Friday, July 26, 2013

O' Connell calls for reopening of Duncormick Post Office

The Chairperson of County Wexford Sinn Féin has reiterated his party's call for the reopening of the village post office in Duncormick.  Oisin O' Connell, who visited the closed post office with Cllr Anthony Kelly last week, said that its continued closure was causing huge inconvenience for locals and was putting massive strain on small businesses in the area.

"Duncormick Post Office was closed without warning fourteen months ago," Mr O' Connell said.  "No explanation has ever been given by An Post.  The closure has had a shocking effect on the area.  Local businesses have seen a massive fall in custom since the post office was closed proving that it was the lifeblood of the local community."

"While visiting the village last weekend with Cllr Anthony Kelly, I was stunned by how much of an inconvenience this closure has caused to the local community.  Publican John Sinnott, whose business joins the now empty post office told me that local elderly residents have to book a taxi to travel up to eight miles to get to their next nearest post office in Bridgetown to draw their old age pension."

"The parish of Rathangan is the third largest in the diocese of Ferns and has no post office.  The neighbouring parishes of Kilmore and Bannow have three and two respectively.  Duncormick itself had a post office for one hundred and sixty years until the unexpected closure in May 2012."

"The loss of Duncormick's post office is another clear example of the erosion of services currently being witnessed across rural Ireland.  It is unacceptable that people on benefits have to hire a taxi to go collect them.  It's unacceptable that struggling rate paying businesses are sent to the wall because government services are being withdrawn from the local area.  It's unacceptable that Duncormick has gone fourteen months without these basic services or any explanation as to why they have been removed."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Repossession Bill is anti-homeowner, anti-family and is one of the most stringent unfair bills ever to pass through Dail Eireann

Enniscorthy Sinn Féin Cllr Johnny Mythen has described  the governments 'Land  and Conveying Law Reform Bill' as being anti-homeowner and anti-family.  The Vice-Chairperson of Enniscorthy Town Council said that the bill was  "shameful piece of one sided legislation and runs contrary to common justice."

Sinn Fein Cllr. Johnny Mythen stated “The passing of the Land and Conveying law reform bill and the repossession bill has given the lenders and financial institutions complete dominance over citizen’s rights and their right to a decent living. The Governments claim that this is somehow a fairer way or a just way to deal with mortgage arrears and debt couldn’t be further from the truth."

"On close examination, here are some of the facts. The lender (bank) is the sole arbitrator of the process and they decide whether a mortgage is sustainable or not. They are no restrictions on the hours or amount of visits bank officials can call to your door. Banks can make up their own policies on communication with families. They can coerce citizens to give up their tracker mortgages without proving they are getting sufficient value for doing so. Banks have not allowed or built in a minimum income for householders. They have not allowed for sufficient income for the full range of living costs, and are ignoring unsecured debts, such as, car loans, education loans, extension loans etc."

"On top of all this, there is no proper appeal system. The process and M.A.R.P.  will not be part of a repossession case if it winds up in the courts. This also brings the risk of losing the case and winding up with costs and fees compounding the problem even further. There are no provisions for people who have separated or left the country leaving one partner to pay the mortgage. This is a shameful piece of one sided legislation and runs contrary to common justice and will result in multiple ordinary people losing the roof over their heads and the reintroduction of evictions to our shores again."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

No justification for abandoned buildings during social housing crisis - O' Connell

Abandoned buildings in Mary Street, Bewley Street and Barrack lane are not only an eyesore but also a discernible waste as thousands of families linger on the growing social housing waiting list.  That's the view of Oisin O' Connell, the local spokesperson for Sinn Féin, who said abandoned buildings could not be justified during a social housing crisis.

"Waiting lists for local authority houses are growing across County Wexford," Mr O' Connell said.  "This is down to the recession and the fact that social housing spending has been slashed by 19% since Fine Gael and Labour entered power in 2011.  There are 98,313 households currently lingering on social housing waiting lists across this state."

"When you consider these figures, it's hard to understand why we have multiple boarded up, abandoned buildings across New Ross town.  The situation is particularly bad in Mary Street, Bewley Street and Barack lane.  The buildings are a eyesore on an picturesque town and a threat to health and safety."

"The  buildings left abandoned in Barrack Lane are in a very bad state.  The gardens are now completely overgrown, ivy is climbing the walls and rubbish is being dumped outside the bottom apartments.  I would have to ask why the town council has allowed this situation to develop in the first place."

"New Ross has shown what it is capable of during the recent JFK festival.  A town of this merit should not be left with any run down areas and urgent action needs to be taken to rectify this now."

Vice-Chair of Enniscorthy Council slams electoral reform

The last Vice-Chairperson of Enniscorthy Town Council has strongly criticised the governments electoral reform which will close town and borough councils across the state from next year.  Cllr Johnny Mythen said the decision to abolish town councils and replace them with a larger county council was undemocratic and did not serve the best interests of the local citizens.

The Sinn Féin Councillor said;

"Sinn Féin has called for reform of our electoral system and an overhaul of local government .  However, reform without power is like having a guard dog without any teeth - useless. Democracy is best served as close to the people as possible. Minister Phil Hogan has swept local democracy away from the people by closing down 80 Town councils, and using the new district councils as mere tax collectors for central Government."

"Local government's  sole purpose is to serve the  interests of the local citizens and to make sure all areas are treated equally.  Sinn Féin has consistently called for radical reform to allow the devolution of powers from central government to local councils so that they may serve a fruitful purpose."

"Losing local Town Councils cannot  be hailed as reform  when the price to pay is the destruction of local democracy on a scale never witnessed before or since the foundation of this state. Somehow I don't think this Government will go down in history as the great reformers of the 21st. century."

Loss of medical card for cancer patients is shameful - Kelly

Cllr Anthony Kelly has called on local government TDs to block Minister James Reillys plan to take the discretionary medical card from many patients with cancer, including children.  The Sinn Féin Councillor said that this move was shameful and would in some way effect every family in this county.

"Every family in County Wexford has been affected in some way by cancer," Cllr Kelly said.  "People receiving treatment are already under extreme stress.  Now this is to be added to by the governments crazed decision to cut the discretionary medical card for many cancer patients.  I have seen the lowest of the low decisions taken by both this Fine Gael/Labour coalition and their Fianna Fail predecessors, but this takes it to a new level."

"Fine Gael promised to introduce free GP care to all prior to the last election.  When questioned on it, they still say that this is their plan.  Now they are removing the medical card for some people who need it the most.  How is this free healthcare?  How is this any different to the Fianna Fail health cuts that Fine Gael and Labour so vocally opposed?"

"Assessments for the medical card cannot be only about income, they have to take into account aliment, expense of treatment and general compassion as well.  This should be evident where the applicant has a life-limiting condition like cancer.  Local government TDs, Paul Kehoe, Liam Twomey and Brendan Howlin, need to make their opposition to this known and do everything is their power to stop this shameful act."

Sugar beet is sweet deal for New Ross – O’ Connell

The Chairperson of County Wexford Sinn Féin has renewed his call for the construction of a state of the art sugar beet processing plant in New Ross.  Speaking at last week’s Bannow-Rathangan agricultural show, Oisin O’ Connell said that now was the time to push New Ross as the ideal location for the plant which would create 5000 new jobs ahead of the likely end of the current quota system in 2018.

Mr O’ Connell said;

“Though we recently witnessed Minister Coveney cave to EU demands to allow for the continuation of the current sugar beet quota system until 2018, the time is still ripe to push New Ross as the ideal location for the construction of a state of the art bio refinery plant for the production of sugar and ethanol from sugar beet and grain.  A study carried out by former beet farmers in the last few years named our district as one of the prime locations for the resurrection of the south east’s sugar beet industry and it seems to me that we have everything needed to make this a success within the confines of New Ross.”

“Certainly we have the available workforce.  Unemployment has plagued South Wexford since 2008.  This plant could create 5000 new jobs as well as providing an incredible economic boost for the whole community.  Sometimes people forget what a profitable industry sugar beet is.  It wasn’t dubbed white gold for nothing, and it’s a well known fact that Greencore were making huge profits when they decided to give up our last quota and close their beet processing plants nearly ten years ago.”

“Feasibility studies carried out indicate that a new processing plant would be profitable within the first year.  There are those who would say that such a plant could not be built and that former sugar beet farmers have no interest in seeing the industry return but Sinn Féin believes different.  We have spoken to many of these ex beet growers and people who were involved in the sector over the past year and the general consensus is that this could only be beneficial for New Ross and the whole south east.”

Hunger Strike vigils draw attention in New Ross

Two vigils held to mark the 32nd anniversary of the H-Blocks Hunger Strikes were held in New Ross town last week.  Good crowds gathered on the fantastic new quay front and by the 1798 memorial in Irishtown on the anniversary of Martin Hurson, the sixth republican prisoner to die during the 1981 hunger strike.

Speaking at the event, local Sinn Féin spokesperson Oisin O' Connell said the need to remember these men and their convictions was as relevant today as ever before.  "It seems in Irish politics today there are very few people who actually have genuine ideals or the courage of their convictions," he said.  "It has become more common for politicians to view their job as being a career instead of a vocation.  It's no wonder that the electorate has become disillusioned with politics."

"Martin Hurson was a man who had the courage of his convictions.  He valued his ideals enough to die for them.  That's a severe. undertaking for any person but when you consider that Martin Hurson was just twenty four years old when he died on hunger strike, you realise that it was incredible."

"We are lucky enough to live in a post Good Friday Agreement Ireland and I truly hope that the sacrifices that have been made in the past will never have to be undertaken by another generation.  Republicans still have their convictions.  We still have our ideals and we still have a duty to shun the gombeen system and give the electorate a real alternative."

Mr O' Connell also said that he could not let the event pass without mentioning another modern day hunger striker, household tax protestor Tony Rochford, who has ended his strike after twenty five days without food.  "Tony Rochford is another man who has the courage of his convictions.  His personal protest, despite being censored by the national media, has gave many people opposed to the property tax who felt that their voices didn't matter new hope.  It's a sad tribute to this government that they were prepared to let a man lay dying outside the gates of Leinster House rather than face the issues affecting self employed people who lose their tax compliance certs due to non payment of the property tax."

Government are selling Irelands inheritance on the cheap - Mythen

Cllr Johnny Mythen has attacked the Fine Gael and Labour coalitions decision to sell off state assets, describing it as selling off the inheritance of our generation and generations to come.  The Vice Chairperson of Enniscorthy Town Council said that the governments new era plan to privatise all state assets would be the epitaph of Ireland.

Cllr Mythen said;

"The first of the peoples Assets, Bord Gais Energy, is up for sale.  The closing bidding date  is 20th of Sept.  In fact, three billion worth of state assets are for the chop due to the governments brilliant negotiating skills with the Troika.  Needless to say we are a small Island consisting of a population of 6 million approx. and therefore we are more reliable on state owned  assets than any other country in Europe.  This is the beginning of the pillaging of  the state assets of Ireland."

"Everyone knows that if something is scarce, it is valuable.  Once an asset is sold it is sold forever.  Just look at Eircom.  No one has the right to sell something that doesn't belong to them.  These assets are the inheritance of our generation and the generations to come,  They are the backbone of the Irish economy.  To privatise state assets for short time gain is economic treason.  To sell 3 billion's worth of assets will be an economic disaster for a small Country.   It's not just the €3 billion at stake but multiply their worth over the next couple of generations and you soon come to realise the true value of such assets, as I am sure the Germans, French, English, Malaysian and Spanish who are the main bidders know too well." 

"This is all being done under the banner of New Era, the Governments state privatisation body.  This  snake oil is being peddled as economic recovery but to recover you must hold on to what you have.  Surely we have learned our lessons from private share holders, bond holders, developers and banks who operate on greed.  No sooner than these assets are bought, they will be turned over for a quick profit until they will be sold that many times they will become worthless.  Small Island for sale off the coast of Europe, apply to New Era, or Irish Government.  Going at a reasonable price.  This seems to be the New Era motto or maybe will be the epitaph of Ireland."

Friday, July 12, 2013

Rural Transport cut is unacceptable - Kelly

Cllr Anthony Kelly has branded the Fine Gael/ Labour government’s planned restructuring of rural transport as just another phrase for cuts to vital services that rural communities cannot do without.  Speaking at yesterdays Bannow Rathangan Show where he met many people who could be adversely affected by these changes to the transport schemes, the Wexford Sinn Féin rep said that the cut would confine many elderly people to their homes and was simply unacceptable.

"Presenting cost saving cuts to community services seems to be a favourite tactic of this administration," Cllr Kelly said.  "When it comes down to it, this has nothing to do with restructuring rural transport and everything to do with shaving away even more state expenditure.  Once again, the government has targeted ordinary communities while the super wealthy are allowed to go seemingly unscathed."

"These transport schemes are essential in rural communities, especially for elderly people who use the service to visit local shops and chemists.  I have spoken to many older people who live alone in isolated rural areas of this county who have told me that this service is the only thing that gets them out of the house and allows them to connect with other people.  It is unacceptable that it can be just switched off by this austerity mad government."

"Sinn Féin believes that the government should be investing in rural communities instead of trying to run them into the ground with their hair-brained cost saving measures.  Instead of picking easy targets like the rural transport scheme, special needs children and the sick and disabled, this government should be introducing a wealth tax and a third band of income tax for those who earn over €100,000 per annum."

Action needs to be taken to protect stricken farm sector – O’ Súilleabháin

Speaking at yesterdays Bannow-Rathangan Agricultural Show, Fionntán O’ Súilleabháin said that swift and precise action has to be taken to prevent a disastrous agricultural collapse in County Wexford.  Mr O’ Súilleabháin said that current debt levels for many family farms in this county were unsustainable and, if not adequately protected, their collapse would have a terrible knock on effect on local communities.

Mr O’ Súilleabháin said;

“At the moment communities across Ireland are hurting because of the effects of government mismanagement and out of control austerity.  Perhaps that is why the current dire situation being experienced by family farms up and down this county is not being reported on.  Unless effective action is taken swiftly, we are going to experience a disastrous collapse of our farming sector.”

“It is worth remembering that farmers and farm families spend €8 billion per year in our economy.  It’s thought that 300,000 jobs are supported by the agriculture, food and related industries.  For every €100 of agriculture output there is a further €73 of output to the wider economy.  Clearly we cannot afford to lose any of this.”

“The IFA has recently called on the government to draw down €200 million in low interest rate funding for the European Investment Bank to deal with the emergency credit crisis in Irish farming.  It’s estimated that nationally farms are up to €550 million in debt brought about by the forced purchase of high priced fodder after last year’s long winter and rising fertiliser costs.  Many co-ops and agri providers are feeling the pinch as they find themselves being owed by hard pressed family farms.”

“If drawn down, EIB loans could be distributed through our own banks at a rate of 2.5%, giving farmers and agri businesses a vital lifeline.  Failure to safeguard this vital industry at this time would be economic suicide.”

Sinn Féin condemn detention of Irish fishing vessel off Hook Head

The detention of an Irish-registered fishing vessel about 50 nautical miles south of Hook Head by our navy over an alleged breach of fishing regulations last week is an absolute disgrace and proof that EU quotas have brought this industry to its knees, according to a spokesperson of New Ross Sinn Féin.  Oisin O' Connell said that crews of fishing trawlers were being criminalised by these unfit regulations simply because they were striving to earn a living in their own waters.

"There can be no justification for using a nations navy against civilian fishermen simply because they are striving to earn a basic living for their families," Mr O' Connell said.  "EU regulations governing Irish fishing have made earning even the most basic living impossible at this stage, forcing fishing crews to take grave risks to simply exist.  There has been an open criminalisation of these crews as successive governments have refused point blankly to deal with the core issue - the blatantly unfair EU quota system."

"Ireland has roughly 20% of the EUs waters but one of the smallest fishing quotas.  Even in our own waters Irish fishermen only have a 7% quota.  Spain has a 34% quota and can regularly land abundant catches of monkfish and other varieties long after the quota has been reached for Irish fishing vessels."

" It has been estimated that the commercial value of Irelands fisheries between 1975 and 2010 was €210 billion.  Over this period Irelands share of this was €17 billion while our net loss was €184 billion." 

"The very obvious injustice here is most clear to fishing communities who have been decimated by the imposition of these outlandish rules.  They are being forced to do whatever is necessary to survive.  Its beyond belief that 507 Irish fishing vessels have been boarded by the navy this year and 713 official warnings given out to ships.   This is the sixth vessel detained by the Irish navy so far this year.  It won't be the last."

Monday, July 8, 2013

Wexford's Opera House to host Sinn Féin Ard Fheis

The Sinn Féin Ard Fheis will be held in Wexford towns iconic Opera House next year in a move that could be worth up to €5 million to the local economy.  Over 1000 delegates from across the thirty two counties of Ireland will be expected to descend on the town for the weekend long event next Spring.

The Chairperson of County Wexford Sinn Féin, Oisin O' Connell, said that while he was proud his county had been chosen to host the annual gathering of his party, he was far happier to know that hard hit local businesses would benefit significantly from the crowds that will be drawn into Wexford town for the event.

"The Sinn Féin Ard Fheis is a truly national event  which brings together republicans from across the thirty two counties of Ireland to debate motions on the most pressing issues of the day," Mr O' Connell said.  "Its an event that garners international attention and so requires a momentous venue, and what better venue to hold it in than our own iconic Opera House."

"This county was one of the birth places of Irish republicanism and is steeped with monumental history, from the pikemen of 1798 to 1916 leader Michael O' Hanrahan and beyond.  That spirit is still alive in the county today and  the party's decision to host next year's Ard Fheis  here is a vote of confidence in the local Sinn Féin organisation which has expanded rapidly over the past few years."

"Not only will this event bring a huge economic boost to Wexford town but it will also give the people of this county a chance to hear the progressive alternatives to austerity and economic chaos that are being put forward by Sinn Féin and to join representatives from across this island in building a new republic based on equality and liberty."

Kelly welcomes South East Economic Development Plan

Cllr Anthony Kelly has welcomed the presentation of a draft of the South East Economic Development Plan (SEEDS) to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.  The Sinn Féin rep said that he had made many representations on behalf of Wexford to one of the plans architects, Senator David Cullinane, and felt assured that the implementation of the plan in full would be of huge benefit to the this county.

"This report is unique as it not only examines in detail the high regional unemployment rates in the South East, but also puts forward progressive, achievable measures to create jobs and nurture the development of industry across the region," Cllr Kelly said.  "There are up to one hundred practical recommendations put forward, outlining both short and long term measures that could tackle our unemployment crisis."

"I am proud to say that I had input into this plan by pushing a number of measures that would benefit County Wexford.  Chief among these ideas was the potential for the development of Rosslare Europort."

"In 2004 it was estimated that Rosslare port was worth €550 million to the Irish economy.  Trade has increased through the port in recent years despite being it being neglected by successive governments.  Since 2007, continental corridor traffic has increased by 15%, seeing 230,000 continental corridor passengers pass through the port in 2010.  Freight has increased from 20,000 units in 2007 to 26,000 units in 2010."

"I am calling for the deepening of one berth at Rosslare Europort to 9.2 metres.  The start up capital for this project could be provided in part by National Pension Reserve Funding.  This project would make Rosslare harbour truly competitive on a global scale and boost the entire South East with new trade and tourism."

O’ Connell slams state of Taghmon roads

A spokesperson for New Ross Sinn Féin has strongly criticised the state of rural roads across the district, describing one road near Taghmon as being completely unfit for any traffic.  Oisin O’ Connell said that the now nearly impassable cooletegart road outside Taghmon was causing huge inconvenience for residents and at least one local transport company.

Mr O’ Connell said;

“Provision of a functioning road system is supposed to be one of the basic, core competencies of a functioning state.  Its seems blatantly unreasonable that motorists are being asked to pay road tax and the local property tax, which is supposed to be going towards paying for local services, and are getting little or no maintenance work on their local roads.”

“The Cooletegart road just outside Taghmon is a prime example of the poor condition of rural roads across the New Ross district.  Local residents and businesses are being forced to go miles out of their way to avoid a pockmarked road.”

“Sinn Féin is calling on the County Council to provide for adequate repairs to be made to all roads in this state across this district.  Where necessary, we want to see roads resurfaced.  The excuse that funding is not available is unacceptable.  Where have our taxes gone?  Into Anglo and the pockets of wealthy bondholders?  It’s time to get real and provide us with the basic services which we have already been double taxed for.”