Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kelly concerned over staffing of Wexford General Hospital

Wexford Sinn Féin has welcomed news that work will commence on the proposed extension to Wexford General Hospital in the spring. Cllr Anthony Kelly said that he still had grave concerns regarding the staffing of the new facilities however, and is worried that this will impact detrimentally on our 24 hour A&E service in the county.

Cllr Kelly said;
“Wexford Sinn Féin welcomes the news that work will begin on this vital project in the coming months. It is overdue, but we always expected some hold ups. The thing that worries me most is will we have the staff to man these new facilities? In fact, will we even have the staff to maintain our current 24 hour A&E unit?”

“Recent HSE figures show that 3,500 hospital staff will have left positions in Irish hospitals between last September and the end of February next, including 1700 nurses and 50 consultants. I would have huge concerns that this exodus of front line staff coupled with the HSE’s draconian recruitment embargo will have a devastating affect on our county hospital. Frontline staff cannot be maintained with this level of redundancies.”

“Minister Reilly has made a point of highlighting his role in tackling problems with bureaucracy at the top of the HSE. What he won’t tackle is the deplorable situation where 110 senior managers are on salaries exceeding €110,000 per annum while funding is not made available to hire new frontline staff.”

“Like Fianna Fail before them, our new government are playing with people’s lives by refusing to tackle the obscene defects within our health system. The new facilities at Wexford General Hospital, while sincerely welcomed by Sinn Féin, will be nothing but hollow shells of concrete without the dedicated staff to run them.”

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Darby O Gill slur won’t hide Governments failed job creation plan

Cllr Anthony Kelly has reacted angrily to comments made by Wexford Minister Brendan Howlin, who said that opposition’s parties were practising “Darby O’ Gill” economics in their proposals to create employment. The Wexford Sinn Féin Councillor said these sorts of comments from a representative of a government that has done absolutely nothing to realistically reduce unemployment are brazen and pathetic. Cllr Kelly also said that it was ironic that the Minister would make his comments on the day that his Government handed over €1.25 billion to an unguaranteed bondholder of Anglo Irish Bank.

Cllr Kelly said;
“It's incredible that on the day our government chose to hand over €1.25 billion to an unguaranteed, unsecured bondholder, a senior Minister decided to attack the opposition on their job creation proposals. The “Darby O’ Gill” comments prove only one thing; that our government are becoming increasingly alienated with the wishes of the Irish electorate.”

“Over 440,000 people are signing on the live register. That’s not counting those people who are out of work and not entitled to claim benefits, or those people on retraining programmes. It’s also fails to include the many thousands who have emigrated. If there’s someone practising “Darby O’ Gill economics it’s certainly not the Sinn Féin opposition. Perhaps Minister Howlin should look a little closer to home.”

“Minister Howlin's comments are pathetic. The best the government can come with to deal with the unemployment crisis is to give the unemployed a “date of exit” by which time they must have found a job. Where will they find this job? Unfortunately Minister Howlin's colleague Joan Burton hasn’t planned that far ahead yet. Maybe they intend to start handing out free one way tickets to Australia for anyone who can’t find work. That’s if they don’t use up what little money we have left paying off unguaranteed bondholders first.”

“Sinn Féin has long argued that the only way to create employment is to invest in Ireland and the Irish people. By investing in the states infrastructure we can create employment, ensure that important social projects are developed and completed and jump start the local economy.”

“A €7 billion investment package in job creation and economic growth over 3 years could be funded from the remaining €5.3 billion in the National Pension Reserve Fund and €1.7 billion in funding from the European Investment Bank. The EIB will loan governments or the private sector up to 50% of a project’s funding if it meets their criteria of being a sound and sustainable project such as creating employment, developing infrastructure or combating climate change. This is what a sensible government would be doing instead of handing over taxpayer’s money to unsecured bondholders and imposing austerity taxes on struggling families. You would need a brazen neck to suggest creating jobs and economic growth was “Darby O’ Gill” economics.”

The Great Escape comes to Gorey

On Friday February 10th in The Bunker Bar, The Rock, the story of The Great Escape from the H-Blocks will be told by Bik McFarlane, Bobby Storey and Gerry Kelly, three of the key people who organised and took part in the escape, on September 25, 1983, when 38 high security IRA prisoners broke out of what was considered at the time to be the safest goal in Europe.

The story begins with the aftermath of the hunger strike and de-facto granting of all the five demands or political status, which gave the prisoners, limited movement within the wings of each block, they used this to work out the prison system and plan the take-over of the entire H-Block.

The smuggling in of weapons and making replica guns from wood and making uniforms, the precise timing and daring of the take over, is all detailed by McFarlane who was the OC of the block, Kelly who is now an MLA for North Belfast and Bobby Storey who was in charge of supplies for the escape, which was the largest prison brake out since the World War II.

On that cold September evening 38 men left on a lorry, but only 19 were still out a week later, and today only three remain having never been recaptured, three others later died while on active service with the IRA.

It is part of history now that the H-Blocks of Long Kesh are empty; they are to be all knocked bar one Block and the prison hospital both of which will be kept as part of a museum, the rest of the complex is to be developed into a leisure centre.

The story of The Great Escape which has packed venues throughout Ireland will begin at 8.30pm on Friday, May 10th in The Bunker Bar, The Rock.

The Bondholders YOU are paying off

Last Wednesday the Fine Gael/Labour coalition government handed over €1.25 billion to another unguaranteed unsecured Anglo Irish Bank bondholder Gerry Adams condemned the action in the Dail and asked the Taoiseach to name these bondholders. Enda Kenny refused to name them insisting that he didn’t know their identities.

Last Wednesday’s handover was paid by IBRC, the bank created from the merger of Anglo and Nationwide. As this bank is now state owned and reliant upon regular cash injections from the taxpayer, it is the Irish people who paid off this bondholder, and who will continue to pay off unsecured bondholders for as long as it is the policy of the government.

€30.6bn of taxpayers’ money has already been pumped into IBRC through the use of I.O.U’s called promissory notes. Factoring in interest, the promissory notes will cost the Irish people €47.4bn over 20 years. Our Taoiseach might not want to tell you the names of the bondholders, but we do. The list provided below has been judged to be accurate by several economists and investigators.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Another Tax on Rural Ireland

The Irish Farmers Association recently branded proposed legislation that will introduce mandatory inspections on septic tanks as “another tax on rural Ireland” and claimed that the much hyped septic tank charge will seriously affect up to half a million rural dwellers. According to the IFA, rural dwellers already pay the price for having a septic tank, with urban dwellers spared the cost of desludging.

Minister Phil Hogan, that lover of stealth taxation, claims that legislation is necessary to prevent the State facing a fine for failure to comply with an EU Directive. Ireland faces a €40 million fine in 2015 and daily fines thereafter unless mandatory inspections are put in place.

There is speculation that the septic tank inspection fee will cost up to €300 a year for each household. It is possible that anyone who has a septic tank that needs to be upgraded could face bills running to several thousand euro.

Sinn Féin agrees that in the interest of public health the European Court judgement must be complied with. However the party completely disagrees with the government’s approach and its planned septic tank charge. Once again Phil Hogan has seen an opportunity to introduce another unfair tax on the Irish people. The results of this tax could be devastating for rural Ireland, and could see many houses being abandoned as owners find that they cannot afford to upgrade their sewage system.

Sinn Féin has proposed that it is unfair to ask people to pay this extra charge in the current economic climate and that instead funding should be taken from the NTMA reserves to fund a body that will carry out inspections through the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. This body could employ 20 people over the ten years, after which it would be reviewed with a view to harmonisation with the 6 Counties system. NTMA funding could also provide for a €20million fund to allow for upgrades and refits to septic tanks.

Sinn Féin hold protest at "obscene bail-out" and family taxes

Sinn Féin in the county held a protest over the weekend distributing cards for members of the public to sign and give to local Fine Gael and Labour politicians calling on them not to hand over one and one quarter billion euro to bail out Anglo Irish Bank this Wednesday.

Spokesperson for North Wexford Sinn Féin, Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin said : "It is absolutely obscene that over the coming weeks this government will hand over 3.1 billion euro of our money to bail out a private, toxic bank which is now defunct and is not even covered under the terms of governments bank guarantees. They plan to give this amount every year for the next ten years! To fund this obscenity Wexford's Fine Gael and Labour politicians and their colleagues plan to slash funding for education and health and close some small country schools and nursing homes. Funding will also come through the imposition of further punitive family taxes such as the household, water and septic tank charges among many stealth taxes. We must let them know in no uncertain terms that they are not doing it in our name."

Meanwhile Sinn Féin are campaigning countywide to stop the household, water and septic tank charges. Sinn Féin's Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin responding to comments on the issue from local Fine Gael senator, Michael D'Arcy said:
"Local Fine Gael Senator Michael D'Arcy who supports the household charges has said that the government are "forced to go down this road".

No, they are not.They could follow Sinn Fein’s proposal to introduce a progressive tax regime which links tax levels to ability to pay. The Household charge doesn’t do this. It ill-conceived and inequitable and will place unimaginable hardship on many families who are already struggling financially.It is completely unfair as it is a flax tax. How can a flat rate tax on every household, which will see the owners (perhaps unemployed) of a two bedroom semi paying the same as a millionaire owner of a mansion, be regarded as fair?

The Fine Gael Senator has downplayed the charge comparing it to "a T.V. license fee" and a local Labour councillor as to paying for "Sky Sports". The harsh reality is that when you add it to proposed water taxes, septic tank charges, the universal social charge and several other new levies it amounts to a lot. And there is every possibility that once householders are registered the tax will sharply increase over coming years.
The government has done a complete u-turn on its pre-election promises.

“Sinn Féin has been consistent in its opposition to the Household Charge and in the coming weeks and months we will be holding public meetings across County Wexford to inform and organise an effective grassroots campaign. Our elected reps will continue to bring motions before their councils calling for a reversal of the tax and we will go on picketing the offices of government politicians in the county. A Sinn Féin motion calling for the immediate reversal of the controversial Household Charge was defeated at a recent meeting of Wexford Borough Council with Fine Gael, Labour and also Fianna Fáil refusing to support it."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wexford Sinn Féin at Anti Household Charge meetings

Members of Wexford Sinn Féin attended the recent Anti Household Charge meetings in County Wexford. Cllr Anthony Kelly led the Sinn Féin delegations which attended the last Thursday night’s meeting in Whites Hotel and last night’s meeting in the Scaville Lodge in Duncormick. Cllr Kelly, who recently brought a motion calling for the full reversal of the Household Charge before Wexford Borough Council, was delighted with the high attendances at both meetings and said that the fight to force the government to reverse this unjust tax is well and truly on.

Cllr Kelly reminded people in attendance that while the government was saying revenue generated from the household tax was needed to fund local government, they were happy to hand over money to pay off unguaranteed, unsecured bondholders. Before attending last night’s meeting in Duncormick, Cllr Kelly led a protest against the handing over of this money in Wexford towns Bullring.

Cllr Kelly said;
“Last Autumn the Fine Gael and Labour government handed over €700 million to an unguaranteed Anglo bondholder. Next Wednesday they are going to hand over €1.25 billion to another unsecured bondholder. This money could have been used by the state to fund services as an alternative to the Household Charge.”

Further charges are coming down the line.

Wexford Sinn Féin have already organised county wide meetings against water charges and we intend to meet with frightened rural communities about the septic tank tax in the coming weeks. Sinn Féin is also intent on overturning the Household Charge. Our TDs are fighting to have the unfair tax reversed in the Dail and to aid this our local councillors are bringing motions before the town and county councils of Ireland.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stop the Handover Protests across Wexford tomorrow (Sat 21st)

A “Stop the Handover” Picket will take place tomorrow (Saturday 21st) at 2pm in the Bullring to protest the Irish Governments pay out to unguaranteed, unsecured bondholders. Similar demonstrations will be held across the county. Wexford Sinn Féin are organising the events which will highlight the handing over of €1.25 billion next Wednesday to Anglo Irish Bank bondholders, and are inviting all people who reject this handover to come and make their voices heard.

Cllr Anthony Kelly said;
“Next Wednesday the Fine Gael and Labour government are going to hand over €1.25 billion to another unguaranteed Anglo bondholder. This is at a time when members of the government are saying that they are prepared to send homeowners who refuse to pay the household charge to jail.”
“The saving of €1.25 billion would mean that there would be no need for a household charge. No need to defy the wishes of the majority of Irish people by taxing their hard earned homes. No need to scare the most vulnerable members of our society into believing that they will end up in jail. Our government had a clear choice here and they have made an unbelievable decision; they have chosen unsecured bondholders ahead of the welfare of their own people.”

“Sinn Féin completely opposes these handovers. We held a protest when €700 million was handed over last October and we will continue to protest and highlight this ludicrous state of affairs. The Irish Government needs to be held accountable for failing the people in such a startling obvious and blatant misappropriation of state funds at this critical time.”
“I would call on the three government TDs in County Wexford, as well as the many coalition reps on our local councils, to make their opinions on the handovers known and, if they are unwilling to try to stop this heinous situation, do the honourable thing and resign immediately.”

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Household Charge Reversal motion defeated by “out of touch” Council

A Sinn Féin motion calling for the immediate reversal of the controversial Household Charge was defeated at last Monday night’s meeting of Wexford Borough Council. The motion was proposed by Sinn Féin Cllr. Anthony Kelly and supported by Green Party Cllr. Danny Forde. Eight councillors voted against reversing the Charge.

At the meeting Cllr Kelly said;
“This charge is ill-conceived and inequitable. The Government knows this because now they’re saying it’s an interim tax. It’s going to place unimaginable hardship on many families who are already struggling financially.”

Labour party Cllr Joe Ryan accused Cllr Kelly of playing the populist line and said, “If it’s something to do with Sky Sports people have no problem paying but they resent paying money to the local authority.”

Cllr Kelly reacted angrily to this stating that it was Fine Gael and Labour who had plundered local government finances and were now seeking to compensate for it by taxing homes. Cllr Kelly also said that the government had done a complete u-turn on its pre-election promises.

Afterwards Cllr Kelly said;
“The Household Charge is a desperate attack on low and middle income earners,” Cllr Kelly said. “It will be another terrible burden on those suffering most as a result of this recession. Last Monday night I tabled a motion before Wexford Borough Council calling for the immediate reversal of the Household Charge. It was defeated by eight votes to two, with only Cllr. Danny Forde supporting my motion. Among those who supported Coalition Councillors at the meeting were Independents and Fianna Fail reps, the so called opposition.”

“The Household Charge is almost universally accepted as being inherently wrong in both its function and its roll out, and is viewed as yet another unfair tax on ordinary people. The Wexford Borough Councillors were elected by these very people to serve their best interests and respect their views. When Councillors voted against what the people on the street are saying, then it suggests to me that they are totally out of touch with the desires and fears of their constituents. This is unforgivable.”

“Where I expected Fine Gael and Labour Councillors to support their government and vote against my motion, I am deeply shocked and disgusted that reps belonging to the so called main opposition party chose to vote against this motion. In doing so, they have revealed Fianna Fail’s full unwavering support for the Household Charge. This is proof that Fianna Fail is no opposition party.”

“Sinn Féin has been consistent in its opposition to the Household Charge and in the coming weeks and months we will be holding public meetings across the county to inform and organise an effective grassroots campaign. Our elected reps will continue to bring motions before their councils calling for a reversal of the tax and we will go on picketing the offices of government TDs in the county.”

Ultra regressive Household tax must be reversed – Barron

New Ross Sinn Féin has said that the €100 Household Charge is an ultra regressive tax which must be reversed immediately before it can inflict further deprivation on the most hard-pressed of Irish families. Spokesperson Ger Barron said that Sinn Féin were fully opposed to the charge and leading the opposition to it in the Dail and in councils around the country despite not calling for a campaign of non payment.

Mr Barron said;
“A progressive tax regime links tax levels to ability to pay. The Household charge doesn’t do this. In fact it completely disregards the ability to pay. Sinn Féin fully opposes this unfair tax and though we are not jumping on the ‘Don’t Pay’ bandwagon, we will certainly support anyone who decides not to pay the charge. Sinn Féin will lead the fight to have this charge reversed in the Dail and in local councils across Ireland.”

“There are hundreds of thousands of families, some entirely dependent on social welfare, who own their homes and are living in poverty but won’t qualify for a waiver from this tax. Many old aged pensioners will not qualify for the waiver. The government would lead us to believe that the conditions of this tax are completely equitable. In truth everything about the Household Charge is entirely unfair. How can a flat rate tax on every household, which will see the owners of a two bedroom semi paying the same as the owner of a mansion, be fair?”

“Sinn Féin respects and stands by the decision of those who cannot pay or choose not to pay the charge but we are not calling for non-payment. At a time when Irish families are already struggling, it would be reckless and morally wrong for us to call for a campaign of non payment which could leave thousands with legal bills that they may not be able to pay. We would urge people to be fully aware of possible consequences before taking any action which could leave them with further bills to pay.”

“Sinn Féin has been consistent in its opposition to the Household Charge and in the coming weeks and months we will be holding public meetings across the county to inform and organise an effective grassroots campaign. Our elected reps will be bringing motions before their councils calling for a reversal of the tax and we will continue to picket the offices of government TDs in the county.”

Mistake was government’s, not pensioner’s – Kelly

Cllr Anthony Kelly has said that the recent pension tax debacle was the mistake of the government, not old age pensioners. The Wexford Sinn Féin councillor described the government’s handling of the situation as shambolic and a damning indication of what Fine Gael at the helm of power really means for ordinary people.

“The government’s treatment of 150,000 pensioners who were sent letters from the department of revenue telling them that they might be claiming more than they are entitled to is outrageous,” Cllr Kelly said. “I want to insure people who received these letters within my constituency that they are not to blame and that the fault lies solely with our government. It is incredible that only now are two departments, revenue and social protection, sharing information on people claiming state pension, and the result of this revelation is that innocent pensioners are being treated like common thieves by the government.”

“In a week when our people faced the introduction of an increased VAT rate, household charge and increased fuel and motor taxes, Fine Gael and Labour sent 150,000 old age pensioners another late Christmas gift in the form of these degrading letters. Did they not have enough to worry about I wonder?”

“The government’s handling of this situation has been shambolic. Not only do they owe every one of the 150,000 affected pensioners a sincere apology, a full enquiry should also be launched to discover how such a gross action was allowed to happen. This pension tax debacle has been a damning indication of what Fine Gael at the helm of a government really means for ordinary people across this island.”

Friday, January 6, 2012

Price cap must be placed on private waste operators

Cllr Anthony Kelly has said that he was against the sale of Wexford County Councils refuse service and fears that the people of the county will face increasing bin charges in the years ahead unless measures are taken to cap charges immediately. The Wexford Sinn Féin Rep. has also called on Wexford County Council to insure that there will be no redundancies by redeploying their refuse collection workers in other areas.

Cllr Kelly said;
“Wexford Sinn Féin is opposed to the privatisation of the council waste collection service. We believe that in the long term this could leave the door open for private refuse companies to introduce huge price increases. I understand that promises have been made to leave fees unchanged for this year, but what about next year and the year after that? Sinn Féin will be calling on the Minister to introduce new regulations to govern what these private companies can charge and to impose a price cap.”

“I am also concerned that Wexford County Council refuse workers may become victims of this sell off. The Council needs to redeploy these workers as soon as possible and insure that there will be no redundancies as a result of the sale.”

“The selling of the County Councils refuse service at a time when Minister Phil Hogan is asking every household to pay an annual charge to cover local authority services is bewildering. Are the people of County Wexford to believe that their €100 Household Charge is going to cover local authority services when privatisation is the current buzz word in most council chambers? Is it to be a case that we must pay more for less?”

Sinn Féin pushes for full reversal of household tax

As Families across the Country face a raft of new taxes and levies which will come in to operation from new years day Wexford Sinn Féin has issued a New Years warning to the County’s Government TDs to urge Minister Hogan to reverse the household charge and drop all plans for the implementation of a property tax. The party’s elected reps in County Wexford have vowed to bring their demand for a full reversal of the household charge before their councils and to fully support the campaign by Sinn Féin TDs to have the legislation dropped immediately.

Cllr Anthony Kelly said;

“Taking into consideration the exemptions, The Household Charge is still an ill conceived attempt by the Government to raise revenue and is a desperate attack on low and middle income earners. Families, many of whom are caught in the negative equity mortgage trap, are faced with increases to VAT, motor, home and health insurance. All these increases amount to a huge hike in the everyday cost of living.”

“The Government cannot camouflage these charges by calling them property taxes or by any other name. They are Home Taxes. Sinn Fein is asking the people of Co. Wexford to draw a line in the sand and send a clear message out to the Government that enough is enough. Though not calling on people not to pay the charge, Sinn Fein feels that the decision not to register or pay these taxes is up to each individual, as is which form of protest they make.”

“Sinn Féin intends to lead the opposition against the household charge. Our TDs will fight tooth and nail for the reversal of this charge in the Dail, as will every single one of our elected reps across this state. We were elected to fight for our constituents and that’s exactly what we will do. We will insure that County Wexford 's three coalition TDs will be forced to see the terrible effects of, and public opposition to, their government’s unfair charge every time they turn around in the constituency in 2012.”