on the local area which is devoid of the most basic of services.  Sinn Féin will be petitioning for new development plans to be drawn up for abandoned coastal areas like Cullenstown so we may truly optimise the potential of South Wexford's coastline."

Time to cut back to school expenses - O' Súilleabháin

A Gorey teacher has described the results of local back to school expenses survey as disturbing and serving as a wakeup call for reps from local government parties who have ignored the plight of parents at this time of year for too long.  Fionntán O' Súilleabháin, a spokesperson for North Wexford Sinn Féin and representative of the INTO, said that successive Fine Gael and Fianna Fail governments had ignored their constitutional responsibility to children's education.

Mr O' Súilleabháin said;

"Ireland is one of the last states in the EU where the government does not contribute to some, if not all, of the cost of a child's education.  It should be the opposite.  The Irish constitution lays a firm responsibility on the government to take responsibility for a child's education.  Article 42.4 of the Constitution states, 'The State shall provide for free primary education'."

"A survey carried out by local Sinn Féin over the past six weeks reveals the financial strain that Wexford parents are put under at this time of year as a direct result of the states shirking of its constitutional responsibilities.  91% of parents surveyed said that they find this time of year to be a source of huge expense and stress."

"There are clear and concise actions that the government can take to cut down on this expense.  Sinn Féin have put forward progressive measures that would bring on us on a par with the six counties, where for example school books are financed by the state."

"We are calling for the establishment of a centralised book lending scheme which would provide all primary and secondary school children with access to free text books.  In addition to this, the wasteful workbook should be abolish as it is nothing but a source of expense on parents.  School crests that can be affixed to generic supermarket bought jumpers should be made freely available to cut down on the cost of school uniforms."

"Wexford County Council should begin consultation with the Department of Education, every school in the county and suppliers of electronic tablets and similar devices in order to launch Wexford as the first county to go completely over to digital learning.  The tax on digital devices used for learning should be removed in line with school books.  Digital learning could be a much cheaper and more efficient form of education if properly subsidised by the government."

O' Connell welcomes IFA pre budget submission

The Chairperson of County Wexford Sinn Féin has welcomed the IFA's pre budget submissions for 2014, describing them as being mainly common sense policies that any right minded government would already be implementing.  Oisin O' Connell said he was particularly supportive of the call to utilise more of the EU rural development funding available to us.

Mr O' Connell said;

"Up to €290 million will be available to the Irish government to draw from the EU Rural Development Programme this year and every year until 2020.  That's a rise of over €100 million since last year and all of it comes at no additional cost to the Exchequer."

"Since 2011, agricultural funding has been cut by 13% while other government departments have seen cuts of around 5%.  These disproportionately high cuts have come at a time when Irish farming faced a weather generated crisis which has led to a shortage of fodder and credit." 

"If agriculture is to survive and flourish in this state, in keeping with the impressive targets laid out in the Food Harvest 2020 plan, then funding will have to be made available to the sector.  Rural Ireland is dependent on a strong agri sector.  This EU funding would not just benefit farmers, but entire rural communities across this country."

Sinn Féin support Seanad abolition

Sinn Féin will be calling for a yes vote in the referendum to abolish the Seanad, which will take place on Friday 4th October.  Cllr Anthony Kelly said that his party favour political reform across this state.  "That goes for the Dail as well as the Seanad," he said.

"The Seanad is an outdated, elitist structure which has acted as a glorified boys club for the favourites of the government of the day for decades.  There is no doubt that honourable men and women have served with distinction in the upper house, but there numbers have been outweighed by the ranks of unelected individuals with vested interests who have been accountable to nobody."

"99% of the Irish population have no say in who gets elected to the Seanad.  Where is the democracy in that?  It has 60 members, 43 of whom are elected by county and city councillors, TDs and Senators, six are elected by graduates of NUI colleges and Trinity College Dublin, and eleven are appointed by the Taoiseach."

"Some people worry that without the Seanad, the Dail will have too much power.  Sinn Féin accepts that reform of the Dail should go hand in hand with the loss of the Seanad, but the fact remains that the upper house has acted as cheerleaders for the government for many years now."

"The Seanad has supported this austerity government on every single occasion including the introduction of the property tax, cuts to disability payments and the promissory note deal which is costing the tax payer €30 billion.  They supported the previous Fianna Fail/PD/Green unholy alliance when they were busy squandering the wealth of the nation and digging a debt hole for every man, woman and child in this state.  They have failed time and time again to carry out their mandate and prevent the Dail from making mistakes that will impact on the lives of the citizens of Ireland."