Friday, July 4, 2014

Roche: Traffic calming measures are welcomed for Bridgetown

Cllr Mick Roche has welcomed confirmation that necessary traffic calming measures will be implemented in Bridgetown in the coming weeks.  The local Sinn Féin rep said that this process was needed for public safety and urged any locals with any input into the future needed measures to approach him.

"I am glad to announce that speed bumps will be placed in Lakelands by the school side entrance in the coming weeks after repeated requests from locals," Cllr Roche said, "In addition to this safety signs have been placed on the ten acre approach to the village.  If they prove to cut the speed of traffic entering the village from that side then further signs will be erected on the other three roads coming into Bridgetown."

"As always I would ask that people would feel free to approach me with any input, ideas or criticisms that they might have.  It's my job as your local County Councillor to represent you all so hearing what you have to say is vitally important."

Cllr Roche can be contacted at 086-1004550, or cllrmickroche on facebook.

Bring them home - O' Súilleabháin

SF Cllr calls for scheme to entice emigrants to come home

A scheme needs to be introduced to enable Irish emigrants forced out over the last six years to come home according to a local Sinn Féin County Councillor.  Cllr Fionntán O' Súilleabháin said that government already offered tax reliefs to enable large companies to bring in high paid executives to work here and now it was high time that similar actions were taken to bring our emigrants home.

Cllr O' Súilleabháin said;

"Over 300,000 people have left this country since the recession began in 2008.  They left because of economic necessity and many hoped that they could return when things began to improve.  The problem is that most will not be able to afford to return home.  The government has no contingency plan for this and the obvious brain drain that not having those people return will mean for the nation, particularly for rural Ireland."

"Sinn Féin is proposing that a fund be created, financed in part by the National Lottery and the EIB, to enable our emigrants to come home.  Home fares and initial accommodation would be acceptable costs for these emigrants to claim in order to get them back here.  Without them the state will suffer.  Rural Ireland is already feeling the drain of losing so many of its brightest and best.  The power of the Diaspora and the goodwill towards them was evident in the success of the gathering in this county last year."

"Currently the government provides a Special Assignee Relief Programme to large international companies which allow them generous tax reliefs to bring high paid executives to work here.  The government would argue that this benefits the economy but no so more than our returning emigrants would benefit.  If schemes like the special assignee relief programme are achievable then so too is a realistic returning emigrants programme."

Hedgerow interfering with traffic must be cut - Roche

Sinn Féin County Councillor Mick Roche is pressing for the cutting back of any hedgerow or foliage that is interfering with traffic or causing an interference on public roads.  Cllr Roche said motorists are paying more than enough tax to drive on the roads and deserve far better conditions than what they are receiving.

Cllr Roche said;

"I have been approached by people living in rural areas around Kilmore and Tomhaggard who have highlighted the potential safety hazards posed by overgrown hedgerows.  I have also had constituents contact me after damage was caused to their vehicles by outlying hedging on narrow roads."

"Currently there is a grey area around who actually has responsibility for roadside ditches.  Land owners are generally left to their own device and can cut back ditches at their own expense.  However it is not the responsibility of landowners to keep roads clear and safe.  That is what we pay road tax for."

"I know that the local County Council teams would tackle this situation if instructed.  Currently they are only asked to manage ditches where there is a problem with drainage or visibility that would concern drivers and pedestrians.  I am applying for permission and funding to organise a much needed cutting back on narrow roads across the area."    

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Social housing must be protected, not eroded - Kelly

A Wexford County Councillor has said that the government's plans to introduce a new system of housing assistance under the control of the Department of the Environment could potentially social housing in this state and leave those on housing waiting lists and schemes like RAS in dire straits.  Cllr Anthony Kelly described the Housing Assistance Payment as a calculated effort by the state to relinquish their responsibilities towards social housing.

"Rent supplement was devised as a temporary payment for social housing applicants stuck on a waiting list," Cllr Kelly said, "It unfortunately became a tool for successive governments to use rather than tackle the inadequacies in our social housing system.  It is absurd to think that the Housing Assistance Payment, which is due to replace rent allowance, can tackle the huge problems of housing waiting list and the state being unable or unwilling to take over suitable properties in the hands of NAMA."

"On the outside there seems to be benefits for people switching over to HAP, but when you consider that all applicants will be automatically taken off the social housing list, you realise that the switch over will actually hurt the applicant in the long run.  As usual the government seems to be more worried about massaging the figures than dealing with the core issues."

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Roche condemns cuts to Deaf Service

Cllr Mick Roche has condemned the scrapping of funding for an advocacy service provided to thousands of deaf people.  The Sinn Féin Councillor said that with a tick of a pen the government had callously closed a critical service which was used by over 5,000 deaf people.

"The Irish Deaf Society's advocacy service existed to help deaf people access public services, education, healthcare and employment," Cllr Roche said, "For the last eleven years it has bridged a huge social exclusion gap allowing many deaf people and their families to live much more fulfilled lives.  There is no justification for this cut and it looks like the people who wiped it out with a tick of a pen gave no thought what so ever to the long term consequences of their actions."

"The deaf community is very vibrant in County Wexford.  There are about one hundred who organise regular fundraising and social events.  They rightly feel that are often treated very poorly.  It is very difficult for deaf people to engage with the state.  A visit to the hospital, dialogue with the Gardaí or any dealings with other social services can be very difficult.  This callous cut will make their lives even harder."

"The Irish Deaf Society,  the Alzheimers Society of Ireland, the Carer's Association and Muintir na Tire all received €75,000 annually under a programme operated by the Department of the Environment before this cut.  These are real charity groups, operating on the ground under constant financial pressure.  It is insane to cut their funding while other bodies see fit to pay their CEO's exorbitant wages while claiming state funding."

"There was once a notorious Fine Gael/Labour government which was vilified for taxing children's shoes.  Even today people talk about them with contempt.  This current administration has just ruined the lives of thousands of deaf, Alzheimer's suffers, carers and their families.  How will history judge this government? Sinn Féin is calling for this funding to be reinstated immediately."

Monday, June 30, 2014

Kelly: Fishermen are being treated like criminals by the state

Speaking after being present at a SFPA inspection of Kilmore Quay trawlers last week, Cllr Anthony Kelly has again condemned what he describes as the calculated criminalisation policy being used by the state against our fishing community. 

"Fishing crews across the state are being treated like common criminals for attempting to earn a legitimate income,"  the Sinn Féin County Councillor said, "Kilmore Quay vessels have been particularly targeted by what is a very oppressive regime.  I have been present at two inspections in recent weeks and there is a very clear sense of dread, despair and frustration among the fishing community in Kilmore and other fishing villages."

"The current quota system, which the SFPA and the government are intent on enforcing rigidly, is ridiculously unsustainable.  The current quota for monkfish over the course of three months would need to be the total catch landed in a single week in order to pay the overheads and wages.  At the moment a fishing trawler adhering to these quotas is only landing the value of about 25% of its fuel bill.  Where's the money for the other three quarters, wages and other bills going to come from?"

"This government, like its Fianna Fail predecessor, has done nothing to protect our fishing community.  Minister Coveney recently celebrated getting a 2.5% allocation of the total EU grant pot available.  He thought this was a job well done.  However several landlocked EU states also received funding.  Ireland received 2.5% despite having 20% of the EUs fishing waters.  How is this a job well done?"

"In an effort to highlight the continued criminalisation of our fishing crews, County Wexford Sinn Féin has invited leading members of our party including local MEP Liadh Ní Riada, Martin Ferris TD and Gerry Adams TD to visit Kilmore Quay and meet local fishermen in the coming weeks."

Kilmore Quay Fishing on verge of extinction - Roche

A local Sinn Féin Councillor has raised concerns that commercial fishing maybe wiped out in Kilmore Quay in the next decade if decisive action is taken now to safeguard fishermen's income.  Cllr Mick Roche said that unsustainable quotas, constant harassment from the SFPA and a complete lack of support from local and national government had placed trawler owners and their crews in an impossible situation.

Cllr Roche said;

"The current quotas in place mean that an average trawler will make one quarter of the cost of its fuel during a trip.  That means that they are still left with 75% of the cost of fuel, the cost of wages as well as other expenses such as wear and tear and insurance to content with after their total income is recorded.  It doesn't take an economist to realise that this is completely untenable and will result in the total eradication of the domestic industry in the coming years if things do not change."

"Recently Kilmore Quay trawlers have been under constant harassment from the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.  My colleague, Cllr Anthony Kelly, has been present during two of the recent inspections of local vessels and has been appalled at the treatment of people attempting to earn a legitimate income at the hands of a state body.  One local fisherman told me that he is constantly looking over his shoulder expecting to see a inspector or a registered letter arriving from the SFPA.  They have succeeded in criminalising hard working people for doing their jobs."

"As a local Councillor, I fully support the Kilmore Quay trawlers who have refused to take part in the disgusting discarding of quality fish.  All of our local trawlers are expected to dump every sole and Plaice caught before landing.  This is a senseless waste and should not be tolerated.  In the coming weeks the leadership of Sinn Féin will returned to Kilmore Quay to continue ongoing dialogue with the fishing crews of the south east.  We will not bury our heads in the sand about this crisis as certain other local politicians have and we will continue to highlight the attempts to destroy this vital industry."

Roche - Water Quality will be a big issue for this Council

A local County Councillor has said that the issue of poor water quality will have to be a major issue for the newly elected council following more protests in Wexford town last week.  Cllr Mick Roche, who has campaigned for a major revamp of the Fardystown Water Scheme, said that the Council had to stand together and demand that funding be made available from Central Government to rectify the situation.

"There is an onus on the County Council to stand together for the benefit of the people of the county like never before," Cllr Roche said, "Its well known that this government has slashed funding to local government in an attempt to force councillors to agree to draconian tax measures like maintaining the maximum property tax payments and supporting water charges or risk seeing local services come to a standstill."

"We need to stand united and ensure that funding is made available from central government to fund vital projects like the much needed cleansing and adding of softening facilities to the fardsytown water scheme.  Its beyond belief that our government would expect people to pay a tax for the putrid water coming through their taps.  Time and again we have seen the pictures of the filthy water arriving in people's homes but yet no definitive action has been taken."

"Last week people in Whiterock were out protesting against the installation of water meters.  Last month it was the people of Hazelwood in Bridgetown.  Both of these areas are serviced by the fardystown scheme and the people living there know all about the poor water quality coming from the mayglass tower.  We can't sit back on this anymore.  The Council has to take a rigid stand on this now."

Sinn Féin will not pass burden onto struggling businesses - O' Connell

A local Sinn Féin Councillor has said that voting to reduce the property tax by the maximum 15% this year will not adversely affect the local business community.  Cllr Oisin O' Connell, a businessman himself, said that he intended to vote for the reduction which had already been ratified by his party colleagues on Cork City Council because it was 'the right thing to do' and felt that there would be no harmful knock on effect for the struggling business community.

"Every Sinn Féin Councillor is mandated to vote for the maximum reduction of 15% on the local property tax," Cllr O' Connell said, "This is the democratic decision of our membership, decided upon at our recent Ard Fheis in Wexford.  This is our policy because it is the right thing to do.  We consistently opposed the introduction of the unfair tax, we highlighted the insanity of diverting central government funding for local government into Irish Water and we made it quite clear that it was our intention to overturn the tax when we enter government and to vote for reductions on local councils until then."

"The last thing any sane representative would want to do is inflict any further hardship on the struggling small to medium enterprise sector who are already crippled with rates and taxes.  In fact, Sinn Féin has led the call for the reform of rates, replacing the current archaic system with a income linked model.  I can see why groups like Chambers Ireland might be concerned, but it was never, and will never be, our intention to make up the gap through further taxes on the business community."

"We have consistently put forward progressive and realistic alternatives to austerity at national level and we will do the same on our local councils.  I commend the action taken by my colleagues in Cork and Wexfords five Sinn Féin reps will follow suit when the budget comes in the fall."

"Sinn Féin cannot be bought" - Kelly rejects Fianna Fail Mayoral Pact

A veteran Councillor has spoken at his disappointment at not becoming mayor of Wexford, stating that it was difficult but accepting the position would have meant compromising my beliefs.  Cllr Anthony Kelly, a Sinn Féin Councillor for the past fifteen years, rejected a mayoral pact with Fianna Fail at last week's Wexford Municipal District meeting on the grounds that the pact system was undemocratic and not reflective of what the local electorate had voted for.

Cllr Kelly said;

"The pact system has finally been exposed for what it is in Wexford - seedy and undemocratic.  My party colleague, Cllr Mick Roche, and myself had proposed the D'Hondt method being applied to rule out the formation of any pacts.  This method is tried and trusted and ensures proportional representation prevails inside the council chamber just as it does in our electoral system.  It is the fairest system.  Unfortunately this method was not adopted."

"In the last five years things have changed radically in this state.  The electorate has educated itself.  They are no longer prepared to accept the two party system or the political corruption that was so rampant in this country for the past eight decades.  They voted for transparency and certainly did not vote for the nod, nod, wink, wink style politics that goes hand and hand with the pact system."

"I have been a Councillor for fifteen years but I have been involved in politics in my town and county all my life.  I followed my late brother Phil into the council chamber.  Of course I would love to have been Mayor one day, but not if it means selling out my principals and not if it means betraying the people who voted for me.  I hope we have sent a very clear message to the political establishment in this county - Sinn Féin cannot be bought."

Roche welcomes new green area for Hazelwood

The demolition of long abandoned house foundations and the backfilling of the area to make a new green area is an important step in the renovation of a South Wexford estate according to a local County Councillor.  Cllr Mick Roche, who had highlighted the dangers of the unfinished constructions in the past, welcomed the move and said that it was only the beginning.

"Hazelwood is a prime example of an unfinished boom estate that was left to rot after the crash," Cllr Roche said, "The estate was left with boarded up houses, abandoned footings which were exposed and battered internal roads.  I'm glad to say that the council has moved to rectify one of the most pressing concerns; potentially dangerous house foundations which would have eventually resulted in an accident."

"Wexford County Council are now removing these footings, backfilling the site and converting it to a new communal green area.  The hard working Bridgetown Community Group and local residents need to be praised for the work they put in to ensure that these steps were taken."

"The next step is to have the villages boarded up houses renovated and utilised.  For too long this community, and many like it, have been ignored.  That day has to be over and I will fight to represent the forgotten families and communities of South Wexford on the new County Council."

Social housing must be protected, not eroded - Kelly

A Wexford County Councillor has said that the government's plans to introduce a new system of housing assistance under the control of the Department of the Environment could potentially social housing in this state and leave those on housing waiting lists and schemes like RAS in dire straits.  Cllr Anthony Kelly described the Housing Assistance Payment as a calculated effort by the state to relinquish their responsibilities towards social housing.

"Rent supplement was devised as a temporary payment for social housing applicants stuck on a waiting list," Cllr Kelly said, "It unfortunately became a tool for successive governments to use rather than tackle the inadequacies in our social housing system.  It is absurd to think that the Housing Assistance Payment, which is due to replace rent allowance, can tackle the huge problems of housing waiting list and the state being unable or unwilling to take over suitable properties in the hands of NAMA."

"On the outside there seems to be benefits for people switching over to HAP, but when you consider that all applicants will be automatically taken off the social housing list, you realise that the switch over will actually hurt the applicant in the long run.  As usual the government seems to be more worried about massaging the figures than dealing with the core issues."

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Back to School Allowance application forms now available

A local County Councillor is advising families applying for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance to get their application forms in early to avoid any possible delays.  Cllr Mick Roche said that though many families who have claimed the scheme in the past will be automatically on the entitlement list, it made common sense to fill out the form and get it in.

"For schemes like the Back to School Allowance, it always pays to get your form in early," Cllr Roche said, "Its never been easier to access the forms.  As well as being available at your local Social Welfare and Intreo offices, it can also be found online at, or got by emailing the Department of Social Protection at  You can also receive a copy by texting 'FormBTSCFA' followed by your name and address to 51909."

"Completed forms and supporting documentation should be returned to Department of Social Protection, PO Box 131,Letterkenny, Co. Donegal as quickly as possible as it may take a couple of weeks to process your claim.  The Scheme is available to people who fall below the income limits set by the Department so you may qualify even if in part time employment."

"If you need more information about this scheme, or feel that your application has been wrongly rejected, don't hesitate to contact me on 086-1004550 or email the details to me at"

1 in 4 Wexford town voters chose Sinn Féin

Statistics in from the recent local elections show that 23%, almost one in four voters, gave their first preference vote to Sinn Féin in Wexford town.  The exceptional performance is the largest republican vote to emerge from the town in nine decades and shows that the Sinn Féin vote there has rose significantly since the 2011 General Election.

Two of the five Sinn Féin Councillors sitting on Wexford County Council were elected from the Wexford District.  They are Wexford town based veteran Cllr Anthony Kelly and newcomer Cllr Mick Roche from Bridgetown.  Between them they took three thousand votes.

There were similar surge performances from Sinn Féin Cllr Johnny Mythen in Enniscorthy, Cllr Fionntán O' Súilleabháin  in Gorey and Cllr Oisin O' Connell in New Ross.  It now seems likely that Sinn Féin will deliver Wexfords first republican TD in over ninety years in the next general election.

Cosy junta makes a farce of democracy - Mythen

A new Enniscorthy County Councillor has said that the creation of a new super coalition on Wexford County Council comprising Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Labour and more than half of the county's independent reps does not bode well for democracy.  Cllr Johnny Mythen has called on the council to adopt the d'hondt system where possible in the future to respect the wishes of the electorate.
Cllr Johnny Mythen with Martin McGuinnes and Cllr Oisin O' Connell
"The electorate did not vote on the 23rd of May for the old style business as usual," Cllr Mythen said, "The ease and quickness of Parties who are supposed to be in opposition (Fianna Fail) and the government allies, Fine Gael and Labour, and a so called group of independents in forming a coalition of the willing was astonishing to say the least.  Sinn Fein's exposure of the voting pattern should leave no one in doubt of the self interest and motive behind such a cabal."

"All five Sinn Fein County Councillors plus people before profit and the two true Independents who are now in opposition represent a little under 10,000 voters.  It does not bode well for democracy to  consciously and deliberately shut the door in their faces, nor will we allow anybody to do so."

"Sinn Fein has demonstrated across the Country their progressiveness in adopting the d'hondt system  where possible.  This is a system that is based on proportional representation giving everyone a fair place at the table.  It has worked very well in the six counties and has allowed the various sides to come together fairly and efficiently."

"However not so for County Wexford where just a week before some independents had sworn allegiance to the electorate to fight against austerity. Now they have no problem in supporting a Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Labour pact to keep Sinn Fein and the smaller groups at bay, but not for long."       

"We won't be shut up" - Wexford Sinn Féin Council Team

Speaking after his first County Council meeting, a newly elected Sinn Féin rep questioned the method of creation of a Fianna Fail/Fine Gael led coalition to govern the new council.  Cllr Oisin O' Connell said the creation of the coalition - which includes Labour, some independents as well as Fianna Fail and Fine Gael - was kind of flattering: proof that Sinn Féin's rise scared the "cosy consensus" enough, that they were willing to form a super-coalition just to keep them out.
The Sinn Féin team on Wexford County Council

Cllr O' Connell said;

" Great effort was expended (in terms of granting positions) in peeling off the necessary number of independents, to deny Sinn Féin/Others the maximum number of places as a bloc - affecting other independents, not just Sinn Féin; it's kind of flattering this much effort was expended in trying to shut us out - but we won't be shut up."

"Our team insisted on a roll-call vote for all positions, to ensure maximum transparency and accountability of all councillors, party and non-party.  The sheer results of placements received, and voting patterns locked in during this meeting, should speak for themselves. These are now in the public record."

" Sinn Féin, People Before Profit and the two Independents who actually remain 'independent' could have shared a special policy committee chair, and several other positions together.   We demonstrated our own generosity in willingness to share these positions. We will continue to spotlight voting patterns, regarding budgets and more, of all councillors to assure that the transparency returns to local politics and the public knows exactly what their local reps are voting for. We will not be part of a cosy consensus."

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

New Sinn Féin Council team lays out plan of action

Sinn Féin will attack corruption and waste in the new County Council according to their five new reps.  Cllr Anthony Kelly, Cllr Mick Roche, Cllr Oisin O' Connell, Cllr Johnny Mythen and Cllr Fionntán O' Súilleabháin held a meeting shortly after their historic election success last week to lay out their plan of action for the new term. 

While job creation, tackling the rates crisis, water quality and social housing all topped the agenda, all five of the new Councillors vowed to deal head on with the junket culture that has turned so many people away from politics.

"People are sick of politics in this country," Cllr Anthony Kelly said, "You can't blame them.  For years our local Councils have been operated in a wasteful manner, allowing representatives to claim large expenses for attending conferences in other counties, and in some extreme cases, in other countries."

"This county has been crippled by austerity and the majority of people are feeling under pressure.  There is already a general feeling among the public that our TDs are out of touch with the reality of everyday life in this country.  They feel that most of our public reps are not aware of how bad things really are.  If this council is to be effective, we must immediately make bold moves to show the people of Wexford that we are here to represent them, not to feather our own nests."

Cllr Mick Roche, a first time representative from Bridgetown, said that he feels he emphasise with the many people who did not vote in the recent elections as he was somebody who has been on the outside looking in.  "I completely understand that people are tired of the old system," he said, "That's why it's so important that we change things now.  We were not elected to get paid to go to weekend conferences in Donegal on how to use facebook or a midweek trip to Kerry to learn about public speaking.  We were elected to fix this county and give those people who have been ignored for eighty years by this state a voice at the top table."

"Its our intention to shake things up and bring about real change for the better in this county" Mr Roche added.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Kelly worried about threat to frontline HSE staff

A Wexford Councillor has said that he has grave concerns about the effects that the latest HSE funding crisis will have on frontline staff in County Wexford and on the staffing of the new A&E unit at Wexford General Hospital.  Cllr Anthony Kelly, a long time critic of health cuts, is fearful that the expected €78 million shortfall in this year's health budget may lead to further service cuts like the closure of operating theatre 2 in 2012.

The Sinn Féin Councillor said;

"I'm highly concerned that the HSE once again appears to be running well over budget this year.  Sinn Féin has stood against the threat of downgrading of health services in this county for a long-time now and we always remain vigilant to any threats coming down the line.  This appears to be a serious storm brewing."

"We are all looking forward to the opening of Wexford General Hospitals new A&E unit and it is obviously a hugely positive story for the whole South East.  I don't think it's too much to ask that the Minister for Health confirms that this latest shortfall will not affect the HSEs ability to staff the new unit or lead to any closures or staff loses, temporary or otherwise, at our county hospital."

Carrig estate has been abandoned by the local government - O' Connell

Speaking after canvassing the Caislean an Dinigh estate in Carrig-on-Bannow recently, Oisin O' Connell said that this campaign had opened his eyes to the disconnect between the County Council and the unrepresented people of South Wexford.  The Sinn Féin candidate has urged people who feel let down and abandoned to use their vote on May 23rd and vote for change.

"I would not consider the service that the residents of Caislean an Dinigh are receiving from their local government as representation," Mr O' Connell said, "This is yet another estate that has effectively been left to its own devices, not seeing a local rep from one election until the next.  They have managed to keep the estate in great condition despite having access to absolutely no help or funding from the County Council."

"Its shocking to learn that when the electricity goes off in Caislean an Dinigh, so does the water.  This in turn causes residents to have extinguish their fires because of how the back boilers were installed in their homes.  When a local questioned a member of the County Council about this, they were told, 'Well sure, you got the lovely view didn't you?' "

"Without a doubt the view is beautiful but unfortunately you can't eat scenery and it certainly won't keep you warm when your electricity and water cuts off and you are forced to put out your fire to stop the boiler exploding."

"Everywhere we go, every estate we canvass, every person we meet, we hear more of these horror stories that illustrate the complete incompetence of local and national government and the mismanagement mess they have made of our county.  People should not have to live in these third world type of conditions in modern Ireland.  Something has gone very wrong in our local government and the time has come to rectify it."

Roche welcomes allocation of housing funds

The allocation of €140,000 to complete the unfinished houses in the Hazelwood estate in Bridgetown as been welcomed by a local Sinn Féin candidate who has been campaigning for the utilisation of the buildings.  Mick Roche said that it was essential that this funding should be put to use in converting these houses into family homes and not used to demolish the abandoned buildings as was done in nearby Cleariestown last year.

"The boarded up houses in Bridgetown have long been a source of embarrassment and anger for a community that is trying hard to pull itself out the recession," Mr Roche said, "To have our children, who have been denied a playground or any other leisure facilities by the local council, playing in the shadow of dank, abandoned buildings is an utter disgrace and a constant reminder of how our rapidly developing village was forgotten about by the powers that be."

"Sinn Féin has campaigned long and hard to get these buildings unboarded and finished.  They should now be completed and used for family homes.  At the moment there are 98,000 people on social housing waiting lists so the need for homes is obvious."

"We would strongly oppose any moves made to knock these buildings.  Last year several near completed houses were demolished in nearby Cleariestown.  Such an action would not benefit the local community and would be a slap in the face for those families stuck in limbo, crying out for a home."

Friday, May 9, 2014

Kelly refuses to support Water Charge Payment motion

The last ever meeting of Wexford Borough Council saw a tense standoff between reps after a motion was put forward calling for the government to introduce better payment options for the new water tax.  Sinn Féin Councillor Anthony Kelly immediately refused to support the motion, tabled by Fianna Fail, claiming that his party opposed water charges full stop.

"I could never support any motion which would give creditability to the water tax," Cllr Kelly said, "Sinn Féin fundamentally opposes this tax.  Our reps in the six counties managed to defeat water charges last year and we intend to continue to fight them down here."

"I understand that the Councillor who put the motion forward was not necessarily doing so in support of the tax but as a strong critic of unfair austerity taxes, I could never lend support to such a motion."

Cllr Kelly and Cllr Padge Reck voted against the motion while Cllr Davy Hynes abstained.  The motion was carried by the combined support of all other reps.

Roche: Tax on undrinkable water has to be resisted

Residents of the Hazelwood estate in Bridgetown had no option left but to physically resist the installation of water meters outside their homes last week according to a local Sinn Féin election candidate.  Mick Roche said that while his party were absolutely opposed to water charges, the idea of taxing what he called the undrinkable water in Hazelwood had an added insult to injury.

"I fully support the action taken by residents in Hazelwood last week," Mr Roche said, "Its an unforgivable indictment of this present government that law abiding residents were forced to physically prevent the installation of water meters outside their homes.  People have to realise that these residents have spent hundreds of euro on water filtering systems and bottled water because the public supply is so bad in this area and now they are being told that they are to be taxed for it.  What choice was left open to them?"

"Sinn Féin opposes the water tax.  Currently we lose 60% of our water through leaks in our antiquated public water supply network.  This tax, which was supposed to be about conservation, will do nothing to change that.  Had the government spent the money its pumped into the set up of Irish Water on fixing these leaks, then the crews hired to install water meters would still have jobs but would be tackling the obvious failings in the system."

"If this is not about water conservation, and it is just another tax as Sinn Féin has said all along, then there are very real, common sense alternatives.  We would support the introduction of a 1% wealth tax on those with assets in excess of €1 million, not including the family home or working farmland.  We would support the introduction of a third rate of income tax for those earning over €100,000 per annum.  We are not anti tax but we are opposed to unfair taxes like water charges."

Introduce rates on public buildings - Kelly

A Wexford Councillor is calling for radical action to be taken to combat the commercial rates crisis which he claims is putting shops, pubs and other businesses across the county out of action.  Cllr Anthony Kelly said that the introduction of rates on public buildings would raise €50 million every year and allow for the much needed reduction of commercial rates.

Cllr Kelly said;

"Sinn Féin is completely opposed to commercial rates as they exist in their current form.  They have played caused excessive damage to the retail industry and continue to send shops, pubs and other businesses to the wall.  A fairer system must be introduced."

"We support the introduction of revenue neutral rates.  This would mean that a business that was most under stress would have an increased chance of survival as the rates would be set by their profits.  Currently rates are a flat tax, inflicted upon businesses whether they are in profit or not."

"The government says that it does not have the money to deal head on with the rates crisis.  The reduction of commercial rates, it maintains, would have a crippling effect on the state.  We have an answer for this - the introduction of new rates on public buildings which would generate €50 every year.  This would leave no excuse for the states refusal to tackle a problem which has put so many smes out of business in recent years."

'A Plan for County Wexford' represents SFs commitment to tackling unemployment

County Wexford's five Sinn Féin local election candidates launched their plan for the coming County Council term last week.  'A Plan for County Wexford' charts out a number of steps to stimulate the local economy including the construction of a sugar beet refinery plant in New Ross, the roll out of superfast broadband across the county, major new investment in Rosslare Europort and the creation of a new heritage centre in North Wexford.

Speaking at the launch, New Ross candidate Oisin O' Connell said that the plan represented Sinn Fein's commitment to tackling the unemployment crisis in this county.

"Recently a survey put New Ross as the eighth poorest town in the state," Mr O' Connell said, "The effects of the recession and both national and local governments failure to adequately deal with it have been felt hard by the people of South Wexford.  Our unemployment and emigration rates are among the highest in the state."

"We believe that local government has an important role to play in getting this county back to work.  I am pleased to be part of a strong team that has identified several initiatives that could bring sustainable employment to this region."

"The current sugar beet quotas change in 2018 giving Ireland the perfect opportunity to get our national quota back.  Beet Ireland has already identified New Ross as being one of a number of suitable locations for the construction of a new state of the art sugar beet refinery which would produce sugar and ethanol.  The construction of such a facility would bring 5000 direct jobs to South Wexford as well as having a massively positive knock on effect on the local economy."

"Some would say that projects like these are only dreams or pre election political posturing, but we have been pushing this initiate for the past three years and, with the right team on the new council, there is absolutely no reason why this project cannot be successful.  All it takes is political will and hard work."

'Common sense policies that will enhance the lives of ordinary families'

County Wexford's five Sinn Féin local election candidates launched their plan for the coming County Council term last week.  Speaking at the launch, local Sinn Féin representative Fionntán O' Súilleabháin said that the plan laid out his partys aspirations for the county.

"Sinn Féin is the only party that has consistently opposed the harsh austerity measures favoured by Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour as well as offering realistic, progressive alternatives," Mr O' Súilleabháin said, "Attempts have been made to criticise our proposals but people are waking up, and its getting harder for the powers that be to criticise things that make common sense."

"When we proposed that the government invest €500 million into upgrading our antiquated water supply network, we were told that we were economic illiterates and asked where the money would come from.  So far, Irish Water has managed to squander €2 Billion on staffing over a seven year period, and over €80 million on consultancy fees.  We dont have to ask where the money is coming from.  Its coming from you."

"What we are proposing in our plan for the county is a series of common sense projects that will enhance the lives of ordinary families across this region.  The creation of a new heritage centre in North Wexford would boost tourism and showcase the natural beauty of our local area.  The development of Rosslare Europort would bring larger freight and more traffic into the South East.  The creation of a 1916 Revoluntionary Quarter in Enniscorthy would boost historical tourism, act as a educational aid and bring new revenue into that town."

"These policies make common sense and, with the right team on the new look county council, are attainable.  The battle between austerity and recovery will be fought in the County Council and this plan shows what side we are on."

Sinn Féin will be 'force of progressive change' on County Council

County Wexford's five Sinn Féin local election candidates launched their plan for the coming County Council term last week.  Speaking at the launch, the Chairperson of Enniscorthy Town Council, Cllr Johnny Mythen, said that this plan demonstrated his partys commitment to being a force of progressive change on the new look County Council.

"Phil Hogans political reform means that the whole way local government works has changed.  The four local town councils are being abolished and the new look County Council will be the only game in town.  It is there that the battle between austerity and recovery, between the status quo and the agents of change, will be fought.  The electorate needs a strong team standing up for them on the council and this plan shows that we are up to the challenge."

"We are the only party that has consistently opposed austerity measures like cuts to snas, the introduction of unfair property and water taxes and the unsustainable hike in commercial rates.  We are also the only party to offer realistic, costed alternatives, and the only party to truly believe that local government has a fundemental role to play in getting this county back to work."

"The construction of a new sugar beet processing plant in South Wexford would create jobs.  New development of Rosslare Europort to make it accomodate larger freight would create jobs.  The roll out of next generation broadband across this county would create jobs.  The development of a new heritage centre in North Wexford and the designation of a new 1916 Revolutionary Centre in Enniscorthy would boost tourism and create jobs."

"These are all attainable aspirations and the Sinn Féin team will fight for these developments on the new County Council, just as we will continue to oppose the harsh austerity measures and unfair taxes being rolled out be central governnment."

Sinn Féin launch 'A Plan for County Wexford'

County Wexford's five Sinn Féin local election candidates launched their plan for the coming County Council term last week.  'A Plan for County Wexford' charts out a number of steps to stimulate the local economy including the construction of a sugar beet refinery plant in New Ross, the roll out of superfast broadband across the county, major new investment in Rosslare Europort and the creation of a new heritage centre in North Wexford.

Speaking at the launch, Cllr Anthony Kelly said that this county was on the verge of massive political change and this plan was sending a very clear and concise message to the electorate that Sinn Féin are serious and competent about offering strong representation on the new look county council.

"People have woken up," Cllr Kelly said, "They won't be fooled by the political manoeuvres, spin and posturing from the very parties who implemented the disastrous response to the recession and the subsequent austerity programme.  Support for Sinn Féin, the only party to consistently oppose the austerity measures and offer realistic, progressive alternatives is surging."

Cllr Kelly's running mate, Mick Roche, said that the measures outlined in the Sinn Féin plan could create employment across the county if implemented.  "The deepening of a berth and the construction of a new rail cargo depot in Rosslare Europort makes sense.  The reopening of the Rosslare to Waterford Rail link makes sense.  A major renovation and the introduction of water softening facilities at the source of supply in the Fardystown Water Scheme makes sense.  The roll out of superfast broadband across Wexford makes sense."

"The County Council has made no real difference in the lives of ordinary families over the last few years.  Many of our representatives say it is not the job of local government to create the conditions for employment.  They say it's not their job to oppose austerity measures that have crippled people across the county or to change the business rates that are closing shops and pubs around Wexford.  They say it's not their job to take over boarded up houses and convert them to social housing.  Well what is their job then?"

"Wexford needs people who say they can and will, and not people who say that they can't on their local council."

Friday, May 2, 2014

Roche welcomes long overdue street lighting for Lakelands

A local election candidate has welcomed the introduction of new street lighting into what he once described as a 'dark estate' in Bridgetown.  Mick Roche, who had been pushing for the installation of these new lights for the past few months, said that residents in Lakelands estate would have a new lease of life now.

"Up until now parts of the Lakelands estate have had no street lighting at all," Mr Roche said, "The possibility of an accident or anti social behaviour occurring was a cause of much concern and many residents were cautious about even walking to the shop after dark."

"I am glad that, after much pleading by local people, Lakelands is finally to get its new lights.  This sort of situation would not have been tolerated in Wexford town and its only right that the County Council have moved on this operation now."

Celtic Dragons are great ambassadors for New Ross - Sinn Féin

The Celtic Dragon Martial Arts and Fitness Club is a valuable asset to the town of New Ross and proof that there are still alot of young people with passion and drive left in the area despite the terrible effects of emigration.  That's the view of local Sinn Féin election candidate Oisin O' Connell who visited the centre with European candidate Liadh Ní Riada last week.

"Its great to see young people being given a safe and encouraging environment to learn a discipline that will stay with them all their lives," Mr O' Connell said,  "In times when so many of that generation have been drove out by the brutal realities of austerity, its uplifting to see young people forming a positive and successful community around the dedicated mentors at the Celtic Dragon club."

"It's amazing to learn that the centre has had next to no support or funding from local or national government.  A project that is giving young people such a good start deserves recognition and access to funding that can assure its survival and expansion."

Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Fein's candidate in the European South Constituency, was also impressed by the Dragons, so much so that she plans to approach her party's Sports spokeswoman and have it questioned in the Dail as to why kickboxing is not recognised as a professional sport in this state.  "Getting it the recognition it deserves as a real sport would be a good start," she said.

Roche delighted to see Council move on Kilrane fence

They say that all politics is local and that seems to be proving true for Sinn Féin candidate Mick Roche who says he is delighted that the County Council have agreed to fix a fallen perimeter fence surrounding an estate in Kilrane.  The fence in Pairc Naomh Padraig had been a source of concern for local residents for some time.

"I met some residents while canvassing the area last week who said they were very upset over the condition of a fence around the perimeter of their estate," Mr Roche said,  "The fence had blown over in the recent storms and had been quite loose and a danger to passersby even before that.  Residents were particularly concerned that it posed a danger to their children."

"After petitioning the County Council to get this fence fixed, I am delighted that they have agreed to have it repaired.  Unfortunately there is no funding available at the moment to build a permanent block wall but I have been assured that the fence will be secured and made completely safe."

"Sometimes people think politics is all about bail outs, corruption and bickering between parties but it should be about helping people with those seemingly smaller issues that may be causing them great distress."

Kelly slams Labour party's 'posturing' on water charges

Cllr Anthony Kelly has attacked what he describes as pre election posturing by Labour Party politicians in relation to water charges.  The Sinn Féin rep said that the electorate would not be fooled into thinking that Labour were not in favour of the water tax that they have voted through the Dail.

Cllr Kelly said;

"No one in their right minds would fall for the latest attempts by Labour Party candidates to claim that their party is not in favour of water charges.  They are part of the government who introduced this tax and they are part of the government that will set the tariff amount on every household in the state.  Labour has chosen freely to bring in this despised tax and now all the political double speak in the world wont save them from the wrath of the electorate."

"Pat Rabbitte once famously said thats what you done in elections when questioned on broken pre election promises.  The idea that Labour will reject unfair water tariffs is just another pre election promise waiting to be broken."

"Sinn Féin rejected domestic water charges in the six counties and ensured that the tax was not introduced.  We stood by our word.  We oppose this tax and are in favour of sound alternatives such as a wealth tax.  We have always said that those who can afford to pay more should do so.  The Labour Party once said this too but unfortunately for the people of this state, that became just another broken election promise."

Albatros needs to come down now - Ní Riada

A local European election candidate has joined the calls for the Albatross factory to be promptly and safely demolish as a matter of urgency.  Sinn Féins Liadh Ní Riada was shocked at the scale of the problem when she visited the site with local rep Oisin O' Connell during a visit to New Ross last week.

Mr O' Connell said that his party had been raising the issue of Albatross for over ten years and had recently brought it to the Dail.  "We in Sinn Féin have been consistent on this; Albatross has to come down safely and quickly.  After the recent storm damage it's clear that the plan agreed between the council and Thomas McDonagh & Son to demolish the factory over three to five years is totally unacceptable."

“McDonagh & Sons stated last year that the site posed ‘no health, safety or public risk.’ Clearly this is not the case and the given timescale for the demolition of this old factory can no longer be accepted by the local council.  How long before another storm causes more asbestos to be blown throughout the area, onto public roads and into people’s gardens?”

"I welcome Liadh Ní Riadas involvement in this situation.  I know that she intends to raise this issue nationally, and in Europe if necessary.  I also know from her that what has happened with albatross is not an isolated incident.  People cannot have faith in the state when it continues to allow large property owners to leave structures in conditions that are a threat to anyone.  Emergency safe demolition of the albatros complex must be prioritised now.”

Ní Riada: Coolcotts centre is FAB

Funding for essential social services like the FAB Community and Family Resource Centre and the Wexford Women's Refuge must be provided according to the Sinn Féin candidate for the European South Constituency.  During a visit to Wexford last week, Liadh Ní Riada said that she was extremely impressed with the work being carried out at these centres and planned to push for adequate European funding to be made available for them.

Local Sinn Féin Cllr Anthony Kelly said that the resources provided by places like the FAB centre had to be protected from further cuts.

"The Open Minds project is just one of the many fantastic schemes being ran out of the FAB centre," Cllr Kelly said,  "Tackling mental health issues and the stigma around suicide is of fundamental importance to Irish society today.  Open Minds, like many of the initiatives being organised in the FAB centre, plays an important role in the local area and the town at large."

"Community projects have been starved of funding under the harsh austerity programme of this government and their Fianna Fail predecessors.  Only last year we saw Wexford's Women's Refuge shut down for thirteen weeks because of a lack of funding.  That centre is packed to capacity these days.  Instead of introducing cost saving temporary closures, more funding should be made available to allow it to expand."

"We in Sinn Féin have fought tooth and nail against the tide of austerity.  We have put forward alternatives and argued for sustainable investment in worthy projects.  Our local European candidate, Liadh Ní Riada, will go to the European Parliament with a mandate to continue that fight over there and with a desire and ability to access unused, available EU funds." 

Kelly: Funding has to be made available for Wexford Museum

Following on from recent requests by Cllr Anthony Kelly that money should be acquired from the OPW to convert Wexford's old gaol into a museum, it was revealed at last week's meeting of Wexford Borough Council that no such funding would be released. 

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Kelly said he was very disappointed at the result and felt it was short-sighted.  

"I'm hugely disappointed that Wexford County Council has said that there is no funding available to even carry out a feasibility study so as to attract grants from the relevant state agencies in an effort to convert the old Wexford gaol into a museum.  It seems to be very short sighted of the Council to not see the huge potential for tourism and education in this project.  It would also create much needed real employment in Wexford."

Cllr Kelly vowed to continue the fight for funding for this project and said that he intends to push for it to be included in the next Wexford town development plan. 

"Duncannon is falling into the sea" - residents worried about coastal erosion

Duncannon residents are extremely worried about the effects of coastal erosion on the popular south wexford village.  Major damage was done to homes and the beach during the most recent storms, leading to over 16 feet of sand dunes being washed away.  According to locals, this has left the village, and the main road into it, dangerously exposed to the sea.

Last month a delegation from the County Council met with Duncannon residents and assured them that action would be taken and that emergency government funding would be accessed to deal with this problem.  To date, the residents haven't even received a letter of confirmation from the Council.  Tensions are rising in the tourist hotspot, with many claiming that their concerns are being ignored and will be ignored until it is too late.

Local Sinn Féin election candidate Oisin O' Connell visited the village recently with his party's European candidate, Liadh Ní Riada.  Mr O' Connell stressed that action needed to be taken now before things got worse and questioned why the government hasn't accessed available EU funding to deal with the situation.

"In South Wexford we have always had a battle on our hands with the sea," Mr O' Connell said, "Some years ago coastal protection measures were employed in Duncannon when it looked like the golf course was going to disappear into the sea.  Similar measures were put into place in other areas like Cullenstown.  They weren't pretty but they worked, mainly because of the promptness in which the projects were commenced."

"Similar measures need to put into action now to protect the road into Duncannon and local residents.  I am shocked that the government has made no attempt to draw down on funding from the EU which is available for these kinds of projects."

As the good weather finally appears in Wexford, people will move in their throngs to the beautiful Duncannon beach.  It's essential that action is taken to safeguard this great south wexford asset now.

Pay per view GAA is against the ethos of the organisation - Kelly

Many people will be priced out of viewing big GAA games because of the new deal which the organisation has signed up to with Sky according to a local Councillor.  Cllr Anthony Kelly made the comments at a meeting of Wexford Borough Council last week where his motion calling on the GAA to reconsider the deal was passed unanimously.

"The very idea of pay per view GAA is against the very ethos of the organisation," Cllr Kelly said.  "The GAA is at the heart of every community on this island.  During the Summer months especially it becomes a focal point for the nation.  Selling distribution rights to Sky will price a section of the population out of viewing the sport."

"For many years it has resisted the lure of big money and remained an non professional sport, though those who play it could run rings around some of the drama queens playing in the premiership.  This deal goes against that spirit."

"While I fully accept that the GAA must look at all options of funding, this deal has the potential to seriously damage the sport.  I have spoken to scores of people around Wexford in the last week who are very alarmed by this move.  Many elderly people are particularly worried.  It's important that the GAA realises what the very people who have supported the organisation over the years are thinking."