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."

Use Rosslare Harbour to 'reopen' South East - Roche

Massive investment could be brought into the South East if the government had the guts and foresight to adequately protect and develop Rosslare Harbour.  That's the view of local election candidate Mick Roche who said that successive regimes had run this strategically important community into the ground.

"Rosslare Harbour has never been given the respect it deserves by Irish governments," Mr Roche said.  "Even now, when new routes out of the Europort have been announced, the government refuses to initiatives that would make the harbour more commercially viable.  This, 'ah sure it will do' approach has led to one of the states strongest performing ports not been given the funding it deserved over the past fifteen years."

"Sinn Féin has called for the deepening of one of the berths at the Europort from 7.2 metres to over 9 metres so as to accommodate larger freight.  In conjunction with this we want a new rail cargo depot built in the harbour to increase it logistical capabilities and the reopening of the Rosslare to Waterford Rail line.  This would lead in turn to a reinvigoration of villages sitting on that line such as Bridgetown, Wellington Bridge and Campile."

"Rosslare Europort should also be officially designated as the gateway for tourism into the south east.  The promotion of County Wexford and the wider south east as a tourist destination, particularly for the British and continental European market would create further employment, provide vital reinvigoration for the struggling South Wexford retail industry and further make use of a reopened Rosslare to Waterford Rail line. It would reopen the South East."

Kelly calls for action on parking situation around Wexford park

Cllr Anthony Kelly has called for the introduction of a park and ride system to deal with the ongoing problem with parking around Wexford park during big matches.  The Sinn Féin rep moved a motion at last week's meeting of Wexford Borough Council calling for the GAA County Board and the Gardaí to meet with the Council to bring about a resolution.

"The parking situation around Wexford Park on match day is becoming an increasing problem," Cllr Kelly said, "For many years residents living in the local estates around the park have been greatly inconvenienced by the lack of co-ordinated parking.  It's not just a problem for these residents however as people attending the matches and general traffic coming through are being endangered by the haphazard parking."

"I'm glad to say that the members of Wexford Borough Council have unanimously supported my motion calling for a meeting to be arranged between the Council, the Gardaí and the GAA County Board to finally find a resolution to this problem, and for the idea of a park and ride system to investigated and, if suitable, deployed on match day."

Planned cut to schools Meitheal programme is short sighted - O' Súilleabháín

The plan to cut Meitheal supports to children entering Co.Wexfords secondary schools from small rural primary schools has being described as "Scooge-like and short-sighted" by a local election candidate and primary teacher. 

Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin said:

"Nothing surprises me any more with this government who seem to know the price of everything but the value of nothing.This scheme across Co. Wexford provides invaluable support to children from small rural schools entering and integrating into the big world of secondary education. We even have the biggest secondary school in Ireland.To slash this support, all to save just forty five thousand euro is scrooge-like and shortsighted by a government who seem to know the price of everything but the value of nothing"

Mr. Howlin needs to intervene immediately with his cabinet colleague Ruairí Quinn to halt this silly cut"

"Mammoth local efforts in the face of state indifference"

"A common theme emerged from areas of north wexford  visited by a European election candidate this week  -  mammoth local efforts in the face of state indifference" 
This was the view expressed by Sinn Féins Liadh Ní Riada who is candidate for the South constituency and local election candidate Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin who accompanied her.

"Liadh listened to the concerns of groups as well as discussing European funding options." said Ó Súilleabháin.

"Her first stop was Kilmuckridge Family Resource Centre whose future is uncertain following a HSE plan to sell their building fover their heads for just fifty thousand euro.
Later she met with Courtowns Coastguard Jim Murphy who showed her the after effects of the storm damage to beaches and the pier and outlined the inadequate level of funding being promised as well as the misallocation of resources. 
Her final engagement was with Ray Cullen , chair of  the Talk to Tom centre, Gorey who outlined the incredible work being done in the area of suicide prevention. She later attended the gala opening of "The Sea".

"A common theme emerged from the three areas visited - mammoth local efforts in the face of state indifference" 

"It was shocking for Leah to hear of the HSE's threat to the colossal voluntary work being done in Kilmuckridge under the umbrella of the Resource Centre. Equally shocking was the total absence of any form of statutory support for Talk To Tom whose efforts have not only saved many lives but also saved the state the costs of dealing with attempted suicides. Unfortunately, the political establishment seem indifferent"

"Liadh discussed funding options and has promised that she will not only be a voice for the voiceless in Brussels but will take groups there to have their voices heard"

How can we expect to boost tourism with roads like these - Roche

A local election candidate has demanded that action be taken to deal with the appalling state of roads across rural Wexford.  Mick Roche said that the disgraceful state of roads around coastal areas in particular could have a negative impact on tourism in the county this summer.

The Sinn Féin rep said;

"County Wexford has some of the most beautiful coastline in the state.  It's a jewel in the crown of South Eastern tourism.  However, getting to these wonderful locations is being made difficult due to the disgraceful condition of our roads."

"Recently I have been canvassing in the Lady's Island and Carne areas where the local road is in a terrible state of disrepair.  The road needs to be resurfaced from Broadway through the island into Carne.  This is a hotspot for tourists and leaving it like this leaves a very poor impression on visitors."

"The people of Wexford pay more than enough in motor tax and local property tax for the upkeep of their roads.  Yet it is quite obvious without even looking at where these funds are actually going that they are not being spent on the local road network.  As a local County Councillor I will demand that adequate funds are allocated to our council and that our road network is properly maintained."

"Its scandalous that hundreds of houses lie idle while 1000+ Gorey families languish on waiting lists" - O' Súilleabháin

Sinn Féin election candidate, Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin has blasted the policing of the RAS Housing scheme in the Gorey area and has called for boarded up houses in the town to be used for social housing.

Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin was speaking after visitng sub-standard accommodation close to Goreys Main Street.

"Thankfully, we in Gorey are lucky in that we see nice facades on retail developments. However, the casual passer by will more than likely be unaware of the grim reality that lies behind some of these developments for many people.

Large numbers of families and single people (particularly men) are being forced to stay in deplorable living accommodation in the Gorey area, sometimes within a stones throw of Gorey Main Street. 
This appears to be particularly prevalent in tenancies allocated under Wexford County Councils RAS scheme.

Tenants have been contacting me and inviting me to witness deplorable living conditions - damp and mouldy walls, complexes where heaters and electrical devices are regularly sparking and tripping,asthmatic people living in accommodation with bad ventilation and air pollution from nearby developments, complexes without fire escapes and in breach of regulations etc etc. 
Even though these are council tenancies through the RAS scheme, there appears to be little, if any, enforcement of basic standards when rogue landlords don't comply.

It doesn't have to be like this. In towns like Gorey, where the housing list has increased dramatically over the past few years, many abandoned developments lie idle. Similarly, in Riverchapel, and also in rural areas.

"It is shocking that there are 33,000 empty houses in unfinished estates across this state while 100,000 linger on housing waiting lists. In 2013 only 500 houses in this state were taken over for social housing.
 Under the 2014 House Building programme just ten new starts have been announced for the Gorey area.

Despite the establishment of the RAS scheme, the social housing list has actually increased in the Gorey area in the last 2 years. Yet abandoned houses lie scattered across North Wexford. We can all name places and estates where houses lie boarded up or vacant ones lie locked up.

Schemes like RAS are supposed to be temporary measures while applicants wait for social housing. However, both central government and local government are using then to massage the waiting list figures for council housing. There are and estimated 200 RAS tenancies in the Gorey area.

We in Sinn Féin are calling for immediate policing of the RAS scheme; a building programme for social housing to be commenced; and for abandoned and unfinished buildings to be taken over, refurbished and used to house families lingering on the social housing waiting lists.

 It will provide badly needed jobs in the construction industry and is also the right thing to do to put a decent roof over families heads"

Sale of Baldwinstown Garda Station is a regressive step - Roche

The sale of a closed Garda station in South Wexford is a slap in the face to hundreds of people living in fear of burglars across the district.  That's the view of Mick Roche, a local election candidate, who believes that the sale of the barracks in Baldwinstown for €75,000 last week will do nothing to tackle the home break epidemic that has plagued the south of the county in recent years.

"South Wexford has experienced a crime epidemic over the past few years," Mr Roche said, "And the government's response has been to close rural garda stations.  Recently four businesses in the village of Bridgetown have been broken in to and vandalised.  This is only three miles away from the former Garda station in Baldwinstown which was sold by the Office of Public Works for €75,000 last week."

"The sale of this station will do little to instil confidence in people who are literally living in fear of further break ins.  I have spoken to several elderly people living alone who told me that they can only sleep during daylight hours due to the terrible fear they are experiencing.  How can they be expected to welcome this sale?"

"I would be very interested to know where the money earned in this sale will be invested.  Will any of it come back into South Wexford and be used to combat the continuing crime problem?  Will it be used to fund some of the volunteer community alert initiatives in the locality that have been formed out of vital necessity?  I have asked the Sinn Féin team in Leinster House to raise this in the Dail for me as a matter of urgency."

"Both the IFA and the Garda Representatives Association, two powerful bodies who understand the crime crisis facing rural Ireland, have rejected the plan popularised by Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour politicians to close and sell barracks across the state.  The sale of Baldwinstown Garda Station is a regressive step and it looks like the funds acquired will have absolutely no benefit for the people of County Wexford."

Rosslare to Waterford Rail Line should be reopened

A local election candidate believes that reopening the Rosslare to Waterford Rail line would bring new jobs to Wexford.  Mick Roche said that the closed rail line would play an important role in Sinn Féins plan for the development of Rosslare Europort.

"The Rosslare to Waterford Rail line was closed four years ago," Mr Roche said, "It was a mistake and more a result of the mismanagement of the service than lack of interest or future for the line.  Today it lays dormant and the stations across the line are falling into disrepair."

"Sinn Féin is pushing for the deepening of a berth at Rosslare Europort from 7.2 to 9 meters to allow larger freight traffic into the port.  With the emergence of new markets in the east, Rosslare could be utilised much more for the export and import of goods."

"Not only could I see the huge potential in landing cargo containers into Rosslare, but I could also envisage the large scale export of agri produce from the port.  For this we need two things; a new cargo depot at the port and a reliable rail link."

Clamping situation at Wexford General Hospital must be investigated - Kelly

A Wexford Councillor has called for an investigation into the procedures surrounding clamping at our local hospital.  Cllr Anthony Kelly said that the policy of clamping the cars of people who were sick, grieving or rushing people into hospital was disgusting and had to be rectified.

"Its been brought to my attention that several genuine people attending Wexford General Hospital were clamped recently," Cllr Kelly said, "These unfortunate people, one of whom was grieving the loss of a loved one, had to pay €100 to get released."

"While I accept that some people do abuse the set down parking spaces infront of the hospital, there have been many cases involving genuine people who were already in a distressed mood being clamped.  I am moving that the Borough Council begin an immediate investigation into this as the local authority."

"Local councils have a right to patrol public parking spaces with clamping but the grounds of Wexford General Hospital are private and not controlled by the council.  However, due to the growing concern over the situation at the hospital I feel its time that the local authority intervene  and demand that the private company patrolling the grounds show some restraint under special circumstances."

Costs of doing business must be reviewed to promote job creation

Employers are being put out of action causing more unemployment and uncertainty in the labour market due to the expenses of doing businesses according to a local Sinn Féin candidate.  Oisin O' Connell said that answer was not the governments wage cut programme but rather a new and effective approach to dealing with business bills.

Mr O' Connell said;

"Almost 70% of people employed in Ireland are at work for small and medium enterprises.  It is businesses like your local shop, hairdresser and taxi company that are employing Ireland, not the multi nationals that we hear so much about.  These are the companies that must be protected in order for more employment to be created and more potential employers to appear on the scene."

"128,000 jobs have been lost in this sector since the recession began.  They have been lost because this government, and the previous Fianna Fail led coalition, were unable and unwilling to tackle the root causes behind the expense of doing business in this state.  Fine Gael have now came up with the brainwave that cutting employees wages will save the sme sector.  Speaking as a successful businessman, I can say with certainty that once again Fine Gael are wrong."

"Sinn Féin is proposing tackling the expense of doing business by initiating a series of progressive measures beginning by freezing utility bills for two years.  We would invest in broadband offering businesses a better, more competitive service and review current commercial rates which are putting companies out of business.  We also support a temporary rebate on fuel for transport companies."

Annual Easter Commemorations well attended across County Wexford

Six Commemorations were held across County Wexford over Easter weekend, and all were well attended, dignified affairs.  A Commemoration for executed 1916 leader Michael O' Hanrahan was held on New Ross towns Quayfront on Good Friday evening.  The Chairperson of County Wexford Sinn Féin, Oisin O' Connell, laid a wreath on O' Hanrahan Bridge before more wreaths were laid by veteran republican Mick O' Leary and Emer Kirwan, who also gave an oration, at three bullet gate.

A commemoration was held for Enniscorthy 1916 Rising leader Sean Etchingham in Riverchapel on Easter Saturday afternoon.  Local Sinn Féin rep Fionntán O' Súilleabháin spoke at the event.

On Easter Saturday evening the annual Joe Whitty Commemoration was held by the young hungerstrikers grave in Ballymore.  The event was chaired by local election candidate Mick Roche and was notable for being larger this year than ever before.  Nine year old Madison Roche read the proclamation.  Local historian and writer Sean Farrell presented the Whitty family with the only known photo of Joe Whitty, who died on hunger strike in 1923.

The annual Wexford town commemoration was held in Crosstown graveyard on Easter Sunday.  Sandra McLellan TD was the main speaker.  Cllr Anthony Kelly also spoke, while the role of honour was read by Mick Avic O' Leary and the Proclamation was read out by Shane Canning.

Over one hundred people attended the Enniscorthy Easter Commemoration on Easter Monday.  Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD was the main speaker, while the Chairperson of Enniscorthy Town Council, Cllr Johnny Mythen, chaired the event.  The Proclamation was read out by Dave Wickam while Noirin Sheridan read out a list of graves were wreaths had been laid over the weekend.

Earlier in the day, the annual Murrintown Easter Commemoration was held.  The Chairman of the local Radford/McCarthy Cumann did a great job as always giving the main oration at the graveside.  Wreaths were laid by Mick Radford and Des McCabe.