Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wexford SF oppose privatisation of waste collection

Sinn Fein Cllr Anthony Kelly and Cllr Johnny Mythen reiterated their party opposition to any plans by Wexford County Council to privatise the refuse collection service, and instead called on the government to honour their pre-election promises to reform the taxation system, allowing new wealth collected to fund vital public services.

Following the privatisation of waste collection services in South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire/ Rathdown, it now seems that it’s only a matter of time before efforts are made to change things in County Wexford,” Cllr Kelly said.  “Wexford Sinn Féin fully supports the Council refuse workers and urges that these employees be redeployed to other jobs within the Council.  I’m very concerned that these workers will be made redundant and sent to join the other twenty thousand unemployed people in this county on the Dole Queue. 

Cllr Johnny Mythen added;
“We hear a lot of talk that privatisation leads to price cuts and that the takeover of this public service by private companies will ultimately benefit ordinary people.  The truth is, that in the past we have witnessed such “price cuts” quickly be forgotten as private companies carved out monopolies for themselves, allowing rapid price escalations.  Historically, privatisation has been shown to hurt the poor and less well off the worst.  Vital services should be available to all and paid for with a fair and progressive tax system based on ability to pay.”

Abolish unfair tax on working poor

Cllr Anthony Kelly has called for the urgent abolishment of the grossly unjust Universal Social Charge, and has demanded that County Wexfords five Oireachtas members honour their election promises to stand up for the ordinary people of this county by working in the Dail to bring an immediate end to this unfair tax on the working poor.  Speaking following a Sinn Féin demonstration against the USC in the Bull Ring last Saturday, Cllr Kelly said that his party would continue to push Fine Gael and Labour to drop this tax that greatly benefits high earners who can take advantage of tax exemptions.

“County Wexford’s five TDs each made promises to protect the interests of the under siege citizens of this County during the recent election campaign,” Cllr Kelly said, “Now they must honour their commitments to the electorate.  Supporting an unfair tax that takes the same percentage from people earning €16,016 per annum as it does from someone earning €100,000 per year is not protecting the interests of the people of this county.   This tax needs to be abolished and instead the Government should work on building a fairer tax system by creating a progressive tax base that taxes fairly and equalises wealth.  Fine Gael and Labour have said that they will ‘review’ the USC.  This gives little comfort to the working poor of this County who are up against the wall.  It’s not good enough and we demand action now.”
 “Not only is this tax causing untold misery for ordinary people, it is also completely unfair.  We have discovered an anomaly in the USC that allows people on much higher wages to pay less.  The anomaly means that somebody on €30,000 euro is better off under the Universal Social Charge system when compared to what they were paying under the health and income levy system.  This is insanity and shows that Fine Gael and Labour are now operating on the same economic policy as Fianna Fail before them – protect the elite and over tax the working poor.  Fine Gael and Labour should honour their election promises to reform our corrupt tax system instead of implementing failed Fianna Fail economic policies.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wexford Hospital “sell out” is high treachery

Wexford Sinn Féin have condemned the u-turn on the building of a new A&E Unit and obstetrics ward at Wexford General Hospital, and have laid the onus on the new Fine Gael/Labour coalition government to find out where the funding earmarked for the project has gone.  Sinn Féin Cllr Anthony Kelly has said that whoever is responsible for the disappearance of this funding must be exposed, and has said that their “sell out” of Wexford General Hospital amounts to high treachery.

Cllr Kelly said;
“How dare members of this new government tell the people of County Wexford that the vital upgrade project at Wexford General is going ahead, before pulling the plug two days later.  Are they really suggesting that €21 million disappeared in two days?  Our new government seems to believe that blaming the last government will exclude them from blame.  Fine Gael and Labour are in government now.  If we are told that our hospital is to lie in a state of limbo for four years, then it is this new government that must be held accountable.” 

“Minister Brendan Howlin has stated that the HSE has led us on a merry dance.  I fear that it is this new government and Minister Howlin who are attempting to lead us on a merry dance.
I’m calling on Minister Howlin and his government colleges from our county, Deputy Kehoe and Deputy Twomey, to find out what has happened to this money and to explain to me why they announced that the funding was there, only to say that it was missing two days later.  Did they not think it prudent to count it first maybe?  Someone is playing games here and it needs to end now.  Those responsible are guilty of the sell out of Wexford general Hospital and high treachery against the people of this county.”

“I’m calling on the people of County Wexford to stand up and fight this sell out.  Wexford Sinn Féin has campaigned for well over a decade for better health services at Wexford hospital.  We have never been afraid to get onto the streets and air our discontent.  If this new government refuses to see sense, then we will go back onto the streets.  I’m calling on every man, woman and child in County Wexford to join us and to end the Wexford General Hospital stalemate once and for all.”

Thousands to be removed from Social Housing List

Cllr Anthony Kelly has said that he has great concerns at the new government’s decision to implement new restrictions on social housing applicants which are based upon the plan introduced by the outgoing Fianna Fail led coalition on their last day in government.  The Wexford Sinn Féin rep placed a successful motion against the plan before Wexford Borough Council last week.

Cllr Kelly said;
“These measures will have a devastating impact on thousands of low income families throughout the state who could be taken off housing waiting lists and left in unsuitable and inappropriate accommodation.  In his final act as Minister, Fianna Fáil’s Michael Finneran signed into law the Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011.  This included new income thresholds for social housing which could result in the result in thousands of families in need of social housing no longer qualifying for a home.” 
“It’s true that Minister Willie Penrose has increased the income thresholds since coming into office, but this is simply a sugar coating of a cruel act that will have a negative impact across this nation.  Thousands of families are still in danger of being removed from the housing list, and Minister Penrose betrays his true intentions by suggesting that he will look again at the eligibility criteria for social housing in about six months time.’  Does that mean that we get the original Fianna Fail plan put into action in six months time?”
“There are empty houses scattered across this country, in the hands of the Irish nation via NAMA.  According to state figures based on the last census and information from the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government, there are over 300,000 vacant houses in Ireland today, not including holiday homes.  Many of them are now under NAMA control.  There are more than 100,000 households on the social housing waiting list.  Over five thousand people were recorded as being homeless by Focus Ireland last year.  Why is our government trying to remove people who need to be housed when there are 300,000 thousand houses lying idle and gradually slipping into a state of deterioration?  I have placed my motion before Wexford Borough Council to highlight the hypocrisy of this situation and to stop a new government treating its people the same as the last one.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kelly calls for ban of “online head shops”

Wexford Sinn Féin councillor Anthony Kelly has called for an end to the sale of illegal head shop drugs in Wexford via the internet.  A simple google search will lead Wexford teenagers to a website where they can buy the banned substances.  Cllr Kelly has placed a motion before Wexford Borough Council calling for the setting up of legislation to prohibit the online sale of these banned substances.

“There was a time when five head shops operated in this county,” Cllr Kelly said.  “We in Sinn Féin felt that the head shops sale of unregulated drugs would do untold damage to our communities, and we campaigned for their closure.  We thought we had dealt with the problem, but now they have re-emerged online.  The potentially lethal banned drug Mephedrone, which mimics the effects of cocaine, is now available for our young people to buy online.”

“The Psychoactive Substances Bill allowed Gardaí to seek a court order to close head shops suspected of selling these dangerous drugs, and made possession and supply a criminal offence.  These people have found a loop hole and I’m demanding that it is closed now.  The suppliers and sellers of these illegal drugs must be prosecuted and their operation closed permanently.”

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pandemic unemployment must be tackled now – Kelly

County Wexford Sinn Féin elected representative Cllr Anthony Kelly has said that the latest state unemployment figures show that we are experiencing a pandemic of joblessness, and unless positive and decisive action is taken now, we will lose our chance of economic recovery.  The Wexford town councillor has demanded that the new coalition puts an emergency job creation programme into action immediately.

Cllr Kelly said;
“A few months ago, when Fianna Fail were busy cutting state benefits and the minimum wage, and introducing the Universal Social Charge on budget day, they promised us that unemployment would stabilise at 13.2%.  Today it stands at 14.6%, and is rising.  7.3% of our work force is now long term unemployed.  Our labour force is shrinking.  In the last quarter alone, we lost 28,000 workers.  28.8% of under 25s are unemployed.  Is it any wonder that thousands of our young people are leaving the country at that rate?  The most troublesome statistic is this.  Neither the last government nor the current one have taken any positive steps to tackle this crisis.  Michael Noonan would prefer to talk to EU leaders about bank debt than tackle Ireland’s unemployment pandemic.”

“Given how serious the situation is, the fact that the jobs plan has been kicked down the road in the Programme for Government for 100 days is outrageous.  We have half a million citizens already inflicted by this deadly pandemic, and many more worried that they will be in the next wave of victims.  What does our new government do? They review.  Review?  Either they have a plan for job creation or they don’t.  Reviews won’t take people off the dole queues.  Reviews won’t stop our young people from emigrating to find work.  Reviews won’t tackle the obvious social and economic damage that long term unemployment inflicts upon an Irish family.  This government must implement a progressive job creation programme now, or else move out of the way and let a new government that will in.”

Kelly concerned over sale of state assets

A Wexford Sinn Féin rep has raised concerned over the new government’s plan to sell up to €2 billion in state assets.  Cllr Anthony Kelly has said that such a move will lead to the loss of strategically important national services; the sale of which will generate profit that will be moved directly into paying back toxic loans.

“Last week we saw Mr Noonan get backing from the EU and IMF to put a reckless Fine Gael plan into motion that will result in the sale of profitable publicly-owned companies such as ESB, Bord Gáis and An Post,” Cllr Kelly said.  “The coalition government are stating that funds raised from the sale of these state assets will be used to fund a job creation programme.  This will not be the case, as the IMF will not allow it.  As we have seen in Greece and other nations where the IMF has arrived, the wholesale sell off of state assets to repay debts is common practice.  We in Sinn Féin fear that this government is on the verge of selling off profitable public companies to make more money to throw into the growing bank debt hole.”

“The programme for government states that the government will be guided in relation to any sale by the McCarthy report.  Professor McCarthy is likely to recommend a large scale sell off of state assets, including either a part or total sell off of Coillte.  Given that this group controls 7% of the states land, the projected loss from the coalitions ‘car boot sale’ could be devastating for generations to come.”