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.