Friday, March 28, 2014

Mythen highlights serious lack of broadband

Cllr Johnny Mythen,  has highlighted the serious  lack of Broadband coverage available to small businesses and the general public in his recent motion fully endorsed by Enniscorthy Town Council.
Cllr. Mythen stated;  
"I have spoken to people from the enterprise centre in Enniscorthy and the  chamber of commerce.  They have experienced long delays and grave difficulties in dealing with the companies involved in supplying broadband."  

"One manager said that there was at least up to 200 jobs lost within the locality in the last two years.  They were lost because they had to relocate due to  the poor quality and inconsistency of the  broadband service.  Not only are they not connecting up the dots but their not connecting up the kiosks.  As a result our small communities and Towns are loosing out on precious employment opportunities which we all know  are rare and scarce enough in this neck of the woods."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Boarded up houses should be taken over by the Council – Roche

Thirty three boarded up houses in Bridgetown should be taken over by the County Council and used for the benefit of the community according to a local community activist and local election candidate.  Mick Roche said that the abandoned buildings were an eyesore on a village with a very good community spirit and a population eager to recover from the effects of prolonged recession.

“These boarded up houses are a blot on our community,” Mr Roche said, “Drive out of the supermarket and you see them.  Take a walk down the road and you see them.  Look out your window and you see them.  It’s the height of insanity to have them lying idle and abandoned when families are crying out for housing.”

The Sinn Féin election candidate said his party were calling on the County Council to take over the buildings and utilise them for social housing and community projects.  “There are over one hundred thousand people on the social housing waiting list in this state today.  Thirty three houses could certainly be used to benefit some of those local families waiting for a home.  The buildings could also be used for to benefit the villages existing population.  It could be possible to refit one as a community centre for example.”

Roads gone to pot because of Irish Water - Kelly

Cllr Anthony Kelly has accused the government of blatantly hoodwinking taxpayers with claims that the local property tax was to be used for public works in the payers area when it was never their intention to use funds generated for this.  The Sinn Féin rep said that local property tax was being pumped into the establishment of Irish Water while the county's roads and other public dependencies were left to fall apart.

"Minister Phil Hogan and his Fine Gael/Labour colleagues made solemn promises that the money generated from the Local Property Tax would be used to fund local authorities and to pay for the upkeep of local public services," Cllr Kelly said, "This has not happened.  In 2013 only 60% of the funding went to local authorities and this is set to be slashed again this year."

"No matter what part of the county you are in, you will no doubt come into contact with potentially damaging potholes.  Many roads need to be resurfaced but funding is simply not available to do it.  Instead the promised allocation is being diverted, along with money from other areas including motor tax revenue, into the new perma-quango that is Irish Water."

"It seems the whole taxation system has lost its way in this state.  Motor tax is no longer used to maintain the roads and now the tax supposedly created to fund local authorities will not do so.  This needs to change before we are left with a very broken country where the only things that work are water meters."

O’ Connell: Raw sewage around our coastal villages is unacceptable

A local Sinn Féin election candidate has called for the immediate allocation of funding for new treatment plants after emerged that raw sewage is being pumped into the sea at Arthurstown, Ballyhack, Duncannon and Kilmore Quay.  Oisin O’ Connell welcomed the report from the EPA, which is highly critical of the situation, and has called on the County Council and New Ross Town Council to put their weight behind the EPAs call for the government to eliminate environmental issues in relation to sewage.

Mr O’ Connell said;

“Arthurstown, Duncannon, Ballyhack and Kilmore Quay have no treatment plants for waste water.  This means that raw sewage is being pumped into the sea around four populated and popular tourist destinations in South Wexford.  To say that this is unacceptable would be an obvious understatement.”

“In Campile and Fethard, only primary treatment is available meaning that partly treated sewage is being released into the sea and rivers around these villages.  The knock on effects for public health, the environment, agriculture and the local tourist industry from this could be devastating.”

“Sinn Féin is calling on the government to release immediate funding for a major new, EPA endorsed project to construct secondary treatment plants in areas where they are needed.  I would ask that Wexford County Council and New Ross Town Council put their weight behind this and push for these facilities.”

Roche demands action on raw sewage flowing into Kilmore Quay

Following a report by the EPA last week which revealed that raw sewage from Kilmore Quay is being pumped into the sea, a local Sinn Féin rep has demanded that immediate action be taken to deal with the potential health hazards that this poses to the local population.  Mick Roche said that a secondary treatment plant for sewage had to be built in Kilmore Quay as a matter of urgency.

“Kilmore Quay is one of the jewels of tourism in the South East,” Mr Roche said, “People from all over Ireland and further afield visit the scenic fishing village and are delighted by its charm.  Would they be so enthusiastic if they knew that untreated sewage was being pumped into the sea around them?  This is unbelievable and completely unacceptable in this day and age.”

“The health hazards posed by raw sewage are obvious to everyone.  Potentially devastating bugs may lay and fester in these conditions.  This is not just an issue of disgust; it’s an issue of health and safety.”

“Among those villages with supposedly adequate waste water facilities, Bridgetown was revealed to have failed a water quality test.”

“94% of Ireland’s urban waste water now gets secondary treatment according to the EPA.  Kilmore Quay is even afforded primary treatment, the minimum standard required.  I am calling on the County Council to address this issue immediately and work closely with the EPA in securing government funding for the construction of a new treatment facility in Kilmore Quay.”

Extend CE scheme and scrap Gateway slave labour - Kelly

A Wexford Councillor has called on the government to extend the CE scheme to involve a structured training programme with view of permanent employment in local authorities as a replacement for the new gateway scheme.  Cllr Anthony Kelly branded gateway as being slave labour and said that it was morally wrong to force people to work for less than a €1 an hour in a scheme that would not guarantee proper full time employment at the end.

"It seems the government is looking at Nazi Germany for tips on how to run the economy," The Sinn Féin rep said, "Perk up the underfunded local authorities with forced labour to avoid having to pay a proper wage to full time council staff seems to be the game.  No matter what those people on their high horses in the government parties say, it is morally wrong to take a put an unemployed person to work for less than €1 an hour in a job that they have no say in and that holds absolutely no promise of full time, proper paid employment."

"In 1931 this state ratified the C29 Forced Labour Convention.  Its object and purpose is to suppress the use of forced labour in all its forms irrespective of the nature of the work or the sector of activity in which it may be performed. The Convention defines forced labour as 'all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily'.  The Gateway scheme clearly violates this internationally recognised convention."

"The CE scheme could be extended to allow for proper on the job training for the unemployed who could then take up full time work in the local authorities.  This could be done without exploiting the candidates and would benefit both the worker and the local authority in the long run."

Roche not convinced that Fardystown Water Scheme is safe

The Department of the Environment will not fund any operation to soften the water being distributed through the fardystown water scheme as it is deemed 'healthy and wholesome' and entirely safe for human consumption.  Local Sinn Féin candidate Mick Roche has refused to accept this however, and has said that he is not convinced that the public water supply servicing most of the south of the Wexford district is entirely safe for drinking.

"There is an obvious problem with the hard water coming from the fardystown scheme due to the geological area in which it is situated," Mr Roche said, "This is causing havoc by damaging electric kettles and showers, reducing water flow by clogging pipes and actually increasing utility bills due to the build up of scale in the water heater.  The Department of the Environment is not denying any of this but are determined to take no action as, in their view, there is no health risk in drinking water from the fardystown scheme."

"Recently, Daragh Cullinane, a senior engineer with Wexford County Council, advised listeners to South East Radio that hard water was actually better for you as it was rich in minerals.  Hard water is in fact high in mineral salts, especially calcium and magnesium ions.  Mr Cullinane also advised that brown or putrid water being delivered to a home is unacceptable and should be reported.  This is where the problem lays."

"Homes across South Wexford periodically receive foul smelling, brown water through their taps.  It can happen without warning and is almost never reported as people have grown accustomed to have nothing done about it.  How can the Department of the Environment claim that fardystown water is healthy and wholesome when the smell of it can cause retching at times?"

"I appreciate the recent action taken by the Mayor of Wexford in highlighting the issue of hard water, but this goes beyond limescale in a kettle and should not be played down by anyone within the County Council.  This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed immediately because the people of South Wexford are not going to pay for dirty water that the Government says is healthy for their children."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Kelly: Post Offices must be allowed to retain social welfare payments

A Wexford Councillor has stressed that the retention of social welfare payments in post offices is of crucial importance to the future viability of Post network.  Cllr Anthony Kelly was speaking after his motion calling for the Councils support for the retention of social welfare payments in post offices was passed at last Monday night’s meeting of Wexford Borough Council.

“Sinn Féin supports giving our post offices more responsibilities instead of removing services from them,” Cllr Kelly said, “While some might consider it a welcome move to remove the post office from the social benefit payment cycle, such a move will effectively shut down post offices across this county.”

“380 post offices have been shut down in the last decade in this state.  I was part of the campaign which fought unsuccessfully to restore service to the post office in Duncormick.  It’s been nearly two years since that office was closed down but the effects are still highly visible in that local community.  The loss of a post office is a brutal blow to a community, particularly a rural one, and must be avoided at all costs.”

“Sinn Féin supports placing new services in post offices which would increase traffic through them.  This would include withdrawal and lodgement services, motor tax renewals and rent payments.”

Set aside for fishermen needs to be seriously considered – Roche

Those operating in the fishing sector should be entitled to a set aside scheme similar to that received by some farmers, according to a local election candidate.  Mick Roche said that under pressure fishermen should be allowed to receive a set aside type payment during spawning seasons.

Mr Roche said;

“Set aside was introduced by the EEC in 1988 to try to calm the damage to the agricultural eco systems and wildlife caused by intensified farming.  It was shown to be a very effective way to increase soil fertility and increase the productive capability of arable land.  It was also invaluable to the farming community, especially smaller enterprises.”

“We have reached a point now where there is a real danger that the Irish fishing industry will reach a point of no return in the next decade.  There has already been a huge decline in the sector.  Those still fishing are struggling and young people are staying away from what appears to be a dying industry.  Action has to be taken just as it was taken in 1988.”

“A set aside policy for fishermen will have many benefits.  First of all it will stabilise the industry by taking some of the massive financial pressure off active fishermen.  It will encourage young people to enter the fishing fleets.  It will also benefit conservation is a much more productive and mutually rewarding manner than the current quota system ever will.”

“This is something that needs to be given serious consideration and I will be asking my party’s TDs to raise it in the Dail.  I would encourage all other candidates running in this election to look into it for themselves and support an action that could be vital in saving a industry that should be considered of pivotal importance to any island economy, but sadly hasn’t been given the respect it is due by this and previous administrations.”

Council agree to feasibility report on Wexford Gaol Museum

A motion was passed at last Monday night’s meeting of Wexford Borough Council which may lead to the conversion of the towns old Gaol into a museum.  Sinn Féin Cllr Anthony Kelly tabled the motion calling on the Borough and County Councils to carry out a feasibility report on the project with a view to applying to the OPW and other appropriate bodies for grant aid.

“Wexford's old County Gaol is the perfect location for a town museum,” Cllr Kelly said, “The building and grounds have played a historic role in the development of the town.  First constructed in 1812, the building was taken over by the Free State and transformed into a military barracks in 1922.  On the 13th of March 1923, republicans Jim Parle, John Creane and Pat Hogan were executed in what is now the town’s republican garden.”

“As we approach the decade long period of commemoration which will no doubt be associated with the centenary of our the rising, war of independence and civil war, it would be fitting for Wexford to have a museum which could educate people in a mature and non biased fashion about what really  happened during this troubled period.”

“As well as being a wonderful education asset, the museum would also be a tourist attraction and would create local employment.  It would not have to be defined by its own history either.  Our town and county have a rich heritage.  It would seem fitting that our maritime history and artefacts pertaining to other periods should also be housed at the gaol.”

“The recent funding allocation for Johnstown Castle is proof that the conversion of the Gaol into a museum is no longer just a pipe dream.  We can make this happen and I welcome what I hope will be a prompt and successful feasibility study so that we may move forward with a project that can only benefit Wexford town and the surrounding area.” 

"There's a road in that pothole" - Roche

A local election candidate has joined the debate on dangerous potholes around the county after puncturing his tyre driving through one near Trinity in Taghmon.  Sinn Féins Mick Roche said that it wasn't a case that there was a pothole in the road, but rather a road in the pothole, referring to the sheer size of the crater.

Mr Roche has called for funding to be made available to the local authorities immediately to deal with dangerous and destructive potholes like this and has demanded that the government use funding generated from motor tax revenue on the upkeep on the road network instead of spending it to set up and maintain Irish Water.

"All across the county motorists are incurring charges because of the state of our roads," Mr Roche said, "These are motorists who have already paid their motor tax and in many cases, their local property tax.  Motor tax is supposed to be used to maintain our road network.  The LPT was supposed to be used to fund local authorities.  Why then are we left with an epidemic of potholes and mechanic bills?"

"In my case I had to get a new tyre.  Other people are faring much worse, and even those who believe they are escaping are more than likely suffering subtle damage to their vehicles when driving under these conditions.  It's not acceptable."

"The government needs to wake up to this.  Local authorities are powerless to do anything at the moment as they have no funding.  That's because our national government has been diverting motor tax revenue and other income into places where it should never have went.  Why was €600 million from motor tax revenue giving to Irish Water when our roads are in this state?"

O' Connell: Sinn Féin supports "One Stop Shop" model for Post Offices

Sinn Féins local election candidate in New Ross has said that his party would reopen as many as possible of the 380 post offices that have been closed in the last decade.  Oisin O' Connell said that Post Offices were of crucial importance to their communities, especially rural ones, and said that there true potential had never been explored under Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, and Labour administrations.

"Closing Post Offices is unfair and unnecessary," Mr O' Connell said, "If the one stop shop model for post offices was enthusiastically adopted in this state, then not only would there be no need to shut down further offices, but some of the 380 closed units could be reopened.  Closing them was a terrible mistake and has impacted hugely on local communities."

"The village of Duncormick lost its post office in May 2012 and has never recovered from it.  Even today, nearly two years later, local old age pensioners have to travel up to eight miles to the next nearest post offices to draw their benefits.  Local businesses have also been impacted on due to such a large amount of rural traffic being redirected.  Recently a local bar and restaurant has closed its doors for the last time.  The closure of local post offices rips the heart out of a community."

"Sinn Féin supports giving post offices more responsibilities instead of taking services away.  A local Post Office should be able to provide for rent payments, motor tax renewal and other government payment services as well as providing citizens information and documentation.  Withdrawal and lodgement services should  also be provided."

Gateway Scheme a Scam - Mythen

The Governments new Gateway scheme is a getaway scheme from paying workers a fair wage according to the Chairperson of Enniscorthy Town Council.  Cllr Johnny Mythen said that the scheme will lead to exploitation of the unemployed, demoralisation of the labour force and the lowering of wages.

"The Gateway scheme was first announced in budget 2013.  Anyone unemployed over two years will be mandated to take part in this scheme if selected.  The process of selection will be entirely managed by the Social Welfare / Intreo office.   A minimum of €208 will be paid.  Depending on circumstances tax and PRSI may apply."

"If this scheme is fully adopted, the only function it will achieve is to prolong indefinitely the public service recruitment embargo.  It will lower wages especially in the manual end of the labour market.  It will demoralise people because its takes away the principle of choice.  People want real jobs, meaningful jobs and decent paid jobs, not this forced cynical manipulation of the unemployed."

"This is a race to the bottom, driven by a motive of vested interest and the obsessive desire to massage unemployment statistics.  This is a gateway leading to exploitation. Replacing fully paid proper jobs with cheaper labour, I wonder if the people who dream up these schemes, if their jobs were suddenly being replaced by “yellow pack workers” what would their reaction be.   This gateway scheme is a getaway scheme from paying ordinary decent people a fair wage and should be resisted by all fair minded Citizens.   It must be opposed by all trade unionists on this Island."

Thursday, March 6, 2014

An epidemic of burglaries on local communities - Enniscorthy Town Council Chairperson

Cllr Johnny Mythen has described a recent spree of burglaries in Cherry Orchard Heights and surrounding area as being an epidemic.  The Sinn Féin Councillor has called for new measures to be adopted by local government in the future to help tackle the chaos.

"The recent spate of burglaries in one of the quietest areas in the town has sparked off a fear of insecurity both in the town and the wider community itself," Cllr Mythen said,  "Early last week up to four houses were broken into in Cherry Orchard Heights leaving behind a trail of destruction and heartache.  One young resident who is getting married shortly had her bridesmaid dresses torn up,  tooth paste was smeared on the walls and floors defecated on."  

"Local Garda resources are pushed to capacity to deal with these burglaries, rumoured to be reaching figures of sixteen a week in the Enniscorthy area alone.  The ban on public service recruitment has a direct link to the increase of this type of crime.  Local communities are becoming fair game for these petty criminals."

"People have a right to feel safe in their own homes.  Having your home burgled leaves a gut wrenching feeling equating to an indecent assault on your family and your home.  Gardai are doing their best with limited resources.  In the meantime these thieves are causing havoc among ordinary decent communities."

"I would suggest in future all new and existing Council Houses should have burglar alarms installed, and the Government should introduce a grant to all home owners for the installation of alarms.  This would be cost effective and create employment."