Monday, December 10, 2012

Successful Liam Mellowes Weekend in Gorey

There was a large turnout for events over the weekend commemorating the 90th anniversary of the execution of Republican Socialist leader Liam Mellows by Free State forces .On Friday the North Wexford Historical Society hosted a packed lecture in Goreys VEC building which was given by Dr. Ruan O'Donnell.

There was also a large turnout for the annual Liam Mellows Commemoration which was held in Castletown on Sunday. The Ed O'Brien Republican flute band led the large crowd to Castletown cemetery where Aengus Snodaigh T.D. gave the main oration. In a scathing attack on the Labour Party he described their stance as "spineless" and having "betrayed the ordinary citizens of this country". "Sinn Féin are leading the fightback and are giving voice to the anger that is out there and putting forward real, costed alternatives as we did in our 28-page pre-budget submission"

Wreaths were lain by various Sinn Fein cumainn from throughout the county.

Commemoration chairman, Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin, in his address focussed on last weeks budget and the relevance of Mellows writings and life to that of modern day Ireland."While Fianna Fáil sold out the the nations sovereignty, the Labour Party had, just like in Mellows time, sold out the ordinary working people of Ireland. They broke their contract with the electorate and have continued the savage policies of austerity of their predecessors" He quoted from Liam Mellows writings, which he said were "prophetic." - “The Irish Republic stands for the ownership of Ireland by the people of Ireland. The last thing it needs is a change of masters. If her industries and banks were controlled by foreign capital, they would be at the mercy of every breeze that ruffled the surface of the world's money-markets

The Irish Labour Party have betrayed not alone the Irish Republic but the labour movement in Ireland”.

Music was later provided in the Golden Anchor pub by the popular local balladeer Darren McGovern.

Sinn Féin also held a budget protest over the weekend on Goreys Main Street which was very well received by passing motorists.

Kelly welcomes confirmation that operating theatre 2 will reopen


Cllr Anthony Kelly has welcomed the confirmation that operating theatre 2 at Wexford General Hospital will reopen on the 14th of January next. The Wexford Sinn Féin rep, who broke the news of the closure on the 8th of October last and led a campaign calling for the reopening of the theatre, received the guarantee after submitting a parliamentary question through the office of Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caolāin.

Cllr Kelly said;

"Sinn Féin welcomes the news that operating theatre 2 will reopen on the 14th of January 2013. The closure of the theatre at Wexford General Hospital has caused serious discomfort to the people of this county, particularly those who have had procedures cancelled due to the closure."

"Operating theatre 2 should not have been closed. The explanation that it was a cost saving measure that will save the HSE €110,000 simply does not justify the loss of an operating theatre for three months."

"During our campaign to reopen the operating theatre it emerged that the management of Wexford General Hospital had closed operating theatre 2 on at least two previous occasions under that radar. No doubt the news of the current closure would have been suppressed too had we not found out and informed the local media."

"If the HSE was prepared to close operating theatre 2 in the past to save money, they will no doubt do so again. In fact it is only a matter of time. I would urge local government oireachtas members to join my own party in opposing any further closures of operating theatre and in making their absolute unconditional opposition to any form of downgrading at Wexford General Hospital in 2013 publicly known."

Saturday, December 8, 2012

"Mirror mirror on the wall, where is the fairest budget of all"

Responding to last Wednesdays budget, local Cllr. Johnny Mythen said, "anyone who thinks this is a fair budget must live in fairy land."

"Most other European Countries produce their budgets well in advance of their launch dates," the Sinn Féin Councillor said, "The various cuts and tax measures are scrutinizes by the opposition parties who have an opportunity to challenge and work out the best way forward.  In Ireland we have an archaic system which stymies the domestic economy for months.  Politicians drip feed snippets, resulting in an air of uncertainty and fear, which causes people to stop spending and hold onto any disposable income they are lucky to possess."

"This year was no exception. The governments feeble cry of "fair play" must be challenged.  Every worker in the state, earning over €18000 will pay an extra €265 per year because of the change in P.R.S.I.  A couple on the minimum wage will pay €530 extra with no clause of inability to pay afforded to them."

"A new property tax of .18% on all homes also trounces the people who are already in negative equity on their mortgages again with no  inability to pay included.  Generously the government  has said such families can defer these payments, but in doing so  will incur a penalty of €400. A fair price indeed!  In fact it's even better than a marriage vow; even in death you cannot part from this tax as it passes on to your estate."

"Lastly, three of the most unfair cuts of them all, respite grants, the home package ,and children's allowance.  These three alone are the difference between families surviving  or going under.  This government can receive all the accolades from Europe and beyond, but ordinary folk will not forget fairness means treating people equally and just in all circumstances."

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The right choices were not made in Budget 2013 - Sinn Féin

Budget 2013 was a failed opportunity which will send thousands of more Irish people into poverty according to the Chairperson of County Wexford Sinn Féin.  Oisin O' Connell said that though he agreed with some of the more progressive measures taken in the budget, the overall plan is regressive, fails to address job creation and will cause untold hardship to the most vulnerable members of society.

Mr O' Connell said;

"It was essential for this state and its people that the government should make the right choices in Budget 2013.  Unfortunately cutting old age pensioners, children, low income workers, under pressure mortgage holders and the severely handicapped while avoiding the necessary big steps like the introduction of a wealth tax does not constitute making the right choices."

"This budget will cost the average Wexford family €790 per annum.  That amounts to health insurance for two children or six weeks of food shopping.  This budget ignores the wish of the vast majority of people for the abolition of the household charge by introducing a property tax which will be three times as expensive and will be subject to collection by the revenue commissioners.  This budget cuts €350 off the respite grant for the severely handicapped instead of targeting those who earn above €100,000 per year."

"Clearly the wrong choices have been made."

"The government must ask themselves; what are our priorities?  Is it to get people back to work and make them self sufficient and free from social benefits?  Or is it to regard people as national debt-servicing machines?  If so, won’t this increase the likelihood of more people, under more pressure, flooding further into the social welfare system, as their supports get removed elsewhere?"

"Sinn Féin has consistently argued that those who can afford to pay more should do so.  To put it simply; if a lifeboat is full of children, the elderly and the infirm and contains one international rugby player, it makes sense that the rugby star would do the majority of rowing.  Our economy is a lifeboat now and it is not unreasonable to ask those who can afford to pay more to take more of a share in the pain.  If not, our lifeboat is going nowhere."

"Sinn Féin would welcome some of the more progressive measures outlined in the budget plan.  The rebate on haulier's diesel and the introduction of energy efficiency, retrofitting and upgrading via incentivised investment are to be welcomed and were two parts of our recent jobs plan."

"There were alternatives available to the austerity measures that were delivered in Budget 2013.  Sinn Féin has consistently argued for the introduction of a wealth tax.  In the coming weeks we will be holding information meetings across the county on the sensible alternative to a property tax; the immediate introduction of a wealth tax.  To find out more information on this and on our reaction to the budget I would ask people to visit www.budget2013.org."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Budget 2013 is attack on children’s rights – O’ Súilleabhan

Cuts to child benefit and the back to school allowance will increase child poverty and constitutes an attack on children’s rights according to a local primary school teacher.  Fionntán O’ Súilleabháin, who is also a spokesperson for North Wexford Sinn Féin, said that these cuts made a mockery out of the government’s recent referendum pledge that ‘every child matters.’

Mr O’ Súilleabháin said;

“Only a month ago the government was pledging their commitment to children’s rights.  In this budget we witness their true loyalty, or lack of, to our children.  Today there are an estimated two hundred thousand children living below the poverty line in this state.  How many will be living in poverty when the full effects of cuts to child benefit and the back to school allowance are felt?”

“Across the board benefit cuts of €10 for the first and second child, €18 for the third child and €20 for the fourth and following children is ludicrously unfair and will impact most severely upon those who are already suffering most.  A family of four children will be down €58 per month in child benefit cuts alone.”

“The Back to School Allowance has never been more important to children and struggling parents alike.  It is a social failsafe that provides families under a certain income with money to buy vital necessities like school uniforms, children’s footwear and text books.  In a time when the provision of this allowance has never been so critical, our government has cut it by €50.”

“In addition to this, the annual respite care grant for children with severe disabilities has been cut from €1,700 to €1,375 for each care recipient.  These handicapped children and their parents have their respite cut so that unsecure bondholders can be paid and an incompetent corrupt banking system can be protected.”

“During the campaign for the Children’s Referendum Fine Gael and Labour put up hundreds of posters around this county urging people to vote yes for children’s rights.  Fine Gael placed their slogan, ‘Every child matters’, on their posters.  It’s a pity that they didn’t consider the children of Ireland on Budget day as they voted them into a future of poverty and hardship.”

Monday, December 3, 2012

Liam Mellows must be turning in his grave

“Liam Mellows must be turning in his grave, as Fianna Fáil - The Bankers Party pay tribute" - Ó Súilleabháin
“Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin followed in the footsteps of Bertie Ahern this weekend in trying to claim the mantle of Liam Mellows, as he gave the oration at the graveside of the Republican socialist leader on Sunday. Liam Mellows must be turning in his grave”. This is according to the Sinn Féin spokesperson for North Wexford, Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin. (Ahern had addressed a similar Fianna Fáil commemoration in Castletown a mere 6 years ago)

He was speaking as he announced details of a number of events being organised by various groups to celebrate the life and ideas of the republican socialist leader Liam Mellows the90th anniversary of whose execution occurs on Dec. 8th

His party’s commemoration this Sunday (Dec. 9th) will be addressed by Aengus Ó Snodaigh T.D.
“People won’t be fooled by their political somersaults and selective amnesia and know that it was Fianna Fáil-The Bankers Party who sold out the last remnants of sovereignty of the 26 county state and beggared us as a people.

are responsible for the destruction of this state and in a cynical move are now trying to re-invent themselves in opposition. No doubt they railed against a whole host of austerity measures currently being implemented, but which they in fact introduced in their 4 year Plan 2011-2014.(A property tax and proposed water taxes are just two of many measures which spring to mind)
The radical socialist and republican leader, Liam Mellows must be turning in his grave.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Budget for Children’s Rights

A North Wexford primary school teacher and spokesperson for local Sinn Féin has accused the government parties of picking and choosing when to talk about children’s rights.  Fionntán O’ Súilleabháin said that proposed cuts to children’s benefit and the governments continued failure to protect the education system showed that Fine Gaels mantra that ‘every child matters’ clearly doesn’t apply on Budget day.

Mr O’ Súilleabháin said;

“It's estimated that over 200,000 children are living below the poverty line in this state today.  One in five children have gone to bed hungry, victims of the austerity measures unleashed on this nation by Fianna Fail, and continued with gusto by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition.”

“During the campaign for the Children’s Referendum Fine Gael and Labour put up hundreds of posters around this county urging people to vote yes for children’s rights.  Fine Gael placed their slogan, ‘Every child matters’, on their posters.  Clearly this mantra doesn’t apply on Budget day as they prepare to inflict more hardship on Irish children.”

“In our alternative budget document, Sinn Féin is proposing a number of measures that will benefit children and will also benefit their under pressure families by alleviating the pressure on parents.  We would provide free school books to every child at a cost of €45 million.  The state already provides €15 million per year in grants so this would take the total to €60 million, equal to the estimated annual average spend on books.”

“Last year the government cut €32 million from the earnings disregard of the one parent family payment, which saw it reduced to €130 per week for 2012, with further cuts planned.  This cut makes going to work financially unviable for lone parents.  Sinn Féin would reverse this cut.”

“A government report earlier this year indicated that 21% of school children are now forced to go to school without breakfast.  In these trying times we believe that the state should take on greater responsibility to help these children by doubling the budget for the school meals programme to €70 million.”

“Our budget document has been costed and is a very real alternative to the policies of austerity favoured by the Austerity Troika of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour.  By asking those who can afford to pay more to do so, we can protect the most vulnerable citizens in the state, lift the local economy and get people back to work.  Full details of our alternative vision for Budget 2013 can be read at www.sinnfein.ie.”

Kelly: Government must make budget 2013 fair for all

A Wexford Councillor has called on the government to make Budget 2013 fair for all by making those who can afford to pay more do so.  Sinn Féin Cllr Anthony Kelly called for the introduction of a 1% wealth tax on income/assets over €1 million, the reduction of tax reliefs for high earners and an emergency pay cap of €100,000 to be placed on all those working in the public service.

Cllr Kelly said;

“Budget 2013 is looming over the Irish people like a black cloud.  Families across this nation, already struggling to survive from week to week, are seriously worried that this budget will push them over the edge.  We already have ten percent of people in this state living in food poverty and its estimated that half of the population will be living in fuel poverty in the next five years unless measures are taken to counter act the growing poverty.”

“This poverty is being heightened by the mistakes that have been made in past budgets.  The pro austerity parties; Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail, have to be answerable to the two hundred thousand Irish children living below the poverty line.  Austerity has failed and it’s beyond time that another way to tackle our problems was tried.”

“Sinn Féin is proposing that the most vulnerable should be protected in Budget 2013.  That means protecting current welfare, disability and old age pension payments.  It means leaving the children’s allowance alone.  It means not introducing a property tax.  It means protecting frontline services from cuts and lifting the detrimental recruitment embargo so 3500 new staff can be taken on.”

“We have delivered a fully costed alternative budget to show that cuts to vital services and benefits can be avoided if the government is prepared to introduce progressive taxation measures.  First of all, a wealth tax of 1% should be introduced on net wealth over €1 million, with working farmland and business assets being protected.  A third rate of income tax at 48% should be brought in for those earning in excess of €100,000 per annum.  An emergency cap of €100,000 should be placed on all civil and public servants immediately.”

“Our full alternative budget document can be found online at www.sinnfein.ie.  I would urge people to read it and to open their minds to the very real alternatives that are available to our government, alternatives that have been avoided and in some cases covered up by the Austerity Troika of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Labour party.”

Friday, November 23, 2012

Job creation is a political choice - Kelly

Sinn Féin launched a sixty page job creation document in New Ross last week aimed at putting 156,000 unemployed people back to work, retaining 15,000 at risk jobs and stimulating the local economy over the next four years.  Local unemployed, many of whom admitted that they were considering emigrating in the coming months, viewed the plan at the meeting and had their say.

Speaking at the launch, titled ‘Investing in Ireland’s Future: Create Jobs, Create Growth’, Cllr Anthony Kelly said the plan is full costed and provided an alternative, socially responsible way to reduce the Budget deficit and create jobs.

"Sinn Féin is proposing a €13billion investment in a job-creation and economic growth strategy over four years.  This is our alternative to the failed policies of austerity favoured by Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail, policies that have clearly failed this state and have left 20,000 Wexford people jobless."

"Our plan is fully costed by the Department of Finance.  It is not fantasy, it is not populism, it is a real opportunity to reinvigorate this nation.  This plan would create 156,000 jobs (long-term and short-term, according to the ERSI) and retain up to 15,000 jobs.  It would stem rising emigration, giving young people an opportunity to stay and make a life for themselves here in our county.  Today 46% of under 25's in Wexford are out of work.  How can we go like this?"

"Its all about political choices at the end of the day," Cllr Kelly said.  "We can choose to usher in further austerity for ordinary families in the budget or we can choose to invest in these families, to invest in their communities.  We can choose to say that it is not the job of government to create jobs as Fine Gael have said or we can recognise that it should be the absolute priority of our government to get the nation back to work.  We can choose to force in unfair taxation like the household charge or we can choose to develop strategically important assets like Rosslare Europort, getting people back to work and in doing so increasing revenue from income tax."

The Chairperson of local Sinn Féin, Oisin O' Connell outlined how the plan could be financed.

"We would use €5.8 billion in discretionary funding from the National Pension Reserve Fund," Mr O' Connell said, "€1.534 billion from the European Investment Bank and €3 billion incentivised investment from the private pension sector.  On top of this we would not allow the €2.6 billion earmarked to be cut from capital expenditure in Budget 2013 to go."

"Clearly the policies of austerity have failed the people of County Wexford.  We have areas where youth emigration has been so bad that local sports teams are struggling to field a side.  The whole fabric of our communities has been decimated.  If you want the source problem of this, and the solution, you need only ask yourself what is lacking in Wexford today.  The answer is jobs."

Jobs Plan can tackle youth unemployment epidemic in Wexford - O' Súilleabháin

A spokesperson for local Sinn Féin has branded a new jobs plan launched by his party in New Ross last week as the only answer to County Wexford's unemployment epidemic.  Speaking at the meeting, Fionntán O' Súilleabháin cited the fact that 46% of under twenty fives in this county are now unemployed as the proof that the policies of austerity have failed and now it is time to try something else.

Mr O' Súilleabháin said;

"Nearly half of all under twenty fives in this county are unemployed.  It's a shocking statistic and what makes it even worse is the knowledge that so many young people have already left Wexford looking for work abroad.  In fact that has been the governments only answer to the youth unemployment epidemic - get rid of our young people."

"Clearly the policies of austerity have failed the people of County Wexford.  We have 20,000 people unemployed in this county.  We have areas where youth emigration has been so bad that local sports teams are struggling to field a side.  The whole fabric of our communities has been decimated.  If you want the source problem of this, and the solution, you need only ask yourself what is lacking in Wexford today.  The answer is jobs."

"Both the current Fine Gael/Labour government, and the previous Fianna Fail led regime, failed spectacularly to bring jobs to County Wexford.  North Wexford has been particularly neglected.  Famously the IDA failed to bring a single job to the area during a four year period.  Clearly we need fresh innovative policies to tackle unemployment."

"Sinn Féin is proposing almost €13 billion additional investment in job creation and economic growth over the next four years.  This would create an average of 156,000 new jobs and retain up to 15000 existing jobs according to the ERSI.  To finance this we would use €5.8 billion in discretionary funding from the National Pension Reserve Fund, €1.534 billion from the European Investment Bank and €3 billion incentivised investment from the private pension sector.  On top of this we would not allow the €2.6 billion earmarked to be cut from capital expenditure in Budget 2013 to go."

"Over the coming weeks we will be bringing this plan into communities.  I would ask people to read it and to realise that there are options available to our government.  Don't allow them to say that there's no money and nothing can be done.  The situation we are in was caused by political choices.  It can be rectified by political choices but they must be the right ones, made to benefit the people and future feasibility of this state."

Sinn Féin launch Job Creation Plan in New Ross

Sinn Féin launched their job creation plan in the Community  Development Project Building in New Ross last Monday night.  Speaking at the meeting, County Wexford Sinn Féin Chairperson Oisin O' Connell said his party's plan had the potential to take 156,000 unemployed people off the live register and put them back into the work force over a period of four years.

Mr O' Connell said;

"The old policies and approaches of austerity favoured by the political elite in this state have failed the people.  We have 460,000 out of work.  In this county it is estimated that 46% of people under twenty five are unemployed.  200,000 have been forced to emigrate in the last three years.  Something has to be done."

"Sinn Féin is proposing a  €13 billion additional investment in job creation and economic growth over the next four years.  This would create 156,000 jobs as well as leading to the retention of 15,000 jobs which may be lost without the introduction of a stimulus."

"This plan can be achieved.  The funding is there if our government is prepared to use it.  We propose using €5.8 billion in discretionary funding from the National Pension Reserve Fund, €1.534 billion from the European Investment Bank and €3 billion incentivised investment from the private pension sector.  On top of this the €2.6 billion which the government plans to cut from the capital budget for next year should be retained."

"Among the local proposals contained in this document are the deepening of one of the berths at Rosslare Europort and the revitalisation of the south east sugar beet industry.  Full details of the our plan can be found at www.wexfordsinnfeinnews.blogspot.com."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Prominent Campaigner burns Household Tax bill outside Wexford Ministers office

A prominent campaigner against the Household Charge burned what he described as a 'threatening letter' which he had received from Wexford County Council demanding €127 outside of Minister Paul Kehoe's Enniscorthy office last Saturday morning.  Dominick Gaughan, a member of the Loch Garman against Austerity group and Sinn Féin, said he would not pay what he dubbed an 'unfair charge' and warned that from next year families would end up paying between €400 to €800 a year for the privilege of living in their own homes.  Mr Gaughan will be one of the main speakers at a number of anti household tax events this week.

Mr Gaughan said;

"We all know from 2013, families will be charged between €400 and €800 a year just for the privilege of living in their own home's.  In future years, coupled with Water Tax, the average family home will be paying over a €1000 on average per year."

"Despite massive protests and a nationwide boycott of the household tax, the main political parties of the establishment have ignored the Irish peoples declaration that the household charge was an unfair form of double taxation.  We would expect that from our government with Labour and Fine Gael being the teacher's pets in the class for Bankers and non-secured Bond holders, the IMF and Troika.  The so called main opposition party of Fianna Fail have equally supported the implementation of the household tax.  In fact, Fine Gael and Labour are only singing from the hymn sheet that Fianna Fail created."

"Those of us who campaign against this unjust charge are just ordinary people from ordinary families.  We are not in the habit of burning council letters outside the office of government TDs but if that's what it takes to be noticed, then so be it.  Something has to be done as it seems that banks are still too big to fail and people still too small to matter.  The much hyped property tax and the planned Austerity budget cuts in social welfare, child benefit and health will push hundreds of thousands of people over the edge."

Mr Gaughan will be one of the main speakers at a public meeting in Whites Hotel on Tuesday night at 8am.  Deputy Mick Wallace and Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan will also speak.  A day of protest against the household tax will be held nationwide next Saturday.  Protest rallies will be held on the Fairgreen in Enniscorthy at 10pm and on Wexford Quay at 2pm.   

Sinn Féin to remain vigilant over Wexford General Hospital

Following on from recent assurances by a local government TD that Wexford General Hospital is safe from any form of downgrading, and other information that came to light today, Sinn Féin has put its weekly protest outside our county hospital on pause.  Speaking at last Saturdays protest, Cllr Anthony Kelly said that his party was calling off the protests for now, but would remain extremely vigilant, promising a fresh campaign of escalated protests if the government broke its promises concerning Wexford General.

Cllr Kelly said;

"Following on from government promises made by a local Fine Gael Deputy last week concerning the safeguarding of Wexford General Hospital from any form of downgrading, and after receiving new information concerning the future of operating theatre 2 earlier today, Wexford Sinn Féin is putting its weekly protests outside our hospital on pause.  Sinn Féin will remain highly vigilant, and at the first sign of any form of downgrading at Wexford General, we will initiate a fresh campaign of escalated protests."

"Though we put our weekly protests on ice, our campaign to reopen operating theatre 2 has not ended.  Signatures are still been collected for the campaigns petition across this county, and it is my intention to lead the delegation that brings those petitions to Leinster House next month."

"Sinn Féin welcomes the government's promise to protect all services at Wexford General Hospital and at Waterford Regional Hospital.  Both hospitals play integral roles in this region, and full services must be preserved at both.  Securing Waterford as a regional hospital is not an excuse to pilfer vital services out of Wexford."

"I would like to thank the people of County Wexford for their continued support for the campaign to protect our hospital.  We all know that further cuts are coming to the national health budget, but if the Waterford rally last week showed us anything it is that people power can force governments to back down on poor decisions.  Together we will safe guard County Wexford's health services into the uncertain years that lay ahead."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Wake up little SUSI wake up"

Cllr Johnny Mythen has slammed the governments botched handling of the SUSI student grant system.  The Sinn Féin rep said that this Minister Quinns decision to 'fix' something that was not broke is putting some students out of college.

Cllr Mythen said;

"Student universal support Ireland is the company in charge of processing student grants.  This whole new innovative system was supposed to be the panacea of all future student grant applications.  Instead we have 66000 applicants in total.  Only three thousand and ten have been paid out to date,  25310 are still being processed and a further 25500 are awaiting documentation."

"This was a job that the local V.E.C.s and Co. Councils could do in their sleep.  These teachers and civil servants quiet often knew the applicants personally and could go through the application forms on an individual basis, making sure the documentation was correct."

"Minister Quinn's apologies are falling on deaf ears.  Parents are at their wits end.  Some will have no choice but to take their children out of college.  Students are under severe pressure to pay rents and keep themselves fed for the week.  This is a prime example of when something is not broken then don't fix it."

"Minister Quinn must act and act fast if he is sincere in providing a state of the art student grant system.  He should make sure the company he awards the contract to should be capable  of delivering a first class service just like the excellent  system we had before."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sinn Féin to launch Job Creation Plan in New Ross

Sinn Féin will launch their Job Creation Plan in New Ross next week.  According to County Chairperson Oisin O’ Connell, the full implementation of the plan would create 156,000 new jobs and retain up to 15000 existing jobs. 

 Mr O’ Connell said;

“Ireland is about to enter its fifth year of recession.  During that time more than 200,000 people have emigrated.  We currently have 460,000 people on the live register.  The failure by Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail to competently manage our economy, create jobs and stimulate growth has left us in this mess.  It’s time for new ideas.”

“Sinn Féin is proposing almost €13 billion additional investment in job creation and economic growth over the next four years.  This would create an average of 156,000 new jobs and retain up to 15000 existing jobs according to the ERSI.”

“Among the proposals contained in our jobs plan is the revival of the Irish Sugar Beet Industry through the construction of a new bio-refinery plant in New Ross.  This would create 5000 jobs.  We also propose €2.5 billion investment in the roll out of next generation broadband and sequence investment in water infrastructure.  Currently 43% of water is wasted through leaks.  This would be addressed under our plan.”
 

“The development and full utilisation of Rosslare Europort is also contained in the plan.  Such investment in the port could also lead to the reopening of the Rosslare to Waterford Rail Line and the construction of a new rail cargo depot in the port.  Other proposals include the abolishment of upward only rents, the capping of utility costs for a period of three years and the introduction of PRSI for the self employed.”

“Sinn Féin will be launching this document at a public meeting at the Community Development Project building in New Ross next Wednesday at 8pm.  We invite anyone interested in a new approach to job creation and anyone who believes that this state can be taken back and made a prosperous place once again to attend.  More details of this plan can be found at www.wexfordsinnfeinnews.blogspot.com.”

Gorey families told to renegotiate rents or find new accommodation six weeks before Christmas

A spokesperson for local Sinn Féin has slammed the Department of Social Protection for sending out hundreds of letters to families receiving rent allowance in the Gorey town area demanding that they renegotiate their rents immediately or find new accommodation six weeks before Christmas.  Fionntán O’ Súilleabháin said that this rushed job to get those in benefit of the rent supplement entitlement in Gorey updated to the new lower criteria was the clearest indication yet that further cuts to the allowance are planned  in the budget.

Mr O’ Súilleabháin said;

“I have been contacted by many worried people today who have received letters from the Department of Social Protection informing them their rent supplement entitlement is up for review.  In some cases families will have to renegotiate their rent with the landlord immediately, and if unsuccessful, look for alternative accommodation six weeks before Christmas.”

“Where a tenant who is up for review finds that their lease agreement is up for renewal, the Department has ordered that they must renegotiate their rent to meet the new criteria immediately.  Where this is not possible the tenant must seek alternative accommodation.  The cost of the new premises should be within the new rent limits and the applicant must find it and move in within eight weeks to keep their payments.”

“It will be impossible for all the people affected by this to find alternative accommodation that meets the new criteria.  There simply isn’t enough rentable property within that price range.  A simple search of Daft.ie showed that there were only two properties available in the Gorey area today that meet the requirements of a single person on rent supplement within the new limits.  Where will everyone else live once these two properties are taken?”

“The government has left the onus completely on the tenant to successfully renegotiate their rents with the landlord.  They are offered no help and told very clearly that if they fail they will lose their homes and have to look for new accommodation.  All of this is happening in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  It’s like something out of a Dickens novel.”

“These review letters should be withdrawn.  Families have enough to worry about in the run up to the budget without having this hanging over their heads as well.  The government needs to address the very real problem of housing.  Adequate social housing does not exist to meet the growing demand.  It is unrealistic to believe that tenants will be able to out bargain landlords across the state without any problems.  The state needs to take part in these negotiations themselves to avoid people losing their homes.”

Grassland sheep payment scheme should continue - O' Connell

The Chairperson of County Wexford Sinn Féin has called on the government to continue the grassland sheep payment scheme until new CAP regulations come into place.  The scheme which was introduced in 2010 for a three year period to support flock owners and to halt the decline of the national sheep flock was set to end this year, but Mr O' Connell believes that the delay in the implementation of new CAP rules should influence the length of this particularly important scheme.

Mr O' Connell said;

"It has been estimated that the Irish sheep industry is worth €250 million to our economy.  Over two thirds of the product is exported.  However before this scheme was introduced the national flock was declining rapidly.  The investment of €54 million has revitalised the industry and increased its worth to the state."

"The agri sector has the potential to create many more jobs as well as sustainable development in rural areas if it is managed right and protected.  This scheme was originally due to end this year and I feel that may have been due to the expected CAP renegotiations that have since been delayed."

"Wexford Sinn Féin is calling on Minister Coveney to keep the grassland sheep payment scheme in place until the new CAP plan is implemented.  The Minister knows how important this scheme is to sheep farmers and must also realise its value to the wider economy."

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Protest outside Wexford General Hospital today

A protest will be held outside the grounds of Wexford General Hospital this afternoon to highlight the continued closure of an operating theatre there.  Operating Theatre 2 will be six weeks closed this Monday.

Wexford Sinn Féin Cllr Anthony Kelly is organising the event but has reiterated that this protest is not political but rather about protecting services at Wexford General Hospital.  Everyone is welcome.

Those taking part are asked to meet by the traffic lights at the entrance to the hospital at 1.30pm.

D’Arcy comments on Waterford Regional Hospital unhelpful and disgraceful – Ó Súilleabháin

Sinn Féin spokesperson in North Wexford, Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin has described the comments of local senator Michael D’Arcy that Waterford Regional Hospital is the worst performing hospital in the country as disgraceful and inaccurate.

Senator D’Arcy made the comments this week in the Seanad, as Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane, the leader of the house Senator Maurice Cummins, and South Tipperary based Labour Senator Denis Landy all called for the retention of services at the hospital.

The North Wexford Sinn Fein spokesperson has called on Senator D'Arcy to back up his comments with facts.

Speaking on Friday Ó Súilleabháin said:

“These comments by Senator D’Arcy are appalling, disgraceful and inaccurate; it is untrue to suggest that Waterford Regional Hospital is the worst performing hospital in the country.

“In fact many reports have pointed to the hospital’s success in providing high quality, specialist services in areas such as cancer care. It is also clear that Senator D’Arcy is out of touch with the views of consultants in Wexford General Hospital who voted overwhelming to stay with the South East Hospital grouping.

“Senator D’Arcy needs to explain to cancer patients in Wexford, why they should face the long road to Dublin for treatment rather than the shorter route to Waterford Regional Hospital.

“I commend the Oireachtas members and Councillors from all parties across the region, who are uniting on this issue and who are sending a very clear message to the Minister for Health, James Reilly that Waterford Regional Hospital must not be downgraded.”

Commercial Rates should be Reviewed - Kelly

Cllr Anthony Kelly has said that now it the time to begin the process of reviewing commercial rates across the state.  The Sinn Féin Councillor insisted that businesses should pay rates based on the services provided by the state and that the rates should be reflective of the size and scale of the particular business.

"Commercial rates are strangling small businesses across this state," Cllr Kelly said.  "Rates have increased by 47% in the last ten years, well in excess of inflation and certainly not in line with increases in the provision of state services."

"In the last few years businesses have seen an enormous fall off in revenue.  There has been no fall off in the price of rates however.  Instead we have seen outlandish rates demanded in an effort to plug the gap in the cutting of government funding for local authority services."

"The process of reviewing commercial rates state-wide would be time consuming and would have to be carried out by local authorities under the guide of the Department of the Environment.  Minister Phil Hogan has been busy pushing taxes and cutting local councils over the past year.  Maybe he could now act in the welfare of struggling small businesses with the same zealousness."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Students are being forced to drop out of college - O' Súilleabháin


A North Wexford teacher and spokesperson for Gorey Sinn Féin has slated the government's failure to intervene in the ongoing SUSI fiasco which is causing students to drop out of college because they have not yet received their grants. Fionntán O' Súilleabháin said that 52,430 student applications were still awaiting processing through the online SUSI system.

Mr O' Súilleabháin said;

"An estimated 40% of all third level students receive grants. This year they were encouraged to apply through the new SUSI online application system that had been established by the Department of Education. Despite the apparent handiness of such a system, SUSI has been a complete disaster and has left over fifty thousand students still awaiting payments of grants."

"Many students are now being forced to reconsider their future as they do not have the economic freedom to continue with their education. 52,430 students have been left without payment. How many will drop out before Minister Quinn takes any action?"

"The government has pledged the importance of education to the future economic prospects of this state. It is a pity that they have failed so many students so spectacularly with the blotched SUSI system and their total lack of action to rectify the situation. The backlog of thousands of unprocessed applications, the apparent lack of training for staff and the difficulties in getting answers when contacting SUSI are problems that Minister Quinn must address immediately."

300% mark up on Social Workers registration fee is outrageous - Mythen

Cllr Johnny Mythen has criticised the new €295 registration fee that all social workers will have to pay from next May in order to continue practicing in the State. The Sinn Féin rep said that the fee was grossly unfair when compared with fees applicable to other professionals like nurses and doctors and amounts to a financial punishment on workers who have already seen their wages cut by at least 14% in the last three years.

Cllr Mythen said;

“From May 2013, every social worker in Ireland will be compelled to pay a €295 registration fee. This is compared to €55 - €80 for a nurse or doctor. On this basis alone it is grossly unfair, cutting into social workers wages at a time when every euro is budgeted for in the family household.”

“Every day they go to work, these workers face the harsh and cold reality of life. Everyone is aware of the huge increases of addictions, family break-downs, alcoholism and child abuse. These social workers provide a safety net for thousands of people in dire straits.”

“To impose a registration fee of €295 on social workers who have already been cut 14% in real wages is unjust. The social workers have no problem with paying a registration fee and know that it protects their profession and provides a higher standard. However this fee is far too high. The reality is the embargo on recruitment, the retirement of former colleagues and the ever increasing work load is causing enough pressure without what must be termed as a financial punishment on the very people who willingly put their finger in the dam on a daily basis.”

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Many Wexford families left with blank television screens after digital switchover - Gaughan


While the digital switchover seems to have been a success in most areas, a spokesperson for local Sinn Féin has warned that many communities have been left in the dark.  Dominick Gaughan said that many Wexford families are unable to receive the Saorview signal and will instead have to pay up to €400 for an inferior satellite service.

"Many Wexford families cannot receive the Saorview signal (Digital TV through an aerial)," Mr Gaughan said.  "To receive the free digital service these households will have to pay approximately €350 -  €400 to install Saorsat (Digital TV through a satellite).  Ultimately this more expensive system is actually inferior as it does not allow the customer to receive the full service.  TV3 and 3e are not carried on Saorsat."

"Two percent of the population cannot receive Saorview.  Out of 300,000 people with analogue TVs, that figure represents 6000 households."

"Communities known to be affected which may struggle to get Saorview in County Wexford include Carrigbyrne hill, Ballyhack, Coolerin (outside Campile), areas around Templeidugian, Newtown (outside Rathnure), Rose town and Kyle just outside Bunclody, large parts of Craanford, Cumerduff, Annagh gap, Ballythomas hill, parts of Tara hill, Ballyfad, Ballyteigue, Killinerian, large parts of Oulart and Ballycale south of Gorey.  Shrule and Monasootha outside Camolin which had a transmitter for analogue are also affected."

"Recently when this issue was raised in the Dail local Fine Gael Minister Paul Kehoe made light of the situation, suggesting that he would give the deputy who raised the question a 'big aerial' to bring home with him.  Perhaps Minister Kehoe is out of touch with the economic realities faced by ordinary families in this state.  The Saorsat system, the only alternative for those unable to receive Saorview, is expensive, offers an inferior package and has been known for its poor signal in many areas."

"The government promised to ease the entire population over to digital before the analogue service was switched off.  Two percent of the population were left behind in the dark.  They must be assisted immediately."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Stand for our health services before it's too late - Kelly

Cllr Anthony Kelly has urged the people of County Wexford to make a stand for their health services before it's too late after it was announced this week that cancer care treatment at Waterford Regional Hospital is under threat.  Speaking at a protest outside Wexford General Hospital over the continued closure of operating theatre 2 today, the Sinn Féin Councillor said the entire south east health service was under fire and only people power could save it now.

Cllr Kelly said;

"I have deep fears concerning the possible loss of cancer care treatment at Waterford Regional Hospital and the detrimental effects that this will have on people across this county.  It's been revealed this week that plans are in the pipeline to downgrade Waterford from a regional to a county hospital and to scrap its cancer care programme."

"Meanwhile operating theatre 2 remains closed at Wexford General Hospital.  We are about to enter the fifth week of closure and still we are told that everything is ok and that all services will be resumed.  We are told that there will be staff to run the new A&E and that there will be no downgrading at our Wexford General."

"Yet there is the possibility that the local regional hospital is about to be downgraded and much of its services moved to Cork.  How certain can we be that Wexford is safe if Waterford isn't?"

"Those who protest against the closure of operating theatre 2 outside the hospital every week are not trying to talk down the hospital and its staff.  If anything, we are trying to talk them up.  County Wexford cannot afford to lose any of the vital services provided by our hospital and its hard working staff."

"I would urge people to make a stand now and defend your local health service while you still can.  The entire south eastern health service is under fire and only people power can stop widespread downgrading at this stage.  People need to get out and make themselves heard."

Another protest will be held outside Wexford General Hospital at 1.30pm next Saturday to highlight the continued closure of operating theatre  2 and the ongoing threat posed to health services in the region.

Rogue operators putting recognised Saorview installers out of business - Gaughan

A spokesperson for local Sinn Féin and prominent campaigner against the Household tax has criticised the government for failing to set up a register of digital aerial and satellite installers to protect the public from Rogue installers.  Dominick Gaughan said that the lack of legislation made both the public and genuine taxpaying installers the victims of a growing cowboy industry.

Mr Gaughan said;

"The government's failure to set up a register of digital aerial and satellite installers has impacted harshly on both customers and recognised installers.  A few years ago the Irish Satellite and Aerial Association (ISAA) asked the then minister Eamon Ryan  to set up a registered digital installers body similar to what was established in the UK to protect consumers and genuine businesses during the switchover to digital.  Minister Pat Rabitte was also asked when he came to office.  Their failure to act has put many taxpaying operators out of business and led to the consumer paying for work that in a lot of cases was not up to scratch."

"Obviously we are in a bad economic situation and people are attempting to make money anyway they can, and this includes installing Saorview.  However many of these Rogue aerial installers advertising themselves as Saorview installers will not have met the necessary criteria.  They will not have public liability insurance, adequate health and safety training, undergone a criminal record check or have a registered business or company.  In many cases they will not be trained to do the job or have the necessary equipment needed to complete the task satisfactorily."

"Minister Rabbitte and Saorview are not doing enough to protect the public from the hundreds of cowboys and rogue installers that are now operating across this state.  They are not doing enough to protect the hard working, taxpaying small businesses and registered installers who have actually seen their business decrease during the digital switch over.  The government should set up a registered digital installers body as called for by the ISAA immediately."

Friday, November 2, 2012

Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme should be continued - Sinn Féin

The Suckler Cow Welfare Schemes success in increasing the efficiency and profitability of Irish Beef stock means it should be continued into 2013 and beyond according to Sinn Féin.  Local spokesperson Oisin O' Connell said that the profitability of the national herd could be increased by €420 million over the next twenty years if correct and sustained investment is made now.

Mr O' Connell said;

"New figures released by the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation show that the continuation of the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme could yield an additional €128 million to the national herd by 2020.  A further €300 million could be achieved between 2020 and 2030."

"This massive increase in the profitability of the national suckler herd would not just benefit farmers.  The knock on effects would generate growth in the local economy, create employment and increase government revenue."

"Farmers and farm families spend an estimated €8 billion per year in our economy.  For every €100 of agriculture output there is a further €73 of output to the wider economy.  71% of raw materials used by our agri and fishing industries are sourced in the domestic market.  Clearly what benefits the profitability of the national herd benefits the wider economy."

"The ICBF is confident that due to the gains that have been made due to the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme, and the further gains that can be made in coming years, Ireland will become a world leader in the cattle breeding."

"Minister Coveney needs to stop sitting on the fence and make his intentions concerning the future of the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme known.  His continued silence shows the lack of understanding for the agricultural sector which is growing in the Fine Gael party since they entered government."

Retirement age extension should be reversed – O' Connell

The Chairperson of County Wexford Sinn Féin has called for the extension of the retirement age to be reversed.  Oisin O' Connell said the policy is actively keeping young people out of work, particularly in the public service.

“The extension of the retirement age was a mistake,” Mr O' Connell said.  “It has been dressed up as an economic necessity when really it is keeping the group with the highest unemployment levels, our youth, out of work.”

“Youth unemployment in this state is currently running at close to 30%, double the overall rate.  Latest figures show that almost a third of males aged between 20 and 24 are out of work.  150,000 young people under the age of 25 have emigrated since 2008.  Something has to be done now to stop this.”

“Sinn Féin is calling for the reversal of the extension to the retirement age.  This coupled with other progressive measures could tackle the youth unemployment epidemic.  Under 25s are currently banned from CE schemes.  This should be changed immediately.”

“The BOOST and RYE programmes which have proved successful north of the border should be extended and made available in the south.  These programmes aim to develop business potential and increase skills among vulnerable 16-30 year olds in rural areas.  These projects should be made all-Ireland as soon as possible.”

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Closing Garda Stations increases crime - Kelly

A Wexford Councillor has condemned Minister Alan Shatters plans to close eighty rural Garda stations.  Cllr Anthony Kelly said that the closures would lead to an increase in crime and anti social behaviour in affected areas.  Cllr Kelly said Wexford had already witnessed the detrimental effects of closing rural Garda stations.

Cllr Kelly said;

"The closure of rural Garda stations put local communities at risk and lead to an increase in crime in those affected areas.  Earlier this year two rural stations were closed in this county.  One was situated in Balwinstown, just outside the village of Bridgetown."

"Bridgetown is currently experiencing high levels of anti social behaviour.  In recent weeks I have attended two meetings on this issue within that community.  People are afraid.  It's true that the station in Baldwinstown was not full time but it did serve as some sort of a deterrent to what is now sweeping this developing village."

"Both the Irish Farmers’ Association and the Garda Representatives Association, the representatives of rural Ireland and of the vast majority of Gardaí, have rejected these station closures on the grounds that they will lead to the infliction of terrible hardships on small communities.  The idea of replacing a Garda station with a clinic which would be manned for an hour twice a week is adding insult to injury.  Crime does not operate within Ministers Shatters schedule."

"This is another attempt by the government to use the lazy policies of austerity and downgrading of vital services to cut our deficit.  Sinn Féin has proposed progressive alternatives year after year, which are costed by the Department of Finance and endorsed by various social groups, that clearly show there is another way."

Dairy Quota Madness equals Superlevy for Ireland

Restrictive EU quotas on milk production are dangerously unrealistic and are the cause of a €16 million superlevy being placed on Ireland according to a spokesperson for North Wexford Sinn Féin.  Fionntán O' Súilleabháin described the current system which ends in April 2015 as economic madness and compared these allocations to the equally appalling fishing quotas.

Mr O' Súilleabháin said;

"Ireland is one of six countries that will pay a combined superlevy of €79 million due to our dairy farmers producing 1.1% more milk than was allowed by the restrictive quotas currently in place.  I believe our Dairy farmers should be commended for their efficiency and productivity instead of being punished for doing what they do particularly well."

"Like other EU quotas regarding fishing and vegetable production, the regulations in place with the Dairy quotas amount to shear madness.  Irish Dairy producers are chastised for producing above quota while other EU nations have failed to meet their quotas resulting in the overall EU milk production being 4.7% below quota."

"These quotas are not doing what they were originally intended to do.  Instead of having a system that regulates the market and ensures healthy competition among the member states what we have ended up with is Catch 22 style madness that makes neither economic nor moral sense.  It is entirely unacceptable that Irish Dairy farmers are treated this way by the EU for excelling in their sector."

Cap utility costs for three years - Kelly

A Wexford Borough Councillor is calling on the government to introduce a three year utility costs cap in Budget 2013.  Cllr Anthony Kelly said the government could alleviate rising fuel poverty by putting state assets like ESB and Bord Gáis to strategic use through the introduction of a three year cap on price increases.

Cllr Kelly said;

"Half the population will be living in fuel poverty in the next five years unless steps are taken to tackle the problem now.  Fuel poverty is defined as a household spending more than 10% of its disposable income on heating.  Unfortunately we have seen a massive rise in this in recent years and  it is often the forgotten statistic of this recession."

"Sinn Féin is proposing that the strategically use its state assets like ESB and Bord Gáis to counter rising fuel poverty.  It would make far more sense for the state to put these companies to use for the public interest by imposing a cap on any price hikes for three years  instead of selling them off."

"Fuel poverty is a real threat to families across this state.  If action is not taken to combat this threat the level of people living in fuel poverty ten years from now could be as high as 75% of householders according to recent data from the Energy Action Conference 2012."

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Downgrading of Garda stations is unacceptable - O' Súilleabháin

Minister Alan Shatters decision to close eighty rural based Garda stations is another example of the government's policy of downgrading the Gardaí according to a spokesperson for local Sinn Féin.  Fionntán O' Suilleabháin described the decision as totally unacceptable and urged the Minister to back down.  He also called for clarification that Gorey Garda Station will not be downgraded from a district headquarters to a sub-station of Enniscorthy.

Mr O' Súilleabháin said;

"Minister Shatters move to close eighty rural based Garda stations is totally unacceptable and yet another example of the government's policy of downgrading the Gardaí.  These closures will leave even more communities under siege from anti social elements."

"County Wexford has already lost two Garda stations under the Ministers reign; Ballywilliam and Baldwinstown.  Any further closures must be resisted.  The IFA and the Garda Representatives Association have already voiced their opposition to these cuts.  It's time for more community groups to come out and stand against the downgrading of vital frontline services."

"Plans to downgrade Gorey Garda Station from a district headquarters to a sub-station of Enniscorthy should be scrapped.  This would be an extremely regressive move and would leave Gorey deprived of adequate Garda resources.  I have passed on a question to our TDs to be raised in Leinster House on this issue."

"North Wexford Sinn Féin will be holding a public meeting on the ongoing attacks on rural Ireland in late November."