Monday, May 27, 2013

Roads repair scheme exposes Deputy Kehoe's home tax lie - O' Súilleabháin

A local Sinn Fein spokesperson and campaigner against the Home Tax, Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin, has said that the government’s proposal to “carry out road repairs on the cheap must be scrapped” and that "it exposes the lie that the Home Tax would be used to fund the services provided by local councils"

He was responding to Wexford's Minister of State, Paul Kehoe, who this week championed the Community Involvement in Road Works Scheme (CIRWS).

“This government has reached a new low. This road repair scheme expects local people to provide 20-50% of funding, including free labour, to ensure their rural roads are repaired. There are also questions about potential job losses to be answered."

I found Deputy Kehoe's announcement in the local press on Tuesday quite ironical, as I was reading it while I waited for my car to be fixed in a garage near Gorey, in order to prepare it for the NCT. I ended up with a bill for over 300 euro for damages mainly related to driving on rural secondary roads in North Wexford many of which resemble something from a warzone.

I intend sending the invoice to Wexford County Council and would encourage other motorists to do likewise. Though I won't be holding my breath in terms of payment.  At least it might remind them of their responsibilities"

He concluded:

"It is a shocking indictment of Deputy Kehoe's government that they now expect  local rural communities to fund the repair of these roads which cause the damages as well! People pay a whole range of taxes to cover the cost of road repairs and other essential services. This scheme must be immediately scrapped"

He added:

“This government has massively slashed local government funding from €210m in 2011 to €24m this year. On top of this the government took a further €150m out of the Motor Tax Fund to pay off the foreign debt.  These cuts have led to the crisis that is at the heart local authorities such as Wexford County Council.”

 “Deputy Kehoe's government has cut spending on road maintenance from €1.258 billion in 2011 to €750m this year. Expecting local people to plug the gap is disgraceful and irresponsible. Motorists in Rural Ireland will once again bear the brunt of this government’s mismanagement of our resources.”

Over-zealous Minister has disgraced his office - Mythen

Cllr Johnny Mythen has described last week's attack by Minister Alan Shatter on Wexford Deputy Mick Wallace as 'outrageous and personal'.  The Enniscorthy Sinn Féin rep said that the Minister had brought discredit to the office of Justice and Defence.

"The outrageous and personal attack by Minister Alan Shatter on  Mick Wallace was a total abuse of power by  an office holder.  The use of personal  privileged information to discredit someone for political gain is a total breach of the code of conduct  of office holders.(sec. 1.5)." 

"Not only is this a misuse of executive power but it is a sign of a weak and egotistical individual who uses the guise of "public interest" to hide his failure to deal with  the fixed charge notices issue."

"In my opinion this Minister has brought discredit to the office of Justice and Defence and has displayed and used his personal views for the sole purpose to discredit Mick Wallace.  This is a very serious breach of trust and is definitely not serving the public interest, indeed at this stage Minister Shatter should consider his own position.  If he truly feels an over-zealous urge to  protect  and serve the public interest then it might be best served with his resignation."

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Francis Hughes remembered in Gorey

Heavy rain failed to break the spirits of those who gathered in Gorey this afternoon to honour the memory of republican martyr Francis Hughes.  A large crowd braved the elements to take part in a black flag memorial at the 1798 monument in the town, part of a number of commemorative events being organised by the local branch of Sinn Féin this Summer to mark the 32nd anniversary of the 1981 republican hunger strike.

Francis Hughes was a republican volunteer who was for a period the most wanted man in Ireland.  He took part in the first H-blocks hunger strike in 1980 and was the second man to die in the 1981 strike.  His cousin Thomas McElwee would later become the ninth man to die that terrible summer.

Among those to speak at today's event in Gorey were Wexford Sinn Féin Cllr Anthony Kelly and local spokesperson and anti austerity campaigner Fionntán O' Súilleabháin.  Both men stressed the need for families and communities that are on their knees due to austerity to take a stand against the pro austerity troika of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail by joining Sinn Féin. 

Further events will be held across the county to remember the other eight hunger strikers in or around their respective anniversaries.  All are welcome to take part in these events.

Failed property tax should be repealed - Mythen

An Enniscorthy Councillor has described the local property tax as another epic failure from an inept government.  Sinn Féin Cllr Johnny Mythen said that the huge hold out rate of people not paying the tax shows that it is the democratic wish of the majority that this tax should be scrapped and alternative, progressive revenue raising tactics should be implemented instead.

Cllr Mythen said;

"During the weekend before the governments deadline for registration for the local property tax, the national media confirmed that one in four of those liable for the tax had paid.  Just 400,000 people out of an eligible 1.66 million had informed the taxman of how much they owe.  This was despite the threat of the full force of the revenue commissioners hanging over their heads."

"If ever there was proof needed that the majority of Irish people oppose a cross the board property tax, then this is it.  It is clearly the democratic wish of the majority that the property tax should be scrapped.  This is what Sinn Féin has been arguing for from the very beginning.  We fully opposed the unfair household charge and continue to stand against the local property tax.  This summer we will bring a repeal bill before the Dail in the hope that we can get the property tax abolished."

"The government argues that there is no option but to go ahead with this tax but they are wrong.  Sinn Féin has outlined clear and progressive alternatives.  We have called for the creation of a third rate of income tax at 48% for those who earn over €100,000 per annum and the implementation of a wealth tax on those with assets in excess of €1 million, not including working farmland and business." 

"These alternatives have to be looked at seriously by the government now because once again it has been proven that they are completely out of touch with the citizens of this country."

Bank Holiday traffic met by black flag protest

Wexford town bank holiday traffic was treated to a piece of history last Saturday as local republicans held a black flag remembrance event in Redmond Square to mark the 32nd anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands.  Local Sinn Féin Cllr Anthony Kelly said that the event stirred real interest in people passing by, particularly young people, who seemed to know their history about Sands and the 1981 hunger strike.

Cllr Kelly said;

"Its encouraging to see the interest that people have in the iconic figure of Bobby Sands.  Young Wexford people in particular seemed extremely interested in the history of the 1981 hunger strike and the ultimate fate of the ten men who lost their lives in that terrible prison protest.  Thirty two years after his death Bobby Sands is as relevant as ever."

"People like Sands who were prepared to stand against tyranny are an inspiration for those who still make a stand against injustice today.  An attempt has been made to airbrush the history of the 1981 hunger strike from our culture.  It gets only a grudging mention in our childrens history sylabus.  Yet the figure of Bobby Sands is as recognisable as that of Che Guevarra or Hugo Sanchez.  What he stood for as not been airbrushed and never will be."

"Wexford Sinn Féin will be holding commemorations for each of the ten hunger strikers around the time of their individual anniversaries.  We invite people who  are in anyway interested in preserving the memory of the hungerstrikers to attend these memorials and to learn more about what caused ten young men to sacrifice their lives in 1981.  Details of upcoming events will be found at in the coming weeks."

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Labour have betrayed their legacy - Kelly

Cllr Anthony Kelly has accused Minister Brendan Howlin and his colleagues in the labour party of betraying the historic legacy of their movement by supporting outlandish austerity measures on ordinary families and forcing  pay cuts on public servants because they voted down croke park 2.  The Wexford Sinn Féin councillor said that those legends of the labour movement who took part in the lock out in Wexford town a century ago would turn their backs in disgust on the modern day labour party if they were alive today.

Cllr Kelly said;

"Its been reported in recent days that Minister Brendan Howlin is planning on legislating to cut public servants pay and freeze their increments if they do not accept Croke Park 2.  Its ironic thgreat lock at this is the one hundred anniversary of the great lock out in Dublin, a historic period that labour still claims as its finest hour.  Who would have thought that on the centenary of this event a senior Labour party Minister would be planning on defying the democratic decisions of the unions and preparing to implement draconian wage cuts in an effort to break the will of protesting workers." 

"What would the leaders of the lock outs say about the current labour party? What would James Connolly or Jim Larkin say if they were alive today? What would Wexfords Richard Corish say about Minister Howlins actions? They would no doubt turn their back in disgust on this labour party that has betrayed its historic legacy and the working people of Ireland."

"The Labour party is still insisting that the only way to save Ireland is to force austerity on ordinary families and to cut the pay of hard pressed public workers  They refuse to accept the truth that austerity has failed across Europe.  They refuse to consider progressive proposals such as the creation of a wealth tax or a third band of income tax at 48% for those earning over €100,000 per annum.  They refuse to adequately tackle mass unemployment and out of control emigration.  They have failed." 

Sinn Féin welcomes N11 project, but local jobs needed

Sinn Féin in County Wexford have welcomed the deal that was signed to complete the Rathnew to Arklow bypass on the N11 in Co. Wicklow. However the party is looking for assurances to be given that locals will be employed on the project and that guarantees will be given that at no point in the future will tolls be introduced.

Speaking after the deal was signed spokesperson for the party in North Wexford, Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin said "I warmly welcome the signing of this contract, its been long awaited and unfortunately we have had far too many false dawns on this scheme in the past. The deal involves the construction, operation, maintenance and financing of the 16.5 kilometres of four-lane dual carriageway linking the existing Arklow Bypass with the existing Rathnew/Ashford Bypass in Co.Wicklow. The contract has been awarded to BAM civil limited in a public private partnership and is worth 282 million euro. It’s expected to create up to 1,000 jobs during development of the Bypass which is being bundled in with the N7 Newlands Cross free-flow system in west Dublin. I think its important that the vast majority of these jobs go to people in North Wexford and South Wicklow who have the necessary skills and that the materials for the project would also be sourced from suppliers in both counties."

Ó Súilleabháin continued " CSO figures (last July) showed an incredibly shocking figure of 46% of under-25's unemployed in County Wexford - the third highest in the entire country. North Wexford has been turned into an economic wasteland. What the people of both counties want now are guarantees that some of the thousands of unemployed people from the area will benefit from the construction of the dual carriageway.Guarantees are also needed that at no point in the future will the road be tolled."

"We have been told that the provision of tolls are not to be implemented at this point, however we need assurances, that at no point in the future will they be installed on the N11. The signing of the contract is welcome if somewhat long overdue." Ó Súilleabháin concluded.